Baseball Wiki
New York Yankees
One East 161st Street
New York Flag The Bronx, New York
League: American League
Division East Division
Established 1901
Team History
Baltimore Orioles (1901-1902)
New York Highlanders (1903-1912)
New York Yankees (1913-present)
Yankee Stadium II (2009-present)
Yankee Stadium (1923-1973, 1976-2008)
Shea Stadium (1974-1975)
Polo Grounds (1913-1922)
Hilltop Park (1903-1912)
Orioles Park (1901-1902)
Team colors Navy Blue and White
Uniform YankeesUniform
Owner Yankee Global Enterprises
Manager Aaron Boone
General Manager Brian Cashman
President of Baseball Operations Randy Levine
World Series
27 (1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009)
Pennants 40 (1921, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009)
Official Website

The New York Yankees are a Major League Baseball team, based in the borough of The Bronx, in New York City. The team name is often shortened to the Yanks, and the nickname the Bronx Bombers is also used. The club was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1901, and moved to New York in 1903. From 1923 to the present, the Yankees have played at Yankee Stadium. However, at the start of the 2009 season, the Yankees moved to a new stadium, also named Yankee Stadium.

One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Yankees have been Major League Baseball's most storied franchise, winning 27 World Series titles in 48 appearances. Their 27 titles makes them the most successful franchise in North American pro sports history (passing the Montreal Canadiens' 24 titles with their 1999 championship (see Sport teams by championships). They are also the only team represented in the Baseball Hall of Fame at every position. The Yankees last World Series Championship was in 2009, having defeated the Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series on Wednesday night, November 4, 2009, in the first year of the new Yankee Stadium to win the Series 4 games to 2. This is their 27th World Championship and first under manager Joe Girardi. Hideki Matsui was voted World Series MVP, after driving in 6 of the 7 runs as the DH in Game 6 - tying the one game RBI mark set by Bobby Richardson in 1960 for the Yankees.

Franchise history[]

At the end of the 1900 season, the American League (AL) re-organized and, with its president Ban Johnson as the driving force, decided to assert itself as a new major league. Known as the Western League until 1899, the AL carried over five of its previous locations and added three more on the East Coast, including one in Baltimore, Maryland, which had lost its National League team when that league contracted the year before. The intention of Johnson and the American League had been to place a team in New York City, but their efforts had been stymied by the political connections that owners of the National League New York Giants had with Tammany Hall.

When the team began play as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901, it was managed by John McGraw. As a result of a feud with league president Ban Johnson, who rigidly enforced rules about rowdiness on the field of play, McGraw jumped leagues to manage the New York Giants in the middle of the 1902 season. A week later the owner of the Giants also gained controlling interest of the Orioles and raided the team for players, after which the league took control of the team, still intending to move the franchise to New York when and if possible.

In January 1903, the American and National Leagues held a "peace conference" to settle conflicts over player contract disputes and to agree on future cooperation. The NL also agreed that the "junior circuit" could establish a franchise in New York. The AL's Baltimore franchise became the New York franchise when its new owners, Frank Farrell and William Devery, were able to find a ballpark location not blocked by the Giants. Farrell and Devery both had deep ties in city politics and gambling. Farrell owned a casino and several pool halls, while Devery had served as a blatantly corrupt chief of the New York City police and had just been forced out of the department at the start of 1902.

The Highlanders[]

The franchise's first park in New York was located at 165th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, near the highest point on the island. Consequently the field was known as Hilltop Park and the team quickly became known as the New York Highlanders. The name was also a reference to the noted British military unit The Gordon Highlanders, as the team president from 1903 to 1906 was named Joseph Gordon. Today the site of the original Hilltop Park is occupied by buildings of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

As the Highlanders, the team enjoyed success only twice, finishing in second place in 1904 and 1910; but otherwise, much of its first fifteen years in New York was spent in the cellar. Its somewhat corrupt ownership, along with the questionable activities of some players - notably first baseman Hal Chase - raised suspicions of game-fixing, but little of that was ever proven.

The Highlanders' best chance came on the last day of the 1904 season at the Hilltop. New York pitcher Jack Chesbro threw a wild pitch in the ninth inning which allowed the eventual pennant-winning run to score for the Boston Americans. This event had historical significance in several ways. First, the presence of the Highlanders in the race had led the Giants to announce the team would not participate in the World Series against a "minor league" team. Although Boston had won the pennant, the Giants still refused to participate. The resulting tongue-lashing of the Giants by the media stung its owner, John T. Brush, who then led a committee that formalized the rules governing the World Series. 1904 was the last year a Series was not played, until the strike-truncated year of 1994. For fans of the team formally named the Red Sox in 1908, the 1904 season ending game would prove to be the last time for a century that Boston would defeat the Yankees in a pennant-deciding game.

From 1913 to 1922 the team would play in the Polo Grounds, a park owned by its National League rivals, the Giants. Relations between the clubs had warmed when the Giants were allowed to lease Hilltop Park while the Polo Grounds was being rebuilt in 1911 following a disastrous fire. During the early 1900s, the nickname "Yankees" was occasionally applied to the club, as a variant on "Americans." Publisher William Randolph Hearst's New York Evening Journal called the team the "Invaders" in 1903, but switched to "Highlanders" in the spring of 1904. On April 7, 1904, a spring training story from Richmond, Virginia carried the headline: "Yankees Will Start Home From South To-Day." The April 14, 1904 opening day headline on page one of the New York Evening Journal screamed: "YANKEES BEAT BOSTON."[1] The name grew in popularity over the team's first decade. With the change of parks in 1913, the "Highlanders" reference became obsolete, and the team nickname became exclusively "Yankees". Before very long, "New York Yankees" had become the official name of the club.

By the mid 1910s, owners Farrell and Devery had become estranged and both were in need of money. At the start of 1915, they sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston. Ruppert inherited a brewery fortune and had also been tied to the Tammany Hall machine, serving as a U.S. Congressman for eight years. He later said, "For $450,000 we got an orphan ball club, without a home of its own, without players of outstanding ability, without prestige." But now with an owner possessing deep pockets, and a willingness to dig into them to produce a winning team, the Yankees were on their way to acquiring more prestige than Ruppert could have envisioned.

The Ruth and Gehrig Era[]

Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of the Yankees' dominance comes from its roots. The Yankees detente with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox circa 1920 (all three collectively known as the "Insurrectos") paid off well. Over the next few years the new owners would begin to enlarge the payroll. Many of the newly acquired players who would later contribute to the team's success came from the Boston Red Sox, whose owner, theater impresario Harry Frazee, had bought his team on credit and needed money to pay off his loans and purchase Fenway Park from the Fenway Park Trust. Further, as Frazee owned the strongest of the "Insurrectos" franchises, which antagonized A.L. President Ban Johnson, Frazee faced most of the legal battles which proved costly.[2] From 1919 to 1922, the Yankees acquired pitchers Waite Hoyt, Carl Mays and Herb Pennock, catcher Wally Schang, shortstop Everett Scott and third baseman Joe Dugan, all from the Red Sox.


Babe Ruth in 1920, the first year he joined the Yankees

However, pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was the most talented of them all. The Babe accumulated 2,213 RBIs over his career which ranks second in Major League History, and totaled 1,971 as a Yankee which is second best in the Yankees team history. Frazee traded Ruth to the Yankees in January of 1920, citing Ruth's demand for a raise after being paid the highest salary in baseball, and despite owning the single season home run record at the time of the trade (hitting 29 home runs in 1919).[3] Frazee also wished to aid the Yankees, as giving the Yankees a box office draw would strengthen a legal ally, and reduce the pressure he faced.[2] Ruth was also regarded as a problem, a carouser. That would continue during his Yankees years, but the New York ownership was more tolerant, provided he brought fans and championships to the ballpark.

The perceived outcome of the trade in favor of the Yankees would haunt the Boston club for the next 84 years. The Red Sox ended up not winning a World Series from 1919 until 2004 (see Curse of the Bambino), often finding themselves out of the World Series hunt as a result of the success of the Yankees. Frazee would not have to wait that long to produce success from the Ruth trade - on Broadway. In 1925 he scored a hit with the musical comedy No No Nanette, a production perhaps financed with at least some of the proceeds from the Ruth trade.

Other important newcomers in this period were manager Miller Huggins and general manager Ed Barrow. Huggins was hired in 1919 by Ruppert while Huston was serving in Europe with the American army (this would lead to a break between the two owners, with Ruppert eventually buying Huston out in 1923). Barrow came on board after the 1920 season, and like many of the new Yankee players had previously been a part of the Red Sox organization, having managed the team since 1918. Barrow would act as general manager or president of the Yankees for the next 25 years and may deserve the bulk of the credit for the team's success during that period. He was especially noted for development of the Yankees' farm system.

The home run hitting exploits of Ruth proved popular with the public, to the extent that the Yankees were soon outdrawing their landlords, the Giants. In 1921, when the Yankees made their first World Series appearance, against the Giants, the Yankees were told to move out of the Polo Grounds after the 1922 season. At that time, John McGraw was said to have commented that the Yankees should "move to some out-of-the-way place, like Queens". Instead, to McGraw's chagrin, the Yankees broke ground for a new ballpark just across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds. In 1922 the Yankees returned to the Series again, and were again defeated by the Giants. Meanwhile, the construction crew moved with remarkable speed and finished the big new ballpark in less than a year. In 1923 the Yankees moved into Yankee Stadium (at East 161st Street and River Avenue) in the Bronx. The site for the Stadium was chosen because the IRT Jerome Avenue subway line]] (now the NYCTA's number 4 train) has a station stop practically on top of Yankee Stadium's right-field wall. The Stadium was the first triple-deck venue in baseball and seated an astounding 58,000. In the first game at Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth hit a home run. He would end the year with "only" 41 home runs, but he was walked a then record 170 times and he batted .393, which is still the highest batting average for a Yankee playing in Yankee Stadium. Because of his success and all the fans that he brought to see the Yankees, the Stadium became known as "The House that Ruth Built".

In 1923 the Yanks faced the Giants for a third straight year in the Series, finally turning the tables on the Giants. Giants outfielder Casey Stengel, who even then was being called "Old Case", hit two homers to win the two games the Giants came away with. Stengel would later come to the Yankees as a successful manager.

The 1927 team was so potent that it became known as "Murderers' Row" and is sometimes considered to have been the best team in the history of baseball (though similar claims have been made for other Yankee squads, notably those of 1939, 1961 and 1998). The Yankees won an AL record 110 games against only 44 losses and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1927 World Series. Ruth's home run total of 60 in 1927 set a single-season record which would stand for 34 years. Ruth also batted .356 and drove in 164 runs. Meanwhile, first baseman Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with 47 round-trippers. He also broke Ruth's single season RBI mark (171 in 1921) with 175. Ruth hit third in the order and Gehrig fourth. However, right behind them were two more sluggers: Bob "The Rifle" Meusel, who played either of the corner outfield positions, and Tony Lazzeri, who played second base. Lazzeri actually ranked third in the league in home runs in 1927 with 18, and he hit .309 with 102 RBI. Meusel hit .337 with 103 RBI. Speed was another weapon used by both: Meusel's 24 stolen bases were second best in the league, while Lazzeri swiped 22. All of these numbers were due in part to the leadoff man Earle Combs who played center field. Combs hit .356 and lead the AL with 231 hits that year (a team record until Don Mattingly broke it with 238 in 1986), and had a .414 on base percentage. The 1927 Yankees' team batting average was .307.

The Yankees would repeat as American League champions in 1928, fighting off the resurgent Philadelphia Athletics, and would go on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the Series. Ruth got 10 hits in 16 at-bats for a single Series record batting average of .625; three of those hits were home runs. Meanwhile, Gehrig went 6 for 11 (.545), with four of those six hits being round-trippers. After three also-ran seasons went to the Philadelphia Athletics, the Yankees returned to the American League top perch under new manager Joe McCarthy in 1932 and swept the Chicago Cubs in the Series, running the team's streak of consecutive World Series game wins to 12, a mark which would stand until the Yankees bested it in the 2000 World Series. Babe Ruth hit his famous "Called Shot" home run in Wrigley Field in Game Three of that Series, a fitting "swan song" to his illustrious post-season career.

The DiMaggio Era[]

The Yankees' run during the 1930s could also be called the "McCarthy era", as manager Joe McCarthy (no relation to the Senator of the same name) would guide the Yankees to new heights. Just as Gehrig stepped out of Ruth's considerable shadow, a new titan appeared on the horizon, in the person of Joe DiMaggio. The young center fielder from San Francisco had an immediate impact, batting .323 and hitting 29 homers while driving in 125 runs in his rookie season of 1936.

Behind the Yankee bats of DiMaggio, Gehrig and Frank Crosetti, and a pitching staff led by Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez and anchored by catcher Bill Dickey, the team reeled off an unprecedented four consecutive World Series wins during 1936 to 1939. They did it without Gehrig for most of 1939, as the superstar's retirement due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) saddened the baseball world.

The strongest competition for the Yankees during that stretch were the Detroit Tigers, who won two pennants before that Yankees four-year stretch, and one after. When the Yankees did get into the Series, they had little trouble. During Game Two of the 1936 Series, they pounded the Giants 18-4, still the World Series record (through 2006) for most runs by a team in one game. They took the Giants four games to two in that Series, and four games to one the next year. The Yankees also swept the Chicago Cubs in 1938, and the Cincinnati Reds in 1939.

Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio

After an off season came the Summer of 1941, a much-celebrated year, often described by sportswriters as the last great year of the "Golden Era", before World War II and other realities intervened. Ted Williams of the Red Sox was in the hunt for the elusive .400 batting average, which he achieved on the last day of the season. Meanwhile, DiMaggio, who had once hit in 61 straight games as a minor leaguer with the San Francisco Seals, began a hitting streak on May 15 which stretched to an astonishing 56 games.

A popular song by Les Brown celebrated this event, as Betty Bonney and the band members sang it: "He tied the mark at 44 / July the First, you know / Since then he's hit a good 12 more / Joltin' Joe DiMaggio / Joe, Joe DiMaggio, we want you on our side."

The last game of the streak came on July 16 at Cleveland's League Park. The streak was finally snapped in a game at Cleveland Stadium the next night before a huge crowd at the lakefront. A crucial factor in ending the streak was the fielding of Cleveland third baseman Ken Keltner, who stopped two balls that DiMaggio hit hard to the left.

Modern baseball historians regard it as unlikely that anyone will ever hit .400 again, barring a change to the way the game is played, and that it will be extremely difficult to approach DiMaggio's 56-game streak, which is far beyond second place (44) and a modern day phenomenon.

The Yankees made short work of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1941 Series. Two months and one day after the final game of the Yanks' four-games-to-one win, the Pearl Harbor attacks occurred, and many of the best ballplayers went off to World War II. The war-thinned ranks of the major leagues nonetheless found the Yanks in the post-season again, as the team traded World Series wins with the St. Louis Cardinals during 1942 and 1943.

The team then went into a bit of a slump, and manager McCarthy was let go early in the 1946 season. After a couple of interim managers had come and gone, Bucky Harris was brought in and the Yankees righted the ship again, winning the 1947 pennant and facing a much-tougher Dodgers team than their 1941 counterparts, in a Series that took the Yankees seven games to win, and was a harbinger of things to come for much of the next decade.

Despite finishing only three games behind the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians in 1948, Harris was released, and the Yankees brought in Casey Stengel as the team's manager. Casey had a reputation for being somewhat of a clown and had been associated with managing particularly bad teams such as the mid-1930s Boston Braves, so his selection was met with no little skepticism. His tenure would prove to be the most successful in the Yankees' history up to that point. The 1949 Yankees team was seen as "underdogs" that came from behind to catch and surpass the powerful Red Sox on the last two days of the season, in a faceoff that fueled the beginning of the modern intense rivalry between these teams. The post-season proved to be a bit easier, as the Yankees knocked off their cross-town Flatbush rivals - the Dodgers - four games to one.

By this time, the great DiMaggio's career was winding down. It has often been reported that he said he wanted to retire before he became an "ordinary" player. He was also hampered by bone spurs in his heel, which hastened the final docking of the “Yankee Clipper". As if on cue, new superstars began arriving, including the "Oklahoma Kid", Mickey Mantle, whose first year (1951) was DiMaggio's curtain call.

The 1950's[]

Bettering the McCarthy-era clubs, Stengel's squad won the World Series in his first five years as manager, 1949 through 1953. The Yankees won over 100 games in 1954, but finished second to the Indians who won an AL record 111 games; that record stood for 44 years until the 1998 Yankees surpassed it. The five consecutive championships won by the Yankees during this period remains the major league record. Led by players like center fielder Mickey Mantle, pitcher Whitey Ford, and catcher Yogi Berra, Stengel's teams won 10 pennants and seven World Series titles in his twelve seasons as Yankee manager. Casey Stengel was also a master at publicity for the team and for himself, even landing a cover story in Time magazine in 1955.

The 1950s was also a decade of significant individual achievement for Yankee players. For example, in 1956 Mantle won the major league triple crown, leading both leagues in batting average (.353), home runs (52), and RBIs (130).

In 1955, the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees in the World Series, after five Series losses to the Yankees in '41, '47, '49, '52 and '53. But the Yankees came back strong the next year. On October 8, 1956, in Game Five of the 1956 World Series against the Dodgers, pitcher Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history. Not only was it the only perfect game to be pitched in World Series play, it also remains the only no-hitter of any kind to be pitched in postseason play. The Yankees went on to win yet another World Series that season, and Larsen earned World Series MVP honors.

Yankee players also dominated the American League MVP award, with a Yankee claiming ownership six times in the decade (1950 Rizzuto, 1951 Berra, 1954 Berra, 1955 Berra, 1956 Mantle, 1957 Mantle). Pitcher Bob Turley also won the Cy Young Award in 1958, the award's third year of existence.

The Yankees lost the 1957 World Series to the Milwaukee Braves. Following the Series, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers left New York City for California, leaving the Yankees as New York's only team. In the 1958 World Series, the Yankees got their revenge against the Braves, and became the second team to win the Series after being down three games to one.

For the decade, the Yankees won six World Series championships ('50, 51, '52, '53, '56, '58) and eight American League pennants (those six plus '55 and '57). Led by Mantle, Ford, Berra, Elston Howard (the Yankees' first African-American player), and the newly acquired Roger Maris, the Yankees burst into the new decade seeking to replicate the remarkable success of the 1950s.

The 1960's[]

During the 1960-61 offseason, a seemingly innocuous development may have marked the beginning of the end for the future of this Yankees dynasty. In December of 1960, Chicago insurance executive Charles O. Finley purchased the Kansas City Athletics from the estate of Arnold Johnson, who had died that March. Johnson had acquired the then-Philadelphia Athletics from the family of Connie Mack in 1954. He was the owner of Yankee Stadium at the time, but the American League owners forced him to sell the Stadium as a condition of purchasing the Athletics. Johnson was also a longtime business associate of then-Yankees owners Del Webb and Dan Topping.

During Johnson's ownership, the Athletics traded many young players to the Yankees for cash and aging veterans, thus significantly improving the Yankees' future prospects. Roger Maris had been acquired by the Yankees in one such trade, going to New York in a seven-player deal in December 1959. Many fans, and even other teams, frequently accused the Athletics of being operated effectively as a farm team for the Yankees. Once Finley purchased the Athletics, he immediately terminated the team's "special relationship" with the Yankees, thus cutting off their easy supply of promising players.

In 1960, Roger Maris - the former Athletic, now Yankee - led the league in slugging percentage, RBIs, and extra base hits; he finished second in home runs (one behind Mickey Mantle) and total bases, won a Golden Glove, and won the American League Most Valuable Player award. All of this was a prelude to the remarkable year that would follow.

Nineteen sixty-one was one of the most memorable years in Yankee history. Throughout the summer Mantle and Maris, the reigning MVP, hit home runs at a record pace as both chased Babe Ruth's single season home run record of 60. The duo's home run prowess led the media and fans to christen them the "M & M Boys". Ultimately, Mantle was forced to bow out in mid-September with 54 home runs when a severe hip infection forced him from the lineup. On October 1, the final day of the season, Maris broke the record when he sent a pitch from Boston's Tracy Stallard into the right field stands at Yankee Stadium for his 61st home run. However, by decree of Commissioner Ford Frick, separate single-season home run records were maintained to reflect the fact that Ruth hit his 60 home runs during a 154-game season, while Maris hit his 61 in the first year of the new 162-game season. Some 30 years later, on September 4, 1991, an eight-member Committee for Historical Accuracy appointed by Major League Baseball did away with the dual records, giving Maris sole possession of the single-season home run record until it was broken by Mark McGwire on September 8, 1998. (McGwire's record was later broken by Barry Bonds, whose 73 home runs in 2001 remains the major league record. Maris still holds the American League record.)

The Yankees won the pennant with a 109-53 record and went on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in five games to win the 1961 World Series. The 109 regular season wins posted by the '61 club remains the third highest single-season total in franchise history, behind only the 1998 team's 114 regular season wins and 1927 team's 110 wins. The 1961 Yankees also clubbed a then-major league record for most home runs by a team with 240, a total not surpassed until the 1996 Baltimore Orioles hit 257 with the aid of the designated hitter. Maris won his second consecutive MVP Award while Whitey Ford captured the Cy Young.

Because of the excellence of Maris, Mantle, and World Series-MVP Ford, a fine pitching staff, stellar team defense, the team's strong depth and power, and its overall dominance, the 1961 Yankees are universally considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of baseball, compared often to their pinstriped-brethren, the 1927 Yankees, the 1939 Yankees, and the 1998 Yankees.

In 1962, the Yankees once again had an intra-city rival as the National League's new expansion team, the New York Mets, came into existence. That year the Mets would lose a record 120 games while the Yankees would win the 1962 World Series, their tenth in the past sixteen years, defeating the San Francisco Giants in seven games.

The Yankees would again reach the Fall Classic in 1963, but they were swept in four games by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Behind World Series-MVP Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Johnny Podres, the Dodgers' starting pitchers threw four complete games and combined to give up just four runs all Series. This was the first time the Yankees were swept in a World Series.

Feeling burnt out after the season, Houk left the manager's chair to become the team's general manager and Berra, who himself had just retired from playing, was named the new manager of the Yankees.

The aging Yankees returned for a fifth straight World Series in 1964 -- their fourteenth World Series appearance in the past sixteen years -- to face the St. Louis Cardinals in a Series immortalized by David Halberstam's book, October 1964. Despite a valiant performance by Mantle, including a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game Three off of Cardinals' reliever Barney Schultz, the Yankees fell to the Cardinals in seven games, and Berra was fired. It was to be the last World Series appearance by the Yankees for 12 years.

After the 1964 season, CBS purchased 80 percent of the Yankees from Topping and Webb for $11.2 million. Jokesters at the time wondered if Walter Cronkite would become the manager, perhaps with Yogi Berra doing the newscasts. Topping and Webb had owned the Yankees for 20 years, missing the World Series only five times, and going 10-5 in the World Series.

By contrast, the CBS-owned teams never went to the World Series, and in the first year of the new ownership - 1965 - the Yankees finished in the second division for the first time in 40 years; the introduction of the major league amateur draft in 1965 also meant that the Yankees could no longer sign any player they wanted. Webb sold his 10 percent of the Yankees that year.

In 1966 the team finished last in the AL for the first time since 1912. Johnny Keane, the winning Cards manager in 1964 who joined the Yankees to manage in '65, was fired during the season, and GM Ralph Houk did double duty as field manager until the end of the year. Topping, who had stayed on as 10-percent owner and team president, quit at the end of the season and sold his share to CBS, who then appointed Michael Burke as president.

The Yankees were next-to-last the following year, 1967, during which former farm director Lee MacPhail returned to the organization as GM, replacing Houk. After that the team's fortunes improved somewhat, but they would not become serious contenders again until 1974.

Various reasons have been given for the decline, but the single biggest one was the Yankees' inability to replace their aging superstars with new ones, as they had done consistently in the previous five decades. The Yankees' "special relationship" with the Athletics may have been a way to mask this problem. By the mid-1960s, the Yankees had little to offer in the way of trades, and Charles Finley had taken the Athletics in a new direction. Some have suggested the Yankees paid the price for bringing black players into the organization later than other teams, though this theory is controversial.

Also during the 1960s, the Yankees lost two of its signature broadcasters. The team fired Mel Allen after the 1964 season, for reasons the club has not explained to this day. Two years later, Red Barber -- the former Dodgers voice who joined the Yankees on-air team in 1954 -- was also let go. Some blamed Barber's firing on his on-air mention of a paltry 413-fan attendance at a September 1966 home game against the White Sox. But sports biographer David J. Halberstam (not the October 1964 author) also noted Barber's less-than-happy relationship with Joe Garagiola and even Phil Rizzuto, ex-major leaguers with whom he shared the booth.

Steinbrenner Takes Over[]

A group of investors, led by Cleveland-based shipbuilder George Steinbrenner, purchased the club from CBS for $8.7 million on January 3, 1973.[4] Mike Burke stayed on as president until April, when he quit. Within a year, Steinbrenner bought out most of his other partners and became the team's principal owner, although Burke continued to hold a minority share of the club into the 1980s.

Steinbrenner was in charge during the renovation of Yankee Stadium (planned out by Burke and then-New York City Mayor John Lindsay), which was performed in a two-year period (1974-75) during which the Yankees played their home games at the Mets' home, Shea Stadium in Flushing, Queens. After the 1974 season, Steinbrenner made a move that started the modern era of free agency by signing star pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter away from Oakland.

Midway through the 1975 season, Steinbrenner hired former second baseman Billy Martin as manager, and over the next 13 years fired and rehired him several times. With Martin at the helm, the Yankees reached the 1976 World Series, but were swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

Steinbrenner continued his buying of high-priced free agents, by signing star outfielder Reggie Jackson, who had been traded from the Athletics to the Baltimore Orioles at the beginning of the season, for a then record $600,000 per year. Steinbrenner, Martin and Jackson would repeatedly feud throughout Jackson's five-year contract. Nevertheless, in Game Six of the 1977 World Series, Jackson proved his worth by hitting three home runs on three consecutive pitches against three different Dodger pitchers to wrap up the Series for the Yankees, earning himself the nickname "Mr. October".

Throughout the late '70s, the race for the pennant often came to a close competition between the Yankees and the Red Sox, and for fans of both clubs, every game between the two became important and added to a rivalry that was often bitter and ruthless, with brawls frequently erupting between both players and fans from the two clubs.

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry came to a head in the 1978 season. On July 14, 1978, the Yankees were 14.5 games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees then went on a tear, and by the time they met up with the Sox for a pivotal four-game series at Fenway in early September, the Yankees were only four games out. In what would become known as the "Boston Massacre", the Yankees swept the Red Sox, winning the games 15-3, 13-2, 7-0 and 7-4. The third game was a shutout by Ron Guidry, who would lead the majors with nine shutouts, 25 wins (against only three losses) and a 1.74 ERA. Guidry also finished with 248 strikeouts, but Nolan Ryan's 260 strikeouts deprived Guidry of the pitching Triple Crown.

On the last day of the season, the two clubs finished the regular season in a tie for first place in the AL East. A one-game playoff (the 163rd game of the regular season) between the two teams was held to decide who would go on to the pennant race, with the game being held at Boston's Fenway Park. With Guidry matched up against former Yankee Mike Torrez, the Red Sox took an early 2-0 lead. In the seventh inning, the Yankees drove a stake through the hearts of their rivals' fans when Bucky Dent drove a three-run home run over the "Green Monster", putting the Yankees up 3-2. Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the following inning would seal the eventual 5-4 win that gave the Yankees their 100th win of the season and their third straight AL East title; it also gave Guidry his 25th win. (The outcome of this game, for Red Sox fans, was one of several emotional moments in their team's history that had their fans wondering if the Red Sox were under some kind of Yankee curse.)

After beating the Kansas City Royals for the third consecutive year in the ALCS, the Yankees faced the Dodgers again in the 1978 World Series. They lost the first two games on the road, but then came home to win all three games at Yankee Stadium before wrapping up their 22nd World Championship in Game Six in Los Angeles.

The 1970s would end on a tragic note: on August 2, 1979, Yankees catcher and team captain Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash. Four days later, the entire team flew to Canton, Ohio for his funeral, only to return to New York later that day to play the Baltimore Orioles. In a game that was televised nationally, the emotional contest was highlighted by Bobby Murcer driving in all five of the team's runs in a dramatic 5-4 victory. Munson's uniform number (15) was retired, and his locker has been unused since his death.

Postseason Drought: 1982 - 1994[]

Following the team's loss in the 1981 World Series, the Yankees would go into their longest absence from the playoffs since 1921. From 1989 to 1992 they had a losing record, having spent large amounts of money on free-agent players and draft picks that did not perform up to expectations.

During the 1980s the Yankees, led by their All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly, had the most total wins of any major league team, but failed to win a World Series (the first such decade since the 1910s). The Yankees consistently had powerful offensive teams - besides Mattingly, its rosters included, at one time or another, Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Mike Pagliarulo, Steve Sax and Jesse Barfield -- but their starting pitching rarely matched the team's performance at the plate. After posting a 22-6 record in 1985, arm problems caught up with Ron Guidry, and his career went into a steep decline in the next three years. Dennis Rasmussen, who won 18 games the following year, never matched his 1986 performance. Rick Rhoden, acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987, won 16 games that year but only went 14-14 in 1988.

The Yankees came close to winning the AL East in 1985 and 1986, finishing second behind the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox, respectively, but fell to fourth place in 1987 and fifth in 1988, despite having mid-season leads in the AL East standings in both seasons. 1988 would be the last season the Yankees had a winning record until 1993.

By the end of the decade, the Yankees' offense was also on the decline. Henderson and Pagliarulo had departed by the middle of 1989, while back problems caught up with both Winfield (causing him to miss the entire '89 season) and Mattingly (he missed virtually the entire second half of 1990). Winfield's tenure with the team ended when he was dealt to the California Angels in May 1990. That year, the Yankees had the worst record in Major League Baseball, and their first last-place finish since 1966. The Bombers would finish at or near the bottom of the division until 1993. In 1990, pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankee ever to lose a no-hitter, when the third baseman (Mike Blowers) committed an error, followed by two walks and an error by the left fielder (Jim Leyritz) with the bases loaded, scoring all three runners and the batter. The 4-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox was the largest margin of any no-hitter loss in the 20th century. Ironically, the Yankees (and Hawkins) were again no-hit for six innings in a rain-shortened game with the White Sox eleven days later.

Mattingly had the unfortunate distinction of beginning his career (1982) and ending his career (1995) in years bracketed by Yankee World Series appearances (1981 and 1996).

Joe Torre and a New Dynasty: 1996-2000[]

The poor showing in the '80s and early '90s would start to change when management was able to implement a coherent acquisition/development program without interference from Steinbrenner, who had been suspended from day-to-day team operations by then-Commissioner Fay Vincent for hiring Howard Spira to uncover damaging information on former Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield. Under general managers Gene Michael and Bob Watson and manager Buck Showalter, the club shifted its emphasis from buying talent to developing talent through its farm system - and then holding onto it. The first significant sign of success came in 1994, when the Yankees had the best record in the AL before the season was cut short by the players' strike. A year later, the team reached the playoffs as the wild card and were eliminated only after a memorable 1995 American League Division Series series against the Seattle Mariners where the Yankees won the first two games at home and dropped the next three in Seattle.

Shaking it up once again, Steinbrenner replaced Showalter and his staff with manager Joe Torre, who brought with him Don Zimmer as bench coach and former Yankees pitching star Mel Stottlemyre as pitching coach. Torre's managerial tenure is now by far the longest under George Steinbrenner's ownership. One of Showalter's coaches, popular former Yankee second baseman Willie Randolph, was retained by Torre as a third base coach. Initially derided as a retread choice ("Clueless Joe" ran the headline on the New York Post), Torre's smooth manner proved to be what the team needed. Going 8-0 on the road in the three playoff series that year, the Yankees won the 1996 World Series, defeating the Atlanta Braves in six games (after losing the first two games at home by a combined score of 16-1), and ending their 18-year championship drought. Homegrown shortstop Derek Jeter was named Rookie of the Year, an auspicious start to his association with the Yankees.

After their first World Series win since 1978, the Yankees signed lefties David Wells and Mike Stanton to improve the pitching staff. They also allowed closing reliever (and Series MVP) John Wetteland to leave as a free agent, and named setup man Mariano Rivera as the team's new closer.

General Manager Bob Watson was dismissed when the Yankees lost in the 1997 ALDS to the Cleveland Indians. He was replaced by Brian Cashman, a former Yankee intern. Cashman made many key acquistions to improve the team, through the acquisitions of third baseman Scott Brosius, second baseman and leadoff man Chuck Knoblauch, outfielder Darryl Strawberry and starting pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez.

On May 17, 1998 David Wells, who would later claim to have been hungover that day, pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins. A year later, on July 18, 1999, which was "Yogi Berra Day" at the Stadium, David Cone pitched a perfect game against the Montréal Expos. In an amazing coincidence, Don Larsen, who pitched the perfect game in the 1956 World Series, was in attendance and had thrown out the ceremonial first pitch to Berra, his catcher for that storied game.

The 1998 Yankees are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history, having compiled a then-AL record of 114 regular season wins against just 48 losses en route to a Series sweep of the San Diego Padres. The '98 Yankees went 11-2 during the playoffs and finished with a combined record of 125-50. Their 125 wins is a major league record, though their AL regular season record was surpassed by the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who went 116-46 before losing to the Yankees in the ALCS.

After the 1998 season, fan favorite David Wells was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Roger Clemens, who had just completed two consecutive Cy Young Award and pitching triple crown seasons. After winning the Eastern division and defeating the Texas Rangers for the third time in the 1999 American League Division Series, the Yankees met up with the their longtime rivals, the Boston Red Sox, in the next playoff round. Clemens, a former Red Sox pitcher, started the third game of the ALCS against the Sox who blasted him 13-1 in what had been a highly anticipated pitching match up between Clemens and Pedro Martínez, the winner of the Cy Young Award and the pitching triple crown that season. However, it was the only game the Red Sox won, as the Yankees won the ALCS four games to one, and then went on to sweep the Atlanta Braves in the 1999 World Series, with Clemens winning the clincher in Game Four in the Bronx. This gave the 1998-1999 Yankees a 22-3 record (including four series sweeps) in six consecutive postseason series.

In 2000, the Yankees met up with the crosstown New York Mets for the first Subway Series since the 1956 World Series. To get there, they defeated the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS and then the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS. By winning the first two games of the Series, the Yankees won a total of fourteen straight World Series games from 1996 to 2000, breaking their own record of twelve (in 1927, 1928 and 1932). When the Mets scored a run against Mariano Rivera, they snapped his string of postseason consecutive scoreless innings at 34 1/3. Prior to Rivera's streak, the record had been held by Whitey Ford, who had broken Babe Ruth's scoreless World Series pitching streak. The win ran the Yankees' postseason series winning streak to nine and gave them a 33-8 record during that run. The Yankees are the most recent major league team to repeat as World Series champions and after the 2000 season they joined the Yankee teams of 1936-1939 and 1949-1953, as well as the 1972-1974 Oakland Athletics as the only teams to win at least three consecutive World Series.

The 21st Century[]

In the emotional times of October 2001, following the September 11 attack on New York's World Trade Center, the Yankees defeated the Oakland A's three games to two in the ALDS, and then the Seattle Mariners, who had won 116 games, four games to one in the ALCS. By winning the pennant for a fourth straight year, the 1998-2001 Yankees joined the 1921-1924 New York Giants, and the Yankee teams of '36-'39, '49-'53, '55-'58 and '60-'64 as the only dynasties to reach at least four straight pennants. The Yankees had now won eleven consecutive postseason series in consecutive years.

However, the World Series starters for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling (later named the World Series co-MVPs), kept them in check, starting Games One, Two, Four, Six and Seven; the Diamondbacks won all four games at home, including Game Seven where Yankee star closer Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically lost the lead - and the Series - in the bottom of the ninth inning.

After the 2001 season, fan favorites Paul O'Neill and Scott Brosius retired. Tino Martinez and Chuck Knoblauch left for free agency. The Yankees had a lot of reconstructing to do; they needed to rebuild the offense that was shut down by the Johnson-Schilling duo in the 2001 World Series. They did it by signing slugger Jason Giambi and outfielder Rondell White, as well as trading David Justice to the Mets for third baseman Robin Ventura. The team also brought back fan favorite David Wells to bolster the pitching staff. The Yankees finished the 2002 season with an AL best record of 103-58, winning the division by 10.5 games over the Red Sox. The season was highlighted by Alfonso Soriano becoming the first second baseman ever to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season, as well as Giambi's 41 home runs. In the ALDS, the Yankees lost to the Anaheim Angels in four games.

In 2003, the Yankees once again had the best league record (101-61), defeated the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, and then defeated their longtime rival Red Sox in a tough seven-game ALCS, which featured a bench-clearing brawl in Game Three and a Series-ending walk-off home run by Aaron Boone in the bottom of the 11th inning of the final game. The Yankees were then defeated by the Florida Marlins - a team with a payroll a quarter of the size of the Yankees' - in the World Series, four games to two.

After the 2003 season, the Yankees hoped to add more power to a lineup which was shut down in the previous year's Series. They gained two sluggers, signing free agent Gary Sheffield, and trading second-baseman Alfonso Soriano for Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez. With Jeter as the Yankees All-Star shortstop, Rodriguez, who had played the position his entire career, agreed to move to third base. Throughout 2004, however, the Yankees' weakness was their starting pitching. Despite this, they managed to win over 100 games with their powerful lineup, the third straight year they had done so, and reach the playoffs. In the ALDS, the Yankees once again met and defeated the Twins three games to one.

In the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox, the Yankees became the first team in professional baseball history, and only the third team in North American pro sports history (it happened in the NHL twice), to lose a best-of-seven series after taking a 3-0 series lead. The Yankees thought they needed to improve their pitching, which faltered in their loss to the Red Sox, and they signed free-agent pitchers Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright and acquired dominant lefty Randy Johnson from Arizona. However, none of the three performed up to expectations; Pavano pitched in only 17 games in 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season due to a variety of injuries[5], Wright was traded after starting only 40 games over two seasons[6], and Johnson suffered from back problems which resulted in surgery in October, 2006[7].

The 2005 season started slowly for the Yankees, and they spent most of the season chasing the Boston Red Sox for the division title. The Yankees, however, won the division, clinching it in the second-to-last game of the season against the Red Sox. Alex Rodriguez won the American League Most Valuable Player award, becoming the first Yankee to win the award since Don Mattingly in 1985. Giambi was named Comeback Player of the Year, as voted by fans, and second baseman Robinson Canó was runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Another highlight of the season was the record-setting pitching by journeyman Aaron Small, who became just the fourth pitcher in history to win at least ten games without a loss.

In the 2005 American League Division Series, the Angels defeated the Yankees in five games in the first round of the postseason, marking the second time in four years that the Angels beat the Yankees in the first round. Alex Rodriguez, the American League's 2005 MVP, had a poor series, hitting .133 with no home runs and no RBIs.

In the 2005-2006 offseason, general manager Brian Cashman was given more control of the direction of the Yankees, and in December 2005, the Yankees signed center fielder Johnny Damon from the archrival Red Sox. The Yankees also signed Kyle Farnsworth, Mike Myers, Octavio Dotel and Ron Villone to improve their bullpen, which had been a weak point during the 2005 season.

Despite losing starting outfielders Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield to injuries early in the season, the Yankees finished the first half of the 2006 season with 50 wins and 36 losses, three games behind the Red Sox. But they caught up to the Red Sox, and on August 18, the Yankees entered Fenway Park with a 1.5 game lead for a five game series. The series opened up with a doubleheader that the Yankees swept 12-4 and 14-11, echoing the Boston Massacre of 1978, and prompting the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy to dub the doubleheader sweep the "Son of Massacre". The Yankees went on to sweep all five games (calling the series the "Second Boston Massacre"). They outscored the Red Sox by a combined score of 49-26, and left them 6.5 games out of first place.[8] The Red Sox would eventually end the season in third place in the AL East behind the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, making it the first time since 1998 that the Red Sox did not finish in second place behind the Yanks.

The division win was the ninth consecutive AL East title for the Yankees. When the New York Mets won their division (snapping the Atlanta Braves' eleven-year stranglehold on the NL East), it marked the first time ever that both New York teams won their respective divisions in the same year. Their 97-65 record tied the Mets for the best record of the year, giving New Yorkers hopes for another Subway Series. However, the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers in four games in the ALDS, while the Mets lost the NLCS.

Days after the ALDS was over, tragedy struck when pitcher Cory Lidle died on October 11, 2006. It has yet to be determined if Lidle or his co-pilot, Tyler Stanger, who was also killed, was piloting the plane which crashed into a highrise apartment building on East 72nd Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Lidle was the second active Yankee to be killed in a crash of his own private plane, following Thurman Munson's death in 1979.

Changes during the 2006-2007 off-season started with the trading of Gary Sheffield to Detroit for pitching prospects; and of pitcher Jaret Wright to the Orioles for Chris Britton. They also signed Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa, who had been posted by the Hanshin Tigers, to a five-year contract after winning his negotiating rights with a $26 million bid. In December, the Yankees re-signed former Yankee Andy Pettitte, who left the Yankees after 2003, to a one-year contract. In early January, the team traded Randy Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for reliever Luis Vizcaíno and three minor leagers[9]. Although there was speculation that Alex Rodriguez might also be traded, the team declined to do so. There is also currently speculation that Roger Clemens will re-join the Yankees this season, but it is still unknown if he will pitch. Longtime outfielder Bernie Williams, the longest-tenured Yankee player as of 2006, will not return to the team for a 17th season. After the ALDS, Joe Torre declined a reduced-length and compensation contract offer from the Yankees and returned to the National League as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


After Torre's departure the Yankees signed former catcher Joe Girardi to a three-year contract to manage the club. The 2008 season was the last season played at Yankee Stadium. To celebrate the final year and history of Yankee Stadium, the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played there on July 15, 2008. The final regular-season game at Yankee Stadium was played on September 21, 2008. After the game, Jeter addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support over the years, and urging them to "take the memories of this field, add them to the new memories that will come at the new Yankee Stadium and continue to pass them on from generation to generation." Despite multiple midseason roster moves, the team was hampered by injuries and missed the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons.

During the off-season, the Yankees retooled their roster with several star free agent acquisitions, including CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A. J. Burnett. At the beginning of the 2009 season, the Yankees opened the new Yankee Stadium. The Yankees set a major league record by playing error-free ball for 18 consecutive games from May 14 to June 1, 2009. The Yankees finished first in the AL East. In the ALDS they defeated the Twins in a sweep before moving on to the ALCS where the Yankees defeated Angels in six games. They defeated the defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, in Game 6 of the World Series 7–3, to take the series 4–2, their 27th World Series title.

The 2010 season featured the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox being revived to start and end the season. The Yankees and the Red Sox started and finished the season against each other at Fenway Park. This was the first time since 1950 this had happened. In June, Joe Torre's Dodgers played games against the Yankees for the first time since he became manager of the Dodgers, with the Yankees taking two out of three games in the series. During the 2010 All-Star break, Pennsylvania announcer Bob Sheppard and principal owner George Steinbrenner died. Eight days later, another longtime Yankee icon, former player and manager Ralph Houk, died. The Yankees won the American League Wild Card. They swept the Minnesota Twins in the 2010 American League Division Series, but lost to the Texas Rangers in the 2010 American League Championship Series 4 games to 2. In a 22–9 win over the Athletics at home on August 25, 2011, the Yankees became the first team in Major League history to hit three grand slams in a single game. They were hit by Robinson Canó, Russell Martin, and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees won the AL East title for the second time in three seasons, finishing with 97 wins and took home field throughout the AL postseason. However, they were defeated by the Tigers in five games in the 2011 American League Division Series. The Yankees again finished the season with the AL's best record at 95–67. They faced the Orioles in the 2012 American League Division Series. In Game 3, Raúl Ibañez became the oldest player to hit two home runs in a game, the oldest to hit a walk-off homer, the first substitute position player in a postseason game to hit two home runs, and the first to hit two home runs in the 9th inning or later in a postseason game, in the Yankees' 3–2 win. The Yankees would defeat the Orioles in five games. But in the 2012 American League Championship Series, the Yankees lost to the Tigers again, this time in a four-game sweep, which was compounded with a struggling offense and a season-ending injury to Derek Jeter. On April 12, 2013, the Yankees made their second triple play ever in a home game playing the Baltimore Orioles. It was scored as 4-6-5-6-5-3-4, the first triple play of its kind in baseball history.

2017 saw the Yankees end in familar territory, clinching the wild card as they previously had in 2015 and won against the Minnesota Twins 8-4. The Yankees then moved on to face the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS where they won 3-2 in a comeback after losing the first two games. In the ALCS, the Yankees faced off against the Houston Astros. The Yankees lost the first two games of the ALDS but won the next three games to gain a 3-2 advantage over the Astros. During Game 6, Astros pitcher Justin Verlander managed to shut down the Yankees long enough for the Astros to win and tie the series up 3-3. In a do or die Game 7, the Yankees once again struggled against the Astros and lost 4-0, sending the Astros to the World Series.


The Yankees have won 27 World Series in 40 appearances through 2009 (which, since the first World Series in 1903, currently amounts to an average appearance every 2.7 seasons and a championship every 4.0 seasons); the St. Louis Cardinals are second with ten World Series victories. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers are second in World Series appearances with eighteen; eleven of those eighteen appearances have been against the Yankees, where the Dodgers have gone 3-8 against them.[10] Among North American major sports, the Yankees' success is only approached by the 24 Stanley Cup championships of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League. The Yankees are also the only team that is represented at every position in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Uniform and Dress Code[]


The team colors are navy blue and white. Under George Steinbrenner, long hair and facial hair below the lip are prohibited.[11] Visible tattoos are also prohibited, and players with one on their arm are often seen wearing a navy blue arm band.


The Yankees' home uniform is white with distinctive pinstripes and a navy blue interlocking "NY" at the chest. The away uniform is gray with "New York" written in capitals across the chest. The player number is on the back of the uniform jersey and is not accompanied by the player name. (The interlocking NY was also used by the New York Knicks on their warmup jackets, and later shorts from the 1960s to 1990 and remains on the Knicks' throwback uniforms.)

In 1929, the New York Yankees became the first team to make numbers a permanent part of the uniform. Numbers were handed out based on the order in the lineup. In 1929, Earle Combs wore #1, Mark Koenig #2, Babe Ruth #3, Lou Gehrig #4, Bob Meusel #5, Tony Lazzeri #6, Leo Durocher #7, Johnny Grabowski #8, Benny Bengough #9, and Bill Dickey #10. While other teams began putting names on the backs of jerseys in the 1960s, the Yankees did not follow the trend. Many companies create jerseys with Yankee names sewn on the back for fans to purchase, but no official Yankee uniform has ever had names on the back. They are also one of the few teams in Major League Baseball to shun the trend of creating a "third jersey". The team has never issued #0 or #00[12].

Although the Yankees have worn the same road uniform since 1918 (with the exception of 1927 to 1930, when the arched "NEW YORK" was replaced by the word "YANKEES", a radical change was proposed in 1974. Marty Appel, in his book Now Pitching for the Yankees[13] describes the proposed uniforms:

In 1974 I walked into (then-General Manager) Gabe Paul's office to find samples of new Yankee road uniforms draped across his sofa. They were the opposite of the home pinstripes — they were navy blue with white pinstripes. The NY logo was in white. Gabe liked them. I nearly fainted. Although the drab gray road uniforms were not exciting, with the plain NEW YORK across the chest, they were just as much the Yankees' look as were the home uniforms. I think my dramatic disdain helped saved (sic) the day and saved the Yankees from wearing those awful pajamas on the field.

The Yankees wear navy blue caps with a white interlocking "NY" logo with both home and road uniforms.


Fan support[]

With the recurring success of the franchise since the 1920s and its rejuvenated dynasty, the Yankees have always been and continue to be one of the most popular sports teams in the world. They have a large fanbase, noticably bigger than that of the cross-town New York Mets.[14] Even in road games, especially in towns like Baltimore, Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay, the Yankees generally draw crowds of their own fans, showing that they not only have support in the New York area, but also around the United States and Canada.

The first one-million fan season was in 1920, when 1,289,422 fans attended Yankee games at the Polo Grounds. The first two-million fan season was in 1946, when 2,265,512 fans attended games at Yankee Stadium.

Many fans who attend games at Yankee Stadium would also be familiar with famous fan Fred Schuman, popularly known simply as "Freddy". For over 50 years this fan has come to Yankees' home games with a baseball cap, a yankees' jersey (which on the back bears his own name) and a cake pan with a shamrock painted on it which is connected to a sign enscribed with words of encouragement for the home team. The sign changes every game (But always features the prefix "Freddy Sez") and Freddy carries a metal spoon with him encouraging fans to bang the pan for good luck as he walks through the crowd throughout the game. Whether or not Freddy is employed by the Yankees' organization is not definitely known, although it assumed that such must be the case in order for him to afford to attend so many games throughout the season.

The Bleacher Creatures[]

The "Bleacher Creatures" are a group of season ticket holders who occupy Section 39 in the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium, and have gained notoriety over the past decade. Their name was coined by New York Daily News columnist Filip "Flip" Bondy, who would spend the 2004 season sitting with them and wrote a book, Bleeding Pinstripes: A Season with the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium, published in 2005.[15]

The Creatures are famed for the "Roll Call". In the top of the first inning, when the Yankees are on the field and the pitcher is readying to throw the first pitch, they all stand and begin clapping. Then, after the pitch is thrown, a group of guys wave their hands down to hush the crowd, and one man named "Vinny" shouts out the name of the center fielder (ie: "Yo, Johnny!"), and then the whole group begins chanting his name (ie: "JOH-nee DA-mon, clap, clap, clap clap clap"). They then do the rest of the players on the defensive lineup (CF-LF-RF-1B-2B-SS-3B, in that order) except for the pitcher and catcher (although there have been exceptions) They do not stop until the player has responded in some way, usually with a wave or point. After they've gone through the lineup, the group turned to the left, chanting at the right field box seats "Box Seats Suck!" until finally the chanting dissipates. When a player is replaced in a defensive position (not counting pitcher) the replacement is also given the same chant.

Other names called out during roll call from time to time have included Yankee broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay, or Aaron Boone, Bucky Dent, and Babe Ruth when the Yankees host the Boston Red Sox. Sometimes, after a long rain delay, the Creatures start another Roll Call for kicks.

Because of rowdiness and the fact that many families now sit in the more affordable bleachers, alcoholic beverages were banned from the bleachers in 2000. This does not lessen the spirit of the Creatures, and may still be getting away with clandestine drinking[16]. Because of this, the fans in the box seats often retaliate to the Creatures' mockings by chanting "We've got beer!" This chant is often referred to (or sometimes caused by) the Creatures chanting "Alcoholics!"

The Creatures are popular with the crowd and are known for their strict allegiance to the Yankees and their extreme hatred for the Mets and the Red Sox. They are often merciless to any fan of either of these teams that dares to sit in the bleachers. They also enjoy taunting the opposing team's right fielder. Many of the members attend almost every home game, sitting in section 39, cheering on the team in their own inimitable way.

Fight and Theme Songs[]

The official fight song for the Yankees is "Here Come the Yankees", written in 1967 by Bob Bundin and Lou Stallman. While its old form with lyrics is not used as often, it is still heard frequently in instrumental form, most prominently in radio broadcasts.

Another song strongly linked to the team is "New York, New York", which is played in the stadium after home games. The Frank Sinatra cover version is traditionally played after victories, the Liza Minnelli original version after losses.

A wide selection of songs is played at the stadium, many of them live on the Stadium's Hammond organ. God Bless America has been played during the 7th inning stretch since September 11th and is sung by Dr. Ronan Tynan on the days of major games, complete with long lyrical intro. This practice is criticized by some, as it stretches the break between the innings, throwing off the rhythm of the opposing pitcher.

During the 5th, the grounds-crew, while performing their duties, dances to "Y.M.C.A.". "Cotton-Eyed Joe" once played during the 7th inning stretch, but is now pushed back to the 8th in favor of "God Bless America". On the Diamond-vision screen, a man in farmer's garb is shown dancing in the stadium's control room, the words "Cotton-Eyed Joey" at the bottom. The organist will sometimes play the "Zorba the Greek Theme", accompanied by clapping from the audience, to excite the crowd and encourage a rally.

Some players have their own songs which are played in celebration of their accomplishments or to introduce them. Examples include Bernie Williams, whose actions are often accompanied by the lines "Burn (Bern) baby burn (Bern)" from "Disco Inferno", and Mariano Rivera, who gets a great ovation from the fans when he comes out from the bullpen to Metallica's "Enter Sandman".

When the Yankees take the field the song, "Get Ready For This" is played with the fans usually clapping along.

During the 1993 season, "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister was played after every win, before "New York, New York". Kiss, New York Groove was used many times during the '70s as well as during some more recent playoff games.

In the 2000 season, "Yankee Mambo" was released in celebration of their recent achievements. The song was written by Bruno Ravel & Steve West and set the music of "Mambo #5". Rafael 'Flip' Hernandez provided the vocals. A CD containing the song was given away as fan souvenir on July 21, 2000. It was sponsored by Snapple.

The YES Network[]

In 1997, Cablevision bought MSG Network, home of the Yankees and became owner of the TV rights to all 7 MLB, NBA and NHL teams in New York City. This monopoly allowed MSG to use such tactics as putting games on channels that were not available to many Time Warner Cable or Comcast customers. In 1999, the Yankees and the New Jersey Nets formed a partnership and discussed their options. Due to the success of the Yankees in the late 90's, giving their brand name a boost, they decided to leave and form a new network.

The Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network launched in 2002 and served as the home of the New York Yankees during the baseball season and the New Jersey Nets for the rest of the year, giving it live sports coverage for the entire year. It also offered original programming such as Yankeeography, CenterStage and the re-airing of older games under the name Yankees Classics. The partnership between the Yankees and Nets ended in 2003, but the Nets still remain the part of YES they were since it's beginning. YES has also begun airing programming for the New York Giants and Manchester United.

Radio and television[]

Of course, YES Network is the primary home for the team's games on TV. Michael Kay is the play-by-play announcer and Ken Singleton is the color commentator. Bob Lorenz hosts the studio show, with contributions from Suzyn Waldman and Bobby Murcer, who hopes to return to the network this season following cancer surgery in December 2006. Former Yankees Paul O'Neill, Al Leiter, John Flaherty and David Justice also occasionally call games. Some games are telecast on WWOR-TV, ch. 9; they are also produced by YES.

Radio broadcasts are are on the Yankees Radio Network anchored by WCBS 880 AM, with John Sterling as the play-by-play announcer and Suzyn Waldman does the commentary.

Legendary past voices[]

  • Mel Allen was the team's lead announcer from 1948-1964. Allen is still widely known as the "voice of the Yankees."
  • Red Barber also called Yankees games for a few seasons.
  • Phil Rizzuto and Bill White teamed together in the 1970s. Rizzuto spent over 30 years in the broadcast booth and White later became president of the National League.

Other notes[]

  • Fred Hickman, now at ESPN, was the original YES studio host (2002-2004)
  • Charley Steiner, who shared the radio booth with Sterling, left the Yankees for the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2004 season.
  • Sterling's "Yankees win, thaaaaaa Yankees win" is copyrighted.

Retired numbers[]

The Yankees have retired 23 numbers, the most in Major League Baseball.[17]


2B, Mgr

Retired 1986


Retired 2017


Retired 1948


Retired 1939


Retired 1952

Retired 2014



Retired 1969


Retired 1972


Retired 1972


Retired 1984


Retired 1985


Retired 1979


Retired 1974


Retired 2015


Retired 1997


Retired 1984


Retired 1970


Retired 2013


Retired 1993


Retired 2015


Retired 2003


Retired 2015


April 15, 1997

The retired numbers are displayed behind the left field fence at Yankee Stadium, in a small alley connecting "Monument Park" to the rest of the stadium.


The first four in the row of retired numbers.

The numbers are placed on the wall in chronological order, each with a plaque that has a short history of the player, as well as special plaques for team owner Jacob Ruppert; general manager Ed Barrow; manager Joe McCarthy; pitchers Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez and Allie Reynolds; broadcaster Mel Allen; public-address announcer Bob Sheppard; and the victims and rescue workers of the 9/11 attacks. The Knights of Columbus contributed plaques honoring the papal masses delivered in Yankee Stadium by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. In addition, five marble monuments were dedicated posthumously in Monument Park for former manager Miller Huggins, first baseman Lou Gehrig, and outfielders Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle.

Lou Gehrig's number 4 was the first number retired in MLB history, right after Gehrig left baseball on July 4, 1939 and it was apparent that he would not live much longer. His speech at Yankee Stadium that day is known as one of the most moving moments in baseball history.

The number 8 of the New York Yankees was retired twice: retired in 1972 for both catchers Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra. Berra took the number in 1948 after Dickey ended his playing career and became a coach.

Number 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson, but because of a grandfather clause Mariano Rivera still wears this number, the last remaining player to do so. The other Major League Baseball teams had placed Robinson's 42 among their retired numbers in their home parks even if they still had players wearing the number. The Yankees did not, and it is unknown if the Yankees will place it there once Rivera retires with his name or with both. Oddly, the official website of the Yankees lists Jackie Robinson's 42 among the Yankees retired numbers, along with biographical information just as the others are.[18]

Out of circulation but not retired

  • #21: Issued only once since Paul O'Neill retired following the 2001 season; O'Neill played right field from 1993 to 2001. Relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins wore the number to start the 2008 season to honor Roberto Clemente, but switched to No. 22 just 16 days into the season in response to the criticism he received from many Yankee fans.

Team captains[]

Captain # Date(s) Name
1 1912 Hal Chase
2 1914-1921 Roger Peckinpaugh
3 May 20, 1922 - May 25, 1922 Babe Ruth
4 1922-1925 Everett Scott
5 April 21, 1935 - June 2, 1941 Lou Gehrig
6 April 17, 1976 - August 2, 1979 Thurman Munson
7 January 29, 1982 - March 30, 1984 Graig Nettles
8 March 4, 1986 - October 10, 1988 Willie Randolph*
9 March 4, 1986 - July 2, 1989 Ron Guidry*
10 February 28, 1991 - October 8, 1995 Don Mattingly
11 June 3, 2003 - Present Derek Jeter

* Guidry and Randolph were co-captains.

Howard W. Rosenberg, a baseball historian and author of Cap Anson 1: When Captaining a Team Meant Something,[19] has found that the official count of Yankee captains failed to count Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, the 1903-05 captain, and Kid Elberfeld, the one from 1906-09, with 1913 Manager Frank Chance a strong circumstantial candidate to have been captain that year as well. Therefore, Jeter may in fact be the 13th or 14th Yankees' captain.

Unofficial captains: Upon Gehrig's death, then-manager Joe McCarthy declared that there would never be another Yankee captain. Between Gehrig's retirement and Munson's appointment, the team had players considered on-field leaders if not official captains: Bill Dickey (1939-46), Joe DiMaggio (1946-51), Phil Rizzuto (1952-56), Yogi Berra (1956-63) and Mickey Mantle (1964-68).

The lack of a unifying figure following Mantle's retirement convinced team owner George Steinbrenner that the team needed an official captain, and he chose Munson. With Munson's death, Graig Nettles was unofficial captain from 1979 to 1982 until being officially named in 1983. Guidry and Randolph followed unofficially in 1984, officially in 1986, then Mattingly unofficial in 1990, official starting 1991. Paul O'Neill was unofficial captain from 1996-2001: Steinbrenner never named O'Neill captain but called him "my warrior".[20] Jeter was unofficial in 2002 and officially named in 2003.

Current roster[]

Minor league affiliations[]

2021 Reorganization (Professional Development League)[22][]

See also[]


Cited references[]

  1. The Big Apple: Yankees (American League Baseball team)
  2. 2.0 2.1 When the Yankees nearly moved to Boston
  3. Year-by-Year League Leader for Home Runs
  5. Notes: Pavano likely out for season
  6. Big Unit undergoes back surgery
  7. O's finalize deal with Yanks for Wright
  8. MLB Recap - Yankees/Red Sox
  10. Season-By-Season World Series Results
  11. Baseball Beards
  12. Jack Looney, Now Batting, Number...: The Mystique, Superstition, and Lore of Baseball's Uniform Numbers (NY:Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2006)
  13. Marty Appel, Now Pitching for the Yankees: Spinning the News for Mickey, Billy, and George, foreword by Yogi Berra (NY:Total Sports, 2001)
  14. Yankees-Mets rivalry hits home
  15. Filip Bondy, Bleeding Pinstripes: A Season with the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium , foreword by David Cone (NY: Sports Publishing, 2005)
  16. Bondy, ibid., p. 20-22.
  17. Retired Uniform Numbers in the American League
  18. Yankees retired numbers
  19. The first of a four-volume series, Howard W. Rosenberg, Cap Anson 1: When Captaining a Team Meant Something: Leadership in Baseball's Early Years (Tile Books, 2003)
  20. Yankees' 'warrior' has Bronx swan song
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 Minor League Baseball Splits: New York Yankees
  22. MLB announces new Minors teams, leagues;

General references[]

External links[]

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