At the end of 1900, Ban Johnson, president of the American League—a minor league previously known as the Western League (1894–1899)—reorganized the league. He added teams in three East Coast cities, forming the American League (AL) as a major league in an attempt to challenge the National League (NL) for supremacy. Plans to add another a team in New York City were blocked by the NL's New York Giants, who had enough political power in New York City to prevent the AL from establishing a team. Instead, a team was placed in Baltimore, Maryland, a city which the NL abandoned when it contracted from 12 to 8 teams in 1900.
Nicknamed the Orioles, the team began playing in 1901 and was managed and partly owned by John McGraw. During the 1902 season, McGraw feuded with Johnson and secretly jumped to the Giants. In the middle of the season, the Giants, aided and abetted by McGraw, gained controlling interest of the Orioles and began raiding it for players, until the AL stepped in and took control of the team. In January 1903, a "peace conference" was held between the two leagues to settle disputes and try to coexist. At the conference, Johnson requested that an AL team be put in New York, to play alongside the NL's Giants. It was put to a vote, and 15 of the 16 major league owners agreed on it, with only John T. Brush of the Giants opposing. The Orioles' new owners, Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery, found a ballpark location not blocked by the Giants, and Baltimore's team moved to New York.
The team's new ballpark, Hilltop Park (formally known as "American League Park"), was constructed in one of Upper Manhattan's highest points—between 165th and 168th Streets—just a few blocks away from the much larger Polo Grounds. The team came to be known as the New York Highlanders. The name was inspired by a combination of the team's elevated location in Upper Manhattan, and to the noted Scottish military unit The Gordon Highlanders, which coincided with the team's president Joseph Gordon whose family was of Scots Irish heritage. Newspapers initially called the team "Gordon's Highlanders" (e.g. New York World, April 15, 1903), which soon became just "Highlanders". As was common with all members of the American League, the team was often called the New York Americans. They were also dubbed the "Invaders" for a short time in 1903. New York Press Sports Editor Jim Price coined the unofficial nickname Yankees (or "Yanks") for the club as early as 1904, because it was easier to fit in headlines and because "Yankee" was and is a commonly-used synonym for "American". A prophetic letter to the editor of the New York Sun, May 7, 1903, p. 8, had raised this question: "Name for the American New Yorks. If the new baseball team is to have a name that is in keeping with the 'Giants,' does it not seem reasonable that if they are the 'New York Americans' they might be called the 'Yankees' or 'Yanks'?"
The most success the Highlanders achieved was finishing second in 1904, 1906 and 1910, 1904 being the closest they came to winning the AL pennant. That year, they lost the deciding game on the last day of the season to the Boston Americans, who later became the Boston Red Sox. This had much historical significance, as the Highlanders' role in the pennant race caused the Giants to announce that they would not play in the World Series against the AL pennant winner. The World Series was not skipped again for another 90 years, when a strike truncated the entire 1994 season. It was the last time Boston would beat New York in a pennant-deciding game for a full century (2004). In 1904, pitcher Jack Chesbro set the single-season wins record at 41, which still stands. Under current playing practices, this is most likely an unbreakable record, when you consider that the last thirty game winner was Denny McLain (31) in 1968.
The original Polo Grounds burned down in 1911 and the Highlanders allowed the Giants to play in Hilltop Park during reconstruction. Relations between the two teams warmed, and the Highlanders would move into the newly rebuilt Polo Grounds in 1913. Now playing on the Harlem River, a far cry from their high-altitude home, the name "Highlanders" no longer applied, and fell into disuse among the press. The media had already widely adopted the "Yankees" nickname coined by the New York Press, and in 1913 the team became officially known as the New York Yankees.
By the middle of the decade, Yankees owners Farrell and Devery had become estranged and both were in dire need of money. At the start of 1915, they sold the team to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston for $1.25 million. Ruppert inherited a brewery fortune, providing the Yankees with an owner who possessed deep pockets and a willingness to dig into them to produce a winning team. This would lead the team to more success and prestige than Ruppert could ever have envisioned.
It is interesting to note that all the games of the 1921 and 1922 World Series were played in the Polo Grounds, when the Yankees squared off against their intracity rival Giants.
In the years around 1920, the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Chicago White Sox had a détente. The trades between the three ballclubs antagonized Ban Johnson and garnered the teams the nickname "The Insurrectos". This détente paid off well for the Yankees as they increased their payroll. Most new players who would later contribute to the team's success came from the Red Sox, whose owner, Harry Frazee, was trading them for large sums of money to finance his theatrical productions. Pitcher-turned-outfielder Babe Ruth was the most talented of all the acquisitions from Boston, and the outcome of the trade would haunt the Red Sox for the next 86 years, a span in which the team did not win a single World Series championship. The Red Sox often found themselves eliminated from the playoff hunt as a result of the Yankees' success. This phenomenon eventually became known as the Curse of the Bambino as the failure of the Red Sox and the success of the Yankees seemed almost supernatural, and seemed to stem from that one trade. However, it would not be until 1990 when Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe wrote a book with the same title that the curse was publicized.
Ruth's multitude of home runs proved so popular that the Yankees began drawing more people than their National League counterpart, the Giants. In 1921—the year after acquiring Babe Ruth—the Yankees played in their first World Series. They competed against the Giants, and all eight games of the series were played in the Polo Grounds. After the 1922 season, the Yankees were told to move out of the Polo Grounds. Giants manager John McGraw was said to have commented that the Yankees should "move to some out-of-the-way place, like Queens", but they instead broke ground for a new ballpark in the Bronx, right across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds. In 1922, the Yankees returned to the World Series again, and were dealt a second defeat at the hands of the Giants. Important newcomers in this period were manager Miller Huggins and general manager Ed Barrow. The hiring of Huggins by Ruppert in 1918 would cause a rift between the owners that eventually led to Ruppert buying Huston out in 1923.
In 1923, the Yankees moved to their new home, Yankee Stadium. It was the first triple-deck venue in baseball and seated an astounding 58,000 people. In the first game at Yankee Stadium, Babe Ruth hit a home run, which was fitting as his home runs and drawing power paid for the stadium, giving it its nickname of "The House That Ruth Built". At the end of the season, the Yankees faced the Giants in the World Series for the third straight year, and triumphed in the brand new ballpark for their first championship. Prior to that point, the Giants had been the city's icon and dominant team. From 1923 onward, the Yankees would assume that role, and many years later the Giants would leave Coogan's Bluff for San Francisco.
In the 1927 season, the Yankees featured a lineup that became known as "Murderers' Row", and some consider this team to be the best 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 a then-AL record 110 games with only 44 losses, and swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. Ruth's home run total of 60 in 1927 set a single-season home run record that would stand until it was broken by Roger Maris in 1961. Meanwhile, first baseman Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with 47 home runs and 175 RBIs, beating Ruth's single-season RBI mark (171 in 1921). The Yankees would win the World Series again in 1928.
In 1931, Joe McCarthy was hired as manager and brought the Yankees back to the top of the AL. They swept the Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series, and brought the team's streak of consecutive World Series game wins to 12. This series was made famous by Babe Ruth's "Called Shot" in game three of the series at Wrigley Field, a fitting "swan song" to his illustrious World Series career. In 1935, Ruth would leave the Yankees to join the NL's Boston Braves, and he made his last major league baseball appearance on May 30 of that year.
With Ruth retired, Gehrig finally had a chance to take center stage, but it was only one year before a new star appeared, Joe DiMaggio. The team would win an unprecedented four straight World Series titles from 1936 to 1939. For most of 1939, however, they had to do it without Gehrig, who took himself out of the lineup and retired due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), now nicknamed "Lou Gehrig's Disease" in his memory. The Yankees declared July 4, 1939 to be "Lou Gehrig Day", on which they retired his number 4 (the first retired number in baseball). Gehrig made a famous speech in which he declared himself to be "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." He died two years later.
The 1941 baseball season was often described as the last year of the "Golden Era" before World War II and other realities intervened. It was a thrilling year as America watched two major events unfold: Ted Williams of the Red Sox hitting for the elusive .400 batting average and Joe DiMaggio getting hits in consecutive ballgames. By the end of his hitting streak, DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games, the current major league record and one often deemed unbreakable.
Two months after the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1941 World Series, the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan, and many of their best players, including DiMaggio, were drafted into the military to fight in World War II. The Yankees still managed to pull out a win against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1943 World Series.
In 1945 construction magnate Del Webb and partners Dan Topping and Larry MacPhail purchased the team from the Ruppert estate for $2.8 million; MacPhail was bought out in 1947.
After a few slumping seasons, McCarthy was fired early in 1946. A few interim managers later, Bucky Harris took the job, righting the ship and taking the Yankees to a hard fought series victory against the Dodgers.
Despite finishing only three games behind the Cleveland Indians in the 1948 pennant race, Harris was relieved of his duties and replaced by Casey Stengel, who had a reputation of being a clown and managing bad teams. His tenure as Yankee field manager, however, was marked with success. The "underdog" Yankees came from behind to catch and surprise a powerful Red Sox team on the last two days of the 1949 season, a face off that fueled the beginning of the modern Yankees–Red Sox rivalry. By this time, however, DiMaggio's career was winding down, and the "Yankee Clipper" retired after the 1951 season. This year marked the arrival of the "Oklahoma Kid", Mickey Mantle, who was one of several new stars that would fill the gap.
Bettering the clubs managed by Joe McCarthy, the Yankees won the World Series five consecutive times from 1949–1953 under Stengel, which continues to be the major league record. Led by players like center fielder Mickey Mantle, pitcher Whitey Ford, and catcher Yogi Berra, Stengel's teams won ten pennants and seven World Series titles in his twelve seasons as the Yankees manager. Stengel was a master at publicity for the team and for himself, even landing a cover story in Time magazine in 1955. The 1950 title was the only one of those five championships not to be won against either the New York Giants or Brooklyn Dodgers; it was won in four straight games against the Whiz Kids of the Philadelphia Phillies.
In 1954, the Yankees won over 100 games, but the Indians took the pennant with an AL record 111 wins; 1954 was famously referred to as The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. In 1955, the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees in the World Series, after five previous Series losses to them, 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, which remains the only perfect game in postseason play and was the only no-hitter of any kind to be pitched in postseason play until Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter on October 6, 2010.
The Yankees lost the 1957 World Series to the Milwaukee Braves when Lew Burdette incredibly won three games for the Braves. Following the Series, the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers both left for California, the former leaving for San Francisco and the latter moving to Los Angeles, leaving the Yankees as New York's only baseball 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 entered the 1960s seeking to replicate their success of the 1950s.
Arnold Johnson, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, was a longtime business associate of then-Yankees co-owners Del Webb and Dan Topping. Because of this "special relationship" with the Yankees, he traded young players to them in exchange for cash and aging veterans. Invariably, these trades ended up being heavily tilted in the Yankees' favor, leading to accusations that the Athletics were little more than a Yankee farm team at the major league level. Kansas City had been home to the Yankees' top farm team for almost 20 years before the Athletics moved there from Philadelphia in 1954.
In 1960, Charles O. Finley purchased the Athletics and put an end to the trades. But the Yankees had already strengthened their supply of future prospects, which included a young outfielder named Roger Maris. In 1960, Maris led the league in slugging percentage, RBIs, and extra base hits. He finished second in home runs (one behind Mantle) and total bases, and won a Gold Glove, which garnered enough votes for the American League MVP award.
The year 1961 would prove to be one of the most memorable in Yankee history. Throughout the summer, Mantle and Maris hit home runs at a fast pace, and became known as the "M&M Boys". Ultimately, a severe hip infection forced Mantle to leave the lineup and drop out of the race. Maris continued though, and on October 1 (the last day of the regular season), he hit home run number 61, surpassing Babe Ruth's single season home run record of 60. However, MLB Commissioner Ford Frick (who, as it was discovered later, had ghostwritten for Babe Ruth during his career) decreed that since Maris had played in a 162-game season, and Ruth (in 1927) had played in a 154-game season, two separate records would be kept. It would be 30 years before the dual record would be done away with, and Maris would hold the record alone until Mark McGwire broke it in 1998. 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 the 1961 World Series. The team finished the year with a then-record 240 home runs.
After the 1957 departures of the Dodgers and Giants for the West Coast, New York City was a one-team town for the first time since professional play began. In 1962, the sports scene in New York changed when the National League expanded to include a new expansion team, the New York Mets, who played at the Giants' former home, the Polo Grounds, for two seasons while Shea Stadium was under construction in nearby Flushing, Queens. The Mets lost 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. It would be the Yankees' last championship until 1977.
The Yankees reached the 1963 World Series, but were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers and their ace pitcher Sandy Koufax.
After the season, Yogi Berra, who had just retired from playing, took over managerial duties. The aging Yankees returned the next year for a fifth straight World Series, but were beaten in seven games by the St. Louis Cardinals. It would be the Yankees' last World Series appearance until 1976, when they were swept by the Big Red Machine.
After the 1964 season, CBS purchased 80% of the Yankees from Topping and Webb for $11.2 million. With the new ownership, the team began to decline. In fact, the Yankees finished in the second division in 1965—their first losing record in 40 years, and only their second in 47 years.
In 1966, the Yankees finished last in the AL for the first time since 1912. It also marked their first consecutive losing seasons since 1917 and 1918. They finished next-to-last in 1967. While their fortunes improved somewhat in the late 1960s and early 1970s, they only finished higher than fourth once during CBS' ownership, in 1970. Topping and Webb had owned the Yankees for 20 years, missing the World Series only five times and going 10–5 in the ones they did get to. By contrast, the CBS-owned teams never went to the World Series.
Various reasons have been given for the decline, but the single biggest one was the Yankees' inability to replace their aging superstars with promising young talent, as they had consistently done in the previous five decades. As early as the 1961-62 offseason, longtime fans noticed that the pipeline of talent had started to dry up. This was worsened by the introduction of the major league amateur draft that year, which meant that the Yankees could no longer sign any player they wanted. While the Yankees usually drafted fairly early during this period due to their lackluster records, Thurman Munson was the only pick who lived up to his billing.
At the start of this period, all-time "Voice of the Yankees" Mel Allen, the team's top announcer since 1939, was fired after the 1964 season, supposedly due to cost-cutting measures by longtime broadcast sponsor Ballantine Beer.
During baseball's centennial season in 1969, the greatest players at each position for every team were named during a voting. The all-time Yankees were: Bill Dickey (catcher), Whitey Ford (left-handed pitcher), Red Ruffing (right-handed pitcher), Johnny Murphy (relief pitcher), Lou Gehrig (first base), Tony Lazzeri (second base), Phil Rizzuto (shortstop), Red Rolfe (third base), Joe DiMaggio (center field, also named baseball's "Greatest Living Player"), Babe Ruth (right field), Mickey Mantle (left field), and Casey Stengel (manager).
A group of investors, led by Cleveland-based shipbuilder George Steinbrenner (1930–2010), purchased the club from CBS on January 3, 1973 for $8.7 million. Mike Burke stayed on as president until he quit in April. 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 into the 1980s.
One of Steinbrenner's major goals was to renovate the Stadium. It had greatly deteriorated by the late 1960s, and the surrounding neighborhood had gone south as well. CBS initially suggested renovations, but the team would have needed to play elsewhere, and the Mets refused to open their home, Shea Stadium, to the Yankees. A new stadium in the Meadowlands, across the Hudson River in New Jersey, was suggested (and was eventually built, as Giants Stadium, specifically for football). Finally, in mid-1972, Mayor John Lindsay stepped in. The city bought the Stadium and began an extensive two-year renovation period. Since the city owned Shea, the Mets had to allow the Yankees to play two seasons there. The renovations modernized the look of the stadium, significantly altered the dimensions, and reconfigured some of the seating.
After the 1974 season, Steinbrenner made a move that started the modern era of free agency, signing star pitcher Catfish Hunter away from Oakland. Midway through the 1975 season, Steinbrenner made another move, hiring former second baseman Billy Martin as manager. With Martin at the helm, the Yankees reached the 1976 World Series, but were swept by the Cincinnati Reds and their famed "Big Red Machine."
After the 1976 campaign, Steinbrenner added star Oakland outfielder Reggie Jackson—who had spent 1976 with the Baltimore Orioles—to his roster. During spring training of 1977, Jackson alienated his teammates with controversial remarks about the Yankees captain, catcher Thurman Munson. He had bad blood with manager Billy Martin, who had managed the Detroit Tigers when Jackson's Athletics defeated them in the 1972 playoffs. Jackson, Martin, and Steinbrenner repeatedly feuded with each other throughout Jackson's 5-year contract. Martin would be hired and fired by Steinbrenner five times over the next 13 years. This conflict, combined with the extremely rowdy Yankees fans of the late 1970s and the bad conditions of the Bronx, led to the Yankee organization and stadium being referred to as the "Bronx Zoo." Despite the turmoil, Jackson starred in the 1977 World Series, when he hit three home runs in the same game, and overall, four home runs on four consecutive pitches from four different pitchers. Jackson's great performance in the postseason earned him the Series MVP Award, and the nickname "Mr. October."
Throughout the late 1970s, the race for the pennant was often a close competition between the Yankees and the Red Sox. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Yankees had been dominant while the Red Sox were largely a non-factor. However, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Yankees were mired in second place and the Red Sox led the league. In the late 1970s the two teams were contending simultaneously and locked in a close fight.
On July 14, 1978, the Yankees were 14 1⁄2 games behind the Red Sox. In late July, Martin suspended Reggie Jackson for "defiance" after he bunted while Martin had the "swing" signal on. Upon Jackson's return, Martin made a famous statement against both Jackson and owner Steinbrenner: "They deserve each other. One's a born liar; the other's convicted." Martin was forced to resign the next day and was replaced by Bob Lemon. This came while the team was winning 5 games in a row and Boston was losing 5 in a row.
The Yankees continued to win games, making up ground and by the time they met Boston for a pivotal four-game series at Fenway Park in early September, they were only four games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees swept the Red Sox in what became known as the "Boston Massacre", winning the games 15–3, 13–2, 7–0, and 7–4. The third game was a shutout pitched by "Louisiana Lightning" Ron Guidry, who would lead the majors with nine shutouts, a 25–3 record, and a 1.74 ERA. Guidry finished with 248 strikeouts, but Nolan Ryan's 260 strikeouts with the California Angels deprived Guidry of the pitching Triple Crown.
On the last day of the season, the two clubs finished in a tie for first place in the AL East, and a one-game playoff (the 163rd game of the regular season) was held at Fenway Park. With Guidry pitching against former Yankee Mike Torrez, the Red Sox took an early 2–0 lead. In the seventh inning, light-hitting Yankee shortstop Bucky Dent drove a three-run home run over the "Green Monster" (Fenway Park's famed left field wall), putting the Yankees up 3–2. Reggie Jackson's solo home run in the following inning sealed the eventual 5–4 win that gave the Yankees their one hundredth win of the season and their third straight AL East title and Guidry earned his 25th win of the season.
After beating the Kansas City Royals for the third consecutive year in the ALCS, the Yankees faced the Dodgers again in the World Series. They lost the first two games in LA, but won all three games at Yankee Stadium and won Game 6 in Los Angeles, winning their 22nd World Championship.
Changes occurred during the 1979 season. Former Cy Young Award-winning closer Sparky Lyle was traded to the Texas Rangers for several players, including Dave Righetti. Tommy John was acquired from the Dodgers and Luis Tiant from the hated Red Sox to bolster the pitching staff. During the season, Bob Lemon was replaced by Billy Martin.
The 1970s ended on a tragic note for the Yankees. On August 2, 1979, Thurman Munson died after crashing his private plane while practicing "Touch and Go" landings. Four days later, the entire team flew out to Canton, Ohio for the funeral, despite having a game later that day against the Orioles. Martin adamantly stated that the funeral was more important, and that he did not care if they made it back in time. Bobby Murcer, a close friend of Munson's, was chosen to give the eulogy at his funeral. In a nationally televised and emotional game, Murcer used Munson's bat (which he gave to his fallen friend's wife after the game), and drove in all five of the team's runs in a dramatic 5–4 walk-off victory. Before the game, Munson's locker sat empty except for his catching gear, a sad reminder for his teammates. His locker, labeled with his number 15, has remained empty in the Yankee clubhouse as a memorial. When the Yankees moved across the street, Munson's locker was torn out and installed in the new Stadium's museum. The number 15 has been retired by the team.
The 1980 season brought more changes to the Yankees. Billy Martin was fired once again and Dick Howser took his place. Chris Chambliss was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for catcher Rick Cerone. Thanks to Howser's no-nonsense attitude, Reggie Jackson hit .300 for the only time in his career with 41 homers, and finished 2nd in the MVP voting to Kansas City's George Brett. The Yankees won 103 games and the AL East by three games over the 100-win Baltimore Orioles, but were swept by the Royals in the 1980 ALCS.
After the season ended, the Yankees signed Dave Winfield to a 10-year contract. The Yankees fired Howser and replaced him with Gene Michael. Under Michael, the Yankees led the AL East before a strike hit in June 1981. In the second half of the season, the Yankees struggled under Bob Lemon, who replaced Michael. Thanks to the split-season playoff format, the Yankees faced the second-half winner Milwaukee Brewers in the special 1981 American League Division Series. After narrowly defeating Milwaukee in five games, they breezed through Billy Martin and the Oakland Athletics in a three-game ALCS. In the World Series, the Yankees got off to a hot start by winning the first two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the Dodgers fought back and stunned the Yankees by winning the next four games to clinch their first World Series title since 1965.
Following the team's loss to the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series, the Yankees began their longest absence from the playoffs since 1921. Following the example set by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Big Red Machine that had defeated his team in the 1976 World Series, George Steinbrenner announced his plan to transform the Yankees from the Bronx Bombers into the "Bronx Burners", increasing the Yankees' ability to win games based on speed and defense instead of "waiting around for a 3 run home run". As a first step towards this end, the Yankees signed Dave Collins from the Cincinnati Reds during the 1981 off season. Collins was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays after the 1982 season in a deal that also included future All-Stars Fred McGriff and Mike Morgan. In return the Yankees got Dale Murray and Tom Dodd.
The Yankees of the 1980s were led by All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly. In spite of accumulating the most total wins of any major league team, they failed to win a World Series (the first such Yankees team since the 1910s) and had only 1 playoff appearance. Although they consistently had a powerful offense—Mattingly at various times was teammate to Dave Winfield (whom Mattingly battled for the AL batting title throughout most of the 1984 season), Rickey Henderson, Don Baylor, Ken Griffey, Sr., Mike Pagliarulo, Steve Sax, and Jesse Barfield, and the Yankees led the majors in runs scored for the decade—the Yankees teams of the 1980s lacked sufficient starting pitching to win a championship. After posting a 22–6 record in 1985, arm problems caught up with Ron Guidry, and his performance declined over the next three years. Of the remaining mainstays of the Yankees' rotation, only Dave Righetti stood out, pitching a no-hitter on July 4, 1983, but he was moved to the bullpen the next year where he helped to define the closer role. Despite the Yankees' lack of pitching success during the 1980s, they had three of the premier pitchers of the early 1990s on their roster during these years in Al Leiter, Doug Drabek and José Rijo. All were mismanaged and dealt away before they could reach their full potential, with only Rijo returning much value – he was traded to the Oakland A's in the deal that brought Henderson to New York.
The team came close to winning the AL East in 1985 and 1986, finishing second to the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox (who lost in the World Series that year to the Yankees' cross-town rivals, the New York Mets) respectively, but fell to fourth place in 1987 and fifth in 1988, despite having mid-season leads in the AL East standings both years. Despite their lack of championships and playoff appearances the Yankees posted the highest winning percentage of all MLB teams during the 1980s.
By the end of the decade, the Yankees' offense was on the decline. Henderson and Pagliarulo had departed by the middle of 1989, while back problems hampered both Winfield (who missed the entire '89 season) and Mattingly (who missed almost the entire second half of 1990). Winfield's tenure with the team ended when he was dealt to the Angels. From 1989 to 1992, the team had a losing record, spending significant money on free-agents and draft picks who did not live up to expectations. In 1990, the Yankees had the worst record in the American League, and their fourth last-place finish in franchise history.
On July 1, 1990, pitcher Andy Hawkins became the first Yankee ever to lose despite throwing a no-hitter. 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 no-hit for six innings in a rain-shortened game against the White Sox 11 days later.
During the 1990 season, Yankee fans started to chant "1918!" to taunt the Red Sox, reminding them of the last time they won a World Series one weekend the Red Sox were there in 1990. Each time the Red Sox were at Yankee Stadium afterward, demeaning chants of "1918!" echoed through the stadium. Yankee fans also taunted the Red Sox with signs saying "CURSE OF THE BAMBINO", pictures of Babe Ruth, and wearing "1918!" T-shirts each time they were at the Stadium.
The poor showings in the 1980s and 1990s would soon change. Steinbrenner hired Howard Spira to uncover damaging information on Winfield and was subsequently suspended from day-to-day team operations by Commissioner Fay Vincent when the plot was revealed. This turn of events allowed management to implement a coherent acquisition/development program without owner interference. General Manager Gene Michael, along with manager Buck Showalter, shifted the club's emphasis from high-priced acquisitions to developing talent through the farm system. This new philosophy developed key players such as outfielder Bernie Williams, shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada, and pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. The first significant success came in 1994, when the Yankees had the best record in the AL, but the strike ended the season and Mattingly's best chance for a World Series title and is remembered among the 10 worst moments in New York City sports history. Because the Yankees were last in a postseason in a season cut short by a strike, the news media constantly reminded the Yankees about the parallels between the two Yankee teams (1981 and 1994), which included both Yankee teams having division leads taken away by strike. Throughout October, the media continued to speculate about what might have been if there had not been a strike, making references to the days games in the post-season would have been played.
A year later, the team qualified for the playoffs in the new wild card slot in the strike shortened 1995 season. In the memorable 1995 American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, the Yankees won the first two games at home and dropped the next three in Seattle. Mattingly, suffering greatly from his back injury, retired after the 1995 season. He had the unfortunate distinction of beginning and ending his career on years bookended by Yankee World Series appearances (1981 and 1996).
Torre had a mediocre run as a manager in the National League, and the choice was initially derided ("Clueless Joe" was a headline in the New York Daily News). However, his calm demeanor proved to be a good fit, and his tenure was the longest under George Steinbrenner's ownership.
1996 saw the rise of three Yankees who would form the core of the team for years to come: rookie shortstop Derek Jeter, second-year starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, and second-year pitcher Mariano Rivera, who served as setup man in 1996 before becoming closer in 1997. Aided by these young players, the Yankees won their first AL East title in 15 years in 1996. They defeated the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, and in the ALCS beat the Baltimore Orioles in five games, which included a notable fan interference by young Jeffrey Maier that was called as a home run for the Yankees. In the World Series the team rebounded from an 0–2 series deficit and defeated the defending champion Atlanta Braves, ending an 18-year championship drought. Jeter was named Rookie of the Year. In 1997, the Yankees lost the 1997 ALDS to the Cleveland Indians in five games. GM Bob Watson stepped down and was replaced by assistant GM Brian Cashman.
The 1998 Yankees are widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest teams in baseball history, compiling a then-AL record 114 regular season wins against just 48 losses and then sweeping the San Diego Padres in the 1998 World Series. Their 125 combined regular and postseason wins is an MLB single-season record.
On May 17, 1998, David Wells pitched a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. On July 18, 1999, which was "Yogi Berra Day" at the Stadium, David Cone pitched a perfect game against the Montreal Expos. The ALCS was the Yankees' first meeting with the Red Sox in a post-season series. The Yankees would go on to win the 1999 World Series giving the 1998–1999 Yankees a 22–3 record (including four series sweeps) in six consecutive post-season series.
In 2000, the Yankees faced the New York Mets in the first Subway Series World Series since 1956. The Yankees won the series in 5 games, but a loss in Game 3 snapped their streak of World Series wins at 14, surpassing the club's previous record of 12 (in 1927, 1928, and 1932). The Yankees are the last 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 Yankees dynasty of the 1990s was also part the Braves–Mets rivalry. As noted above, three of their four World Series wins happened against either team (Braves in 1996 and 1999, Mets in 2000). Joe Torre added further fuel to the dynasty being part of the rivalry, having played for and managed both teams and he becoming manager of the Yankees and the events of the 1996 season were seen as factors in that rivalry intensifying.
In aftermath of the September 11 attacks, that year, Yankees defeated the Oakland A's in the ALDS, and the Seattle Mariners 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 teams to win at least four straight pennants. The Yankees won 11 consecutive postseason series in this 4-year period. In the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Yankees lost the series when closer Mariano Rivera uncharacteristically blew a save in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7; it was the second time in five years that a team lost the World Series after taking a lead into the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 (following the Cleveland Indians in 1997) and the first time since 1991 that the home team won all seven games of a World Series. The Yankees were also the first American League team to lose a World Series in which the home team won all seven games. Also, despite a very poor series overall, batting under .200, Derek Jeter got the nickname, "Mr. November", echoing comparisons Reggie Jackson's "Mr. October", for his walk-off home run in Game 4, though it began October 31, as the game ended in the first minutes of November 1. In addition, the Yankees' home field in the aftermath of the attacks served as hosts of a memorial service titled "Prayer for America."
A vastly revamped Yankees team finished the 2002 season with an AL best record of 103–58. 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. In the ALDS the Yankees lost to the eventual champion Anaheim Angels in four games.
In 2003, the Yankees again had the best league record (101–61), highlighted by Roger Clemens' 300th win and 4000th strikeout. In the ALCS, they defeated the Boston Red Sox in a dramatic seven game series, which featured a bench-clearing incident in Game 3 and a series-ending walk-off home run by Aaron Boone in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7. In the World Series the Yankees lost in 6 games to the Florida Marlins, losing a World Series at home for the first time since 1981.
In 2004, the Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez, who moved to third base from his usual shortstop position to accommodate Derek Jeter. In the ALCS, the Yankees met the Boston Red Sox again, and became the first team in professional baseball history, and only the third team in North American pro sports history, to lose a best-of-seven series after taking a 3–0 series lead.
In 2005 Alex Rodriguez won the American League MVP award, becoming the first Yankee to win the award since Don Mattingly in 1985. The Yankees again won the AL East by virtue of a tiebreaker but lost the ALDS in five games to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The 2006 season was highlighted by a 5-game series sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park (sometimes referred to as the "Second Boston Massacre"), outscoring the Red Sox 49–26.
Despite winning the AL East for the ninth consecutive year, the Yankees lost again in the ALDS, this time to the Detroit Tigers. After the ALDS was over, tragedy struck when pitcher Cory Lidle died when his plane crashed into a highrise apartment building in Manhattan. Along with Thurman Munson, Lidle was the second active Yankee to be killed in a private plane crash.
On June 18, 2007 the Yankees broke new ground by signing the first two professional baseball players from the People's Republic of China to the MLB, and became the first team in MLB history to sign an advertising deal with a Chinese company. The Yankees' streak of nine straight AL East division titles ended in 2007, but they still reached the playoffs with the AL Wild Card. For the third year in a row, the team lost in the first round of the playoffs, as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Yankees in the 2007 ALDS. After the series, 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.
In 2012, 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.
The 2013 season was riddled with injuries. Mark Teixeira strained his elbow during the WBC and played only 15 games in the season, Alex Rodriguez played only 44 games after a hip surgery, Derek Jeter played only 17 games due to his ankle injury from the 2012 ALCS and Curtis Granderson played only 61 games due to forearm and knuckle injuries. 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. On September 25, 2013, the Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, which for the second time in the wild card era, eliminated them from any playoffs. They ended the season 85-77, finishing in 3rd place in the AL East.
During the 2013–14 offseason, the Yankees went on a large free agent spending spree, signing players such as Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, and Carlos Beltrán. Despite that, the Yankees missed the playoffs for the second straight season, the first time in the post-1994 strike era, finishing 2nd in the AL East with an 84-78 record. Rodriguez missed the entire season due to a 162-game suspension for his participation in the Biogenesis baseball scandal. One notable moment happened on September 25, 2014, when Derek Jeter – playing his final home game – hit a walk-off single off pitcher Evan Meek to defeat the Baltimore Orioles in front of 48,613 fans who came to see the captain for the last time. Reliever Dellin Betances finished 3rd in voting for AL Rookie of the Year, while starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka finished 5th.
The 2015 season saw the Yankees make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. In his return from suspension, Rodriguez hit 33 home runs, his most since 2008, and tied Hank Aaron's record of fifteen 30-homer seasons. Teixeira hit 31 home runs before a hit-by-pitch ended his season in August. Rookie first baseman Greg Bird had an impressive showing in Teixeira's place, hitting 11 home runs in 46 games, while rookie starting pitcher Luis Severino went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 62.1 innings after getting called up in August. Closer Andrew Miller won the AL Reliever of the Year Award. The Yankees led the AL East for most of the year before being felled by a surging Toronto Blue Jays team, ending the season 87-75 and in 2nd place. They were soundly defeated by the Houston Astros, 3–0 in the 2015 American League Wild Card Game, shutout for six innings by opposing starter Dallas Keuchel, earning boos from the frustrated home crowd of Yankees fans.
In the offseason, the Yankees traded for Cincinnati Reds' closer Aroldis Chapman after a domestic violence allegation lowered his value. Chapman would later be suspended 30 games. The Yankees started the 2016 season on a rough note, starting 9-17. The resurgent 2015 experienced by Rodriguez and Teixeira did not carry over, as they batted .200 and .204 for the season, respectively. Bird was ruled out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Starting pitcher Michael Pineda struggled, going 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA, the 7th-highest in baseball. At the trade deadline, the Yankees stood at an uninspiring 52-52, persuading ownership to trade away their most valuable assets and be sellers at the deadline.
On July 25, 2016, the Yankees began the rebuilding process, trading Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for a package centered around top shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres. Six days later, Miller was traded to the Cleveland Indians for prospects, outfielder Clint Frazier and pitcher Justus Sheffield. Miller and Chapman would face off in the 2016 World Series as opposing relievers.
In early August, both Teixeira and Rodriguez revealed their plans to retire by the season's end. Rodriguez played his final game on August 12, going 1-for-4 with an RBI and getting a chance to play third base. In his fourth-to-last game, Teixeira hit a walk-off grand slam against the Boston Red Sox, his 409th and last career home run.
The Yankees called up several top prospects to the majors in early August. First baseman Tyler Austin and outfielder Aaron Judge made their debut on August 13, hitting back-to-back home runs in their first career at-bats. Catcher Gary Sánchez hit 20 home runs in only 53 games, finishing 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting and setting records as the fastest to reach 20 career home runs. Sanchez, Judge and Austin, as well as the Yankees' prosperous farm system in general, became nicknamed the "Baby Bombers".
During the 2016-17 offseason, the Yankees signed Chapman to a 5-year, $86 million contract, the most expensive for a relief pitcher in history. The Yankees' farm system is currently highly regarded, boasting seven prospects in MLB.com's Top 100 list, with the highest being Gleyber Torres (3rd).
The Yankees have won a record 27 World Series in 40 appearances (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 11 World Series victories. The Yankees' number of World Series losses, 13, leads Major League Baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and New York/San Francisco Giants are second in total World Series appearances with eighteen apiece. Of their 18 World Series appearances, the Dodgers have faced the Yankees eleven times, going 3–8, while the Giants have faced the Yankees seven times, going 2–5. Among North American major sports, the Yankees' success is approached only by the 24 Stanley Cup championships of the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League, though the Canadiens haven't won a Cup championship since 1993. The Yankees have played in the World Series against every National League pennant winner except the Houston Astros and the Colorado Rockies, a feat that no other team is even close to matching.
Through 2014, the Yankees have an all-time regular season winning percentage of .567 (a 10,031–7,648 record), the best of any team in baseball.
The Yankees have won 27 World Series Championships. Their most recent one came in 2009, under manager Joe Girardi, when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
The "Yankees" name is often shortened to "the Yanks." Their most prominently used nickname is "the Bronx Bombers" or simply "the Bombers", a reference to their home and their prolific hitting. A less used nickname is "the Pinstripes", in reference to the iconic feature on their home uniforms. Critics often refer to the team and the organization as "the Evil Empire", a term applied to the Yankees by Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino in a 2002 interview with the New York Times. A term from the team's tumultuous late 70s, "the Bronx Zoo", is sometimes used by detractors, as well as the "Damn Yankees", after the musical of the same name. Ironically, even many Yankees supporters refer to their team as the "Evil Empire" as a badge of honor and in fact enjoy having their team play "the villain".
With their recurring success since the 1920s, the Yankees have since been one of the most popular teams in the world, with their fan base coming from much further than the New York metropolitan area. The Yankees typically bring an upsurge in attendance at all or most of their various road-trip venues, drawing crowds of their own fans, as well as home-town fans whose interest is heightened when the Yankees come to town.
The first 1 million-fan season was in 1920, when 1,289,422 fans attended Yankee games at the Polo Grounds. The first 2 million-fan season was in 1946, when 2,265,512 fans attended the games at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have beaten the league average for home attendance 83 out of the last 87 years (only during 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994 did they not accomplish this). In the past seven years, the Yankees have drawn over three million fans each year, with an American League record-setting 4,090,696 in 2005, becoming only the third franchise in sports history to draw over four million in regular season attendance in their own ballpark. The Yankees were the league leaders in "road attendance" each year from 2001 through 2006.
One famous fan was Fred Schuman, popularly known as "Freddy Sez." For over 50 years, he came to the 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 was connected to a sign inscribed with words of encouragement for the home team. Fred died on October 17, 2010 at the age of 85.
To avoid unwanted publicity, Yankees members use aliases when registering for hotels. The Village Voice published a list of aliases used by Yankees members, and the contents were republished on The Smoking Gun.
The "Bleacher Creatures" are a notorious group of season ticket holders who occupied Section 39 in the right field bleachers at the old Yankee Stadium, and occupy Section 203 in the new one. They are known for their strict allegiance to the Yankees, and are often merciless to opposing fans who sit in the section and cheer for the road team. They enjoy taunting the opposing team's right fielder with a series of chanting and slandering. The "creatures" got their nickname from New York Daily News columnist Filip "Flip" Bondy, who spent the 2004 season sitting in the section for research on his book about the group, Bleeding Pinstripes: A Season with the Bleacher Creatures of Yankee Stadium, published in 2005.
The Yankees baseball club is formally owned by Yankee Global Enterprises which owns the team's regional YES sports network. While the club has claimed it is operating under annual losses in excess of $47 million this figure is attributed only to the ballclub's finances and not to finances attributed to YES or Yankees Global Enterprises.
The Yankees have become well known for a winning reputation on a global level. In 2007, they reached an agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association to allow coaches, scouts and trainers to work in China to promote baseball and judge talent. They are trying to do the same with the Yomiuri Giants and the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. The Yankees and Yomiuri Giants currently have a close relationship and share ideas and strategies. The Yomiuri Shimbun daily newspaper has an ad on the left-field wall at Yankee Stadium, and other Japanese ads appear on the scrolling backstop advertising board. The Yankees are hoping that close ties with countries such as China and Japan will give them personal, in depth judgments of baseball talent.
In 2008, the Yankees announced a joint venture with the Dallas Cowboys that would form the basis for a partnership in running food and beverage, and other catering services to both teams' stadiums.
In 2013, Forbes magazine ranked New York Yankees as the fourth most valuable sports team in the world, behind Real Madrid of La Liga, Manchester United of the Premier League and Barcelona of La Liga, a value of $2.3 billion.
With the long-term success of the franchise and a large Yankee fanbase, many fans of other teams have come to dislike the Yankees. The organization is sometimes referred to by detractors as "the Bronx Zoo" (echoing the title of Sparky Lyle's book) or "the Evil Empire." When the Yankees are on the road, it is common for the home fans to chant "Yankees Suck", and numerous T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items have been sold with this phrase.
Much of the animosity toward the team may derive from its high payroll (which was around $200 million at the start of the 2008 season, the highest of any American sports team), and the free agent superstars the team attracts in the offseason. Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko noted, "Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax."
The official fight song for the Yankees is "Here Come the Yankees", written in 1967 by Bob Bundin and Lou Stallman. While it 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, and the Liza Minnelli original version after losses. When the Yankees take the field before the start of every game, 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready For This" is played, with the fans usually clapping along. When the Yankees score a run at home, a short snippet of 2 Unlimited's "Workaholic" containing the bell chime of Westminster Quarters is played.
A wide selection of songs are played regularly 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 11. The version typically played is an abbreviated version of Kate Smith's rendition. However, during many important games (including most play-off games) and on noteworthy days, it is sung live a Capella and includes a longer introduction. During the 5th inning, the grounds-crew, while performing their duties, dances to "Y.M.C.A.". "Cotton-Eyed Joe", once played during the 7th inning stretch, is now played in the 8th inning. On the DiamondVision screen, a man in farmer's garb is shown dancing in the stadium's control room, with 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.
The Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network launched in 2002, and serves as the primary home of the New York Yankees. Michael Kay is the play-by-play announcer with Ken Singleton, and Singleton, David Cone, Al Leiter, John Flaherty, and Paul O'Neill work as commentators as part of a three-man, or occasionally two-man, booth. Bob Lorenz hosts the pre-game show and the post-game show with Jack Curry, and Meredith Marakovits and Nancy Newman are the on site reporters. Some games are telecast on WPIX and formerly on WWOR-TV; those broadcasts are produced by YES.
Radio broadcasts are on the Yankees Radio Network, the flagship station being WFAN 660 AM, with John Sterling as the play-by-play announcer and Suzyn Waldman providing the commentary, with Spanish-language broadcasts on WADO 1280 AM.
The history of Yankee radio broadcasters is: WJZ 770 (1939–'40), WOR 710 (1942), WINS 1010 (1944–'57), WMGM 1050 (1958–'60), WCBS 880 (1961–'66), WHN 1050 (1967–'70), WMCA 570 (1971–'77), WINS 1010 (1978–'80), WABC 770 (1981–2001), WCBS 880 (2002–2013), WFAN 660 AM and WFAN-FM 101.9 (2014–present).Mel Allen was the team's lead announcer from 1948 to 1964.Red Barber called Yankees games for thirteen seasons (1954–1966).Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto and Bill White teamed together in the 1970s and 1980s. Rizzuto, with 40 years in the broadcast booth, is the longest serving broadcaster in the history of the club. Messer and White each worked nearly two decades for the Yankees, with White notably moving on to become president of the National League in 1989. Bobby Murcer also called games for over twenty years, and continued with the YES Network until shortly before his death from brain cancer.
The Yankees have retired 20 numbers for 22 individuals, the most in Major League Baseball.
The retired numbers were displayed behind the old Yankee Stadium's left field fence and in front of the opposing team's bullpen, forming a little alley that connects Monument Park to the left field stands. When the franchise moved across the street to the new stadium, the numbers were incorporated into Monument Park that sits place in center field between both bullpens. The 20 numbers are placed on the wall in chronological order, beginning with Lou Gehrig's number 4. This was retired soon after Gehrig left baseball on July 4, 1939, the same day he gave his famous farewell speech. His was the first number retired in Major League Baseball history. Beneath the numbers are plaques with the names of the players and a descriptive paragraph.
The number 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in honor of Jackie Robinson on April 15, 1997, the 50th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier. The day was declared Jackie Robinson Day, and would later be observed by all of baseball, with select players from every team wearing the number 42. Players who wore No. 42 at the time were allowed to continue to wear it until they left the team with which they played on April 15, 1997; Mariano Rivera was the last active player covered under that grandfather clause. While other teams placed the number 42 with the rest of their retired numbers, the Yankees did not do so at first. Ten years later, on April 17, 2007, the Yankees honored Robinson by mounting the logo of Jackie Robinson Day with a corresponding plaque alongside the rest of the retired numbers. Because the Yankees were finishing a roadtrip in Oakland on Jackie Robinson Day, the ceremony took place two days later. When the Yankees moved to the second Yankee Stadium, they replaced the Jackie Robinson Day logo with a number 42 that resembled the other retired numbers. Later on they replaced the number 42 so that it resembled the Dodger's style, and on September 22, 2013 a plaque was dedicated to Robinson in Monument Park. Also, the number 42 dedicated to Robinson was removed entirely and replaced with one for Mariano Rivera.
In 1972, the number 8 was retired for two players on the same day, in honor of catcher Bill Dickey and his protege, catcher Yogi Berra. Berra inherited Dickey's number in 1948 after Dickey ended his playing career and became a coach.
Billy Martin is the only Yankee to have his number retired as a player/manager combination. He wore number 1 as a player in the 1950s and as a manager in the 1970s and 1980s.
The numbers 37 and 6, retired for Casey Stengel and Joe Torre respectively, are the only numbers retired by the Yankees for someone who served solely as manager of the team. Stengel managed the Yankees to ten pennants and seven world championships between 1949 and 1960, including a record five consecutive world championships from 1949 through 1953. Joe Torre managed the Yankees from 1996 to 2007, winning six pennants and four World Series championships.
On May 14th 2017 the Yankees will retire number 2 in honor of Derek Jeter.
The Yankees–Red Sox rivalry is one of the oldest, most famous and fiercest rivalries in professional sports. For over 100 years, the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees have been intense rivals. The rivalry is often termed "the best" and "greatest rivalry in all of sports." Games between the two teams are often broadcast on national television, schedule permitting.
The rivalry is sometimes so polarizing that it is often a heated subject, like religion or politics, in the Northeastern United States. Since the inception of the wild card team and an added Division Series, the American League East rivals have squared off in the American League Championship Series three times, with the Yankees winning twice in 1999 and 2003 and the Sox winning in 2004. In addition, the teams have twice met in the last regular-season series of a season to decide the league title, in 1904 (when the Red Sox won) and 1949 (when the Yankees won).
The teams also finished tied for first in 1978, when the Yankees won a high-profile one-game playoff for the division title. The 1978 division race is memorable for the Red Sox having held a 14-game lead over the Yankees more than halfway through the season. Similarly, the 2004 ALCS is notable for the Yankees leading 3 games to 0 and ultimately losing a best of seven series. The Red Sox comeback was the only time in baseball history that a team has come back from a 0–3 deficit to win a postseason series.
The Subway Series is a series of games played between teams based in New York City. The term's historic usage has been in reference to World Series games played between New York teams. The Yankees have appeared in all Subway Series games as they have been the only American League team in the city, and have compiled an 11–3 record in the fourteen championship Subway Series. Since 1997, the term Subway Series has also been applied to interleague play during the regular season between the Yankees and National League New York Mets.
The Yankees are affiliated with the following minor league teams:
The Yankees front office, as of 2013, included Hal Steinbrenner (Managing General Partner/Co-Chairperson), Randy Levine (President), Lonn A. Trost (Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel), and Brian Cashman (Senior Vice President, General Manager).