The History of the New York Yankees

by Staff

1903 A baseball team is purchased from Baltimore and resurfaces on 168th Street and Broadway. This team is named the "Highlanders" and starts play in the Spring of 1903. The Highlanders would soon evolve into the most fabled sports franchise in American sports history.

1912 The trademark "pinstripe" uniforms that are synonymous with the Yankees are introduced.

1913 The Yankees are officially born as the team name of the Highlanders is scrapped and replaced.

1920 The most famous trade in the history of baseball takes place, and the fate of two clubs is sealed. Babe Ruth is traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees, providing New York with the most flamboyant and captivating athlete of his generation.

1921 The Yankees win the first of their record-setting 35 A.L. pennants.

1923 The Yankees move to their permanent home in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium. They conclude their first season in the Bronx with the first of what would eventually be 27 eventual World Championship trophies. The team defeated the rival NY Giants for their first title.

1925-1939 Lou Gehrig becomes baseball's ironman by embarking on his remarkable streak of 2,130 consecutive games played. Cal Ripken Jr. would later best this streak, but Gehrig's endurance and consistency would be standards for future players to strive for.

1927 Babe Ruth hits 60 home runs in one season. This record will stand for 34 seasons. The season ends with another World Series victory.

1932 Another magical year ends with the Yankees as World Champions. The season is highlighted by Lou Gehrig hitting four home runs in one game. He remains the only Yankee to have accomplished this feat.

1934 As one Yankee legend nears the end of his career, another hero is about to ascend. Babe Ruth hits his 700th home run during the regular season and Joe DiMaggio is acquired from the San Francisco Seals.

1936-1943 The Yankees dominate the sport of baseball, capturing six World Series titles in an eight-year span. The sports world had never seen such an overwhelming display of excellence by one franchise.

1939 Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak comes to an end and the Yankees honor him by retiring his number 4. This makes Gehrig the first ballplayer to have his uniform number retired.

1941 Another World Championship year with many highs and lows. Joe DiMaggio cements his place in baseball history as he achieves a 56-game hitting streak. This is a record that still stands today and that many believe will never be broken. While the Yankee Clipper embraces greatness, another legend, Lou Gehrig, passes away at the age of 37.

1946 The first night game is played at Yankee Stadium.

1948 The Bronx Bombers honor one of their best, Babe Ruth, by retiring his number 3 jersey. Shortly after this honor, Ruth dies of throat cancer.

1949-1953 The Yankees continue their proud tradition by winning five consecutive World Series trophies. Again, the Yankees set a new standard of excellence in team sports.

1951 The Yanks welcome Mickey Mantle at the start of the season and bid farewell to another legend, Joe DiMaggio, at the end of the year. The Yankee Clipper announces his retirement from baseball, but not before one more World Series trophy.

1953 Mickey Mantle's towering home runs marvel the nation and force statisticians to record the distance of his blasts. He records a 565 foot shot against the Senators in Washington.

1956 Don Larsen pitches the only perfect game in World Series history, helping the Yankees defeat the rival Brooklyn Dodgers for the title.

1960-1964 The Yanks start the decade in grand style, capturing five consecutive pennants and two World Series victories. This stretch included some of the most talented and popular players to wear the pinstripes. Team leaders included Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Elston Howard, Joe Pepitone, and Roger Maris

1961 Murderer's Row is alive and well. The Yankees are responsible for one of the most memorable baseball seasons ever as they continue their on-field dominance with another World Championship. This year is special, however, because the most hallowed record in baseball is broken. Roger Maris keeps the home run title in the Yankee family by eclipsing Babe Ruth's single season home run record. Maris hammers 61 home runs during the year, a record that would stand until Mark McGuire belted 70 homers in 1998, 37 years later.

1969 It's the end of an era as Mickey Mantle has his number 7 retired.

1973 "The Boss" George Steinbrenner emerges as part of the new ownership of the Yankees. Steinbrenner remains the owner of the Yanks today and has been a fixture in the Bronx for nearly three decades.

1974-1975 The Yankees play two seasons at neighboring Shea Stadium while their home in the Bronx gets refurbished.

1974 Catfish Hunter arrives as the most coveted and most expensive player in free agency.

1975 Yankee great Billy Martin becomes manager of the club for the first time. He would eventually manage the Yankees a total of five separate times during his illustrious, and tumultuous, managerial career.

1976 Chris Chambliss hits a game-deciding home run in the bottom of the ninth in Game Five of the A.L.C.S. to secure the Yanks' 30th pennant. While the Bombers would go on to lose the World Series to the Reds, their fate would soon change with another significant, off-season acquisition. The team signs power hitter Reggie Jackson to a five-year deal.

1977 Jackson immediately pays off, hitting three home runs in Game Six of the World Series against the Dodgers. This electrifying performance enables the Yankees to capture their 21st World Championship.

1978 The Yankees erase a fourteen game deficit to the Boston Red Sox during the regular season to force a one game playoff. Light hitting Bucky Dent crushes the hopes of Boston once again as he hits a towering home run that lifts the Yanks over the Red Sox in Fenway Park. The Yankees carried this momentum all the way to yet another World Series win.

1979 Yankee captain Thurman Munson dies in a plane crash. His number 15 is immediately retired by the team.

1980 Dave Winfield signs the most lucrative deal in baseball history, joining the Yanks as a free agent.

1983 Dave Righetti pitches a no-hitter on the 4th of July, the first no-hitter for the Yankees since Don Larsen's perfect game in 1956. In the most bizarre situation of the season, an apparent game winning home run by George Brett of the Royals is denied after the umpire decides that Brett has used too much pine tar on his bat. This "pine tar" game is finaaly settled a month later with the Royals being awarded the victory.

1985 Former Yankee greats Yogi Berra, Billy Martin, and Lou Pinella all take their turn managing the team during the calendar year.

1987 Don Mattingly puts himself in the record books by hitting a home run in eight consecutive games (10 total). This ties the MLB record previously held by Dale Long. Donnie Baseball caps his season by hitting six grand slams, another Major League record.

1989 Yankee legend Billy Martin dies abruptly in an automobile accident.

1993 Inspirational pitcher Jim Abbott hurls a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium. The Yanks also honor the great Reggie Jackson by retiring his number.

1995 Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle dies of cancer.

1996 The Yankees win their first World Series in eighteen years, the longest drought in franchise history. They defeat the heavily favored Atlanta Braves in six games. The season is highlighted by Dwight Gooden's no-hitter at Yankee Stadium.

1997 Don Mattingly officially retires from baseball.

1998 In the greatest baseball season ever played, the Yankees fittingly stand at the top of the list. They finish the year with an A.L. record 114 wins and a Major League best final record of 125 wins with only 50 losses. The Yankees parlay their dominance into a World Series sweep of the Padres and are recognized as one of the greatest teams of all time. Many individuals shined during the year, including David Wells, who pitched a perfect game, and Bernie Williams, who won the A.L. batting crown.

1999 The Yankees acquire multiple Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, the most dominant pitcher of the '90s. They go on to win their record-breaking 25th World Series Championship, and prove that they are indeed the team of the century.

2000 After a regular season where the club posted only 87 wins and many believed the Yankees' streak of postseason success would come to an end, the team won another division crown. The Yankees continued to fight their way through the playoffs and appeared in the World Series for the fourth time in five years. After facing the New York Mets in the first Subway Series in 44 years, the New York Yankees became champions for the 26th time in franchise history and for the third consecutive season. Derek Jeter, the Yankees' shortstop, was the first player named both All-Star MVP and World Series MVP in the same season. In the off-season, the Yankees wasted no time in strengthening the team even more, by signing pitcher Mike Mussina to a six-year contract.

2001 After securing another division title with a record of 95-65, the Yankees set their sights on their fourth straight world title. In the division series with the Oakland Athletics, the Yankees fell behind two games to none in the best-of-five series. Experience and determination prevailed, however, as the Yankees fought their way back to take the series three games to two. After quickly eliminating the regular season's best team, the Seattle Mariners, four games to one, the Yankees found themselves in yet another World Series facing the Arizona Diamondbacks. In possibly one of the greatest World Series of all time, the Yankees dynasty came to an end in the bottom of the ninth of Game Seven when Luis Gonzalez hit the series winner to end the defending champions' streak at three in a row. Not unnoticed among the season's accomplishments was Roger Clemens' sixth Cy Young award.

2002 For the second time in the past five seasons, the Yankees won more then 100 games (103-58), but failed to reach the World Series for only the second time in the last seven seasons. After winning the American League East for the fifth straight year, the Yankees fell just short of the American League Divisional title. Facing off against the eventual World Series champion Anaheim Angels, the Yankees dropped the best-of-five series 3 games to 1. Although 2002 did not end with a championship, second baseman Alfonso Soriano followed up his outstanding rookie year with a tremendous season, batting .300 with 39 home runs, 102 runs batted in, and 41 stolen bases. In his first season in pinstripes, first baseman Jason Giambi contributed a .314 batting average, 41 home runs, and 122 RBIs.

2003 looks promising as the Bronx Bombers added coveted Japanese slugger Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui and Cuban national team pitcher Jose Contreras to their solid lineup.

2003 After finishing the regular season with a record of 101-61 (.623 winning percentage), the Yankees claimed yet another American League East Division title and began their playoff journey. After knocking off the Minnesota Twins followed by a dramatic victory over the resilient Boston Red Sox in a thrilling 11-inning win in Game Seven of the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees fell short of another World Series title. They will now focus their attention toward next year by adding more talent through free agency and the trade market. With the retirement of Roger Clemens, the Yanks will look to fill a void in their starting rotation left by the pitcher, a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer.

2004 The Yankees dominated the 2004 regular season by winning the American League Division East title and amassing over 100 wins (101-61) for the third straight season. After defeating the Minnesota Twins in four games in the American League Division Series, the Yankees advanced to the American League Championship Series to face the Boston Red Sox. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and a near victory in the ninth inning of Game Four, the Red Sox rallied back to win four games in a row and became the first team in Major League Baseball history to overcome a 3-0 deficit. The Red Sox followed their improbable defeat of the Yankees with a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals to capture their first World Series in 86 years (1918).

The Yankees’ roster included many new faces this season, most notably Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) and Gary Sheffield. A-Rod was instrumental in the Yankees ALDS win over the Twins, as he registered a .421 batting average and a .737 slugging percentage. In his first year with the Yankees, Sheffield had an MVP-caliber season. He ranked third in the American League for runs scored (117) and second in walks (92). He totaled 36 home runs, 121 RBIs, and posted a .290 batting average. Sheffield also displayed timely hitting throughout the season as he also contributed four ninth-inning home runs that either won or tied a game.

2005 It was a season of notable highs and lows for the New York Yankees, a team constantly under the microscope due to its major-league, record-setting payroll and plethora of all-star talent. After a disappointing start to the season (11-19 record on May 6) that had the team tied for last place in the division, the Yankees rebounded promptly with an impressive ten-game winning streak. These tumultuous beginnings proved a sign of things to come as the club faced many challenges that were exacerbated by injuries to key players including Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, and Carl Pavano. The team performed very well through June and July leading up to the All-Star Game, however, rebounding sufficiently to take over third place in the division, just 2.5 games back of the division-leading Red Sox with a record of 46-40 by the break.

The Yankees found themselves chasing last year’s World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox, throughout most of the season, yet by virtue of a strong finish (winning 16 of their last 21 games) overtook their rivals to win the American League East title. The clinching marked the Bombers’ eighth consecutive division title and eleventh straight trip to the post-season. The team’s strong overall play was boosted by several individual highlight performances, including Alex Rodriguez, who amassed an MVP-caliber season with a team-best 48 home runs (led MLB) and 130 RBIs. Jason Giambi walked 108 times (led AL), Derek Jeter had 202 hits (3rd best in MLB), and the Yankees were the only team to have four players all score more than 100 runs in the regular season (Rodriguez, Jeter, Matsui, Sheffield).

While there could well be a host of changes over this off-season, the Yankees can be proud of another accomplished season, which included yet another trip to the playoffs and October baseball for their fans.

2006 The Yankees started off the season with aspirations of winning their 27th World Series Championship after obtaining outfielder Johnny Damon in the off-season, but their championship aspirations were put in jeopardy early in the season as sluggers Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui suffered serious wrist injuries that kept them out of the lineup for four months. Most teams would have been left reeling after the loss of two All-Stars, but youngster Melky Cabrera filled in for Matsui and Sheffield, finishing the season batting .280 with seven home runs and 50 RBIs.

The Yankees were once again active at the trade deadline with the addition of Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle from the Phillies. Abreu proved himself worthy of wearing the pinstripes as he hit .330 with a .419 on-base percentage and 42 RBIs in only 58 games. More importantly, the addition of Abreu gave the Yankees another big bat to replace their injured outfielders. The turning point of the season came as the Yankees faced their archrival Boston Red Sox in a five-game series in mid-August. The Yankees owned a slim 1 ½ game lead going into the series. The Bombers swept the series, increasing their division lead to 6 ½ games and led by 11 ½ games by mid-September.

The Yankees finished the regular season tied with the Mets with an MLB-leading record of 97-65 and won their ninth consecutive AL East title. Going into the postseason, the Yankees were picked by many prognosticators as the team to beat. However, the Yankees' opponent in the American League Division Series (ALDS), the Detroit Tigers, proved otherwise. The Yankees prevailed in game 1 in by a score of 8-4, but then went on an offensive drought the rest of the series that included 21 consecutive innings without scoring a run. The Tigers won the next three games of the best-in-five series to advance to the League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics.

2007 The Yankees stumbled out of the gate early, posting a 21-29 record through the first 50 games of the season. Injuries took their toll on their pitching staff, forcing the Yankees to use 14 different starting pitchers. The team called upon young pitchers Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain to help fix the pitching woes. Chamberlain started his major league career with a 15 1/3 scoreless innings streak, the longest such streak for a Yankees pitcher to start a career since 1906. The Yankees overcame the sluggish start and battled back with the best record in the majors at 73-39 since May 29. Led by MVP favorite Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees clinched the American League Wild Card, the team’s thirteenth consecutive postseason appearance.

Rodriguez led the Major Leagues in home runs (54), RBIs (156), runs scored (143) and slugging percentage (.645). Rodriguez became the first right-handed hitter in Yankees history to hit over 50 home runs and had the most RBIs for any Yankee since Lou Gehrig had 159 in 1937. Rodriguez also hit the 500th homerun of his career against the Kansas City Royals on August 4. Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach the milestone. Rodriguez was joined by Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada on the 2007 American League All-Star team. Jeter collected 206 hits, making it his sixth season with at least 200 hits, and passed Bernie Williams for fourth all-time on the Yankees hits list. Posada had the best season of his career, posting a career-high .338 batting average.

The Yankees faced the Cleveland Indians in the first round Division Series. Cleveland took the first two games of the series behind Cy Young candidates CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. When the Yankees returned home for Game 3 they rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to force a Game 4. Cleveland’s timely hitting and great pitching proved to be too much for the Yankees to handle. Cleveland took Game 4 by a score of 6-4, to advance to the ALCS.

2008 The Yankees finished the 2008 season at the original Yankee Stadium with an 89-73 record as the team missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Three Yankees were named to the American League team in the All-Star Game, which was held at Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez garnered the most All-Star votes for the second consecutive year, achieving his 12th spot on the team in a span of 13 seasons. Derek Jeter joined A-Rod in the starting lineup, and he and Mariano Rivera both marked their ninth appearance on the All-Star roster. During the off-season, the Yankees acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira, along with pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, to add to their already impressive lineup.

2009 The Yankees opened their new stadium in style. Led by World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, they won their 27th championship, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. Also this season, Derek Jeter broke the team record for most career hits, surpassing the legendary Lou Gehrig.