The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Monday, January 29, 2018 1998 Yankees top list of 25 greatest teams

MLB Network has unveiled its top 25 teams of Major League Baseball’s expansion era—and it’s a star-studded list.

These aren’t just 25 great clubs. They’re some of the most transcendent squads to set foot on the field.

The teams on this list have treated baseball fans to some of the most indelible moments in the history of America’s national pastime. They’ve been behind some of the most memorable pennant races, postseason clashes and World Series in the decades since MLB expanded in 1961.

Which team was named the best? Read on. Here are MLB Network’s 25 greatest teams of the expansion era:
1. 1998 New York Yankees
Here it is. The greatest club on the list. The ‘98 squad started New York’s three-year championship run, behind the efforts of Jeter, Rivera, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, among others. Managed by Joe Torre, the Bronx Bombers went 108-54 in the regular season, then 11-2 in the postseason—with their historic campaign capped by a sweep of the Padres in the World Series.

It’s really hard to believe 1998 was 20 years ago.  Of course, they got the Yankees’ record wrong in the excerpt above.  They were actually 114-48. 

It was a magical season, the likes of which we’ll probably never get to see again.    Luckily, most of us got to experience it when it happened.

--Posted at 9:38 am by SG / 63 Comments | - (0)


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Favorite all-time team, along with the 2009 squad.

1998- First team I remember.
2009- First team old enough to truly appreciate.

EDIT: That full list is TERRIBLE.

I wish I remembered ‘98 better. I was only 8, so it’s just an amorphous blob in my memory.

For me as well 2009 was the first time they won and were MY team and I knew what was going on.

That year was just insane.  They straight dominated and just did not lose.  By far my most favorite season ever.  2009 was good but especially going into the postseason with that rotation, you never felt comfortable.  1998 felt like a victory lap the entire season.

Still, I’m sure I’d rather have watched the ‘27 Yankees, even with a pitcher hitting.  Just looking at that team, it seems fake.

Is this the same list as mlb channel ran last night ?

It was nice to see ‘78 place reasonably high. What a wild run that summer was, capped by Bucky.

My favorite team is still the 2002 team. This was before the team got too old, they had fun players (Rondell White!)  they just signed Giambi coming off a monster season, and they were hungry after losing the 2001 series.

I still hated Jeter, even back then.

Love the 1998 team.  So dominant.  The narrative says no seeming dominant individual performance, but was so good top to bottom.

[6] I remember the commercial that they used to run after the season:

If they ask who was our star, give them 25 names, and if you forget our names, just tell them we were Yankees.

So many good players on that team, and a different star every day.  The led the league in runs scored and allowed the fewest runs in the league.

They started like 1-3 or something and there was hand-wringing.

They make people so young they don’t remember the 98 team? When did this happen? Who allowed this?


I remember the El Duque Adidas ad.

From the previous thread:
“Judge DID do a great job adjusting to the Astros throwing him constant breaking balls away, but then they adjusted and began throwing him nothing but curves and he couldn’t adjust to that.”

Wasn’t there a discussion of this last year in terms of a disciplined plate approach, with the idea advanced that his strict and unchanging approach may have handicapped him in addressing this weakness (presumably by considering better pitches earlier in the count or cutting down on his swing in certain situations)? If so, that would seem to leave the possibility of a pretty clear adjustment.

[0] To hell with No blurb about the ‘98 team that rattles off names but does not rattle off Boomer is a smart blurb. He was the f-ing man that season.

From 538 by Elo
1   1939   New York Yankees  
2   1906   Chicago Cubs  
3   1927   New York Yankees
4   1909   Pittsburgh Pirates  
5   1998   New York Yankees  
6   1932   New York Yankees  
7   1911   Philadelphia Athletics  
8   1942   St. Louis Cardinals  
9   1944   St. Louis Cardinals
10   1907   Chicago Cubs

Naturally this list takes as a given the 2011 townies as #1

Bleacher report 27 Yankees, 39 Yankees, 75 Reds, 2008 Yankees, 29 A’s, 61 Yankees, 02 Pirates, 70 O’s, 84 Tigers, 07 Cubs.

This list is more balanced in terms of what era the teams played.

2008 Yankees?  Really?

1939 Yankees are easily the most underrated all-time team. When talking about the best Yankees team, in addition to 1998, you always hear about Murderer’s Row and sometimes the 1961 team. But the 1939 team was [insert fire emoji here].

Also…1942-1944 Cardinals, 106w, 105w, 105w sandwiched between several high 90s win seasons. 3 titles and 4 appearances in 5 years.

17 Typo 1998

Steve Sundra and especially Marius Russo.

I find that 1975 Reds team very overrated.

The 40s Cardiinals were wartime teams though.

Who’s excited about starting 2b Danny Espinosa?

Worse hitter, worse fielder than Rattan. Excellent.

I think it’s a good depth move. He was terrible last year, but he was decent the year before. It’s just a minor league deal.

Nothing to see here, move along please.

I think he makes the club out of ST. Probably as the starting 2B.

[15] How can they pick two WW II teams?

I think he makes the club out of ST. Probably as the starting 2B.

If he does, it will mean that he beat out Wade and Peterson and Torreyes for the job and we can’t complain about that, right?

I was just reading about Jack Brickhouse calling for a triple play in a Cubs game and then it actually happened. Can you imagine if something like that happened today? It would be replayed on TV for decades!

I mean, Brickhouse’s call is famous in its own right (he was talking about the chances of it happening were like an impossible dream and when it did happen, he shouted, “The impossible dream is now the possible dream!”) but in the era of soundbites? Holy shit, it would be all over the place!

[31] Sure. I just don’t think it will be that hard. But as long as Torres hits in AAA, it will be a short starting gig.

[22] Good point. And they still had Musial during that time so that certainly helped.

What’s Utley’s market looking like right now?

It was a magical season, the likes of which we’ll probably never get to see again.  Luckily, most of us got to experience it when it happened.

I couldn’t have been luckier… my life just worked out where I could attend more games than I ever have before or would since.  25 in all (I think I only saw 4 losses, maybe 5), including the first 2 WS games (sitting just above where Tino’s grand slam landed… one of those beers flying in the air was from my group).

Starting off 1-4, Steinbrenner fuming, rumors about Torre being fired, Mariano hitting the DL after not pitching well (don’t forget what happened in October 97), the season was very tense that first week.  Then they went berserk and lost only 2 games the rest of April.  Let that sink in…

[12] We made ANSKY shirts that year, wore them to the stadium… first time we wore them, we were stopped by every other person in the stadium asking where we got them.

Some of my favorite games attended were El Duque’s debut, the last game of the first half (NY won on because of a bases loaded HBP and amazing pitching, 1-0, showing that they can beat you ANY way possible), and Shane’s Spencer hitting yet another grand slam in win 114. I wasn’t there, but have to add the Benetiz brawl game against Baltimore.  Tim Raines’s HR after the delay was like a knockout punch for the entire Baltimore franchise.

I think my favorite game is tie between that first ALCS game against Cleveland, and a meaningless game at Oakland during the season.  The Oakland game was the 2nd of a double header, the Yankees won the first game and were running away from everyone else at that point.  I was at a bar with my Yankee compadres, our old bartender was also a Yankee fan and he kept saying that the Yankees would eventually fall back to earth, as he had seen so much baseball he couldn’t believe the Yankees could continue to play this well.  Yankees were losing 5-1 but they loaded the bases in the 9th, Strawberry came up to pinch hit.  His perfect swing left just a little cloud of dust where the ball used to be, game-tying grand slam, just like that.  Jeter and O’Neill with some big hits after that, Yankees win a laugher scoring 9 in the 9th.  This game finally swung our old bartender friend… he had seen Mantle and Maris as a kid, but he was now believing that this 98 Yankee team may be the best in Yankee history.  (Post script, same bar for the WS clinching game - same bartender handed out free champagne to every patron at the end, he made us all toast a Yankee team we may never see again in our lifetime.)

That’s a quality bartender right there.

[36]  It sure is.  NYC has a bar culture unlike any other.  Can’t think of any other city where you get free pours when you’re tipping well and on for the long haul.

[37] New Orleans.

That culture extends upstate too, and coming to Vegas was a weird shock when bartenders you’re friendly with and tipping well still rack you for every round. At best, they’ll take 1-2 off. At least if you’re playing video poker, you can get comped. But that practice has been getting tighter and tighter the last few years. Vegas is going to shit.

[38] You’re right, I grew up in Buffalo and in the right places you get a couple on the arm.

[36-39] My guy was in NJ.  He served us when we snuck into the bar before we were 21, about 20 years straight before he retired… a great Irish chap who could put it away with the best of them. 

But speaking of free pours, my friends and I drank a lot of free Red Hook ales at the old Yankee Stadium courtesy of the nice old ladies in the concession stand behind home plate.  You buy one at regular price plus a tip at the start of the game, being sure to ask for a smaller souvenir plastic cup (usually only for soda) and then we would come back a few times during the game, tip a dollar, and get a refill.  Must have done this over a hundred times from 98-04.  I can’t imagine getting away with this at DNYS, but maybe somebody here has a connection?

[40] is why we couldn’t afford Beltran in his prime.

[41] No, that was the popcorn lady in the loge who gave my wife free refills.

[42] Was ‘98 the year you, me and JG all caught foul balls in different games?

But yeah, ‘98 was special, tons of games, and game 1 and 2 of the WS was epic!

Time to find my Ansky shirt…

[43] Nope, 99 I think.  Because I caught mine on Joe DiMaggio day, and I believe he died in 99.

I have my ANSKY shirt, I wore it over the summer.  Still looks great!

The game I remember most was game 7. After the 1-4 start they win game 6. In game 7 Stanton came in to close and gave up a HR to make it 4-3. The next two guys got singles and I thought the game was over. But then fly out (?) and DP and they held on to win. I always wondered if at 2-5 George would have axed Torre. Instead they were 3-4 and then won the next 7 I think. I do remember 1977-78 but 98 was the best. Total domination. Rivera missed time, Bernie missed time, who cared we kept winning.

1978 was the best season, not the best team though.

I wonder how many of us saw each other at games over the years and had no idea.

Not to bring it down, Kevin Towers passed away. He was a key (but opposing) figure for the 1998 season.  And I remember his name connected with Yankees (for a short stint, confirmed per wiki).

Terrible news. Cash was always a huge Towers fan. He kept hiring him whenever he lost a gig elsewhere.

[47] Probably. One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was go to games and look at the crowd to point out the funny looking people.

It is especially fruitful at wrestling.

Pretty sure if I’d seen any of you, I’d have known it.

[52] And laughed.

Oh yeah. We’ve seen each other, so we would know.

Pin bursts out in laughter every time he sees me.  And not jolly Christmas Carol Fezziwig joyful laughter either, more like “you smell, I mock at the difference in our social stations” kind of laughter.

Then again, I am the overnight guy at the cheapest (and furthest!) parking lot at LAX, so maybe I haven’t maximized my potential.  Hell, there ARE other lots, I just don’t have the gumption to go apply to them.  You know, I doubt my skills.  I’m afraid I’d be overmatched at the $10/day lots, coming from an $8/day lot.

[55] This is why I love you, Brother.

Plus, you know, the free parking.

Then again, I am the overnight guy at the cheapest (and furthest!) parking lot at LAX, so maybe I haven’t maximized my potential.  Hell, there ARE other lots, I just don’t have the gumption to go apply to them.  You know, I doubt my skills.  I’m afraid I’d be overmatched at the $10/day lots, coming from an $8/day lot.

If these sentences were constructed a little differently, they could pass for a Bukowski poem.

Change the sentences enough and it becomes the Gettysburgh Address.

or the coding for Deep Blue

All the experts thought AlphaGo had blundered on move 37 but it turned out to be a game winner.  How long before a team uses a computer as a bench coach in charge of all tactical decisions?

It probably wouldn’t be terribly hard to write an algorithm that says say “steal base”, given all the possible outcomes of a given at bat and all future at bats, if the outcome probabilities were fixed (e.g. in chess, the probability of a piece taking a piece is 100% if it is in position to take the piece and the move being tested is to take said piece).

However, given that each baseball outcome has a human factor probability to it (say whether the runner is a fast runner with a high steal percentage or a lead foot), it means you’d have to assign a probability of a given action to happen (say the runner’s steal percentage). You’d also have to factor in the probability of the catcher actually throwing the ball such that the SS or 2B (depending on the shift) could cover it, and then factor that the player covering the bag’s probability of actually caching the ball and successfully applying the tag.

Point is, the probability of a given outcome is dependent on the player, as such, knowing a player has a good record say of stealing against a certain pitcher and catcher, still doesn’t mean he’ll succeed. Sometimes you just gotta go with your gut….

Or more realistically, make the move and pressure the fielder into throwing a Nooney…

[61] OOTP already basically does that.

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