When one talks about the New York Yankees, the word dynasty tends to come up. It certainly makes sense. 27 World Series titles, 40 American League Pennants, 53 Postseason Appearances, 24 Hall of Famers, and 22 players or managers whose number has been retired. New York ranks first in all of these categories across Major League Baseball franchises.
When you start talking about the best single-season teams of all-time, you also tend to hear a lot of Yankee teams. The first team to mind is almost always the 1927 New York Yankees. They weren’t the first Yankee team to win a World Series, but they were the consensus best to do it. The team featured six Hall of Famers, most notably Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. This was the year the Babe hit 60 homers. This was the original Murderer’s Row.
The more modern fans will immediately jump to the 1998 team that won 114 games, the best mark by a Yankee team and third best all-time. While there are no players from this team in the Hall, there are a few names that any baseball fan will tell you will get to Cooperstown sooner rather than later. Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera just need to wait to become eligible.
Of course, no conversation on the great Yankee years would be complete without the 1961 team. It may have only carried three Hall of Famers, but 1961 will forever be remembered for the race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle to catch Babe Ruth’s 60 home run record.
The 1932 Yankees didn’t have the same dominance as the ’27 team, but it was certainly among the greatest of all time. This was the bridge team, when Ruth and Gehrig remained, but the additions of Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing gave this team an elite pitching staff as well. All together, the team had eight Hall of Famers.
Of course there were others, 1928, 1923, 1999, 1941, the list goes on.
The question becomes, can 2018 be the next number on the list? There have been no shortage of cries of “Muderer’s Row 2.0!” already. The talent is certainly undeniable. If you look at this team on paper, it could very well be among the best.
However, let’s take a step back. First off, Giancarlo Stanton has yet to take one at-bat in Pinstripes. Nothing is guaranteed in baseball, so just because he hit 59 home runs last year does not mean he will replicate that level of success in the Bronx.
For a historical case, look at Roger Maris. Forever remembered as the man who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1961 with his 61 homers. Many have complained of Maris being left out of Cooperstown. However, if you look at Maris’ other 11 big league seasons, he only crossed the 30 homer mark twice. In fact, if you remove his four All-Star seasons from 1959-1962, where he hit 149 homers, he would have only 126 homers in his other eight seasons.
Of course this is not to say Stanton will not succeed in the Bronx. He probably will. Just don’t get too excited. Let’s also not forget before his Rookie of the Year campaign, Aaron Judge struck out 42 times in 84 at-bats in 2016.
So before you start popping the champagne, remember that nothing is guaranteed. That said, get excited. This team could be on the road to greatness.