B/R MLB Rivalry Series: New York Mets vs. New York Yankees
Welcome to the sixth edition of Bleacher Report's MLB rivalry series.
In the weeks to come, we'll highlight some of the biggest head-to-head rivalries in our national pastime and shine light on the past, present and future of those matchups.
So far, we've run through the following rivalries:
- Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
- Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
- Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
- Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets
- Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Next on the docket is a closer look at a rivalry that interleague play was designed for, between the New York Mets and New York Yankees.
The two teams didn't meet for the first time in a game that counted until 1997, but their battle for superiority in the massive market that is New York has amplified their rivalry.
The following provides a look at notable numbers and notes, a detailed breakdown of the rivalry's origins, an overview of some notable regular-season moments between the two teams, a rundown of their meeting in the 2000 World Series and finally a preview of the present and future outlook of both franchises.
Rivalry Numbers and Notes
Head-to-Head Record (Regular Season)
- 63-45 (advantage NYY)
Head-to-Head Postseason Meetings
- 2000 World Series (Yankees 4, Mets 1)
Notable Players Who Made an Impact on Both Sides
- OF Carlos Beltran
- SP David Cone
- SP Dwight Gooden
- OF Curtis Granderson
- OF Rickey Henderson
- RP Mike Stanton
- Manager Casey Stengel
- OF Darryl Strawberry
- 3B Robin Ventura
From 1903 through the 1957 season, New York was a bustling baseball metropolis.
Along with the New York Yankees in the American League, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants of the National League also called the city home.
During that span, there would be a whopping 13 all-New York matchups in the World Series, with the Yankees going an impressive 10-3 over their NL counterparts.
Everything changed in 1958, though, when the Dodgers and Giants both packed up and left for California.
For four years, the Yankees flew solo in New York, until the Mets were added as an expansion team prior to the 1962 season.
With the Mets playing in the NL, it made sense for the organization to try to scoop up the fans who had been left hanging by the departure of the Dodgers and Giants.
Even the Mets logo reflects that sentiment, as they adopted the New York Giants' "NY" insignia in their same orange color and fixed it on a background of Dodger blue.
The Mets spent their first two seasons playing in the Polo Grounds, former home of the Giants in Manhattan, before settling into Shea Stadium in Queens.
While the Yankees have still dominated the New York media and the win-loss column since the Mets came to town, it's hard to imagine a time when there was just one New York team, and it's easy to see why that only lasted four years.
The Yankees and Mets would not meet outside of an exhibition format for the first time until 1997, but the battle for a fanbase made them rivals from the get-go.
Notable Regular-Season Rivalry Moments
June 16, 1997: First Official Meeting
While the Mets and Yankees had squared off in an annual exhibition game known as the "Mayor's Trophy" from 1963 to 1983, it was not until the 1997 season and the inception of interleague play that they met for the first time in a game that actually counted.
That first meeting took place at Yankee Stadium, with Dave Mlicki of the Mets squaring off against Andy Pettitte of the Yankees.
The Mets walked away with a 6-0 victory behind a complete game, nine-hit shutout from Mlicki. It was one of just two shutouts he threw over the course of his 10-year career.
John Olerud led the Mets offense with two hits, including a double and three RBI, while Bernard Gilkey and Butch Huskey chipped in two hits and an RBI each.
June 15, 2002: Mets vs. Roger Clemens 2.0
Facing the Mets for the first time since his bat-throwing incident in the 2000 World Series (more on that in a bit), Roger Clemens would not only be taking the mound but also stepping into the batter's box with the game being played at Shea Stadium.
Retaliation for the incident seemed likely, and sure enough: Mets starter Shawn Estes whizzed a fastball behind Clemens with the first pitch of his first at-bat.
Both benches were quickly warned, and nothing further happened in the plate appearance.
Luckily, Estes did not get himself thrown out of the game, as he would take Clemens deep in the fifth inning with a two-run home run over the left field wall to give the Mets a 3-0 lead en route to an 8-0 victory.
June 28, 2009: Mariano Rivera Gets Save No. 500
With the Yankees clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Rivera entered the game with runners on first and second and two outs looking to record the final four outs and pick up career save No. 500.
David Wright promptly stole third base to put the tying run 90 feet away from scoring, but Rivera got Omir Santos to strike out looking.
The Yankees then loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with two outs, bringing up Rivera's spot in the batting order.
Manager Joe Girardi decided to let Rivera hit to keep him in position to pick up the save, and he ended up coaxing a bases-loaded walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez for his first career RBI.
The insurance run wouldn't be needed, as Rivera allowed a harmless two-out single to Daniel Murphy in the bottom of the ninth before getting Alex Cora to ground out to second base for the final out and save No. 500.
Rivera would retire as the all-time saves leader with 652, and he is one of just two players to eclipse the 500 mark (Trevor Hoffman).
2000 World Series
Game 1: Yankees 4, Mets 3 (12 innings)
The Subway Series began as a pitchers' duel, with Pettitte opening the game with six scoreless innings for the Yankees and Al Leiter matching him through five.
A two-run double by David Justice gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth, but the Mets struck back for three runs in the top of the seventh to chase Pettitte.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Chuck Knoblauch tied things up in the bottom of the ninth and gave Mets closer Armando Benitez a blown save, setting up second baseman Jose Vizcaino to be the hero in the bottom of the 12th.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Vizcaino slapped an opposite-field single off Mets reliever Turk Wendell, plating Tino Martinez and giving the Yankees the victory in Game 1. It was the fourth hit of the night for Vizcaino.
Game 2: Yankees 6, Mets 5
The second game of the series gave us one of the stranger moments in World Series history.
In the top of the first inning, Mets star Mike Piazza broke his bat on a foul ball. The barrel of the bat came right back at Clemens, who caught it and threw it toward the first-base line, nearly hitting Piazza, who was running to first.
Clemens claimed no ill intent after the game, saying he originally thought the bat was the ball and didn't even see Piazza, but it nonetheless set the tone for the rest of the series.
Piazza would homer later as part of a five-run top of the ninth by the Mets, but that wasn't enough to pull out the victory, as the Yankees had led 6-0 going into that final inning.
Game 3: Mets 4, Yankees 2
Yankees starter Orlando Hernandez was dominant through seven innings in Game 3, striking out 11 and allowing just two runs.
However, Mets starter Rick Reed was able to match his two runs allowed through six innings before turning it over to the bullpen, and the Mets finally got to El Duque in the eighth.
After striking out Ventura to begin the inning, Hernandez allowed three consecutive hits, including an RBI double by Benny Agbayani, and the Yankees were forced to go to the bullpen.
The Mets tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly from Bubba Trammell, and that's where the scoring would end. Benitez nailed down the save in the ninth, and the Mets picked up a 4-2 victory.
Game 4: Yankees 3, Mets 2
Derek Jeter wasted zero time getting the Yankees in the scoring column in Game 4, homering off Mets starter Bobby Jones on the first pitch of the game.
The Yankees tacked on another run in the second and third innings to take a 3-0 lead, but the Mets pulled within one on a two-run home run off the bat of Piazza in the bottom of the third.
That was the end of the scoring, though, as Cone, Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton and Rivera combined for 4.1 scoreless innings of relief to make the one-run lead stand up and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
Game 5: Yankees 4, Mets 2
A Bernie Williams solo home run kicked off the scoring in the top of the second in Game 5, but the Mets quickly answered with a pair of runs off Pettitte in the bottom of the inning.
The Yankees tied things up in the top of the sixth on another solo home run, this one off the bat of Jeter, and the score would remain tied until the ninth inning.
Leiter began the top of the ninth with back-to-back strikeouts of Martinez and Paul O'Neill before running into trouble.
A walk to Jorge Posada and a single by Scott Brosius put the go-ahead run in scoring position, and Luis Sojo delivered the big hit with an RBI single to center field. A second run scored on a throwing error by center fielder Jay Payton, and the Yankees took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Rivera closed things out with a scoreless inning for his sixth save of the postseason and second of the series, and the Yankees were World Series champions for the fourth time in five years.
Jeter earned MVP honors, going 9-for-22 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs, two RBI and six runs scored in the series.
The Present and Future of the Rivalry
The Mets and Yankees split the 2016 Subway Series, with each team taking one game at home and one on the road, but these are two teams headed in different directions.
Coming off a World Series appearance last season, the Mets' window to win a title is open thanks to their enviable stable of arms led by Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, rookie Steven Matz and ageless wonder Bartolo Colon.
Losing Matt Harvey for the season was obviously a blow, but pitching remains the strength of the team and the reason why the Mets are currently in the mix for a playoff spot at three games back in the wild-card standings.
That reliance on pitching stems from what has been a completely inept offense.
The Mets are currently last in the majors in team batting average (.237) and average with runners in scoring position (.206), and that has added up to a meager 3.74 runs per game.
With Syndergaard, deGrom and Matz all under team control through the 2020 season, the Mets have a chance to contend for the foreseeable future, provided they can build a passable offense to back their starting staff.
Help is on the way with shortstop Amed Rosario, first baseman Dominic Smith and infielder Gavin Cecchini headlining a farm system that earned the No. 22 spot in Bleacher Report's latest farm system rankings.
All three should be ready to make an impact in the near future, along with young outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. There's potential for the offense, but re-signing Yoenis Cespedes and/or Neil Walker would go a long way as well.
Meanwhile, the Yankees found themselves in the position of seller for the first time in years this summer, and they made a splash by shipping out Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman and Carlos Beltran.
Those three trades added a wealth of prospect talent to what was already a farm system on the rise, and it was enough for them to take home our No. 1 ranking among all farm systems.
Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin have already arrived in the majors, along with catcher Gary Sanchez, as the next wave of talent.
Their loaded minor league system is not the only thing giving the Yankees a bright outlook for the future, though, as they have a ton of money coming off the books and are lining up nicely to make a serious move during the 2018-19 free-agent class, which features the likes of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Jose Fernandez, among others.
It's unlikely the Yankees will ever go into full-blown rebuilding mode, but these next two seasons will be about developing the young talent and prepping for a big move on the open market.
If the Mets offense can get a boost from its high-end young talent and the Yankees' retooling goes according to plan, another all-New York matchup in the World Series is not out of the question in a few years.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.