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The New York Yankees' Greatest Era

Harold FriendChief Writer IApril 4, 2010

Baseball fans have been repeatedly told that the New York Yankees are the greatest dynasty in sports history, but they are rarely told that since 1958, the Yankees' dominance with respect to winning the World Series, has decreased.

From 1921-1958, the Yankees won 24 pennants and 18 World Championships.

From 1960-2009, the Yankees have won 16 pennants and nine World Championships.


Yankees Supremacy 

The greatest Yankees' dynasties were from 1927-1953. At the conclusion of the 1953 season, the Yankees had won 20 pennants and 16 World Championships.

The Yankees lost three of their first four World Series, but then an extraordinary run started.

From 1927-1953, the Yankees had a remarkable 15-1 World Series record. From 1949-1953, the Yankees won five consecutive World Championships, the only time a baseball team accomplished the feat.

Few fans remember or know that from 1960-1964, the Yankees had a second streak of five consecutive pennants, but since they won only two of those World Series, that streak of five consecutive pennants is rarely mentioned.

Despite claims to the contrary, winning the pennant is incomplete unless it is followed by winning the World Series.

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After the Cleveland Indians won the 1954 pennant to end the Yankees streak of five consecutive pennants, the 1955 Yankees started a new streak of four consecutive pennants, but won only two of the World Series.

The Chicago White Sox won the 1959 pennant, and then the Yankees won five more consecutive pennants from 1960-1964. Then came the drought.


The Dry Spells

Following the 1964 World Series loss to the Cardinals, the Yankees didn't win another pennant until 1976.  The great Cincinnati Reds, led by future Hall of Famer Pete Rose, swept the Yankees in the Series.

The Yankees were 1977 and 1978 World Champions, beating Los Angeles in a pair of hard-fought Series.

In the strike season of 1981, the Yankees won the pennant but lost the World Series to Los Angeles.

Between 1955-1981, the Yankees won 13 pennants and six World Championships. Then there was another drought.

There were no championships until 1996, when the Yankees won the World Series.

After losing a playoff series to the Indians in 1997, the Yankees won three consecutive world titles.

From 1982-2007, the Yankees won six pennants and four World Championships. Since George Steinbrenner purchased the team in 1973, the record is 11 pennants and seven World Championships.


It is Different

In 2010, there are 30 major league baseball teams. To become the World Champion, a team must win two playoffs rounds and then the World Series.

When the Yankees enjoyed their greatest dominance, there were 16 teams. To become the World Champion, a team had to win the pennant and then the World Series.

While logic dictates that it is more difficult to dominate today, only a few teams—the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, Phillies—are willing to spend obscene amounts of money on star players, and while spending money does not guarantee winning, not spending money does guarantee that a team has much less of a chance of winning and almost no chance of creating a dynasty.

Reference:

Baseball-Reference

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