New York Yankees: The 1927 Club and the Top 15 Teams in Franchise History

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2011

New York Yankees: The 1927 Club and the Top 15 Teams in Franchise History

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    27 Oct 1999:  Catcher Jorge Posada of the New York Yankees leaps into the air with Mariano Rivera after they defeated the Atlanta Braves 4-1 in game four of the Major League Baseball World Series at Yankees Stadium in New York, New York, to win the Series
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    With 27 World Championships, the New York Yankees have dominated the MLB for nearly 100 years.

    By employing some of the best hitters in the history of baseball, New York's continuing professionalism mixed with the shear ability to consistently win has become the epitome of their championship swagger.

    They've made their mark through historic achievements such as home run records, perfect games and no-hitters, HOF legends, and by becoming one of the most prominent sports teams in the history of U.S. sports.

    The Yankees have posted 20 seasons with at least 100 wins, carrying that regular season success deep into the playoffs and capturing the prized possession of baseball almost three times more than the second most successful team (Cardinals with 10).

    It's hard to breakdown the Yankees' championship teams of the past.  Decade by decade, players and teams are subject to different times in baseball's evolution, making it difficult to compare a team from 1923 to a 2009 world series winner.

    Every generation of fans has their own reasons in defending the championship seasons of their eras.  Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera, make up the legends of New York championship teams and possess their own achievements that can be called "the best".

    With that said, here are the top 15 teams in New York Yankees franchise history.


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    BRONX, NY - OCTOBER 26:  John Wetteland #35 of the New York Yankees celebrates the final out of Game six of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium on October 26, 1996 in Bronx, New York. The Yankees defeated the Braves 3-2 to w
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 92-70

    Postseason: 11-4

    World Series: 4-2 (Over Atlanta Braves)

    While the Yankees only won 92 games, which is a mediocre total for the best franchise in baseball history, their success in 1996 served as a building block for years to come.

    The season marked the start of the Derek Jeter, Joe Torre era, in which the Yankees won four championships in five years (96', 98', 99', and 00').

    For the Yankees, regular season statistics were everything short of spectacular.  Only Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez recorded over 100 RBI, making the case that power hitters are not needed to win championships.

    As for the pitching, Andy Pettitte was the only 20-game winner, going 21-8 with a 3.87 ERA through 221 innings.

    Even though John Wetteland served as the Yankees primary closer and recorded 43 saves, Mariano Rivera still managed to go 8-3 with 130 SO in 107 2/3 innings in an unorthodox setup role.

    1996 proved to be the season that started all the mainstream success that the Yankees have endured in the past two decades.


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    Google Images
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    Regular Season: 101-53

    World Series: 4-1 (Over Brooklyn Dodgers)

    1941 was one of the better years for the post-Ruth, pre-Mantle Yankees squad, led by outfielders Joe DiMaggio and Charlie Keller.

    DiMaggio hit an outstanding .357 with 30 home runs, batting in a league leading 130 RBI to help him secure his second of three MVP awards.

    The 41' Yankees not only led the MLB in home runs with 151, but they ranked second in runs, slugging, and OPS.

    The six Yankees starters combined to go 72-37 with a 3.53 ERA, throwing 66 complete games and posting 12 shutouts.

    Their World Series match-up against the Brooklyn Dodgers was the first time the two teams met in the heralded "Subway Series", sparking the rivalry to face-off in baseball's championship series seven times from 1941-1956.


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    Google Images

    Regular Season: 102-52

    World Series: 4-1 (Over New York Giants)

    The 1937 championship season for the New York Yankees was seemingly the last "great" season by Lou Gehrig, before his fight against ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) started to impede on his baseball career.

    Gehrig's one and only home run during the rematch with the Giants from the year before proved to be his last World Series bomb in his prolific career.

    The Yankee clipper finished the season with 37 home runs and 159 RBI, hitting .351 with 127 walks.

    Following in the footsteps of Gehrig was DiMaggio, who batted .346 with 46 home runs and 167 RBI, showing that he was more than ready to take over for the soon-to-be absent no. 4.


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    Google Images

    Regular Season: 102-51

    World Series: 4-2 (Over New York Giants)

    The 1936 season was one of the most important years in New York Yankee franchise history.

    It featured the first of four straight World Series titles for the Lou Gehrig led Yankee squad, which would end up being the first time in franchise history that the Yankees have won three or more championships in a row.

    Maybe one of the best hitting teams ever, the 36' Yankees led the MLB in runs, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, and total bases. 

    Gehrig led the league in games, runs, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, and slugging, on his way to his second AL MVP.

    Even more impressive, the Yankees lineup featured five hitters with at least 100 RBI, seven players with at least 26 doubles, and two hitters with 15 triples.

    Easily one of the best hitting campaigns that any Yankees team has ever produced.


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    Google Images

    Regular Season: 107-47

    World Series: 4-0 (Over Chicago Cubs)

    The 1932 season marked the fourth World Series title for the Yankees and their only one from 1929-1935.

    Led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the Yankees won 107 games which is the fourth most in franchise history.

    Ruth and Gehrig combined for 75 home runs, 288 RBI, and each respectively hit .341 and .349.

    Maybe one of the most infamous baseball moments ever, Babe Ruth called his home run shot in the fifth inning of Game 3 before he hit it to deep center field. 

    The "Called Shot" is still discussed today among baseball fans and critics, but the historical World Series moment is one of the reasons why Babe Ruth is the greatest player to ever grace the game of baseball.


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    Google Images

    Regular Season: 100-62

    Post-Season: 7-4

    World Series: 4-2 (Over Los Angeles Dodgers)

    Reggie Jackson's series clinching three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series should be enough proof that the 1977 Yankees are one of the best teams in franchise history, but just in-case that isn't sufficient, you must consider this:

    1. It was the first time in 15 years that the Yankees won a championship.

    2. The Yankees only had two hitters bat over .300 in the regular season.

    3. They did not have any pitcher win 17 or more games.

    4. Barely narrowed out the Kansas City Royals during the ALCS by recording three runs in the top of the ninth of Game 5.

    Taking this into consideration, these obstacles served as a means of motivation for the 77' Yankees and their championship hopes.

    Having to overcome a lack of statistical output throughout the regular season, along with shaky post-season pitching, New York was able to persevere and win their 21st World Series title.


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    Google Images

    Regular Season: 97-57

    World Series: 4-3 (Over Brooklyn Dodgers)

    The 1956 New York Yankees not only managed to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the sixth time in seven match-ups, but their post-season success was over shadowed by Mickey Mantle's first regular season MVP.

    Mantle hit 52 home runs while batting .353, knocking in 130 runs and stealing 10 bases.

    The Yankees led the MLB in home runs, runs, slugging, OPS, total bases, and ranked second in stolen bases and triples.

    Their World Series victory over the Dodgers featured one of the best pitching performances in MLB post-season history, in which Don Larsen threw a perfect game in Game 5, on his way to capturing a series MVP.

    Since 1956 featured the beginning of Mantle's reign as New York's big-bat, this season could easily be called one of the most important years for the Yankees between 1953-1977.


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    Google Images
    Google Images

    Regular Season: 106-45

    World Series: 4-0 (Over Cincinnati Reds)

    This team had to overcome one of the biggest obstacles that any Yankees squad has ever faced.  The retirement of Yankee great Lou Gehrig, after his battle with ALS forced him to step away from the game of baseball on June 21, 1939.

    Gehrig's farewell speech on July 4th is still one of the most infamous moments in baseball history, in which he said he was the, "luckiest man on the face of the earth".

    Despite losing one of baseball's all-time greats, the 39' Yankees were able to ride the MVP success of third year player Joe DiMaggio on their way to capturing their fourth straight and eight overall title in franchise history.

    DiMaggio's career high .381 average led the MLB and proved that the Yankees could win without Gehrig's production.


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    27 Oct 1999: Chille Davis #45 of the New York Yankees hugs the team after winning the World Series Game four against the Atlanta Braves at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The Yankees defeated the Braves 4-1.
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 98-64

    Post-Season: 11-1

    World Series: 4-0 (Over Atlanta Braves)

    Featuring career years from Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, the 1999 New York Yankees were able to win their third title in only four years.

    New York's 11-1 post-season record still proves to be one of the best playoffs runs in MLB history.

    Offering speed, power, average, plate discipline, and all-around great play, the Bronx Bombers' offense was able to get it done in every situation during the season.

    For the pitching, 99' was arguably the year that Mariano Rivera cemented himself as one of the best closers in all of baseball, recording 45 saves with a 1.83 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.

    It was the second time in four years in which the Yankees cruised to a championship over the National League Atlanta Braves, sparking an out-of-league rivalry.


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    Google Images
    Google Images

    Regular Season: 98-54

    World Series: 4-2 (Over New York Giants)

    Being the first time ever that the Yankees won a World Series title, 1923 is easily one of the most prolific teams in franchise history.

    Babe Ruth's MVP performance, marked by his .393 average and 41 home runs, solidified his status as the face of the New York Yankees.

    He added three home runs in the five game World Series against the New York Giants.

    The Yankees starters combined to go 92-49, throwing 97 complete games and nine shutouts.

    After losing the previous two years to the Giants in the championship series, the 1923 team rescued the franchise from yet another defeat and sparked the success that would become the New York Yankees for the next 90 years.


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    Regular Season: 101-53

    World Series: 4-0 (Over St. Louis Cardinals)

    Following quite possible the most prolific season by any Yankees team in history during the 1927 campaign, the Bronx Bombers were more than ready to add another World Series to the belt in 1928.

    Culminated by tremendous hitting from Ruth and Gehrig in the regular season, the Yankees carried that success over to the post-season where they swept the Cardinals in route to win their third championship in franchise history.

    During the series Ruth went 10-for-16, with three home runs coming in the series clinching Game 4.

    Gehrig added three home runs as well after hitting 27 bombs, 47 doubles, and 13 triples in the regular season.

    Ruth's 54 home runs during the 1928 season are tied for third most in his career, providing the Yankees with enough offense to lead the league in hits, home runs, runs, walks, average, slugging, on-base percentage, and OPS.

    The back-to-back World Series sweeps helped improved the Yankees to an astonishing 8-0 record from 1927-1928, arguably making that team the best squad to ever grace the field in pinstripes.


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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees celebrates after their 7-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Ph
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 103-59

    Post-Season: 11-4

    World Series: 4-2 (Over Philadelphia Phillies)

    2009 was a great year to be a Yankees fan.

    It was the first title in nearly a decade.  Way too long for the late owner George Steinbrenner and the mentality of winning that he instilled into the city of New York.

    The 103 regular season wins were the most that the Yankees had posted since 2002, where they lost in the ALDS to the Anaheim Angels.

    After piecing together their championship team through free agency, newly acquired Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Nick Swisher helped complete the puzzle.

    Teixeira and Swisher combined to hit 78 home runs with 204 RBI, while Sabathia and Burnett combined to go 32-17 with 392 SO in 437 innings.

    The World Series victory marked the first for Alex Rodriguez and new manager Joe Girardi. 

    The win has currently slated the Yankees with 27 total rings in franchise history, easily making them the team to catch in the 21st century.


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    Google Images
    Google Images

    Regular Season: 109-53

    World Series: 4-1 (Over Cincinnati Reds)

    61 for Maris, 54 for Mantle, and a World Series ring.  There's really nothing else to say.

    The M&M boys combined to hit 115 home runs with 269 RBI during their home run race to catch Babe Ruth, making them quite possible the most dominated hitting-duo in baseball history.

    The 109 wins are third most in franchise history and the AL MVP won by Roger Maris was his second of his career.

    Cy-Young winner Whitey Ford pitched his way to a (2-0) record in the championship series, earning himself a MVP. 

    Ford's numbers during the 1961 season were career highs across the board.  With 25 wins, 283 innings, and 209 SO, the Yankee great helped compliment the historic hitting with hall of fame pitching.

    With a pitcher like Whitey Ford and hitters with the capability of Mantle and Maris, the 1961 New York Yankees could arguably be the best team in franchise history.


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    21 Oct 1998:  Pitcher Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees celebrates following the 1998 World Series Game 5 against the San Diego Padres at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Yankees defeated the Padres 3-0 to win the World Series.
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Regular Season: 114-48

    Post-Season: 11-2

    World Series: 4-0 (Over San Diego Padres)

    The 1998 New York Yankees may harness enough accomplishments to be considered not only the best team in franchise history, but the best team in baseball history.

    Their 114 wins is the most by any Yankee team ever, making that feat historic in it's own right.

    During the post-season, New York managed to go 11-2, sweeping the Padres in the World Series which would spark the three-peat of titles from 1998-2000.

    While the offense produced enough to rank first in runs and walks, second in hits and average, and fourth in home runs, the Yankees' pitching was even better.

    Featuring a 20-game winner in David Cone, an 18-game winner in David Wells, and a 16-game winner in Andy Pettitte, the starting rotation combined to go 79-35 with 21 complete-games and seven shutouts.

    The World Series win not only cemented Joe Torre as one of the best to ever manage a New York Yankees team, but it was good enough to earn him his second career manager of the year award.

    The 1998 season still stands as the most prolific year for a Yankees team in the modern-era of baseball.


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    Google Images
    Google Images

    Regular Season: 110-44

    World Series: 4-0 (Over Pittsburgh Pirates)

    The only thing that separates the 1927 Yankees from the 1998 team are the 60 home runs by Babe Ruth.

    If you were to smartly disregard the steroid-era and every record broke within that span, the only person to surpass Ruth's single-season home run record in the 84-year span from when he set it, is fellow Yankee Roger Maris with 61 in 1961.

    Ruth's home runs were an obvious career high, also adding 158 runs and 164 RBI.

    Complementing Ruth was Gehrig, as usual, supporting the "Great Bambino" with 47 home runs and a league leading 175 RBI, resulting in Gehrig beating out Ruth for 1927 MVP honors.

    Well-known as "Murder's Row", the Yankees lineup in 1927 has been called one of the best to ever assemble.

    Ruth and Gehrig were arguably striding at their career peaks throughout the season, culminating into a World Series sweep over the Pirates, making it the first time an AL team swept a NL opponent in the championship.

    While we often salivate at great hitters like Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds, our concentration tends to ignore baseball's past and the elite players that make up those historic seasons.

    The 1927 New York Yankees offered two of the most historic and greatest players in baseball history, which is the sole reason why these group of players made up the best Yankees team in franchise history,


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