MLB: The Yankees Dynasty Was Not During Steinbrenner's Era. It Was from 1927-53

Harold FriendChief Writer IAugust 11, 2011

Billy Martin
Billy MartinT.G. Higgins/Getty Images

It is the greatest dynasty in sports history, but most individuals are not even aware when it occurred. Yes, the New York Yankees have won 27 World Championships and 40 pennants since 1921, but that is not the real dynasty.

The real Yankees dynasty began in 1927 and ended in 1953, a period of 27 years in which the Yankees won 16 pennants and 15 World Championships.

No one is supposed to win 15 out of 16 World Series Championships.

Over the last 57 years, the Yankees have won 20 pennants but only 11 World Championships. Doesn’t a .550 winning percentage suggest a type of mediocrity?

The Yankees have had many of the greatest players in the game, but of greater significance, they had players that fit together to create great teams.

Babe Ruth was the greatest of all players, Lou Gehrig was the greatest of all first baseman, Bill Dickey ranks among the greatest of all catchers, Joe DiMaggio was the best center fielder of all-time and Mickey Mantle has become greater in death than he was in life.

Earle Combs, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Tommy Henrich, Charlie Keller, Red Rolfe, George Selkirk, Phil Rizzuto, Billy Johnson, Bobby Brown, Joe Collins, Johnny Mize and Johnny Hopp complemented the greatest Yankees to produce championship teams.

Billy Martin was barely good enough to be a regular, but he rose to the occasions and did what had to be done to win.

The Yankees have had outstanding pitchers, but none of the greatest pitchers of all-time

Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Lefty Grove, Cy Young, Grover Cleveland Alexander and Sandy Koufax never wore the Yankees’ uniform, but the Yankees’ pitching staffs that won championships were deep.

The greatest team of all time, the 1927 Yankees, had a pitching staff led by Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Wilcy Moore and Urban Shocker.

Hoyt and Pennock are Hall of Famers, but certainly are not among the best of all time. Still, they exemplify what the Yankees were during the real dynasty.

The 1927 Yankees had the Murderers’ Row, but they won thanks to solid pitching and outstanding defense.

Another example of the Yankees’ pitching balance was the 1939 staff.

The Yankees won the pennant by 17 games over the runner-up Boston Red Sox. Some consider the 1939 team the most balanced of all Yankees’ teams, yet they had eight starting pitchers.

Red Ruffing  (21-7), Atley Donald (13-3), Lefty Gomez (12-8), Monte Pearson (12-5) and Bump Hadley (12-6) were all 12 game winners.

Steve Sundra, who was 11-1 with a 2.76 ERA and Oral Hillebrand, who won 10 games, gave the 1939 Yankees seven pitchers with wins in double figures.

Ten years later, led by Casey Stengel, the Yankees started the streak of five consecutive pennants and five consecutive World Championships that will never be matched by another baseball team.

Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, and Eddie Lopat led the pitching, with Eddie Ford helping in 1950 and again in 1953.

Ford spent the 1951 and 1952 seasons helping the United Nations’ Korean police action defend the freedoms we enjoy, except when we go to the airport.

Bob Kuzava, Bobby Hogue, Johnny Sain, Bob Weisler, Tom Morgan and Joe Ostrowski all contributed. They were not quite household names, but they were effective and did their jobs.

The Cleveland Indians, who were World Champions in 1948 and who finished second to the Yankees in 1951, 1952 and 1953, had pitching staffs anchored by future Hall of Fame pitchers Bob Feller, Early Wynn and Bob Lemon. They couldn’t quite top the Yankees.

Most good things must end, and the Indians finally broke through in 1954, ending not only the Yankees’ streak of five consecutive pennants, but also the Yankees’ domination of baseball.

The Yankees would still be baseball’s premiere team, but they would never again approach the 1927-1953 era of excellence.


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