Do you know that, if Joe Torre leads the Yankees to a first place finish in 2006 and does not win the World Series, it would be an American League record for most years in a row (6) that a team finished 1st and did not win a World Series in that run?
Right now, Torre is tied at five (2001-2005) with Mike Hargrove (who did it with the Indians (from 1995 through 1999).
You do need some World Series “bad luck” to get a string like this – see the 2001 Yankees and the 1997 Indians.
Of course, the National League record is a long way off: Bobby Cox, 10 years, with the Braves (1996-2005).
It’s interesting that Cox, Hargrove and Torre are the only ones to do this for five years in a row and that it’s all post-1994. Clearly, it has something to do with the leagues going to the three division format (in 1995).
Without the leagues being broken up into three groups, it’s debatable if the 1997 Indians, 2001 Braves and 2005 Yankees even finish in first.
It will be interesting to see, if this does happen for New York in 2006, how it impacts Torre’s legacy. Will he be remembered as the man who won 4 rings in a 5 year span or the guy who finished 1st 6 years in a row and couldn’t get it done in the post-season? Or, do the two ends just offset each other and he’s then just another manager with mixed (meaning so-so) results in the post-season on his resume?