• This Yankees Fan Loves The Past & Hopes For The Future

    Posted by on February 12th, 2011 · Comments (13)

    I loved the Yankees of the late 1970’s. As I was introduced to the Yankees in 1973, this was the team of my youth and the first one to capture my love. That was some bunch: A young George Steinbrenner, Gabe Paul, Billy Martin in his prime, Bob Lemon, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Roy White, Sparky Lyle, Chris Chambliss, Lou Piniella, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Catfish Hunter, a young Willie Randolph, Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson, Dick Tidrow, Chicken Stanley, Ed Figueroa, Rudy May, Cliff Johnson, Mike Torrez…what a cast. Just about everyone who was part of the Yankees at that time has a special place in my heart.

    I also enjoyed the ringless Yankees of the 1980’s. Sure, rotating in managers and G.M.’s left and right was crazy during this time. But, of course, you still had Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson, Dave Righetti, Dave Winfield, Mike Pagliarulo, Rick Cerone, Oscar Gamble, Ron Hassey, and Tommy John to root for on these teams – along with an interesting supporting staff that included players such as Mel Hall, Ken Griffey Sr., Bobby Meacham, Butch Wynegar, Jerry Mumphrey, Wayne Tolleson, Claudell Washington, Joe Cowley, Gary Ward, Phil Niekro, Bobby Brown, Bob Shirley, Alvaro Espinoza, Dennis Rasmussen, Lee Guetterman, and Steve Balboni.

    Then, of course, came the Buck Showalter-primed Yankees of the late 1990’s. Put together by Stick Michael and Bob Watson. Led by Joe Torre while he was in his 50’s and supported by Don Zimmer. In terms of players to love, here I found a young Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Boomer Wells, Scott Brosius, an emerging Jorge Posada, El Duque Hernandez, David Cone, Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, Ramiro Mendoza – along with role players such as Tim Raines, Joe Girardi, Chad Curtis, Luis Sojo, Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, Jim Leyritz and Darryl Strawberry. Heck even a head case like Chuck Knoblauch didn’t bother me all that much. Next to my “first love” Yankees of the late ’70’s, this is my favorite Yankees team – and it’s a close race between the two for the top spot.

    And, this brings us to the current Yankees – the New York Yankees of the last half-dozen years or so. Today’s Yankees are run by Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Brian Cashman – suits, pencil pushers, and not baseball men. And, they report to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner – aka basbeall’s Buster and Gob Bluth. The face of the Yankees during this time is that of an aging Derek Jeter and Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez. Along with that, you had guys like Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson, Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Carl Pavano, and Kei Igawa – expensive imports with some warts. Much like today’s Yankees – guys such as Nick “Red Light” Swisher, Curtis Granderson and A.J. Burnett. Now, it’s not all bad. Guys like Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang were likeable Yankees from this period – but, they’re all gone. And, this team has some young talent like Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, David Robertson and Phil Hughes. And, not all of the Yankees high-priced imports during this time had mixed results. Both CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira have earned their paychecks. Yet, “today’s” Yankees are clearly fourth in the pecking order of my favorite Yankees.

    The Yankees of the late ’70’s and ’90’s are tops – followed by the Yankees of the 1980’s. And, this recent version of the Yankees trails them all, by far. In fact, I’m expecting that a future Yankees team – say, the Yankees of the late 2010’s, pushes them to fifth come, say, in the year 2020. What are the odds of that happening? Pretty good, if you ask me now. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for…

    Comments on This Yankees Fan Loves The Past & Hopes For The Future

    1. rankdog
      February 12th, 2011 | 9:11 pm

      I find it interesting that you put the Yankees of the 1980s above the Yankees of the late. The team made the World Series in 81 but didn’t reach the playoffs again until 95. The team was mismanaged and big George was put out of baseball. While Henderson and Winfield played for us they went on to be identified and enshrined in the HoF for other teams. We traded away our best prospects for nothing (Drabek and Buhner). The ones we kept sucked (BamBam and Maas). It seemed like we finished the Sox every year. It truly sucked to be a Yankee fan during the era.

      Things haven’t been perfect after the dynasty years, which I feel run 95 to 03, but I am a happier fan than I was during that terrible 14 year stretch. Again this your preference and your opinion. I just don’t care to relive those years again of being 9 games out and giving away our talent for pennies on the dollar. I will take playoff contention and WS trips 3 times a decade and love every minute of it. Its a great time to be a Yankee fan.

    2. Evan3457
      February 13th, 2011 | 8:28 am

      1. Swisher and Granderson are not expensive relative to their contributions.

      2. I believe Cashman played college baseball. From the Catholic University baseball website: “The Cardinal Baseball tradition is proud to include famous ties to the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman, currently in his 14th year as Vice President and General Manager of the 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 World Series Champion New York Yankees, was a standout second baseman under Coach Natoli from 1985-1989.” So, don’t think it’s correct to call him a “suit” and not a baseball man. He’s more of a baseball man than, say, Theo Epstein, for example, who didn’t even play high school ball.

      Checking Baseball Reference…Dave Dombrowski has no professional playing experience, major or minor leagues. Neither does Larry Beinfest of the Marlins. (Beinfest was a star high school player who had offers of college scholarship before breaking his leg. He played two years of college ball before stopping and transferring to Cal-Berkeley.) Nor does Andrew Friedman of the Marlins. Nor does Brian Sabean of the Giants. Nor does Jon Daniels of the Rangers. Nor does Walt Jocketty of the Reds (and before that, the Cards). Nor does Alex Anthopoulos of the Jays.

      Dayton Moore also doesn’t have any professional playing experience, though he was farm director and assistant GM for the Braves for quite awhile before the Royals picked him as GM. The Royals stink, but their farm system is now the best in baseball, so they’re not likely to stink for too much longer.

      On the other hand…

      Billy Beane had major league experience. Omar Minaya played minor league ball. Neil Huntington, the Pirates GM, also played college ball at Amherst, but had no professional experience. Kevin Towers has extensive minor league experience. Jerry DiPoto and AJ Hinch, the two men who had the job before him, were major leaguers.

      …and finally:

      Gabe Paul had no professional playing experience. He was the protege of Warren Giles, and whatever team Giles went to, he took Paul with him. Paul got his 1st general manger job suceeding Giles as Reds GM went Giles became NL President.

      George Weiss got his start as a baseball executive by “founding” an “outlaw” minor league team associated with the Federal League. He created the Yankee farm system that built the dynasty, and served as its head from 1932 to 1947, before becoming GM from 1947 to 1960. He had no professional playing experience.

      Ed Barrow had a minor league managing record, but no playing record on the professional level. He was also a successful major league manager, managing the Red Sox to their last pre-Manny title in 1918. He was the Yankees’ “business manager” from 1921 to 1945, and built their first great team, and hired Weiss to build the farm system.


      So, when you say Cashman is “not a baseball man”, I’m not really sure what you mean. His playing experience is more extensive than most of the other top GMs in the game. He had more front office experience than most before they became GM, having served 12 years in the Yankees’ organization in various roles before becoming GM.

      In addition, the track record of the “baseball man” GMs in the era of modern analysis isn’t so terrific, especially in the last decade or so. Of the 10 teams to win a title in this decade, only Kenny Williams of the White Sox and Pat Gillick had any professional playing experience. Williams was the only major leaguer.

    3. Jim TreshFan
      February 13th, 2011 | 11:32 am

      Excellent thesis, Rankdog. It really calls into question what makes someone a “baseball man” to begin with. Which leaves me to wonder whether we amateurs can even claim the title whatever our preponderance of knowledge or zealotry might be.

      But what I find even more interesting is that Steve began follwing the Yankees in 1973, the worst year in history to be a Yankees fan. Now I’m not much one into astrology of any persuasion, mind you. I don’t believe the calendar day or year that marks your birth determines your character or course of life; but perhaps the season you started rooting for your favorite sports team influences your “fanhood” just a bit.

    4. February 13th, 2011 | 2:43 pm

      Most of the GM’s who were not former minor or major players cut their teeth scouting for years, or working in the scouting department.

      What was Cashman’s expereince before he was GM and Asst. GM? I know he started out as an intern, working security at the Stadium. But, between that time and when he became Asst DG, what was he doing for the team? I don’t think he was sitting at minor league games with a radar gun in his hand…

    5. Evan3457
      February 13th, 2011 | 5:37 pm

      Neither Epstein nor Freidman spent any time scouting, as far as I can find out.

    6. February 13th, 2011 | 5:50 pm

      IIRC, Epstein did some scouting work with the Pods before Laughing Larry brought him to Beantown – but, I could be wrong.

    7. February 13th, 2011 | 6:34 pm

      @ rankdog:

      The Yankees of the 1980’s were no different than the Yankees of 2006-2010. Lots of wins, great offense, middle of the pack pitching at best.

      Here are the stats from the 80’s:

      RCAA                           RCAA    
      1    Yankees                     643   
      2    Red Sox                     500   
      3    Tigers                      455   
      4    Brewers                     228   
      5    A's                         211   
      6    Orioles                     169   
      7    Royals                       65   
      8    Blue Jays                   -37   
      9    Angels                      -44   
      10   Indians                    -315   
      11   Rangers                    -404   
      12   White Sox                  -441   
      13   Twins                      -549   
      14   Mariners                   -752   
      RSAA                           RSAA       W        L     
      1    Blue Jays                   480      817      746   
      2    Royals                      378      826      734   
      3    White Sox                   164      758      802   
      4    Tigers                      162      839      727   
      5    Red Sox                     148      821      742   
      6    Rangers                      48      720      839   
      7    Yankees                      40      854      708   
      8    Angels                      -40      783      783   
      9    Brewers                     -63      804      760   
      10   Twins                       -95      733      833   
      11   Mariners                   -146      673      893   
      12   Orioles                    -174      800      761   
      13   A's                        -261      803      764   
      14   Indians                    -417      710      849   
      WINNING PERCENTAGE              PCT       W        L     
      1    Yankees                    .547      854      708   
      2    Tigers                     .536      839      727   
      3    Royals                     .529      826      734   
      4    Red Sox                    .525      821      742   
      5    Blue Jays                  .523      817      746   
      6    Brewers                    .514      804      760   
      7    Orioles                    .512      800      761   
      8    A's                        .512      803      764   
      9    Angels                     .500      783      783   
      10   White Sox                  .486      758      802   
      11   Twins                      .468      733      833   
      12   Rangers                    .462      720      839   
      13   Indians                    .455      710      849   
      14   Mariners                   .430      673      893   

      The difference, again, to me, is that the crew from the ’80’s had more guys who it was easy to root for, etc. Your mileage may vary.

    8. February 14th, 2011 | 12:16 am

      I’ll take a World Series win in 2009 over that crew in the ’80s.

      Just curious… how would you have felt if you were a fan of a team like the 1986 Mets? Would you have as much or more of a problem with not liking guys as you have with this current bunch?

    9. Raf
      February 14th, 2011 | 12:16 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      And, they report to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner – aka basbeall’s Buster and Gob Bluth.

      Yeah, I definitely can see that. Got a good laugh out of it 😀

    10. Corey Italiano
      February 15th, 2011 | 12:11 pm

      Raf wrote:

      And, they report to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner – aka basbeall’s Buster and Gob Bluth.

      There’s always money in the banana stand 🙂

    11. February 15th, 2011 | 1:20 pm

      Brent wrote:

      Just curious… how would you have felt if you were a fan of a team like the 1986 Mets? Would you have as much or more of a problem with not liking guys as you have with this current bunch?

      Don’t confuse players being likeable with them being choir boys. The 1977-78 Yankees were not chior boys. And, I loved them.

    12. rankdog
      February 15th, 2011 | 4:51 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      I agree we won a lot of games over the decade. I think our opinions vary because of age. You are 10 years older and it appears focus mostly on the beginning of the decade as some of your favorite players from the late 70s faded from the team. While I started collecting cards, playing little league middle to late 80’s. From ’86 on sucked. Especially in ’86 after the Met won. It wasn’t until college that I really enjoyed being a fan again. The late 80s early 90s stretch sticks out in my mind. Its probable that the early part of the decade is what is memorable for you.

    13. February 15th, 2011 | 5:04 pm

      @ rankdog: No question, 1989 to 1991 was ugly. But, personally, I was very busy during that time and able to ignore a lot of it. 😉

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