|The Yankees have enjoyed more success than any other sports franchise. It took the Yankees two decades to get to their first World Series. The roots of the franchise actually belong in Baltimore, where John McGraw piloted the Orioles in 1901 and 1902 before his feud with the American League.
In 1903 AL officials decided to compete with the established National League in New York, establishing a franchise in the city. The team was known as the Highlanders, for the part of New York they played in. The 1920s Yankees rested on the shoulders of the greatest home run hitter in history. The Red Sox let Babe Ruth slip away to New York and they soon regretted it. Ruths stats are legendy: 714 home runs, 2174 runs, 2210 RBI, 2056 walks, .342 average, .690 slugging average. Ruth led the AL in homers 12 times, in runs 8 times, in total bases 6 times, in RBI 6 times, in walks 11 times, in batting once, slugging 12 times, and in OBP 10 times.
The bookend to Ruth on those 1920s Yankee teams was Lou Gehrig, a Hall of Famer with astounding credentials. The power-hitting lefty won two MVP awards, including 1927 when Ruth clubbed 60 homers. Gehrig of course, played in 2,130 consecutive games for New York, a record until Cal Ripken Jr. bested it. But unlike Ripken, Gehrig performed at an MVP level every year of his streak. Joining Gehrig in the 1930s was Joe DiMaggio who hit .323 his first season with 29 homers and 125 RBI. In 1939 he hit .381, winning his first batting title. He followed in 1940 with another title, hitting .352. He led his league in homers (1937, 1948), RBI (1941, 1948), and runs scored (1937). His incredible 56 game hitting streak in 1941 helped him to the MVP award and secured his place in immortality.
The team won four straight titles from 1936 to 1939, something no other team had ever done. During the war years the Yankees lost most of their stars and the league was left wide open. Within a few seasons however, the Yankees had returned to dominance again. Mickey Mantle rose to the challenge of replacing DiMaggio in the early 1950s. In 1956 he won the triple crown with 52 homers, 130 RBI, and a .353 average. Mantle battled nagging injuries his entire career yet still managed 536 home runs (the most by a Yankee other than Ruth), 1509 RBI, and 2415 hits. He played on 12 Yankee pennant winners, taking home seven World Series rings.
Much of the 1950s were spent battling the Dodgers in the World Series, with the Yankees beating them three of four times in that decade. From 1949 to 1953 the team won every World Series, a record unmatched to this day. In the early 1960s the Yankee dynasty rolled on, winning pennants from 1960-1964, but it soon crumbled. The great 1961 team which featured home run sluggers Mantle and Roger Maris, degenerated into a slow, old team by 1965.
The 1970s began just as feebly, but new ownership in the person of George Steinbrenner changed the attitude in the Bronx. In 1976 former Yankee infielder Billy Martin led the team to the first of three straight pennants. In 1977 and 1978 the Yankees defeated their old rivals, the Dodgers, in the World Series.
The 1980s began where the 1970s left off - with a World Series trip in 1981. From 1982 to 1991 the team had a revolving door of players and managers. There were eleven managerial changes during that period before Buck Showalter finally brought some stability in 1992. In 1994 the Yankees were in first place when the season was cancelled due to a players strike. In 1995 they earned a wild card spot and in 1996 they returned to the Fall Classic after 15 years, under the leadership of Joe Torre. In 1996, 1998, and 1999, the Yankees won World Series titles, still under the ownership of Steinbrenner.
In 2000 the Yankees made it three straight, winning a Subway Series over the Mets in five close games. The 2001 Yankees were far from over-powering but they won yet another AL East flag and earned a chance to defend their three championships. In the first round the pesky A's took a 2-0 lead but the Yanks came back in historic fashion to sweep the final three games. A victory over the favored Mariners (who won 116 games in the regular season, besting the '98 Yanks total) put the Bombers in the World Series for the fourth straight season.
In the World Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks became the sixth franchise to defeat the Yankees in the World Series, rallying to win Game Seven against New York's relief ace Rivera. In 2002 more armor continued to flake off the Yankees, as they were defeated by the Angels in the ALDS, three games to one. The series succeeded in proving one thing - the Yankees pitching staff was aging. Heading into 2003, many questions remained to be answered on that subject.
In 2004 the New York Yankees finished in 1st place in the American League East Division with a 101-61 record.
In 2006 the New York Yankees finished in 1st place in the American League East
Division with a 97-65 record. They lost to the Tigers in the playoffs.