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Toast of the Town

I asked my good pal Rich Lederer who he thinks was a better team: The 1986 Mets or the 1998 Yankees. Since Rich is a California native, so I thought he’d have a measured take on the whole issue. Here is an e-mail I received from him this morning:

1. The Yankees won 114 games in 1998, the Mets won 108 games in 1986.

Edge: Yankees.

2. The Yankees won their division by 22 games, the Mets by 21 1/2 games.

Edge: Yankees.

3. The Yankees swept the the Rangers in the ALDS 3-0, beat the Indians in the ALCS 4-2, and swept the Padres in the World Series 4-0. The Mets beat the Astros 4-2 in the NLCS and the Red Sox 4-3 in the NLCS.

Edge: Yankees.

4. The Yankees outscored their opponents during the season by 310 runs, whereas the Mets outscored their opponents by 205 runs. Another way of looking at it is to say that the Yankees scored 1.47 runs for every run allowed. By comparison, the Mets scored 1.35 runs for every run allowed.

Edge: Yankees.

5. The Yankees scored runs at a rate of 1.19x the league average and allowed runs at .81x the league average. The Mets scored runs at a rate of 1.16x the league averages and allowed runs at .86x the league average.

Edge: Yankees.

6. The argument against the Yankees based on such league comparisons is that they benefited from the expansion in the A.L. that year. 1998 was the inaugural year for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a team that finished in last place with the worse record in the league (63-99). The Yankees beat the Devil Rays, 11 games to one in their season series. Backing out the Yankees’ record against Tampa Bay produces a won-loss record of 103-47 and a winning percentage of .687. By comparison, the Mets had a winning percentage of .667 in 1986.

Edge: Yankees.
As such, no matter how you slice or dice it, the Yankees’ superiority in 1998 exceeded the Mets’ superiority in 1986.

A clean sweep for the Yankees, according to Lederer. Can anyone punch any holes into his findings?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver