Today’s news is powered by a Waterboys song that always makes me smile . . .
- Tyler Kepner examines the loooooong season, with a World Series that could end November 5th.
- Jack Curry writes about the legendary intensity of Andy Pettitte.
- Mariano Rivera gave Phil Hughes a pep talk.
- Brian Cashman explains why he went after Sabathia after ’08 rather than Santana after ’07:
Yankees GM Brian Cashman took plenty of criticism following the 2007 season when he stood by while the Mets acquired left-hander Johan Santana from the Twins in a trade for four prospects. Cashman’s reluctance to deal with the Twins looked even worse when the Yankees’ string of 13 consecutive post-season appearances ended in 2008.
However, Cashman had a reason for not pursuing Santana and signing him to the type of lucrative contract—six years and $137.5 million—that the southpaw received from the Mets. That was that Cashman wanted to save money for last winter’s free-agent class. He took his savings and went crazy on the open market, signing left-hander CC Sabathia, right-hander A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixeira for a combined $423.5 million. The trio combined for 15.3 WARP1 this season, and the Yankees are one victory away from their first World Series appearance since 2003.
“When we added David Cone from Toronto (during the 1995 season), we were a piece away at the time,” Cashman told the New York Daily News‘ John Harper. “But when Santana became available, in my opinion we weren’t a piece away yet. So I told ownership, ‘Listen, six months really isn’t a long time to wait, though it turned out to be a long time for me, to be honest, and if we can have the patience and discipline, I can’t guarantee you we’ll be able to get Sabathia, but think about what our organization will look like if we can add him and keep these other assets.'”
- Toby Harrah turns 61 today. Harrah joined the Yanks in 1984. Prior to that, his career line was .267/.363/.401 in 1,850 games. For the Yanks: 88 games . . . .217/.331/.296. He was dealt to Texas the next year.
- On this date in 1950, the Baseball Writers Association of America selected New York Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto as the American League MVP. He posted a .324 batting average with 200 hits and 125 runs, driving in 66 runs. Rizzuto, who received 16 of 23 first-place votes, easily outpointed runner-ups Billy Goodman of the Boston Red Sox and teammate Yogi Berra.
- On this date in 1977, Sparky Lyle of the Yankees became the first American League reliever to win the Cy Young Award. Lyle led the league with 72 appearances, posting a 13-5 record with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA.
- On this date in 2000, in Game Five at Shea Stadium, the Yankees win their third consecutive World Series, the fourth title in five years and record 26th World championship, by defeating the Mets, 4 – 2. Luis Sojo’s ninth inning two-out, tie-breaking single off starter Al Leiter is the decisive hit. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter becomes the first player to win the All-Star Game MVP and the Series MVP honors in the same season. Joe Torre becomes only the fifth manager to win four WS championships, joining Hall of Famers Joe McCarthy (7), Casey Stengel (7), Connie Mack (5) and Walter Alston (4).