"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Team Of The Decade

The Red Sox getting new ownership (via some shady Bud Selig-orchestrated machinations), hiring Bill James and a 28-year-old Yale-educated general manager, and ending their 86-year drought with two championships might have been the better story, but objectively speaking, the Yankees were, once again, the team of the decade. The Yankees won more games (965, 45 more than the Red Sox and an average of 96.5 per year), more pennants (four), more division titles (eight), and made more postseasons (nine) than any other team in the just-completed ’00s and were tied with only the Red Sox with two World Series wins. Here then is an objective look back at the Yankees of the ’00s.

The Teams

By Regular-Season Record:

  1. 2002: 103-58 (.640), lost ALDS
  2. 2009: 103-59 (.636), won WS
  3. 2003: 101-61 (.623), lost WS
  4. 2004: 101-61 (.623), lost ALCS
  5. 2006: 97-65 (.599), lost ALDS
  6. 2001: 95-65 (.594), lost WS
  7. 2005: 95-67 (.586), lost ALDS
  8. 2007: 94-68 (.580), Wild Card, lost ALDS
  9. 2008: 89-73 (.549)
  10. 2000: 87-74 (.540), won WS

By Postseason Wins:

  1. 2009: 11-4 (.733), won WS
  2. 2000: 11-5 (.688), won WS
  3. 2001: 10-7 (.588), lost WS
  4. 2003: 9-8 (.529), lost WS
  5. 2004: 6-5 (.545), lost ALCS
  6. 2005: 2-3 (.400), lost ALDS
  7. 2002, 2006, 2007: 1-3 (.250), lost ALDS

Managers

Joe Torre: 773-519 (.598), 1 championship, 3 pennants, 4 ALCS, 7 division titles, 1 Wild Card

Joe Girardi: 192-132 (.593), 1 championship, 1 pennant, 1 ALCS, 1 division title (all 2009)

Players

Most Games Started by Position:

1B – Jason Giambi (493), Tino Martinez (373)
2B - Robinson Cano (714), Alfonso Soriano (461)
SS - Derek Jeter (1,480)
3B - Alex Rodriguez (862), Scott Brosius (253), Robin Ventura (206)
C - Jorge Posada (1,135)
RF – Bobby Abreu (352), Gary Sheffield (286), Paul O’Neill (266)
CF - Bernie Williams (755), Melky Cabrera (330), Johnny Damon (207)
LF - Hideki Matsui (547), Johnny Damon (234)
DH – Jason Giambi (372), Hideki Matsui (250)

Top 5 Pitchers by Games Started:

Mike Mussina (248)
Andy Pettitte (217)
Roger Clemens (144)
Chien-Ming Wang (104)
Orlando Hernandez (82)

Closer: Mariano Rivera (589 games finished)

Top 5 Relievers by Appearances:

Mike Stanton (252)
Scott Proctor (190)
Kyle Farnsworth (181)
Tom Gordon (159)
Brian Bruney (153)

Top Batting Seasons by Position (per VORP):

1B – Jason Giambi, 2002: 79.4
2B - Alfonso Soriano, 2002: 68.5
SS - Derek Jeter, 2006: 78.9
3B - Alex Rodriguez, 2007: 93.7
C - Jorge Posada, 2007: 71.2
RF – Gary Sheffield, 2004: 52.7
CF - Bernie Williams, 2002: 66.3
LF - Hideki Matsui, 2004: 46.0
DH – Jason Giambi, 2006: 46.1

Top 10 Batting Seasons by VORP:

  1. Alex Rodriguez, 2007: 93.7
  2. Alex Rodriguez, 2005: 91.4
  3. Jason Giambi, 2002: 79.4
  4. Derek Jeter, 2006: 78.9
  5. Derek Jeter, 2000: 76.7
  6. Derek Jeter, 2009: 72.8
  7. Jorge Posada, 2007: 71.2
  8. Alfonso Soriano, 2002: 68.5
  9. Bernie Williams, 2002: 66.3
  10. Derek Jeter, 2001: 65.0

Top 10 Starting Pitching Seasons by SNLVAR:

1. Mike Mussina, 2001: 7.1
2. Mike Mussina, 2003: 7.0
3. CC Sabathia, 2009: 6.5
4. Roger Clemens, 2000: 6.2
5. Chien-Ming Wang, 2007: 6.0
6. Randy Johnson, 2005; Chien-Ming Wang, 2006; Mike Mussina, 2008: 5.6
9.Roger Clemens, 2003: 5.4
10. Andy Pettitte, 2000; Roger Clemens, 2001: 5.3

Top 10 Relief Pitching Seasons by WXRL:

  1. Mariano Rivera, 2004: 7.425
  2. Tom Gordon, 2004: 6.357
  3. Mariano Rivera, 2008: 6.201
  4. Mariano Rivera, 2009: 6.149
  5. Mariano Rivera, 2001: 5.682
  6. Mariano Rivera, 2003: 5.527
  7. Mariano Rivera, 2006: 5.298
  8. Mariano Rivera, 2005: 5.148
  9. Mariano Rivera, 2000: 4.493
  10. Ramiro Mendoza, 2001: 4.380

Most Valuable Yankees of the ’00s by Total VORP

  1. Derek Jeter: 590.0
  2. Jorge Posada: 409.5
  3. Alex Rodriguez: 402.4
  4. Mike Mussina: 312.0
  5. Mariano Rivera: 299.8
  6. Jason Giambi: 263.9
  7. Bernie Williams: 241.9
  8. Andy Pettitte: 219.2
  9. Hideki Matsui: 202.6
  10. Roger Clemens: 188.8

Awards/Titles

World Championships: 2000, 2009
Pennants: 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009
AL East titles: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009
Wild Card: 2007

MVPs: Alex Rodriguez, 2005, 2007
Cy Young: Roger Clemens, 2001
Rolaids Relief: Mariano Rivera, 2001, 2004, 2005

Gold Glove:

1B – Mark Teixeira, 2009
SS – Derek Jeter, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009
OF – Bernie Williams, 2000
P - Mike Mussina, 2001, 2003, 2008

Hank Aaron:

Derek Jeter, 2006, 2009
Alex Rodriguez, 2007

Silver Slugger:

1B – Jason Giambi, 2002; Mark Teixeira, 2009
2B – Alfonso Soriano, 2002; Robinson Cano, 2006
SS – Derek Jeter, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
3B – Alex Rodriguez, 2005, 2007, 2008
C - Jorge Posada, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007
OF – Bernie Williams, 2002; Gary Sheffield, 2004, 2005

World Series MVP:

Hideki Matsui, 2009
Derek Jeter, 2000

All-Star MVP: Derek Jeter, 2000

Comeback Player of the Year: Jason Giambi, 2005

Note: Derek Jeter lead all AL hitters in VORP in 2006, but lost a close MVP vote to Justin Morneau, who was 13th in the AL with a 52.7 VORP to Jeter’s 78.9. Jeter properly won the Hank Aaron award (for the league’s best hitter) that year, but erroneously won it over Joe Mauer in 2009. Alex Rodriguez should have won the Hank Aaron award in 2005; David Ortiz won it despite trailing Rodriguez in VORP 75.9 to 91.4.

Jeter didn’t deserve any of his Gold Gloves, though he did have a strong fielding season in 2009, neither did Mike Mussana, as Kenny Rogers, who won five AL Gold Gloves in the ’00s, was consistently the best fielding pitcher in the AL in the decade, though Mussina may have been second-best. Bernie was sub-par in the field by 2000 but Gold Glove voters didn’t catch on until the next year, when Torii Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki both won their first.

Mussina should have won the 2001 Cy Young award over Clemens, as the above SNLVAR list indicates. As for the Rolaids Relief award, Mariano Rivera lead the AL in WXRL in 2001, 2008, and 2009, but not in 2004 or 2005 (he was second behind Joe Nathan and Francisco Rodriguez, respectively, in those seasons).

Hall of Famers

Ex-Yankees Inducted:

Rickey Henderson, 2009
Goose Gossage, 2008
Joe Gordon, 2008*
Wade Boggs, 2005
Dave Winfield, 2001

*veterans committee selection

Top Candidates from the ’00s:

  1. Derek Jeter
  2. Randy Johnson
  3. Mariano Rivera
  4. Alex Rodriguez
  5. Roger Clemens
  6. Mike Mussina
  7. Bernie Williams
  8. Jorge Posada
  9. Gary Sheffield
  10. Bobby Abreu
  11. Johnny Damon

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15 comments

1 ms october   ~  Jan 4, 2010 10:45 am

interesting post cliff - good breakdowns.
and i am glad you pointed out the shady crap that happened for the rs to get new owners - not quite the nice little fairy tale we are usually sold.
moose's 2001 and 2003 seasons were damn impressive.

2 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 4, 2010 10:50 am

Seth Mnookin's "Feeding The Monster" does a good job of going over the bizarre machinations behind the Red Sox sale. Strange story, but par for the course when dealing with Selig.

3 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 4, 2010 10:54 am

also, I'm totally fine with Jeter leading the team in VORP for the decade...but is there anyone who *felt* more valuable over the past 10 years than Mo?

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Jan 4, 2010 11:02 am

Great stuff, Cliff. Thanks for all that.

I didn't realize Soriano struck out 157 times in his 40/40 (almost) season. He still posted a 129 OPS+ that year, which, by the way, is the same as Cano's 2009 OPS+.

5 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 4, 2010 11:13 am

Brilliant, Cliff. I'm not sure what surprised me more: that Sheff managed just 20 more games in RF than O'Neill, or that Cano played almost as many games at second base as Bernie did in CF. Cano still seems like a kid to me, and yet 2010 will be his 6th season, 5th full season - and he's only 27! So this is what its like to have a young hitter grow up before your eyes. Its been a while.

[1] [2] I too couldn't let this pass without comment: "shady Bud Selig-orchestrated machinations" regarding the sale of the Red Sox. That isn't the half of it. None of this will ever be investigated, especially with what happened since then, but I felt like it should have been. My view might have been influenced by taking Trusts & Estates in law school while it all went down.

In short, the Yawkey Trust (run by Selig's buddy John Harrington) was supposed to sell the Red Sox to the highest bidder, but the highest bidder was one of the Dolans, and Selig didn't want that. So a deal was struck whereby John Henry's group - which included the NY Times Co (and thus the Boston Globe - the only reputable paper in town), former Mass. governor William Weld, and of course former Sen. George Mitchell, another of Bud's buddies - got the team, and Dolan shut up. The Massachusetts AG at the time, Thomas Reilly, made a little noise about looking into the matter, but of course nothing came of it.

[2] I've never read Mnookin's book, but now perhaps I'll pick it up. I'm curious to see what he had to say on the subject.

6 joejoejoe   ~  Jan 4, 2010 12:08 pm

Despite Giambi's sometimes gaudy stats in pinstripes he almost always had some other roster doppleganger like Andy Phillips or Miguel Cairo covering for his injuries that ate ABs and spit out outs. That's mostly the fault of Cashman and Torre but I view Giambi's time in NY as a disaster.

7 Raf   ~  Jan 4, 2010 1:03 pm

[1][2][5] MLB shenanigans regarding the Red Sox, and Expos along with the supposed contraction of the Twins and Marlins, to me are the biggest black eyes of the decade.

8 boslaw   ~  Jan 4, 2010 1:05 pm

Shaun P -- are you in Boston? Which law school?

Seems like we have a lot of lawyers and drummers on this blog (for the record, I am both). Baseball, drums and the law don't sound like a particularly good combination but apparently they work together quite well.

9 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 4, 2010 1:07 pm

[7] the attempted murder of the Twins is the most inexcusable to me, since it seemed that Bud was doing nothing more than punishing the franchise for disproving his "small market teams can't compete" lie.

10 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 4, 2010 2:03 pm

[8] I went to BU, and I practice north of the city (in house, baby!). You?

However, I am probably the least-musically talented of anyone who's ever commented at the Banter. Two out of three ain't bad. =)

11 Mattpat11   ~  Jan 4, 2010 2:33 pm

Mo won the Rolaid award in 09 as well.

12 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 4, 2010 4:28 pm

I would just like to point out that we are 44 days away from pitchers and catchers

that is all

13 a.O   ~  Jan 4, 2010 5:16 pm

[12] Wha....!?

14 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 4, 2010 5:25 pm

[12] If you have it in you, a daily update would be wonderful. 6 weeks plus 2 days . . . ah . . .

15 boslaw   ~  Jan 4, 2010 8:16 pm

Shaun,

I went to Suffolk law and I also practice in house in Burlington. In house rules!

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--Earl Weaver