Most reasonable observers agree that the Yankees – as a franchise – are the team of the decade. But how did the Yankees teams of the 2000’s stack up against each other?
I enjoy making lists as the year winds down, and this is one I’ve gotten some good mileage out of debating with friends.
The question: How would you rank the Yankees teams of the last 10 years?
1. 2009 – This ranking (along with the worst team) would seem to be the most obvious.
2. 2001 – Normally I’d say World Series champs HAVE to be at the top of the list but the ’01 team won more games, scored more runs and allowed fewer than the ’00 team while coming – literally – one pitch away from the title. To me, that’s enough to trump. Admittedly, it’s a controversial ranking.
3. 2000 – Subway champs but only 87 wins and a (relatively) small run-differential.
4. 2003 – If not for David Wells (and Jeff Weaver and Josh Beckett), this team would have been champs.
5. 2002 – This was my first year covering baseball in New York and I still remember how stunned I was to see the Yankees get run out by the Angels in the ALDS. This team had a plus-200 (!) run-differential and won 103 games. Their flameout remains a massive disappointment.
6. 2006 – Very, very solid year. Very disappointing October bust.
7. 2007 – I know this team finished second in the AL East; I still think they beat any of the teams below them in a seven-game series (with regularity, too). Terrific offense.
8. 2004 – Will always be remembered for the epic collapse but 101 wins obscures the difficulty of the regular season.
9. 2005 – Oldest team of the decade. Average age of hitters was 32, of pitchers was 34. On a related note, this was Randy Johnson’s first year.
10. 2008 – No explanation necessary.
(Obligatory disclaimer: This list was done for fun. There are no right answers and no scientific methods to it. I focused on results, run differential and a whole lot of feel/memory/gut instinct. Others can, and no doubt will, use other criteria. It all works.)