No World Series For the Yankees; No Peace in the Bronx

It is official. Major League Baseball will have a new champion in 2010 following the elimination of the New York Yankees. For television executives and fans of the Yankees across the world that news is the equivalent of the sky falling, but for those who are not fans of sports dynasties, it is welcomed news.

The New York Yankees haven’t made the World Series every year, it just seems that way. Since 1921, the Yankees have appeared in the World Series 40 times, winning 27 championships.

By contrast, post season play is something very new for the team that dethroned the Yankees as the American League Champions.

Since entering the league as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961 and moving to the Dallas–Fort Worth area to become the Texas Rangers in 1972, the franchise has had little success. They reached the playoffs three times between 1996 and 1999, but lost in the opening round all three times while winning only one post season game.

Just as a comparison, while the Senators-Rangers went 50 years without making the World Series, the Yankees have made 15 World Series appearances and claimed 11 titles during that stretch. In addition, they reached the playoffs nine other times for a total of 24 playoff appearances in 50 years.

Since the failed attempt to implement a salary cap in baseball in 1994, the Yankees have made the playoffs in 15 of 16 seasons with seven World Series appearances and five titles.

To many Yankee fans across the world, appearing in and winning the World Series every year isn’t just a hopeful expectation, it is considered an expected right. Over history, failure to achieve the annual objective has often resulted in quick changes, regardless of past success.

Beloved manager Joe Torre, owner of four World Series rings, was run out of town because the Yankees had lost in the opening round of the playoffs three years in a row and had gone eight years since claiming a World Series championship. But Torre wasn’t the first New York manager to endure such a fate.

Joe McCarthy led the Yankees to eight World Series appearances and seven titles in 16 years, but when the team went three straight seasons without a post season appearance, he was fired during the 1946 season.

Despite having led the Yankees to the World Series title in his first season guiding the team in 1947, Bucky Harris was fired following the 1948 season and replaced by Casey Stengel. The move certainly worked out for the Yankees as Stengel led them to seven World Series titles and 10 appearances in 12 seasons.

Photograph taken by Googie Man

Image via Wikipedia

However, after losing a dramatic seventh game in the 1960 Series, Stengel was replaced by Ralph Houk. The Yankees won the next two titles, but after being swept by the Dodgers in the 1963 Series, Houk was replaced by Yogi Berra despite the fact that New York won 104 games that season.

In 1964, Berra led the Yankees to 99 wins and the seventh game of the World Series, but it didn’t help the Yankee legend as he was fired after the season.

A similar fate met many Yankee managers during the George Steinbrenner era, but perhaps none was more pronounced than the firing of Dick Howser after one season leading the team in 1980. The Yankees won 103 games that season, but were swept by the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series.

Steinbrenner also had little patience with Torre’s immediate predecessor as Buck Showalter was fired following the 1995 season despite having led the Yankees to their first post season appearance in 14 years.

Photo of Yankees Mgr Joe Girardi by Icon SMI

It is doubtful that Joe Girardi’s job is in jeopardy after reaching the AL Championship Series in 2010, but given the past history it isn’t difficult to understand why there have been rumors of him looking at other potential jobs.

You can also bet that even with a 2010 payroll over $206 million, the Yankees will be in the market for new talent to put on the field in 2011.

With veteran shortstop Derek Jeter in need of a new contract and a number of other players reaching the downside of their careers, there will certainly be new faces added to the lineup in 2011.

The Yankees won’t be adding another championship in 2010, but you can count on them being back in the mix again next year.

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