Comparing The 2009 New York Yankees Against the 1998 Edition

August 20, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The 1998 New York Yankees are widely considered one of the greatest baseball teams ever assembled.


The Bombers finished that magical season with a franchise record regular season standing of 114-48.


New York’s shire dominance over a span of 162 games extended into the playoffs and the squad eventually captured their unprecedented 24th World Series championship after they swept the over matched San Diego Padres in four decisive games.


Ultimately, the Yankees won an amazing total of 125 games against a measly 50 losses.


The 1998 Yankees are the benchmark for excellence on the diamond.


Currently, the 2009 version of the Yankees own a stellar mark of 76 wins in comparison to 45 losses.


The Bombers .628 winning percentage is the best record in all of Major League Baseball.


Needless to say, the 2009 edition of the Yankees will never equal the statistical accomplishments that the 1998 team was able to achieve.


Nevertheless, the 2009 Yankees are comprised of an elite group of players and they seem destined for greatness come October.


New York is presently on pace to win in excess of 100 games.


Additionally, the Yankees are flourishing in an era that is riddled with parity due to the recently implemented revenue sharing program.


If the Bombers are able to win their 27th World Series crown this autumn, it will be interesting to see where baseball analysts rank the 2009 team in comparison to some other recent Yankees championship squads.


At this juncture, let us pit the 2009 Yankees roster versus the indomitable 1998 one and examine, position by position, which squad fielded the greater talent.



1)      2009 Starting Pitching vs. 1998 Pitching- The 1998 starting pitching staff consisted of David Wells (18-4, 3.49 ERA), David Cone (20-7, 3.55 ERA), Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez (12-4, 3.13 ERA), Hideki Irabu (13-9, 4.06 ERA) and Andy Pettitte (16-11, 4.24 ERA).


Meanwhile, because of unfortunate injuries suffered by Chien-Ming Wang, the 2009 Yankees essentially staff a four-man rotation.  New York’s rotation is comprised of C.C. Sabathia (14-7, 3.58 ERA), A.J. Burnett (10-6, 3.69 ERA), Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.09 ERA) and Joba Chamberlain (8-3, 3.98 ERA).


Verdict- By a narrow margin, the 1998 Yankees starting rotation was more formidable than the 2009 version is.


1)      2009 Relief Pitching vs. 1998 Relief Pitching- The four main ingredients to the Bombers spectacular bullpen in 1998 were Mariano Rivera (3-0, 1.91 ERA), Mike Stanton (4-1, 5.47 ERA), Graeme Lloyd (3-0, 1.67 ERA) and Jeff Nelson (5-3, 3.79 ERA).


On the contrary, the four vital components to New York’s 2009 relief corps are Mariano Rivera (1-2, 1.90 ERA), Phil Hughes (5-3, 3.39 ERA), Phil Coke (4-3, 4.68 ERA) and David Robertson (2-1, 3.06 ERA).


 Verdict- Draw.


2)      2009 Starting Catcher vs. 1998 Staring Catcher- Jorge Posada and Joe Girardi shared time at the plate for the 1998 team.  That season, Posada hit .268 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI. Meanwhile, Girardi batted .276 with 31 RBI. Posada and Joe Girardi both played brilliantly on the defensive end.


Currently, Posada is batting .273 and he has slugged 15 home runs and 55 RBI for the 2009 team. However, he has lost ample strength in his throwing arm and age is ever so slowly beginning to wear him down.


Verdict- Posada and Girardi in 1998.


3)      2009 First Baseman vs. 1998 First Baseman- In 1998 Tino Martinez was phenomenal both at the plate and in the field. Martinez hit .281 with 28 home runs and 123 RBI.


This season, Mark Teixeira is batting .283 with 31 home runs and 89 RBI. Furthermore, he is unquestionably the best defensive first baseman in the game of baseball.


Verdict- Mark Teixeira is a more dynamic all-around player than Tino Martinez was.


4)      2009 Second Baseman vs. 1998 Second Baseman- Chuck Knoblauch, and his malignant case of the yips, fielded second base for the Yankees in 1998. Knoblauch, an alleged abuser of steroids and a purported cokehead, batted .265 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI.


Presently, Robinson Cano has a firm grasp on the second base position. Cano is a supreme talent and, barring injury, he will play second base for the Yankees for the next ten seasons. Cano is hitting .313 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI.


Verdict- Cano in a landslide akin to Reagan versus Mondale.


5)      2009 Third Baseman vs. 1998 Third Baseman- Fan-favorite Scott Brosius admirably manned third base for the 1998 Yankees. Brosius, who was named the 1998 World Series Most Valuable Player, played solid defense and batted .300 with 19 home runs and 98 RBI.


Alex “Bitch Tits” Rodriguez is the man at the hot-corner for the current brand of the Bombers. Although generally as likable as herpes, Rodriguez is an amazing talent who eventually will be considered one of the greatest players in the annals of baseball. Rodriguez plays a very respectable third base and, despite his faltering hip, he is batting .254 with 21 home runs and 64 RBI.


Verdict- Much to my chagrin, one can’t make a legitimate case for Brosius. Madonna’s estranged bitch is simply in an altogether separate sphere than Brosius is.


6)      2009 Shortstop vs. 1998 Shortstop- A youthful Derek Jeter played shortstop for the 1998 Yankees and he excelled in both the offensive and defensive phases of the game. Jeter batted .324 and he slugged 19 home runs and 84 RBI.


A seasoned Derek Jeter continues to play shortstop for the 2009 Yankees and he is still excelling in both the offensive and defensive phases of the game. Jeter is batting .331 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI.


Verdict- By a photo finish, the elder Jeter outshines his younger self.


7)      2009 Left Field vs. 1998 Left Field- Chad Curtis, I suppose, played left field for the 1998 Bombers. Curtis, a jackass with limited skills, batted .243 with 10 home runs and 56 RBI


Johnny Damon graces left field for the 2009 Yankees. Although he looks like a chipmunk with Down syndrome, he is solid talent. Pathetically, Damon throws like Gary Dell’abate. But, he covers significant ground in the outfield and he is hitting .285 with 22 home runs and 68 RBI.


Verdict- In comparison to Curtis, Damon may as well be the late Roberto Clemente.


8)      2009 Center Field vs. 1998 Center Field- The legendary Bernie Williams gracefully played centerfield for the 1998 Yankees. Williams, who also throws like a gimp, covered a lot of ground with his long and fluid strides in the field. Williams, the winner of the American League batting title in 1998, hit .339 and slugged 26 home runs and 97 RBI for the Yankees.


Melky Cabrera is loaded with potential and he could be the Yankees centerfielder for the next decade. Cabrera has a rocket for an arm and he covers ample ground in the outfield. Presently, Cabrera is batting .267 with 11 home runs and 46 RBI.


Verdict- As noted, Melky has a world of promise. But, at this point, comparing Cabrera to Bernie is similar to comparing Rosie O’Donnell’s looks to Megan Fox’s.


9)      2009 Right Field vs. 1998 Right Field- The sensational Paul O’Neill played right field for the 1998 Yankees. O’Neill was a defensive wizard and he batted .317 with 24 home runs and 116 RBI.


Nick Swisher currently occupies right field in the Bronx. Swisher plays a nice defense and he is presently hitting .242 with 20 home runs and 64 RBI.


Verdict- Swisher is an adequate player. But, O’Neill is a warrior and an all-time Yankee great.


10)   2009 DH vs. 1998 DH- Daryl Strawberry put down the snow and had a truly remarkable 1998 season for the Yankees. The erstwhile superstar hit .247 and slugged 24 home runs and 57 RBI.


More often than not, Hideki Matsui is slated as the designated hitter for the 2009 Yankees. Matsui is batting .265 with 19 home runs and 59 RBI.


Verdict- By the narrowest of margins, Godzilla, at this stage in his career, is a more dangerous hitter than Daryl was in 1998.


11)   2009 Manager vs. 1998 Manager- The iconic Joe Torre led the greatest team in the annals of baseball. Torre is, well, Joe Torre.


Joe Girardi has done a commendable job to date in his second year leading New York. Time will tell how he continues to develop on the bench.


Verdict- Joe Torre is, well, Joe Torre….End of discussion.



*Final Tally- Much to my genuine surprise, on paper, the 2009 New York Yankees are more talented than the 1998 Yankees were.


Nevertheless, paper statistics are as useful as tits on a bull.


Until the 2009 New York Yankees are crowned champions, they are just another unaccomplished and high-priced team constructed by the Steinbrenner family.




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