In baseball history, the New York Yankees showed their championship pedigree. Since the early 1900s, they dominated both American and National Leagues with an iron fist approach. They displayed a regal attitude from accumulating 26 world championships in a sport built on parity and competition. They dominated their opponents despite baseball's changing landscape such as, the so-called "dead ball era (pre 1900-1950), the lowering of pitching mound (post 1968) and free agency (post 1974). As baseball evolved, the Yankees continued to rule using any advantage imaginable.
One of those advantages were the supposed "ghosts of Yankee Stadium". Most fans and many players believed that the House That Ruth Built was haunted by the spirits of dead, Yankee legends. They included "The Yankee Clipper" Joe DiMaggio, "The Sultan of Swat" Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard, Lou Gehrig and Casey Stengel. The energy from these icons fueled championship runs during the mid to late 1970s. Transcendent figures, like Ron Guidry, Bucky "Freakin" Dent, Thurman Munson, Bobby Mercer, Reggie Jackson and manager, Billy Martin kept "the bronx burning" hot in October.
Another advantage was the Yankee "mystique". The team carried around a brash sort of arrogance that instilled fear and loathing from opponents. For example, during the 1977 World Series, Jackson mashed three homeruns in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Each time, he briefly posed as his "moon shots" soared into the upper deck. Head coach, Tommy Lasorda said that every one of homeruns made him sick. He later confessed a disdain for the Yankee's bravado. That same attitude frustrated the Boston Red Sox and other teams from the Junior Circuit (AL). By 1980, the franchise had already collected 19 World Series championships.
Throughout their history, the Yankees had an electic mix of characters. One of the included Yogi Berra. He played more World Series games than any major league catcher ever. He called pitcher, Don Larsen's perfect game in Game Seven in 1957. He anchored their lineup with Mantle, Maris, Howard, Tony Kubek and Bobby Richardson. Berra emerged as one of Bronx Bombers revered statesmen. So it became no surprise that the multiple All-Star succeeded at a second career.
He paired with comedian, Gilbert Gottfried and a white duck. The trio were the creative marketing tool for Aflac Insurance.
"Watch what you're doing! You think I have that insurance?" He said.
"What insurance is that?" The barber replied.
"Aflac!" The duck answered.
The commercial was filmed in a barber's shop. Berra's celebrity grew even higher after his Aflac starring role.
The Yankees also produced baseball's biggest winners. Mariano Rivera became MLB's most dominant postseason reliever. He saved over 400 games in his career; including dozens of playoff games. Derek Jeter recently accumulated 2,500 hits. He remained one of only four players to have .315 batting average, 2,500 hits and score 1,500 runs. Rivera and Jeter each won four, consecutive World Series championships from 1996-2000.
The Yankees also produced baseball's most decorated team. The team didn't just win one World Series, and then go away. They won multiple championships. They repeated World Series titles. Their title runs stretched for three years or four years. They played in epic series such as the 1955 and 1957 wars against the Brooklyn Dodgers with Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Roy Campanella. In 1960, they endured a seven-game heartbreaker with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Teams battling New York's finest earned "underdog" tags. Television ratings spiked when the Pinstripes played in October. Having the Yankees playing in October brought baseball much needed revenue. The happenings in the Big Apple were what fans talked about throughout the baseball season.
After decades of winning, the Yankees etched their history as baseball's "diamond kings". An extravangant ownership led by the George, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner retooled and reloaded every year. During the late 1980s, they experienced a lean period of no postseasons. However, they brought in manager, Joe Torre and he orchestrated their latest, title run. With Joe Girardi at the helm, the Yankees found themselves back in first place. As of yesterday, they were 73-43 and owned MLB's best record.
Once again, the cream found in its way to the top.