Final 1997 Major League Baseball Standings American League --------------- Eastern Division ---------------- W L .Pct GB Home Away Div Streak y-Baltimore 98 64 .605 --- 46-35 52-29 25-23 Won 2 x-NY Yankees 96 66 .593 2 47-33 49-33 29-19 Won 5 Detroit 79 83 .488 19 42-39 37-44 21-27 Lost 5 Boston 78 84 .481 20 39-42 39-42 22-26 Lost 3 Toronto 76 86 .469 22 42-39 34-47 23-25 Won 4
1997 Yankees Roster NO. PITCHERS B T HT WT BORN == ======== = = == == ==== 62 Willie Banks R R 6-1 200 2/27/69 41 Brian Boehringer S R 6-2 190 1/8/69 50 Joe Borowski R R 6-2 225 5/4/71 36 David Cone L R 6-1 190 1/2/63 35 Hideki Irabu R R 6-4 240 4/4/69 11 Dwight Gooden R R 6-3 210 11/16/64 27 Graeme Lloyd L L 6-7 234 4/9/67 55 Ramiro Mendoza R R 6-2 154 6/15/72 43 Jeff Nelson R R 6-8 235 11/17/66 46 Andy Pettitte L L 6-5 235 6/15/72 42 Mariano Rivera R R 6-2 168 11/29/69 17 Kenny Rogers L L 6-1 205 11/10/64 29 Mike Stanton L L 6-1 215 6/2/67 33 David Wells L L 6-4 225 5/20/63 NO. CATCHERS B T HT WT BORN == ======== = = == == ==== 63 Mike Figga R R 6-0 200 7/31/70 25 Joe Girardi R R 5-11 195 10/14/64 20 Jorge Posada S R 6-2 205 8/17/71 18 Mike Stanley R R 6-0 190 6/25/63 NO. INFIELDERS B T HT WT BORN == ======== = = == == ==== 12 Wade Boggs L R 6-2 197 6/15/58 47 Ivan Cruz L L 6-3 210 5/3/68 45 Cecil Fielder R R 6-3 250 9/21/63 26 Andy Fox L R 6-4 205 11/12/71 13 Charlie Hayes R R 6-0 215 5/29/65 2 Derek Jeter R R 6-3 185 6/26/74 14 Pat Kelly R R 6-0 182 10/14/67 24 Tino Martinez L R 6-2 210 12/7/67 19 X-Luis Sojo R R 5-11 175 1/3/66 26 Rey Sanchez R R 5-9 175 10/5/67 38 Homer Bush NO. OUTFIELDERS B T HT WT BORN == =========== = = == == ==== 28 Chad Curtis R R 5-10 185 11/6/68 21 Paul O'Neill L L 6-4 215 2/25/63 38 Scott Pose L R 5-11 165 2/11/67 31 Tim Raines S R 5-8 186 9/16/59 39 Darryl Strawberry L L 6-6 215 3/12/62 51 Bernie Williams S R 6-2 205 9/13/68 (X) - DISABLED LIST
Saves R.Myers Baltimore 45 Rivera New York 43 D.Jones Milwaukee 36 T.Jones Detroit 31 Wetteland Texas 31 R.Hernandez Chicago 27
1. Joe Torre, who batted .363 one season, batted a lot closer to 1.000 during this season and this postseason. Torre espoused the ``loyalty factor,'' but he also didn't overdo it. He had the guts to bench Tino Martinez, Wade Boggs and Paul O'Neill in Atlanta. He also had the guts to let Andy Pettitte bat in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game, to start Cecil Fielder on the basepaths and avoid a double play in that same game, and to ignore Graeme Lloyd's 17.47 regular-season Yankees ERA and employ him like he was the equal of Mariano Rivera. Torre said he doesn't manage to avoid answering the tough quesions, he manages to win. That is the way it looked from here.
2. The Yankees' bullpen is the best since the 1990 Reds'. General manager Bob Watson said several months ago that he envisioned his bullpen performing like the Nasty Boys of the '90 Reds, and he was right about that, anyway. Even when Rivera seemed to run out of gas in the Series, there were reinforcements. Lloyd, who did it again last night, is the best-performing case of damaged goods in major-league history. Jeff Nelson and David Weathers, who had trouble adapting to New York at first, did their adapting at the most difficult time. And John Wetteland, while he won no personality points with his condescending postgame tone, kept closing games like he did in the regular season and playoffs. In fact, he saved all four Series wins.
3. Cecil Fielder saved his biggest performance for the right time. He became a better hitter in the postseason when he stopped swinging for the fences and started going the other way. He turned into the world's biggest singles hitter, just what the club needed. To get three hits (of the Yankees' four hits) against the almost unhittable John Smoltz, including the double that drove in the only run in the Game 5 victory, was maybe his best feat.
4. The Braves are not the 1927 Yankees, nor should they ever be compared with them as some of the media in Atlanta did. The Braves have maybe the three best starting pitchers in baseball and some legitimate stars, like Chipper Jones, Marquis Grissom, Fred McGriff and Mark Wohlers. But they do have some weaknesses. Their biggest deficiencices are that they have no bench and only a so-so bullpen after Wohlers. While George Steinbrenner doesn't mind paying millions to role players, the Braves stick strictly to their budget. It is a high budget but it is a budget still, and it didn't allow GM John Schuerholz to obtain worthwhile secondary players. While the Braves have the best first 12 players in baseball, they have a rather ordinary second 13.
5. Andy Pettitte didn't pitch like a 24-year-old. Pettitte looked shaky in a few of his postseason starts before throwing the game of his life in Game 5. His bosses thought he was trying to be too perfect in some of those off games, but this time he darned near was. He pitched with the efficiency of a Braves starting pitcher, and that's really saying something.
6. The Yankees are the best National League team there is. With their deep depth and brilliant bullpen, they are better suited for the strategy-filled NL games, which may be reason No. 1 why they were perfect in Atlanta. Plus, their roster is populated by NL types, which shouldn't be so surprising considering that Torre and bench coach Don Zimmer had a strong say in player pickups this winter. They got an NL catcher in Joe Girardi, an NL second baseman in Mariano Duncan (even though he was supposed to be only a backup), an NL third baseman in Charlie Hayes, and all those ex-Mets that Steinbrenner kept collecting. Plus, after spending his entire career playing and managing in the NL until Steinbrenner hired him, Torre was well-suited to such NL quirks as the double switch, unlike previous AL managers like Mike Hargrove and even the great Tom Kelly.
7. The little guys helped. Jim Leyritz topped last season's postseason heroics. Luis Sojo played nice late-inning defense at second base and had a couple of hits. Nelson and Brian Boehringer pitched well in relief.
8. Darryl Strawberry played through pain. Like his former Mets friend Dwight Gooden, Strawberry appeared to be fading in September. But Strawberry regained his energy and played with a broken right big toe. Although he didn't match his ALCS batting heroics, he provided a presence in the lineup and an inspiration for the team. He also played a nice leftfield.
9. Steinbrenner stayed out of the way. While he did call an emergency meeting with Torre and adviser Reggie Jackson after the 12-1 Game 1 blowout, the owner managed not to make a nuisance of himself (as far as we know, anyway). Even when the club was down 2-0, Steinbrenner's advisers were saying that their Boss was in an extraordinarily good mood. His behavior improved significantly as the postseason progressed, beginning with the Division Series, when he yelled at the Rangers wives for wearing cowboy hats and cheering for their husbands. The worst thing he did was challenge Kenny Rogers to do better, and who could blame him for nagging Rogers, who should be refunding his $5-million salary?
10 They had luck on their side. This is no knock, it's just that very few unlucky teams ever win the World Series. In their case, they were outscored 26-18 for the Series, and going into last night's clincher, they were being outhit .256 to .207.
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