Fantasy Matchup: 1998 NY Yankees vs. 1927 NY Yankees

Written by Contributor John Schiesser 

1998 yankees celebrate

1998 World Series Champions

The New York Yankees are the most celebrated franchise in all of sports with 27 World Series Championships. Throughout MLB’s history, some of the best players have worn pinstripes.

I won’t even start naming the players because it will take all day, but I came up with an interesting scenario. What if two of the best Yankee teams in history faced each other at Yankee Stadium?

Imagine sitting front row at Yankee Stadium to see this game?


Obviously we will never see this game, but if you use your imagination along with statistics, you can get a good idea at what would happen.

So we are sitting in our seats behind the dugout, and the 1998 New York Yankees take the field. The home crowd yells their heads off at a sold out Yankee stadium. Derek Jeter runs out to his short stop position and throws the ball around the infield.

Then all of a sudden a team with the same uniform comes out. The 1998 NY Yankees all seem confused. The guy up in the bleachers drops his beer in shock and awe. Kids in the stands tug at their dads shirts saying, “who are they?”

It is the 1927 New York Yankees ladies and gentlemen, and they are back and ready to play ball. The starting lineups are announced and the stadium goes wild.

Earle Combs steps up to the plate to face Left handed pitcher Andy Pettitte.

Earle Combs

Earle Combs is one of the best lead off hitters ever


Here is a look at both teams starting lineups:

1927 Yankees Position Players

Name               Pos                  AVG                                        HR RBI R SB
Earle Combs CF .356 6 64 137 15
Mark Koenig SS .285 3 62 99 3
Babe Ruth RF .356 60 164 158 7
Lou Gehrig 1B .373 47 175 149 10
Bob Meusel LF .337 8 103 75 24
Tony Lazzeri 2B .309 18 102 92 22
Joe Dugan/Pat Collins 3B /C .269 /.275 2 /7 43 /36 44 /38 1 /0


1998 Yankee’s Position Players

Chuck Knoblauch 2B .265 17 64 117 31
Derek Jeter SS .324 19 84 127 30
Paul O Neill RF .317 24 116 95 15
Bernie Williams CF .339 26 97 101 15
Tino Martinez 1B .281 28 123 92 2
Chad Curtis LF .243 10 56 79 21
Jorge Posada C .268 17 63 56 0
Scott Brosius 3B .300 19 98 86 11


Pitching Matchup                  W                 L             ERA               WHIP            IP____

Andy Pettitte   (98)                 16                 11             4.24                1.447           216.1

Waite Hoyt      (27)                 22                  7              2.63                1.155           256.1


Team Advantages

Offense- 1927 Yankees

When you have a lineup with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig you’re going to score runs.

I respect Andy Pettitte but his 4.24 ERA shows he will give up his fair share of runs. Having to face the dreaded “Murderers Row” I see Pettitte getting scored on.

Hall Of Famer Earle Combs led the league in triples during the ’27 season and batted .356. With the Babe and Lou Gehrig batting behind one of the best leadoff hitters, runs will not be at a premium. However the ’98 Yankees have their share of pop in their lineup. Bernie Williams batted .339 and Paul O Neill drove in 116 runs from the three hole.

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

Defense- 1998 Yankees

If the 1998 Yankees were to win this game their defense will be the reason.

Mark Koenig had 47 errors at shortstop in 1927. Yes you heard that right 47 errors. The outfield for the 1927 Yankees had a combined 41 errors.

The 1998 Yankees were led by gold glove center fielder Bernie Williams.

More bad news for ’27 Yankees is that Hall of famer Waite Hoyt pitched 256 innings but only had 86 strikeouts. That means Waite Hoyt is going to have to depend a lot on that defense with a shortstop that committed 47 errors and an outfield with a combined 41 errors.

This could give the ’98 Yankees the opportunity to make up some runs that the ’27 team will score. That doesn’t mean that the ’98 Yankees defense is flawless. Every Yankee fan who saw that team play knows about some of those throws that Knoblauch has made.

Starting Pitching- 1927 Yankees

This one is really up in the air in my opinion. I know the kind of hitters that Pettitte had to face. There were more pure power hitters during the ’98 season.

However Waite Hoyt walked 54 batters in 256 innings. That control alone is breathtaking. Pettitte’s control cannot be overlooked. 86 walks in 216 innings. That is why if somebody argued against my opinion here I would have to take what they say into consideration. Just based on the walks and the fact that Waite Hoyt is a Hall of Famer gives this category to the ’27 Yankees.

Bullpen- 1998 Yankees

Mariano Rivera

The best closer of all time

The 1927 Yankees did not have Mariano Rivera. If they did Waite Hoyte would not have pitched 256 innings. Mariano Rivera is the best closer of all time. He is so clutch in big spots. Imagine this game came down to the final inning with Mo on the mound up against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

Who comes out on top?

I would say Mariano Rivera.



Athletic ability- 1998 Yankees

Players today are just more athletic than the players of the past. Workout regiments are much more intense.

Players today live and breathe baseball. During the offseason players on the ’27 Yankees were not working out at their own personal home gyms. They were working a second job to help support their family.

Baseball did not pay these guys enough to be able to focus purely on working out. Players today have so much money they can focus on working out. They have the best trainers in the world to train them during and after the season.

Grit- 1927 Yankees

Players today are such prima donnas.

They are millionaires playing a kid’s game. I love the game of baseball but players today treat it more like a business. You are  lucky to see a pitcher pitch 200 innings today. Waite Hoyt threw 256 innings along with 23 complete games.

Players today get a little injured and sit out. I am not saying that about all the players on the 1998 Yankees because they were a great team, but I just cannot say they are tougher than the 1927 team.

The Verdict- The 27 Yankees beat the 98 Yankees 6-4

This would be a competitive game to the end. However I just cannot see Andy Pettitte holding off Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

The grit and toughness of the ’27 Yankees will make up for their lack of athletic ability. Waite Hoyt would not be flawless but he would do enough to keep his team from losing. I see Earle Combs having a big game and setting the table for the big hitters in that line up. I see Pettitte getting roughed up early on, but settling in a little bit more as the game goes. Bottom line two great teams from two different eras, they would put on quite a show and it would be competitive all the way through.


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7 Responses to Fantasy Matchup: 1998 NY Yankees vs. 1927 NY Yankees

  1. Lorrin Bird says:

    After reading Ed Linn’s book Hitter on Ted Williams, looked up the 1939 Yankee stats on the baseball-reference web site. The ’39 team scored more than 400 more runs than they gave up, something no other team I am aware of has done, not even the ’27 Yanks. The ’39 yankee team would have won 111 games if the red sox hadn’t risen out of the depths and taken five in a row from the yanks late in the season. And the ’39 team did all of that with Dahlgren at first instead of Gehrig.

    If I can get the 1939 Yankees from Stratomatic I’ll add them to my dream league.

  2. Lorrin Bird says:

    Was looking at the 1939 Yankee stats after reading Ed Linn’s book on Ted Williams, and a note on the baseball-reference site at
    puts forth the opinion that the 1939 Yankees were the greatest team ever. They won 106 games, and as noted by Linn, would have outwun the ’27 team if the Red Sox hadn’t taken five in a row late in the season. The ’39 team scored more than 400 more runs then they gave up, which may be an all time high that the ’27 Yankees couldn’t match.

    Although the ’39 team hitting and starting pitching was awesome, the main relief pitching wasn’t exceptional. Johnny Murphy’s ERA was over 4.4 if I remember correctly, although there were more than enough .300 hitters to add more runs if needed.

    If Stratomatic has the 1939 season I’ll add this team to my dream league.

  3. Lorrin Bird says:

    Did some more digging into the 1927 Yankees.

    Wilcy Moore was the premier reliever during 1927 and he was on the Yankee team. Moore was a dual threat pitcher.

    He started 12 games, finished 30 games and lead the league in saves with 13. He won 19 games, lost 7, and had an ERA of 2.28. Mariano Rivera’s ERA was 1.91, so one might argue that Moore is a good reliever even if he is not in the Mariano Rivera super-reliever category..

    Another neat point is the batting ability of 1927 Yankee pitchers. The batting averages for the six Yankee pitchers with over 100 innings pitched follows:

    Hoyt .222 with 9 sacrifice hits
    Ruether .263 without a sacrfice hit
    Pennock .217 with 13 sacrifice hits
    Shocker .241 with 20 sacrfice hits
    Moore .080 with 7 sacrifice hits
    Pipgras .239 with 2 sacrifice hits

    If pitchers had to hit in the 1927-vs-1998 Yankee games, I’d give the advantage to the 1927 team.

    Found out that during 1927 the sacrifice hit category included the usual bunts, and also included fly ball outs that scored a run, and may have included fly ball outs that advanced a runner.

    Most of the 1927 Yankee starters had an ERA well below the league average, and several were within the top ten ERA leaders for that year:

    Hoyt 2.63 with 32 starts
    Pennock 3.00 with 26 starts
    Shocker 2.84 with 27 starts
    Ruether 3.38 with 26 starts
    Pipgras 4.11 with 21 starts
    Moore 2.28 with 12 starts
    Thomas 4.87 with 9 starts

    If designated hitters were allowed during 1927 the ERA’s would go up, and vice versa for 1998.

  4. Lorrin Bird says:

    Interesting analysis.

    The ’27 team errors may be due to small, poorly designed gloves (by modern standards), official scorer rule differences (a touch that gets by is an error) or less ability in the field. Since all sixteen ML teams during 1927 made a ton of errors, one might suspect gloves and scorer rules to play a big part.

    As an aside, Earle Combs had an inferior throwing arm in center, based on readings and baseball game ratings. This would increase the run scoring capability of opposing teams by allowing base runners to advance extra bases on singles and doubles. He received a +3 throwing modifier in Stratomatic, which is rare for a centerfielder.

    One of my hobbies is playing out 162 game seasons with favorite all time teams, using Stratomatic. In two season replays with dice and player cards, the ’54 Indians beat out the ’27 Yankees, ’61 Yankees, ’54 Giants, ’50 Yankees, ’86 Mets, ’68 Tigers and several other teams. The ’27 Yankees suffered a lot from fielding lapses at critical timesm and went through hitting slumps from time to time. The Inidans won with great starting pitching, great relief pitching, and clutch hits from everyone in the line-up. Didn’t allow designated hitters in the replays.

    In real life, I believe that the ’54 Indians did really well against AL teams with losing records and so-so against several of the winning record teams.

    Although the ’27 Yankees are tagged as Murderer’s Row, the ’50 Red Sox scored more runs in a 154 game season, and Ted Williams missed almost half the games with a broken elbow.

    I’am presently gearing up for the ultimate replay, with the ’98 Yankees, ’27 Yankees, ’54 Indians and the Mariners team that won over 110 games. May allow designated hitters in half the games.

    The ’98 Yankees had a bunch of guys who hit a ton of homeruns in a limited number of at bats, including Daryl Strawberry (more than 20 homers), Shane Spencer (10 homers in 67 at bats) and several others. Including designated hitters in the ’27 vs ’98 game gives the ’98 team a big advantage, and even without the designated hitter the ’98 team has better pinch hitters who can score runs with one swing.

    Didn’t the ’98 Yankees have a set up reliever who was almost as good as Mariano?

    You wrote a very thought provoking article. Thanks.

    • Lorrin Bird says:

      Looked up Daryl Strawberry’s Yankee stats for 1998, most impressive!

      In 345 plate appearances during 1998 (295 at bats plus walks, HBP and SF), Daryl hit 24 homers, drew 46 walks and only grounded into ONE doubleplay.

      If he reached with 450 plate appearances and maintained the same ratio’s his stats would include 31 homers, 60 walks and only one grounded into double play.

      Shane Spenser had 6 doubles and 10 homers in 67 at bats, and hit over 370! Nice to have guys like that on the bench at the end of the season when regulars get tired.

      • breakinbadd says:

        Those are the teams that win championships!
        Teams with deep lineups and even deeper bench players.

    • phdinweed says:

      Great comment! Let us know how the replays go!

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