February 7, 2012 7 Comments
Written by Contributor John Schiesser
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.
Here is a look at both teams starting lineups:
1927 Yankees Position Players
|Joe Dugan/Pat Collins||3B /C||.269 /.275||2 /7||43 /36||44 /38||1 /0|
1998 Yankee’s Position Players
|Paul O Neill||RF||.317||24||116||95||15|
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
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.
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
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.