The End of a Historic Era

Sabathia done for season with Grade II left hamstring strain
Enter Sandman
(Maddie Meyer/Getty)
(Maddie Meyer/Getty)

I’ve never really been fond of the term “Core Four.” Not because it’s cheesy or because I hate pretty much everything, but because I feel it’s disrespectful to every other player who had a role in the dynasty years. I’m talking about guys like Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, David Cone, Paul O’Neill — the guys who were on the field celebrating Mariano Rivera‘s career yesterday. Even more recent players like Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, and CC Sabathia deserve to be any kind of “core” talk.

The Core Four or whatever you want to call it is no more at this point. Jorge Posada retired two years ago and both Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte will play the final games of their careers within the next week. Derek Jeter is still hanging around and figures to return next year — I have a very, very, very hard time thinking he would go out with a disastrous 2013 being his final season — but otherwise all the on-field ties to the dynasty years are gone. Even if Jeter does return next season, it’s hard to think he’ll be the same player he was just last year, nevermind 1996-2001.

The homegrown core of those dynasty years is not something we’re ever going to see again. Not in our lifetimes. The collection of players who came up through the farm system in the 1990s was historic, more than once in a generation stuff. Just think about it this way: if you were building a team today, from scratch, what types of the players you would target to build around? In no particular order, they’d be:

  • A switch-hitter center fielder who hit for average, power, and got on base.
  • A switch-hitting catcher with power and patience.
  • An elite offensive shortstop who had all the intangibles associated with being a franchise cornerstone.
  • A workhorse left-handed starter.
  • A durable reliever who was unfazed in the biggest moments.

Those are the five guys you’d want to build your team around, right? Strength up the middle and strength on the mound. Now imagine not only drafting/signing and developing those five guys all at once, but imagine all of them having careers long enough that they turned into this:

  • A borderline Hall of Fame center fielder.
  • A borderline Hall of Fame catcher.
  • A first ballot Hall of Fame shortstop.
  • A borderline Hall of Fame left-hander.
  • A first ballot Hall of Fame closer and the greatest reliever in baseball history.

That’s the core that came up through the Yankees’ farm system all at once in the 1990s. It’s a historically great crop of players that you’d be thrilled to develop over the span of 25 years, nevermind in just five or six years. In recent memory, I think only the Phillies — Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels — come even remotely close to developing such a high-end core in the same period of time.

The development of that five-player core is not something the Yankees or anyone can repeat. You can’t fire that idiot Brian Cashman and replace him with that genius Gene Michael, wait five years, then have another core with those caliber of players. It doesn’t work like that. The Williams/Posada/Jeter/Pettitte/Rivera core is a combination of both great scouting and historic luck. I’ve been using the word historic a lot because that’s what this is. There’s no other way to describe these guys individually or as a five-player unit.

As amazing as that development was, you know what I find just as fascinating? With the exception of Jeter, all of those guys were dangerously close to being traded at one time or another. Bernie was rumored to be involved in separate deals for Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and Jeff Blauser, among others. The Yankees originally wanted to include Posada in the Tino Martinez trade with the Mariners before relenting and giving up Russ Davis. Mariano was almost dealt for Randy Johnson, Felix Fermin, and David Wells at different times. Pettitte was on the trade block all throughout his first tenure in pinstripes it seemed, and the most notable rumor involved the Phillies and Adam Eaton. All it would have taken was one “yes” to dismantle the core of a dynasty.

Rivera and Pettitte saying goodbye to the Yankee Stadium crowd yesterday was about more than just saying goodbye to the fans. It was saying goodbye to one of the greatest runs in franchise history, a historic era that featuring five World Series titles and seven pennants in a 14-year span. We watched Jeter reach 3,000 career hits, Pettitte claim the team’s all-time strikeout crown, Bernie become the all-time leader in postseason RBI, Posada play in more playoff games than any other catcher in history, and Rivera save more games than anyone else in baseball history. It has been a privilege and an honor to watch all five of these guys — as well as anyone else who helped out during the dynasty years — but like everything else at one time or another, this great era of Yankees baseball has reached its end.

email
Sabathia done for season with Grade II left hamstring strain
Enter Sandman
  • stuart a

    spot on…

    once in a lifetime. to bad it takes us to the end to realize what we jsut witnessed.

    • mike

      Braves of the 90’s…Glavine, Chipper, Javy Lopez, Andruw Jones, Dye, Glavine, Avery, Smoltz (kinda), Ron Gant, Justice, Klesko……

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Yet it still doesn’t measure up.

        That core got you five championships and were so close to giving you at least two more.

        Phillies can’t say that. Atlanta can’t say that.

        • gc

          Yet that Braves group will more likely bring about more Hall of Famers. Which is not a knock on the talent of the individual Yankee players mentioned, but more a testament of how well they came together as a team, a sum greater than their parts as it were.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Absolutely. It’s a testament to how good the complimentary pieces were on those 90’s Yankee teams.

      • Mike HC

        Good call on the Braves. They definitely have to be in the conversation with that group of players.

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          And yet the Brave’s group produced one championship vs. five for the Yankees group.

          Of course, were it not for the Yankees group, the Brave’s group might have had more.

          • JCK

            Still, 14 straight seasons in the playoffs is nothing to sneeze at.

  • Eric S

    Beautifully, elegantly stated. Yes this will likely not be seen again in our lifetimes and we should celebrate and revere it. I had tears watching on TV yesterday. However, the team will go on and win again. The only question will be how long and that will depend on scouting, good drafts and willingness to spend when needed or the Stadium will get more and more empty. Mantle followed DiMaggio, Howard followed Berra and Andy followed Gator. There will be new legends and the team will win a WS again – it will not be 85 years unlike a team up north that shall remain nameless. Celebrate this era, mourn its’ end but be proud to be Yankee fans as there will be future glory.

    • Mike B.

      Nice, Eric!

  • stuart a

    next year is it for jeter. the guy will be 40…

    he is a smart guy…

  • LarryM Fl

    Mike it could not be written any better. As far as luck with the draft I believe you create your own luck with quality drafting and developing of the talent. But looking back at these five players their makeup is a huge part of their success. They could perform when the intensity of the stage was beyond crippling. Also the Stick was a big part of the selection and guidance.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I believe you create your own luck with quality drafting

      Nothing against quality drafting, for sure, but the Yankees were damn lucky Jeter fell to them.

  • John C

    So how much longer does Jeter hang on? How many think next year will be his last, especially with the team headed into such a transition period?

    • I’m One

      Barring something unforeseen (like a career offensive year with a return of some semblance of definsive improvement), I agree next year will most likely be his last. Even given those improvements, I think he’d need to take a significant pay cut (perhaps with incentives) to remain with the team. I just don’t see all of those things falling into place.

      And, if the Yankees decide to cut ties with A-Rod, I think it becomes that much easier for Jeter to swallow as well. I just have a feeling that he’d hate to retire and leave the team to him. Of course, I have absoultely nothing to base this feeling on.

    • mitch

      Honestly, I don’t see it ending well. The chances of him announcing his retirement early in the season and then enjoying a farewell tour while having decent season are very slim IMO. I have a bad feeling he’ll be putting the Yankees in an uncomfortable position.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    What else can be said? It was an honor, and it was an honor to watch them all come out in support of Mariano yesterday.

    You may see better individual players wear pinstripes some day, but you’ll never again have what this team has had for almost two decades. I hope none of them ever stray too far away, and that generations can marvel at them as we marvel at the Yankee greats that came before our time.

  • jim p

    I remember Bernie: twice a year, usually May/early June and August, he’d go on a tear for three to six weeks where his bat carried the team. Every year. He was awesome in those periods.

  • Mike HC

    Great article.

    It has been a gift and a curse to grow up in this era of Yankee baseball. A gift for the obvious reasons, and a curse because now it will be tough to get really excited for anything less than an all time great roster.

    • I’m One

      So you’d prefer to have become a fan about when I did, during the mid-60’s? That was no fun. I don’t expect we’ll live through a dry spell that long this time around. Hang tough!

      • Mike HC

        ha, nah, although growing up in the 60’s and 70’s would have probably been very interesting for non baseball related reasons.

        • I’m One

          That they were. ;-)

          • Robinson Tilapia

            And he’s got the shirts with the massive collars to prove it.

            • I’m One

              The original tie-died shirts, hippies, sit-ins and protests, then leisure suits, satin shirts unbuttoned down to the belly button, platform shoes …

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Jefferson Starship and Leo Sayer….

                • I’m One

                  Airplane, not Starship (I’m the youngest of 4 and remember when my sister got “Meet the Beatles” even though I was only about 4 or 5). My brother went to Woodstock. And I really could have done without anything to remind me of Leo Sayer!!!

                  • Robinson Tilapia

                    I wasn’t around for it, obviously, but I’ve heard most of it in retrospect. The metamorphosis the Airplane went through in order to become Starship is sadder than what Walt White went through.

                  • Mike B.

                    “I’m One”–are you a fan of The Who?

      • Eric S.

        I remember that period as my intro and all i had were my Dad telling me how good they had been – that dry spell ended and this next one will as well. I’m One is right!!

  • Ryan A

    Most of them came up when I was in the 5th/6th grade. I will be 30 in January. It’s hard to explain it to non-baseball fans, but in 50 years, the careers of those five guys will have a huge role in the story of my childhood and early adulthood. They were a large part of my teens, and my twenties.

    I’ve never met them (Mo held the door for me once at a Seattle Nordstroms) and will likely never meet them, but their role in my story were large nonetheless.

    The beauty though, is in the uniform. The Yankees are bigger than those five players. The Yankees were bigger than Mantle, and Dimaggio. The Yankees will be bigger than whoever is next. I just hope I’m lucky enough to see a few more.

    • Zach

      Yes! I remember telling my 5th grade teacher, with the Yanks down 2 games to ATL, that the Yankees would win. After that it is all an amazing blur. The late Halloween game which spawned Mr. November in 2001, the perfect games, the walk-offs – I am getting goosebumps now just thinking about it. All of it culminating with my buddies and I at a bar on River Avenue as Robinson Cano threw to Teixiera for the final out of Game 6 and the 2009 world series.
      As you said, I’ve never met them but they have defined a major portion of my life.

  • itsallhowuseeit

    The development and success of those players is what always made it so easy to defend against stupid people saying the Yankees bought their Championships. Like you said Mike, no other team will ever come close to being able to duplicate this. Hearing Jeter talk about how he has been playing with MO for over 20 years and how they both got sent back to the minors together at one point shows just how tight this group had to be. It was a magical era, one that I for one took for granted with absurd expectations. Those expectation tho were born from the many awesome and truly unbelievable moments this team has brought us in these years. We will look back on this time and compare it to the insane run the Yanks had in the 50’s.

  • Jerome S.

    The departing Yankees core started their historic run in 1996, the year in which I was born, and as they wind down I type these thoughts from a college dorm room.
    Take that, time.

    • JGYank

      Yeah but guys our age (I was born in 1996 as well) didn’t really witness the dynasty years and that sucks. But we’ve only known winning seasons and have made the playoffs almost every year so that’s cool.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        What I feel like I missed out on was not living in NYC during the dynasty years, even though I was about to graduate from college at the time. I enjoyed them for sure, but it did feel a bit detached.

        If anything, the sole moment where I was able to jump up and down with a bunch of Yankee fans and celebrate was 2009.

        They were beautiful teams and beautiful years, though. Watch as many videos as possible. :)

        • JGYank

          Yeah 09 was the second year I really started to get into baseball and it was great since that team was awesome with walkoffs left and right, an epic offense and infield, the core 4 still in tact and productive. CC and AJ didn’t disappoint and Joba and Hughes still had potential. Those were some of my first baseball memories and only championship that I remembered. (I tried to forget the end of 08 when I started watching Yankee games regularly except the Jeter speech during the last home game and Mussina’s 20th win.)

          But I wasn’t old enough to experience the late 90s magic and don’t feel a connection with the guys on those teams outside of the core four. Hell I never even really saw Bernie play. Must of been great to watch.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            They were great to watch indeed. Watch some classics and pretend you don’t know who’s going to win. I think Wells’s perfect game is as good a start as any. :)

            • JGYank

              Haven’t seen Wells’ perfecto but I saw Cone’s on Yankees Classics. Great game on Yogi Berra day no less. I also saw the 1998 Yankees one. 114 wins and a WS win is incredible. But you just can’t match 4 WS wins in 5 years and almost a 5th in 01. But when I saw the replay of Mo blowing that save in game 7 it was crushing even though I didn’t watch it until many years after it happened. Same with the 04 ALCS blown save and 03 WS loss. Kinda glad I missed those parts but everything else looks like a dream team winning it all every year.

        • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

          I won’t rub it in and tell you how many playoff and WS games I’ve been to dating back to 77-78 as a result of the luxury of living in this wonderful town. Except to say…man have I been blessed. And I’m not even counting the Rangers in 94 and the Knicks during the same period, wherein I learned the true meaning of heartbreak! Man oh man.

    • Mike B.

      Nice, Jerome! So says a professor! Oh…and be sure to read all of your assigments….

  • eric

    On top of ALL of that- the GM’s managed to fill in the rest of the teams through very, very shrewd trades that helped keep them on top:

    -Trading for David Cone in 1995
    -Trading for Tino before ’96
    -Trading for David Justice in ’00
    -Trading for Roger Clemens in ’99

    • vicki

      paulie for roberto kelly a few years earlier.

      • Pseudoyanks

        The Brosius trade was one of my personal favorites. Who would have ever thought the Knoblauch trade would have gone sideways though?

        • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

          YCPB.

          Love Brosius too.

      • I’m One

        paulie for roberto kelly a few years earlier.

        I clearly remember that. I hated to see Kelly go, but it provided the opportunity to move Bernie to CF, so I understood the logic. Turned out to be a great move.

  • cheddar

    Thanks for using “a Historic” rather than the incorrect “an Historic.” And for a really good read.

    • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

      Wrong. The use of an vs a is dependent on the vocal cadence of the subsequent letter sound. An historic is perfectly correct.

      • Mike B.

        Although it’s usually considered British usage, “an historic” is indeed perfectly correct in American English. Trust me–I’m an English prof. Just don’t grade my spelling! LOL

  • Frank Costanza

    “An” historic era. An historic.

    You don’t know what you’re doing!!!

    • Frank Costanza

      Correction: I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!

    • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

      Come on.

      You don’t know what the hell you’re doing!!!

      Get it right, Frank.

  • JGYank

    Well said. I think in the future the Yanks probably will still have success but won’t have the core like we just saw. It’s hard to develop one. Maybe if Sanchez, a couple of the outfield prospects, and a couple pitching prospects work out we could develop another one but that’s extremely difficult. I can see Jagielo making it from this year’s draft as well.

    • I’m One

      Maybe if Sanchez, a couple of the outfield prospects, and a couple pitching prospects work out we could develop another one

      Sanchez, Banuelos, Jagielo, Austin then Hensley, Katoh … It’s unlikely that they’ll all pan out, but there are some possibilities.

      • JGYank

        No idea what we get out of Banuelos and Hensley after injuries, and don’t know much about Katoh but I like Sanchez and Jagielo. But Sanchez seems to progressing slowly though. We will see what happens, I guess.

        • I’m One

          Yeah, none are locks. All could fail. Or, the stars could align once again …

  • phil

    wow four first round picks …..farm sytem will be in the top 10 soon!

  • mick taylor

    we will never see another mariano, the greatest of all time. jeter, the greatest shortstop. jorge, andy and petite, borderline hofers. but all those players on those great teams of 1996 to 2009 had a dedication and passion to winning these new players do not have. it was like they would outplay and outthink teams with maybe more natural talent. like how they would wear down pedro . cano has more natural talent than jeter but does not have this passion, to win. those guys like jeter seem to have a belief that wearing the yankee uniform was special.

  • viridiana

    Certainly can’t expect another core like we had. And yet…with all the grumbling and pi**ing and moaning about the state of current Yankee player development, the team has managed to add another four players — who while certainly inferior to the original core — are pretty darned good.
    1–That would be a possible Hall of Fame second baseman, the pretty much unarguable best at his position and recently tying Lou Gehrig for an all-time Yankee record for career doubles. That would be Cano.
    2–A tremendously under-appreciated eighth inning setup specialist whose numbers in recent years actually compare fairly well with Rivera’s. Relievers are supposed to be up and down and fungible. Which would make one as steady as D-Rob even more valuable.
    3-An elite defensive outfielder who also led the AL in stolen bases over a two year period. He’s no Bernie Williams but Brett Gardner is a pretty valuable piece in his own right.
    4- Simply the August AL Pitcher of the month, the notoriously inconsistent Ivan Nova, who may at 26 be getting it together.

    So in an extremely (by virtual consensus) dry stretch, Yanks still produce a likely Hall of Famer, two valuable players and a pitcher who has won 18 games one season and promises more.

    So my point is simply this. Yanks may not produce another core to win five titles. But they may certainly be expected to match or exceed the four they’ve produced since then. And that would be very valuable. Some of he second core (and include Hughes in this) certainly contributed to the 09 championship.
    Time will tell, but I would certainly not rule out a tremendous new farm nucleus. And if history is any guide (and as Mike points out) the biggest challenge will be to avoid trading these kids before they have fully developed.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I think we’d drive ourselves crazy trying to mix and match another core four, but I love how you do point out that this franchise has continued to put out homegrown talent since.

      It’s not about matching the identity or keeping the same blueprint. It’s about figuring out what that right combination of players is going to be to bring about another perennial contender like we’ve seen thse past two decades.

      This is what those who scream and yell the most miss. They actually expect this to be easy because they saw those before them make it look so easy. Spoiled indeed.

      • mustang (The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

        “They actually expect this to be easy because they saw those before them make it look so easy. Spoiled indeed.”

        THIS!!!
        THIS!!!

        But can you blame them some them the “core” is all they have know. I waited 15 years, but Cubs fans have waited a lifetime and are still waiting.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Everything in moderation, I guess.

          You can’t blame someone for not being there, especially at a time where being too young for the dynasty now means being old enough to be a college grad in many cases.

          You can blame them for ignoring context, though. Yankee history is there for anyone to learn. I was too young to remember the late 70’s, but feel like I could have a decent conversation about them.

          And, really, who needs Horace Clarke when you remember Chuck Cary….

    • JGYank

      Throw in Jackson. Regret trading him. And Murphy, Romine, Adams, Clairborne, Betances, Banuelos, Sanchez, Williams, Heathcott, Almonte, Austin, Warren, Phelps, and others still are developing. That’s a long list.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        True but it’s still a lot of question marks though.

  • mustang (The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

    Ladies and gentlemen Mike Axisa just hit a home run!!!!!

    WELL SAID!
    WELL DONE!

    Its been my honor and pleasure to see these guys play for the team I love so much. I couldn’t ask for anymore as a Yankees fan.

  • nsalem

    The NY/SF Giants between 1955-1959 signed 4 HOFers in McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal and Perry, They also signed The 3 Alou brothers, Jim Ray Hart and Mike McCormick unfortunately (for them), even with Willie Mays in his prime it yielded no rings. Of course their was only 16 teams then and the AL was not exactly non caucasian friendly in the 1950’s.

  • Gonzo

    Great read. I got a weird story, but I used to own an article of Mo’s clothing and I wore it for a while. When Mo was young, he lived in a building where my father was the Superintendent. Mo chatted up my dad because they both were able to speak their native tongue to each other.

    Mo was such a nice guy. Gave my dad a good tips, signed a Polaroid picture of them together, and he even gave some of his cold weather clothes when he moved out. That’s how I got to wear a fleece that was once owned by Mo.

  • John

    Amen to that .. I always felt some disrespect towards Bernie because of the way he went out. It was very unfortunate that towards the end of his career his body broke down and was never able to be the player he was … Either way although he may not be a hall of famer he was a great player during all those years … He single handedly carried the 1996 Yankees into the World Series … I will never forget that catch down in Arlington to rob Texas of a hr and the hustle he played with in that series as well as the Series against the Orioles when he hit the walk0 off hr of randy myers in the jeffrey maier game

    • I’m One

      because of the way he went out.

      The same could happen to Jeter. He may want to return and the Yankees may not (rightfully so) want him on his terms. I hope he’s smart enough to see that coming and simply not offer his services in that case.

      All hypothetical, of course. Jeter may return next season and be the best SS in the game. (So unlikely, but we can dream of days past.)

    • Sam P.

      Bernie is a favorite of mine … what a feared hitter he was in the second half of the 1990s and early 2000s. I hope, and think it’ll happen eventually, that his 51 is up in Monument Park.

  • Gonzo

    Maybe this will keep people off Axisa’s back on Twitter. Who am I kidding, it’s Twitter.

  • Darren

    I’ve always disliked the term “Core 4″ as well, especially because it didn’t encompass Bernie, who was the real homegrown link between the horrific early 90’s and the dynasty years.

    In any case, I guess this really is the end of an era. I’m incredibly happy they were able to recapture the glory in ’09 with help from Hideki, Johnny Damon and Damaso Marte (!). Let’s hope Jeter (who is beginning to remind me of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger) can do it again next year with some new blood.

    • I’m a looser baby so why don’t you kill me?

      +1 on The Gunslinger

  • nsalem

    O’s finally score. about time

  • Vern Sneaker

    This was a remarkable home-grown group of five not only because they came up together, but more than that for their longevity. I don’t agree it won’t ever happen again, though. You never know. At any time there are five or six or more highly-rated prospects within a year or so of one another in terms of development. That’s true now. And I’d have to say that Bernie, Jorge, and Mariano all developed beyond expectations even after they were in the Show. We can only hope to get this lucky again — especially on the longevity aspect. That was truly extraordinary.

    • I’m One

      Add Pettitte to those that developed beyond expectations. I believe only Jeter was highly-touted. And think about how many highly-touted players never fully meet their expectaions.

      I think what really differentiates this group from others is their longevity. Will Trout and Harper and Kershaw and (put your facorite here) still be around in another 10 – 15 years producing at an elite level? We’ll see, but history telss us it’s unlikely. And, those guys aren’t even on the same team. Simply magical.

  • Hassey

    Jeter should also be hailed for the histroci run of tail he has collected since 1996…him, Clooney and Leo on the mount rushmore of poon

    • Gonzo

      Scott Baio?

  • mick taylor

    those great yankee teams figured out how to exploit the other team’s weaknesses. this team are a bunch of one dimensional players who if they are a pull hitter , that is it. today’s red sox are much more like those old yankee teams

  • Joe

    I don’t think it’s as difficult to develop players as everyone seems to think it is. I agree with pitchers that it’s difficult, but I disagree completely when talking about position players. Most of the bad teams that stunk for so many years had nothing to do with the inability to develop position players as it had to do with the inability to develop pitching. I mean look at Tampa, they had years when they were stinking where they developed solid position players, they just stunk because they had no pitching. So to bring up a lot of these teams that stunk for so many years is somewhat pointless, because the main reason a lot of teams stunk is because they couldn’t develop pitching, not hitting. And if they couldn’t develop hitting it wasn’t because they failed at it as much as it was they were looking for pitching over hitting.

    There would be more Bernie Williams players in baseball in my opinion of hitting coaches preached to hitters to adopt a Bernie Williams style of hitting. The problem is nowadays hitting coaches tell hitters to be like Adam Dunn or Mark Reynolds, and because of that you can have young players be very erratic from year to year. You can have one year where a hitter hits 250 and then the next year hits 180 all because it’s difficult to maintain a homerun or bust approach if we talk in terms of maintaining a steady batting average.

    • Mike B.

      Indeed, too many hitting coaches are like…..Kevin Long. I just think it’s time for him to move on…. Oh, I forgot how he helped Grandy.

  • Delbert Grady

    I think the toughest lesson will be for the segment of the Yankee fanbase who think if the Yankees just keep all their prospects, they’ll develop a new championship core in 3-5 years. What they don’t realize is we don’t have the same scouts, people picking talent and developing talent that we did back in the early to mid 90’s and without them, we’ve become downright pathetic at doing the things the dynasty/legacy was built upon. Just drafting prospects who BA or Keith Law approve of doesn’t mean they turn into anything. See Hughes, Phil amongst many others for example.

    I’m thrilled I lived through watching this kind of lightning strike on a team I supported. It happens so rarely in sports, it’s nice to be on the rooting side of it and not the hating side of it.

    • Mike B.

      Well stated.

  • Pseudoyanks

    Really well written Mike. I was reminded, while reading this, how many times Michael Kay said in the months of August/September/October of 1998 “We will NEVER see anything like this again in our lifetimes.” Not sure you wanted to remind me of Michael Kay..hah! Of course, Seattle put together a pretty good (regular season) team a couple of years later. Yanks will rebuild and it will be different….and it will be glorious once again.

  • Mike B.

    Great writing (take it from the English prof)! We have indeed witnessed the end of an era. Maybe one day….. “It eluded us then, but that’s no matter–tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….And one fine morning—-So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”–F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Kevin Ocala, Fl

    “The homegrown core of those dynasty years is not something we’re ever going to see again. Not in our lifetimes. The collection of players who came up through the farm system in the 1990s was historic, more than once in a generation stuff”.

    Absurd. Unless you have a very short life expectancy. Didn’t the Indians have a group in the ’90’s that were possibly better? It’s happened over the years more often than people would think. And we may have a team in baseball, right now, who may have a “Core Four”. Hell, the Marlins have had some amazing groups of Four over the last twenty years, they just have never had the money/budget to retain them. Atlanta had some pretty good “Fours” as well.

    I go back a few years, and this group from the nineties are probably my emotional favorite. But we also need to appreciate that the Yankees/George managed to surround these guys with other players, great in their own right. And the trades that broke right more often than not, for a long time (sorry Mike Lowell and Jay Buhner). Btw, imagine if Lowell and Buhner hadn’t been traded. There may have been 2 or 3 more rings in there. I get greedy. What we aren’t likely to see is a man like Mo, possibly the last man of a dying breed. Great Human, athlete, humble, and intelligent. Now THAT will not likely be seen for awhile………

  • Darren

    How can you say that the contention is absurd and then use the Indians as an example? Who are you talking about, Carlos Baerga? Did the Indians develop even ONE player as good as Bernie or Jorge, let alone Jeter or Mo, and let alone all 5? And being able to retain them, and them wanting to be retained, and getting just the right complement of players around them to win the 5 rings, and win 3 in a row? It’s unbelievable what luck we all had!

  • wilcymoore27

    Beautifully written piece, what more can I say? Thanks, Mike.