Yankees holding 1996 championship team reunion on August 13

The 1996 Yankees are my favorite Yankees team of all time. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. Sure, the 1998 and 2009 teams were awesome, but that 1996 squad was my first World Series championship team. I was still a kid and baseball had just crushed my soul for the first time in the 1995 ALDS. Not team will compare to the 1996 Yankees to me.

Earlier today the Yankees announced they will hold a ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of 1996 Yankees on Saturday, August 13th. A total of 32 members of that 1996 team will be in attendance, including Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Wade Boggs, Paul O’Neill, Tim Raines, David Cone, Jimmy Key, Jim Leyritz, and Joe Torre. But not Kenny Rogers. He wasn’t invited. (I don’t know if that’s true, but he won’t be there.)

Here is the press release with the full list of attendees. The Yankees are playing the Rays, who didn’t even exist back in 1996, that weekend. Here’s the schedule of events:

  • Friday, Saturday 12th (7pm ET): First 15,000 fans receive a 1996 World Series replica trophy.
  • Saturday, Saturday 13th (1pm ET): 1996 Yankees reunion ceremony.
  • Sunday, Saturday 14th (1pm ET): Mariano Rivera Monument Park plaque dedication ceremony.

That is going to be a pretty awesome weekend. I’m sure the cynical folks among us will say the Yankees are doing all this because attendance is down and the 2016 team stinks, but this has been in the works for a while. The 20th anniversary of the 1996 Yankees was always going to have a special day, as it should. They’re going to do this again in 1998, 1999, and 2000 too.

We had an entire Retro Week dedicated to the 1996 Yankees earlier this season, so go back and check that all out if you haven’t seen it. And even if you have seen it, read it again.

Yanks announce Rivera plaque coming to Monument Park, ticket sale dates, promotion dates

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Earlier today the Yankees announced a whole bunch of the 2016 calendar news. First and foremost, individual game tickets will go on sale online beginning Monday, February 22nd at 10am ET. You can walk up to the Yankee Stadium ticket booth and begin buying tickets the following day, February 23rd.

Now that you know when you can buy tickets to get in the door, here’s the big news: the Yankees are dedicating a plaque in Mariano Rivera‘s honor this coming season. No. 42 is already retired in Rivera’s (and Jackie Robinson’s) honor, but now he’s getting a plaque too. Pretty cool. The Rivera plaque ceremony will take place on Sunday, August 14th. That’s a 1pm ET game against the Rays.

The Yankees also announced they will have a special ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Yankees on August 13th, the day before Mo’s ceremony. We celebrated the 1996 Yankees all last week during Retro Week. Old Timers’ Day is scheduled for Sunday, June 12th. The 1996 club is getting their own special day, as they should. No plans for that ceremony have been announced yet.

And finally, the Yankees also announced their full 2016 promotional schedule. You can see it here. The highlights: bat day for the unmarketable Alex Rodriguez on May 14th, Didi Gregorius bobblehead on August 7th, and a Dellin Betances bobblehead on September 10th.  I want them all.

Baseball Prospectus on the 1996 Yankees

Going back to a time when this happened a bit more frequently. (Photo via SI.com)

The fine folks at Baseball Prospect put their entire 1996 Annual online over the weekend, and it’s free for all to see. You don’t need a subscription to see the 28 team sections (no Devil Rays or Diamondbacks yet!), complete with overviews, player comments, and projections for the 1996 season. I think it goes without saying that it’s amazing to look back and see what was being written about some of these guys, even moreso when you consider everything we know now. Hindsight can be an amazing thing.

Given his recent historical accomplishments, I think it’s only fair that we start with Mariano Rivera, who was just a 26-year-old kid with a 5.51 ERA in 67 career innings at the time …

Skinny swingman who has good control of the corners of the strike zone. His K rate seemed to jump up a little as of late, and if that’s development rather than a fluke, this kid could really be something special. Looks way too skinny to be durable, but you never know.

Unfortunately the annual did not provide a projection for Rivera, but I highly doubt it would have come close to what he actually did that year, a 2.09 ERA with 130 strikeouts and just 34 walks in 107.2 relief innings. He’s still way too skinny, but the durability thing proved to be a complete non-issue.

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