Never Say Die, Yankees Are Flyin’ High PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dave Schwaller   
Sunday, 23 May 2010 09:08

The Bronx erupted Tuesday night as the Yankees put the final nail in the coffin of the National League Champion Reds, 7-2.  Fans are going to start expecting late inning, comeback victories as this has been the norm during the 8-game streak the Yankees dropped to finish the 1938 post-season.  One could say they’ve made it look easy, but the players and coaches know better.  The road was long and hard, and didn’t start in game 4 of the ALCS.


Unlike the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees came into the season the favorite in their division.  Also unlike the Indians they struggled to start the season.  This can probably be chalked up to some significant early injuries, most notably losing starting pitcher Russ Bauers for a year to elbow surgery.  The injury trend didn’t slow down and team trainers watched player after player limp through their doors, 34 times in all.  Leading the team was Cleo Carlyle with 6, followed closely by Dusty Cooke with 4, and Bud Hafey and Vince DiMaggio racking up 3 trips a piece.  Including the starting rotation, five starters did not play in the World Series…and they only gave up 5 runs.  Ace Leroy Matlock won the first and the last games in the Series and was the rock that the entire team gained their strength from.  Coming off a disappointing season in ’37, the veteran lefty had a solid year that included a career high 5 shutouts.  He kept batters guessing which of his 6 pitches was coming their way, and walked only 36 in 310 innings.  If Matlock was the sensei, then AL Rookie of the Year Joe Gordon was the student.  He posted 26 dingers and drove in 107, was named to the All-Star team, and won a gold…well not so much but he’s working on it.  As for other individual standouts, you won’t come up with much.  York continued his powerful career with another 27, and Kirby Higbe went 15-6 but with an ERA north of 4 it was obviously a team effort every time he pitched.  It was truly a team effort this year, and I’d say that was what management was planning on.


Let’s look at those “team” stats a little more.  Second best record in the AL, 49-41 in the division, and a dominating 47-30 home record.  They lead all of baseball in attendance at 3.25 million, had the lowest AL payroll, and lead the league with 83 steals, and no single player had more than 20.  These little things add up to a solid team that can put just about any lineup on the field and compete.  You can see how they weathered the injury storm.  Looking forward to next year you’ll see nothing but blue skies, children playing, and some nervous AL East opponents.  Their core group is signed for years to come.  Cap space allows for a big free agent push or a mid-season trade.  No holes in the starting rotation or the field.  This Yankee club will be tough to beat.


Looking around the rest of the American League it’s going to be hard to get past Cleveland in the West.  They were the most dominant team in baseball last year, and that was mainly due to a key group of four.  One could say they were the opposite of the Yankees and there should be no doubt who the best player in baseball is.  His name is Henry Kimbro.  Kimbro dominated from game one, not just in one or two categories.  Besides taking the home run and RBI crown H-Bro watched his name bubble to the top of 9 other offensive categories.  He also stole 22 bases and went errorless in the field in 442 chances in left and center field.  The only thing between him and the triple crown was teammate Tony Lazzeri, and that was only by a point.  Lazzeri was the catalyst that fused with Kimbro to make a winning lineup the way T.C. worked with Magnum.  On the pitching side, Joe Wood award winner Mace Brown baffled opponents with surgical finesse and Prince Oana seemed to always be next to the ‘W’ in the boxscore.  Let’s see if the White Sox can live up to their promise and give them a run for their money.


In the AL East, the Red Sox, A’s, and Nationals seem a little off kilter due to inconsistent play, patchy major league ability, and aged mediocrity respectively.  As far as the National League goes, there seems to be no reason the revolving door on divisional winners should stop.  Both divisions are competitive, at least at the top.  The Phillies, Dodgers, and Giants are solid clubs with Brooklyn topping this reporters list in ’39.  Solid pitching should prove to be the difference maker.  On the west side you’ll find the best trio of teams in baseball, with the Reds, Pirates, and Cubs.  The Reds are young and looking to get younger with 4 first round and 2 second round picks.  The Pirates are only a year removed from the title and were in the lead most of the year, only to fall late to the surging Reds.  The Cubs are always a team to be reckoned with and actually have a first round pick this year, even if it isn’t theirs.  That along with cap space should signal a different looking lineup this time around.  The Cardinals improved this year with a sub-$40M payroll and with Teddy-Baseball joining the team they should get well fast.  This ink stained wretch is too vain to try to pick between the three at the top.


So ‘Congrats’ to the Yankees, the team you either love or hate.  The stretcher seems to be the only thing that could get in their way of a repeat.

Last Updated on Sunday, 23 May 2010 09:10