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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Ending Yankees Myths #2 - Steinbrenner and the 1990s Yankees

by Paul Semendinger

April 19, 2024

***

I have been writing (almost) daily posts and talking (almost daily) with Yankees fans and baseball fans here at Start Spreading the News since October 2017. We've been at this for a long time. We've had close to 10,000 articles published and have had millions and millions of page views. In total there have been tens of thousands of comments on the site.


Over the years, I have heard a host of myths about the Yankees. This article continues a new series where I prove that certain myths are untrue.


Here is the first article in the series:


Today, I'll take on the myth that great Yankees teams of the 1990s were primarily constructed while George Steinbrenner was suspended.


That myth is false and is easily proved false with simple facts. To do this, I'll simply demonstrate how many of the championship Yankees players came after George Steinbrenner's return to baseball.


George Steinbrenner's second suspension from Major League Baseball ended in 1993. He returned to running the Yankees on March 1, 1993.


The following important Yankees from the 1996 Championship team were brought up from the minor leagues or acquired only after George Steinbrenner returned to the Yankees:


C- Joe Girardi

1B- Tino Martinez

2B- Mariano Duncan

SS- Derek Jeter

DH - Ruben Sierra

LF- Tim Raines

LF- Darryl Strawberry

DH/1B- Cecil Fielder

INF- Andy Fox

OF- Ruben Rivera

INF - Luis Sojo

C- Jorge Posada

3B- Charlie Hayes

SP- Andy Pettitte

SP- Kenny Rogers

SP- Dwight Gooden

SP- David Cone

P- Ramiro Mendoza

RP- John Wetteland

RP- Mariano Rivera

RP- Jeff Nelson

RP- Graeme Lloyd

RP- David Weathers


That, quite simply, is the bulk of the team. 23 players in all.


This idea that George Steinbrenner was someone who made irrational decisions, didn't listen to his baseball people, traded away all of the talent, and such, is patently false in regards to the Yankees Championship Teams of the 1990s.


In addition to those players, the following other players were acquired or brought up from the minor leagues during the championship era, all who played significant roles in the Yankees' four World Series wins in five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000);


2B- Chuck Knoblauch

3B- Scott Brosius

DH- Chili Davis

OF- Ricky Ledee

INF- Homer Bush

OF- Shane Spencer

OF- David Justice

2B- Alfonso Soriano

UT- Clay Bellinger

SP- Hideki Irabu

SP- Orlando Hernandez

SP- David Wells

SP- Roger Clemens

SP- Denny Neagle

RP- Mike Stanton

RP- Darren Holmes

RP- Jason Grimsley


It's absolutely impossible to claim that the players who made up the championship core were all acquired pre-Steinbrenner. That narrative is completely false.


Along with the "They built the championship core while Steinbrenner was suspended myth" is the one that says, "Steinbrenner traded away all the Yankees' young talent."


Look over the list above. The Core Four is there. They weren't traded away. But note something else, there are a host of other young players who played big roles and who came through the minor league system: Ramiro Mendoza, Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, Homer Bush. The fact is, Steinbrenner didn't trade away that young talent.


Now, sure he traded some young players. Eric Milton went for Chuck Knoblauch. Ricky Ledee went for David Justice. But, many of the times when the kids were traded, they were part of deals that made the Yankees' core even better.


Once this is pointed out, the reply that many who want to hold onto the false Steinbrenner myth give is, "Well, he wanted to trade them." Ok. But he didn't. The fact that he didn't negates the false premice that somehow he did a bad job in this period because he discussed trading players. Again, the fact is that he did not trade those key players. Period.


The fact is, a host of young Yankees came up from the minor leagues and were given chances to succeed after George Steinbrenner returned to the Yankees in 1993. The facts show this clearly.


One cannot claim that George Steinbrenner acted recklessly post-1993 when presented with this data. It's clear that he did not. That might have been true in the 1980s. It might have been true in the 1970s. But it wasn't true once he returned.


People change. People grow. It is clear that George Steinbrenner changed his thinking and his approach. And it worked!


The Yankees Championship Teams of the 1990s were built, primarily, under George Steinbrenner's watch.


What is also clear is that the fact that since George Steinbrenner died, the Yankees have never reached the World Series.


Hopefully this myth can now go away forever.

***

Note to all sportscasters, bloggers, writers, reporters, podcasters, and the like, thanks for reading my article and coming to Start Spreading the News. You are here because you know we write well, report well, and do a great job covering the Yankees and sharing original points of view. If you're going to use or share any of our ideas, it is only proper to give credit to the writer and the website. Thank you.

30 Comments


fuster
Apr 19

In addition to those players, the following other players were acquired or brought up from the minor leagues during the championship era, all who played significant roles in the Yankees' four World Series wins in five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000);


2B- Chuck Knoblauch


Chuck Knoblauch may have been a poor fielder, and not an especially valuable addition to the team, but, at the plate, he was extremely gifted at getting hit by pitches

not in Rizzo's class, of course, but the ugly truth about Rizzo getting hit is that it's mostly accidental


Knoblauch's HBPs were more about the way that other players regarded being in his company.



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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
Apr 19
Replying to

And they aren't the only ones, unfortunately...

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Apr 19

Paul, under you slant of events, yes you are correct, but in the big picture you are wrong. If you remember correctly, when George was suspended on Tisha B'Av 1990 (also the 11th yahrzheit of My Captain's death), he left in place co GMs. Then when the other co-GM not named Stick, told Dave Righetti, on his own without consulting anyone else, that the Yankees were not going to resign him, then turned around and almost immediately signed with his hometown Giants. Well, Stick was blindsided, and was allowed by MLB to have a frank discussion with George (George was only allowed to sit in on the end of year evaluation and budget meeting), and told him, "Either I'm …


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Melfman1
Melfman1
Apr 19
Replying to

With that I can agree

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