Why The Minnesota Twins Scare Me… (A History of Teams That “Always Lose”)
Last week, while participating as a featured guest on the Bronx Beat Podcast, I opined that I am a little more than fearful of the Minnesota Twins in the playoffs. I have said this often to many and I am usually greeted by the words that add to my fear – “Have no worries, the Yankees always beat the Twins.”
Has there ever been a team that always defeats its opponents? Always? As in forever? I don’t think so. One day, the law of averages avenges the formerly dominant team and leaves them watching from the sidelines tarnished and shocked because of the defeat thrust upon them by the team that never before won.
Until they did!
The history of baseball is littered with examples like this. There are dozens of them (if not more), but, for the sake of clarity and easy, since we are a Yankees Blog (and a great one at that), let’s look at the Yankees post season history when it comes to teams that always win or lose…
The 1921, 1922, and 1923 Giants:
In the beginning, the Yankees were the perennial losers. In their history from 1903 to 1920, they never appeared in the post season (then just the World Series). In most years, they didn’t even come close, in fact. But, Babe Ruth arrived in 1920 and by 1921, they were on baseball’s biggest stage.
The problem in 1921 was that they were playing their in-city rivals (and the team who owned the ballpark in which they played, the Polo Grounds), the New York Giants.
The Giants were one of baseball’s greater teams. Though they only won the World Series once (in 1905), they were often competitors in the fall classic. The Giants were the National League’s best team in 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1917. When the Giants weren’t winning the pennant, they were often the second place team in the senior circuit. Since 1900, the Giants finished in second place in 1903, 1906, 1908, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1919, and 1920. In nine of the eleven seasons between 1910 and through 1920, the Giants were a first or second place team.
The Yankees had no history like that.
It was no surprise when the Giants win the 1921 World Series against their inferior American League tenants.
It was also no surprise then the Giants dispatched them again in 1922.
I can almost hear the Giants fans in 1923, “The Yankees ain’t never won anything. The Giants win all the time.” I can also hear those fateful words, “Those Yankees have never beaten the Giants…and they never will.”
Until they did, dispatching them in six games to win the 1923 World Series four game to two.
Since that 1923 World Series, the Yankees have faced, and defeated the Giants numerous times. The Yankees defeated the New York Giants in the World Series in 1936, 1937, and 1951. The Yankees defeated the San Francisco Giants in 1962.
When the Yankees play the Giants in the World Series some day, fans will say, “The Giants can’t beat the Yankees, they haven’t done so since 1922” even though those teams have will have no relevance to the squads in the future…
The Brooklyn Dodgers (1940’s and 1950’s)
Oh, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Dem Bums. It was true, they always lost to the Yankees when they met in the World Series. Always. They often lost in heart-breaking fashion to.
As sure as the sun rose in the east, if the Yankees played the Dodgers, the Yankees would prevail.
This was as sure a thing as anything. The Dodgers were just no match for the Yankees. No match at all.
The Yankees defeated the Dodgers in the World Series in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953.
The Yankees never lost to the Dodgers… until they did, in 1955 when the Dodgers defeated the Yankees in seven games.
The Kansas City Royals (1976-1978, 1980)
In the modern game, the Yankees faced the Royals in the American League Championship Series (the only playoffs those years) in 1976, 1977, and 1978.
The Royals were a spunky bunch, those series were hard played, rough, brutal at times.
The Yankees won the series in 1976, 1977, and 1978. The Royals often took the loses hard.
You know the story – “The Royals can’t beat the Yankees…” Until they did, sweeping them in the 1980 ALCS three games to none.
The 1977, 1978, and 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers of the late 1970’s lost to the Yankees in the 1977 and 1978 World Series. They Yankees had the magic, they even had Reggie Jackson.
When they met in the 1981 World Series, many were certain the Yankees would win. The Yankees even won the first two games of the series… before dropping the next four in a row and losing to the Dodgers.
The Boston Red Sox (Always)
Come on, join with me, “Nineteen eighteen… (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)…”
If history showed one thing, and only one thing, it was the fact that the Red Sox would NEVER beat the Yankees. Never. Ever.
The Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. They were cursed forever because of that. They hadn’t won a World Series since. If they ever came close, they’d lose, always in ways to break a Bostonian’s heart.
The Yankees, on the other hand, won pennant after pennant, World Series after World Series. Year after year, decade after decade, the Yankees won.
The Red Sox couldn’t just not be the Yankees, they were cursed.
There were legendary seasons when these two American League rivals would battle, and when they did, like in 1949 or 1978, the Yankees always prevailed.
Once new playoff formats allowed these two rivals to play each other in the post season, the Yankees always had their way with them – always. ALWAYS.
In the 1999, ALCS, the Yankees dispatched the Red Sox four games to one.
In 2003, the Yankees did it again, this time in an epic seven game series.
But then came 2004. The Yankees were up three games to none! They had defeated the Sox by scores of 10-7, 3-1, and 19-8. “Whose your Daddy?”
The Yankees could not, would not…it was absolutely impossible for the Red Sox to defeat the Yankees. IMPOSSIBLE.
Until they did…winning the next four games in a row. And going on to win the World Series.
They met again last year and the Red Sox won again.
The Minnesota Twins (of recent memory)
The Yankees defeated the Twins in the 2003 American League Division Series.
They did it again in 2004 and 2009 and 2010.
The Yankees beat the Twins in the 2017 Wild Card Game.
“The Twins ALWAYS lose to the Yankees in the post season. Always.”
Until the time comes that they don’t…
I hope that isn’t this year.