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The BBC World Service's Todd Ant:
"It was only appropriate that the championship came down to the wire."
 real 14k

Friday, 27 October, 2000, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Series champs become legends
The Yankees celebrate
It is that October feeling again for the Yankees
Just when Yankees fans might be getting complacent, having already won the World Series for the last two years, Joe Torre's team up the thrill-factor by grabbing their third trophy with a nail-biting victory over local rivals the Mets.

The tense 4-2 win in game five of the series on Thursday night clinched the title and confirmed the Yankees as one of the all-time greats.

It is a fantastic result for a side that some critics thought were past their best at the start of the season and a tearful manager Joe Torre was more than aware of this.

"This was super satisfying. It's never easy, but we had a lot of trouble putting things together this year," said Torre.

The greatest?

Already the comparisons have begun as people ask if this is the best side in baseball history.

David Justice, who joined the Yankees midway through the season, thinks they are deserving of a mention in the history books: "If this is not the best ever, it's up there," he said.

This was super satisfying. It's never easy, but we had a lot of trouble putting things together this year
  Joe Torre

"It's hard to compare different decades. But this is definitely one of the best teams ever assembled. And this has been one of the best runs in history."

Three other teams have reached this echelon of success, and two of them were also Yankees teams.

Oakland A's did it between 1972 and 1974, 1936-39 Yankees won it four times in a row and the team of 1949-53 that managed five successive wins.

In terms of the final result, the current team may still have a way to go before it can match the '49-53 side, or even the pre-war champions.

Winning streak

However, when it comes to how they won, Joe Torre's Yankees are up there at the top of the list.

In the last three World Series', they have won 12 games, but only lost one while fellow Hall of Famers, Oakland lost as many as seven times in their championship era.

George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre
Owner George Steinbrenner celebrates with manager Joe Torre
Only the 1937-39 side of Gehrig, Di Maggio and Dickey were able to go through a three-year run with just one loss.

But it is hard to compare today's team with that of a past era, especially when the physical nature of the game has changed so much.

Gone are the days of afternoon baseball and two-hour games, and one can hardly forget this was almost 40 years before free agency.

The '37-39 Yankees only needed five different pitchers to win a World Series game while the '98-00 side divided their 12 wins among nine.

And if you include the Yankees World Series title in 1996, then they got wins from 11 pitchers.


Of course, success comes at a price and the Yankees had the highest payroll in the majors at US$113m, though some might say that is what it costs for a championship these days.

Before the play-offs, the Yankees were not looking like trophy material, having come in on the back of seven straight losses.

They also dropped the opener in their AL series against Oakland and Seattle.

However, in the end, Torre's team answered the critics and showed what that October experience is all about.

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See also:

27 Oct 00 |  Other Sports
Yankees win World Series
22 Oct 00 |  Other Sports
Yankees beat Mets in opener
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