From 1996 to 2011, the New York Yankees have claimed 5 World Series Championships and have really been at the top of the Baseball world since they started their "dynasty" with the core four. Not all four players have been with the Yankees since 1996, but when someone mentions the Yankees, these four guys always come to mind; they encompass what it means to be a Yankee and what it means to be at their respective positions when the "bleacher creatures" do their role call; basically, if you were in the Yankee fraternity, these four guys would have been the pledge masters. I am talking about Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
Before the end of the 1996 World Series, it had been 15 years since the Yankees had been to the World Series and 18 years since they had won it all. It was this year when the Yankee dynasty completely turned it around and basically made it what it is today; but in 1996, their rotation looked a little something like this:
Andy Pettitte- 21-6
Kenny Rogers- 10-8
Dwight Gooden- 11-7
Jimmy Key- 12-11
David Cone and Ramiro Mendoza- 7-2 and 4-5
What is interesting about the Yankee rotation, when you look it at around the time they were winning championships [1996-2000] and the years they had the loaded roster and couldn't win it all [2002-2008] was the people they were working with. in 1997, the Yankees basically had the same rotation they had in 1996, except they added David Wells, who went 16-10 in 1997 and the Yankees lost in the Divisional Series to the Cleveland Indians. In 1998, when the Yankees returned to the World Series and won it all, they added Hideki Irabu and Orlando [El Duque] Hernandez to the rotation, where they went 25-13 that year. In 1999, the Yankees again made it to the World Series and won it all to go back-to-back. In 1999, they added Roger Clemens, who went 14-10 in his first year and was the perfect piece for that season to get New York over the edge in that particular season. Finally, in 2000, the Yankees added Denny Neagle, he went a mediocre 7-7, but the veteran pitchers on the Yankee staff took up the slack and helped the team get to the World Series for a third straight year and four out of the last five. In 2000, the Yankees met the Mets in the World Series, beat them in five games and then came the 2001 season which basically changed the next decade for the Bronx Bombers.
In 2001, the Yankees added Mike Mussina and Ted Lilly, who went a combined 21-18 that year and took them all the way to the World Series, where they played the up-start Arizona Diamondbacks, lost in 7 games on a bottom of the ninth inning base hit by Luis Gonzalez and till 2009, was really the last time baseball nation heard from the New York Yankees. After two seasons [2002 and 2003], where the Yankees lost to the Angels in the Divisional Series followed by a loss to the Florida Marlins in the World Series, the Yankees went out and signed a few different arms in the rotation that just could not fit in the New York City atmosphere that it takes to play in Pinstripes.
Then came the 2004 baseball season for the New York Yankees; after New York defeated the Minnesota Twins in the Divisional Series, they played the Boston Red Sox with the opportunity to return to the World Series for the fourth time since 2000. The Yankees took a 3-0 [games] lead in the series and ended up losing four straight games, basically blew the series and simultaneously blew up the hearts of Yankee fans everywhere. That series led to the first World Series victory in almost 100 years for the Boston Red Sox, followed by three straight seasons of Divisional series losses for New York. Then in 2008, the New York Yankees failed to make the playoffs for the first time in over 12 years and that was the breaking point for New York and the Yankees as a whole. From 2005-2008, a bunch of different arms circled the Yankee rotation: Randy Johnson, Chien-Ming Wang, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Shawn Chacon, Kei Igawa, Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson as some of the names that came through the Yankees rotation in those four seasons. The issue with trying to win with both successful and unsuccessful pitchers from Randy Johnson to Sidney Ponson, is that these are just not New York pitchers; some guys just cannot handle the cameras, the glamour and the attitude.
With the recent retirement of Andy Pettite, one of the core four and the most consistent, best playoff pitcher in the past 15 years for what had been the most dominant team in baseball, the Yankees now have to start over or they will fall into the trap of signing Shawn Chacon and Kevin Brown again. Their last World Series victory was in 2009, this upcoming season is 2011, based on what the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles have done with their teams and depth charts this off-season, if the Yankees are to fight the critics and battle to the top of the American League East, they will have to do it internally and not rely on the arms and bats that have succeeded for other organizations in the past. Here is the current starting rotation for the New York Yankees for the 2011 baseball season:
Potential Pitchers For Rotation: Sergio Mitre, Bartolo Colon, Mark Prior, Andrew Brackman and Others