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World Series failure or the Greatest Team ever?

Submitted by
Krissy Wade to
championyankees.com
  August 15th, 2004
Columns:

» World Series failure or the Greatest Team ever?

Yankee or Traitor?

Jeter’s "loyal" fans?

More Columns...

The Yankees’ teams of the past decade have obtained a standard of excellence second to no other. Four World Championships and six American League pennants is an accomplishment pretty hard to measure up to. There is no denying that these Yankee teams were special, but it takes much thought and consideration to determine which of these incredible teams deserves the title of “the greatest.”

Was it the 1996 Yankees? The team who not only defeated an Atlanta Braves team which had been labeled “a World Series Dynasty,” but did it knowing that the world had counted them out. Or could it be the 1998 Yankees? That year the Yankees won 114 regular season games and swept the World Series in four. By many they were known as “the best ever,” a title they perhaps rightfully deserved. Or could it be a team like the 2000 Yankees who had to defeat their cross town rivals in a series full of intense pressure and expectations?

When I think back over the recent past and successes of these Yankees one special team comes to mind. The 2001 Yankees were a team that perhaps exceeded expectations. Unlike the 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 Yankees, they would never be World Champions. They would never have the pleasure of a ticker tape parade, or know the honor of hanging their World Championship flag. No… that team would settle for the American League pennant and the hearts of their fans, their city, and their country.

The 2001 Yankees were simply a remake of the 2000 team. Unlike most years, there were no significant additions, and no star player that was purchased to lead the team to victory. They were simply using the same formula that had worked for them so well in the past. The 2001 Yankees were like a puzzle that needed every piece. They succeeded as a whole. There were never clear cut favorites. They were a symbol for a wounded city. They stumbled and fell many times, but just as their city had done they picked themselves back up.

So what you may wonder made this team so great? I wondered that very thing for a long time. While watching the 2002 Yankees fail miserably in the first round of the playoffs the next year, the answer became clear. The 2001 Yankees had something that had been missing in the 2002 team. While building the 2002 Yankees it had been foolishly overlooked and was the one thing that money could not buy them. The 2001 Yankees had the heart of a champion. If there was any possible way to win, they always won. The world counted them out but they knew they were still very much in it. Their back to back come from behind victories in the World Series were breathtaking. They taught us to believe. Only months before they had been “the hated Yankees”. Now they were “the symbol for New York.”

The Jeter Flip Play
So what did make this team so great? It wasn’t the record or the stats. No, the answer will not be found on paper and baseball analysts may never be able to explain it. The 2001 Yankees had the heart of a champion. That heart made them winners, helped them to succeed, and taught the world to believe. In the end, the 2001 Yankees did not leave their city with a World Championship. All that is left now is the memories. Memories of come from behind wins, most valuable players, and outstanding plays. And memories of that last championship that was not to be.



Written by Krissy Wade for championyankees.com
All Original Content
May not be copied without the consent of
The Unofficial Website of the New York Yankees

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