Every New York Giants fan this offseason is hoping the team will get Saquon Barkley back for week one.
Barkley’s absence was a notable part of the Giants’ struggles last year, and the Giants have focused on the wide receiver position this offseason with the assumption that they’ll have a healthy Barkley. After all, a good passing game is only worth so much if you can’t threaten with the run.
However, there’s no guarantee that Barkley will be there for the start of the season. This isn’t a cynical take that assumes the worst, but one based on the words of Giants co-owner and treasurer Jonathan Tisch.
TMZ Sports spoke with Tisch out at Michael’s in New York City earlier this week … and he told us he’s pleased with what he’s heard about Barkley’s rehab so far.
But, he added he doesn’t know if the 24-year-old will be able to begin the season on the field.
As the injury happened early last season, Barkley has had a fair amount of time to recover from it. It’s not uncommon for a player to return to the field the next year after tearing their ACL. However, due to Barkley’s importance to the franchise as one of their key pieces, it’s understandable that the staff aren’t rushing his return.
Hendrick Motorsports ruled the day at Dover International Speedway, as Alex Bowman took home the team’s 267th victory.
No matter how well your weekend’s going, it’s probably nothing compared to what Hendrick Motorsports enjoyed on Sunday afternoon.
A new kind of monster took over Dover International Speedway, best known as the Monster Mile, as HMS Chevrolets led all but 18 of 400 laps of the Drydene 400. It was Alex Bowman’s No. 48 that led the final 97, using fast service on pit road to his advantage en route to his second victory of the season. His teammates completed a clean sweep of the top four, with Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, and William Byron following him. Larson’s No. 5 led the most laps on the after (258). It marked the first time a single team swept the first four spots in a race since Roush Racing did so at the end of the 2005 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bowman’s win, the fourth of his career, was also the 267th visit to victory lane for team owner Rick Hendrick. The next will tie Richard Petty for most wins amongst Cup Series owners.
Larson appeared to be well on his way to his own second victory of the season, as only pit cycles interrupted his stranglehold on the lead for a majority of the race. He first took the lead after pit stops during a competition caution at lap 37 and led all but three of the next 267 circuits.
The No. 48 team seized its opportunity after the caution waved for Aric Almirola’s wrecked No. 10 Ford with just under 100 to go. Bowman brought his Chevrolet down pit road for a stop that lasted 12.1776 seconds, the fastest four-tire service in the 2021 season to date. He would go on to lead the final 97 laps to create his first-career multi-win season and set up the Hendrick quartet.
“If we don’t beat the 5 off pit road, we probably don’t beat him in the race. I give (the crew) all the credit for the win there,” Bowman said. “I think without them we wouldn’t have gotten it done. So appreciate (crew chief Greg Ives) and all those guys working so hard throughout the week to continue to get better. They’ve been super fast all year.”
With restrictions in place due to the ongoing health crisis slowly being loosened, Bowman was allowed to celebrate the win with his crew in victory lane. The team also won at Richmond last month, becoming one of two drivers to win multiple races in 2021 (the other being three-time winner Martin Truex Jr.)
Winning at Dover resumes an unofficial tradition of sorts for HMS’ No. 48 Chevrolet. The prior occupant, seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, won a career-best 11 races at the mile-long speedway, including a sweep of the two races in his rookie season in 2002. Bowman, previously driving the No. 88 for the team after being handpicked by Hendrick Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the role, was chosen to fill in.
Bowman was happy to not only vindicate Hendrick’s trust in him to fulfill an iconic ride but to win at Dover using tips he gained from Johnson during his first year in the No. 88.
“To come to a place like Dover, where the 48 has had so much success, get a win here, (I’ve) never won here with Mr. Hendrick here, so it’s so cool to be able to do that,” Bowman said. “I feel like throughout my career I’ve had my fair share of doubters. To be able to get two wins here to start off the season, be having a good start to the year, is really cool.”
Hendrick entered the Cup Series in 1984 and has won 13 Cup Series titles, the last coming with Elliott’s triumph last year. Even though Elliott has yet to win a race in 2021, each Hendrick car would be a playoff participant midway through the 26-race regular season. Byron has been particularly impressive, earning top ten finishes in each of the last 11 events while piloting the No. 24 Chevrolet previously repped by four-time champ Jeff Gordon.
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday, as the series will make its debut at the Circuit of the Americas road course in Austin for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1).
Joey Logano was the top non-Hendrick finisher, rounding out the top five in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford.
Points-leader Denny Hamlin finished seventh.
In the last two spots of the top ten, Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer each earned their second such finishes of the year. They beat out Bubba Wallace, who came home 11th, the best finish to date for his No. 23 23XI Toyota squad.
Josh Berry finished 30th in his NASCAR Cup Series debut. Berry took over for Justin Haley in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports Chevrolet after the Xfinity Series regular was ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols. Berry was the runner-up in Saturday’s Xfinity race at Dover, driving the No. 8 Chevrolet for owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The New York Giants landed one of the biggest steals of the 2021 NFL Draft when they selected Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari in the second round. The Giants traded down from 42 overall to 50 overall and were still able to select Azeez despite his first-round draft projection. Some analysts even mocked him to the Giants at eleven overall.
Giants fans were ecstatic when Ojulari’s name was called with the 50th pick in the draft. Azeez Ojulari was a prospect with legitimate first-round talent. For the Giants, to land Ojulari and an extra third-round 2022 draft pick, made their day-two trade down one of incredible value.
Making the trade-down and second-round selection even more valuable, Azeez Ojulari is expected to be an instant-impact rookie for the Giants’ defense.
Why Azeez Ojulari will have an instant impact
The selection of Azeez Ojulari was one of those special cases where a top-talent filled a top-need for the Giants. New York has been looking for a top-tier pass-rusher off the edge over the last few years. They have invested plenty into the position, finding solid depth in later rounds and on the free agency market. However, the Giants have also dealt with injuries to their starting edge rushers, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines.
Carter and Ximines are solid edge rushers but neither one has established themselves as premium rushers just yet. But Azeez Ojulari has the potential to be a premium pass-rusher very early on in his career. Azeez was the top edge rusher on Pro Football Focus’s pre-draft rankings. The Giants hit a home run when they landed the redshirt sophomore in round two.
Azeez Ojulari recorded an impressive 9.5 sacks in his breakout 2020 season. He also totaled 12.5 tackles for loss and an incredible 4 forced fumbles. Ojulari was credited with 35 pressures by PFF in 2020. He’s a bendy speed-rusher with a sick pass-rush move that beats down left tackles.
Azeez Ojulari has all the talent to become a top edge rusher in the NFL. But he is also a perfect scheme fit with the New York Giants, which will allow him to have an impact on day one. When discussing his transition into Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme, Azeez had this to say:
The New York Mets lost again Sunday, falling to the Tampa Bay Rays 7-1. The loss marks their third straight as they were swept in the series. The memory of their seven-game winning streak is now seemingly out the window.
The pitching was bad and the bats were non-existent throughout the series, getting outscored 22-8 overall. The issues on the mound, at least to this degree, came as somewhat of a surprise. As a team, the Mets were top-five in ERA and allowed the fewest home runs. Marcus Stroman gave up three today alone.
To make matters worse, the team was just 1-11 with runners in scoring position and had just 16 hits in the series, bringing their season average to .231.
While the woes shouldn’t be glossed over, they aren’t the major takeaway from today’s series finale. Instead, injuries have stolen the spotlight.
Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil both left today’s game in the first inning due to hamstring tightness. Conforto’s is the right, McNeil’s is the left. Ironically enough, they both injured themselves running to first base.
McNeil, who left with the injury after beating out an infield single to lead off the game, had the only hit for the Mets until the sixth inning. In the sixth inning, the only bright spot of the day happened.
Patrick Mazeika, who came in as Jeff McNeil’s replacement, recorded his first MLB hit with his first home run. Although that was Mazeika’s first hit, it comes after he collected two walk-offs earlier this month.
If Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto are forced to miss any time, they will join an already substantial list of important pieces the New York Mets are missing. They would join Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco, Brandon Nimmo, J.D. Davis, Albert Almora Jr., Luis Guillorme and Jacob DeGrom, although he should be back sooner rather than later.
While the injuries are today’s headlines, they aren’t the reason for the recent struggles, per se. The Mets will look to get back on track Monday night in Atlanta.
This afternoon the New York Yankees met up with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in the finale of a 3 games set, with the Yankees looking for the sweep.
DJ LeMahieu led off against Adam Plutko and walked. Luke Voit followed with a single moving DJ to second base. Aaron Judge singled to load the bases with no outs, the first-inning duplicate from last night. Gio Urshela hit into a double play, but DJ scored. Gary Sanchez homered to far left, pushing in two more runs. Clint Frazer followed with back to a back homer of his own. Miguel Andujar hit a long to the center-field warning track for the final out of the inning. New York Yankees 4 Orioles 0.
Cedric Mullins led off the bottom of the first against Jordan Montgomery; he ground out to Wade. Austin Hays ground out to Wade. Trey Mancini walked. Mountcastle doubled driving in Mancini from first. Pedro Severino singled driving in Mountcastle. Maikel Franco singled. Galvis struck out for the final out of the 30-minute inning. The O’s came roaring back with two runs of their own. Yankees 4 O’s 2.
The recent call up to replace Aaron Hicks, Ryan LaMerre ground out to third. Tyler Wade ground out to first. LeMahieu ground out for fast half for Zimmermann. At the bottom, Valaika popped out to Andujar. McKenna struck out. Mullins struck out for the 1-2-3 inning for Montgomery. Yankees 4 O’s 2.
Luke Voit started the third inning by grounding out to left. Judge had a solo 443′ home run to make him #1 for home runs in the 2021 season. Urshela ground out to short. Sanchez popped out to first. At the bottom, Hays doubled down the left-field line. Mancini walked for men on the corners with no outs. Mountcastle had a sac fly to drive in Hays. Severino struck out swinging. Mancini advanced on a wild pitch. Franco doubled driving in Mancini. Galvis singled driving in Franco, and that tied up the game. Valaika flew out to Andujar. Yankees 5 O’s 5.
The fourth inning was led off by Clint Frazier, who struck out swinging. Andujar ground out to right-center. LaMarre struck out. At the bottom of the fourth, with Michael King replacing Montgomery, he faced McKenna, who grounded out to Urshela. Mullins sent one to the right-field wall for a double over Frazier’s head. Hays ground out to left. Mancini doubled on another ball Frazier couldn’t catch and another run batted in. Mountcastle flew out to Frazier. Orioles 6 Yankees 5.
Tyler Wade led off the fifth by striking out swinging. LeMahieu walked. Voit struck out. Judge ground out softly to short. At the bottom, Severino walked to lead off. Franco ground out to LeMahieu. Galvis popped out to Urshela in the infield. Severino advanced to second on a wild pitch. Valaika ground out to end the inning. Orioles 6 Yankees 5.
Gio Urshela led off the sixth inning by grounding out. Gary Sanchez popped out to right-center. Clint Frazier was called out on strikes. McKenna led off the bottom by popping out. Mullins ground out to second. Hays flew out to LaMarre in center. Orioles 6 New York Yankees 5.
The seventh was led off, with Miguel Andujar striking out. Ryan LaMarre ground out to center. Tyler Wade base hit up the left-field line, and that did it for Zimmermann. The new pitcher Tanner Scott faced LeMahieu, who had the final out of the half. At the bottom, Mancini faced Wandy Peralta and flew out to a diving Clint Frazier, who broke his sunglasses in the play. Mountcastle grounded out. Severino walked. Franco got a two-run homer to left. Galvis ground out to end the inning. Orioles 8 Yankees 5.
At the top of the eighth, the Yankees had just six outs to get the lead in the game. The eighth inning was led off by Luke Voit, who singled up the center. Aaron Judge walked. Urshela faced the new O’s pitcher Paul Fry and hit into a double play for two outs in the inning. Gary Sanchez went down looking. At the bottom, Valaika facing Luis Cessa, flew out to Frazier. McKenna lined in front of Andujar for a base hit. Mullins ground into a force out for the second out. Hays walked. Mancini walked. Mountcastle got a two-run single up the center. Severino struck out. Orioles 10 Yankees 5.
With last licks on the line for the Yankees and the bottom of the lineup coming up, they would face the O’s closer, Cesar Valdez. Clint Frazier singled out to left. Miguel Andujar followed with a base hit to left. Brett Gardner pinch-hitting popped out to left field. Mike Ford pinch-hitting struck out. DJ LeMahieu singled driving in Frazier. Luke Voit struck out to end the day for the Yankees as they can’t get the sweep. The Yankees are now 1-7 when trying for sweeps this season.
Final Score Baltimore Orioles 10 and the New York Yankees 6. The winning pitcher was Bruce Zimmermann, and the loser was Michael King.
The New York Liberty led from start to finish on Sunday in Indianapolis, sweeping an early-season pair from the Fever.
Behind 20 points from Betnijah Laney, the New York Liberty swept an early-season pair from the Indiana Fever, emerging from Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a 73-65 victory. Sabrina Ionescu, Michaela Onyenwere, and Jazmine Jones all reached double figures, as the Liberty led by as much as 19 and never trailed in their visit to Indianapolis
ESM has three stars to highlight…
3rd Star: Kylee Shook
6 points, 7 rebounds
Though some assistance emerged from the return of Bec Allen, Shook once again faced a literally tall task in guarding Teaira McCowan in the interior. Though Shook missed some putbacks that could’ve expanded the lead, she held her own against rebounding machines McCowan and Jantel Lavender, hauling in a team-best and career-high seven boards. As a team, the Liberty strongly improved their rebounding efforts. They allowed Indiana only nine second chances (as opposed to 22 on Friday) and only lost the rebounding battle 40-38.
2nd Star: Jazmine Jones
10 points, 2 steals
The hockey playoffs are in full swing, so maybe now’s a good time to focus on some plus/minus rankings. Jones was quiet on Friday, but rose up in major opportunities off the bench. Her prescience provided a game-best 12-point swing, as she re-entered double-figures on 4-of-7 shooting. Her prowess came up big on a day where Ionescu was mostly neutralized by Danielle Robinson, who kept Indiana in the game through four charges taken and forcing Ionescu into eight turnovers.
1st Star: Betnijah Laney
20 points, 4 assists
The shooting numbers weren’t as pretty for Laney this time around (6-of-17), but she hit some clutch baskets and wasn’t afraid to counter Indiana’s physicality. When it became clear that the Fever were going to stay in the game through taking charges and dominating the paint, Laney took care of the issue through her outside and mid-range game. She currently leads the team by averaging 25 points over the first two games.
The Liberty (2-0) return to action at home on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Lynx (7 p.m. ET, YES App/ESPN3).
MLB, the New York Yankees, and all of baseball are in transition. It could be called a war between MLB and the Players Union (MLBPA) or a war between the newbie analyticals and the baseball traditionalist. Sometimes, conflict is in the background, sometimes right up front when MLB changes that rock the baseball world. This is a complicated situation, to say the least. This is for sure because baseball today is not the same game it was in the ’20s and ’30s, and comparisons can’t be made. Baseball is evolving, and there will be no stopping it, like it or not.
Anyone that does not believe this wait until December 1, 2021, when the present baseball collective bargaining agreement ends and will be taken up again. These two entities no longer work together, they work against each other, and there is a 50/50 chance these issues at hand will not be resolved without the first baseball strike since August of 1994 that led into the 1995 season.
Aside from the collective bargaining agreement, the last several years have seen many changes in the game we all love. Because of the lack of trust between the owners and players, the 2020 pandemic season could not be resolved to lead Commissioner Rob Manfred had to dictate a 60 game season. They did resolve some issues, and they lead to a host of changes in the game, some that the fans like and most that they don’t. The universal DH, the man on second after the ninth inning, the seven-inning doubleheaders, the relief pitcher having to face 3 hitters, and others. The only one not to remain in the 2021 season is that the NL has gone back to pitchers hitting. At some point, this has to become universal across both leagues.
Some changes in the game have just happened without the powers to be having their hands in it, and those changes will cause even more changes. A good example of this is in the past few years, pitchers have gotten better, a whole lot better at a disproportionate rate than hitters getting better. In years past, pitchers used to be encouraged to complete games; today, that is a rarity; managers across baseball actually discourage pitchers from finishing games. Today the relief pitcher is every bit as important if not more important than the starters. Starting pitchers now pitch differently than they did in years past. Years ago, when pitchers were expected to see the opposition lineup three times or more, they saved some of their best pitches to use later in the game. Today knowing that he is only expected to five or six innings, he puts it all out there, maybe even in the first inning.
Across baseball, hitting is down, and for a good reason. Better starting pitchers that go five or six innings, and then the hitters face flame-throwing relief pitchers in each inning that follows. When you have to face a new pitcher every time you come to the plate, you are at an automatic disadvantage. Less hitting and fewer runs scored creates less excitement in a game that most fans already feel is too long and tedious. Some of the changes already installed have addressed this issue, some see them as successful, and some are annoyed by them. By having a relief pitcher face, three hitters, you are reducing the number of relievers used in a game, encouraging starters to go deeper into games. The man on second rule has shortened the length of games; you aren’t going to see many games that go over 12 innings.
Like the drug era, all the changes that have happened will make comparing stats even more difficult. How successful would Babe Ruth have been hitting with a robot umpire? How successful would Mickey Mantle have been hitting today’s starters and the arsenal of one inning flame throwers? MLB in the minors is experimenting with several new changes to satisfy the issues of the day. Robots to make umpiring more accurate, moving the pitching mound back a bit to give the hitters a better chance to see the ball a bit longer and improve hitting, and a host of other changes to the game. Whether the traditionalists like it or not, the game will continue to change. The trick will be balancing it to satisfy the most people and ensure the game’s growth that has seen a slide over the last few decades. The future of baseball is on the line.
The New York Yankees won their second consecutive game in a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon. Finally, their offense showed up with stature, scoring eight runs, but taking a different approach compared to their normal strategy.
Instead of hitting home runs, the Yankees utilized contact hitting to spark offensive production. Aside from a two-run home run by Aaron Judge in the second inning, the rest of the Yankees’ six scored runs were a result of good base running and hitting with runners in scoring position. That has been a weakness for the team this year, but it is a positive sign to see them take a step forward in that category.
With every passing day, the Yankees seem to gain a bit more momentum, as their pitching was once again stellar in the victory. Starting pitcher Domingo German lasted 6.0 innings, allowing four hits and just one run. The bullpen helped finish off the contest, but German produced another consistent performance, lowering his ERA on the season to 3.62. He has given up just three runs over his last 12.1 innings pitched, which is a great sign for the Yankees as they offered him a second chance after a domestic abuse case that stemmed from an incident an event hosted by CC Sabathia in 2019.
Good news and bad news for the Yankees:
While the Yankees are finally back to their winning ways, having secured six wins over the last seven games, they are dealing with a few injury issues and COVID-19 infections.
Outfielder Aaron Hicks has a torn sheath in his left wrist, which will keep them out for an extended period of time.
Losing Aaron Hicks might not have a devastating impact on the offense, considering he’s hitting just .194 and .333 slugging percentage.
“Any time you lose one of your key players, that’s a blow,’’ Aaron Boone said. “No question about it.”
Clearly, Boone views Hicks as an integral player, but the Yankees seem to be doing just fine without him. They also don’t have Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, which is a bit more significant considering he’s hitting .282 with nine home runs this season already.
Starting first-baseman Luke Voit has been working his way back slowly, but made an impact in the win.
“I’m feeling good,’’ Voit said. “My knee feels good and I feel like I’m back, finally. … I feel 100 percent.”
Voit was responsible for two hits and two RBIs against Baltimore on Saturday, finally getting back into the groove after missing the beginning portion of the season with a torn meniscus.
In their illustrious 119-year history, the New York Yankees, since they were the Baltimore Orioles, have had some of the most impactful players, some of the greatest games played, and some outstanding managers. In my Top 10 columns, I have covered almost everything Yankees except for the Yankee managers. Today we delve into the subject of who was the best Yankee manager of all time. I have considered tenure, winning percentage, how many World Championships they recorded, and their ability to develop players in my biased selection.
The Yankees have had 35 managers over the years, some for a long duration, and some that didn’t even manage a season. Some managed more than once in different years. Billy Martin managed five times. In one year, he was fired and hired back again by owner George M. Steinbrenner. Dick Houser managed for two stints, but only one game in one season. The worst ever Yankee manager was Kid Elberfeld in 1908; he won only 27 games as Yankee manager. The Yankees have only had a losing percentage in 13 seasons, the best record in baseball. But one must remember a manager is only as good as the players that play for him.
10. Bucky Harris 1947-1948
Bucky Harris only managed the Yankees for two years. But in his two years, he brought the Yankees to four playoff wins and a World Championship with his .620 winning percentage during his tenure. Only six other managers had a better winning percentage.
9. Joe Girardi 2008-2017
Joe Girardi was an average hitter but an excellent game caller as a catcher for the New York Yankees. He caught Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter and David Cone’s perfect game. In 2006 he took over the management of the lowly Florida Marlins and brought them to heights they had never experienced. He was named MLB manager of the year. In 2008 he took over managing the Yankees; his hard-nosed style brought the Yankees to their last World Championship in his second year of management. Girardi had a kind heart but was a demanding manager. He lost his job because many of the new baby bombers couldn’t adjust to his management style. But that style gave him a winning percentage of .562 with 28 playoff wins. That’s the most playoff wins than 32 other Yankee managers.
8. Aaron Boone 2018-present
Aaron Boone has not won a World Series in his three years of New York Yankee management, but he places number 8 on this list for winning the most wins in his first two-year tutelage than any other manager that has managed for only two years. He also had 103 wins in 2019 while having more injured players than any other Yankee baseball season. He also has had the youngest players to mentor. As the years’ pass, Boone may still rise above his number 8 placement.
7. Billy Martin (various)
Billy Martin is undoubtedly the most controversial Yankee manager being hired and fired five times by Yankee Owner George Steinbrenner. He also oversaw the “Bronx Zoo,” a great upheaval period in the clubhouse that has spawned books on the rivalries and fights. Billy was known as “Casey’s Boy,” a favored player by manager Casey Stengel. Martin managed five different teams before his death in 1989. He last managed for the Yankees in 1978. Many fans liked his confrontational type of management, particularly his penchant for arguing with umpires. Martin won only one World Championship for the Yankees but had a .590 winning percentage.
6. Bob Lemon 1978-1979
Bob Lemon replaced Billy Martin in his final exit as Yankee manager. Lemon’s quiet demeanor was in sharp contrast to Martin’s management style and restored some sense of order to the team and clubhouse. In 1978 he won his only World Series Ring. Although only managing for a year and a half, his .617 winning percentage coincidently places him number six all-time for the Yankees and sixth on this list.
5. Ralph Houk 1961-1963
Ralph Houk is another two-year manager in Yankee history. Houk has the distinction of having the best winning percentage of any Yankee manager. In his two years, he had a .637 winning percentage. He is also fourth on the list of World Championship managers to two to his credit. In his two-plus years, he also won the AL pennant three times. He was quick-tempered, but at the same time, he was known for being a “player’s manager.” He was just as quick to protect his players and was ejected 45 times for doing so. Houk also managed from 1966-1973 far less successfully.
4. Miller Huggins 1918-1929
Miller Huggins is tied with Joe Torre for each having an eleven-year tenure as Yankee Manager. Although with the 162 game season, Torre has 150 more games. Huggins had a .594 winning percentage and won 3 World Series for the Yankees. Much of what is remembered about Huggins is that he had the “Murder’s Row” teams of the ’20s. Huggins did not initially want the job because the Yankees were a lousy team but eventually was convinced to take the job. He was all about the fundamentals of baseball and made immediate personnel changes. His all-business approach took the Yankees to their first two World Series.
3. Joe McCarthy 1931-1946
Joe McCarthy has the distinction of being the longest-tenured Yankee manager, managing the team for sixteen years. He is tied for the most World Series wins (7) with Casey Stengel to his credit. He is lower on this list due to making the accomplishment in 500 more games. His winning percentage of .627 is tied with Aaron Boone. His most successful years were between 1936 to 1943, while he racked up seven pennants in eight years. His detractors say he was only valid because he had fantastic players like pitchers Lefty Gomez and Red Ruffing. He also had Bill Dickey, Frank Crosetti, Joe DiMaggio, and Charlie Keller on his roster. He is one of the few baseball managers that never played in the Major Leagues. Joe McCarthy was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957.
2. Joe Torre 1996-2007
Joe Torre is my pick for the second-best New York Yankee manager ever. He had four World Series wins in his eleven-year managership. That’s one more than Miller Huggins and with an impressive 76 playoff wins, to Huggins eighteen. Torre is one of the winningest managers in the postseason than any manager in baseball. Torre had a .605 winning percentage for 8th on the all-time list. Torre had a calming effect on the team as he was reticent and seldom criticized players unless it was in private. Torres won four Championships in five years, in a time that was called the last Yankee Dynasty. The now 80-year-old Torre would go on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. He served as MLB executive for baseball operations. He is now a special assistant to the baseball commissioner.
1. Casey Stengel
Casey Stengel is my pick for the best-ever New York Yankee manager. The seven-time World Champion has the third-highest winning percentage in Yankee history. He accomplished his seven wins in 500 fewer games than the tying Joe McCarthy. He also won the second-most playoff wins, second only to Joe Torre.
The glory days of Casey’s management would begin along with the future dynasty of the Yankees. Stengel tried to keep a low profile during the 1949 Yankee spring training. Still, there was considerable media attention as Stengel shuttled rookies from one position on the field to another and endlessly shuffled his lineup. He had the advantage of diminished expectations, like DiMaggio, the Yankee superstar, was injured few picked New York to win the pennant. Gaining media attention and not wanting the media to know what he was doing, he started his “Stangleaze,” the ability to talk to the media, answer questions and leave the media wondering what he actually said.
In the 1949 World Series, Stengel’s first as a participant since 1923, the Yankees faced the Brooklyn Dodgers; The Yankees would win the series in five games. In 1949 he was Manager of the Year, and his low-key days were over. In the years to follow, the Yankees would win the Series in 1950-51-52-53, a five-time consecutive World Series streak that would not be repeated ever in baseball. After not winning in 54 or 55, the Yankees would again win in 1956. In 1958 the World Series was again against the Dodgers, who won the first two games at Ebbets Field. Stengel lectured the team before Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, and the team responded with a victory then and in Game 4.
For Game 5, Stengel pitched Don Larsen, who had been knocked out of Game 2, and who responded with a perfect game, the only one in major league postseason history. The Yankees took the series in seven games, their seventh World Series win under Stengel, making him the most World Series winner. Stengel was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.
Casey Stengel is one of the few managers in all of baseball to testify before Congress. During baseball anti-trust hearings, Stengel used his “Stengeleaze” to filibuster famous anti-mob Senator Estes Kefauver. His testimony frustrated and confused the Senate, much to the Senate gallery’s delight that often laughed during the proceedings. I have chosen the interview below as an example of “Stangeleaze.”
EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.