1985

There are many Yankee teams that I hold dear, but of all the teams, my favorite was probably the 1985 Yankees. That’s right, a team that ultimately didn’t win anything may be my favorite team ever.

The reason for that starts with my favorite player, Don Mattingly, having his best year. .324/35/145. Those were crazy numbers back in 1985. You had Rickey Henderson hitting .314 and blasting 24 homers while stealing 80 bases. Ron Guidry had a huge rebound season with 22 wins. And Dave Righetti came in and closed games while Rizzuto crooned “Rags to Riches” from the booth. Nikero knuckled his way to 16 wins and Ed Whitson broke Billy Martin’s arm in late September. It was a wonderful team and the only thing that stopped them from winning the AL East was the Toronto Blue Jays.

And that’s why I was thinking about that team this morning because we have reached the biggest series of the year and it is against the Blue Jays. The four games this weekend and then three more the following week will most likely determine the AL East. In 1985 there wasn’t a wild card to fall back on. Ironically, the Blue Jays came into Yankee Stadium almost exactly thirty years ago for a four-game set with a 2-1/2 game lead in the division. They left with three wins and a 4-1/2 game lead with 20 to play. The 85 Yanks still almost pulled off the comeback, coming into Toronto on the final weekend down three with three to play. The 2015 Yankees won’t have that chance if they drop three-of-four here.

In fact, the way the schedule lines up, anything less than a series win will make it very hard for these Yankees to keep up with Toronto. The Blue Jays and Yankees have a fairly similar schedule the rest of the way, a mix of the Orioles, Red Sox and Rays, with one important exception. Toronto has three games in Atlanta, one of the worst teams in baseball right now. The Yankees have three games in Queens against the Mets, one of the best teams in baseball right now. While the Yankees will have that one last crack against Toronto this is their time to make some noise. Three-out-of-four has to be the goal. Let’s see if they can do it.