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The Last World Series of the 20th Century - a Retrospective

NEW YORK - There is hype, there is hoopla and there is hysteria. It's the New York Yankees versus the Atlanta Braves - the last World Series of the century - and everyone has an opinion about it.

The Braves:

 

Bobby Cox: "We'll try to be the team of the decade if that's what we're playing for. It will be a lot of fun."

Chipper Jones: "We've persevered through so much this year. Everybody's kind of drained. Luckily, we've got a couple of days off here."

 

Ted Turner: "I think this is the best team we've ever had. "We've got to go through both New York teams. Nobody has ever done that."

The Yankees:

 

Gene Michael: "They're both great clubs, and this is what matters."

 

Joe Torre: "We had to earn it this year. Last year when we won so many games, a lot of ball clubs felt they sort of didn't have a chance against us. It was probably more satisfying this year."

 

There are the twists and the trivia:

 

The victor will be the team of the 1990s. Atlanta is making its fifth trip to the World Series in the decade with one title to show for its efforts. The Yankees have captured two of the last three World Series championships.

 

It's a rematch of the 1996 Series, in which Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and the

 

Yankees rallied to beat Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones and the Braves in six games. For the first time, the World Series features teams that played during the regular season. The Braves won two of three interleague games at Yankee Stadium, just after the All-Star break.

 

In three years of interleague play, the Braves and Yankees have split 10 games. The Yankees have won 14 of their last 15 postseason games and eight straight World Series games. The Yankees last won consecutive titles in 1977-78.

 

In this 95th World Series, there are the little sidebars: Braves outfielder Brian Jordan played for Torre in St. Louis; Braves outfielder Gerald Williams is a product of the Yankee farm system who was traded away; Torre managed the Braves and was fired.

 

All of that is grist for writers and topics for fans. But it is what will happen between the white lines that counts - and it is there that the Yankees are devastating.

 

Position by position, pitcher by pitcher, even in the managing and coaching realms – the New Yorkers have an advantage.

Both teams on paper are worth writing home about. But there is what Yogi Berra once called "deep depth" that the Yanks have in abundance that makes them special.

 

The Yankee do not beat themselves and they have so many ways to beat other teams. They can play small ball, big ball, and home run ball. They can slug it out it or go inning-by-inning in a tight pitcher's duel.

 

It was once said "Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel”. US Steel is no longer what it once was. The Yankees are better than ever.

In the clutch, the team is devastating. The Yankees are batting .292 with runners in scoring position, 10 points better than their overall average.

 

From closer Mariano Rivera, who has not allowed a run in his last 39 1/3 innings and boats a career postseason ERA of 0.41, to middle reliever Ramiro Mendoza to the other "specialty arms" in Torre's pen, the Yankees have an edge over the Braves.

 

The Braves are a spent team, as the Mets battled them to the nub. The last five games Atlanta played were each decided by one run; the last two encompassed 26 innings and more than 10 hours.

 

Fatigue, as Vince Lombardi said, makes cowards of us all. The Yankees are rested, confident, and healthy.

 

Prediction: Yanks in a sweep!!!

Harvey Frommer is the author of the classic "New York City Baseball 1947-1957: The Last Golden Age and of Nolan Ryan's autobiography "Throwing Heat"

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .
 

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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