We're still looking for Team of the '90s
Posted: Tuesday October 20, 1998 05:23 PM
While the Atlanta Braves have won seven consecutive division titles -- an admirable achievement -- there has been only one World Series championship this decade.
The Toronto Blue Jays had two World Championships under their belt by 1993, but haven't returned to postseason play since then.
The New York Yankees are going for their second World Series title in three years, but were absent from postseason play from 1990 to 1994.
What is the measuring stick for a "team of the decade" label to have meaning? World championships. And no one will win more than three before the next decade begins.
Numbers crunchers can try, but there is no set of accomplishments that can portray a team as something that it is not.
If just getting to the postseason is enough, then the leader board for the '90s looks like this:
1. Atlanta Braves 7 times 2. Cleveland Indians 4 times 3. New York Yankees 4 times
If it is winning percentage in postseason play that is the standard, the top three change:
1. Florida Marlins 11-5, .688 2. New York Yankees 24-12, .667 (through Sunday) 3. Cincinnati Reds 11-6, .647
But, if winning it all is the determining factor, there is no one team that can call the decade of the '90s its own.
The New York Yankees have a chance to become the second two-time World Series winner of this decade. But, by any measure, there is no team worthy of the same level of recognition as the New York Yankees of the '20s, '30s or '50s, the Boston Celtics of the '60s, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the '70s, the San Francisco 49ers of the '80s or the Chicago Bulls of the '90s.
On the other hand, the underachiever label shouldn't be applied too loosely. What teams such as the Braves and Indians have done cannot be overlooked, despite only one World Series title between them this decade. These two teams have won 70 postseason games in the 1990s. The Braves are 45-40, the Indians are 25-22. By taking a 2-0 lead in this year's World Series, the Yankees are now 24-12 in postseason play this decade.
So, put away the "Team of the '90s" banners and start thinking about a puzzling possibility. If some team reels off five straight World Series titles in the next decade, what do you call them?
"Team of the Double Zeroes?"
Back in New York City
When the Padres opened the World Series on Saturday in New York, it meant a return to Yankee Stadium for Padres' broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who played in a World Series in the Bronx 49 years earlier.
Coleman was the starting second baseman for the 1949 Yankees in their 4-1 Series win over the Brooklyn Dodgers. In that series, Coleman went 5-for-20 with three doubles and four runs batted in.
After his playing career, Coleman served as a Yankee broadcaster, before joining the Padres when they entered the National League in 1969.Pete Van Wieren has just wrapped up his 22nd season broadcasting Atlanta Braves baseball for TBS.
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