Bobby Cox has coached the Braves to 925 wins and eight division titles in the '90s. AP
By Ryan Hunt, CNN/SI
No one probably imagined in 1990 that the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees would be battling for the Team of the '90s.
That season, the two teams combined for 132 wins. My how things have changed.
In 1998, the Yankees won 125 games -- regular season and playoffs combined -- alone. The Braves, meanwhile, have won more than 100 regular-season games in each of the last three seasons.
There's little question New York and Atlanta have been the two best teams of the '90s, with apologies to the two-time champion Toronto Blue Jays.
But how do you define the Team of the '90s?
Head-to-head, the teams are even, at least in the regular season. Since interleague play began three years ago, the teams -- fittingly -- are 5-5 against each other. The Braves won the season series this season, two games to one.
On paper, the Braves look to be better. They have more wins (925 to 851), more division titles (eight to three), have double the amount of postseason wins (52 to 33) and have been to more World Series (five to three).
| Decade of dominance |
| Comparing the Braves, Yankees in the '90s|
| Stat || Braves || Yankees |
| Wins |
World Series app.
World Series titles
Rookie of the Years
| 925 |
| 851 |
Then again, Yankee Stadium wasn't built "on paper." New York has won two World Series, including the 1996 title against Atlanta, to the Braves' one.
But how about individually?
Not surprisingly, Atlanta has had more Cy Young Award winners (six to none) and more MVPs (one -- Terry Pendleton in 1991 -- to none). New York hasn't had a league MVP since Don Mattingly in 1985. And even though five-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens now is on the staff, they haven't had the league's top pitcher since Ron Guidry in 1978.
In Rookies of the Year, each team has had one -- David Justice for the Braves (1990) and Derek Jeter for the Yankees (1996). Manager of the Year? Bobby Cox won it for Atlanta in 1991. Joe Torre has won the award once, but he was managing the Braves at the time (1982).
No-hitters? That's the Yankees specialty. New York has had five this decade, including perfect games by David Wells and David Cone. Dwight Gooden, Jim Abbott and Andy Hawkins (in a losing effort) also threw no-nos for the Bombers. The Braves only had two -- Kent Mercker in 1994 and by the trio of Mercker, Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena in 1991.
All that aside, the Team of the '90s will best be determined by the number 4, as in, the team to reach four victories first in the winner.
But stop and think about 1990. Indeed, the days of Stump Merrill and Russ Nixon -- the managers that ushered in the decade for the Yankees and Braves, respectively -- seem long ago.