Hey New York baseball fans, is your stride a little snappier these days? Does the scent of freshly cut grass smell a little sweeter? Does the crunch of ash on cowhide sound like beautiful music?
Should. The Yankees were the first team in the majors to 50 wins, they did it in just 67 games, and the Mets had the second-best record in baseball through Monday, at 45-24.
Statistically, this could end up being the best combined season in New York baseball history.
Yes, there are more months to play, players to heal or injured and win-loss streaks. But the Yankees (.746) and Mets (.652) have an average winning percentage of .699. That would dwarf their average winning percentage in any of the previous 60 seasons they’ve co-existed.
Surprisingly, the previous best complete season between them was not in 2000, when the Yankees beat the Mets in the Subway Series. Fates lined up for those teams in the postseason, but the Mets entered those playoffs as wild cards with a .580 winning percentage and the Yankees, though division winners, were relatively pedestrian at .540.
Their best combined season had come two years earlier, when the 1998 Yankees went 114-48 for a .704 winning percentage, then went on to win the World Series. He combines that with the Mets’ second-place finish in the NL East with a record of 88-74 (.543), and you get an average percentage of .624. A great number but well below the .699 this year.
The 2022 MLB season
“Relax, okay? Don’t try to strike out everyone. Punches are boring! Besides that, they are fascists. Throw some ground balls, it’s more democratic.”
- An outlier who wants to fit in: She tried her hand at college softball, but Kelsie Whitmore is where she belongs: playing professional baseball on Staten Island.
- An ace seeks a new title: Dave Stewart has been a star player, coach, agent and executive. To truly change baseball, he wants to have a team.
- Look good, feel good, play good. Smells good?: For many gamers, a heavy dose of cologne or women’s perfume is the most unlikely performance enhancer.
- King of Throws: Tom House has spent his life helping superstars get even better. With a new app he wants to fix young pitchers before they develop bad habits.
The Yankees and Mets also posted at least a .600 winning percentage between them in 1999 (.600; the Yankees won the World Series), 1986 (.612; the Mets won the World Series), and 1985 (.604). .
This is probably a good place to acknowledge that many New York fans don’t see combined greatness as a good thing. For these fans, it’s not enough for their favorite team to win; his rival across town must also miss. So the number of fans cheering these teams on to get through 1998 may be few and far between.
Of course, the history of New York baseball and its fierce rivalries didn’t begin when the Mets came to town in 1962. But even if you include the days when the Yankees shared the city with the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, The current season remains on top.
New York’s best season of the three-team era was 1942 (.634). The Yankees made it to the World Series and the Dodgers and Giants finished second and third in the National League. But they all fell to Stan Musial’s St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Yankees in a five-game World Series.
The other .600-plus seasons of that era came in the 1950s: 1951 (.626, Yankees over Giants in World Series), 1952 (.614, Yankees over Dodgers) and 1954 (.632, Giants won World Series). Series) .
Going back to the days before the Yankees existed, the city’s greatest season of the 19th century came in 1889, when the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (later the Dodgers) of the American Association and the Giants of the National League combined for a .669 winning percentage. The Giants beat the Dodgers in a championship between the leagues that was a predecessor to the modern World Series.
Unfortunately, the records are not entirely complete. Statistics for many of the Negro leagues are now recognized to have been the equivalent of the other major leagues, but the records are not complete enough for accurate inclusion. A big season came in 1947, when the New York Cubans, under Minnie Minoso and Luis Tiant Sr., won the Negro World Series after posting a .687 winning percentage, while the Yanks, Giants and Dodgers combined for a .589 record. But the average winning percentage that season is dragged down by the New York Black Yankees, who went awful 12-43.
Maintaining a high winning percentage with multiple teams involved is tough. Fittingly, New York’s best baseball season, dating back to the Giants’ founding as the New York Gothams in 1883, technically came in the four dark years after the Giants and Dodgers headed West, which left the Yankees as the only game in town. It was 1961, the Mets were a year out of existence, and the Yankees posted a .673 winning percentage as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle battled to break Babe Ruth’s home run record. They put the icing on it by winning the World Series.
Whether this season’s Yankees and Mets can top the regular-season success of 1889, 1942, 1961 or 1998 won’t be known for months. But no matter how you count things, it’s been a golden season for New York baseball. Maybe it will rub off on the Jets and Giants.