In the Yankees long and illustrious history, they have never swept a season series of 10 or more games. This year, they came pretty close against the Oakland Athletics.
Yesterday’s 4-0 shutout not only polished off a series sweep, but gave the Yankees their highest winning percentage (.900) against the Athletics in the two teams’ 110 year history of playing each other (the Yankees also won 90% of its games against the Philadelphia Athletics when they went 18-2 in 1919). Not only did the Yankees win nine of the 10 games between the two teams, but they also outscored the Athletics by a whopping 56-23. In fact, the Yankees dominance over the Athletics has extended over the last three seasons, a span during which the Yankees have gone 21-4.
It wasn’t always so easy against Oakland, however. Exactly 20 years ago, the shoe was on the other foot. Although younger fans probably can’t fathom the idea of the Yankees being doormats, that’s exactly what they were back in 1990 when the team finished with 95 losses, the third most in franchise history. And, that season, no team felt more welcomed when facing the Yankees than the big bad Bash Brothers from Oakland.
The 1990 Athletics were an awesome team, winning 103 games enroot to their third straight pennant. Despite dominating the entire American League that season, however, they seemed to take particular pleasure with destroying the New York Yankees. The contests were often so one-sided, that it seemed as if the games were decided when the Athletics trotted out onto the field. Although there were a handful of close games in the series, including one 11 inning affair, it always seemed as if the Athletics were destined to win each ballgame. And, that’s exactly what they did.
Are they 12 games better than us? That’s a tough question. I don’t know. They’re a great ball club, that’s all there is to it…But, hey, I guess they are. The record is there”. – Yankees 2B Steve Sax, quoted by AP after the team dropped its 12th game to the Athletics on September 9, 1990
By going 12-0 against the Yankees, the Athletics not only handed the Bronx Bombers their first season series sweep in franchise history, but, at the time, also recorded only the fourth season series shutout in major league baseball history (remember, back in 1990, there was no interleague play or unbalanced schedule, so most season series were at least 12 games). The A’s didn’t just beat the Yankees in every game; they humiliated them. In the 12 games, the Athletics outscored the Yankees 62 to 12, and allowed the Bronx Bombers to score more than two runs on only one occasion. Even ex-Yankee Willie Randolph, who was now playing for the Athletics, took delight in the level of domination, telling AP, “It’s nice to come here and be part of a team that swept a great historical team like the Yankees,” before adding, “I guess we got out the broom. The big broom”.
Times have definitely changed as now it is usually the Yankees who wield the big broom, but for a legion of fans who have developed a sense entitlement, reminders from the past are always a good way to help maintain a proper perspective.
Yankees vs. Athletics, 1990 Season Series