The 1998 New York Yankees have been widely regarded as the greatest team in MLB history. During the regular season the team won 114 games and was built around a consistent pitching rotation and a powerful lineup.
A baseball team like that comes around only once in a lifetime. However what made the team unique was that it was made up of a lot of average players. Though there were superstars and future hall of famers on the roster, many of the players had a career year.
What made the team unique wasn't just the amount of games they won, but how they won them. Today teams establish an early lead or fail to come from behind if they are down. Back in 1998 the Yankees often rallied when losing and secured many come from behind victories. In addition to the team's perseverance they also had many stretches of winning back-to-back games. A 10 game win streak in any sport is remarkable, the Yankees had many that year. This helped them get to the top of the American League and dominate in the postseason.
The team capped off the season winning their second World Series in three years. Though the championship was the first of three more to come, there hasn't been a team anywhere close to accomplishing what the 1998 Yankees have done.
Over the years players left the team in free agency or called it quits. Some players remained and went on to have a tremendous career playing in pinstripes. Regardless of where the players ended up, being a part of 1998 Yankees will be remembered forever.
16 Chad Curtis
After winning the World Series in 1998, outfielder Chad Curtis remained on the team for another season and won another ring in 1999. In 2000 he was traded to the Texas Rangers and retired from baseball in 2001.
After retiring from Major League Baseball in November of 2001 Curtis took on a leadership role. The former outfielder became the athletic director at Newport Christian but was fired after three years in 2009. Curtis then went on to coach at Lakewood Public Schools but resigned soon after.
15 Paul O'Neill
There was no Yankee who gave more on a nightly basis than right fielder Paul O'Neill. The outfielder wasn't shy about showing his emotions publicly and fans would often see it when he destroyed a Gatorade cooler with a bat.
After winning four championships O'Neill retired from baseball in 2001. Not long after retiring O'Neill became an anchor for Yankees pre-game and post-game analysis on the YES Network. O'Neill has made many appearances at the New York Yankees Old Timers Day. He will often wear a mic on the field to capture the audio from the conversations he has with Yankees players of the past.
14 David Wells
Every team needs a loud and outspoken player, it helps develop team chemistry. That player was left handed pitcher David Wells. Known for always saying what was on his mind, his gifted ability helped the Yankees win the championship in 1998.
He was traded the following season to the Toronto Blue Jays which brought Cy Young award winning pitcher Roger Clemens to New York.
Wells went on to play for nine more seasons in the big leagues. In 2009 Wells became a broadcaster for the MLB postseason on TBS. He recently began hosting his own show The Cheap Seats on FOXSports.com
13 Tim Raines
Before coming to New York, Tim Raines accomplished so much in his days with the Montreal Expos and the Chicago White Sox. After winning two World Series titles in 1996 and 1998, Raines was traded to the Oakland A's in 1999. Raines played for three more seasons and retired in 2003.
He took his knowledge of baseball to the next level in 2005 when he was a coach on the World Series Chicago White Sox team. Today Raines is an outfield and base running coach for the Toronto Blue Jays.
12 Jeff Nelson
The bullpen was a strongpoint for the Yankees in 1998. One player who helped significantly was right handed pitcher Jeff Nelson. After winning four world championships with the Yankees, Nelson played for another six seasons and retired in 2006.
Since retiring Nelson has been an analyst for MLB during the postseason and will also from time to time work for the Seattle sports radio KJR (AM). After all Nelson played with the Mariners for a combined eight seasons during his career.
11 Darryl Strawberry
One player on the 1998 Yankees that was on pace to be a shoe in hall of famer was outfielder Darryl Strawberry. However due to his problems with addiction and his battle with colon cancer he fell short of making it to Cooperstown.
Strawberry was a part of the World Series teams in 1998 and 1999. Since leaving baseball Strawberry opened his own sports bar in Queens but it closed in 2012. He now lives in Missouri and created The Darryl Strawberry Foundation which helps children who are affected by autism.
10 Chuck Knoblauch
The middle infield really helped the Yankees in 1998. Along with shortstop Derek Jeter, Chuck Knoblauch provided good defense at second base and was a consistent hitter.
The Yankees didn't extend Knoblauch's contract after 2001 and he went to the Kansas City Royals for half a season and soon retired. In 2009 Knoblauch was brought up on domestic violence charges after choking his wife. She soon filed for divorce.
In July of 2014 he was charged for assault of one his family members. Knoblauch played for the Minnesota Twins for seven seasons and the organization ended their plan to retire his number shortly after the incident.
9 Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez
Pitching will always triumph over good hitting. In 1998 the Yankees got a hold of Orlando Hernandez from Cuba, or more commonly known as "El Duque". His high leg kick was his signature when pitching and it helped him fool batters on a regular basis.
In 1999 Hernandez's elite pitching was huge for the Yankees as they beat the Cleveland Indians four games to two in a best of seven games. For his dominant post season performance Hernandez was named ALCS MVP.
Hernandez left the Yankees in 2004 and went on to play for three other teams. He finally retired from professional baseball in 2011. Since then he rarely makes appearances, showing up only for the annual Yankees Old Timers Day but hasn't had any other involvement in baseball.
8 Scott Brosius
To cap off the 1998 World Series championship third basemen Scott Brosius was named MVP of the series. After winning two more championships in 1999 and 2000 he retired from baseball.
Since then he has participated in the Old Timers Day festivities a few times, but not on a regular basis. Brosius served as an assistant coach for Linfield College from 2002 until 2007 under his old college baseball coach.
In 2007 he took over as head coach and eventually went on to become the college's athletic director. Brosius' experience was extremely beneficial for the school. They ended up reaching the National Division III championship three times. In 2015 he was named the hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners minor league affiliate Tacoma Rainers.
7 Ricky Ledee
The Yankees had many talented outfielders in 1998, and rookie sensation Ricky Ledee was one of many. After the 1998 season he remained in New York for another year and won again, but in 2000 he was traded mid-season to the Cleveland Indians. He then went on to play for five other teams and retired in 2007, finishing his career in New York with the Mets.
During his stint with the New York Yankees Ledee appeared in the film For Love of the Game in 1999. After he was traded from the Yankees he never went on to appear in another film again. The outfielder also never reached the same heights he did while playing with the Yankees.
6 6. Bernie Williams
One of the most beloved Yankees was center fielder Bernie Williams. Known for his amazing ability in the field and sudden power from the batter’s box he was a fan favorite that helped the Yankees win four World Series championships.
One of his most memorable plays was during Game 5 of the 2000 World Series. In the New York Mets last out catcher Mike Piazza hit a ball deep to center field. Williams to this day thought the ball was gone, but ended up catching the ball then running to the pitcher’s mound to celebrate with his teammates.
Williams retired in 2006 and had his number retired in 2015. Williams was an extremely talented player but is a truly great musician. Since leaving baseball he has released two jazz albums and was nominated for a Latin Grammy award in 2009.
5 David Cone
In 1995 the Yankees brought on David Cone a right handed pitcher from the Kansas City Royals. It didn't take long for Cone to have an impact, in 1997 and 1999 he was named an All-Star and led the major leagues in wins in 1998.
The following season in 1999 he threw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos. Cone played in the major leagues until 2003 and then retired. He had a short stint broadcasting for the YES Network but soon resigned his position to spend time with his family. In 2008 Cone returned to the YES Network to serve as an analyst for Yankees on Deck.
4 Tino Martinez
The Yankees landed a diamond in the rough in 1995 when they acquired first basemen Tino Martinez from the Seattle Mariners. After the trade the Yankees signed him to a contract extension. Martinez then went on a tear with the Yankees. In addition to winning four World Series in 1997 he won a Silver Slugger Award and was the Home Run Derby champion.
Martinez called it quits in 2005 after his second stint with the Yankees. In 2013 Martinez agreed to become the new hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, but resigned mid-season after an alleged confrontation with second baseman Derek Dietrich. Martinez was accused of physically abusing Dietrich. He was also known as a cancer in the clubhouse to verbally abuse Marlins players Justin Ruggiano and Chris Valaika.
3 Andy Pettitte
Next to Whitey Ford, Andy Pettitte is probably one of the greatest pitchers to ever wear the pinstripes. His impressive two stints with the Yankees earned him five World Championships and had his number retired in August 2015.
In 2006 when he played for the Houston Astros news surfaced that along with former Yankees pitcher Jason Grimsley, Pettitte used HGH, a performance enhancement drug, in the late 1990s with the Yankees.
Pettitte admitted to using the drug in 2002 but explained it was only to help him recover from an injury faster. When asked if he had used other performance enhancing drugs during his career he completely denied all rumors and allegations.
2 Mariano Rivera
There will never be another Michael Jordon in basketball. Just like there will never be another Mariano Rivera in baseball. In his 18 year career with the Yankees the closer won five World Series, was named an All-Star 13 times and holds the record for most saves in MLB history at 652.
Rivera has always been a smart businessman and philanthropist. While playing with the Yankees he invested in Siro's, a Manhattan restaurant and his own one of kind location called "Mo's New York Grill". Rivera has also served as a spokesman for multiple companies including Nike, Sketchers Footwear and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.
1 Derek Jeter
Since 1995 there hasn't been anyone in baseball whose demonstrated more class and professionalism than Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The shortstop was commonly known as the face of baseball, or as the player who always did it the right way without taking any shortcuts.
Jeter retired in 2014 after hitting a walk off hit in front of a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium. Over the past two years the former Yankees shortstop has been plenty busy. Jeter recently bought a minority stake in the Yankees as he always expressed interest in ownership. In addition to his minor ownership in the Yankees, Jeter also serves as a brand director for the Canadian company Luvo Inc.
Shortly after his last game Jeter started The Players Tribune. The unique outlet gives athletes in all sports a platform to freely discuss issues without being questioned by the media. In 2014 Jeter began to date Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Hannah Davis. In November of 2015 they announced their engagement.
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