Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yankee killer, where are you?

The playoffs begin today. Finally. What was that two-day gap about anyway?

For me, this season's playoffs mean another year of rooting vigorously against the Yankees. The Yankees can NOT win again this year. If they win, the entire baseball season was in vain, a great reeking disappointment filled with putridness. For me, the baseball year almost ceases to exist when the Yankees win the Series.

Remember the late '90s when the Yankees were winning all those World Series? I hardly paid attention to baseball then. What was the point?

Worst of all, if the Yankees win, I'll have to hear gloating from some of the worst behaved people I know. This isn't as big of a problem as when I was a kid (thank you, rational-thinking Yankee fans). But it's still there. See an obnoxious driver on the road? Before you know it, you will also see an N.Y. insignia on the back of the vehicle that is committing at least 15 traffic violations.

Also, for every true Yankee fan, there seem to be two or three front-runners, who have attached themselves to the team just so they can feel good about themselves. A co-worker a few weeks ago was complaining about a relative, who didn't want to watch a certain college football team because suddenly the team wasn't as good as he thought it was going to be. I laughed and said, "I'll bet he's a Yankee fan." Without hesitation, the co-worker said, "He's a HUGE Yankee fan." Not surprised.

So, really, I don't need that in my life. I deal with enough people who think they're better than they are for different reasons -- humility is a dying art. I don't need their sports team giving them a false sense of confidence, too.

So that's why I need a Yankee Killer.

Frank Lary is probably the original "Yankee Killer." It was even one of his nicknames. When he was with the Tigers, he beat them so often that Casey Stengel pushed back a start for Whitey Ford because Ford would go up against Lary. "If Lary is going to beat us anyway," Stengel said, "why should I waste my best pitcher?"

Lary was 7-0 against the Yankees in 1958, a year in which the Yankees won the World Series. He was 28-13 lifetime against the Yankees.

Sadly, there is nothing on the back of this card that mentions his Yankee-killing exploits. He was just starting out in the majors. But you do get to see that his middle name is "Strong," and that is awesome.

This post also serves as my '56 of the Month post, but the reason it is really here is because I am hoping that it will help inspire a newborn Yankee Killer in this season's playoffs.

I mean some Yankee fans think they can will their team to victory. So, I can think my post will lead the evil empire to defeat.

But just in case Frank Lary doesn't work, here is some back-up:

Josh Beckett: Won the deciding Game 6 of the 2003 World Series for the Marlins with a 5-hit shutout against the Yankees.

George Brett: Launched Goose Gossage's fastball into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium during the seventh inning of the Royals' deciding Game 3 victory over the Yankees in the 1980 ALCS. What fun I had that postseason.

Randy Johnson: Went 5-0 against the Yankees in the playoffs. Then he arrived in New York and didn't do so hot. Hee-hee.

Edgar Martinez: Hit .317 against the Yankees in 138 games. I heard Yankee fans constantly complain about Edgar. He also hit Mariano Rivera quite well.

Johnny Podres: The 23-year-old pitched two victories against the Yankees in the 1955 World Series, including a Game 7 shutout that gave the Dodgers their first championship. Woo-hoo!

Scott Fletcher: You laugh. Fletcher hit .318 against the Yankees in almost 500 plate appearances. His career batting average was .262.

Larry Gura: The Yankees traded him away. And then he routinely returned to wax them.

Manny Ramirez: You can crab all you want about Manny-this and Manny-that. Ramirez has my undying support for his 2008 half-season with the Dodgers and for the way he blasted the Yankees while with the Red Sox. His OPS against the Yankees, especially the last four years with the Red Sox, is crazy.

Lew Burdette: Beat the Yankees THREE TIMES in the 1957 World Series, including shutouts in Game 5 and Game 7 to lead the Braves to the title. That's simply amazing. If New York should somehow make the World Series after this post, I'll have to feature this card again.

Chuck Finley: Pitched so well against the Yankees that they almost traded Andy Pettitte away for him. Of course, beating the Yankees in the early '90s wasn't terribly difficult.

Roy Halladay: I am so glad he is still in the postseason. He's like my trump card in the event that the Yankees and Phillies meet up. Halladay beat the Yankees five times in 2008.

Just for more insurance, I'll throw out a few more names of noted Yankee nemeses:

Pedro Martinez, Ron Cey (1981 World Series, woo-hoo!), Luke Scott, Luis Tiant and Pedro Guerrero.

Hopefully, that will work.

OK, time for the playoffs.

Go Twins!

Don't make me feel as if the season was for nothing.


  1. Don't forget Hoyt Wilhelm, who no-hit, one-hit, and four-hit the Yanks while with the Orioles.

    Kevin Millar hit .344 with 10 HR against the Yankees during his two years as a washed-up 1B/DH type in Baltimore.

    Future Yankee Killer Alert: Brian Matusz has a 2.56 ERA in five career starts vs. New York, much lower than his overall 4.37 ERA. The O's scored only two runs total in his three losses to NYY this year.

  2. Night Owl,
    Please tell me you're going to write a similiar post on the SF Giants (break out your Scott Spiezio cards).

    As a Dodger fan, if they win the World Series, it'll be worse than the Yankees because bandwagon fans will be popping up everywhere just as they did when the Red Sox won in 2004 (sorry Giants fans but it's true).

    Additionally, Dodger fans will lose one of their best comebacks in that the Giants have never won a World Series in San Francisco.

  3. A semi-similar post about the Giants is in my head. I'm just hoping they are eliminated quickly, so I don't have to use it.

  4. You forgot David Ortiz. Twice in 2004, he made me got to bed angry by killing the Yankees with a big swing late in the game.

    And while I'm a Yankees fan, I definitely am not the type that's obnoxious about it. In fact, the bandwagon fans who seemed to be rooting for the other New York team during the late 80s/early 90s disturb me even more than they bother you.

  5. Why not channel Yankees who were less than stellar?

    You know, guys like Dave Collins, Andre Robertson, Shane Rawley, et. al.

    And how to turn Hughes into Kevin Mmahat!

  6. two day gap - because schedulemakers needed to account for makeup games/tiebreaker games, so they allowed for 2 days.

    They couldn't shorten it to one day off because it'd be too short of notice for those that bought game 1 tickets expecting a wednesday contest and making travel/hotel plans to attend a game on Wednesday.

    as for my yankee killer, I can only think Luis Gonzalez. His timely base hit in Game 7 of the 2001 WS sent the Skankees into a nearly decade-long title drought.

  7. Great '56 cards.

    Great middle name--Strong.

    Great topic.

  8. Ken Griffey
    Alex Gonzalez
    Tony Womack
    Sandy Alomar Jr.
    Dave Roberts

    I only wish Yankee history was filled with only post-season highs.