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An Alternative History of the Yankees: 2020 and a look back

Using the game Out of the Park Baseball 21, we’ve been going back through time and rewriting Yankees and baseball history. The computer is controlling all teams, and all real life transactions have been turned off. Therefore, it’s possible the likes of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, and Derek Jeter will never end up in pinstripes, while other notable names end up as Yankee stars. Here’s where you can read parts onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnine, and teneleven, and twelve. Let’s see what happens next as we simulate 2020 and then look back through history.

Yankee Stadium Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

After marching all the way through history since the team moved to New York in 1903, we’ve reached the final part of our OOTP altered timeline of the Yankees. Some cool things have happened, as have some disappointing ones. Now that we’re here, let’s simulate one last season and see how different things turned out for the Yankees.

2020: 75-87, 3rd in AL East, 41 GB, Team WAR Leader: LF Michael Conforto (7.9)

The year of 2020 was a mostly normal one, where nothing at all weird happened. On the baseball field, the Yankees brought in Mookie Betts on a one-year deal to try and put them over the top in what was expected to be a tight AL East.

Here are the regulars for your 2020 Yankees:

Betts was excellent, as was much of the Yankees’ offense, but the pitching wasn’t nearly enough to lead the team to a playoff bid. They also had the misfortune of having to play a historically good Blue Jays team (116 wins) 19 times.

Toronto would be upset in the ALDS by the White Sox, who would eventually fall to the Phillies led by Giancarlo Stanton, Francisco Lindor, Manny Machado, and Justin Verlander.

Now that we’ve reached the current day, let’s take a look at the baseball history that’s played out.

The Yankees finished with five championships (1916, 1943, 1956, 1958, and 1971) in 23 playoff appearances. They retired nine uniform numbers:

  • #14: P Jim Bunning
  • #17: SS Ernie Banks
  • #21: RF Roberto Clemente
  • #39: P Gene Jones
  • #40: P John Hanssen
  • #44: LF Hank Aaron
  • #67: 1B Shoeless Joe Jackson
  • #69: RF Willie Keeler

Weirdly, longtime star pitcher Bob Feller never got his number retired, despite being at least the second (and arguably the first) best player in franchise history. It was probably just some glitch in the game, but for purposes of the bit, we’ll say he had a falling out with ownership that was never mended.

Hall of Famers Inducted as Yankees:

  • Hank Aaron: Class of 1980
  • Jim Bunning: Class of 1978
  • Roberto Clemente: Class of 1980
  • Bob Feller: Class of 1962
  • John Hanssen: Class of 1971
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson: Class of 1934
  • Gene Jones: Class of 1964
  • Willie Keeler: Class of 1913

Here is their complete list of managers:

  • Clark Griffith (1903-05)
  • Ned Hanlon (1906)
  • Jimmy Phelps (1907-08)
  • Nick Bohler (1909)
  • Patsy Donovan (1910-20)
  • Jeff Colgan (1921-24)
  • Miguel Luis (1925-29)
  • Nick Hadaway (1930-34)
  • Jamie Stott (1935-39)
  • John P. Murphy (1940)
  • George Whiteman (1941-44)
  • Art Butler (1945-46)
  • Ernesto Rodriguez (1947-51)
  • Ricky Villalobos (1952-54)
  • Mel Preibish (1955)
  • Clifton Brooks (1956)
  • Jesse Gullic (1957)
  • Kenneth Helmick (1958-59)
  • Frank Blake (1960-61)
  • Charles Warren (1962)
  • Greg Jones (1963-76)
  • Joseph Gorski (1977-79)
  • Babe Barna (1980-81)
  • Richard Niesyto (1982-83)
  • Artura Osuna (1984)
  • John Lytle (1985-91)
  • Bill Knapek (1992)
  • Glenn Goya (1993)
  • Jerry Pomeroy (1994)
  • Jerry Leak (1995-2000)
  • James Liness (2001)
  • Mark Nocciolo (2002-2003)
  • Jeff Kolb (2004-2008)
  • Lloyd Breshers (2009)
  • Gary Zagelow (2010-15)
  • Robert Lesslie (2016)
  • Brent Gaff(2017)
  • Koichi Ikeue (2018-2019)
  • Carlos Alvarado (2020)

None one led the team to more than one World Series win. The most successful was probably Patsy Donovan, who won the 1916 title with them and also took the franchise to a couple other AL Pennants.

Here are some of the franchise record holders:

As for baseball history, let’s take a look at that, starting with the all-time championship winners:

Here are the single season and all-time record holders:

Now to torture ourselves, here is where the Yankees with real life retired numbers played their careers in this simulation:

  • #1 Billy Martin: Senators/Twins (1951-63) - never managed
  • #2 Derek Jeter: Orioles (1993-2000), Reds (2000-02), Yankees (2003), Phillies (2004-06), Brewers (2007-11, 2013-14), Angels (2012), Diamondbacks (2012)
  • #3 Babe Ruth: Reds (1914-1935)
  • #4 Lou Gehrig: Pirates (1922-1939), Phillies (1939-41)
  • #5 Joe DiMaggio: Senators (1932-45), Reds (1945-52)
  • #6 Joe Torre: never managed
  • #7 Mickey Mantle: Browns/Orioles (1950-68), Royals (1969)
  • #8 Bill Dickey: Cubs (1925-44), Yankees (1946)
  • #8 Yogi Berra: Pirates (1946-63), Yankees (1963)
  • #9 Roger Maris: Browns/Orioles (1953-68), Padres (1969), Phillies (1969)
  • #10 Phil Rizzuto: Reds (1940-56), Senators (1956)
  • #15 Thurman Munson: Angels (1970-80), White Sox (1981), Yankees (1982)
  • #16 Whitey Ford: Dodgers (1950-67)
  • #20 Jorge Posada: Angels (1992-96), Brewers (1997-2006), Rangers (2007-08), Mariners (2009, 2010), Padres (2009), Yankees (2011)
  • #23 Don Mattingly: Blue Jays (1979-85) Dodgers (1986-93), Rangers (1994), Yankees (1995), Royals (1996)
  • #32 Elston Howard: Phillies (1953-60), Reds (1961-67)
  • #37 Casey Stengel: never managed
  • #42 Mariano Rivera: Indians (1990-91), Dodgers (1992-98), Pirates (1999-2003), Athletics (2004, 2009-10), Cardinals (2005-08), Rangers (2011), Giants (2012-14), Senators (2014)
  • #44 Reggie Jackson: Mets (1966-82), Angels (1984-85), Indians (1986)
  • #46 Andy Pettitte: Brewers (1993-2001), Padres (2002-07), Angels (2008-09, 2011), Red Sox (2010-11)
  • #49 Ron Guidry: Padres (1971-87)
  • #51 Bernie Williams: Indians (1990-96), Reds (1996), Dodgers (1997-2001), Rangers (2002-06), Nationals (2007), Cubs (2007)

There are a lot of cool things in this simulated history that I wish had happened in real life. (Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente playing for the team is the main one.) However, I’m glad things have played out they way they have.