The 2023 season is set to mark exactly 100 years since a fairly notable event in Yankees’ history. In 1923, the franchise won their first of now 27 World Series championships, defeating the Giants after they had fallen short in the previous two Fall Classics.
Now 100 years after that, the Yankees are again here hoping the change in calendar from a ‘22 to a ‘23 will lead to good things. As we look ahead to next season, let’s look at some similarities between 1922-23 and 2022-23 and have some hope about what’s ahead.
The first thing to note about the 2023 Yankees is that like the 1923 squad, they too are coming off a season where they lost to their postseason nemesis. In 1922, the Yankees fell in the World Series in five games to the Giants, who had also beaten them the year before in the Yankees’ first ever World Series appearance in 1921. In general, the Giants also had an adversarial relationship with the first Highlanders and then Yankees’ general existence. The Yankees also did not win a game in the 1922 World Series, losing the series 4-0-1, tying just one game back when that was still possible.
As you probably remember, the Yankees were just knocked out a couple months ago by a franchise we don’t have much fondness for. So far, the Yankees and Astros’ “rivalry” has been fairly one-sided, with Houston winning all four of the teams’ recent postseason matchups. In 1923, the Yankees finally overcame the Giants in the postseason, and it seems like if the Yankees want to win a title, they may very well have to go through Houston.
Much like the 1923 Yankees were led by Babe Ruth, the current Yankees have a bona fide star coming off an dominant on field season. Aaron Judge is coming off an MVP year and the vibes around him feel pretty good now after he re-signed in the Bronx for nine years. It’s funny to say this about a year where he put up a 182 OPS+, but Ruth’s 1922 won’t go down as famous as Judge’s 2022, yet both are very clearly the standout player of their particular teams.
Both the 1923 and 2023 teams will go into their seasons with managers who’ve been in the job for several years now, have pretty good records, but also have questions around them. It seems funny to think about now that he’s a no-doubt Yankee legend, but Miller Huggins wasn’t that yet going into 1923. He had quelled some doubters by winning the 1921 and ‘22 AL Pennants, but still had plenty for failing to lead Ruth and company to a title. Despite that, he still had the support of ownership and the front office, a lot like how Aaron Boone does now.
Now, I need to make it perfectly clear, that I am not comparing Boone to Huggins. I myself have plenty of questions about the current Yankee skipper, and would have been perfectly happy to have seen the the team look elsewhere. However, their situations going into their respective ‘23 seasons have some similarities.
One potential storyline about the 2023 Yankees is the possible major league debut of top prospect Anthony Volpe. The 1923 team had a notable prospect make the way to the Bronx in the form of Lou Gehrig. Again, I’m not trying to say that Volpe will become Gehrig, but as Yankee fans I think we all have hope that the shortstop could become at least a notably good MLB player, and it’s going to be exciting when he takes the field.
In terms of additions, the 1923 Yankees got a new rotation piece like this winter’s signing of Carlos Rodón. Ahead of 1923, the Yankees for Red Sox and former A’s World Series-winning pitcher Herb Pennock in what would up being a massive steal. Pennock was excellent for much of his career in New York, and was part of the first four title-winning teams.
Having said all that: it doesn’t mean anything. If you squint hard enough, you can probably find comparisons with plenty of other good and bad teams from history. It’s just fun to think about how this particular iteration of the Yankees, who are still looking for their first title, compare to 100 years ago, when the franchise was still looking for their first title in general.