1997 New York Yankees

The stars of the 1997 New York Yankees.
Esteban Quiñones
Monday February 19, 2024

Table of Contents

The final standingLost the ALDS to Cleveland Indians
Regular season record96–66 (.593)
Post-season record2-3
Divisional rank2
ALDS record and opponentLost 2-3 vs Cleveland Indians
AL rank4
ALCS record and opponentDid not play
World Series record and opponentDid not play
ManagerJoe Torre
CaptainNone
Top batterHome runs: Tino Martinez (44), Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill (21), and Cecil Fielder (13)

BA: Bernie Williams (.328), Paul O’Neill (.324), Tim Raines (.321)

Runs: Derek Jeter (116), Bernie Williams (107), Tino Martinez (96)

RBI: Tino Martinez (141), Paul O’Neill (117), Bernie Williams (100)
Top pitcher/ (W-L, ERA)Andy Pettitte: 18-7, 2.88
David Cone: 12-6, 2.82
David Wells: 16-10, 4.21
Attendance record2,580,325 (6th of 14)

1997 New York Yankees season: A brief summary

In the pulsating saga of the 1997 New York Yankees, every game was a canvas, and every player had a brushstroke on the masterpiece of baseball. Guided by the maestro Joe Torre, the Yankees embarked on their 95th odyssey with the echoes of past victories ringing in their ears, aiming to etch another chapter into the annals of baseball folklore.

The regular season, a marathon of 162 games, unfolded like a gripping novel. The 1997 New York Yankees, with their record of 96 wins and 66 losses, danced on the precipice of greatness, finishing a mere heartbeat away from the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The stage was set for a postseason opera, and the Bronx Bombers had a front-row seat.

Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians was a symphony of highs and lows, a crescendo that defined the resilience of the 1997 New York Yankees. David Cone, the virtuoso on the mound, endured a tumultuous five-run first inning, an overture that threatened to overshadow the grand spectacle.

But then, the plot twisted in a way only baseball can contrive. Enter the sixth inning, a magical interlude that will forever reverberate in the hearts of fans. Tim Raines, Derek Jeter, and Paul O’Neill took center stage, orchestrating a ballet of back-to-back-to-back home runs—a feat so rare, it was akin to witnessing a comet shower in a baseball universe.

Raines’s majestic blast into the right field upper deck was the opening note, a thunderous roar that ignited the slumbering spirits of Yankee Stadium. Jeter followed suit, his bat painting a masterpiece in the left-field seats, and O’Neill, with a stroke of brilliance, sent a missile over the center-field fence. Three homers in three minutes—an artistic expression of defiance against the odds.

As the crowd erupted, the 1997 New York Yankees transformed a 6-1 deficit into an 8-6 triumph. The bullpen, a chorus of unsung heroes, held the fort with Ramiro Mendoza leading the charge and Mariano Rivera casting the final spell. The victory not only gave the Yankees a 1-0 series edge but also unveiled the poetry of their character—a team that could conjure magic when the script seemed destined for despair.

Beyond the heroics on the field, the season unfolded with subplots that added layers to the narrative. The Baltimore Orioles, the elusive antagonist, snatched the division title from the 1997 New York Yankees’ grasp. Tino Martinez, a virtuoso in his own right, played a symphony of hits, while the irreverent David Wells took the mound in Babe Ruth‘s hallowed hat, a moment that transcended the ordinary and danced with the ghosts of baseball legends.

In the grand theater of the 1997 season, the Yankees may not have clinched a repeat World Series title, but they left an indelible mark—a mosaic of resilience, artistic prowess, and an unyielding connection with their fans. The echoes of that season, the crack of the bat, and the roar of the crowd remain eternally woven into the fabric of the Bronx Bombers’ rich tapestry.

1997 New York Yankees greatest moment: A historic comeback

Game 1 of the 1997 ALDS between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians unfolded like a Shakespearean drama—a tale of contrasting fortunes.

The stage was set for a pitching duel between two titans, Orel Hershiser and David Cone. The top of the first inning saw the Indians assert their dominance, crafting a 5-0 lead with precision. Bip Roberts ignited the onslaught with a leadoff walk, navigating the bases with a stolen base, and scoring on Manny Ramirez’s single. As the Yankees’ defense struggled to contain the onslaught, Matt Williams took a hit-by-pitch, setting the scene for Sandy Alomar Jr.’s three-run homer—a stroke of brilliance that capped the Indians’ offensive symphony.

Trailing by five runs, the 1997 New York Yankees faced an uphill battle. The Indians seemed poised for victory. However, the Bronx Bombers were about to script one of the most remarkable turnarounds in postseason history.

In the bottom of the second, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs, a glimmer of hope in the midst of adversity. Yet, they managed just one run on Wade Boggs’s forceout. The Indians responded with another run in the fourth, extending their lead to 6-1 as Marquis Grissom tripled and scored on Roberts’s single.

As the shadows of doubt loomed over Yankee Stadium, Tino Martinez stepped up in the bottom of the fourth, unleashing a home run that breathed life into the Bronx. The score tightened to 6-2, setting the stage for a dramatic fifth inning.

The Yankees, relentless, orchestrated a five-run surge in the fifth inning that would resonate in the echoes of baseball lore. Rey Sanchez‘s single, coupled with timely hitting, paved the way for a poetic sequence of events. Wade Boggs singled, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Sanchez’s hit. Then came the crescendo—a trio of consecutive home runs by Tim Raines, Derek Jeter, and Paul O’Neill.

The stadium erupted in a cacophony of cheers as the 1997 New York Yankees flipped the script, turning a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 lead. The improbable comeback left the Indians shell-shocked, their once-commanding lead was vanquished by the sheer tenacity of the pinstriped warriors.

The bullpen, a fortress of resilience, took the stage. Mariano Rivera, the maestro of saves, closed the curtain on the Indians in the ninth, sealing a victory that would go down as the Yankees’ greatest moment in the 1997 season. The demoralized Indians, having witnessed a five-run lead slip away, trudged off the field, while the 1997 New York Yankees reveled in the glory of a triumph that defied the odds—a masterpiece painted with the brushstrokes of determination, skill, and an unyielding belief in the magic of the pinstripes.

1997 New York Yankees season in videos

ALDS Result

Yankees 2-3 Indians

#DateOpponentScoreWinLossSaveLocationAttendanceRecord
1September 30Indians8–6Mendoza (1–0)Plunk (0–1)Rivera (1)Yankee Stadium57,3981–0
2October 2Indians5–7Wright (1–0)Pettitte (0–1)Yankee Stadium57,3601–1
3October 4@ Indians6–1Wells (1–0)Nagy (0–1)Jacobs Field45,2742–1
4October 5@ Indians2–3Jackson (1–0)Mendoza (1–1)Jacobs Field45,2312–2
5October 6@ Indians3–4Wright (2–0)Pettitte (0–2)Mesa (1)Jacobs Field45,2032–3

ALCS

(Didn’t play)

World Series

(Didn’t play)

1997 New York Yankees roster

NameAgeBTHtWtDoBYrsGGSWARSalary
Willie Banks28RR6′ 1″190Feb 27, 19696510.7
Brian Boehringer28BR6′ 2″180Jan 8, 196933401.6$161,100
Wade Boggs HOF39LR6′ 2″190Jun 15, 195816104882$2,000,000
Joe Borowski26RR6′ 2″225May 4, 1971310-0.1
Homer Bush24RR5′ 10″180Nov 12, 19721st101-0.1
David Cone34LR6′ 1″180Jan 2, 19631229296.7$6,666,667
Ivan Cruz29LL6′ 3″210May 3, 19681st113-0.1
Chad Curtis28RR5′ 10″175Nov 6, 1968693871.1
Mariano Duncan34RR6′ 0″160Mar 13, 1963125047-1$870,000
Cecil Fielder33RR6′ 3″230Sep 21, 19631298960.8$9,237,500
Mike Figga26RR6′ 0″200Jul 31, 19701st21-0.1
Andy Fox26LR6′ 4″205Jan 12, 197122280.3
Joe Girardi32RR5′ 11″195Oct 14, 196491121090.1$2,250,000
Dwight Gooden32RR6′ 2″190Nov 16, 19641320191.2$2,000,000
Charlie Hayes32RR6′ 0″190May 29, 196510100890.5$1,700,000
Pete Incaviglia33RR6′ 1″225Apr 2, 19641154-0.2
Hideki Irabu28RR6′ 4″240May 5, 19691st139-0.9$2,325,000
Derek Jeter HOF23RR6′ 3″195Jun 26, 197431591595$550,000
Pat Kelly29RR6′ 0″180Oct 14, 196776731-0.1$1,100,000
Graeme Lloyd30LL6′ 8″225Apr 9, 196754600.7$770,000
Tino Martinez29LR6′ 2″205Dec 7, 196781581535.1$4,400,000
Jim Mecir27BR6′ 1″195May 16, 19703250-0.1
Ramiro Mendoza25RR6′ 2″154Jun 15, 1972239152.5$157,000
Jeff Nelson30RR6′ 8″225Nov 17, 196667701.9$1,090,000
Paul O’Neill34LL6′ 4″200Feb 25, 1963131491452.4$5,500,000
Andy Pettitte25LL6′ 5″235Jun 15, 1972335358.4$600,000
Jorge Posada26BR6′ 2″215Aug 17, 1970360520.6$158,500
Scott Pose30LR5′ 11″165Feb 11, 196725418-0.3
Tim Raines HOF37BR5′ 8″160Sep 16, 19591974641.4$1,703,644
Danny Rios24RR6′ 2″190Nov 11, 19721st20-0.3
Mariano Rivera HOF27RR6′ 2″195Nov 29, 196936603.7$550,000
Kenny Rogers32LL6′ 1″200Nov 10, 1964931220.1$5,000,000
Rey Sanchez29RR5′ 10″180Oct 5, 1967738370.7
Luis Sojo32RR5′ 11″172Jan 3, 1965877520.4$425,000
Mike Stanley34RR6′ 1″185Jun 25, 19631228210.2
Mike Stanton30LL6′ 1″190Jun 2, 196796402.8$1,616,667
Darryl Strawberry35LL6′ 6″190Mar 12, 196215118-0.5$750,000
David Weathers27RR6′ 3″205Sep 25, 19697100-0.4$435,000
David Wells34LL6′ 3″187May 20, 19631132324.3$3,766,667
Mark Whiten30BR6′ 3″210Nov 25, 196686952-0.1$1,000,000
Bernie Williams28BR6′ 2″180Sep 13, 196871291275.5$5,300,000

1997 New York Yankees player additions, transactions, and trades

November 1996

  • Nov 4: Enlisted Clay Bellinger as a free agent.
  • Nov 14: Secured Marc Ronan’s services as a free agent.
  • Nov 17: Acquired John Rodriguez as an amateur free agent.
  • Nov 27: Added Scott Pose to the team as a free agent.

December 1996

  • Dec 3: Signed Joe Girardi as a free agent.
  • Dec 11: Brought Mike Stanton on board as a free agent.
  • Dec 23: Secured Dave Eiland as a free agent.
  • Dec 24: Welcomed David Wells as a free agent.

January

  • Jan 3: Signed Willie Banks as a free agent.
  • Jan 9: Added Luis Sojo to the roster as a free agent.
  • Jan 9: Secured Mark Whiten as a free agent.

February

  • Feb 1: Signed Tom Wilson as a free agent.
  • Feb 6: Acquired Carlos Reyes as a free agent.

Apri:

  • Apr 8: Released Carlos Reyes.
  • Apr 22: Traded Rafael Medina, Ruben Rivera, and $3,000,000 to the San Diego Padres. Received players to be named later, Gordie Amerson (minors), and Homer Bush. (Trade completed on May 29, 1997, and June 9, 1997, with Hideki Irabu and Vernon Maxwell)

June

  • Jun 3: Drafted Ryan Bradley (1st round, 40th pick).
  • Jun 9: Secured Jim Converse as a free agent.
  • Jun 9: Traded David Weathers to the Cleveland Indians. Received Chad Curtis.

July

  • Jul 10: Signed Yhency Brazoban as an amateur free agent.
  • Jul 25: Added Pete Incaviglia to the team as a free agent.
  • Jul 29: Traded Mariano Duncan and cash to the Toronto Blue Jays. Received Angel Ramirez (minors).

August

  • Aug 11: Selected Jose Alberro off waivers from the Texas Rangers.
  • Aug 13: Traded a player to be named later and Tony Armas to the Boston Red Sox. Received Randy Brown (minors) and Mike Stanley. (Trade completed on Sep 29, 1997, with Jim Mecir)
  • Aug 15: Secured René Arocha as a free agent.
  • Aug 15: Released Pete Incaviglia.
  • Aug 15: Released Mark Whiten.
  • Aug 16: Traded Frisco Parotte (minors) to the Chicago Cubs. Received Rey Sanchez.

September

  • Sep 15: Selected Joe Borowski off waivers from the Atlanta Braves.
  • Sep 25: Signed Bernie Castro as an amateur free agent.
  • Sep 25: Matt Luke was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers off waivers.

October

  • Oct 15: Jim Converse, Dave Eiland, and Scott Pose were granted Free Agency.
  • Oct 17: René Arocha, Bubba Carpenter, Marc Ronan, and Tom Wilson were granted Free Agency.
  • Oct 27: Cecil Fielder and Mike Stanley were granted Free Agency.
  • Oct 29: Tim Raines was granted Free Agency.
  • Oct 30: Darryl Strawberry was granted Free Agency.

1997 New York Yankees player debuts

  • Homer Bush – 08-16-1997 – 24 years old
  • Ivan Cruz – 07-18-1997 – 29 years old
  • Mike Figga – 09-16-1997 – 27 years old
  • Hideki Irabu – 07-10-1997 – 28 years old
  • Danny Rios – 05-30-1997 – 24 years old

1997 New York Yankees team stats (batting)

PosNameAgeGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBA
CJoe Girardi32112433398381052311502326530.264
1BTino Martinez2915868559496176312441413175750.296
2BLuis Sojo32772392152766612253116140.307
SSDerek Jeter2315974865411619031710702312741250.291
3BCharlie Hayes32100398353399116011533240660.258
LFTim Raines377431827156872024388541340.321
CFBernie Williams281295915091071673562110015873800.328
RFPaul O’Neill34149637553891794202111710775920.324
DHCecil Fielder3398425361409415013610051870.26
3BWade Boggs39103407353551032314280148380.292
OFChad Curtis28933723205193211125012636490.291
LFMark Whiten306924821534571105244230470.265
CJorge Posada266022418829471206251230330.25
2BMariano Duncan3450179172164280113216390.244
2BRey Sanchez29381501382143120115045210.312
2BPat Kelly29671381202529612108114370.242
DHMike Stanley3428103871625803120015220.287
LFScott Pose3054968719192105319110.218
UTAndy Fox26224031137100121790.226
DHDarryl Strawberry3511322913100200390.103
UTIvan Cruz2911222005100300240.25
DHPete Incaviglia335161614000000030.25
2BHomer Bush2410111124000300000.364
CMike Figga2624400000000030
Team Totals30.71626527571089116363252316184699586769540.287
Rank in 14 AL teams2222108910142

1997 New York Yankees team stats (pitching)

PosNameAgeWLW-L%ERAGGSGFCGSHOSVIPHRER
SPAndy Pettitte251870.7202.8835350410240.12338677
SPDavid Wells3416100.6154.2132320520218239109102
SPDavid Cone341260.6672.82292901001951556761
SPKenny Rogers32670.4625.653122410014516110091
SPDwight Gooden32950.6434.9120190000106.11166158
CLMariano Rivera27640.61.8866056004371.2651715
RPRamiro Mendoza25860.5714.2439159002133.21576763
RPJeff Nelson30370.32.867702200278.2533225
RPMike Stanton30610.8572.576401500366.2501919
RPGraeme Lloyd30110.53.314601700149552418
Hideki Irabu28540.5567.09139000053.1694742
Brian Boehringer28320.62.633401100048391614
Jim Mecir270405.882501100033.2362322
Willie Banks283011.9351100014933
David Weathers270101010030009151010
Danny Rios240019.292000002.1955
Joe Borowski2601091010002222
Wade Boggs390001010001000
Team Totals29.896660.5933.84162162151113511467.21463688626
Rank in 14 AL teams21313231421

1997 New York Yankees vs. opponents/ team splits

Opponent (Games)WonLostWP
Anaheim Angels (11)740.636
Atlanta Braves (3)120.333
Baltimore Orioles (12)480.333
Boston Red Sox (12)840.667
Chicago White Sox (11)920.818
Cleveland Indians (11)650.545
Detroit Tigers (12)1020.833
Florida Marlins (3)120.333
Kansas City Royals (11)830.727
Milwaukee Brewers (11)740.636
Minnesota Twins (11)830.727
Montreal Expos (3)120.333
New York Mets (3)210.667
Oakland Athletics (11)650.545
Philadelphia Phillies (3)030.000
Seattle Mariners (11)470.364
Texas Rangers (11)740.636
Toronto Blue Jays (12)750.583

1997 New York Yankees monthly record

Month (Games)WonLostWP
April (27)14130.519
May (27)15120.556
June (25)1780.680
July (26)15110.577
August (29)18110.621
September (28)17110.607

1997 New York Yankees All-Stars

  • Tino Martinez
  • David Cone
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Paul O’Neill
  • Bernie Williams

1997 New York Yankees awards and honors

  • Gold Glove Award: Bernie Williams
  • Silver Slugger Award: Tino Martinez

Other Achievements

  • Tino Martinez finished 2nd in AL MVP Voting.
  • Andy Pettitte finished 5th in AL Cy Young Voting.
  • Joe Torre finished 7th in AL Manager of the Year Voting.

1997 New York Yankees: Unfulfilled dreams

For most teams, the baseball season concludes in September, a neat punctuation mark to 162 games. However, for the New York Yankees, the 1997 season is an epic novel with a run-on sentence that extends into October, November, and sometimes beyond. The allure of championships and the embrace of George Steinbrenner‘s largesse create a narrative where October baseball is not just an expectation but a birthright.

In the grand theater of postseasons past, the Yankees had thrived, claiming victory in 11 games or more four times in the previous five years. Yet, 1997 emerged as an oddity, a year that left a bitter taste in the mouths of pinstriped warriors. The champions of 1996 found themselves falling short of the coveted 11 victories, and the disappointment was palpable.

As the postseason unfolded, the wounds of the 1997 American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Cleveland Indians cut deep. The 1997 New York Yankees had fought bravely, winning two of the first three games. Victory seemed within grasp, only to be cruelly snatched away. Sandy Alomar Jr.’s game-tying home run against the indomitable Mariano Rivera and subsequent defeats in Games 4 and 5 sent the Yankees home, their dreams of a repeat World Series title shattered.

For Paul O’Neill, the sting of that defeat lingered like a haunting melody. The usually resilient outfielder admitted, “That was probably the most depressing time I’ve ever had as a baseball player. It was just frustrating.” Tino Martinez echoed the sentiment, describing the offseason as “probably the most disappointing.” Having tasted the glory of victory in 1996, the unexpected defeat in 1997 cast a long shadow over their winter.

As the final out was recorded and the 1997 New York Yankees scattered to their respective homes, the weight of unfulfilled expectations bore down on their shoulders. Martinez, unable to bear witness to the rest of the postseason, reflected on the missed opportunity, stating, “It was a long offseason.”

However, amidst the heartbreak, a valuable lesson emerged. Martinez saw the defeat as a catalyst for growth, noting, “I think it made us a hungrier team. We realized it wasn’t that easy to win the World Series.” The unexpected loss became a crucible, forging a resolve that would define the Yankees in the seasons to come.

Derek Jeter, who had become accustomed to the World Series being part of the Yankees’ routine, confessed to a lack of interest in the games following their elimination. The postseason had become synonymous with the Bronx Bombers, and the absence of their presence felt surreal.

As the Yankees reflected on the heartbreak of 1997, it became a pivotal chapter in their journey. The disappointment fueled a hunger for redemption, a thirst for a return to the grand stage of October baseball. The defeat was not the end; it was a poignant pause in a run-on sentence, setting the stage for the Yankees to pen new chapters of triumph and glory in the seasons that awaited.

How do you rate the 1997 New York Yankees? 

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