2004 New York Yankees

Table of Contents

The final standingLost the ALCS to the Red Sox
Regular season record101–61 (.623)
Post-season record6-5
Divisional rank1st
ALDS record and opponentWon 3-1 vs Minnesota Twins
AL rank1
ALCS record and opponentLost 3-4 vs Boston Red Sox
World Series record and opponentDid not play
ManagerJoe Torre
CaptainDerek Jeter
Top batterHome runs: Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield (36), Hideki Matsui (31), Derek Jeter (23)

BA: Hideki Matsui (.298), Derek Jeter, Miguel Cairo (.292), Gary Sheffield (.290)

Runs: Gary Sheffield (117), Alex Rodriguez (112), Derek Jeter (111), Hideki Matsui (109)

RBI: Gary Sheffield (121), Hideki Matsui (108), Alex Rodriguez (106)
Top pitcher/ (W-L, ERA)Jon Lieber: 14-8, 4.33
Javier Vazquez: 14-10, 4.33
Mike Mussina: 12-9, 4.59
Attendance record3,775,292 (1st of 14)

2004 New York Yankees season: A brief summary

Opening the season with two games in Japan against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the 2004 New York Yankees showcased their dominance throughout the regular season, finishing with an impressive record of 101-61, securing their third consecutive season of 100+ wins—a franchise first.

Under the seasoned guidance of manager Joe Torre, the team’s success in the playoffs started with a convincing victory over the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS, winning 3 games to 1. However, the narrative took an unexpected turn in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, marking a pivotal moment in baseball history. The 2004 New York Yankees, after taking a commanding 3-0 lead, suffered an unprecedented collapse, losing four straight games to the Red Sox, who eventually went on to become the World Series champions.

July brought a defining moment etched in Yankees lore when Derek Jeter‘s iconic dive into the stands during a game against the Boston Red Sox showcased the captain’s unwavering commitment. This remarkable play would forever be remembered as “the dive,” capturing the essence of the 2004 New York Yankees’s fighting spirit.

August, however, was not without its challenges, as the 2004 New York Yankees suffered their worst loss in history by run differential, a humbling 22-0 defeat to the Cleveland Indians on August 31. Despite this setback, the team demonstrated resilience, and in September, they clinched their division, providing a glimmer of hope for the postseason.

The emotional rollercoaster of the season was encapsulated by the words of Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner, expressing hope and a yearning for a championship for the city of New York. The season ended with the 2004 New York Yankees playing 162 games, winning 101, and finishing first in their division. Yankee Stadium echoed with the cheers of 3,775,292 fans who witnessed a team that, despite falling short in the playoffs, had left an indelible mark on the season.

The season narrative transcended the typical divisional rivalry, delving into the historical context of the Yankees’ championship legacy. While the Boston Red Sox celebrated their recent World Series victory, the Yankees fans, accustomed to success, were left grappling with the unfulfilled expectation of adding another championship to their storied collection. In New York, winning is not just a miracle; it’s an expectation deeply rooted in the team’s illustrious history, making each season’s outcome a reflection of a rich legacy that stretches back to the days of Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and beyond.

The colossal collapse of 2004 New York Yankees

The 2004 Yankee season, eternally etched in history as “The Colossal Collapse,” unfolded as the darkest chapter in the team’s storied legacy. The heartbreak reached its zenith when the Boston Red Sox, against all odds, climbed the steepest postseason slope by overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS, ultimately seizing victory at Yankee Stadium. In front of a shocked audience of 56,129, Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, and Mark Bellhorn, fueled by an unstoppable momentum, orchestrated a 10-3 Game 7 triumph that shattered the Yankees’ dreams.

For a team accustomed to 26 World Series victories, this colossal collapse surpassed any prior disappointments. The 2004 New York Yankees’ pain was visceral, and the echoes of Aaron Boone’s heroic home run against the Red Sox in the previous year’s ALCS seemed a distant memory. The defeat felt like a seismic shift as if 40 years had passed since their last World Series crown in 2000.

The emotional toll was exacerbated by the fact that the Red Sox, the eternal rivals from the AL East, were the architects of this historic comeback. Just days earlier, the 2004 New York Yankees were on the verge of a sweep, three outs away from dispatching their blood rivals. Now, the Red Sox danced on the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium, marking their first World Series appearance since 1986.

The collapse was a poignant manifestation of the questions surrounding the 2004 New York Yankees’ starting pitching throughout the season. The lethal combination of Kevin Brown’s subpar performance, Javier Vazquez’s struggles, and Tom Gordon’s inability to contain the Red Sox’s onslaught sealed the Yankees’ fate. Brown, entrusted by manager Joe Torre, crumbled under the pressure, surrendering five runs in a mere 1 1/3 innings. Vazquez called upon to salvage the situation, faced a bases-loaded scenario, and succumbed to Johnny Damon’s grand slam, widening the deficit.

As the Red Sox celebrated on the same turf where Aaron Boone’s heroics unfolded the previous year, the 2004 New York Yankees found themselves grappling with the weight of missed opportunities. The Yankees, once the epitome of postseason dominance, had faltered when it mattered most. The pain was palpable in Derek Jeter’s words, acknowledging that the Yankees simply didn’t deserve to win.

While the Red Sox embarked on a jubilant journey to the World Series, the 2004 New York Yankees were left to reflect on the colossal collapse that would forever stain the 2004 season. The defeat went beyond the immediate disappointment; it questioned the identity of the team and left a lingering sense of unfulfilled expectations in the hearts of the fans who, in New York, view winning not just as a miracle but as an expectation ingrained in the very fabric of Yankees history.

ALDS Result

Yankees 3-1 Twins

1October 5Twins0–2Santana (1–0)Mussina (0–1)Nathan (1)Yankee Stadium55,7490–1
2October 6Twins7–6 (12)Quantrill (1–0)Nathan (0–1)Yankee Stadium56,3541–1
3October 8@ Twins8–4Brown (1–0)Silva (0–1)Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome54,8032–1
4October 9@ Twins6–5 (11)Rivera (1–0)Lohse (0–1)Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome52,4983–1

ALCS Result

Yankees 3-4 Red Sox

1October 12Red Sox10–7Mussina (1–0)Schilling (0–1)Rivera (1)Yankee Stadium56,1351–0
2October 13Red Sox3–1Lieber (1–0)Martinez (0–1)Rivera (2)Yankee Stadium56,1362–0
October 15@ Red SoxPostponed (rain) Rescheduled for October 16
3October 16@ Red Sox19–8Vazquez (1–0)Mendoza (0–1)Fenway Park35,1263–0
4October 17@ Red Sox4–6 (12)Leskanic (1–0)Quantrill (0–1)Fenway Park34,8263–1
5October 18@ Red Sox4–5 (14)Wakefield (1–0)Loaiza (0–1)Fenway Park35,1203–2
6October 19Red Sox2–4Schilling (1–1)Lieber (1–1)Foulke (1)Yankee Stadium56,1283–3
7October 20Red Sox3–10Lowe (1–0)Brown (0–1)Yankee Stadium56,1293–4

World Series

(Didn’t play)

2004 New York Yankees roster

Kevin Brown39RR6′ 4″195Mar 14, 19651822222.8$15,714,286
Homer Bush31RR5′ 10″180Nov 12, 1972792-0.2
Miguel Cairo30RR6′ 1″225May 4, 197491221031.2$900,000
Tony Clark32BR6′ 8″205Jun 15, 197210106640.2$750,000
José Contreras32RR6′ 4″255Dec 6, 1971218180$8,500,000
Bubba Crosby27LL5′ 11″180Aug 11, 19762556-0.5$301,400
Jorge De Paula25RR6′ 1″160Nov 10, 19782310$302,550
Felix Escalona25RR6′ 0″185Mar 12, 19793520
John Flaherty36RR6′ 1″195Oct 21, 1967134735-0.1$775,000
Jason Giambi33LR6′ 3″240Jan 8, 1971108075-0.1$12,428,571
Tom Gordon36RR5′ 9″160Nov 18, 1967168004$3,500,000
Alex Graman26LL6′ 4″210Nov 17, 19771st32-0.4
Brad Halsey23LL6′ 1″185Feb 14, 19811st87-0.2
Felix Heredia29LL6′ 0″180Jun 18, 19759470-0.2$1,800,000
Orlando Hernandez38RR6′ 2″210Oct 11, 1965615152.8$500,000
Derek Jeter HOF30RR6′ 3″195Jun 26, 1974101541544.2$18,600,000
Steve Karsay32RR6′ 3″210Mar 24, 19729700.1$6,000,000
Travis Lee29LL6′ 3″205May 26, 1975774-0.3$2,000,000
Jon Lieber34LR6′ 3″220Apr 2, 19701027272.9$2,700,000
Esteban Loaiza32RR6′ 2″230Dec 31, 197110106-1
Kenny Lofton37LL6′ 0″180May 31, 19671483701.4$3,100,000
Sam Marsonek25RR6′ 6″225Jul 10, 19781st100.1
Hideki Matsui30LR6′ 2″210Jun 12, 197421621625$7,000,000
Mike Mussina HOF35LR6′ 2″185Dec 8, 19681427272.4$16,000,000
Dioner Navarro20BR5′ 9″215Feb 9, 19841st510.1
C.J. Nitkowski31LL6′ 2″185Mar 9, 19739190-0.2
John Olerud35LL6′ 5″205Aug 5, 19681649470.6
Donovan Osborne35BL6′ 2″195Jun 21, 1969992-0.3$450,000
Juan Padilla27RR6′ 0″210Feb 17, 19771st600.2
Andy Phillips27RR6′ 0″205Apr 6, 19771st520.1
Jorge Posada33BR6′ 2″215Aug 17, 1970101371263.5$9,000,000
Bret Prinz27RR6′ 3″185Jun 15, 197742600.1
Scott Proctor27RR6′ 1″195Jan 2, 19771st260-0.1
Paul Quantrill35LR6′ 1″175Nov 3, 1968138600.7$3,000,000
Mariano Rivera HOF34RR6′ 2″195Nov 29, 1969107404.2$10,890,000
Alex Rodriguez28RR6′ 3″230Jul 27, 1975111551557.6$22,000,000
Gary Sheffield35RR5′ 11″190Nov 18, 1968171541544.2$13,000,000
Ruben Sierra38BR6′ 1″175Oct 6, 196518107760.1$1,000,000
Tanyon Sturtze33RR6′ 5″190Oct 12, 197092830.2
Javier Vazquez27RR6′ 2″210Jul 25, 1976732322.6$9,000,000
Gabe White32LL6′ 2″200Nov 20, 197110240-0.5$1,925,000
Bernie Williams35BR6′ 2″180Sep 13, 1968141481430.9$12,357,143
Enrique Wilson30BR5′ 11″160Jul 27, 197389368-2.1$700,000

2004 New York Yankees additions, transactions, and trades


  • Fernando Seguignol’s player rights were sold to Nippon Ham Fighters (Japan Pacific).
  • November 2, 2003: Antonio Osuna, David Wells, and Gabe White became Free Agents.
  • November 6, 2003: Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte became Free Agents.
  • November 7, 2003: Felix Heredia became a Free Agent.


  • December 4, 2003: Signed Felix Heredia as a free agent.
  • December 7, 2003: Signed Ruben Sierra and Gabe White as free agents.
  • December 13, 2003: Traded for Kevin Brown, sending Brandon Weeden (minors), Yhency Brazoban, Jeff Weaver, and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • December 15, 2003: Colter Bean was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 rule 5 draft. John Flaherty was signed as a free agent.
  • December 16, 2003: Signed Tom Gordon as a free agent. Traded Randy Choate, Nick Johnson, and Juan Rivera to the Montreal Expos for Javier Vazquez.
  • December 17, 2003: Signed Paul Quantrill as a free agent.
  • December 18, 2003: Traded Chris Hammond and cash to the Oakland Athletics for Eduardo Sierra (minors) and J.T. Stotts (minors).
  • December 19, 2003: Signed Miguel Cairo and Gary Sheffield as free agents.
  • December 20, 2003: Signed Homer Bush as a free agent.
  • December 23, 2003: Signed Buddy Carlyle as a free agent.


  • January 6, 2004: Signed Kenny Lofton as a free agent.
  • January 8, 2004: Michel Hernandez was selected by the Boston Red Sox off waivers.
  • January 12, 2004: Signed Tony Clark as a free agent.
  • January 14, 2004: Signed Sal Fasano and Jim Mann as free agents.
  • January 28, 2004: Signed Darren Bragg and Tyler Houston as free agents.


  • February 1, 2004: Signed Steve Torrealba as a free agent.
  • February 3, 2004: Signed Mike Kelly as a free agent.
  • February 4, 2004: Signed Joe Girardi as a free agent.
  • February 5, 2004: Traded Jose Garcia (minors) to the Texas Rangers, receiving Mike Lamb.
  • February 7, 2004: Signed Donovan Osborne as a free agent.
  • February 10, 2004: Signed Juan Alvarez as a free agent.
  • February 16, 2004: Traded a player to be named later and Alfonso Soriano to the Texas Rangers for Alex Rodriguez and cash (completed with Joaquin Arias sent to the Rangers on (April 23, 2004).
  • February 25, 2004: Signed Nerio Rodriguez and Eduardo Núñez as free agents.


  • March 1, 2004: Released Aaron Boone.
  • March 2, 2004: Signed Travis Lee as a free agent.
  • March 4, 2004: Signed Hansel Izquierdo and John Rodriguez as free agents.
  • March 9, 2004: Signed Mike Thurman as a free agent.
  • March 12, 2004: Signed Orlando Hernandez as a free agent.
  • March 18, 2004: The Boston Red Sox returned Colter Bean (earlier draft pick).
  • March 25, 2004: Traded Mike Lamb to the Houston Astros, receiving Juan De Leon (minors).
  • March 26, 2004: Released Erick Almonte.
  • March 30, 2004: Signed Felix Escalona as a free agent.


  • April 3, 2004: Released Juan Alvarez.
  • April 16, 2004: Released Corey Lee.
  • April 28, 2004: Released Steve Torrealba.


  • May 15, 2004: Traded Brian Myrow to the Los Angeles Dodgers, receiving Tanyon Sturtze.
  • May 19, 2004: Signed Scott Wiggins as a free agent.
  • May 21, 2004: Signed Craig Wilson as a free agent.
  • May 26, 2004: Selected Kevin Hooper off waivers from the Florida Marlins.
  • May 27, 2004: Released Donovan Osborne.
  • May 28, 2004: Signed Carlos Reyes as a free agent.


  • June 1, 2004: Selected Jason Anderson off waivers from the Cleveland Indians.
  • June 7, 2004: Drafted Phil Hughes in the 1st round (23rd pick) of the 2004 amateur draft. Also drafted Jeff Marquez in the 1st round (41st pick), Christian Garcia in the 3rd round, and Mike Dunn in the 33rd round of the 2004 amateur draft.
  • June 8, 2004: Signed Justin Kaye as a free agent. Released Hansel Izquierdo.
  • June 15, 2004: Sent Nerio Rodriguez to the St. Louis Cardinals as part of a conditional deal. Released Jim Mann.
  • June 18, 2004: Traded Gabe White to the Cincinnati Reds, receiving Charlie Manning and cash.
  • June 25, 2004: Released Justin Kaye.
  • June 26, 2004: Released Scott Wiggins.


  • July 2, 2004: Released Darren Bragg.
  • July 14, 2004: Purchased Justin Christian from River City (Frontier).
  • July 15, 2004: Signed Iván Nova as an amateur free agent.
  • July 19, 2004: Signed C.J. Nitkowski as a free agent.
  • July 22, 2004: Signed Donzell McDonald as a free agent.
  • July 31, 2004: Traded José Contreras and cash to the Chicago White Sox, receiving Esteban Loaiza.


  • August 2, 2004: Signed Dave Elder as a free agent. Purchased Lance Davis from Long Island (Atlantic).
  • August 3, 2004: Signed John Olerud as a free agent.
  • August 6, 2004: Released Kevin Hooper.
  • August 12, 2004: Signed Jose Tabata as an amateur free agent.
  • August 17, 2004: Signed Shane Spencer as a free agent.


  • September 3, 2004: Juan Padilla was selected by the Cincinnati Reds off waivers.
  • September 16, 2004: Released Lance Davis.


  • October 15, 2004: Homer Bush, Buddy Carlyle, Dave Elder, Mike Kelly, Donzell McDonald, Carlos Reyes, John Rodriguez, Shane Spencer, Mike Vento, and Craig Wilson became Free Agents. Sal Fasano was released.

2004 New York Yankees player debuts

  • Alex Graman – 04-20-2004 – 26 years old
  • Brad Halsey – 06-19-2004 – 23 years old
  • Sam Marsonek – 07-11-2004 – 26 years old
  • Dioner Navarro – 09-07-2004 – 20 years old
  • Juan Padilla – 07-16-2004 – 27 years old
  • Andy Phillips – 09-14-2004 – 27 years old
  • Scott Proctor – 04-20-2004 – 27 years old

2004 New York Yankees team stats (batting)

CJorge Posada331375474497212231021811388920.272
1BTony Clark32106283253375612016490026920.221
2BMiguel Cairo301224083604810517564211318490.292
SSDerek Jeter30154721643111188441237823446990.292
3BAlex Rodriguez2815569860111217224236106284801310.286
LFHideki Matsui301626805841091743423110830881030.298
CFBernie Williams3514865156110514729122701585960.262
RFGary Sheffield35154684573117166301361215692830.29
DHRuben Sierra38107338307407512117651025550.244
1BJason Giambi338032226433559012400147620.208
CFKenny Lofton378331327651761073187331270.275
2BEnrique Wilson30932622401951906311215200.213
1BJohn Olerud35491881641646704260021200.28
CJohn Flaherty3647135127113290616025250.252
OFBubba Crosby27555853882027202130.151
1BTravis Lee297201912100200130.105
SSFelix Escalona2559810000000020
3BAndy Phillips2758812001200010.25
2BHomer Bush3198720000010020
CDioner Navarro2057723000100000.429
Team Totals32.41626364552789714832812024286384336709820.268
Rank in 14 AL teams132101010184148

The team stats (pitching)

SPJavier Vazquez2714100.5834.9132320000198195114108
SPJon Lieber341480.6364.3327270000176.22169585
SPMike Mussina351290.5714.5927270100164.21789184
SPKevin Brown391060.6254.09222200001321326560
SPJosé Contreras32850.6155.641818000095.2936660
SPOrlando Hernandez38820.83.31515000084.2733131
CLMariano Rivera34420.6671.9474069005378.2651717
RPPaul Quantrill35730.74.728601700195.11245450
RPTom Gordon36940.6922.218001500489.2562322
RPTanyon Sturtze33620.755.47283700177.1754947
RPFelix Heredia29110.56.28470900038.2442827
Esteban Loaiza32120.3338.5106100042.1614340
Brad Halsey23130.256.4787000032412623
Bret Prinz271015.082601000028.1281716
Scott Proctor27210.6675.42601200025291815
Gabe White320108.27240600020.2331919
Donovan Osborne352017.1392200017.2251614
C.J. Nitkowski31110.57.62190400013181111
Juan Padilla27003.9760100011.11655
Jorge De Paula2501053100009965
Steve Karsay32002.77060006.2532
Alex Graman260019.83210005141111
Sam Marsonek250001010001.1200
Team Totals33101610.6234.6916216216110591443.21532808752
Rank in 14 AL teams11461412181066

2004 New York Yankees record vs. opponents/ team splits

Opponent (Games)WonLostWP
Anaheim Angels (9)450.444
Arizona Diamondbacks (3)210.667
Baltimore Orioles (19)1450.737
Boston Red Sox (19)8110.421
Chicago White Sox (7)430.571
Cleveland Indians (6)420.667
Colorado Rockies (3)301.000
Detroit Tigers (7)340.429
Kansas City Royals (6)510.833
Los Angeles Dodgers (3)120.333
Minnesota Twins (6)420.667
New York Mets (6)240.333
Oakland Athletics (9)720.778
San Diego Padres (3)210.667
Seattle Mariners (9)630.667
Tampa Bay Devil Rays (19)1540.789
Texas Rangers (9)540.556
Toronto Blue Jays (19)1270.632

2004 New York Yankees monthly record

Month (Games)WonLostWP
March (2)110.500
April (21)11100.524
May (26)1880.692
June (26)1970.731
July (28)16120.571
August (28)16120.571
September (28)1990.679
October (3)120.333

2004 New York Yankees All-Stars

2004 New York Yankees awards and honors

  • Gold Glove Award: Derek Jeter
  • Silver Slugger Award: Gary Sheffield
  • Relief Man Award: Mariano Rivera

Other Achievements

  • Gary Sheffield finished 2nd in AL MVP Voting.
  • Mariano Rivera finished 9th in AL MVP Voting.
  • Mariano Rivera finished 3rd in AL Cy Young Voting.
  • Joe Torre finished 4th in AL Manager of the Year Voting.

A-Rod’s Arrival: Shifting 2004 New York Yankees fortunes with a blockbuster trade

The blockbuster trade that brought Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees in 2004 was a seismic shift not just in the Yankees’ lineup but in the dynamic of the fierce Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. A-Rod, widely regarded as one of the best players in the game, was a significant acquisition that had far-reaching implications for both teams.

The trade, announced on Valentine’s Day and finalized on Presidents’ Day weekend, was a strategic move by the 2004 New York Yankees to address the void left by Aaron Boone’s injury, sustained in an offseason pickup basketball game. Rodriguez, originally a shortstop, agreed to transition to third base to accommodate Derek Jeter, the Yankees’ elite shortstop. The move not only solidified the Yankees’ infield but also added a powerful offensive force to their lineup.

Interestingly, the Red Sox had also pursued Rodriguez, offering their star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra in a trade. However, the deal with the Rangers fell apart, leading Rodriguez to the Yankees. The trade intensified the already heated rivalry between the two teams, with Rodriguez becoming a lightning rod for the animosity between the fan bases.

In Boston, the mood was somber, still reeling from the aftermath of Aaron Boone’s dramatic home run in the previous year’s ALCS. The sentiment in the city was that Rodriguez going to the Yankees marked the end of everything, with the Yankees evolving into an even more formidable “Evil Empire” in the eyes of Red Sox fans. The trade fueled the perception that the balance of power had tilted irreversibly in favor of the Yankees.

However, history took an unexpected turn. Since the Rodriguez trade, the Red Sox experienced a resurgence, winning four World Series championships in the 21st century, compared to the Yankees’ lone title in 2009. The narrative shifted, and the Rodriguez trade, initially seen as a blow to the Red Sox, became a catalyst for their success.

The irony was not lost on the baseball world. The best trades, it turned out, were often the ones that never happened. The Rodriguez saga, which could have drastically altered the course of both teams, highlighted the unpredictability of baseball and the influence of external factors, such as the MLB Players Association, which played a role in Rodriguez’s ultimate destination.

As the 2004 New York Yankees season unfolded, Rodriguez found himself embroiled in a famous Fenway Park fight with Jason Varitek, adding more fuel to the intense rivalry. Yet, despite the drama, the Red Sox would go on to achieve one of the greatest comebacks in postseason history, erasing a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees in the ALCS. The season’s narrative was a complex interplay of highs and lows, from the colossal collapse to the unforeseen success that followed, with the A-Rod trade serving as a pivotal chapter in the Yankees’ tumultuous journey.

How do you rate the 2004 New York Yankees?

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