2008 New York Yankees

Derek Jeter-led 2008 New York Yankees are raising their caps following the last game ever at Old Yankee Stadium on Sept., 21, 2008.
Esteban Quiñones
Friday February 9, 2024

Table of Contents

The final standingFails to progress to division series
Regular-season record89–73 (.549)
Post-season recordDid not play
Divisional rank3rd
ALDS record and opponentDid not play
AL rank5
ALCS record and opponentDid not play
World Series record and opponentDid not play
ManagerJoe Girardi
CaptainDerek Jeter
Top batterHome runs: Alex Rodriguez (35), Jason Giambi (32), Bobby Abreu (32)

BA: Johnny Damon (.303), Alex Rodriguez (.302), Cody Ranson (.302 in 33 games), Derek Jeter (.300)

Runs: Alex Rodriguez (104), Bobby Abreu (100), Johnny Damon (95)

RBI: Alex Rodriguez (103), Bobby Abreu (100), Jason Giambi (96)
Top pitcher/ (W-L, ERA)Mike Mussina: 20-9, 3.37
Andy Pettitte: 14-14, 4.54
Chien-Ming Wang: 8-2, 4.07
Attendance record4,298,655 (1st of 14)

The Season: A Brief Summary

The 2008 New York Yankees season, the 106th for the franchise, unfolded with a mix of unexpected highs and crushing lows. Hosting the All-Star Game at the iconic Yankee Stadium added a touch of nostalgia to a season that would mark the end of an era, as the team prepared to move to a new ballpark.

Under the new leadership of manager Joe Girardi, hopes were high, but the 2008 New York Yankees season quickly spiraled into a series of unforeseen challenges. Injuries plagued the team, with almost every key player facing setbacks. The most durable starter was sidelined almost all season, and star players like Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, and Derek Jeter struggled to maintain their usual standards of performance.

Despite these setbacks, the 2008 New York Yankees, true to their resilient spirit, managed to win 89 games. One of the unexpected bright spots was the remarkable performance of veteran pitcher Mike Mussina, who, at the age of 39, won 20 games for the first time in his career. Mussina’s resilience mirrored the team’s ability to overcome adversity.

Another surprising contributor was Jason Giambi, who defied expectations with 32 home runs and 96 RBIs, showcasing a resurgence that few had predicted. The 2008 New York Yankees bullpen also exceeded expectations, providing unexpected support for a team facing numerous challenges.

However, the season’s downfall lay in the inability to overcome the disappointments that plagued the 2008 New York Yankees team. Injuries to key pitchers, including Chien Ming-Wang and Joba Chamberlain, left the starting rotation in disarray. The struggles of young pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, who failed to meet pre-season expectations, added to the team’s woes.

Offensively, despite solid performances from players like Rodriguez, the 2008 New York Yankees faltered in critical situations. Rodriguez’s struggles with runners in scoring positions and late-game situations created additional pressure. Cano’s inconsistency and defensive lapses added to the team’s woes, contributing to their failure to make the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

As the season concluded, the 2008 New York Yankees faced a pivotal off-season, contemplating how to address the numerous holes in the team. Questions lingered about re-signing key players like Bobby Abreu and whether to pursue top-notch starting pitchers or invest in the development of young talents like Hughes and Kennedy.

The emotional rollercoaster of the 2008 New York Yankees season left fans with a sense of uncertainty about the team’s future. While the resilience of players like Mussina and Giambi provided glimmers of hope, the disappointments and challenges of the season underscored the need for strategic decisions to ensure the Yankees would not take another step back in the seasons to come.

2008 New York Yankees most memorable game – Last game at Old Yankee Stadium

The last game at the old Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008, was a night steeped in history, nostalgia, and emotional farewells. More than 54,000 fans gathered to bid farewell to the iconic ballpark that had witnessed decades of baseball greatness. The 2008 New York Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles. But this night transcended the competition; it was a tribute to the beloved stadium.

The pregame ceremony was a grand spectacle, combining elements of an All-Star Game, Old-Timers Day, and the magic of the Field of Dreams. The recorded voice of legendary public address announcer Bob Sheppard welcomed everyone to “The Final Game,” setting the tone for a night of reflection and celebration.

The Yankees unveiled the original 1922 American League pennant in the center-field bleachers, symbolizing the opening of the Stadium in 1923. A connection between past and present was established as actors in vintage uniforms recreated the 1923 Opening Day lineup on the field.

Longtime broadcasters Michael Kay and John Sterling guided the emotional journey, showcasing video clips of Yankees legends and memorable moments throughout the stadium’s 85-year history. From Lou Gehrig‘s “Luckiest Man” speech to Reggie Jackson‘s three home runs in the 1977 World Series, the montage stirred memories and emotions.

The introduction of former players added a tangible connection to the stadium’s rich legacy. Legends like Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Bernie Williams, and / took their positions on the field, creating an awe-inspiring tableau of Yankees history. The families of Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson received heartfelt applause, underscoring the deep bonds between the players and the fans.

A poignant moment came when Julia Ruth Stevens, Babe Ruth‘s daughter, threw out the first pitch, symbolizing the closing of the stadium with a nod to its opening. The 2008 New York Yankees lineup was uniquely introduced by Bob Sheppard’s voice, with each player joining the former greats on the field.

The game itself, against the Orioles, held playoff implications, but the atmosphere felt like a championship showdown. The 2008 New York Yankees won 7-3, with Johnny Damon and José Molina hitting home runs. Molina’s home run became the last one ever hit in Yankee Stadium.

As the game concluded, the entire 2008 New York Yankees team gathered at the pitcher’s mound, and Derek Jeter addressed the crowd. He spoke of the stadium’s 85 years of tradition and memories, urging fans to carry those experiences into the new Yankee Stadium. The team, caps in hand, took a lap around the field to the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” creating a poignant and unforgettable farewell to the House that Ruth Built. The fans, the players, and the ghosts of Yankee Stadium united in a collective goodbye, marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter in Yankees history.

2008 New York Yankees season in videos

Postseason Result

(Didn’t make it to playoffs)

2008 New York Yankees roster

Bobby Abreu34LR6′ 0″220Mar 11, 1974131561522.7$16,000,000
Alfredo Aceves25RR6′ 2″205Dec 8, 19821st641.3
Jonathan Albaladejo25RR6′ 5″270Oct 30, 19822700.2$393,225
Wilson Betemit26BR6′ 2″220Nov 2, 198168737-0.4$1,165,000
Chris Britton25RR6′ 3″275Dec 16, 198231500.1
Brian Bruney26RR6′ 3″235Feb 17, 198253211.6$725,000
Melky Cabrera23BL5′ 10″210Aug 11, 198441291120.4$461,200
Robinson Cano25LR6′ 0″228Oct 22, 198241591540.2$3,000,000
Francisco Cervelli22RR6′ 0″220Mar 6, 19861st31-0.1
Joba Chamberlain22RR6′ 3″245Sep 23, 1985242123.5$390,000
Justin Christian28RR6′ 1″195Apr 3, 19801st2410-0.2
Phil Coke25LL6′ 1″210Jul 19, 19821st1200.8
Johnny Damon34LL6′ 2″205Nov 5, 1973141431334.2$13,000,000
Shelley Duncan28RR6′ 5″215Sep 29, 197922315-0.3$398,300
Morgan Ensberg32RR6′ 2″210Aug 26, 197582817-0.9$1,750,000
Kyle Farnsworth32RR6′ 4″230Apr 14, 1976104500.9$5,916,666
Brett Gardner24LL5′ 11″195Aug 24, 19831st42321.3
Jason Giambi37LR6′ 3″240Jan 8, 1971141451381.9$23,428,571
Dan Giese31RR6′ 3″200May 19, 197722030.5
Alberto Gonzalez25RR5′ 10″195Apr 18, 198322815-0.3
LaTroy Hawkins35RR6′ 5″220Dec 21, 1972143300$3,750,000
Phil Hughes22RR6′ 5″240Jun 24, 1986288-0.3$406,350
Kei Igawa28LL6′ 1″210Jul 13, 1979221-0.2$4,000,000
Derek Jeter HOF34RR6′ 3″195Jun 26, 1974141501493$21,600,000
Ian Kennedy23RR6′ 0″210Dec 19, 19842109-0.9$394,275
Damaso Marte33LL6′ 2″215Feb 14, 197592500
Hideki Matsui34LR6′ 2″210Jun 12, 1974693881.1$13,000,000
Juan Miranda25LL6′ 0″220Apr 25, 19831st530.2$390,000
Chad Moeller33RR6′ 3″207Feb 18, 1975941250
José Molina33RR6′ 0″250Jun 3, 19759100810.8$1,875,000
Mike Mussina HOF39LR6′ 2″185Dec 8, 19681834345.1$11,071,029
Xavier Nady29RR6′ 2″215Nov 14, 1978759581.1
Ross Ohlendorf25RR6′ 4″240Aug 8, 19822250-0.7$391,425
Scott Patterson29RR6′ 7″225Jun 20, 19791st100
Carl Pavano32RR6′ 5″265Jan 8, 197610770$11,000,000
Andy Pettitte36LL6′ 5″235Jun 15, 19721433332.1$16,000,000
Sidney Ponson31RR6′ 1″220Nov 2, 19761116150.2
Jorge Posada37BR6′ 2″215Aug 17, 19701451460.2$13,100,000
Edwar Ramirez27RR6′ 3″165Mar 28, 198125500.8
Cody Ransom32RR6′ 2″200Feb 17, 1976633120.4
Darrell Rasner27RR6′ 3″210Jan 13, 1981424200.1
Mariano Rivera HOF38RR6′ 2″195Nov 29, 1969146404.3$15,000,000
David Robertson23RR5′ 11″195Apr 9, 19851st2500.1
Alex Rodriguez32RR6′ 3″230Jul 27, 1975151381386.8$28,000,000
Ivan Rodriguez HOF36RR5′ 9″205Nov 27, 1971183326-0.8
Humberto Sanchez25RR6′ 6″270May 28, 19831st200$390,000
Richie Sexson33RR6′ 7″205Dec 29, 197412226-0.2
Chris Stewart26RR6′ 4″215Feb 19, 1982311-0.2
Billy Traber28LL6′ 5″200Sep 18, 19794190-0.2$500,000
Jose Veras27RR6′ 6″240Oct 20, 198036001.1
Chien-Ming Wang28RR6′ 4″225Mar 31, 1980415151.9$4,000,000

2008 New York Yankees additions, transactions, and trades

Offseason changes to the Roster

  • The departure of Manager Joe Torre to the Los Angeles Dodgers marked a significant change.
  • The New York Yankees welcomed Joe Girardi as their new manager.
  • Don Mattingly, having missed out on the managerial position, chose to leave the team and join Torre with the Dodgers.
  • On November 29, catcher Jorge Posada inked a four-year contract extension valued at $52,400,000.
  • Backup catcher José Molina agreed to a 2-year, $4 million contract on December 3.
  • Tyler Clippard was traded to the Washington Nationals for reliever Jonathan Albaladejo on December 4.
  • A one-year deal worth $3.75 million brought relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to the team on December 9.
  • Pitcher Andy Pettitte re-signed with the Yankees for a 1-year, $16 million contract on December 12.
  • On December 13, Alex Rodriguez committed to a staggering 10-year, $275 million contract (potentially exceeding $300 million with performance milestones).
  • Closer Mariano Rivera secured a three-year contract valued at $45 million on December 17.
  • Luis Vizcaíno declined salary arbitration on December 21 and opted for a multi-year deal with the Colorado Rockies.
  • Andy Phillips moved on to the Cincinnati Reds, while Doug Mientkiewicz joined the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • The 2008 season marked the conclusion of Roger Clemens’ illustrious MLB career, as he did not return to the Yankees.
  • On March 10, 2008, just before his 60th birthday, actor/comedian Billy Crystal signed a one-day contract with the team.

Mid-season roster additions

  • Following a 1-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Joba Chamberlain’s inaugural start at Fenway Park, the Yankees acquired Xavier Nady and Dámaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for four minor league prospects.
  • Kyle Farnsworth was traded to the Detroit Tigers in return for catcher Iván Rodríguez.

2008 New York Yankees player debuts

  • Alfredo Aceves – 08-31-2008 – 25 years old
  • Francisco Cervelli – 09-18-2008 – 22 years old
  • Justin Christian – 06-24-2008 – 28 years old
  • Phil Coke – 09-01-2008 – 26 years old
  • Brett Gardner – 06-30-2008 – 24 years old
  • Juan Miranda – 09-18-2008 – 25 years old
  • Scott Patterson – 06-01-2008 – 28 years old
  • David Robertson – 06-29-2008 – 23 years old
  • Humberto Sanchez – 09-18-2008 – 25 years old

The team stats (batting)

CJosé Molina3310029726832581703180012520.216
1BJason Giambi3714556545868113191329621761110.247
2BRobinson Canó251596345977016235314722426650.271
SSDerek Jeter3415066859688179253116911552850.3
3BAlex Rodriguez3213859451010415433035103183651170.302
LFJohnny Damon3414362355595168275177129864820.303
CFMelky Cabrera23129453414421031218379229580.249
RFBobby Abreu34156684609100180394201002211731090.296
DHHideki Matsui349337833743991709450038470.294
LFXavier Nady2959247228266111012401114480.268
1BWilson Betemit26871981892450130625016560.265
CJorge Posada375119516818451313220024380.268
OFBrett Gardner24421411271829520161318300.228
CChad Moeller33411039113216019007180.231
CIvan Rodriguez36331019611214023404150.219
3BMorgan Ensberg322880746150014016220.203
UTShelley Duncan282365577103016007130.175
IFAlberto Gonzalez2528585249200100480.173
IFCody Ransom323351439133048006120.302
OFJustin Christian28244340610300671340.25
1BRichie Sexson33223528271016006100.25
1BJuan Miranda255141024100100240.4
CFrancisco Cervelli2235500000000030
CChris Stewart2613300000000010
Team Totals31.6162625755727891512289201807581183953510150.271
Rank in 14 AL teams77510124411874

2008 New York Yankees team stats (pitching)

SPAndy Pettitte3614140.54.5433330000204233112103
SPMike Mussina392090.693.3734340000200.12148575
SPDarrell Rasner275100.3335.424201000113.11357468
SPChien-Ming Wang28820.84.071515010095904443
SPSidney Ponson31440.55.851615100080995352
CLMariano Rivera38650.5451.464060003970.2411111
RPJoba Chamberlain22430.5712.642125000100.1873229
RPJose Veras27530.6253.596001500057.2522323
RPEdwar Ramirez27510.8333.95501600155.1442524
RPKyle Farnsworth32120.3333.65450600144.1431818
Dan Giese31130.253.53203600043.1392217
LaTroy Hawkins35110.55.713301100041422626
Ross Ohlendorf25110.56.53250300040503129
Ian Kennedy230408.17109100039.2503736
Carl Pavano32420.6675.7777000034.1412322
Brian Bruney263011.83321500134.11877
Phil Hughes220406.6288000034432625
David Robertson234015.34250800030.1291818
Alfredo Aceves251012.4641000302588
Chris Britton25005.091501400023281313
Damaso Marte33130.255.4250200018.1141111
Billy Traber28007.02190300016.2231313
Phil Coke251010.61120000014.2811
Jonathan Albaladejo250103.9570200013.21566
Kei Igawa2801013.521100041366
Humberto Sanchez25004.52000002111
Scott Patterson29006.751000001.1111
Team Totals30.689730.5494.2816216216110421441.21478727685
Rank in 14 AL teams4118135610868

2008 New York Yankees vs. opponents/ team splits

Opponent (Games)WonLostWP
Baltimore Orioles (18)1170.611
Boston Red Sox (18)990.500
Chicago White Sox (7)520.714
Cincinnati Reds (3)120.333
Cleveland Indians (7)340.429
Detroit Tigers (6)240.333
Houston Astros (3)301.000
Kansas City Royals (10)550.500
Los Angeles Angels (10)370.300
Minnesota Twins (10)640.600
New York Mets (6)240.333
Oakland Athletics (6)510.833
Pittsburgh Pirates (3)120.333
San Diego Padres (3)301.000
Seattle Mariners (9)720.778
Tampa Bay Rays (18)1170.611
Texas Rangers (7)340.429
Toronto Blue Jays (18)990.500

2008 New York Yankees monthly record

Month (Games)WonLostWP
April (29)14150.483
May (26)14120.538
June (28)16120.571
July (25)15100.600
August (28)13150.464
September (26)1790.654

2008 New York Yankees All-Stars

  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Derek Jeter
  • Mariano Rivera

2008 New York Yankees awards and honors

  • Mike Mussina – AL Gold Glove
  • Alex Rodriguez – AL Silver Slugger
  • Derek Jeter – AL Silver Slugger

Other Achievements

  • Alex Rodriguez finished 8th in AL MVP Voting.
  • Mariano Rivera finished 5th in AL Cy Young Voting.
  • Mike Mussina finished 6th in AL Cy Young Voting.

Injury-plagued 2008 New York Yankees

The 2008 New York Yankees grappled with a series of hurdles stemming from injuries to pivotal players. The initial month saw rookies Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy facing challenges, with Hughes sidelined by a rib injury, prompting Kennedy’s reassignment to the minor league AAA affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In response, Darrell Rasner was brought in.

Noteworthy setbacks included shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez encountering minor quadriceps injuries at different junctures. Catcher Jorge Posada, for the first time in his career, found himself on the disabled list due to a slight tear in his rotator cuff. Adding to the mix, backup infielder Wilson Betemit missed several games due to conjunctivitis.

June brought another blow as Chien-Ming Wang suffered a leg injury while rounding the bases in a 13-0 win, leading to his season-long absence. In the crucial 10-game road trip in August, pitcher Joba Chamberlain succumbed to injury in the opener, compounding the 2008 New York Yankees’ already challenging situation with injuries.

How do you rate the 2008 New York Yankees? 

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