When was the last time the Yankees missed the playoffs?

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone looks pensive as the Yankees lost to the Rays in Tampa on Aug 27, 2023.
Sara Molnick
Monday August 28, 2023

Table of Contents

The New York Yankees’ most recent absence from the playoffs was in 2016. Since 1995, the Yankees have missed the playoffs only on four occasions.

While they’ve only secured one World Series championship since their four-title victory streak between 1996 and 2000, the Yankees haven’t exactly been unproductive in the other years. Since 1992, when a newcomer manager named Buck Showalter led them to a 76-86 record, the Yankees have consistently avoided finishing with a losing record.

After that time, starting with Showalter and going through Joe Torre, Girardi, and currently the struggling Aaron Boone, the Yankees haven’t experienced a losing season. In 1994, the Yankees were performing well with a 70-43 record when the World Series was canceled due to a work stoppage. Over the next 28 seasons, they managed to make it to the playoffs in 24 of them.

When had the Yankees their last losing season (before 2023)?

The Yankees’ most recent losing season occurred in 1992 when they finished with a record of 76-86, marking their fourth consecutive season with a sub-.500 performance.

Following their 1981 World Series loss of 4-2 to the Dodgers, the Yankees entered a challenging period. A downward trajectory began, resulting in a losing season in 1982, and a subsequent 12-year playoff drought.

The toughest phase of this period spanned from 1989 to 1992. During this time, the team saw four different managers and numerous veteran players cycling through the roster. It wasn’t until Bernie Williams made his debut in 1991 that a significant core player emerged. As of 1992, the Yankees weren’t anticipated to reverse their fortunes. Their preseason win projection of 76.5 was the fifth lowest in the league.

The Yankees orchestrated a trade with the White Sox to acquire Melido Perez, who would go on to establish himself as the cornerstone of the team’s pitching efforts throughout the season. Perez’s exceptional performance yielded a 2.87 ERA, complemented by an impressive 218 strikeouts achieved over 247.2 innings of dedicated work. In parallel to the preceding year, however, the remaining members of the rotation faced challenges. Scott Kamieniecki stood as the lone regular rotation contributor, boasting an ERA below 4.50.

The bullpen’s struggles mirrored those of the rotation. Although closer Steve Farr excelled with a remarkable 1.56 ERA, and setup pitchers Rich Monteleone and Tim Burke showcased ERAs at or below 3.50, the collective ERA of the Yankees ranked third-worst in the American League at 4.21. Moreover, their issue with walks was also evident, ranking as the second-worst team with an average of 3.8 walks per nine innings.

Despite these hurdles, the offense demonstrated competence on the whole. The Yankees shared fourth place in the American League for OPS (.733) and tied for third in OPS+ (106). The dynamic duo of Don Mattingly and Danny Tartabull delivered robust performances as the team’s foremost hitters, while nearly every regular in the lineup contributed double-digit home runs. Notably, Bernie Williams encountered a season of flux in 1992, fluctuating between the major and minor leagues, capitalizing on playing opportunities primarily when Tartabull grappled with injuries.

Although the Yankees ignited the season with a promising 13-8 record in April, their trajectory swiftly plummeted thereafter. May saw a record of 13-14, while June and July were characterized by somber records of 11-17 and 11-15, respectively. Despite maintaining a slim lead in September, the team’s fate was sealed as their season spiraled to a close.

The narrative of 1992 wasn’t an entire exercise in futility. In the summer, the Yankees wielded the sixth overall pick in the MLB Draft, which they employed to select Derek Jeter, who evolved into one of the most remarkable players in the franchise’s storied history. Will 2023 give into such a big signing?

YearRecordResult
201684-78Missed Playoffs
201587-75Lost AL Wild Card (Won 0 Rounds)
201484-78Missed Playoffs
201385-77Missed Playoffs
201295-67Lost AL Championship Series (Won 1 Round)
201197-65Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
201095-67Lost AL Championship Series (Won 1 Round)
2009103-59Won World Series 
200889-73Missed Playoffs
200794-68Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
200697-65Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
200595-67Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
2004101-61Lost AL Championship Series (Won 1 Round)
2003101-61Lost World Series (Won 2 Rounds)
2002103-58Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
200195-65Lost World Series (Won 2 Rounds)
200087-74Won World Series 
199998-64Won World Series 
1998114-48Won World Series 
199796-66Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
199692-70Won World Series 
199579-65Lost AL Divisional Series (Won 0 Rounds)
199470-43No Postseason
199388-74Missed Playoffs
199276-86Missed Playoffs
199171-91Missed Playoffs
199067-95Missed Playoffs
198974-87Missed Playoffs
198885-76Missed Playoffs
198789-73Missed Playoffs
198690-72Missed Playoffs
198597-64Missed Playoffs
198487-75Missed Playoffs
198391-71Missed Playoffs
198279-83Missed Playoffs
198159-48Lost World Series (Won 2 Rounds)
1980103-59Lost AL Championship Series (Won 0 Rounds)
197989-71Missed Playoffs
1978100-63Won World Series 
1977100-62Won World Series 
197697-62Lost World Series (Won 1 Round)
197583-77Missed Playoffs
197489-73Missed Playoffs
197380-82Missed Playoffs
197279-76Missed Playoffs
197182-80Missed Playoffs
197093-69Missed Playoffs
196980-81Missed Playoffs
196883-79Missed Playoffs
196772-90Missed Playoffs
196670-89Missed Playoffs
196577-85Missed Playoffs
196499-63Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
1963104-57Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
196296-66Won World Series 
1961109-53Won World Series 
196097-57Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
195979-75Missed Playoffs
195892-62Won World Series 
195798-56Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
195697-57Won World Series 
195596-58Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
1954103-51Missed Playoffs
195399-52Won World Series 
195295-59Won World Series 
195198-56Won World Series 
195098-56Won World Series 
194997-57Won World Series 
194894-60Missed Playoffs
194797-57Won World Series 
194687-67Missed Playoffs
194581-71Missed Playoffs
194483-71Missed Playoffs
194398-56Won World Series 
1942103-51Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
1941101-53Won World Series 
194088-66Missed Playoffs
1939106-45Won World Series 
193899-53Won World Series 
1937102-52Won World Series 
1936102-51Won World Series 
193589-60Missed Playoffs
193494-60Missed Playoffs
193391-59Missed Playoffs
1932107-47Won World Series 
193194-59Missed Playoffs
193086-68Missed Playoffs
192988-66Missed Playoffs
1928101-53Won World Series 
1927110-44Won World Series 
192691-63Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
192569-85Missed Playoffs
192489-63Missed Playoffs
192398-54Won World Series 
192294-60Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
192198-55Lost World Series (Won 0 Rounds)
192095-59Missed Playoffs
191980-59Missed Playoffs
191860-63Missed Playoffs
191771-82Missed Playoffs
191680-74Missed Playoffs
191569-83Missed Playoffs
191470-84Missed Playoffs
191357-94Missed Playoffs
191250-102Missed Playoffs
191176-76Missed Playoffs
191088-63Missed Playoffs
190974-77Missed Playoffs
190851-103Missed Playoffs
190770-78Missed Playoffs
190690-61Missed Playoffs
190571-78Missed Playoffs
190492-59No Postseason
190372-62Missed Playoffs

History of Yankees’ losing seasons

Reflecting on the Yankees’ historical performance, instances of defeat have been relatively scarce. Since their inception as the New York Highlanders in 1903, the Yankees have encountered merely 21 losing seasons. Their winning percentage dipped below the .414 mark of the 1990 season only thrice. By way of comparison, the 2023 Oakland Athletics maintain a winning percentage of .275, marking the second consecutive year where it has stood at .370 or lower.

Yankees season Win-Loss  %
199276-86.469
199171-91.438
199067-95.414
198974-87.460
198279-83.488
197380-82.494
196980-81-1.497
196772-90-1.444
196670-89-1.440
196577-85.475
192569-85-2.448
191860-63-3.488
191771-82-2.464
191569-83-2.454
191470-84-3.455
191357-94-2.377
191250-102-1.329
190974-77-2.490
190851-103-1.331
190770-78-4.473
190571-78-3.477

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