Yankees vs. Mets rivalry: A peek into the ultimate city showdown in baseball

Yankees and Mets benches were cleared after the Yankees vs. Mets game saw intense scuffle, September 12th, 2021, Citi Field.
USA Today
Daniel Nolan
Tuesday June 13, 2023

Table of Contents

The Yankees and Mets share a long-standing rivalry, which is deeply rooted in their status as teams from the best-known US city and hub of baseball. Both teams fervently compete to outsmart one another and inherit the title of New York City’s top baseball symbol.

The first official meeting between the Yankees and Mets in an MLB game didn’t happen until 1997. However, once it began, their rivalry has intensified as they vied for supremacy in the vast New York market. Since then, there has been fierce competition to dominate New York, where baseball has reached its pinnacle.

The Yankees and Mets are hometown teams in New York, and each has found a place in the hearts of New Yorkers. In terms of fan support, Yankees fans significantly outnumber Mets fans by almost two-to-one even though the Mets are still recognized as one of the two prominent baseball teams in New York City.

Looking ahead to the 2023 Subway Series, the competition between the New York Mets and New York Yankees is expected to intensify. Both teams have made substantial improvements to their lineups and have assembled some of the strongest rosters in the league. The Mets, in particular, have had a remarkable offseason, setting a record by investing over $800 million in player contracts.

On the other hand, the Yankees managed to secure new contracts for Aaron Judge, the 2022 American League MVP, and Anthony Rizzo. They also added Carlos Rodon, a left-handed pitcher who has been named an All-Star in the previous sessions. These moves have strengthened the Yankees’ roster for the upcoming season.

The stats favor the Yankees over the Mets

  • Meetings total: 138
  • Most wins: Yankees, 82–61 (.573)
  • Regular season series:  Yankees, 78–60 (.565)
  • Post-season: Yankees 4-1
  • Largest victory:  Mets: 12–2 (June 9, 2000), Yankees: 15–0 (June 14, 2009)

 

Series

Won by

Score

1997

Yankees

2–1

1998

Yankees

2–1

1999

Tie

3–3

2000

Yankees

4–2

2000 World Series

Yankees

4–1

2001

Yankees

4–2

2002

Tie

3–3

2003

Yankees

6–0

2004

Mets

4–2

2005

Tie

3–3

2006

Tie

3–3

2007

Tie

3–3

2008

Mets

4–2

2009

Yankees

5–1

2010

Tie

3–3

2011

Yankees

4–2

2012

Yankees

5–1

2013

Mets

4–0

2014

Tie

2–2

2015

Yankees

4–2

2016

Tie

2–2

2017

Yankees

4–0

2018

Tie

3–3

2019

Tie

2–2

2020

Tie

3–3

2021

Mets

4–2

2022

Tie

2–2

Regular
Season

Yankees

78–60

Postseason
games

Yankees

4–1

Postseason
series

Yankees

1–0

Regular
and postseason

Yankees

Postseason
series

 

Yankees-Mets rivalry: It all began in 1997

From 1903 until the end of the 1957 season, New York City was a thriving hub for baseball. While the New York Yankees represent the American League, the city also hosted the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants from the National League. In that period, there were an astonishing 13 World Series matchups between all-New York teams, with the Yankees emerging victorious in 10 of those contests against their National League rivals.

The Yankees vs. Giants rivalry became part of the baseball folklore due to its intensity and significance. However, everything took a dramatic turn in 1958 when both the Dodgers and Giants made the decision to relocate to California. After a four-year period with the Yankees as the sole team in New York, the Mets were introduced as an expansion team before the start of the 1962 season.

Since the Mets joined the National League, it was a strategic move for the organization to target the fans who were left without a team following the departure of the Dodgers and Giants.

The Mets’ logo serves as a reminder of the connection to the departed Giants and Dodgers. It features the “NY” insignia, which was originally used by the New York Giants, in an orange color reminiscent of their uniform. The logo is set against a background of Dodger blue, paying tribute to the former Dodgers’ presence in New York.

Since the Mets entered the scene, the Yankees have maintained their stronghold in terms of media coverage and overall performance. However, it’s difficult to envision a period when New York had only one baseball team, and it’s not surprising that this situation lasted for only a brief four-year period.

The Yankees and Mets didn’t have an official regular season matchup until 1997, as their initial encounters were limited to exhibition games. However, the competition for fan support from the very beginning established them as fierce rivals.

The Yankees and Mets didn’t have an official regular season matchup until 1997, as their initial encounters were limited to exhibition games. Yet, the competition for fan support from the very beginning established them as fierce rivals.

The first official game in the Yankees-Mets rivalry

The Mets and Yankees had a long history of facing each other in exhibition games called the “Mayor’s Trophy” from 1963 to 1983. However, it wasn’t until the 1997 season and the introduction of interleague play that they had their first official meeting in a game that counted towards their regular season records. This significant event took place on June 16, 1997, marking a new chapter in their rivalry.

The inaugural encounter between the Mets and Yankees happened at Yankee Stadium, featuring a face-off between the Mets’ Dave Mlicki and the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte. The Mets emerged victorious with a convincing 6-0 win, thanks to Mlicki’s outstanding performance. He pitched a complete game, allowing only nine hits while keeping the Yankees from scoring any runs. This remarkable shutout was one of the two such games Mlicki accomplished throughout his ten-year career.

The Mets’ offensive charge was spearheaded by John Olerud, who contributed two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. With two hits apiece and an RBI each.

The 2000 World Series

The climax of the crosstown rivalry between the Yankees and Mets came during the 2000 season when the two teams faced off in the World Series. In a regular season matchup on July 8, 2000, the Yankees emerged victorious in both ends of a unique day-night doubleheader, with identical 4-2 scores. However, it was during the second game of that doubleheader that an incident occurred, intensifying the rivalry between the two teams. Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens hit Mets’ star Mike Piazza in the helmet with an inside fastball, resulting in Piazza suffering a concussion and being placed on the IJ.

Following a heated regular season feud, the Mets and Yankees both advanced to the playoffs in 2000 and clinched their respective pennants, setting the stage for their first-ever championship showdown in the World Series. The series proved to be a tightly contested battle, as no game had a margin of victory greater than two runs. Led by standout players Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, and Roger Clemens, the Yankees, ultimately emerged victorious, securing a 4-1 series win and claiming the championship title.

During Game 2 of the World Series, tensions escalated as Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens faced Mets catcher Mike Piazza for the first time since their contentious encounter earlier in the season. In a crucial moment, Piazza shattered his bat while fouling off one of Clemens’ pitches, resulting in the splintered bat head flying towards the pitcher’s mound. Reacting swiftly, Clemens discarded the bat head towards the baseline, narrowly missing Piazza who was sprinting down the foul line. This incident prompted both teams to rush onto the field, leading to a heated confrontation. Despite the intense atmosphere, the Yankees managed to secure a 6-5 victory in the game.

2002 Yankees vs. Mets bench-clearing fight

Roger Clemens faced the Mets once again on June 15, 2002, marking his first encounter with them since the memorable bat-throwing incident during the 2000 World Series (we’ll delve into that shortly). This time, not only was Clemens prepared to pitch, but he would also find himself stepping up to the batter’s box as the game took place at Shea Stadium.

With tensions lingering from the previous bat-throwing incident, it was expected that there might be some retaliation. As anticipated, Mets pitcher Shawn Estes unleashed a fastball behind Clemens with the very first pitch of his at-bat. In response, both benches were promptly warned by the umpires, ensuring that no further altercations would take place during that particular plate appearance.

Fortunately, Estes managed to maintain his composure and stay in the game, and he even had a moment of triumph in the fifth inning. At that point, he hit a powerful two-run home run over the left field wall, propelling the Mets to a 3-0 advantage and ultimately securing an impressive 8-0 win.

First Subway Series sweep in 2003 by Yankees

The Yankees achieved a remarkable feat by sweeping their season series against the Mets in 2003. They emerged victorious in all six games, including a unique day-night doubleheader held in two different ballparks. However, the tables turned in 2004 when the Mets secured their first-ever season series win. They prevailed with a record of 4-2, notably sweeping all three games played at Shea Stadium.

Gambi’s heroics helped Mets came back and win

On June 26, 2005, an intense matchup unfolded at Yankee Stadium as the Mets aimed for their first-ever series victory in that iconic venue. With just three outs remaining for a potential sweep, the game took a dramatic turn. Jason Giambi stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and delivered a clutch single off Braden Looper. The hit brought home the tying and winning runs for the Yankees, forcing a split in the season series with the Mets.

The hard-fought tussle of 2006

During the initial Subway Series of 2006 at Shea Stadium on May 19, an intense back-and-forth battle unfolded between the Yankees and Mets. The Yankees managed to grab the lead three times in the first four innings, but the resilient Mets rallied each time against pitcher Randy Johnson. As the game reached the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied at 6-6. With two outs and runners positioned on first and second base, David Wright stepped up to the plate for the Mets. In a clutch moment, he delivered a crucial single off Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera, driving in the winning run and sealing the victory for the Mets.

On May 20, 2006, the Mets and Yankees faced off in a highly competitive game. Pedro Martínez and Duaner Sánchez of the Mets delivered an impressive performance, holding the Yankees scoreless for eight innings. Meanwhile, the Mets managed to score four runs against Mike Mussina. However, in the top of the ninth inning, the Mets’ closer Billy Wagner, who had previously pitched a perfect ninth the night before, allowed four runs, resulting in a tie game and forcing extra innings. It was in the top of the 11th inning that the Yankees’ Andy Phillips hit a single, bringing in the go-ahead run. Mariano Rivera then stepped up to pitch two shutout innings, securing the win for the Yankees.

In 2007, the Mets achieved a notable feat by winning the season series against the Yankees for only the second time. They emerged victorious with a 4-2 record, which included a memorable sweep of the Yankees in the Bronx.

New venue, more intense rivalry in 2009

On June 12, 2009, the Yankees and Mets faced off for the first time at the newly built Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees securing a thrilling 9-8 victory. 

Another significant moment occurred on June 26, 2009, when the Yankees and Mets played their first game at Citi Field. It was an impressive display of power as Alex Rodriguez hit his 564th home run, contributing to the Yankees’ dominant 9-1 win over the Mets. 

On June 28, 2009, a significant milestone was achieved by Mariano Rivera as he secured his 500th career save. During the game, the New York Yankees were holding on to a narrow 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rivera was called upon to pitch with two outs and runners positioned on first and second base. His task was to get the final four outs and successfully complete the game, thus adding another remarkable save to his impressive career tally.

After David Wright swiftly stole third base, placing the potential tying run just 90 feet away from scoring, Mariano Rivera faced the challenge of striking out Omir Santos to prevent the run from crossing the plate. Rivera successfully accomplished this task, securing a crucial out for the Yankees. As the game progressed to the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees managed to load the bases with two outs. This situation led to an interesting turn of events as it was now Rivera’s turn to bat, occupying his position in the batting order.

In a strategic move, manager Joe Girardi made the decision to allow Mariano Rivera to take his turn at bat, ensuring that he could continue in the game to pursue the save. Surprisingly, Rivera exhibited great patience and managed to draw a bases-loaded walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, earning his first career run batted in (RBI). As the game progressed to the bottom of the ninth inning, Rivera encountered minimal trouble, allowing only a two-out single to Daniel Murphy. However, he quickly regained control, inducing a groundout from Alex Cora to second base, securing both the final out of the game and his milestone 500th save. Rivera would go on to retire as the all-time saves leader, accumulating an impressive total of 652 saves, with only Trevor Hoffman joining him in surpassing the 500-save mark.

A new phase of rivalry

On May 22, 2010, the New York Mets emerged victorious in their first Subway Series game at Citi Field, securing a 5-3 win over the New York Yankees. However, the Yankees quickly turned the tables on June 20, 2010, by achieving their 9,500th franchise victory. In a dominant performance, the Yankees secured a 4-0 win over the Mets. The highlight of the game came in the third inning when Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam off Johan Santana, contributing all four runs for the Yankees.

On July 3, 2011, in a crucial game between the Mets and the Yankees, the Mets found themselves in a challenging situation. They were down to their final strike and at risk of being swept by the Yankees at Citi Field for the second time in three years. However, they showed great resilience. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Ronny Paulino stepped up and delivered an RBI single, tying the game against the formidable pitcher Mariano Rivera. The excitement didn’t end there. In the 10th inning, Jason Bay came through with an RBI single, securing a remarkable victory for the Mets.

On June 8, 2012, Johan Santana, who had recently pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history, faced a tough challenge in the first Subway Series game against the Yankees. Unfortunately, Santana struggled and gave up a career-worst four home runs, leading to a 9-1 loss for the Mets. The Mets’ offense was held hitless by Hiroki Kuroda until the sixth inning.

Just two days later, in another intense matchup, the Yankees and Mets faced off again. The game took an exciting turn when Rafael Soriano, the Yankees’ closer, blew his first save of the year by allowing an RBI double to Ike Davis in the top of the ninth inning. However, the Yankees quickly responded in the bottom of the ninth, as Russell Martin hit a game-winning home run off of Jon Rauch, securing a 5-4 victory and the first-ever sweep of the Mets at the new Yankee Stadium.

Adding fuel to the rivalry, on June 22, just a day before the next game between the two teams at Citi Field, Mets closer Frank Francisco taunted the Yankees by calling them “chicken.” The Mets players showed their support by performing the Chicken Dance and displaying a picture of Derek Jeter’s head on the body of a chicken in the Mets clubhouse. Despite the Mets winning the opening game of the series, the Yankees ultimately emerged victorious, winning the next two games.

On April 1, 2013, something historic happened on Opening Day as both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees played their first games of the season in New York. It was the first time ever that both teams started their respective seasons on the same day in the city. 

Most recent results

Date Location Winner Score
08/23/2022 Yankee Stadium Yankees 4-2
08/22/2022 Yankee Stadium Yankees 4-2
07/27/2022 Citi Field Mets 3-2
07/26/2022 Citi Field Mets 6-3
09/12/2021 Citi Field Mets 7-6
09/11/2021 Citi Field Yankees 8-7
09/10/2021 Citi Field Mets 10-3
07/04/2021 Yankee Stadium Yankees 4-2
07/04/2021 Yankee Stadium Mets 10-5
07/03/2021 Yankee Stadium Mets 8-3
09/03/2020 Citi Field Mets 9-7
08/30/2020 Citi Field Yankees 5-2
08/30/2020 Yankee Stadium Yankees 8-7
08/29/2020 Yankee Stadium Yankees 2-1
08/28/2020 Yankee Stadium Mets 4-3
08/28/2020 Yankee Stadium Mets 6-4

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