Can anyone score on the Yankees? Why this might be their toughest team … ever
- Sports reporter, Kansas City Star, 2002-09
- Writer, Baseball, Baseball Prospectus
- Co-author, Pro Basketball Prospectus
- Member, Baseball Writers Association of America
- Member, Professional Basketball Writers Association
There are a lot of best-ever queries floating about regarding this year’s New York Yankees. You can understand why: A 52-18 start tends to draw some attention, particularly when it comes from one of baseball’s glamor franchises.
There’s a lot to be excited about: Aaron Judge is on pace to hit 60-plus homers. The Yankees boast a dynamic, five-man rotation that is a combined 27-7 with a 2.88 ERA through Wednesday, among other pitching exploits that have made headlines.
But outside those main headliners, we haven’t heard as much about New York’s run prevention as a whole — and that might be its most impressive stat of all. Through Wednesday, the Yankees were on pace to give up just 488 runs this season. That would be their lowest total in a full season since 1918. We are far enough into the season that it is worth asking: Have the Yankees ever fielded a better run prevention club?
We’re going to focus on the present, but to contextualize what you’re about to read, let’s flash way, way back in Yankees history — back before they were even the Yankees.
The year is 1904. It’s Oct. 10, the last day of the regular season, and the New York Highlanders are hosting the Boston Americans in a doubleheader at long-gone Hilltop Park, located in Washington Heights overlooking the Hudson River, where a hospital now sits.
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