NEW YORK (AP) — Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada returned to the Bronx on Saturday for the New York Yankees‘ celebration of their 1998 World Series championship team.
Darryl Strawberry and former manager Joe Torre also attended the ceremony before New York’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Derek Jeter did not make the trip because of his daughter Bella’s first birthday, but sent a video message for the fans.
Jeter, a one-time fixture at Yankee Stadium ceremonies, hasn’t made a public appearance at his longtime home since becoming the chief executive officer of the Miami Marlins.
The 1998 Yankees finished with a then-AL record 114 wins and added 11 more in the postseason to set a major league record with 125 victories. New York swept San Diego to win the World Series.
The 1906 Chicago Cubs hold the National League record with 116 wins, but they lost to the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. The Seattle Mariners broke New York’s record just three seasons later, matching the Cubs’ total, but they were eliminated by the Yankees in the AL Championship Series in five games.
Of the top 11 teams on baseball’s single-season wins list, Seattle is the only one to fall short of the World Series.
The impressive 1998 season for the Yankees “wasn’t the big thing for me,” Rivera said. “The next 11 wins was the thing to wrap up everything. Seattle won 116, but they didn’t win the championship. The season is there but is erased.”
So that is the challenge for Boston as it threatens the wins record this year. Members of the 1998 Yankees say it doesn’t mean very much without a title.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t win, you don’t remember.” Posada said.
The major league-leading Red Sox began the day with an 87-36 record. They need 30 wins over their last 39 games to break the record.
“They’re a great team. They’ve been playing really well,” said Torre, who managed the Yankees for 12 seasons, winning four championships. “But I tell you what, when you get to postseason, there is a whole lot of pressure on you. As proven by Seattle in ’01, you have to remind people that they did that because they didn’t go anywhere. They won the division, but they didn’t beat us.”