It’s Deja Vu All Over Again — 2024 Yankees Feel Like 1998 Yankees

Luis Gil en route to striking out 14 in 6 innings.


How could any Yankee team feel like 1998 when the Yankees ROARED to a 114-win season, and blew through the playoffs to win 125 games overall and the World Series title?

Twenty six years later, the 2024 Yankees are reminiscent of that team — as they have an elite starting staff, wherein each time a Yankee starter goes out, he seems to try and one-up the performance from the Yankee starter of the prior game.

Most recently Luis Gil went out and struck out 14 guys in 6 innings of 1-run ball — that:

  • bettered the performance of Nestor Cortes the game before who pitched 7 innings, allowing 0 earned runs;
  • which followed the performance of Clarke Schmidt’s 8 shutout innings before him;
  • which topped Marcus Stroman‘s 6 shutout innings before him,
  • which topped Carlos Rodon‘s performance of 7 innings, allowing 1 earned run before that;
  • which followed Luis Gil‘s 6 shutout innings before that — 6 straight Yankee wins.

In 1998, manager Joe Torre mentioned that the Yankee starters were dueling each other in a friendly rivalry, each one trying to out-do the start of the prior game’s starter. NY had a great starting staff of David Cone (20-7 3.55), David Wells (18-4 3.49), Andy Pettitte (16-11 4.24), and Hideki Irabu (was 6-1 1.59 on June 10th) — and then Orlando Hernandez (12-4 3.13), aka El Duque, Ace of Aces, joined the staff in June and really put them over the top.

This year, the Yanks have a great starting staff of Carlos Rodon (4-2 3.31), Nestor Cortes (2-4 3.56), Marcus Stroman (3-2 3.33), Luis Gil (5-1 2.39), and Clarke Schmidt (5-1 2.49) — and Gerrit Cole, Ace of Aces and defending AL Cy Young, is due to join the staff in June.

“It’s almost like we’re in competition with each other,” said Nestor Cortes after his last start. “Which we’re not but we’re just trying to go out there and give as much length as possible. The last game we lost was the game I pitched in Tampa, so I made sure that today wasn’t the day we lost again. Just seeing those guys go out there and give those quality starts for us, I guess the next guy up wants to repeat and do the same.”

Comparing the Rest of the Team

The 1998 Yankees didn’t just have a great starting staff of course — they had a phenomenal lineup, great defense on the field, and a tremendous bullpen led by Mariano Rivera. How do the 2024 Yankees stack up against that?

The Bullpen

Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time, so it’s hard to compete with that — but the 2024 Yankees have Clay Holmes, who is currently pitching to a 0.00 ERA with a league-leading 13 saves and is considered right now to be the best closer in baseball.

The setup men in 1998 were the two-man tag team of Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton. The 2024 Yanks have Ian Hamilton, Caleb Ferguson, Victor Gonzalez, Dennis Santana, Nick Burdi, and Tommy Kahnle coming. Advantage 1998 although that may change when Gerrit Cole comes back — somebody is going to have to be pulled from the starting staff and put into the pen, most likely the guy with least seniority Luis Gil, who is also on a pitch limit this year due to Tommy John surgery last year.

The 1998 Yanks had Ramiro Mendoza as the ultimate middle innings long reliever and spot starter. The 2024 Yanks have Luke Weaver — who has been tremendous in the same long reliever role.


The 1998 Yankees had a Tremendous defensive catcher who surprised you with his hitting in Joe Girardi. They also had a great young hitting catcher who was trying to become a better defender and pitch caller in Jorge Posada. The 2024 Yanks have the Exact same formula in Jose Trevino, and Austin Wells, the good-hitting young catcher learning to become a better defender.

1st Base

The 1998 Yankees had Tino Martinez, a tremendous defensive 1st baseman with homerun power. Sound familiar? Sounds just like Anthony Rizzo the Yankees current 1st baseman.

2nd Base

The 1998 Yankees had Chuck Knoblauch, a good hitting and fielding 2nd baseman who had some brain cramps — at one point he had trouble throwing to 1st base with the yips. The 2024 Yanks have Gleyber Torres — a star-caliber offensive 2nd baseman known for brain cramps on defense or the basepaths.


The 1998 Yankees had Derek Jeter — a young Star on offense and defense (5 Gold Gloves). The 2024 Yankees have Anthony Volpe — a young Star on offense and defense (Gold Glove last year).

3rd Base

The 1998 Yankees had Scott Brosius, who had a great year in 1998 — and was known for a career of good year followed by bad year followed by good year followed by bad year followed by good year.

The 2024 Yanks are different in that they have young Oswaldo Cabrera holding down 3rd — who doesn’t resemble Brosius at all actually. Brosius was a phenomenal defender; Cabrera has been holding his own. Brosius was a snake in the grass of the Yankee lineup — a power hitter with a .300 average in the backend. Cabrera can at times be a snake in the grass of the lineup at the end.

Of course DJ LeMahieu will take over 3rd when he is back shortly from injury — and he can pick it at 3rd and has had a similar ‘head scratching’ career of good years followed by bad years.


The 1998 Yankees had a Gold Glove centerfielder who hit for power and average in Bernie Williams. The 2024 Yankees have a Gold Glove-caliber centerfielder who hits for power and average in Aaron Judge.

Right Field

The 1998 Yankees had Paul O’Neill, who batted .317 that year with 24 homers. The 2024 Yanks have Juan Soto, who is one of the best hitters in the game, hitting for power and average.

Listen to Paul O’Neill talk about Juan Soto‘s homer here:

Left Field

The 1998 Yankees had Tim Raines and Chad Curtis platooning in left, with Shane Spencer joining the team late in the year (and seemingly hitting a homer every time up — 10 homers in 67 at bats). The 2024 Yanks have Alex Verdugo — tremendous defender who is an excellent lefty hitter, putting the ball in play.


The 1998 Yanks had veteran slugger Darryl Strawberry, who had found the fountain of youth at age 36 after some down years. Chili Davis, another veteran slugger age 38, backed him up. The 2024 Yanks have Giancarlo Stanton, a veteran slugger who has found the fountain of youth so far this year at age 34 after a horrible year last year.

The Record

It’s going to be really hard for the 2024 Yanks to compete with that 114-win record, and World Series title.

The 2024 Yanks are currently 32-15, on a pace for 110 wins. After 47 games, the 1998 club was 36-11 — so the 2024 club is 4 games behind that pace.

That 1998 Yankee team started 1-4, and fans were demanding the firing of Joe Torre on WFAN. The Yanks then TOOK OFF and couldn’t lose as the starting staff one-upped each other in a competition that lasted all summer. The 1998 Yanks finally hit a slump late in the year when they went 9-12 to start September before winning their last 7 games of the year.

And the World Series is much more difficult to win these days — as 12 teams make the playoffs now, and in baseball anyone can win a short series.

In the Stars?

In the most recent Yankee game at this writing, Luis Gil struck out 14 men in 6 innings of 1-run ball — another fabulous start. His 14 strikeouts broke the Yankee rookie record for strikeouts in a game — which was previously held by — guess who? Orlando Hernandez aka El Duque who set the record in — guess when? 1998.

And guess who threw out the 1st pitch of the game? El Duque that’s who.

El Duque was in town to attend the Yankees 44th Annual Homecoming Dinner where he is being given the “Pride of the Yankees Award.”

Deja Vu All Over Again

In 1998 the Yankees blew past Boston, which finished in 2nd; the Orioles who had won 98 the year before, fell back into the pack. NY beat Cleveland and Texas in the playoffs — who had each won their division, and beat San Diego in the World Series.

This year Cleveland is leading their division and defending champ Texas is 1 game back of their division lead. San Diego is in 2nd in the NL West and expected to do well.

It’s a LONG ROAD to 114 wins and the Baltimore Orioles are a great young team this year and tough competitor — but the 2024 Yanks do have the feel of the 1998 Yanks so far.

But it ain’t over ’til it’s over and baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical, so see you in September at the place where nobody goes anymore because it’s too crowded.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.