In 1996 the New York Yankees finished 92-70 to win the American League East. The Yankees started the 1996 season slow winning just 11 of their first 21 games. Towards the end of April, the Yankees won nine of ten to move into first place for the rest of the season.
Before the 1996 season, the Yankees made several moves acquiring first baseman Tino Martinez and relief pitcher Jeff Nelson from the Seattle Mariners. Also, the acquired Tim Raines and re-signed David Cone and Wade Boggs. Players like Mariano Duncan and Dwight Gooden had vital roles as well for the Yankees.
Gooden threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners in may of the 1996 season. Bernie Williams batted .305 and hit a team-high 29 home runs, Paul O’Neil batted 302, and newly acquired Tino Martinez drove in a team-high 117 runs. Mariano Duncan batted .340 in 109 games.
Derek Jeter was a rookie in the 96 season and had outstanding season hitting .314 and ten home runs. Jeter, by far exceeded what the Yankees wanted him to do.
In the middle of the season, the Yankees made some trades, acquiring Cecil Fielder from the Detriot Tigers and Charlie Hayes from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Also, the Yankees purchased the contract of Darryl Strawberry from the St. Paul Saints. Fielder hit .260 and hit 13 home runs, while Strawberry hit .262 with 11 home runs. Both players had good postseasons in 1996 as well.
21 game-winner Andy Pettitte led the pitching staff and finished top three in the Cy Young award race. David Cone was having an outstanding season before missing time because of an aneurysm in his arm. Eventually, Cone came back and helped the Yankees win the World Series. Jimmy Key, Kevin Rogers, and Gooden filled out the rest of the starting staff.
The Yankees Bullpen was led by Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland. Rivera was the ultimate set up man, he pitched 107 innings and had 120 strikeouts. He had an ERA of 2.09 and fished in the top three of the Cy Young award race. Rivera’s cutter was nasty and often broke the bats of left-handed hitters. Wetteland finished the season with 43 saves and 69 strikeouts 63.2 innings. Yankees manager Joe Torre used the 6-2-1 philosophy, which the starting pitcher would pitch six innings, Rivera would pitch two innings, and Wetteland would finish it off.
The 1996 New York Yankees played the Texas Rangers in the ALDS and beat them in four games, then beat the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS in five games. After defeating the Orioles, the Yankees moved on to play the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.
Against the Braves, the Yankees lost the first two games at home. They won game three in Atlanta with timely hitting and a gutty pitching performance from Cone. Game four was a classic; the Yankees fell behind 6-0 but fought their way back. With the Yankees trailing 6-3 in the eighth inning, catcher Jim Leyritz hit a three-run home to tie the game.
New York went to win the game in 10 innings and the next two games to win the World Series.