18 Rookie Cards from the Key Players on the 1998 New York Yankees Team

Baseball historians consider the 1998 World Series Champion New York Yankees team to be one of the greatest in MLB history. Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, and Paul O’Neill had tremendous seasons at the plate. David Cone and David Wells provided strong and consistent starting pitching. And Mariano Rivera and Ramiro Mendoza teamed up for a nearly unstoppable bullpen. Considering their historical relevance, I thought it would be fun to briefly overview the team’s accomplishments before jumping into a rundown of the key players on the roster’s 1998 stats and rookie cards.

The 1998 Yankees went 114-48 to win the AL East by 22 games over the Boston Red Sox. They then won their Division Series 3-0 over the Texas Rangers before defeating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 in the AL Championship Series. Ultimately, they cruised to sweep the San Diego Padres 4-0 in the World Series, meaning they had the most wins by a team that would win the World Series; Seattle won 116 games in 2001 but failed to make it to the World Series (they were stopped by the Yankees 4-1 in the AL Championship Series).

The Joe Torre-coached Yankees are considered the 4th or 5th best team of all time, depending on the survey. The other teams that often get placed ahead of or around them include the 1927 New York Yankees, 1939 New York Yankees, 1975 Cincinnati Reds, 1929 Philadelphia Athletics, 1906 Chicago Cubs, and 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates. The 1998 Yankee team was incredibly balanced with great hitting, defense, base-running, starting pitching, and relief pitching. What follows are the stat lines and my favorite rookie cards for each significant player on the team.

C Jorge Posada

.268 BA, 17 HR, 63 RBI

1994 Bowman #38 Jorge Posada

1B Tino Martinez

.281 BA, 28 HR, 123 RBI, 92 R

1988 Topps Traded #66T Tino Martinez

Some folks don’t like to include Traded cards as rookies; the 1989 Bowman #211 Tino Martinez is a great card too.

2B Chuck Knoblauch

.265 BA, 17 HR, 64 RBI, 117 R, 31 SB

1990 Bowman #415 Chuck Knoblauch

SS Derek Jeter

.324 BA, 19 HR, 84 RBI, 127 R, 30 SB

1993 SP #279 Derek Jeter

3B Scott Brosius

.300 BA, 19 HR, 98 RBI

1992 Bowman #527 Scott Brosius

LF Chad Curtis

.243 BA, 10 HR, 56 RBI, 21 SB

1992 Pinnacle #523 Chad Curtis 

CF Bernie Williams

.339 BA, 26 HR, 97 RBI, 101 R

1990 Topps #701 Bernie Williams

RF Paul O’Neill

.317 BA, 24 HR, 116 RBI, 95 R

1986 Donruss #37 Paul O’Neill

DH Darryl Strawberry

.247 BA, 24 HR, 57 RBI

1984 Topps #182 Darryl Strawberry

DH Tim Raines (Off the Bench)

.290 BA, 5 HR, 47 RBI, 53 R

1981 Donruss #538 Tim Raines

C Joe Girardi (Off the Bench)

78 G, .276 BA, 3 HR, 31 RBI

1989 Upper Deck #776 Joe Girardi

SP Andy Pettitte

16-11 W-L, 4.24 ERA, 146 SO

1993 Bowman #103 Andy Pettitte 

SP David Wells

18-4 W-L, 3.49 ERA, 163 SO

1988 Donruss #640 David Wells

SP David Cone

20-7 W-L, 3.55 ERA, 209 SO

1987 Donruss #502 David Cone

SP Hideki Irabu

13-9 W-L, 4.06 ERA, 126 SO

1997 Bowman Chrome #198 Hideki Irabu

SP Orlando Hernandez

12-4 W-L, 3.13 ERA, 131 SO

1998 Bowman Chrome #221 Orlando Hernandez

CL Mariano Rivera

3-0 W-L, 1.91 ERA, 36 SO, 36 SV

1992 Bowman #302 Mariano Rivera

RP Ramiro Mendoza

10-2 W-L, 3.25 ERA, 56 SO

1997 Upper Deck #475 Ramiro Mendoza

Let me know which of these rookie cards is your favorite in the comments; I’m partial to the 1990 Topps Bernie Williams, and happy collecting!

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