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The Yankees Lead Baseball In Home Runs. If They Keep It Up, You Can Forget About Them Winning The World Series

Curtis Granderson leads the Yankees with 21 home runs. If he knew what’s good for him, he’d stop that nonsense right now.

When you predict that a team isn’t going to win the World Series in June, there’s about a 97 percent chance you are going to be correct. So I’m not really going out on a limb here with the Yankees, and I’m using only one simple statistic from which to draw my conclusion, but here it is.

In 1983 and 1984, the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers went back-to-back, winning those respective championship after leading Major League Baseball in home runs during the regular season. From 1985 forward, only one team who set the mark in home runs has gone on to win the World Series. Bashing ballclubs don’t usually end their final postseason game with a win.

It’s not the current playoff format, but since the most recent format began in 1995, the top team in homers ….

1995: Cleveland Indians (207): Make the Series, lose to the Braves in 6. Albert Belle led the way with 50. He finished second that year in the MVP race to Mo Vaughn, which made no fucking sense. It must have been those six extra steals. Oh, and the fact that everyone in the media hated Belle, and because baseball is covered by 17-year-old girls. And from where did Mo Vaughn find the speed to steal 11 bases?

Digressing from that, the Braves were second in the National League, eighth overall, with 168 shots.

1996: Baltimore Orioles (257): That broke a 35-year-old record for team power, but the Orioles lost to the Yankees in the ALCS. The Yankees won the World Series with 166 home runs, the third-lowest total in the AL. Brady Anderson launched 50 homers for the O’s, and no one cared to ask if something illegal was going on.

1997: Seattle Mariners (264): Hey, whadiya know! It took just one year for that Baltimore record to fall. Oh, these boys of summer, everybody’s just having fun! And looking huge. But the Mariners have never won a World Series, of course. They lost in the first round to those Orioles in four games. Paul Sorrento, who hit 25 home runs for that ’95 Indians squad, had 31 home runs for the Mariners this year. He’d then hit 28 through the final two seasons of his career.

The Marlins shocked the much more powerful Indians to win the Series. A week after that celebration ended, Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga publicly lit every player he had on fire.

1998: Seattle Mariners (234): Playoffs? DNQ. The team obviously lacked Sorrentensity.

The 114-win Yankees ranked seventh with 207 home runs. They swept the World Series in San Diego in front of a bright 14-year-old boy who sat five rows behind Mark McGwire, took an elevator ride with Rich Eisen, and talked for 30 minutes after the game with Joe Girardi’s father at the team hotel. That boy then became a man and then a sports writer, which led to the inevitable evaporation of his fandom. He will live out the rest of his days slumped in a chair, drooling and incontinent, forever wondering what happened to his days of yore.

1999: Seattle Mariners (244): What was more impressive? The Yankees’ World Series repeat or the M’s home run title three-peat? Seattle’s glorious 79-win season tends to make me lean toward the latter. But in an effort of full disclosure: I have awful balance.

Ken Griffey Jr. led the team with 48 home runs. The Yankees were around the middle of the pack with 193 homers, and leading their team was Tino Martinez with 28.

2000: Houston Astros (249): The Astros make a 72-homer jump from 1999, thanks to their new crib, Enron Field. Man, whatever happened to those guys? Jeff Bagwell was tops with 47, but second on the team with 44 home runs was … Richard Hidalgo.

(five-minute intermission for laughter and oxygen)

But the ‘Stros finished fourth in the NL Central. The Yankees won the World Series and were 10th in the league with 205 home runs. Tino Martinez only had 16 home runs this year. But then so did Glenallen Hill with his 8.25 AB/HR ratio.

Oh man. I’m gonna need another break.

2001: Texas Rangers (246): This would begin the Rangers’ three-year run atop the MLB leader board in home runs. But at least they did it the right way with players such as Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Ken Caminiti, Randy Velarde and a bunch of other guys who (probably) played for the pure love of the game.

The Rangers, with help from a mighty pitching staff that had one starter with an ERA of less than 5.00, finished last in the AL West.

The Arizona Diamondbacks hit 208 home runs, seventh-most in the league. They won the World Series in seven games, and the knuckle at the end of my right middle finger has yet to forget it. I really shouldn’t have punched that cabinet.

2002: Texas Rangers (230): Better pitching. Still sucked. Dead last.

The Anaheim Angels of Anaheim Because It’s In Anaheim hit just 152 home runs, which ranked in the bottom 10. But no wonder they were victorious over the San Francisco Giants — David Eckstein, Adam Kennedy, Bengie Molina, Darin Erstad were all in the starting lineup. I’ve never seen a bigger collection of gritty, scrappy, hard-nosed gamers that ever hustled their way on to a baseball field. They even overcame the play of ol’ Lazy McLaggingslug out in left field, Garret Anderson. Yay, perceived effort!

Although, let’s be frank: Garret did take his sweet time out there.

2003: Texas Rangers (A lot): At this point, it doesn’t matter. That team would score 24 runs a night and give up 25. Record of 71-91. Way to go, kids.

The Florida Marlins were champions and were 19th in the game with 152 home runs. Mike Lowell paced the team with 32, and Derrek Lee had 31. After winning the World Series versus an opponent that I can’t seem to recall right now, the Marlins didn’t give away their players like they did during the 1997-98 offseason. I mean, they did trade Lee for Hee Seop Choi, but other than that really ….

2004: Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees (242): Ooo, a tie! But the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. With 222 home runs, they were fifth-best in baseball. The White Sox finished out of the playoffs. The Yankees might have won a title this year, but they lost a tough seven-game series to Boston that featured a comeback of some magnitude. At least both teams played hard.

Both teams played hard. Both teams played hard, my man.

Both teams played hard. God bless and good night.

2005: Texas Rangers (260): You guys again? And without A-Rod this time. But look who’s back! Richard Hidalgo still had 16 bombs left in him before being killed in that tragic piranha incident.

Mark Teixeira smacked a team-high 43 home runs. He hit .301 with .954 OPS and is unfortunately still being paid like he did that yesterday. If he finishes out his current contract, he’ll have made at least $20 million per season from 2009 through 2016.

The Chicago White Sox found the key to winning a championship for the first time in 88 years: Hit 42 fewer home runs. Their total of 200 was still good enough for fifth in the MLB. Paul Konerko set the team’s high mark with 41 homers. He’s actually been better the past couple of seasons, and he hasn’t yet seen a raise of his $12 million annual take since 2006.

The joys of playing for the Yankees.

2006: Chicago White Sox (236): See, the Chi Sox got away from what worked. Most home runs: also-rans. Less than that: championship. That played out here as Chicago finished in third place in the AL Central. Who led the team that year? You will have to believe that it was 32-year-old Jermaine Dye with 44 home runs. His slugging percentage of .622 was at least 61 points higher than in any year of his 14-season career. A .328 BABIP helps, but he had six other full seasons with a .300 or higher BABIP.

A perfect storm or something to speculate inanely about?

The 2006 World Series champion Cardinals had 184 home runs, 12th-most in baseball. (Insert something here about Albert Pujols being sufficient at baseball)

2007: Milwaukee Brewers (231): The Crew won 83 games and finished out of the playoffs, just two games behind the Cubs in the NL Central. They probably would have made it if they could have found somebody, anybody at all, to give 54 starts to other than Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas. Jeff Suppan isn’t exactly the best stopper in the world either.

But hey, who cares about that when you’ve got that Braun-Fielder connection for the next five years. It was fun.

The Red Sox won another World Series here. But they hit 56 fewer shots from their 2004 title year as their 166 HRs ranked 18th in baseball. They had just three players hit more than 20, and only David Ortiz hit more than 21.

2008: Chicago White Sox (235): The White Sox finally make the playoffs after leading the league in home runs … and are eliminated in the first round in four games by the now-competitive Rays. Dewayne Wise had double the amount of homers as White Sox great Ken Griffey Jr. in seven fewer plate appearances, but I don’t hear anybody screaming his name for the Hall of Fame. Shame on the game. I like dames. Tigers need to be tame. Fishing for rhymes? Lame.

This is the middle year in the Philadelphia Phillies’ three-season run as the second-most powerful team in baseball. They hit 214 homers. Sure, Ryan Howard had the biggest number with 48, but I totally forgot about the 33 from Pat the Bat.

2009: New York Yankees (244): Sound the trumpets for it has occurred: An unmatched homer-hitting team has won a championship.  If you add in the Phillies’ second-place effort of 224, I’d guess comfortably that this was the most power-laden World Series matchup in baseball history. The 17 combined home runs in this series is tied for second place with the 1953, 1955, and 1977 World Series, all of which featured the Yankees.

However, the 2002 World Series had 21 home runs in it.

2010: Toronto Blue Jays (257): Eight games above .500, the Jays finished fourth in that brutal AL East. Jose Bautista hit 54 home runs in 569 at-bats after hitting 54 home runs in his previous 1,581 at-bats. And hey, if Vernon Wells could play like this — 33 HRs, .273 average, .847 OPS — he still wouldn’t be worth $21+ million, but it would take away some of the sting from writing those checks.

Once again, Dewayne Wise makes an appearance. He’s on the 2012 Yankees, too. You know what they say: Wherever Dewayne Wise is, home runs will follow.

The San Francisco Giants hit the 10th-most home runs (162) on their way to a ring. That number actually tied them with their Fall Classic counterparts, the Texas Rangers. Aubrey Huff, king of thongs, had a resurgent year and recorded a team-best 26 home runs.

2011: New York Yankees (222): Finally, we have the Yankees from the most recently completed season leading the league in homers and failing to go past the first round in October. The reigning champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, had 162 home runs last year, 13th-most.

Seventeen years, one champion. Of those 17 champions, only four of them finished within the top-five in total home runs. The Yankees of this year are on pace for about 257 homers in 2012. If they up their game a little more, they might make history, but not the kind that the New York Yankees strive for.

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