The New York Daily News’ Vic Ziegel takes a happy trip down memory to a time when another All-Universe Yankees squad got old at the same time.
Okay, they’re under .500 now – can’t play Tampa Bay every night – and the good karma still hasn’t reached 161st St. But there was the same kind of struggling start last year, and so what? They won their usual 101 games (until they hit the iceberg).
The Yankees keep telling us it’s early, way early. That there’s plenty of time, plenty. (“Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait.”) But what if these April problems aren’t solved? October doesn’t come with a guarantee. Early can get late, and time isn’t always on your side. Could it be that this team has the disease of 1965?
Those Yankees – who lost the previous World Series in Game7 – had every reason to think the winning would continue. Sports writers were picking them to finish first. What more proof do you need? But 1965 was a year unlike any other. The almighty Yankees became losers, finished sixth, and had to wait 11 seasons for their next October.
Phil Linz, the super sub of that ’65 club, made starts at four different positions. The view never changed. “We weren’t hitting and we didn’t have any pitching, and we were totally turned off by the manager,” he said recently. “Mel (Stottlemyre) was our only reliable starter and there was no relief pitching. Mickey got old and Maris was hurt. Tony (Kubek) and Elston (Howard) missed a bunch of games because they were hurt and how many games did Jim (Bouton) win? Four?”