We all know about Murderers’ Row. The’27 Yankees are arguably the greatest team the city of New York and the game of baseball as ever seen. They are the stick by which all team offensive numbers are measured. The 2012 Yankees would certainly make their 1927 counterparts proud, given their home run prowess and best record in the Majors through 90 games. But the 2012 Yankees have something else in common with Murderers’ Row. And it might not be something that would immediately come to mind.
Like the 2012 Yankees, Murderer’s Row had a propensity to score in the late innings, not only defeating their opponents, but demoralizing them as well. Due to the start times of games in the 20s, the eighth inning would usually start around Five O’Clock. The New York Press quickly dubbed the ’27 team “Five O’Clock Lightning”. “We’d beat you in the late innings, said Miller Huggins, if not sooner.”(As read in “Five O’Clock Lightning- Harvey Frommer). This curent Yankee team is doing something quite similar in 2012. Just ask the Boston Red Sox. Or more recently the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Toronto Blue Jays.
“Many times the Yankees had to come from behind, starting rallies, scoring many of their runs in the eighth inning…” (Frommer). In 2012, the Yankees have 29 come from behind wins, including erasing a nine run deficit against their arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox. In total, the Yankees have scored 142 runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings combined. Their 65 seventh inning runs is second only to the 71 they’ve scored in the first inning (Another similarity to the Five O’Clock Lightning Yankees. They were good out of the gate as well, scoring 131 times in the first inning during the 1927 season. [Frommer]). They have scored 5 or more runs in the seventh inning or later a total of three times, plating as many as seven runs on two separate occasions. Those are back-breaking crooked numbers for the opposition. Couple this with how effective their bullpen has been this season, and it’s easy to see why the Yankees have amassed the best record in Baseball. The score early. They score late. And they shut other teams down.
So the next time you’re at The Stadium on a warm summer evening, and the eighth inning of a close game rolls around, cast an ear toward Heritage Field, where the ghosts will be waiting for the Five O’Clock whistle to blow. Listen for it carefully, and wait for the magic to begin.
Times have changed though, and nowadays, more times than not, games are played in the evening. Maybe a more appropriate nickname for the 2012 Yankees would be Ten O’Clock Lightning.
– Thanks to Harvey Frommer for giving me a great read and continuing my ever growing education of the greatest team in the history of sports.
– Also, thanks to Baseball Reference for providing me with some quick stats.