In 1969 Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Woodstock rocked the world, and the Mets won the World Series.
That year the Yankees batted .235 as a team — in the era before the designated hitter, when America League pitchers hit. There were some decent bats in the 1969 New York lineup — Roy White (.290), Horace Clarke (.285) Bobby Murcer (.259) and Joe Pepitone (.242). The team finished fifth out of six teams in the newly-formed AL East, a game under .500.
The previous season, 1968, the Yankees hit a franchise worst .214, but that was the year of the pitcher. Nobody hit that year. Oh heck, even that awful Stump Merrill last place team of 1990 still managed to hit .241.
Why should Yankee fans care? In the 44 seasons since 1969, no Yankee team has hit this poorly. Until this year.
Here’s the woeful lineup the Yankees trotted out Thursday against Texas, a lineup that was shut out and managed two meaningless singles and made Derek Holland, an ordinary southpaw, look like Sandy Koufax. Cleanup hitter Vernon Wells, shown above, struck out all three times at bat – but he’s not the only culprit for these hitless wonders.
I Suzuki CF
J Nix SS
R Cano DH
V Wells RF
Z Almonte LF
L Overbay 1B
D Adams 2B
A Gonzalez 3B
A Romine C
At the start of play today, the Yankees are hitting .239 as a team. Who are these guys? Outside of Cano and Ichiro, nobody knows.
Somewhere, George Steinbrenner is hopping mad.
Original Six? Nope, it’s not some sort of Dunkin’ Donut deal or a six-pack of vintage, old world European. Stan Musial and Bill Russell wore #6, but it’s not about that either.
It’s the NHL Original Six — Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. The teams you find on those vintage table top hockey games with the levers, like the Canadiens-Maple Leafs matchup my brother and I used to play at home growing up.
Following the 1942 season the Brooklyn Americans, formerly the New Americans (or Amerks) folded because of World War II. Although the Americans weren’t formally dissolved until 1946. Between 1942 and 1967 there were six teams in the NHL until the league expanded and doubled up to 12. Now there are 30.
And for the first time since 1979, when the Canadiens won their fourth straight championship with a five-game victory over the Rangers, there’s an Original Six Stanley Cup final matchup — Bruins vs Blackhawks.
There’s not much playoff history between these two teams. They’ve met just five times, the first in 1927 and then four more times in the 70s. In their most recent meeting in 1978 Boston swept Chicago in the quarterfinals before losing to Montreal in the Stanley Cup finals.
The Bruins have won four of five playoff encounters against the Blackhawks. Chicago’s only win came in a 1975 preliminary round series, with the Blackhawks winning two games out of three.
Overall Boston has won six Stanley Cups (1929, 1939, 1941, 1970, 1972 and 2011) and Chicago three (1934, 1961 and 2010