The Yankees, 114-48, managed by Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cushman met the San Diego Padres, 98-64, managed by Bruce Bochy with general manager Kevin Towers in the 1998 fall classic.
The 114 wins was a franchise and American league record which is considerable considering all of the great Yankee teams of the past with stars like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
The New Yorkers featured eight players with over 17 home runs led by Tino Martinez 28 HR, 123 RBI, 92 RS, former Red Paul O’Neill 24 HR, 116 RBI, .317 BA, Dereck Jeter 17 HR, 84 RBI, 127 RS, 31 SB .324 BA, Bernie Williams 26 HR, 97 RBI, 101RS, .339 BA, Darryl Strawberry 24 HR and Scott Brosius 19 HR, .300 BA. They also had future Hall of Famer Tim Raines as a reserve and sometimes DH.
All of their starting pitchers had winning records led by David Cone 20-7, David Wells 18-4, Andy Pettite 16-11, Hideki Irabu 13-9, and Orlando Hernandez 12-4 and in the bullpen Mario Rivera 3-0, 1.91 ERA, 35 saves and Ramiro Mendoza 10-2.
The Padres were led by Greg Vaughn 50 HR, 119 RBI, 112 RS, Tony Gwynn .321 BA and Ken Caminiti 29 HR.
Their pitching staff was headed by Kevin Brown 18-7, 2.38 ERA with 257 strikeouts in 257 innings, Andy Ashby 17-9 and in the bullpen Trevor Hoffman 4-2, 53 saves, 1.48 ERA and Dan Miceli 5-2.
The series featured two future Hall of Fame closers in Rivera and Hoffman.
Game one was in the new Yankee Stadium with David Wells opposing Kevin Brown with home runs deciding the game. The Padres took a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning helped by two home runs by Greg Vaughn and one by Tony Gwynn. In the bottom of that inning Chuck Knoblauch answered with a three run round tripper and Tino Martinez added a grand slam home run as the Yankees scored seven runs to take a 9-5 lead and go on to win 9-6 with Rivera getting the save to take 1-0 series lead.
Game two still in New York featured the Yankees getting on the board early scoring three runs in each of the first two innings on their way to a 9-3 win with Orlando Hernandez pitching seven innings of one run baseball for the Yankees. Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams contributed home runs for New York.
For game three the teams switched to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego for the closest game of the series. The Padres led 3-2 after seven innings with former Red Randy Myers on to pitch for the Padres in the top of the inning facing former Red Paul O’Neill who he walked.
Trevor Hoffman replaced Myers who got a fly ball out before walking Tino Martinez. Scott Brosius who already had a solo home run in the seventh inning came to the plate and promptly belted another home run with the two runners aboard to give New York a 5-3 lead.
With two outs in the Yankee eighth Marian Rivera replaced Ramiro Mendoza and gave up single to Tony Gwynn with the other runner going to third base. Greg Vaughn flied out to deep right field with a run scoring and Rivera bore down and got Ken Caminiti to strike out for the third out and the score is 5-4 Yankees.
The Padres managed to get two runners aboard in the bottom of the ninth before Rivera got a strikeout for the third out and the Yankees go up three games to none for the Padres.
Game four in San Diego was all New York as Andy Pettite together with Jeff Nelson and Mariano Rivera held the Padres scoreless for 3-0 win in the game and the World Series.
Scott Brosius got the series MVP and the Yankees were back the following year while San Diego has yet to return to the fall classic.
Paul O’Neill who spent eight years playing for Cincinnati, played in the 1990 World Series with his then teammate Randy Myers. After going to New York he flourished and finished with seventeen major league seasons to his credit including a batting title in 1994 with a .359 average. He was popular with fans in both Cincinnati and New York.