TCS Daily


Congrats to the Red Sox; Was It Too Cool for the Yankees?

By Sallie Baliunas - October 28, 2004 12:00 AM

New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth once met President Calvin Coolidge on a sultry day and reportedly remarked, "Hot as hell, ain't it, Prez?"

It probably suited Ruth and his Yankees if it were.

In the 100 years since the Yankees debuted in 1903 as the New York Highlanders, the pinstriped crew has taken 39 American League championships -- 28 times winning in years when the annual average temperature of the conterminous 48 states exceeded the 1951-1980 mean value used by scientists to track temperature change. The Yankees won only 11 times in years with below average temperatures. In the three hottest years on record -- 1921, 1934 and 1998 -- the Bronx Bombers, as they became known in the 1930s, won pennants in two, 1921 and 1998.

So if 21st Century temperatures climb according to climate simulations forecasting global warming, the Yankees would win even more championships. Right? And, although 2004's average temperature has not yet fully played out, it so far punches in as cooler than the last few years -- ergo, the Yankees lost this year's pennant to Babe Ruth's former team, the Boston Red Sox because temperature was too cool for the Yankees. Correct?

Wrong!

The Yankees' winning history rests on managers like Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre, players like Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter, and owners like Colonel Jake Ruppert and George Steinbrenner. Stengel would have soberly nailed the 2004 season ending for the Yankees, "Most ballgames are lost, not won." And Berra would have jabbed, "We made too many wrong mistakes."

A correlation between the Yankees winning championships and global warming is as silly as the most popular query readers send me -- the one about whether sunspots drive the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Both are off base, as was the Boston Red Sox's Curse of the Bambino for having traded the Babe.


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