(Copyright 1997. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)
--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---
By Collin Seguin Tattoo Staff Writer Maybe it was luck, maybe the perfect chemistry, maybe a special alignment of the stars, but last year the Yankees were back on top. Maybe I'm crazy, but it has a chance of happening again. New York lost Jimmy Key last year, but still has a solid pitching staff, better than last year's. Former Yankee-killer David Wells takes Key's place in the rotation this year, and he should be good for 10 to 13 wins. Doc Gooden should be stronger with a year behind him after his drug suspension. Andy Pettitte had a breakout year last year, and his knack for keeping the Yankees in the game should net him another 20+ wins and a Cy Young award run. David Cone is back for a full year, and joined with Pettitte could form one of the major's best one-two punches. He may be the best pitcher on the staff. Kenny Rogers will hope to rebound from last year's disappointment. Mariano Rivera, with his "George Burns fastball" (late life and smokin'), should lead a strong bullpen with new addition Mike Stanton in the set-up role. Bernie Williams is one of the most underrated players in the game. He's got speed, power, and is an excellent center fielder. Look for him to have a superstar year. Derek Jeter has all the tools to join Phil Rizzuto as the best Yankee shortstops. All he needs to do is shake the sophomore jinx. Tino Martinez and Paul O'Neill should hit their usual .300 average, 20 home runs, and around 100 RBIs. If Cecil Fielder can stay off of the peanut butter and Daryl Strawberry out of trouble, the power numbers should improve from last year. Plus, don't forget about the secret weapon, little Joe Girardi. Sure, last year there was the perfect chemistry. Sure, most of the players had career years. But why couldn't it happen again?