Reusse: History suggests Yankees' World Series drought won't last much longer

The New York Yankees are on a streak of having avoided the World Series for 14 seasons. This equals the stretch from 1982 through 1995, when they failed to play in a World Series.

The 2010s was a unique decade for the Yankees, in that it was the first decade since the 1910s when they failed to play in a World Series.

Since Babe Ruth became a Yankee in 1920, the decades for World Series appearances have gone like this:

In the 1920s, six (3-3); 1930s, five (5-0); 1940s, five (4-1); 1950s, eight (6-2); 1960s, five (2-3); 1970s, three (2-1); 1980s, one (0-1); 1990s, three (3-0); 2000s, four (2-2).

The Yankees made 26 of their 40 appearances (through 1968) when the requirement to reach the World Series was to finish first in a league of either eight or 10 teams.

Playoffs started in 1969, and now, if a team doesn't finish with a top-two record among three division winners, seven postseason victories are required to reach the World Series.

So, yes, getting there is more difficult than beating out seven other American League teams, most working with far smaller budgets for players and scouting talent.

It was way back in 1954, as the Yankees were carrying a streak of five straight World Series championships, that Douglass Wallop wrote the novel, "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant."

The premise being, it took Joe Boyd, a rabid fan of the hapless Washington Senators, selling his soul to the devil for his team to have a chance to finish ahead of the Yankees.

As it turned out, the real Yankees did lose the pennant that season, although it took the then-Cleveland Indians going a spectacular 111-43 to finish eight games ahead of New York.

Cleveland then was swept by Willie Mays and the New York Giants, causing a 9-year-old baseball nut in Fulda, Minn., to lose 50 cents to his Uncle Harry.

Sign up for our Twins Update newsletter

The willingness to make light of knocking off the Yankees was so popular that Wallop's novel was turned into both a play and a movie titled "Damn Yankees," with the original run of the play lasting for more than 1,000 shows on Broadway.

The movie was released in 1958, as the Yankees were in the midst of winning nine AL pennants in 10 seasons (1955-1964), with four World Series titles.

And surely you know, local baseball fans, even if it has taken a grandparent to point it out, that what it took for the hapless Senators to steal a pennant from the Yankees wasn't a deal with Beelzebub but Calvin Griffith moving the original franchise to Minnesota for the 1961 season.

In Year 5 on the Bloomington prairie, the Yankees were old and crippled, the Twins had pitching, fielding and a potent lineup, and they would stop New York's pennant-winning streak at five.

And how: 102-60, seven games ahead of the second-place White Sox and 25 games — 25! — removed from the Damn Yankees down there in sixth place.

You think there's a long-term Yankees "jinx" over the home club that manifested itself during the Twins' postseason failures?

That idea can be cured by finding the audio of Ray Scott setting up and describing Harmon Killebrew's home run to beat (and bury) the Yankees on the last Sunday before the 1965 All-Star Game.

There's never a jinx in baseball. The season's too long. Getting 27 outs (or more) in pressure situations is too difficult.

The Yankees have gone 16-2 (including 13 in a row) in the playoffs against the Twins starting in 2003 by being superior in pitching and hitting, if not fielding.

If you want to get into spending to explain the disparity, that's another matter. Currently, the Yankees are at $305 million (not all active) and the Twins have cut back to $128 million.

Somehow with their deficiencies, the Twins came into Tuesday night's start of a three-gamer vs. New York having won 17 out of 20 to climb to 24-16. The Yankees were 27-15 and dueling Baltimore for first in the AL East.

The Yankees were a lowly 82-80 and fourth in the AL East in 2023, but don't take that to be a trend.

The addition of Juan Soto to Aaron Judge is frightening, particularly when at home, with a right-field home run target more suited for a Jordan Brewers townball game.

They don't have Gerrit Cole for now, and those young Orioles are talented and feisty, but here's my early choice to represent the American League in the 2024:

Those Damn Yankees. They are dangerous and they are due.