Thank you, John Sterling and Michael Kaye for emceeing this event, and thank you for all of your wonderful broadcasts, and all that you bring to the Yankees. George Steinbrenner, Manager Joe Torre, the members of the 1999 World Champion New York Yankees, Yankee coaches, trainers, distinguished guests - welcome to City Hall.
This has been a year of great triumph, and we're going to spend most of our time on that. But it's also been a very difficult year. We lost Yankee greats Joe DiMaggio and Catfish Hunter. And three Yankee players - Scott Brosius, Luis Sojo and Paul O'Neill - lost their fathers. And if we may, maybe we can take a moment of silent prayer for each of them, in our own way so that we remember the difficulties of life as we celebrate some of the great triumphs of life.
Thank you very much.
This season, you may remember, began at Yankee Stadium on a very, very rainy day in April. And it ends on a very beautiful and glorious day in an October New York sun that is shining bright - because the Yankees and New York own October! Reggie Jackson knows all about that.
The 20th Century has been called the American Century. And if historians, maybe a century or two from now, truly want to understand how Americans lived in the American Century, then they're going to have to understand the importance of our national pastime - baseball. And to understand our national pastime, they're going to have to understand the unparalleled legacy of excellence established throughout this century by the New York Yankees.
There have been 95 World Series played in the 20th century. 25 of them have been won by the New York Yankees. The Yankees have been the American League Champions 36 times. And this New York Yankee team - the Yankee team of 1999 - tied the all-time Major League record with 12 consecutive World Series victories and back-to-back sweeps. Quite appropriately, they tied records set by other Yankee teams, Yankee teams led by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. This is a team that has added to the luster of the greatest franchise in sports, which is a very, very difficult thing to do.
As George Steinbrenner said, when the World Series trophy was presented to him, "This is a mentally tough team, and New York is a mentally tough town." And he is correct. But this is also a town with tremendous heart. And today, well over a million New Yorkers poured out their hearts to the team they love the most - the New York Yankees.
Their athletic excellence has been proven on the baseball fields of New York and America. But the thing that I admire most about them is the kind of men they are. I think the thing about this Yankee team that I'll remember the most is how they can take the adversities of life - all of us have to face sickness, all of us have to face the death of our loved ones - and how this team can turn those adversities into something positive. That's a lesson that all teams have to learn, and that's a lesson that all young people have to learn. And as the Mayor of this City, I want to thank them for teaching the young people of our City how to be stronger, how to be better, and how to be more united. Thank you very much.
It's a fitting culmination of this century that the greatest team of this century is the greatest team of its last year. And New York City can now go into the next century claiming, correctly, that we are the Capital of the World for Baseball, and for everything else. It is my great honor to present this proclamation, which officially makes today "New York Yankees Day in New York," to the person who has brought tremendous luster, a great many championships, and has added to the spirit of New York in a very special way, the principle owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner.
# # #