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SportsColumnistsNeil Best

It's official: A decade of no championships for New York sports teams

Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees reacts

Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees reacts against the Boston Red Sox during the eighth inning of the American League Wild Card game at Fenway Park on October 5, 2021. Credit: Getty Images/Winslow Townson

There are people old enough to drive who do not recall a New York metropolitan-area team winning a major championship.

The Islanders had not announced their move to Brooklyn the last time it happened. The Nets played their home games in Newark. Zach Wilson was 12 years old. Derek Jeter was the Yankees’ shortstop.

Little-known Jeremy Lin was less than 24 hours removed from a breakout 25-point game for the Knicks.

If it feels like the last time a New York team got a ticker-tape parade down Broadway it was showered with actual ticker tape from telegraphed stock prices, that’s understandable.

It’s been a while.

And with the Yankees’ 6-2 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday night in the American League wild-card game, we now officially can say this:

For the first time since 1905-21, it will be more than a decade between New York-area titles in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

The Giants won Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, 2012; Super Bowl LVI is on Feb. 13, 2022. So that’s that.

This drought has featured some good teams and narrow misses, notably the Rangers reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and the Mets in the World Series in 2015. Both lost in five games.

More recently, the Islanders made it to the past two NHL semifinals, losing both times to the Lightning, in six and seven games.

But this stretch in another sense is worse than the last one, since there are nine teams to choose from — not to mention the Red Bulls, NYCFC and Liberty, all of whom also have not won a league championship lately. Or ever.

The only championship candidates who existed for that full 16-year stretch from 1905-21 were all baseball teams: the Highlanders / Yankees, the Superbas / Trolley Dodgers / Robins and the Giants.

The Yankees never won a pennant in that stretch, and the Dodgers won two but lost both World Series.

The Giants beat the Philadelphia Athletics in 1905, then lost the 1911, ’12, ’13 and ’17 World Series. (John McGraw was not fired as manager despite the playoff disappointment. Talk radio and social media did not yet exist.)

When the Giants and Yankees both won pennants in 1921, the drought was guaranteed to end.

It was not technically a "subway series," because both teams played in the Polo Grounds. The Giants won the best-of-nine series in eight games.

Art Nehf four-hit the Yankees in a 1-0 shutout in Game 8, which on Oct. 13 attracted the smallest crowd of the series at 25,410.

The only run scored in the first inning and was unearned, when Yankees shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh mishandled a grounder by "High Pockets" Kelly, which allowed Dave "Beauty" Bancroft to score.

Will this drought last another six years to surpass that one?

It seems unlikely, given that the Nets are prohibitive favorites to win the NBA championship pending what mood and physical state their stars are in come next spring.

The Islanders are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, the Rangers are up and coming, the Knicks are pointed in the right general direction and the Yankees and Mets have the talent to compete for pennants in 2022.

Or maybe the Giants will shock the world, build on their victory over the Saints last weekend and raise another Lombardi Trophy in Southern California this winter.

But it will not happen by Feb. 5, so put the lost decade in the books.

Fans in other, more championship-starved markets roll their eyes at all of this, of course. But they’re not us. This is not supposed to happen in these parts.

Can’t anybody here play this game?

New York Sports