Originally created 09/06/98

Milestone doesn't complete mission



CHICAGO -- They've won 100 games earlier than any team in major league history. And the feeling on the New York Yankees is this: Why stop now?

"I think when we look back once the season is over we will look back and remember it very fondly," center fielder Bernie Williams says.

"Right now we're just caught up in trying to accomplish the things we're trying to get accomplished. It's still nice."

Williams' two homers gave the Yankees an 11-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday, running New York's record to 100-38. Unreal.

"Any time you start talking about the best record at this point I mean that's special," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

"Baseball has been around a long time and you're talking about the best in over 100 years of baseball," he added.

The Yankees arrived at their 100th win five days earlier than the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 1954 Cleveland Indians.

The '06 Cubs set the major league record for the fewest games to reach 100 victories (132). The Yankees set an AL record, doing it in 138 games, two quicker than the '54 Indians.

If the Yankees go 17-7 or better during the rest of the season, they would break the AL record of 111 wins set by the '54 Indians and the major league record set of 116 set by the '06 Cubs.

"They have guys who have been stars in different places, but they have given up that star quality for the team," White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said.

"They really don't have huge names, just a lot of good players who know how to play the game. There is no soft spot to them. When they sense the game is in the balance, they tend to take over at that time."

In fact, not a single New York player was elected to start in the All-Star game, even though Williams or Derek Jeter could lead the AL in hitting.

"I told them I'll get you two guys tied and not play you the rest of the year," Torre said of Jeter and Williams. "It's a nice competition, they're pulling for each other. They're two great players and it's nice to have them on my team."

David Cone and David Wells could have the most wins, and Cone could win 20 games for the first time since 1988, breaking Jim Kaat's record for most years between 20-win seasons (eight).

Then there's a guy like third baseman Scott Brosius, who could be the comeback player of the year.

"It's 180 degrees from last season," said Brosius, who batted .203 with Oakland a year ago.

Williams homered from both sides of the plate Friday night. His versatility will certainly earn him MVP votes. But he's not interested.

"I'm just part of a great team and that's the way we all feel," Williams said. "Everybody has had a pretty solid season."

The Yankees have found different ways to win all season. With speed, defense, power, pitching and consistent hitting.

"They know how to add on runs and move runners. They always have major league at-bats. The longer the game goes, you have a greater sense they could erupt at any time. They find ways to win," Manuel said.

"We just don't give up. It doesn't matter what the score is or where we are in the standings," Williams said.

Now the Yankees want to win as many as they can and get to the playoffs.

"We want to get it over with. We want the ring. We got the horses," outfielder Darryl Strawberry said.