In his column "OBP is Life," which appeared over at BP yesterday, Joe Sheehan points out just how well the Yankees have been getting on base this season:
The Yankees have achieved their success by leading the majors in runs scored with 344, and they've done that by leading the planet in OBP with a whopping .375 mark. You can't understate how impressive that figure is. The post-1900 record for OBP is .385, set by the 1950 Red Sox. (Six teams, including three John McGraw/Hughie Jennings Orioles squads, topped that figure between 1894 and 1897.) Just 19 teams have ever had a .375 OBP, and none have done so since those '50 Sox. Since then, a mere two teams have cracked .370: the 1994 Yankees and the 1999 Indians. The latter is the only team in the last 56 years to score 1000 runs, while the former went into the season-ending strike second in the AL in runs scored.
...In the divisional era, having a .360 team OBP gives you a better than 70% chance of being a playoff team. The Yankees have more going for them than just a high OBP, but it's that high OBP--in fact, a historic one--that drives their offense and their chance of winning a ninth consecutive AL East crown.
The Bombers can thank Jason Giambi for boosting their team OBP. Giambi is the subject of my lastest column for SI.com. Check, check it out.