For good reason, the New York Yankees have become synonymous with the phrase “The Evil Empire”; when using it in casual conversation, you’re just as likely to be talking about the Yankees as the Star Wars Galactic Empire.

Consequently, we turn back the clock to…2002? The Evil Empire, it turns out, is just the most recent in a long line of nicknames for the Yankees, going all the way back to “Murderer’s Row” for the 1918 team, and mainly applied to the ’27 team and the lineups of the late 1920s.

evil Yankees

Since then, additional moniker(s) have been used to refer to this history of power-hitting lineups, like the Bronx Bombers, or to a specific period, such as the Bronx Zoo.

Boston Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino unexpectedly added another title to that collection in December 2002 angry that the Red Sox lost out to the Yankees in the race to sign prominent free agency pitcher Jose Contreras.

Only one week had passed since New York signed Japanese outfielder Hideki Matsui to a four-year, $32 million contract.

A harsh “no comment” was the first thing Lucchino said in response to a New York Times request for comment before adding, “The evil empire extends its tendrils even into Latin America.”

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