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Utter Mayhem of 1990 New York Yankees on Full Display in Peacock's Bronx Zoo '90: Crime, Chaos, and Baseball

The three-part docuseries following the illegal exploits of the 1990 New York Yankees premieres on Peacock on May 16.

By Daniel Carty
Trailer | Bronx Zoo '90: Crime, Chaos and Baseball on Peacock | NBC

If you asked a baseball historian to objectively identify the “team of the 1990s,” there could be only one answer: the New York Yankees. Starting in 1996, the Yankees won three World Series titles in four years (and for good measure added a fourth in 2000, defeating their cross-town rivals the New York Mets in the famed Subway Series). That period birthed the Hall-of-Fame careers of club legends Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and consecrated many more as baseball heroes, from Andy Pettitte to Bernie Williams to Paul O’Neill.

It was as though the baseball gods had dusted off their most tried and true blueprint, which echoed back to the paradigm-shifting 1920s: “Yankees win. THE … YANKEES … WIN!” It was Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig charting the path to excellence back then. Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra followed, then Mickey Mantle and by the time the mid-'60s arrived, you could look backward and see a path paved almost entirely in pinstripes. Twenty World Series titles and 29 pennants from 1921 to 1964. And in the late ‘90s it was happening again … Camelot reborn.

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But if the baseball gods’ plan for the 1990s was a return to Yankees glory, boy did they start off the decade on an odd note. Like, really odd. Exactly how odd will be explored in the upcoming Peacock docuseries, Bronx Zoo ‘90: Crime, Chaos and Baseball.

How the Yankees' Decade Began

Here’s a brief snapshot of where the Yankees were in 1990:

  • Team owner George Steinbrenner was engaged in a blood feud with his most expensive star, Dave Winfield, so much so that he allegedly hired a self-professed gambler to dig up dirt on his own player. Steinbrenner would end up suspended from the game following a league investigation into the affair.
  • On July 1 of that year, pitcher Andy Hawkins etched his name into the record books, tossing a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. Somehow, the Yankees lost the game. That’s a special kind of bad.
  • One of their players, Mel Hall, once brought a pair of live cougars into the Yankees clubhouse. Yes, live cougars.
  • That same player would go on to be convicted on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2009 and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Dave Winfield and George Steinbrenner smile during a press conference

In short, the 1990 New York Yankees were a study in mayhem, a dumpster fire masquerading as a professional baseball team. Fans will be able to relive that mayhem in Peacock’s upcoming three-part docuseries Bronx Zoo ‘90: Crime, Chaos and Baseball, premiering on the platform on May 16. (Watch the trailer above.)

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The documentary, produced by Believe Entertainment Group, New York Post Entertainment, and Whitecap Entertainment, and directed by DJ Caruso, is based on a New York Post series from 2020.

Bronx Zoo ’90: Crime, Chaos and Baseball is the astonishing true story of the 1990 New York Yankees, chronicling the team at a crossroads in their storied history. The season went on record as one of the worst and was made even more infamous by the drama that ensued off the field. Based on a series of articles from New York Post columnist Joel Sherman, the docuseries covers team owner George Steinbrenner’s removal from baseball for trying to buy information on Dave Winfield from a notorious gambler. Adding to the chaos, beloved team captain Don Mattingly was caught in a contentious contract dispute, a top free agent signee went missing, rookie Deion Sanders wavered between two sports and a controversial outfielder pursued a relationship with a local high school girl. Despite it all, the 1990 Yankees laid the groundwork for one of the greatest dynasties in sports history,” reads a description from Peacock.

Don Mattingly on the field during a yankees game in 1990

The series features an impressive array of interviews, including Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, former manager Buck Showalter, Yankees announcer Michael Kay, and notorious gambler Howie Spira, the man Steinbrenner paid for dirt on Winfield.

It will also be the first time Chastity Easterly, the then-high school girl referenced in the series description, speaks on camera about her experience with Mel Hall. Hall, who was later convicted in the child sex crimes case, will also appear in an interview from prison.

How to Watch Bronx Zoo '90: Crime, Chaos and Baseball

The three-part docuseries will be available on Peacock on May 16. 

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