Wow is the only way to describe what happened in the 162nd game.
And they did it by completing a home sweep with a 12-5 victory over the Rangers, who had spent 178 days in first place, the most ever for a team that failed to win a title.
Yet the Rangers still are going to the postseason as part of the first-ever two-wild card team playoffs.
They will be playing the Orioles, who missed out on the AL East title on the final day with a 4-1 loss to the Rays while the Yankees beat the Red Sox 12-2.
You have to believe that Yankees' champagne tasted extra good Wednesday night, because the division-clinching victory came over their most-hated rival. And it also guaranteed them home-field advantage until the beginning of the World Series on Oct. 24.
But they still won't know who they will play in the AL Division Series at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, because of the winner-take-all wild card championship.
Unlike past postseasons, the Yankees actually could begin postseason play against a division opponent. Yes, if the Orioles beat the Rangers on Friday, they would meet the Yankees for the 19th time this year.
Of course, in holding with the parity theme, the Yankees and Orioles split their first 18 games.
And while the chest-pain factor wasn't nearly as great for National League fans, it took the final day — and a 5-1 victory over the Phillies — for the Nationals to clinch home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
The dream of Commissioner Bud Selig years ago was to have more fans paying to watch baseball in September. Selig must be smiling as more teams have been watching the turnstiles click for the second straight season.
Even without the extra pair of wild-card "winners" last October, the 162nd day of the season produced drama that set in motion a chain of history-altering events.
The Cardinals slipped into the playoffs on the final day, went on to win an improbable World Series and have future Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa retire on top.
The Red Sox slipped up on the final day, went on to fire manager Terry Francona and let general manager Theo Epstein escape to the Cubs, meaning his two teams combined for nearly 200 losses this year.
And now we are left to wonder if 2012 can hold another bagful of surprises — perhaps a surprise A's or O's championship, a championship and retirement for Reds' manager Dusty Baker or Tigers' manager Jim Leyland, who is La Russa's oldest friend — by the time the World Series ends somewhere around Halloween.