Sunday, May 02, 2010

The All-Time Greatest Yankees Lists

On April 29th, 2010 Russell Adams wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal compiling a list of the top-ten Yankee positional players of all time.  He based his criteria for the list on the following:

**Statistics such as Post-Season Batting Avg., Fielding Range, OPS, Wins Above Replacement

**Economic Impact taking into consideration impact on attendance, their value to the franchise, earning potential in marketing and advertising..etc.

**Cultural Relevance

Here is that top-ten list compiled by Russell Adams. 
But please read his article for the sake of keeping things in context.

1 - Babe Ruth
2 - Lou Gehrig
3 - Joe DiMaggio
4 - Derek Jeter
5- Yogi Berra
6 - Mickey Mantle
7 - Reggie Jackson
8 - Alex Rodriguez
9 - Joe Gordon
10 - Tommy Henrich

With regards only to the top five, I would make one alteration.  I would switch Yogi Berra to the number two spot and drop the Iron Horse to number five.

Casey Stengel said of Yogi Berra, "I never play without my guy"  He's won more World Series rings than anyone in history; TEN.  In retirement, look no further than the ovation he received when after a 14 year absence from Yankee Stadium, he returned to thunderous applause.  Yogi Berra has given a whole nation of baseball fans a new lexicon we put in use everyday.  He also opened up the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair N.J.

Joe DiMaggio could have been number two on this list.  But Yogi is more lovable than The Clipper.  Joe DiMaggio was more reserved and as you know has been accused of being somewhat aloof and kinda distant (I'm trying to be delicate here.  I actually do know a tid-bid about him. I have a friend who is/was "linked" through a marriage that made them "inter-related".  I hope that was vague enough).  Yogi was and still is a common man's hero.  Joe DiMaggio had songs going for him.  Of course his marriage to Marylin Monroe skyrocketed him even higher than his baseball legend already took him.  But it brought him a different kind of fame that perhaps he was less comfortable with.  At Old Timer's Games at the Stadium attended by Yogi and DiMaggio, Joltin' Joe always insisted on being announced last.  Hey if Joe D "got it like that" - I do not begrudge him at all.  He IS Joe D.  But stuff like that never crossed Yogi's mind.  To me, there-in lies the difference.

Lou Gehrig is no doubt a worthy number two on any list.  The Iron Horse is undoubtedly a legend of Baseball.  Lou is the founder and set the standard for Yankee Pride and what is known as the Yankee Way.
Until Cal Ripken broke his record, Lou Gehrig was the model of dedication and reliability.  Hence, he was named the first Yankee Captain.

But based on the criteria we are working with, my list flips Yogi Berra into the two spot and the Iron Horse down to five.  Everyone else I believe is in their rightful place within the top 5.

BTB's List:

1- Babe Ruth
2- Yogi Berra
3- Joltin' Joe DiMaggio
4- Derek Jeter
5- Lou Gehrig

Based on the same criteria Russell Adams said he is going to compile his list of Greatest Yankee Pitchers.
I took the liberty of getting a head start.

BTB's List of  Top Ten All-Time Yankee Pitchers:

1 - Mo ~ He is the Greatest Reliever of All-Time.  Period.  The Yankees just don't win all those Championships in the last run-off without him.
2 - Ford ~ Whitey is second because where it can be said Mo is the best all-time in his craft, even though Whitey Ford has an incredible winning percentage and his playoff record is second to none, Whitey Ford was still never the best starting pitcher ever.  Mo can lay claim to that title and that's why I place Ford second.
3 - Guidry ~ because he had one of the most singularly greatest seasons in history.  He was the Ace of the Bronx Zoo teams.  Amid all that chaos in the Bronx, Louisiana Lightning remained class all the way and brought a lot of sanity to a clubhouse that was pretty much insane.  He single handedly pitched the Yankees to a title in 1978.
4 - Jack Chesbro ~ The original Highlander of 1903 and their first superstar.  The last pitcher to win 40 games in a season.  He put the Yankees on the baseball map before they were ever called the Yankees.
5 - Waite Hoyt ~  He was the Ace during the Babe Ruth era of the Roaring Twenties.  He lead the League in wins for the great 1927 Yankees' Murderers Row team.
6 - Goose ~ The pitcher on this list with the least time served in the Bronx.  He was no doubt the most fearsome pitcher ever to throw a baseball in the Bronx by a wide margin.
7 - Andy ~ He continues to pile onto his numbers.  He is pitching renaissance seasons right now and strengthening a growing HOF debate.  His playoff record is right up there with Whitey Ford's and his lifetime win percentage is equally up in elite levels.
8 - Lefty Gomez ~ a four time 20 game winner leading the AL in wins twice.  Three times he led the league in strikeouts and has a career win percentage of .649
9 - Herb Pennock ~ The other Ace in the Babe Ruth era of the Roaring Twenties.
10 - Righetti ~ because he threw a no-hitter on 4th of July vs. Red Sox.  He also converted to a closer, became the Yankees all-time saves leader at the time and held the single season record for saves.

I just felt compelled to include Righetti in the top 10 at the expense of Red Ruffing.  Red Ruffing should be on this list and if I had to sacrifice someone to get him on, it would have to be Goose or Righetti himself.
The other honorable mentions are Mel Stottlemyer Sr., Allie Reynolds, Eddie Lopat and Vic Raschi.


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