Greatest Yankees of All-Time – Honorable Mentions
These are the players that just missed the top-five but could easily be in the discussion:
Berra, Jeter, and Ford could all be argued to easily fall within the Top-five; it really comes down to personal preference and what you believe matters in regards to player evaluation.
Berra is the greatest Yankees catcher and is in the discussion with Johnny Bench for greatest catcher in baseball history. Jeter is the greatest Yankees shortstop and is at worst a Top-10 All-Time shortstop in baseball history. Ford is the greatest Yankees starting pitcher, as well as one of the game’s greatest left-handed starting pitchers as well.
Dickey, Munson, and Guidry work their way into the discussion for the Top-10. Dickey and Munson as the second and third greatest catchers and as overall great team leaders in team history (with the huge “what if?” for Munson – I do believe he would have been a Hall of Fame catcher if he was able to play just a few more years if it wasn’t for the plane crash). Guidry is a severely underrated starting pitcher in baseball history but is a lock as the number one left-handed starting pitcher in Yankees history.
Adam: Mickey Mantle – Many fans and historians have him as a no-brainer top-five or top-four but he comes in at six for me. “The Mick” was a three-time American League Most Valuable Player with a career .298 batting average, 536 home runs, 1,509 RBI, 153 stolen bases and a WAR of nine or better four times. Mantle was a Triple Crown winner in 1956 making the All-Star team in 16 of his 18 seasons in the majors. Part of one of the greatest home run chases in history with fellow Yankee, Roger Maris. Injury played a factor in his otherwise incredible career so nobody will ever know exactly what could have been.
Derek Jeter – He is the example of how a professional athlete should carry themselves and Jeter did it in one of the biggest markets in the world. The Yankee captain has 3,465 hits (good for sixth all-time) while scoring 1,923 runs with a career .310 batting average, 1,311 RBI, 260 home runs, and 358 stolen bases. The five-time Silver Slugger award winner played in seven World Series winning five. In the storied history of the New York Yankees, he is the only one with 3,000 hits. While great he just does not rightfully fit above any of the top-six.
Whitey Ford – “The Chairman of the Board” is the all-time Yankee leader in wins with 236 and a six-time World Series champion. His ability to stay calm at the most stressful of times helped him complete 156 games with 45 shutouts and a career 2.71 postseason ERA. A career ERA of 2.75 and 1,956 strikeouts are not stats that should be ignored either. The 1961 Cy Young Award winner also has a career winning percentage of .690. Impressive to say the least.
Greatest Yankees of All-Time – Final Thoughts
Adam: I have been down this road in the past. I have done it around a campfire, I have done it with my friends, and I have done it for media publications. Who are the greatest Yankees of all-time? It never gets old and I always find something new. There was a time when I trotted out Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Ford. Over time I re-evaluated my own criteria and began to other factors into account. That is how I got to where I am today. The hate comments and hate mail will come, but regardless I am solid in my convictions.
When our rankings were being combined, I took solace in seeing that I am not the only person who puts Mariano Rivera in the top-five. I cannot fault the top-four Rich put together, in fact, it is standard operating procedure when ranking the greatest Yankees of all-time. I have just assigned more weight to a man that was a catcher. It is hard to track the metrics but his ability to call a game and get the best out of pitchers is something I cannot overlook. Bring on 2018 and the new look Bronx Bombers. Let’s do this again in 15 years and see who the greatest Yankees of all-time are.
Rich: Discussing the Greatest Yankees of All-Time is always a fantastic experience – I’ve done this several times over the last 10 years of my writing career for many different sites and have revised my Top-10 each time as I re-evaluate the players. As for our one difference – I have no issues with Berra being in the top-five, top-three is a bigger question, but I could make that argument as well. I think we both agree who the top-seven are, it’s only the order that is slightly different – and it is these differences that make discussing baseball and history, especially Yankees history, a blast.
Finally, I am excited to see if players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton (now that he is a member of the Yankees), Luis Severino, or some other players of the current team or near future one day have the type of career for the New York Yankees that warrant their discussion in this list and possibly even supplanting one of these true Yankees Legends in their own right. I truly look forward to seeing who the fans and readers of NY Yankees Digest have selected as their Top-five.
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