The New York Yankees have been Captain-less since Derek Jeter retired following the 2014 season. There have been several other times during the proud history of the Yankees that they have been without a Captain. Most recently, following the retirement of Don Mattingly in 1995 and before Derek Jeter being named Captain in 2003. What is the next chapter in the storied history of Yankees Captains? Who should be the next Yankees Captain? Adam Solowiei and Rich Stowe discuss this topic in the first edition of Yankees Roundtable.
NYYD Yankees Roundtable – Next Yankees Captain
Rich: The position of Yankees Captain is one that is normally reserved for the member of the Yankees that most epitomizes what it means to be a member of the New York Yankees. Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter are four of the best ever. Babe Ruth was a Captain for only six days and players such as Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle were never named Yankees Captain.
Several years ago, I thought Robinson Cano would be the next Yankees Captain after Jeter retired, but he left for the Mariners so that idea left as well. I do believe it should go to a player that has proven himself on and off the field while still having a good portion of his career left ahead of him. I initially thought Brett Gardner would be a great choice, but I am not sure he’ll even be a member of the Yankees by the end of 2017. As of now, the only player on the Yankees I could see being named Captain would be Gary Sanchez. However, he hasn’t even played a full season yet, so we are still 3-5 years away from him being named Captain. Derek Jeter was on the Yankees for basically 6 seasons before he was named, so we’ll see how long it takes Sanchez or someone else to be named as the next Yankees Captain. All I do know is that position brings with it responsibility and a burden to lead the Yankees to their next World Series title!
Adam: Picking or appointing a Yankees Captain is not something the organization takes lightly. When you are a successful organization with some of the great players in the history of baseball, you have the opportunity to pick many Captains. But in the case of the Yankees they have only bestowed the honor 11 times. You could argue there should have been more but the rationale behind the honor is probably the preventative measure. It is not just about numbers, it is not about wins, and it is not about titles. Sure those weigh into the decision but there is the untraceable metric that refers to what it is like to be a Yankee that probably holds down the overall numbers.
As I looked at the logic and the traceable metrics, it become something of a challenge to come up with a clear choice. Who stays out of the negative press in one of the nation’s largest cities while producing like Derek Jeter? Who can be like Lou Gehrig, or even Donny Baseball? Heck even Ruth had it taken from him for conduct unbecoming the organization.
So who? The answer is no one. There is no player on the roster or in the pipeline that has shown a body of work on the field, in the clubhouse, and the community that warrants such a title as Yankees Captain. Maybe there should not be another. Maybe it is time for the “C” to retire as well. Lucky number 12 can be a spot in Monument Park with many of the greats that have been honored with such a title. The turnover in players, the organizational shifts, and the way the game changes seems to preclude a player that will earn the honor bestowed by ownership. I just do not see a player or a way where this changes. Maybe not forever but in the near term lets retire the “C” to Monument Park. If a person is deserving than the “C” can come out of retirement and make an exalted return.