There are four Yankees fans who write for Sports Unbiased (Rich Stowe, Adam Solowiei, Mike Santangelo, and Mike Tursi) so we decided to ask those four some questions about the Yankees in 2013 and 2014, some questions about Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, and to finally decide who the greatest Yankees of all-time are.
This article deals with who they believe are the greatest Yankees of all-time (yes, this is the third time this topic has been addressed on this site, and each time has resulted in a different ranking!). Each writer was asked to list their top-5. The votes were tallied and points were awarded (five points for 1st down to one point for 5th). What follow is who we believe are the greatest Yankees of all-time. Be sure to vote in the poll at the end for your top-5.
Seven players received votes. Here are the top-7 Yankees of all-time.
Mike Tursi: I’d say 5th place is a tie between Ford and Berra, but I wanted to give a nod to a pitcher. The Bronx Bombers aren’t much known for their arms (save Rivera), but Ford was a key component to regular dominance and postseason success.
Mike Tursi: Mantle’s injuries may have slowed him and shortened an already lengthy career, but Mantle presided over perhaps the most dominant era in Yankees baseball. And he had the numbers to back it up.
Mike Santangelo: Berra won 10 rings. I don’t think much more has to be said, especially when that person is the catcher. The guy calling the game and helping his pitchers get the opponents out. In 1950, he struck out only 12 times during the season, TWELVE, there are players who strike out that much in a week now.
Adam Solowiei: He was a 3-time MVP award winner and was the battery mate of the pitching staff for 10 World Series championship teams. In his career he managed a .289 average, 359 home runs, and 1.430 RBI. In six seasons Berra had more home runs than strikeouts! In my opinion he was one of the two best catchers in the history of the game (Johnny Bench). Sure his quotes are funny but what isn’t funny is what a great player he was. Having Berra at number three might shock some people but his leadership and value to the staff above and beyond numbers is unparalleled.
Rich Stowe: It was between Rivera, Jeter, and Berra for the fifth spot, but being the clear best ever at your position for almost 20 years and being automatic in the playoffs means a lot and gives Rivera the edge.
Mike Santangelo: Generally, this is where either Mantle or Whitey Ford goes (fifth place). But, as Rivera rides off in to the sunset I find myself contemplating where he belongs in the all-time Yankee greats department. I can’t imagine thinking of the top five Yankees and not thinking of Mariano Rivera because it’s certainly where he belongs. It’s a tribute to the legacy of great Yankee players that this is even so hard of a choice. On most other teams Mariano is an easy top three, but on the Yankees it’s a struggle. But, Mantle and Ford just had to make room for the greatest closer the game has ever seen. And who knows, in a couple of years someone might be making room for the Yankees all-time hits leader, Derek Jeter.
Mike Tursi: The Babe Ruth of his position. Rivera has posted numbers we will never see anyone approach in our lifetime.
Adam Solowiei: Can you hear “Enter Sandman” playing? I can and so have opposing hitters since the mid-90s. He is, without question, the greatest closer the game has ever seen and a sure fire First Ballot Hall of Famer. He is the all-time leader in saves with 642 (and counting) with a career 2.19 ERA and averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings. That in itself is great but his post season numbers are the stuff of legend. He has appeared in 96 career post season games, saving 42 with an ERA of .70! The Yankees would not have won their five World Series without the greatest closer ever.
Rich Stowe: I do believe if he didn’t get sick, he might have surpassed Ruth in many categories and that’s why I have him ranked at number two in Yankees history.
Mike Santangelo: The Iron Horse is another of the, not only greatest Yankee but greatest of all-time, players here. The numbers are off the charts, and the fact that he has all of those numbers with a career cut short by the disease named after him points to the dominance that Gehrig showed while on the baseball field. Not to mention, one of the greatest sports speeches ever given was given by Gehrig at his retirement.
Adam Solowiei: The “Iron Horse” played in a consecutive 2,130 games (a record that stood until Ripken broke it) before taking himself out of the lineup. A two time MVP with a career .340 average, 493 home runs, 1995 RBIs, a career .632 slugging percentage and a WAR of nine or better five times. His career was cut short due to ALS otherwise known as “Lou Gehrig Disease” which led to one of the most impressive and moving speeches ever given.
Rich Stowe: It was a toss-up for my 3rd place ranking between DiMaggio and Mantle. JoeD was the man that carried the Yankees in the post-Gehrig years and if you add in the missed years due to military service and how deadly Yankees Stadium was to right-handed hitters, I give the edge to DiMaggio.
Mike Santangelo: Joe D did it all with class and style. He made it look easy, even by the standards of his day when other great players like Ted Williams were playing. He holds a record that I personally think will never be broken (the 56 game hitting streak of course, not anything to do with Marilyn Monroe), and was one of the best fielders of his, or any, generation.
Mike Tursi: DiMaggio was once destined as the Ruth’s replacement. In many ways, he surpassed Ruth. He was as good with his glove as he was with his bat. The numbers speak for themselves.
Adam Solowiei: Nicknamed the “Yankee Clipper” his name is brought up when defining a winner as he was a leader during nine World Series titles. He made the All-Star team every year that he played. He was three time MVP and owner of “the streak”, a 56-game hitting streak that still stands to this day. He lost three years in the middle of his career honorably serving in the US Army. He hit .325 for his career with 361 home runs and 1,537 RBIs while slugging .579. Oh and being married to Marilyn Monroe isn’t too shabby either.
Rich Stowe: Without Ruth, the Yankees probably don’t exist. They were at the bottom in attendence etc. before Ruth came to the Yankees and the rest is history. The greatest player the game has ever seen has to be the greatest player for the greatest franchise.
Mike Santangelo: I’m not even sure I need to say much here. Not only is he the greatest Yankees player ever, he is the greatest player in the history of baseball. A lot of his records might be broken now, but the dominance he showed during his playing time is unparalleled by any other player in the sport, ever.
Mike Tursi: Many dominant players came after Ruth, but no one has come close to doing what Ruth did. He still holds many World Series pitching records.
Adam Solowiei: One MVP award (would have been more if the award existed at the beginning of his career and if there wasn’t a point when previous winners were ineligible). He was the first player to 30 home runs, then 40, then 50 and finally 60. In fact in 1920 his home run total was greater than any other team in baseball. Ruth was a lifetime .342 hitter with 714 home runs (A record that stood until Hank Aaron), 2213 RBIs, a career slugging percentage of .690 and a WAR over nine 10 times! The old Yankee Stadium was referred to as “The House that Ruth Built”, enough said.