Adam: Mariano Rivera – 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 608 (and counting) with a career 2.21 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 0.70! The Yankees would not have won their five World Series without the greatest closer ever.
Rich: Mariano Rivera – the fifth greatest Yankees player came down to three players – Rivera, Jeter, and Berra. The four other players on this list are either the best ever at their respective positions or at least in the discussion. So, while Jeter has the stats to be considered the best Yankees player ever, he falls short in regards to his position ranking so that leaves it to Rivera or Berra. Yogi Berra is one of the best catchers ever and is a MLB icon, but while he has the rings (10 of them), Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer in baseball history and is the greatest post-season pitcher in baseball history (not just relievers, but including starters too!). I truly believe that without Rivera the Yankees don’t win all those titles starting in 1996. Yes, Jeter played every day, but Rivera was the one locking down each victory. It’s hard to imagine that the Yankees signed Mariano only because they went to see his cousin play and decided to offer the “tiny” shortstop/centerfielder a contract, then turned him into a reliever when he failed as a starter and rode those decisions to five World Series titles.
Kimani: Mariano Rivera – Here’s why I am picking Rivera over Derek Jeter as the greatest Yankee of this era. Rivera has been more dominant at his position than Jeter has at his. There were seasons where you could argue whether Jeter was the best shortstop in baseball (particularly when ARod played shortstop). That has never been the case with Rivera! The reliever is also the holder of several records, including saves in both the regular season (608) and postseason (42) and was money in the postseason with an meniscule 0.70 ERA (the best in baseball history).
Sammie: Yogi Berra – A three-time MVP during his 1950-56 peak, caught an average of 142 games per season, hitting .295/.364/.502 with 27 homers and 108 RBI per season. Yogi finished in the top-10 in the AL in homers every season from 1949 through 1957. Yogi’s ability to bat anywhere in the lineup gets him the fifth spot.
Kureen: Mickey Mantle – Another Yankee with three MVPs and multiple rings. Mickey won seven World Series rings and a Triple Crown.
Fred: Yogi Berra – This last one was tough, but I had to go with Yogi Berra. He’s simply another Yankee who is legendary like the other four. As a player, coach, or manager, Berra’s been in 21 World Series!
JR: Joe DiMaggio – He holds a 56-game hit streak that has yet to be broken. DiMaggio won nine world series championships and the only player to come close to his hitting streak was Pete Rose who hit 44 in 1978. The fact that he served in the military says a lot about his character and commitment to his country, which is another reason why he made my list.