• 23 or 51?

    Posted by on July 27th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    Aaron Moore, over at the YES Network site, has a feature posted entitled “Bernie deserving of a Hall plaque.” (By the way, why doesn’t YES ask me for some content?)

    I covered that topic back in May 2005, so, I won’t repeat myself now.

    But, the timing of this is good – because it reminded me of something that I was thinking about the other morning.

    When Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto are no longer with us – and assuming that Derek Jeter and Mo Rivera are still playing – who will be the “greatest living ex-Yankee?”

    When Rivera retires – and here I assume that he will retire before Jeter – it will be Mariano.

    But, what about before-it’s-Mo?

    I always thought it would be Don Mattingly. But, looking at Bernie’s rankings on the all-time Yankees lists, he’s had a better career than Donnie Baseball.

    So, who gets to be the last player announced at Old Timer’s Day in 2009 – if Yogi, Whitey and Phil are gone? Is it Bernie or Donnie?

    Comments on 23 or 51?

    1. jonm
      July 27th, 2006 | 11:45 pm

      It will rightfully be a career Yankee like Bernie or Mattingly, but, if you’re looking at both overall numbers and Yankee peak years, you could consider Reggie and (painful to admit) Dave Winfield. Winfield was a great Yankee — it’s too bad that he couldn’t pitch for those teams.

    2. MJ
      July 28th, 2006 | 9:36 am

      That’s a really hard question because there’s no right answer. Part of it is about stats and career accomplishments. On that account, I think Bernie might have Donnie beat. Although Bernie was never an MVP or considered one of the top 3 or 5 players in the game for any stretch of time as Donnie was from ’84-’89, Bernie was the cleanup hitter on baseball’s most recent dynasty team and put together an incredibly consistent stretch from ’95-’02 where he put up some very solid stats.

      On the other hand is the emotional question. Donnie was the Captain and the best player on some good teams and some really bad teams. Fans just loved Donnie in ways that no other Yankee (except for Mo and Jeter) can fully appreciate. I don’t think Bernie was ever the most beloved member of the teams he was on, although he was probably right up there after Mo and Jeet.

      In terms of “Greatest Living” I guess I’d give it to Bernie over Donnie. But I think Donnie still has to be introduced last and get the loudest cheers for the emotional reasons.

      Very tough call though.

    3. Jen
      July 28th, 2006 | 9:43 am

      Good question. I’m gonna go with the wild-card and say Reggie. This year the last 5 announced in order before Yogi were Goose, Nettles, Gator, Donnie, and Reggie. Maybe they won’t keep that order, but I wouldn’t put it past Reggie to demand that he be the last guy announced or he’s not showing up.

      My prediction is that Bernie is after Gator but before Donnie. I also predict that he won’t be back for OTD before 2010.

    4. rbj
      July 28th, 2006 | 10:57 am

      I’ll go with Donnie. Bernie has his rings, Don needs something.

    5. hopbitters
      July 28th, 2006 | 11:48 am

      Bernie and Donnie are pretty close statistically speaking. Offensively, Bernie has longevity, while Donnie has a better peak. On the other hand, Donnie’s defense held up longer. Personally, I’d just go with Mattingly, but if I were being completely objective, it’s so close that what Bernie does from this season on that will make the difference. If you’re looking at overall career (not just in pinstripes), Jackson leaves them both behind. Purely as a Yankee, though, he’s a level below and Murcer, Winfield, Gator, and Roy White are right next to him in that second group as well.

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