• Playing Favorites

    Posted by on July 19th, 2010 · Comments (16)

    I thought this might be a fun topic for an off-day…coming off Old-Timers Day weekend. What follows are my favorite Yankees at each position. Stress the “my” part here. Note that this is not a “best” or “greatest” list. It’s just those Yankees who I found it easy to root for – and enjoyed having them on the team. And, since I’ve been a Yankees fan since 1973, the clock starts on this list from that point forward.

    Catchers: Thurman Munson, Jorge Posada, Ron Hassey. (Honorable Mention: Mike Stanley, Rick Cerone)
    First Baseman: Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez, Chris Chambliss. (Honorable Mention: Mark Teixeira, Steve Balboni)
    Second Baseman: Willie Randolph, Robinson Cano, Steve Sax. (Honorable Mention: Mike Gallego, Larry Milbourne)
    Shortstops: Derek Jeter, Bucky Dent, Andre Robertson. (Honorable Mention: Randy Velarde, Wayne Tolleson)
    Third Baseman: Graig Nettles, Scott Brosius, Mike Pagliarulo. (Honorable Mention: Toby Harrah, Aurelio Rodriguez)
    Left Fielders: Hideki Matsui, Rickey Henderson, Roy White. (Honorable Mention: Brett Gardner, Johnny Damon)
    Center Fielders: Bernie Williams, Mickey Rivers, Melky Cabrera. (Honorable Mention: Jerry Mumphrey, Claudell Washington)
    Right Fielders: Paul O’Neill, Lou Piniella, Bobby Murcer. (Honorable Mention: Oscar Gamble, Steve Kemp)
    Designated Hitter: Cliff Johnson, Carlos May, Tim Raines. (Honorable Mention: Chili Davis, Mike Easler)
    Starting Pitchers: Andy Pettitte, Ron Guidry, Orlando Hernandez. (Honorable Mention: Jimmy Key, Rudy May)
    Relief Pitchers: Mariano Rivera, Sparky Lyle, Dave Righetti. (Honorable Mention: Goose Gossage, Dick Tidrow)

    Yeah, I know…where’s A-Rod, Winfield, Mussina, Reggie and some others…?

    Sorry, either I found them hard to root for, at times, or there were others that I just liked rooting for more than them. How about you? Who is on your list?

    Comments on Playing Favorites

    1. July 19th, 2010 | 7:08 am

      It is only me, But I would have to include Reggie, The others I don’t care,
      My starting LF would be White,, Otherwise great list

    2. Evan3457
      July 19th, 2010 | 7:51 am

      Actually, Rickey played more games in CF with the Yanks than LF.


      Nick Swisher not in the top 5 in right field?

      I’m shocked.

      And stunned.

      Yeah, shocked and stunned. That’s about it.

    3. Evan3457
      July 19th, 2010 | 7:56 am

      C: Munson; 1B: Tino; 2B: Willie; SS: Jeter; 3B: Nettles (A-Rod as a contrarian, an anti-hero); LF: The ever classy Roy White; CF: The ever-elegant Bernie Williams; RF: O’Neill; SP: Guidry; RP: Mo (is there any doubt?) DH: Raines, just because he’s never going into the Hall, and he should, and I like to mention him whenever I can.

    4. Evan3457
      July 19th, 2010 | 7:56 am

      You know what? Call it a Piniella/Raines tie at DH.

    5. MJ Recanati
      July 19th, 2010 | 9:13 am

      I’m not going to go several deep on every position, just my top two faves:

      C: Mike Stanley, Joe Girardi
      1B: Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez
      2B: Willie Randolph, Chuck Knoblauch
      3B: Alex Rodriguez, Wade Boggs
      SS: Derek Jeter, Randy Velarde
      LF: Rickey Henderson, Johnny Damon
      CF: Bernie Williams, Claudell Washington
      RF: Paul O’Neill, Dave Winfield
      DH: David Justice, Jason Giambi
      RHP: Roger Clemens, David Cone
      LHP: Andy Pettitte, Jimmy Key
      RP: Mariano Rivera, Dave Righetti
      Manager: Buck Showalter

    6. July 19th, 2010 | 9:31 am

      @ Evan3457: As I have written, Swisher is growing on me. Need to see him do it again in 2011 ‘tho.

    7. July 19th, 2010 | 9:31 am

      @ Evan3457: Tino over Donnie for you? Really?

    8. July 19th, 2010 | 9:48 am

      It’s funny how we end up rooting for players – and some from the start until forever and others later on…or no longer.

      Back when he was with the M’s, A-Rod was one of my favorites in all of baseball. I thought he was AWESOME. I really thought he could do no wrong and would go down as one of the top five players in baseball history.

      Then he went to Texas and said those dumb things about Jeter. Then, he agreed to go to the Red Sox – only to have it shot down by the MLBPA. And, later, of course, he came to New York. Even after the Esquire and Boston thing, I was still excited about him coming to the Yankees. When Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars and said during the show “I can’t believe the Yankees got A-Rod!” I was right there with him, thinking the same thing.

      However, once here, and seeing him everyday – and witnessing all the drama, stupidity, and off-field stunts – I found myself no longer feeling the same way about Alex.

      Yes, he’s a great talent. Yes, he works hard. Yes, he doesn’t dog it on the field. And, those are all things that you want in a ballplayer. But, all the other stuff still makes it hard to “like” him, at least to me. And, that’s a far slide down from where he was in my mind 10-12 years ago.

    9. Evan3457
      July 19th, 2010 | 2:10 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      @ Evan3457: Tino over Donnie for you? Really?

      We all loved Mattingly. But the plain fact is that he lost a huge part of his ability when his back went. For years, people still treated him as elite long after he stopped being better than good.

      No blame or shame to Mattingly, he always did his best, and never brought embarassment to the team. But from 1990 on, he was substantially overrated. That’s not his fault, but for me, it means spending a lot of time defending the proposition that he isn’t a Hall of Famer, which is annoying.

      Tino is still underrated, amazingly enough. At his best, Mattingly was better, but I root for Tino because 1) nobody in New York wanted him to replace Mattingly when the Yanks traded for him, 2) he struggled and got booed in the early part of his 1st year, and overcame that, 3) he was a key part of the greatest team I’ll ever see, 4) yet was way down the list of who was considered the key guys, 5) judging from his career stats, was almost certainly not a PED user, and 6) he always worked hard, did his best, and never said or did anything to make himself the issue.

      Spit. Maybe I’m just being contrarian for its own sake. From 1984-1989, I loved Mattingly just like everyone did.

    10. Evan3457
      July 19th, 2010 | 2:22 pm

      That last line didn’t come out right. What I mean is, I loved Mattingly for his greatness from 1984-1989, and sighed for what might have been he hit a longball every time that went nowhere from 1990 onward. I’d be watching games by myself, and shake my head sadly.

      And wonder how long the Yanks could stay with a firstbaseman slugging .400 for the season. Of course, the team was so bad overall in 1990-2 that it didn’t matter much.

      At least we got to watch the Ghost of Mattingly wake up and hit shots all over the place in the stretch drive on 1995, and the ALDS vs. the Mariners.

    11. BOHAN
      July 19th, 2010 | 2:38 pm

      ive been a fan since like 94-95 somewhere around there since im only 22 still so mostof my players are form the latest years
      C: Posada, Girardi
      1B: Tino, Donnie, Tex
      2B: Cano, Soriano
      3B: Alex Rodriguez, Brosius
      SS: Derek Jeter (hes really the only SS ive really known)
      LF: Chad Curits, Johnny
      CF: Bernie Williams, Melky
      RF: Paul O’Neill, Swish
      DH: David Justice, Jason Giambi
      RHP: Roger Clemens, Mussina, Cone is right up there to
      LHP: Andy Pettitte, Wells
      RP: Mariano Rivera, Jeff Nelson
      Manager: Torre

    12. Ben M.
      July 22nd, 2010 | 12:17 am

      Hey Steve, thanks for the post, it brought back lots of memories.

      But Bobby Murcer in *right* field??? Sorry, but only Manager Bill Virdon believed that. To me, Bobby was always the Yankees’ outstanding *center* fielder during those lean years when my 12-year-old self got hooked on them.

      Warm regards,

      — Ben

    13. Corey Italiano
      July 22nd, 2010 | 2:06 am

      For all of those who put Knoblauch for 2b:

      I want to just point out that had this site been in existence at the time when Knoblauch first started his 2nd base throwing issues, he would have been flamed to no end. We hate on the players now for nothing more than slumping… Imagine Knobby? That being said, I doubt any of you would have him there if you read articles upon articles about his mental fragility and make up.

    14. MJ Recanati
      July 22nd, 2010 | 8:28 am

      @ Corey Italiano:
      You’re telling me I wouldn’t like Knoblauch now? How does that make sense considering I already said (above, 5th comment) that he was one of my 2 favorite 2B sinve I’ve been a fan. I don’t care about his throwing issues or any BS mental issues. I just loved his style of play, the way he worked his AB’s, the way he approached the game.

      Masses are asses, as the saying goes. I refuse to be told that I wouldn’t have liked a player just because others wouldn’t.

    15. MJ Recanati
      July 22nd, 2010 | 8:30 am

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Just to be clear, I’m not yelling at you Corey. I’m just saying I loved Knobby no matter what, the same way I’ve loved A-Rod no matter what.

    16. July 22nd, 2010 | 8:33 am

      You guys would not love Knoblauch if he played today, heck he is 42 and has not played since 2002, I do not think, considering all of that he would be better than Cano

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