The New York Yankees close out the American League entries in our Mount Rushmore series, and this one is a doozy.
This franchise started as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901 and after a couple of unremarkable years they relocated to New York and renamed themselves the Highlanders. In 10 years under that name, they had some decent years, with a few 2nd-place finishes. In 1913 they rebranded themselves as the Yankees. Come 1921, they won their league 3 times in a row, and after losing the World Series in 1921 and 1922, they won their first world championship in 1923.
The Yankees won their next championship in 1927, with what is largely regarded as the great baseball team ever fielded. They won again in 1928, and 1932. Then, in 1936, they started a run of 4 championships in a row. More wins in 1941, 1943, and 1947 preceded a 5-year championship run starting in 1949.
Between 1955 and 1964, they made 9 more World Series, winning 4 times. The team then had a long dry spell, with no post-season appearances for 11 years, what felt like an eternity then. Between 1976 and 1981 they made 4 more World Series, winning twice. Then there was a 13-year dry spell, with no playoff appearances. Finally in 1995 they made it back and won 5 championships between 1996 and 2009.
Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying that this franchise has had a ton of fantastic players. Choosing the 4 isn’t going to be easy…let’s give it a try.
Here are the top 15 Yankees batters, by career WAR:
OK, so, here ar some of the players who didn’t make the top 15: Don Mattingly, Jorge Posada, Gil McDougald, Phil Rizzuto, Rickey Henderson…for many other teams, these guys would have a legit shot at making their Mount Rushmore. For the Yankees, they don’t necessarily even make the ballot.
Here are the pitchers, top 15 by WAR:
Wanna know who didn’t make this list? Spud Chandler, Rich Gossage, Tommy John, Allie Reynolds, Roger Clemens…another wow.
OK, here’s the poll. I tried to limit it to 10 hitters & 10 pitchers but found that it wasn’t possible, so it’s an awfully long list. And away we go.
Please choose 4.