The MLB are asking for us to pick our four best players in the history of the Yankees franchise history. If your bothered you can vote on all teams. I decided to do that on a number of teams. Mostly they are easy choices. For example the Dodgers, you have to pick Robinson. The Giants one of the guys has to be Willie Mays. Mays was by all reckonings one of the finest players to ever step on the diamond.
For the cheek of it I also picked among others, Joe Jackson from the 1919 White Sox. He has the third best career average in the history of the game, and was accused of throwing the World Series of 1919. However while he himself admited to taking money to throw the game there was no way on earth that he threw the games so good was his performance during that season. Kene-Saw Mountin Landis made an example of him, perhaps trying to show that he had supreme power over the players, perhaps to try and make sure that this would never happen again. Whatever it was that caused it, the sport was robbed of a great player who could have been greater. I think he deserves to be mentioned, recognised for what he was. Now enough of the White Sox.
Who would I pick for the Yankees. That is the main thing about this post. Here are the choices, and then I will tell you who I picked and why.
And a write in vote.
Now obviously they are all great players and really to try and pick four out of that list, or to even suggest another name makes this a difficult exercise. But I shall tell you who I picked and why. You can tell me what you think.
Babe Ruth. He is easily one of the biggest names to ever play for the Yankees. He turned the Yankees from being a struggling team who barely got attention from New York baseball fans. Let’s face it, Babe Ruth was the cornerstone of all Yankee success. He is the one that we have to thank for what has become a standard of excellence in the pin stripes of NYC.
Lou Gherig. Sure, emotion takes over. Here we have a Yankee Captain who was a great hitter. Perhaps even better than Ruth. He was the first person to hit four homers in one game. He played the most consecutive games to make a record that was not broken until 1995. A record that would have been higher had it not been for his sickness which took his manly power before it finally took his life. This is purely emotional, but tinged also with the knowledge that Gherig came to be something more than a tragic figure. But one of the finest Yankees, the backbone of the team at a time when they were still becoming the team we have come to know and love.
Thurman Munson. This is my write in choice. There is a very important reason why I picked Munson. Not just because he was the first Yankee captain since Gherig. That was not the main thing behind my choosing him. He was one of the key players to lead the Yankees back to the World Series and to win the AL Pennant. After years of failure, he was the dogged, and hard nosed leader who by his example showed the other Yankees what it mean to play with pride. To be honest I am shocked that he was not on the list, because of the crucial role that he played in rebuilding the team after they had been so poor for so long in the mid 60s- to late 70s. Munson has to be in my franchise four.
Derek Jeter: Following on with the theme of building or rebuilding I think that Derek Jeter is a must to be included in the Franchise Four. Once again his leadership on the field and off the field helped to turn the Yankees around from being a joke of a team in the 80s and 90s, to being one of the finest Yankees dynasties in the team history. Sure there were other players that made a vital contribution to the team at this time. Bernie Williams being one of the first players from this dynasty to play for the team. But Jeter stands out for all of my generation as the Yankee player of era. Like Ruth, and Munson before him he led the team at a time of rejuvenation. Like Gherig he went about playing his game, scoring hit after hit and doing so with a sense of dignity and class that it would be an example to all how to play the game. He also like Gherig and Munson came to be the ideal Yankee captain, and though others have had the role of captain, none led the team with the same force and leadership as they have done.
Now of course Mantle, Berra, DiMaggio and others like that were worthy names to be included they all played on the team when the Yankees were a championship winners. They didn’t have to lead or play for a team that had spent a prolonged period of time as a weak team. They didn’t have to turn the team around from being a losing team to becoming a championship team as Ruth, Munson and Jeter did. So while it was hard to leave them out of the list, I felt that it would have been worse not to ackowledge the roles that the other four played in making the Yankees what we love about them.