Let’s continue the Home Grown vs. Acquired Team match up with obsession #2 of Red Sox fans (or sometimes obsession #1, let’s face it)… THE NEW YORK YANKEES.
Click Here to review the rules.
Their history has been filled with home grown heroes whose names are among the most famous in the game… however the Yankees have had their share of big names picked up from other teams. One such trade kinda sorta haunted the Red Sox for 86 years!
Going through this it is amazing how deep some of the positions are (no room for home grown catchers Jorge Posada nor Hall of Famer Bill Dickey) and how shallow some of the pools are
(the fact that Butch Wynager was even considered is amazing!)
Well let’s list the big Yankee names…
Gehrig! Berra! DiMaggio! Mantle! Ruth! Ford! Wilcy Moore!
THE ALL TIME HOME GROWN YANKEE TEAM
The Yankees have had their share of brilliant home grown catchers, but how could there be any doubt here? Yogi is undoubtedly the most beloved living icon of baseball today. Beyond the Yogisms and his lovable qualities (and winning a decade plus staredown with George Steinbrenner) let’s not forget he was a three time AL MVP, won 10 rings, managed both the Yankees and the Mets to the World Series and was my grandpa’s favorite player.
(Most underrated Yogi-ism "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours.")
STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
Cal Ripken’s streak died because he needed a day off (and got help from the grounds crew when he found Kevin Costner in bed with his wife.)
Lou Gehrig’s streak died because he was DYING!
And had the class to say he felt lucky. Face it, if any of you gave that speech you’d say “What the F--- did I do to deserve this?”
In many ways was equal to Ruth as a hitter. Certainly Pride of the Yankees was better than any movie made about the Bambino. (I wonder if his mom really gave him hitting instructions towards the end of his career.)
STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
The second best Italian slugger the Yankees ever plucked from San Francisco. Also had an underratedly terrific nickname: Poosh Em Up. It’s incredible that in a lineup that featured Ruth and Gehrig that he still managed to drive in 100 runs a season. Who was on base?
Oh by the way, played his entire career with epilepsy. Not too shabby.
Chris DeLuca, writer of the brilliant What Sucks, sums it up best when he says “He is a 4 time World Champion, a World Series MVP, a future Hall of Famer, a multi millionaire and had Mariah Carey back when that meant something!”
When he took the microphone after the Yankees last game at the Stadium and gave the impromptu speech, you just knew that he gets it. He knows that he will be one of those Yankees like Whitey and Yogi that will always get standing ovations and he’ll have a monument some day.
It must be good to be him. No wonder all of us Red Sox fans hate him!
STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
A shockingly thin position for home grown Yankee talent, I give the spot to Rolfe over Pagliarulo. Rolfe was a 4 time All Star and got 213 hits and batted .329 for the 1939 Yankees… one of the five World Champions he played for.
STARTING LEFT FIELDER
Again, kind of surprising how few star left fielders the Yankees have developed over the years. But there is no shame in including White on this list. He was a Yankee for 14 years, being named to the All Star team during lean years in the Bronx, following the team to Queens for two years before getting a pair of rings at the end of his career. A classy guy even a Red Sox fan has to admire.
STARTING CENTER FIELDER
My Grandpa Vioni would be so happy to see I’ve included so many Italians in the starting line up.
Look, why DiMaggio?
Who else can say “I played with Lou Gehrig and married Marilyn Monroe?”
Who else can say “Hemmingway and Simon & Garfunkel wrote about me?”
That’s a cool life my friend. I hope he saved his Mr. Coffee money.
STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
OK, I know I am reaching here. Mickey is and always will be in everyone’s mind a center fielder. But when he came up, DiMaggio was still in center and Stengel played Mantle in right.
And Mickey was my mom’s favorite player… if you want to make my mom angry, go right ahead.
STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
OK, another reach… He only DHed 76 times out of 1785 career games. But let me say 5 things:
1) Mattingly belongs on this list.
2) I’m not about to bump Gehrig.
3) His bad luck is jaw dropping and I’m not going to dog pile on him
4) He was the only positive thing about the Yankees for a while
5) Yes mom, I know “DHed” is not a word.
THE STARTING ROTATION
Looking at Whitey’s regular season stats, two things jump out at me.
1) He only won 20 games twice yet consistently had Ace like numbers. That should give Mike Mussina some comfort.
2) It’s amazing how often Stengel used him out of the bullpen. Can you imagine trying to get a rally going only to have Whitey Ford come out of the pen? I bet he wasn’t on a pitch count.
When Joe Dimaggio spoke at my college graduation in 1994, he told a story about Lefty Gomez basically screwing around on the mound, walking bad hitters to get to good hitters for the challenge, and being a character. He was also a Hall of Famer who gave the Yankees four 20+ win seasons and went 6-0 in 7 World Series starts, completing 4 of them. Would probably be a media darling today.
The more you look at the stats the more you wonder if he belongs in the Hall.
He has the dominating seasons (including his mindboggling 1978 season.) He had a 20 win season as late as 1985. He has a 3-1 record with a 1.69 ERA in the World Series… It’s an intriguing argument. To think Steinbrenner almost dealt him to Toronto for Bill Singer.
Talk about bad luck as a player. He showed up in 1964, just as the Yankees 4 ½ decades of dominance was coming to a close. He was a consistent 20 game winner on forgettable Yankee teams only to retire in 1974… just before the going got good again. Won 5 rings as a coach for the Mets and Yankees.
Only one Yankee pitcher ever won the MVP. Did you guess Guidry, Gomez, Ford, Stottlemyre, Lyle, Gossage or Clemens. You’d be wrong. It’s Chandler after going 20-4 with a 1.64 ERA for the 1943 World Champion Yankees. The only question is… what was he doing playing baseball in 1943 and not being over seas fighting facism?
Rivera had Tommy John surgery after the 1992 season and the Yankees left him unprotected in the expansion draft. Both the Rockies and the Marlins passed on him. Good job.
Some people say he is overrated. Some people are idiots.
Before Bullpen closers were in fashion, “Porky” saved 18 games for the 1963 AL Champs and didn’t let up a run in his 4 World Series appearances.
And let’s face it, not many blogs are honoring Porky Reniff!
A 20 game winner and Rookie of the Year with the 1954 Yankees, he became a staple for Casey’s bullpen for two seasons. He went 12-8 with 19 saves for the 1957 AL Champs.
He could do everything for the Yankees… start, close, set up, be a long man. And with all due respect to El Duque Hernandez, Mendoza should have been the MVP of the 1999 ALCS. He shut down the Red Sox rallies in games 2 and 5. Torre knew it was Mendoza’s series as he let him close out the series in Fenway instead of Rivera.
Is the only living person with a Red Sox and a Yankees World Series ring.
One of the joys of writing these lists is when you stumble across a Wilcy Moore. He was the bullpen ace of the 1927 Yankees, a team some think was the greatest ever. As a Rookie that year, he made 38 relief appearances and 12 starts, going 19-7 with 13 saves with a 2.28 ERA. In the 4 game World Series, he threw a complete game AND a save.
He lost his stuff and got kicked around the minors and the Red Sox before the Yankees unearthed him in time for the 1932 World Series. With the Yankees on the verge of sweeping the Cubs (the day after Ruth supposedly called his shot) starter Johnny Allen got rocked for 4 runs in the first, highlighted by Frank Demaree’s 3 run shot.
Moore came out of the bullpen and gave the Yankees 5 1/3 innings of 2 hit, no earned run, no walk baseball. The Yankees rallied and won the game and the series with Moore the winning pitcher.
And I am sure that is more than ANYONE reading this knew of Wilcy Moore.
You are welcome, Wilcy.
Scooter was an MVP, the spark plug of the greatest era of Yankee baseball ever and the single funniest broadcaster in the history of baseball.
All of that makes him a worthy Hall of Famer in my eyes.
There are some who objected to him being in the Hall.
I say to them his acceptance speech, which was the funniest Cooperstown speech I have ever heard, made it worth it.
All due respect to Frank Crosetti, who I originally had here, this belongs to Joe Gordon.
The new Hall of Famer was the AL MVP for the 1942 AL Champs and was a slugging 20 homer 100 RBI second baseman before that was popular. Why did it take so long to get him into the hall?
He has the post season heroics (Big Papi is the only other person with two walk off post season homers) and the big regular season numbers too. He has the grace and dignity of a Champion who acts like he’s been there before. And he has a guitar CD available at Amazon.
Only Don Mattingly had worse luck for a beloved ringless Yankee. At least Murcer got to play in a World Series. As beloved and classy as anyone to wear the pinstripes, he deserves a plaque on the new Monument Park wall. (How did he not have one before he died?)
8 years after the Dodgers broke the color barrier, the Yankees finally brought up their first black player. He was no token Pumpsie Green. He had power, could hit for average (batted .348 for the 1961 World Champs), was the 1963 AL MVP, a 12 time All Star won a pair of Gold Gloves and allowed the Yankees to seamlessly ease Yogi Berra from behind the plate into left field and finally the role of manager. With all apologies to Bill Dickey, this spot belongs to Howard.
I have learned over the years of interacting with Yankee fans that you can get into arguments and trash talk with them and they’ll trash talk back. But don’t you dare say a bad thing about Thurman Munson. I’m serious… they’ll form a posse and burn down your house. For that reason (along with the fact that he was a great player and to me as a kid WAS the Yankees) he needs to be on the list.
So there’s the home grown team.
Jus about every major era represented and almost every member beloved (let’s get more love for Wilcy Moore.)
Now everyone accuses the Yankees of buying Championships.
Let’s review what they bought!
THE ALL TIME ACQUIRED YANKEE TEAM
Talk about bad luck for someone wanting a ring. He was part of the Yankee revival in 1993 where they fell short of the division. He was on the 1994 team that probably would have won the pennant if the strike didn’t happen. He was on the 1995 team that lost the heart breaker to Seattle. The Yankees dropped him in favor of Girardi for 1996 and he went to Boston while New York won it all. He came back to the Bronx for 1997 in time to play in the heart breaking division series against the Indians. He went back to Boston for 98, 99 and 2000… all World Series winners for the Yankees. He finished his career with the 2000 A’s, whose season ended with the Yankees beating them on their way to a World Series title… without Stanley. DAMN that is bad timing!
STARTING FIRST BASEMAN
To think he was vilified when he came over from Seattle. He had the audacity of NOT being Don Mattingly. When Jason Giambi came over he was vilified for having the audacity of NOT being Tino Martinez. Post season heroics, including his grand slam in the 1998 World Series and his 2 out 2 run game tying shot in game 4 of the 2001 World Series will buy you a lot of love.
STARTING SECOND BASEMAN
It’s easy to forget he started his career in Pittsburgh and even played in the NLCS before coming to New York. It’s easy to forget he later made the All Star team as a Dodgers, played in the World Series for Oakland, nearly won a batting title in Milwaukee and finished his career with the Mets. He always seemed like a Yankee. And after the Mets sleazy dumping of him last year, Willie returned to Yankee Stadium for closing festivities with a slide into second. I don’t care that he is now a Brewers coach… he’s a true Yankee.
According to baseball-reference his middle name is Earl. That’s funny… I guess all of us Red Sox fans were mistaken. We thought it started with the letter F.
STARTING THIRD BASEMAN
It’s funny… I almost put Graig (sic) Nettles in this spot. I almost did it because A-Rod has been so vilified and Yankee fans have seemed so suspicious of him since he arrived that out of respect for Nettles, who DID walk the walk in October, I nearly benched A-Rod. The man has won 2 MVPs in a Yankees uniform. The man will probably hit his 600th homer next year. He will probably hit his 700th homer in 3 years.
He has a legit chance to be the all time leader in hits, runs and home runs.
I’m going to risk my reputation and say “He’s better than Nettles.”
STARTING LEFT FIELDER
Yankee fans should love him for this domino logic.
1) Steinbrenner hated him because he wasn’t Reggie.
2) Because Steinbrenner hated him he had Howie Spira illegally investigate Winfield.
3) Steinbrenner was suspended because of the Spira connection.
4) With Steinbrenner out of the picture, Stick Michael was able to develop talent in the farm and not have to worry if they would be impulsively traded by George.
5) Stick developed Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada, Jim Leyritz and Mariano Rivera among others.
6) They became the building blocks to the dynasty so good and powerful than even Steinbrenner couldn’t break it up.
And it all goes back to Winfield.
STARTING CENTER FIELDER
John Milton Rivers only played 3 ½ seasons in New York and still seems to be revered in the Bronx. His speed was so scary that Pete Rose changed his entire defensive strategy to prevent him from bunting. By the way, Leonard Armond Robinson was awesome as Mickey in The Bronx is Burning. Janine Green was even better as Mickey’s wife chewing out Steinbrenner in possibly the best scene in the miniseries.
STARTING RIGHT FIELDER
If Ruth was playing today, he’d be considered a prima donna. He’d be considered a baby. He’d be considered a T.O. type, ignoring the coaches, showing up out of shape, turning it on and off. Instead he is the single biggest figure in baseball history and along with Muhammed Ali, Joe Louis, Michael Jordan, Jim Brown and Tiger Woods, the biggest sports figure in American History.
Good thing he didn’t play today.
Safe to say that trade didn’t work out for the Red Sox.
STARTING DESIGNATED HITTER
It’s not arrogance if you can back it up. There have been better players than Reggie. There have been bigger stars than Reggie. There have even been better post season performers than Reggie. But has there ever been any baseball player cooler than Reggie?
Even Reggie haters have to admit his style was awesome.
The Yankees dealt Joe Gordon, a former MVP and got an actual Native American from Cleveland. What are the chances? Superchief (how about THAT for a PC nickname?) was the ace of the Yankees before Whitey Ford came about and kept contending for the MVP after Ford arrived. As with Ford, it’s amazing to see how many relief appearances he had, including 13 saves for the 1953 World Champs.
Born Edmund Lopatynski and yet changed his name for a team that still doesn’t put uniform names on the back. A native New Yorker stolen from the White Sox, formed a mighty foursome with Ford, Reynolds and Vic Raschi who probably should be on the list.
His best years were clearly with Oakland, but his signing with the Yankees let the world know that Steinbrenner was not going to shy from free agency. That legacy remains today as every single major free agent checks with the Bronx first. Catfish won 23 games his first year in the Bronx (actually in Queens as they were redoing the Stadium.) He also threw 328 innings and 30 complete games. A manager would be shot today if an expensive pitcher threw that many innings.
People forget that Babe Ruth wasn’t the only Red Sox star that Harry Frazee gave to the Yankees. He also sent Pennock in time for him to be a Hall of Fame starter for 4 pennant winners and 3 World Championships.
I hope he helped finance a good play!
There are other big pitchers that could have taken this last slot (Red Ruffing, Mike Mussina, Ed Whitson) but Cone’s arrival from Toronto for 3 garbage prospects helped spark the Yankees great comeback in the 1995 regular season. His wild Met days behind him, Cone was the steady force of the Yankees staff, including the key game 3 win in the 1996 World Series, a 20 win season in 1998 and a perfect game the next year.
How the hell did it take him this long to make it into the Hall of Fame?
People who are quick to anoint Mariano Rivera as the greatest reliever of all time should take a good long look at Gossage’s prime.
Can you imagine a closer throwing 134 innings in a single season? And posting a 2.01 ERA? His last save of the 1978 season was a 2 1/3 inning save of the Bucky Dent game. I’m going to say that was a pressure packed game.
It’s hard to believe the guy who was so bad in the 1995 Division Series against the Mariners that Showalter didn’t go to him in a closing situation in game 5 was the same guy who won the 1996 World Series MVP.
I never thought Rivera could replace him.
I’m not always right.
Sparky Lyle for Danny Cater! Good job Red Sox! Nice trade!
My cousin Kathy’s first favorite player.
My buddy Greg Lee has a mancrush on Righetti. He’s had it since high school when he thought the Yankees made a stupid decision moving him to the bullpen.
“I’m sure Sandy Koufax would have piled up a lot of saves too!” He once said.
He compared him to Sandy Koufax.
I’m not putting him THAT high, but any pitcher who can throw a no hitter and then save 46 games belongs on this list.
In 1961, Arroyo posted a 15-5 record and 29 saves while throwing 119 innings all in relief for the World Champs. He came out of the bullpen to win game 3 of the World Series in Cincinnati. Was played by Anthony Martinez in Billy Crystal’s surprisingly good 61*.
HERE’S Nettles! It’s funny, for people my age who are Yankee fans, there is a great love and reverence for Nettles. His ovation at old timers days are huge. Arte Lange has talked about him on Howard Stern. His injury probably cost the Yankees the 1981 World Series.
Even Bruce Springsteen referenced him in his Glory Days video.
Getting a Springsteen reference is kind of like a blessing from the Pope for some Yankee fans.
Man, thirdbase is deep on the all acquired team. He was a Gold Glove caliber third baseman on 5 pennant winners and 2 champions, hit the go ahead homer in game 1 of the 1962 World Series.
I’m sure he could have relaxed and enjoyed the homerun chase a little bit more himself. In many people’s eyes he is still the single season home run champ. Hard to believe they couldn’t sell out the last game of the 1961 season.
The coolest fact about O’Neill has nothing to do with his batting title, his 5 rings (including 1 with the Cincinnati Reds), his firey temper or his classy farewell from the fans during the 2001 World Series.
The coolest Paul O’Neill fact is that he is directly descended from Mark Twain.
I wonder if O’Neill gives a damn.
Yankee fans were wrong when they booed Girardi for having the audacity of not being Mike Stanley. They loved him when he tripled off of Greg Maddux in the 1996 World Series… but I have to admit, the “Joe Joe Girardi-O” song Steve Somers used to play on WFAN used to crack me up.
Who knows how long he'll last as manager.
He'd better not pile up the third place finishes.
If there was anyone who seemed destined to be the Yankees manager and fulfill the role of Steinbrenner piñata… getting fired and rehired constantly, it was sweet Lou. Keep in mind when you see Lou manage now, he was a disciple of Billy Martin… who was a disciple of Casey Stengel… who was a disciple of John McGraw. There’s a direct link, just no longer in New York.
SO WHO WOULD WIN IN A HEAD TO HEAD SERIES
The home grown line up is more balanced (and Italian) and if they have the lead, Rivera will close it out. But any line up with Ruth, A-Rod, Reggie and Winfield has to be devastating. And look at the depth of the bullpen.
VERDICT: THE ACQUIRED YANKEES WIN, BUT ARE NOT CONSIDERED TO BE TRUE YANKEES… WHATEVER THAT MEANS.
So that's the Yankees.
And the Red Sox.
28 to go.
Next All Time Home Grown vs. Acquired Team: THE MARLINS