Mariano and Jeter……How do they rank with the Yankee Greats ?
Since the retirement of Mickey Mantle after the 1968 season, the exclusive group of Yankee immortals has always been Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. The hot topic of debate in the NY sports media this season has been whether or not Derek Jeter should be added to this elite group, which has not had a new member in over 40 years.We also feel Mariano Rivera should be equally considered.
At www.baseballsgreatesthitters.com we would like to break down how we came up with our Top 10 List. Our main focus was who is the greatest “Yankee,” not necessarily the greatest “Player.” We also took into consideration the greatness of the player in “his era” of Yankee history. In putting together our list, a position player was given the nod over a pitcher.
The Top 10 Yankee Greats:
1. Babe Ruth
2. Joe DiMaggio
3. Mickey Mantle
4. Lou Gehrig
5. Derek Jeter
6. Mariano Rivera
7. Yogi Berra
8. Whitey Ford
9. Don Mattingly
10. Thurman Munson
Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, Phil Rizzuto, Elston Howard, Roger Maris, Billy Martin, Bobby Murcer, Graig Nettles, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Dave Winfield, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez
Below is a player analysis used in putting together our list.
1. Babe Ruth – The greatest Yankee of all-time, the greatest player of all-time. When any type of ratings or lists are put together, Babe Ruth stands alone, put him at the top of the list and then compare the rest.
2. Joe DiMaggio – Looking back at the career of DiMaggio and examine the first part of his career (pre WW II ), Joe D. can be considered the greatest right hitter of all-time and perhaps the greatest all around player in the history of the game. Very early in his career, the Yankees became DiMaggio’s team, though Lou Gehrig was still on the team, Joe, took over as the # 1 Yankee.
3. Mickey Mantle – Mickey was the first superstar ballplayer to have been blessed with incredible power from both sides of the plate as well as amazing speed. Baseball has never before seen such a combination of power and speed. Mickey was a very special player and at his very best was one of the 10 greatest ballplayers in the history of the game. We do rank Mantle # 3, behind Joe, since the “DiMaggio Cloud ” hung over the Mick for a good part of his career.
4. Lou Gehrig – Lou Gehrig, though one of the greatest hitters and run producers in history of the game, spent a good part of his career playing in the shadow of Babe Ruth as well as Joe DiMaggio. Baseball fans seem to remember him for his consecutive game streak and his farewell speech. At baseballsgreatesthitters.com we rank Lou Gehrig as the second greatest hitter in Yankee history, as well as, the second greatest hitter who ever lived.
5. Derek Jeter – We feel,when we look back at the career of Derek Jeter, there is very little doubt that the Yankee Captain belongs in the company of the all-time Yankee greats Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle.Though, he may not be at the same talent level of this elite group. Derek Jeter in “his era” in Yankee history, enters the list as one of the five greatest Yankees. We also should keep in mind Derek Jeter was a “clean” player playing in the steroid era…an obstacle the other Yankee greats never dealt with.
6. Mariano Rivera – We rank Mariano a shade below Jeter, giving Derek the edge because he is an everyday player. It is very easy to sum up Mariano’s career………. The Greatest In Baseball History.
7. Yogi Berra – Yogi Berra is one of the greatest catchers in the history of the game. One of the most popular Yankees who ever lived, MVP’s, Championship Rings…Yogi did it all. We do rank Berra behind Jeter and Mariano since we feel he was never the #1 player on his Yankee teams, the first part of his career behind DiMaggio, and the second half of his career second to Mantle.
8. Whitey Ford – Whitey Ford is the greatest pitcher in Yankee history, as well as one of the best World Series pitchers the game has ever seen.Whitey, along with Mickey and Yogi, will always be remembered as a key player on those championship teams, but we do rank Ford just below Berra, giving Yogi the edge as an everyday player.
9. Don Mattingly – Not a Hall Of Famer, no championship rings, but in that 6/7 year stretch, when he was at his best, Don was not only the best player on his team, he was, perhaps, the best player in baseball. At times we seem to forget what huge star and fan favorite Mattingly once was. In the 1980’s, Don Mattingly was the greatest ballplayer the Yankee fans have seen since Mickey Mantle.
10. Thurman Munson – The first Yankee captain since Lou Gehrig, Munson was one of the most respected and popular players ever to wear the pinstripes. When looking back at those Yankee teams of the70’s, though Reggie Jackson did grab most of the headlines, Thurman Munson was the heart and soul of those championship teams.
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