Should the New York Yankees consider retiring Brett Gardner’s number 11 when all is said and done?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

I realize that it seems a little premature to talk about retiring a player’s number while he is still in the active roster. However, Brett Gardner has reunited the necessary requirements to be considered for such an honor. After all, he is the longest-tenured New York Yankees‘ member and has remained a one-team player up to this point, in a time in which that is becoming quite uncommon.

According to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, “the Yankees do not divulge the criteria for players to have their numbers retired, but a club spokesperson told MLB.com that a committee of veteran Yankees executives are tasked with reviewing potential candidates.”

Gardner is not flashy. He is not a slugger, either. However, he has managed to contribute year in and year out, excelling with his marvelous glove and savvy baserunning. His bat carries more than enough thump, as well, and in the past three seasons, he has hit 61 home runs. He has gotten better at age 36!



So why shouldn’t the New York Yankees consider retiring Brett Gardner’s number 11 when the moment comes? Of course, it may be later down the road, in five, ten, fifteen years. Maybe more. But he, at the very least, merits consideration.

A place in Yankees’ history

So far, the Yankees have retired these numbers: Billy Martin (No. 1), Derek Jeter (No. 2), Babe Ruth (No. 3), Lou Gehrig (No. 4), Joe DiMaggio (No. 5), Joe Torre (No. 6), Mickey Mantle (No. 7), Yogi Berra (No. 8), Bill Dickey (No. 8), Roger Maris (No. 9), Phil Rizzuto (No. 10), Thurman Munson (No. 15), Whitey Ford (No. 16), Jorge Posada (No. 20), Don Mattingly (No. 23), Elston Howard (No. 32), Casey Stengel (No. 37), Mariano Rivera (No. 42), Reggie Jackson (No. 44), Andy Pettitte (No. 46), Ron Guidry (No. 49) and Bernie Williams (No. 51).

Yes, Gardner would be in really nice company there. But not all of those names have one thing Brett can currently brag about: playing their whole careers with the Yankees.

And there could be statistical merits, too! Consider the fact that Gardner is, currently, 23rd in the Yankees’ all-time WAR list when it comes to position players, with 37. He is above Howard and Maris, for example, and he could add more before he retires.

Gardner’s 267 stolen bases are third in franchise history behind Jeter (358) and Rickey Henderson (326.)