There are many New York Yankees that were great Yankees, but for one reason or another will never reach legend status. Mostly, they weren’t with the Yankees long enough, yet still had a positive impact on the Yankees while in pinstripes. Most were also fun to watch play.Â Today Santa looks back on his favorite five Yankees that fit into this category in modern times.
When you think of Yankees smiles the one and only Nick Swisher comes to mind. No other Yankees ever smiled so much. Swisher wasn’t a great player but he was good. He always looked like the cat the swallowed the mouse. You could tell he had something up his sleeve or was about to prank some fellow player. From 2009 to 2012 “Swish” hit .268 for the Yankees with 105 home runs. To pick a video I decided on one of his walk-off homers instead of the time he pitched for the Yankees and pitched a clean inning.
Few players that played for the Yankees were as much fun to watch play than Ichiro Suzuki. Suzuki was a great defender in right field and a really good hitter always seeming to get on base. One of the reasons he was so much fun to watch was his unusual batting stance and the fact that he was constantly doing stretching exercises both at home plate and in the outfield. It may be a reason he was able to play pro ball for 27 years. He will be a Legend but not for his Yankee years. There is no question when 2025 rolls around the Baseball Hall of Fame will have it’s first Japanese born player enshrined.
Scott Brosius was not the most fun player to play ball for the Yankees but he was entertaining. Whenever there was an important play, Brosius usually was involved. He played for the Yankees during the last four years of his career. He was instrumental in the Yankees 1998 World Series. He was a Silver Slugger and Gold Glover while in pinstripes. At the end of the 1997 season Brosius was told that he was traded to the New York Yankees.
“After about 10 minutes, the first initial shock wore off, and I kind of was like, ‘Wow, I’m putting on the pinstripes. I’m going to New York. How cool is this?'”
Well it was pretty cool for Brosius and for the Yankees. The Yankees not only got a great guy but they got a guy who would be named 1998 World Series MVP.
Some of you are going to wonder why Joe Girardi is on this list. As I said these picks are mine and are arbitrary.Â The reason I liked to watch Joe Girardi both as a catcher and as the Yankee manager is that few players ever played the game as hard and with such intensity (think Brett Gardner). When he played for the Yankees he was all business and that carried over to his management style, which just might have forced eventually out of a job. Joe was the closest thing to Billy Martin as a manager. Few managers ever argued with umpires more than Billy Martin, Lou Pinella and Joe Girardi. When Joe would go out onto the field to fight with the Umps, the fans would go crazy.Â On July 18, 1999, Joe caught David Cone’s perfect game in the World Series 1999 winning season.Â
The story of Joba Chamberlain is a sad one. He had star power as a starting pitcher but the New York Yankees handled him very badly, never letting him get into a groove. The 2009 “Joba rules” got into his head. There was immense expectations for the young man, but he was never allowed to work up to those expectations. Chamberlain pitched seven years for the Yankees. When he left the Yankees he fall apart. He never had another win with the Tigers, Royals or Indians. He retired from baseball and is presently a pitching analyist with MLB Network.Â Joba also had one of the most unique moments in baseball as the below video shows.