I will be breaking down the top five Major League Baseball players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the best five players from least to best by who had the biggest impact for the New York Yankees.
Top Five New York Yankees Players in Franchise History:
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter
Jeter was the face of the New York Yankees as well as Major League Baseball. He was drafted in the sixth round by the New York Yankees in the 1992 draft out of Kalamazoo Central High School. Jeter made his major league debut for the Yankees in 1995 and became a sensation from the start.
Jeter played all 20 years of his career for the New York Yankees and ranks as one of the best shortstops to ever play the game. He is a five time World Series champion and was a primary contributor to the success of the Yankees in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Jeter is the all time career leader in hits, doubles, games played, stolen bases, times on base, plate appearances, and at bats for the New York Yankees. His accolades include 14 all star selections, five gold gloves, five silver sluggers, two Hank Aaron awards, and one Roberto Clemente award. He is also one of 28 players with 3,000 career hits and ranks sixth on the all time list in hits while being first in hits for a shortstop.Derek’s number 2 was retired by the Yankees in 2017.
5. Yogi Berra
Lawrence Peter (Yogi) Berra made his major league debut for the Yankees in 1946.He played 17 years for the Yankees before playing his last season for the Mets in 1965. Yogi was an 18 time all-star and won 10 World Series championships as a player.
Berra batted .285 and with 358 homeruns and 1,430 RBI. He is also one of only five players to win the American League MVP award 3 times in his career.The others are Albert Pujols, Jimmie Fox, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez. Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
4. Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle played his entire career as a New York Yankee from 1951-1968.
He was a 20 time all star, 7 time world series champion,a 3 time AL MVP, and a Triple Crown winner in 1956. Mantle’s number 7 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1969. Mickey was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1998.
3. Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig,the “Iron Horse”, played his entire career in New York after making his debut in 1923. He was a 7 time all star, two time AL MVP, six time champion, and he won the Triple Crown in 1934.
His career averages were outstanding: wa .340 battering average, .632 slugging percentage, .447 on base percentage as well as 493 homeruns and 2,000 RBI. Gehrig was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. Lou set multiple major league records including most care grand slams and consecutive games played.
Lou had his number 4 retired by the Yankees in 1939 following his retirement due to amytrophic lateral sclerosis.
2. Joe Dimaggio
Joe Dimaggio also played his whole 13 year career in New York debuting in 1936.
He was a three time MVP, 13 time all- star, and led the Yankees to 10 AL Pennants and 9 World Series Championship. Dimaggio was also a two time American League batting champion, home run leader, and RBI leader.He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. Dimaggio’s number 5 is also retired by the New York Yankees and he is a honoree in Monument Park. Along with Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle, Dimaggio made the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.His 56 consecutive game hitting streak set in 1941 has never been broken.
1. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth was acquired by the Yankees from Boston in 1920.
Ruth was moved to the outfield after joining New York,and he went on to set many Major League records including homeruns, runs batted in, base on balls, slugging percentage, and on base plus slugging percentage. Some of his records have since been broken but he remains top five in all of the categories. Ruth is widely known as the greatest sports hero in American culture and the first celebrity athlete. Ruth is a two time all star, 7 time World Series champion, 12 time AL homerun leader, 6 time AL RBI leader, and in 1916,was the ERA leader in the American League.
After Ruth was traded to the Yankees, the Red Sox curse would begin and they would go over 80 years without winning a championship. Ruth’s number 3 would also be retired by the Yankees. Ruth was also named to the Major League Baseball All-Century and All-Time Team. Babe was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1936 as one of the “first five” inaugural members.