New York Yankee Top 10s: The Yankees’ top 10 acquisitions in the modern era

In my New York Yankees top 10 series that has covered most aspects of Yankee baseball, we appropriately take a look at the top 10 Yankee acquisitions in the modern era as a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in the offing, hopefully, sooner than later.

These acquisitions come from both signings and trades.  The Yankees have had many homegrown star players and had to look outside their farm system to fill various needs. Owner George M. Steinbrenner was the first owner to make big moves and set the tone for acquisitions in the future. This has been the most difficult to complete top 10s so far.  Many will disagree with the placements, however, with the Yankees now looking to acquire players to improve the team, it seemed appropriate to examine these past acquisitions.

10. Ricky Henderson

Henderson was one of the longest-tenured players, playing for 25 years, 5 of them with the Yankees.  During his five years, he stole 326 bases, making him the all-time base stealer for the Yankees. He hit .288 and had 78 home runs during the span while having an excellent fielding percentage in all areas of the outfield. He was an All-Star every year he was a New York Yankee.

9. CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia was instrumental in the Yankees winning their last World Series in 2009. Sabathia came to the Yankees from the Milwaukee Brewers. In his eleven years with the Yankees, he had a record of 134 and 88.  During the Yankees’ years, he was a workhorse, always giving his best effort for a win.

8. Masahiro Tanaka

Brian Cashman brought Masahiro Tanaka to the Yankees from the Eagles of the Japanese league in 2013 in a seven-year contract that will end this season, whether there is one or not. During his time with the Yankees, he is 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA. Tanaka has never had a losing season with the Yankees.

7. David Wells

The highlight of David Wells’s career was his perfect game on May 17, 1998, the tenth no-hitter in Yankee history.  Wells for the Yankees was 34-14 in his two-year stint; that’s a .706 winning percentage, one of the best for the Yankees. Wells pitched 21 years all in the American League.

Wells was quite a character that didn’t care much for rules. He has admitted he pitched his perfect game while nursing a bad hangover. In 1998 he would help the Yankees with his 18-4 record and propelled them to the World Series shut out of the San Diego Padres.

6. Reggie Jackson

Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner made Reggie Jackson the highest-paid baseball player when he hired Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles. Jackson was a controversial player as he was a bit of a show-off, and Manager Billy Martin didn’t want the Yankees to hire him. It didn’t help when he was quoted as saying, I am the straw that stirs the drink, a phrase that he never said but caused a rift with Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson.

In his five years with the Yankees, Jackson had many memorable moments, including his three home runs that caused him to be called Mr. October. In 1977 in the sixth game of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson hit three home runs off three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. Jackson batted .284 with 144 home runs while a Yankee.

5. Mike Mussina

On this list, Mike Mussina is the one player that often flew under the radar. After being a Baltimore Oriole star pitcher, Mussina became a New York Yankee. He never had a losing season in his eight years with the Yankees, winning 10 or more games every year. Mussina was not only an outstanding pitcher, but he was an excellent defender as any pitcher ever grace the mound.

On some writers’ top 10 lists, they don’t even include Mussina.  For the Yankees, he was Mr. Steady is one of the Yankees’ most dependable pitchers during his time with the Yankees. The brilliant Stanford grad, with a thinking pitcher that adjusted to every situation. His performance never diminished with age. In the last year of his career, he had his first 20 win season, becoming the oldest pitcher to have a 20 win season.

On January 22, 2019, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, receiving 76.71% of the vote for his pitching with both the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees. Mike has the distinction of being the first American League pitcher to win ten or more games in each of 17 consecutive seasons.

4. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is a controversial New York Yankee, to say the least. Many fans cite his performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers and tend to ignore his performance with the Yankee club. But the facts are still the facts. During his 22 years playing the game, he was one of the best in either league.

For his 12 years with the Yankees, he hit 30 home runs a year, with 1,100 RBIs while hitting .283. He was a seven-time All-Star and a seven-time MVP candidate, winning the prestigious award twice. He would be a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame if it were not for his drug use, which most likely will never come to fruition.

I have to admit that I am a writer that does not place as much importance on drug use as many writers do. My stance is that dozens if not hundreds of other players, used some doping during that period that was never caught; thus, many stats may be in question. In the case of Rodriguez, his career wouldn’t have been less impressive even if he hadn’t made the bad decision to break the rules.

3. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neil played for only two teams in his baseball career, nine years with the Yankees in the second half of his career  At the end of the 1992 season, the Reds traded O’Neill outright for Yankee outfielder Roberto Kelly. He batted .311 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in his first year. O’Neill played with such vigor that owner George M. Steinbrenner would give him the nickname the ‘Warrior” which stuck.

In his second year, he got the AL batting title batting .359. If O’Neill missed a hit he thought he should have gotten, batting racks and water coolers often felt his wrath. Stick Michael made the trade that would change the face of the Yankees for years to come. Paul made amazing plays in defending the right field. He played fiercely and hurt; he was the ultimate warrior the Yankee fans loved.

2. Roger Clemens

The acquisition of Roger Clemens was one of the best the New York Yankees ever made. In 1996 the Yankees sent Graeme Lloyd, David Wells, and Homer Bush to the Toronto Blue Jays for their ace pitcher Clemens. In his first year with the Yankees, he helped them win the 1999 World Series. In 2000 he almost single-handedly retook them to the World Series with his 20-3 season. The Yankees would win that series as well. Yankee fans never fully embraced Clemens due to his long tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

Also, in 2000, Roger would win the prestigious Cy Young Award at the age of 38. Roger is one of the longer-tenured pitchers in baseball, pitching for 24 years. With the Yankees, he would win twice as many games as he lost. He went 83-42 in his six years with the Yankees for a .664 winning percentage. It is outrageous that this three-time Cy Young Award isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  Last year he received 72.5% of the votes compared to the 75% needed to be inducted. He has one year left of eligibility.

1. Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth isn’t a modern era Yankee acquisition but must be included in the list as the best move the Yankees ever made in procuring him from the cash-strapped Boston Red Sox. Following Ruth becoming a Yankee, he transformed himself into a great hitting outfielder. He made his name with the Yankees as one of the best if not the best player to ever play baseball.

Honorable mentions:

David Cone, Starky Lyle, Roger Maris, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Hideki Matsui, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher.

Gerrit Cole could not be included for the Yankee top 10s as he hasn’t had a long enough time or games thrown to prove he belongs on this list. However, he has to be mentioned as he may be in the future proclaimed one of the best Yankee acquisitions in history; only time will tell.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees Top 10s: The Yankees most notable home runs throughout history

The New York Yankees are the winningest baseball team with the most World Championships in all sports with 27. In baseball, part of winning is hitting home runs, and the Yankees have hit plenty. Today we look at my selection for the ten most influential home runs in Yankee history. This is part of my Top 10 series that covers everything in Yankee baseball, from the best seasons to the best outfielders and more.

10. Bucky Dent gives the Yankees the lead over the Red Sox

In 1978, Bucky Dent and Ron Guidry stepped up to lead the Yankees past the Red Sox and into the playoffs. One measly game at Fenway Park determined whether Dent and the 1978 Yankees would continue their season. That time it wasn’t a playoff game, but rather a 163rd regular-season game as a tiebreaker made necessary. Dent’s seventh-inning, two-out, three-run homer off Mike Torrez sealed the deal for the Yankees, and they advanced to the postseason. The Yankees won that series four games to two over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

9. Did Babe Ruth call that shot?

Number 9 is controversial as to this date no one knows if Babe Ruth really called that home run. The “Bambino” supposedly pointed to the center-field fence at Wrigley Field in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, calling that he would hit a home run to center field, much to the joy of Yankee fans, he did just that. In a recently uncovered audio from Lou Gehrig, he seems to agree that he did, in fact, point out that he would hit a home run.

8. Mikey Mantle dents the facade

On May 22, 1963, it was looking like another Yankees romp over the Kansas City Athletics as they led by the score of 7-0 going into the eighth inning. Much to the chagrin of Yankees fans, the Athletics hit seven unanswered runs in the ninth inning, tying up the game. The tie remained until the bottom of the eleventh inning when Mickey Mantle took to the plate. Bill Fisher on the mound, Mantle swung so hard at his first pitch he fell to the ground. Fischer then tried to sneak a fastball by him, and Mickey unleashed a powerful blast at just the precise moment, with his bat speed at its maximum, the ball was hit off the sweet spot of Mantle’s bat, the ball looked as if would be the first ball ever to exit Yankee Stadium, but it hit the third tier facade 370? from home plate and 118? Off the ground for game-winning, walk-off home run. 

7. The “Babe” hits his 60th

On September 30, 1927, Babe Ruth hits his 60th home run of the 1927 season and, with it, sets a record that would stand for 34 years. No one had ever before hit 60 home runs in a single season. The record would hold up until Roger Maris would beat it in 1961.

6. Roger Maris tops baseball with his 61st

My number six and another baseball first and first for the Yankees. Roger Maris exceeded Babe Ruth’s home run record with 61 home runs. During 1961 it was a season for the M&M boys as Maris and Mickey Mantle raced to have the most home runs of the season. Mantle came close, but injuries at the end of the season allowed Maris to pass him. Maris hit 61, and Mantle hit 53 long balls.

5. Reggie Jackson named Mr. October

The Yankees faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. New York headed back to the Bronx for Game 6 with a 3-2 lead. Jackson had caught fire, clobbering home runs in Game 4 and Game 5. He was as hot as ever. Jackson would give the Yankees the lead with a big bomb in the fourth inning. He would hit another home run in the fifth inning to right field. Then in the eighth inning Jackson the show off he was strutted to the plate and hit his third home run of the game, a blast that seemingly never landed. The Yankees won the World Series four games to two. After the game, in an interview with catcher Thurman Munson, the told reports ask Mr. October, the rest is history.

4. Jim Leyritz kicks off a dynasty

On Oct. 23, 1996, the Yankees had not won a World Series since 1978. On that day up stepped a backup catcher named Jim Leyritz, with just a stick for Mark Wohlers’ nuclear fastball. He hung the slider. And Leyritz hammered it out of the Atlanta Braves park. The Yankees won the World Series and would go on to win four in just five years. It is said that Leyritz fueled that dynasty.

3. Chris Chambliss struggles to get to home plate

On a cold New York Yankees autumn night on October 14, 1976, the fifth game of a winner take all ALCS game, the game would be at a standstill in the bottom of the ninth. Kansas City relief pitcher Mark Littell would be taking warm-up tosses, Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard was cautioning the crowd of over 58,000 about throwing debris onto the playing field. The game had already been stopped several times for bottles, firecrackers, beer cans, and rolls of toilet paper being thrown from the stands. 

Meanwhile, Yankee first baseman Chris Chambliss waited in the cold. The delay prevented Littell from staying loose and interfered with his rhythm. Finally, at 11:13 PM, Chambliss stepped into the batter’s box, and home-plate umpire Art Frantz yelled, “Play ball” Littell would throw Chris a high fastball that Chambliss would smash over the right-field wall for a walk-off win and one of the most iconic moments in baseball history, as the Yankee fans emptied the stands and filled the fields.

2. Aaron Boone settles it at Fenway Park

Aaron Boone is the present Yankees field manager, but he was not unknown to Yankee fans before he took the managerial job. In 2003 the Yankees met the Red Sox in the ALCS. In the American League Championship Series, the Yankees and Boston Red Sox were tied, 3-3. Boston hasn’t won a World Series since 1918, still plagued by the Curse of the Bambino. Red Sox fans were ready for a game 7 win ending the drought. Aaron Boone had other ideas. The game was tied at five into the eleventh inning. Boone stepped to the plate with Tim Wakefield on the mount. Wakefield offered Boone a floater that Boone sent just inside the left-field foul pole, and the Yankees advanced to the World Series that they lost to the then Florida Marlins 4 games to 2.

1. Babe Ruth baptizes the new Yankee Stadium

Babe Ruth made a lot of money for the New York Yankees allowing them to move out of the Polo Grounds and build their own stadium in the Bronx. As if a forerunner for the Yankees 27 World Championships, Babe Ruth hit a home run in his second at-bat on the opening day of the new stadium. It was April 18, 1923. The Yankees gave the official attendance that day as 74,200 but later amended that number to 62,200. Ruth with his second opportunity of the day to deliver the desired blow. He fouled off Red Sox pitcher Howard Ehmke’s first pitch, took a ball, hit another pitch foul, and watched ball two go by. Then Ehmke left a letter-high curveball over the plate that Ruth ripped several rows up into the bleachers for a three-run blast that gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead. This is just one more reason that Yankee Stadium was called the “House that Ruth built.”

Honorable mentions: Bobby Mercer on the day that Yankee great Thurman Munson (1979) was put to rest, Mercer homers for the Yankee win and his passed best friend. Lou Gehrig had a four-homer game on June 3, 1932.

New York Yankee Top 10s: Best Yankee acquisitions in the modern era

In my New York Yankees top 10 series that has covered most aspects of Yankee baseball, today we look at the top 10 acquisitions in the modern era. These acquisitions come from both signings and trades. The Yankees have had many homegrown star players and had to look outside their farm system to fill various needs. Owner George M. Steinbrenner was the first owner to make big moves and set the tone for acquisitions for the future.

This has been the most difficult to complete top 10s so far. Many will disagree with the placements; however, with the Yankees now looking to pounce after the lockout is over to acquire players to improve the team, it seemed appropriate to examine these past acquisitions. Keep in mind that many of the Yankees’ best players were not acquisitions.

10. Ricky Henderson

Henderson was one of the longest-tenured players, playing for 25 years, 5 of them with the Yankees. During his five years, he stole 326 bases, making him the all-time base stealer for the Yankees. He hit .288 and had 78 home runs during the span while having an excellent fielding percentage in all outfield areas. He was an All-Star every year; he was a New York Yankee.

9. CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia was instrumental in the Yankees winning their last World Series in 2009. Sabathia came to the Yankees from the Milwaukee Brewers. In his eleven years with the Yankees, he had a record of 134 and 88. During his Yankee years, he was a workhorse, always giving his best effort for a win.

8. Masahiro Tanaka

Brian Cashman brought Masahiro Tanaka to the Yankees from the Eagles of the Japanese league in 2013 in a seven-year contract that will end this season, whether there is one or not. During his time with the Yankees up to this year, he is 75-45 with a 3.75 ERA. Tanaka has never had a losing season with the Yankees.

7. David Wells

The highlight of David Wells’s career was his perfect game on May 17, 1998, the tenth no-hitter in Yankee history. Wells for the Yankees was 34-14 in his two-year stint; that’s a .706 winning percentage, one of the best for the Yankees. Wells pitched 21 years, all in the American League.

Wells was quite a character that didn’t care much for rules. He has admitted he pitched his perfect game while nursing a bad hangover. In 1998 he would help the Yankees with his 18-4 record and propelled them to the World Series shut out of the San Diego Padres.

6. Reggie Jackson

Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner made Reggie Jackson the highest-paid baseball player when he hired Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles. However, Jackson was a controversial player as he was a show-off, and Manager Billy Martin didn’t want the Yankees to hire him. It didn’t help when he was quoted as saying, I am the straw that stirs the drink. A phrase that he never said but caused a rift with Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson.

In his five years with the Yankees, Jackson had many memorable moments, including his three home runs that caused him to be called Mr. October. In 1977 in the sixth game of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson hit three home runs off three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. Jackson batted .284 with 144 home runs while a Yankee.

5. Mike Mussina

Mike Mussina is the one player that often flew under the radar on this list. After being a Baltimore Oriole star pitcher, Mussina became a New York Yankee. He never had a losing season in his eight years with the Yankees, winning 10 or more games every year. Mussina was not only an outstanding pitcher, but he was an excellent defender as any pitcher ever to grace the mound.

On some writers’ top 10 lists, they don’t even include Mussina. For the Yankees, Mr. Steady is one of the Yankees’ most dependable pitchers during his time with the team. The brilliant Stanford grad was a thinking pitcher that adjusted to every situation. His performance never diminished with age. In the last year of his career, he had his first 20 win season, becoming the oldest pitcher to have a 20 win season.

He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for his pitching with the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees on January 22, 2019; he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, receiving 76.71% of the vote. Mike distinguishes being the first American League pitcher to win ten or more games in each of 17 consecutive seasons.

4. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is a controversial New York Yankee, to say the least. Many fans cite his performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers and ignore his Yankee club performance. But the facts are still the facts. During his 22 years playing the game, he was one of the best in either league.

For his 12 years with the Yankees, he hit 30 home runs a year, with 1,100 RBIs while hitting .283. He was a seven-time All-Star and a seven-time MVP candidate, winning the prestigious award twice. He would be a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame if it were not for his drug use, he would be a Hall of Fame shoo-in.

I have to admit that I am a writer that does not place as much importance on drug use as many writers do. My stance is that at least dozens of other players used some doping during that period that were never caught; thus, many stats may be in question. However, in the case of Rodriguez, his career wouldn’t have been less impressive even if he hadn’t made the bad decision to break the rules.

3. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neil played for only two teams in his baseball career, nine years with the Yankees in the second half of his career. Then, at the end of the 1992 season, the Red traded O’Neill outright for Yankee outfielder Roberto Kelly. He batted .311 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in his first year. O’Neill played with such vigor that owner George M. Steinbrenner would give him the nickname the “Warrior,” which stuck.

In his second year, he got the AL batting title batting .359. If O’Neill missed a hit he thought he should have gotten, batting racks and water coolers often felt his wrath. Stick Michael made the trade that would change the face of the Yankees for years to come. Paul made amazing plays in defending the right field. He played fiercely and hurt; he was the ultimate warrior the Yankee fans loved.

2. Roger Clemens

The acquisition of Roger Clemens was one of the best the New York Yankees ever made. In 1996 the Yankees sent Graeme Lloyd, David Wells, and Homer Bush to the Toronto Blue Jays for their ace pitcher Clemens. In his first year with the Yankees, he helped them win the 1999 World Series. In 2000 he almost single-handedly retook them to the World Series with his 20-3 season. The Yankees would win that series as well. Yankee fans never fully embraced Clemens due to his long tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

Also, in 2000, Roger would win the prestigious Cy Young Award at the age of 38.  Roger was one of the longer-tenured pitchers in baseball, pitching for 24 years. With the Yankees, he would win twice as many games as he lost. He went 83-42 in his six years with the Yankees for a .664 winning percentage. It is outrageous that his three-time Cy Young Awards has not propelled him into the Hall of Fame. But his use of performance-enhancing drugs will probably keep him out. Last year he received 72.5% of the votes compared to the 75% needed to be inducted. He has two years left of eligibility.

1. Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth isn’t a modern era Yankee acquisition but must be included in the list as the best move the Yankees ever made in procuring him from the cash-strapped Boston Red Sox. Following Ruth becoming a Yankee, he transformed himself into a great hitting outfielder. He really made his name with the Yankees as one of the best if not the best player to ever play baseball.

Honorable mentions:

David Cone, Starky Lyle, “Godzilla” Matsui, Roger Maris, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher.

Gerrit Cole could not be included for the Yankee top 10s as he hasn’t had a long enough time or games thrown to prove he belongs on this list. However, he has to be mentioned as he may be in the future proclaimed one of the best Yankee acquisitions in history; only time will tell. The same goes for Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela; how they play will tell if they can be included on this list in the coming years.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees History: What happened to Babe Ruth’s famous cap?

As you can imagine, in their 100 plus years of baseball, the New York Yankees have some exciting stories that captivate Yankee fans. One of those stories was the famous Babe Ruth game-worn cap that star pitcher David Wells purchased and attempted to wear on the mound at Yankee Stadium.

David Wells being a collector of baseball memorabilia, got the chance to purchase a game-worn cap of the legendary Babe Ruth. Wells acted quickly and, at auction, bought the hat worn by the Sultan of Swat for about $35,000.

One day Wells wanted to show off the hat while pitching on the mound at Yankee Stadium, thinking, “I’m gonna wear this sucker.” However, the then New York Yankee manager, Joe Torre, got wind of the pitcher’s desire and told him that the cap wasn’t part of the uniform and that he couldn’t wear it. But Wells was determined to wear the hat because it was part of Yankee folklore and, therefore, “It was a part of history.”

Meanwhile, Torre and Wells went back and forth about wearing the hat with Torre just as adamant that he should not wear it as Well was in wearing it. In the end, Torre won out, demanding that Wells not wear it. Wells, for his part, seemed to agree at least partially.

During batting practice, Torres knowing Wells, kept his eyes on him to make sure he wasn’t wearing the hat, and he wasn’t. It was June 27, 1997, and Wells was still determined to wear the hat. As the beginning of the game was announced by public address announcer Bob Shepard, the players emerged from the dugout. Wells had the hat on before Torres could remove it as he was already on the mound. Wells wore the hat for the first inning before receiving a $25,000 fine for the infraction.

Wells achieved his desire and had to pay the fine, but in a later video, he stated: “I wore the hat, and history is history.” Later in life, 15 years later, an auction featured a game-worn Babe Ruth shirt. Wells saw the chance to sell his 1934 game-worn cap and entered it into the auction in 2012. The cap sold for $537,000. Considering the fine, Wells made a cool $677,000 of the sale to an unnamed buyer.

It was just another iconic moment in Yankee history that involved two Yankee greats that could be told to children and newer Yankee fans. 

Babe Ruth, in his career with both the Boston Red Sox and fifteen years with the Yankees, had a .342 batting average with 659 home runs. He entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of its “first five” inaugural members. Wells had an excellent pitching career, pitching for nine different teams, including four years with the Yankees. For the Yankees, he was 68-28 for a 3.90 ERA.  The three-time All-Star pitched a perfect game for the Yankees on May 17, 1998.

SEE: Insane document of Yankees buying Babe Ruth from Red Sox in 1919

New York Yankees, Babe Ruth

Just one day and over 100 years ago, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox executed one of the most illustrious trades in baseball history. On December 26, 1919, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for just $100,000.

At the time, Ruth was only 25-years-old, born in Baltimore, Maryland. He weighed slightly over 200 pounds and stood at 6-foot-2. Ruth would obviously go on to be one of the best baseball players in history. It is quite interesting to see the low price for a player of Ruth’s stature, considering players are earning hundreds of millions over the course of a career at this point in time.

Ruth finished his career with a .342 batting average, 714 career homers, and 2214 RBIs. He hit 60 homers during the 1927 season over 151 games, posting a .356 average and .772 slugging percentage.

Interestingly, the Red Sox were one of the most dominant teams when the MLB was created, winning five of the first 13 World Series. However, after Ruth joined the Bombers, they took off and left Boston behind. Ruth spent 15 seasons with the Yankees, winning four World Series titles, winning seven total. He was named the American League MVP in 1923, setting records in his wake.

It is an interesting piece of history to see the price that Ruth was ultimately acquired for and the unbelievable career he had after leaving Boston in 1919. At such a ripe age, he would go on to play until 1935, when he was 40 years old.

WATCH an incredible video of Yankees’ Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig hit batting practice in color

babe ruth, lou gehrig, yankees

The New York Yankees have had some of the best players ever to play the game of baseball, including Yankee greats Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Today, we have colorized footage of the two at batting practice as a special treat.

 

Babe Ruth

George Herman “Babe” Ruth, born in 1895, is the greatest baseball player to have ever to play the game. He also started one of the greatest rivalries in all of the sports. He would go on to hit 714 home runs, 2,213 RBI’s, over 2,000 bases on balls, with a slugging percentage of .690 and an OPS of 1.164, two records that still stand today. He was not only a great baseball player but still today stands as one of America’s greatest sports icons in American culture.

So goes the story of the real Babe Ruth that few know about. Ruth was born in Baltimore, Maryland. With his father working long hours in his saloon and his mother often in poor health, Little George (as he was known) spent his days unsupervised on the waterfront streets and docks, committing petty theft and vandalism. Hanging out in his father’s bar, he stole money from the till drained the last drops from old beer glasses, and developed a taste for chewing tobacco. He was only six years old.

At the age of 18, he played ball for St. Marys, a school he spent much of his childhood. In the summer of 1913, he was allowed to pitch with local amateur and semipro teams on weekends. Impressed with his play, a Baltimore scout Jack Dunn signed Ruth to his minor-league Baltimore Orioles club the following February. The Orioles, short on money, sold the young Ruth to the Boston Red Sox. Again short of money, the Red Sox sold Ruth to the New York Yankees in what has been called the worst sale in baseball history.

While Babe Ruth was with the Yankees, he broke every record in baseball. As a result, he became an American Icon and a part of American culture. In his fifteen years with the Yankees alone, hit scored nearly 2,000 runs and 2,000 RBI’s. He also hit 659 home runs.

On August 16, 1948, the “Babe” passed away. Three days later, a requiem mass and funeral for the Babe was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Six thousand mourners bowed their heads as Cardinal Spellman made a special prayer at the end of the solemn 1-hour service. Seventy-five thousand people waited outside the Cathedral in the pouring rain to say goodbye to the greatest baseball player of all time.

Lou Gehrig

New York Yankees’ legend and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig would have been 118 years old this year, born on June 19, 1903. Gehrig played 17 years in the Major Leagues, all of them being with the New York Yankees. In those 17 years, Gehrig racked up seven All-Star games (the first one ever being in 1933, and Gehrig made the midsummer classic every year to finish his career) and was named MVP two times in 1927 and 1936, and was a six-time World Series Champion.

Gehrig is most known for his incredible consecutive games streak of 2,130. Although Cal Ripken would break that record years later, Gehrig is remembered as an MLB great who ended his career when he delivered his famous “Luckiest Man” speech on July 4, 1939.

The team’s captain for four years, Gehrig, holds a career .340 batting average with 493 home runs and 1,995 runs batted in. He led the league in batting average five times, the highest being .478 in 1936. He also led the league in most RBIs five times, the highest being 173 in 1927.

Lou was known for many years as the Yankees’ “Iron Horse.” Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) on June 19, 1939, which is also his birthday. ALS is now known commonly as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” since he was a national figure and won the hearts of many. Unfortunately, he passed away on June 2, 1941, two years after his famed speech.

Unlike today and social media, there is not a lot of video of these two greats playing the game. But in this rare video that has been colorized, we see these two Yankee legends take batting practice. Ruth is number three, and Gehrig is number four. Back then, Yankees numbers were assigned by where they hit in the batting lineup. Although the date of the footage is unknown, they played together from 1923 to 1934.

 

New York Yankees look to improve the team, here’s their 10 best acquisitions ever

In my New York Yankees top 10 series that has covered most aspects of Yankee baseball,  with the Yankees looking to make acquisitions to improve the team for the 2022 season, today we look at the top 10 acquisitions in the modern era.  These acquisitions come from both signings and trades.  The Yankees have had many star players that were homegrown, but also have had to look outside their farm system to fill various needs.  Owner George M. Steinbrenner was the first owner to make big moves and set the tone for acquisitions for the future.

This has been the most difficult to complete top 10s so far.  Many will disagree with the placements; however, with the Yankees now looking to acquire players to improve the team, it seemed appropriate to examine these past acquisitions. Keep in mind that many of the Yankees’ best players were not acquisitions.

10. Ricky Henderson

Henderson was one of the longest-tenured players, playing for 25 years, 5 of them with the Yankees.  During his five years, he stole 326 bases, making him the all-time base stealer for the Yankees. He hit .288 and had 78 home runs during the span while having an excellent fielding percentage in all outfield areas.  He was an All-Star every year; he was a New York Yankee.

9. CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia was instrumental in the Yankees winning their last World Series in 2009.  Sabathia came to the Yankees from the Milwaukee Brewers. In his eleven years with the Yankees, he had a record of 134 and 88.  During the Yankees’ years, he was a workhorse, always giving his best effort for a win.

8. Masahiro Tanaka

Brian Cashman brought Masahiro Tanaka to the Yankees from the Eagles of the Japanese league in 2013 in a seven-year contract that will end this season, whether there is one or not. During his time with the Yankees up to this year, he is 75-45 with a 3.75 ERA. Tanaka has never had a losing season with the Yankees.

7. David Wells

The highlight of David Wells’s career was his perfect game on May 17, 1998, the tenth no-hitter in Yankee history.  Wells for the Yankees was 34-14 in his two-year stint; that’s a .706 winning percentage, one of the best for the Yankees. Wells pitched 21 years, all in the American League.

Wells was quite a character that didn’t care much for rules.  He has admitted he pitched his perfect game while nursing a bad hangover. In 1998 he would help the Yankees with his 18-4 record and propelled them to the World Series shut out of the San Diego Padres.

6. Reggie Jackson

Yankee owner George M. Steinbrenner made Reggie Jackson the highest-paid baseball player when he hired Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles. However, Jackson was a controversial player as he was a show-off, and Manager Billy Martin didn’t want the Yankees to hire him.  It didn’t help when he was quoted as saying, “I’m the straw that stirs the drink,” a phrase that he never said but caused a rift with Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson.

In his five years with the Yankees, Jackson had many memorable moments, including his three home runs that caused him to be called “Mr. October.” In 1977 in the sixth game of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson hit three home runs off three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. Jackson batted .284 with 144 home runs while a Yankee.

5. Mike Mussina

On this list, Mike Mussina is the one player that often flew under the radar. Mussina, after being a Baltimore Oriole star pitcher, became a New York Yankee.  He never had a losing season in his eight years with the Yankees, winning 10 or more games every year.  Mussina was not only an outstanding pitcher, but he was an excellent defender as any pitcher ever to grace the mound.

On some writer’s top 10 lists, they don’t even include Mussina.  For the Yankees, Mr. Steady is one of the Yankee’s most dependable pitchers during his time with the Yankees.  The brilliant Stanford grad, with a thinking pitcher that adjusted to every situation.  His performance never diminished with age. In the last year of his career, he had his first 20 win season, becoming the oldest pitcher to have a 20 win season.

He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for his pitching with the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees on January 22, 2019; he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, receiving 76.71% of the vote.  Mike distinguishes being the first American League pitcher to win ten or more games in each of 17 consecutive seasons.

4. Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is a controversial New York Yankee, to say the least.  Many fans cite his performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers and ignore his Yankee club performance. But the facts are still the facts.  During his 22 years playing the game, he was one of the best in either league.

For his 12 years with the Yankees, he hit 30 home runs a year, with 1,100 RBIs while hitting .283. He was a seven-time All-Star and a seven-time MVP candidate, winning the prestigious award twice.  He would be a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame if it were not for his drug use, which most likely will never come to fruition.

I have to admit that I am a writer that does not place as much importance on drug use as many writers do.  My stance is that dozens of other players used some doping during that period that was never caught; thus, many stats may be in question. However, in the case of Rodriguez, his career wouldn’t have been less impressive even if he hadn’t made the bad decision to break the rules.

3. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neil played for only two teams in his baseball career, nine years with the Yankees in the second half of his career. Then, at the end of the 1992 season, the Red traded O’Neill outright for Yankee outfielder Roberto Kelly. In his first year, he batted .311 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs.  O’Neill played with such vigor that owner George M. Steinbrenner would give him the nickname the “Warrior,” which stuck.

In his second year, he got the AL batting title batting .359.  If O’Neill missed a hit he thought he should have gotten, batting racks and water coolers often felt his wrath.  Stick Michael made the trade that would change the face of the Yankees for years to come.  Paul made amazing plays in defending the right field. He played fiercely and hurt; he was the ultimate warrior the Yankee fans loved.

2. Roger Clemens

The acquisition of Roger Clemens was one of the best the New York Yankees ever made. In 1996 the Yankees sent Graeme Lloyd, David Wells, and Homer Bush to the Toronto Blue Jays for their ace pitcher Clemens. In his first year with the Yankees, he helped them win the 1999 World Series. In 2000 he almost single-handedly retook them to the World Series with his 20-3 season.  The Yankees would win that series as well. Clemens was never fully embraced by Yankee fans due to his long tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

Also, in 2000, Roger would win the prestigious Cy Young Award at the age of 38.  Roger is one of the longer-tenured pitchers in baseball, pitching for 24 years.  With the Yankees, he would win twice as many games as he lost.  He went 83-42 in his six years with the Yankees for a .664 winning percentage.  It is outrageous that this 3 time Cy Young Award isn’t in the Hall of Fame.  This year he received 72.5% of the votes compared to the 75% needed to be inducted.  He has two years left of eligibility.

1. Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth isn’t a modern era Yankee acquisition but must be included in the list as the best move the Yankees ever made in procuring him from the cash-strapped Boston Red Sox.  Following Ruth becoming a Yankee, he transformed himself into a great hitting outfielder. He really made his name with the Yankees as one of the best if not the best player to ever play baseball.

Honorable mentions:

David Cone, Sparky Lyle, Roger Maris, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Swisher.

Gerrit Cole could not be included for the Yankee top 10s as he hasn’t had a long enough time or games thrown to prove he belongs on this list. However, he has to be mentioned as he may be in the future proclaimed one of the best Yankee acquisitions in history; only time will tell. The same goes for DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela; how they play will tell if they can be included on this list in the coming years.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankee Legends: The Yankee Red Sox rivalry started with Babe Ruth

George Herman “Babe” Ruth born in 1895, is the greatest New York Yankee baseball player to have ever to play the game. He also started one of the greatest rivalries in all of the sports. He would go on to hit 714 home runs, 2,213 RBI’s, over 2,000 bases on balls, with a slugging percentage of .690 and an OPS of 1.164, two records that still stand today. He was not only a great baseball player but still, today stands as one of America’s greatest sports icons in American culture.

So goes the story of the real Babe Ruth that few know about. Ruth was born in Baltimore Maryland. With his father working long hours in his saloon and his mother often in poor health, Little George (as he was known) spent his days unsupervised on the waterfront streets and docks, committing petty theft and vandalism. Hanging out in his father’s bar, he stole money from the till drained the last drops from old beer glasses, and developed a taste for chewing tobacco. He was only six years old.

Having been declared incorrigible at the age of seven by the Baltimore courts, his parents sent him to St. Mary’s Industrial School. After a month passed they brought him back home to see if he had changed and reconciliation could be achieved, he hadn’t and it would lead to several attempts by his parents. in 1904 at the age of nine, Ruth would meet the Roman Catholic Brother Matthias at St. Mary’s. Later in life when asked about Brother Matthias, Ruth would say. He changed my life, “He taught me to read and write and he taught me the difference between right and wrong, He was the father I needed and the greatest man I’ve ever known.”

Ruth would end up living his young life at the school until the age of eighteen. During that time his mentor would throw balls at the boys to catch. Young George was thrilled to catch and throw the ball. He imitated the Brother’s hitting style, holding the bat at the knob and taking big swings.

As he grew older he began to actually play baseball at St. Mary’s. In one St. Mary’s game in 1913, Ruth, then 18 years old, caught, played third base (even though he threw left-handed), and pitched, striking out six men, and collecting a double, a triple, and a home run. That summer, he was allowed to pitch with local amateur and semipro teams on weekends. Impressed with his play a Baltimore scout Jack Dunn signed Ruth to his minor-league Baltimore Orioles club the following February. The Orioles short on money sold the young Ruth to the Boston Red Sox.

During the offseason, Babe married his girlfriend Boston waitress Helen Woodford. In the following season, he shined for the Sox, winning three complete games in a span of nine days in June. Between June 1 and September 2, Ruth was 13-1 and ended the season 18-8. The personality of the younger Ruth began to show its head as he caroused at night and began to argue with umpires.  In his six seasons with Boston, he won 89 games and recorded a 2.19 ERA. He had a four-year stretch where he was second in the AL in wins and ERA behind Walter Johnson, and Ruth had a winning record against Johnson in head-to-head matchups. But also during the time, he fought with management and was as a headache. His continued outright refusal to adhere to the team’s curfew earned him several suspensions and his non-stop salary demands infuriated owner Frazee.

Just after New Year’s 1920, the worst deal in Major League history would be made. The Boston Red Sox would sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000. Frazee would comment that Ruth was one of the most selfish and inconsiderate men that ever wore a baseball uniform. He also said Ruth ate and drank excessively, frequented prostitutes, and had been involved in several car accidents. It would have surprised no one if, for whatever reason, Ruth was out of baseball in a year or two. It was a gamble that the Yankees were will to take.

While Babe Ruth was with the Yankees he broke every record in baseball. He became an American Icon and a part of American culture. In his fifteen years with the Yankees alone, hit scored nearly 2,000 runs and 2,000 RBI’s.  He also hit 659 home runs.

In 1928 the Yankees got the AL pennant. The Yankees swept the Cardinals that year and Ruth hit 54 home runs on the year. During this time, the Yankees were known as Murderers’ Row, because of the power of its lineup, In January 1929, Babe’s first wife, Helen, died in a house fire in Watertown, Massachusetts.

At the end of the 1929 season, Miller Higgins passed away and Ruth applied for the job but was never seriously considered for the job. By the end of June 1930, Ruth was ahead of his 60-homer pace of 1927, but injuries slowed him down and he finished with 49. In 1931, at age 36, Ruth had one of his finest seasons. He hit .373/.495/.700, with 46 home runs, 162 RBIs, 128 walks, and 149 runs scored. The Yankees swept the Chicago Cubs in the 1932 World Series, giving them wins in 12 straight World Series games. For the previous few years, Ruth’s hard living and injuries were catching up with him.

In 1934 due to his declining health and stats Yankee’s owner Ruppert gave Ruth a pay cut of 50%., Ruth accepted knowing his 20-year career was coming to an end. On July 13 against the Detroit Tigers, Ruth would hit his 700th home run. Ruth had always wanted to be a manager, So Yankees manager Ruppert worked out a secret deal with the Boston Braves manager to offer Ruth a contract that would include the titles of Assistant Manager and Vice President. When Ruth would present the deal to the Yankees owner, he said he wouldn’t stand Ruth’s way, so Ruppert’s trick worked.

In 1935 with the Braves, Ruth would play in only 28 games batting .181. Ruth did get the final three home runs of his career that year. Ruth is the only major leaguer to pitch in at least 10 seasons and has a winning record in all of them. Ruth had winning records in 10 seasons: 1914-1921, 1930, and 1933. Andy Pettitte now holds the record at 13 seasons (1995-2007). Ruth concluded he was finished even as a part-time player. As early as May 12, he asked Fuchs to let him retire, Ruth retired on June 2 after an argument with Fuchs.

On an afternoon in 1945 wearing a brand-new Gems jersey with a bright red baseball cap and matching stockings, the 51-year-old Ruth managed to hit off a handful of home runs before the game, much to the delight of everyone in attendance at Hartford, Connecticut’s Buckeley Stadium. His game-time performance, however, resulted in a handful of unexciting balls and strikes while at-bat. Later he would tell reporters “Some days the pitches look like watermelons and other days like peanuts.” No one would know it at the time but it would be the last time Ruth would ever wear a baseball uniform.

A few months later he was diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer in 1946 and died from the disease in 1948. A living legend took the plate for the last time in front of thousands of adoring fans that September in Connecticut history. Such was the life of George Herman “Babe” Ruth.

On August 16, 73 years ago, the “Babe” passed away. A requiem mass and funeral for the Babe was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral three days later.  6,000 mourners bowed their heads as Cardinal Spellman made a special prayer at the end of the solemn 1-hour service. 75,000 people waited outside the Cathedral in the pouring rain to say goodbye to the greatest baseball player of all time.

 

New York Yankees: This week in Yankee history, Goodbye Babe, Hello Derek

New York Yankees, Yankees, Derek Jeter

There probably isn’t a day that goes by that something in New York Yankee history hasn’t happened that is memorable in their 109-year history. Here is a look at this week’s happenings in that history.

1997, May 29th:

On this day, the New York Yankees acquired Hideki Irabu from the San Diego Padres. It turned out to be one of the worst trades ever made by the Yankees. He was 29-20 over four years. The only problem was that when he was acquired, he was supposed to be the new Yankee ace. That obviously didn’t come close to working out.

2002, May 29th:

Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens becomes the third pitcher in the majors to have 10 or more strikeouts in at least 100 games pitched. The other two were Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

1938, May 30th:

On this day, the Yankees had record attendance. It was Memorial Day and a doubleheader for the Yankees against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees sweep the Red Sox in front of a crowd of 81 841 packed into the Stadium. It’s a record that will never be beaten. The new Stadium only has a capacity of 54,341.

1938, May 31st:

Lou Gehrig played his 2,000th consecutive game in a win over the Boston Red Sox. Gehrig would play another 130 games before ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) ended his Yankee career.

2009, June 1st:

The New York Yankees created a record that has not been broken to this day. They played 18 consecutive games without committing an error. The following day Jorge Posada would throw a bullet out into centerfield when trying to gun down a base stealer.

1935 June 2nd:

Former Yankee pitcher and slugger Babe Ruth announces his retirement from baseball.

1941, June 2nd:

The New York Yankees arrived in Detroit to play a series against the Tigers. Upon their arrival, they found out that Yankee Captain Lou Gehrig has passed away in this sleep from ALS. It was just 17  days before his 38th birthday. Ironically it was 16 years ago exactly that he made the Yankee major league lineup.

1932, June 3rd:

Playing the Philadelphia Athletics, the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig becomes the first player in the modern era to hit four home runs in the same game. The Yankees won the slugfest 20-13 and scored a record 50 bases in the game.

1998, June 3rd:

After escaping Cuba only six months earlier, Orlando Hernandez “El Duque” got his first Yankee win.  He defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-1 in front of an adoring Yankees crowd at Yankee Stadium.

2003, June 3rd:

Derek Jeter was named the 11th captain of the New York Yankees. He would go on to being one of the best players in the game. He would play another 13 years for the Yankees. He was a 14-time American League All-Star and was sixth all-time with 3,645 career hits. He spent all 20 years of his career with the Yankees.

 

 

 

New York Yankees Top 10’s: Is your favorite left-fielder on this list? (video)

The New York Yankees, in their 109-year glorious history, have had their share of great baseball players.  From Babe Ruth to Joe DiMaggio to Ron Guidry, Derek Jeter, and dozens more, some of the best baseball players in history have graced Yankee Stadium.  I’ve dealt with the pitchers, catchers, baseman, right fielders, and centerfielders in my other top ten columns. Still to come are managers, acquisitions, and top 10 Yankee moments.

In this installment, I will attempt to identify the great Yankee outfielders.  With so many great outfielders, some writers will differ in the order of their preferences.  Here are this writer’s top 10.  Identifying the top 10 is a bit more complicated with left fielders as they tend to play other positions as well.  But here goes:

10.  Yogi Berra

Based on the whole of his New York Yankee career Yogi Berra should be higher on this list.  However, Yogi surprisingly did play in left field for the Yankees.  Although he was known mostly as a catcher, his career batting average of .285 while hitting 358 home runs and 1,430 runs batted in lands him on this list.  Yogi Berra has the distinction of having earned the most World Championship rings (10) than any other Yankee.

9.  Gene Woodling

Gene Woodling played for the New York Yankees (1949–54).  Although he played all over the outfield, he was mostly known for his excellent defense in left field.  He was fast and had a great range.  Woodling played in left field for four Yankee Championship seasons from 1950-1953.  Although he never played more than 125 games in a season, he has kept him on the lower part of the list.  He also was not one of the best Yankee hitters.  One thing that held him down on this list was manager Casey Stengel’s tendency to platoon players.

8.  Tim Raines

Tim Raines was with the Yankees from 1996 to 1999; he played about 50 games a year in the Yankees left field during that span.  He was a great outfielder but what puts him on this list is his Yankee career batting average of .299.  Although he is best known for his 13 years with the Montreal Expos, he was fast and agile footed for the Yankees making many near impossible catches for the Yankees. Raines was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.

7.  Hideki Matsui

Hideki Matsui is the first Yankee that was truly a great left fielder for the New York Yankees.  Matsui was acquired from Japan from NPB’s Yomiuri Giants after playing ten years for them.  Matsui played seven years for the Yankees, five of them in left field before he became a DJ due to injury. In his seven years, he had a career batting average of .292. On May 6, 2007, Matsui recorded his 2,000th hit between the teams.  He had a habit of hitting home runs on his birthday.  On June 12, 2008, he hit a Grand Slam, and on the same day in 2009, he hit a 3 run homer. In the 2009 World Series, “Godzilla” batted .615 with 3 home runs and 8 runners batted in, which earned him the Most Valuable Player Award.

6.  Lou Piniella

Pinella is known as sweet Lou.  He played in the Yankee left field for most of eleven years.  Not many balls got past Piniella; in his Yankee career, he had a .989 fielding percentage. Although Lou was not a home run hitter, he had a career batting average of .291.  He hit 148 doubles while with the Yankees.  Fans immediately embraced him when he came from the Kansas City Royals to the Yankees.  Lou Piniella captured two World Series Rings with the Yankees in 1977 and 1978.  Piniella seemed to shine in the postseason.  He batted .305 in postseason play and hit 3 postseason home runs.  Lou would go on to be the New York Yankee manager from 1986 to 1988.

5.  Bob Meusel

Bob Meusel is often an unsung Yankee.  He played for the Yankees for 10 of his 11-year baseball career. He played left field more than any other position, 626 games for the Yankees. But he alternated between left and right, and never actually played 100 games in left in any single season.  Besides his stellar defense, Meusel was known as a hitter. The three-time MVP nominee hit .309 batting for the Yankees.  His best year for the Yankees was 1925, when he hit and unheard of at the time. 33 home runs and had 134 runs batted in. He helped the Yankees to their first-ever World Series Championship and another in 1927 and 1928.

4.  Dave Winfield

The giant of a man Dave Winfield came to the New York Yankees when owner George M. Steinbrenner went out and got him from the free agency from the San Deigo Padres.  Winfield would have a remarkable 22-year career in the majors, nine of them with the Yankees.  The 6′ 6″ left fielder was extremely fast for a big man in the left field at Yankee Stadium.  During his nine years with the Yankees, he batted .290 with 205 home runs.   Unfortunately for Winfield, his time with the Yankees was not always pleasant.  Steinbrenner was dismayed that he gave Winfield such a lucrative contract and withheld payments to his charity that was part of that contract. Winfield never played in a World Series for the Yankees as he played during their 17-year drought. Winfield was installed into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001.

3.  Roy White

Roy White was one of the best left fielders in all of baseball. White played for the Yankees between 1965 and 1979; his fifteen-year tenure manning left field for the Yankees allowed him to leapfrog a few on this list. He was a two-time All-Star and a four-time MVP candidate. His 1521 games in left field at Yankee Stadium makes him number one in games played in left field.  White has the misfortune to play with some pretty poor Yankee teams during the CBS ownership.  He did win two World Series after Steinbrenner revitalized the team in 1977 and 1978.  Roy was a quiet man and a gentleman who just went about his business with little fanfare.  During his time with the team, he was one of the most popular Yankee players.

2.  Charlie Keller

If I woke up on the other side of the bed today, I might have put Charlie Keller as number one on this list. Charlie Keller played left field for 874 games, scattered over 13 seasons, all with the Yankees.  The sure-footed Keller played excellent defense in left with a .988 fielding percentage while hitting .286 with 189 home runs.  He had constant peak performance throughout his career except for the last two years after returning from back surgery.  Keller was also the second longest-tenured left fielder in Yankee baseball history. He was a five-time All-Star and an MVP candidate four times.  From 1939 to 1952.  One distinction that Charlie has is that he holds eight World Series wins, second only to Yogi Berra. Keller is one of the most overlooked players, not having made the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1.  Babe Ruth

Yes, surprisingly, number one on the list is Babe Ruth. I say surprisingly because he is known more as a right fielder and first baseman.  He was a better hitter than a left fielder.  He had a very satisfactory fielding percentage of .968 but hot as good as a few others on this list.  But his longest tenure than any Yankee on this list and his far and away better hitting ability catapults him to the top of this list.

Babe’s career with the New York Yankees resulted in a batting average of .342 with 659 home runs and just shy of 2,000 runs batted in.  Although Ruth played more games in the right field, he played more seasons in the left field.  From 1914 to 1935, Ruth helped the Yankees to four World Championships.  Babe Ruth is known as the best baseball player ever to play the game was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of the first five inaugural entrants.  Of any Yankee player, Ruth was more than a baseball star; he was a cultural hero during the great depression when the nation needed hope; Ruth provided that hope.

Honorable mentions go to Tom Tresh, Ben Chapman, Willie Cree, Jake Powell, Mickey Mantle, and Ricky Henderson.  Reggie Jackson and Roger Maris never played left field for the Yankees.

In selecting my top ten, I valued time with the club, performance as per Baseball-Reference.com.  Peak career performance and performance in postseason play was also a factor.  Special situations like changing career positions were also a consideration.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.