New York Yankees top 10’s: Records that likely will never be broken

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

In the newest installment of my top 10 series, I examine New York Yankee and other baseball records that will likely never be broken. My other series examines top 10 pitchers, top 10 first baseman, and top ten Yankee moments in history among many other top tens. But today, we examine some of the outstanding players with outstanding records that will be very hard to break.

  1. The only player to be installed in the Hall of Fame, unanomously!

If Derek Jeter couldn’t be elected to the Hall of Fame, unanimously, it’s hard to believe anyone ever will be. But Mariano Rivera did it, and he did it in his first year of eligibility. Rivera is most often considered the best reliever of all time. Rivera, in his career, all with the New York Yankees he closed 1,115 games with 652 saves. That figure is 51 more saves than Trevor Hoffman, his closest contender.

2. With 2,632 consecutive games played, it’s a record that will not be duplicated!

This is a different time and a game that is played differently; players are constantly injured and given days off to rest. Cal Ripken’s feat is almost unbelievable. In 1995 Ripkin surpassed the Yankees Iron Horse Lou Gehrig’s 2,131 consecutive games played

3. The only perfect game in the postseason!

Don Larsen is the holder of a record that will likely not be broken. He is the only pitcher to have a perfect game in the World Series. The feat was completed in game 5 of the 1956 classic. Not only that, but there has never been a no-hitter in World Series history. Furthermore,Larsen’s record is one of the only two no-hitters in postseason history; the other was by Roy Halliday in 2010.

4. With 1,406 stolen bases, who will break that record?

Ricky Henderson, a former Yankee, played for several teams in his career. He was such a dangerous base stealer that pitchers knew he would try to steal almost every time he took base. Yet, in his remarkable entire career, he was caught stealing only 335 times. Strangely he doesn’t hold the same record for the postseason, that belongs to Kenny Lofton.

5. Who can beat Barry Bonds 762 home runs?

It’s hard to know who took steroids in the steroid era, but the fact is that most of those players were talented enough to play just as well out of the enhancement. It’s hard to tell how Barry Bond’s career would have turned out, but over his 22 years of major league play, he racked up 762 home runs. It has to be pointed out that he may only have used enhancing drugs in a couple of those years. The next closest to his record is Hank Aaron’s 755 accomplished in one more year of play.

6. Most pitching wins in a single season

In the modern era in 1904, the New York Yankee’s Jack Chesbro started 41 games in that single season, for a record that still stands today. Today there are 162 games in a season; in 1904 there were only 154 games. That means that Chesbro pitched all season long on 3.5 days of rest. No team would ever allow a pitcher to pitch regularly on less than five days’ rest, which is a reason that Chesbor’s name will be in the history book for a long time.

7. The most career hits 4,256

Pete Rose has more career hits than any player to play the game. The number he achieved is just 67 hits higher the the second place leader who was centerfielder, Ty Cob. To put it into perspective, Pete Rose’s record is 791 more hits than the 20 year career of Derek Jeter. Pete Rose would be a shoe in for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame if it wasn’t for his betting on baseball. He has been banned for life. Many believe the ban should be lifted.

8. Most Career Postseason innings pitched

The winningest postseason pitcher in modern times is Andy Pettitte, he also has pitched the most innings in the postseason, a record that still stands today. Pettitte was19–10 with a 3.83 ERA and 173 strikeouts in the postseasons from 1995 to 2005. He has five World Series wins to his name.

9. The most career Postseason hits

The unlikely record to be broken is postseason hits, that belongs to Derek Jeter. He has 180 hits in the post season.

10. Who owns the most World Series rings?

The undisputed owner of the most World Series rings is Yogi Berra, Berra got rings for 10 World Series wins. Berra played for the Yankees from 1946-1965. In his remarkable career he was a 16 time MVP candidate winning the Award three times. Only Barry Bonds has more MVP wins.

Obviously, I could have picked dozens of other records, but these ten are among my favorites. Others are the most hits in a single season, 262, Ichiro Suzuki. Most complete games, 749, Cy Young. The longest hitting streak, 56 games, Joe DiMaggio. Most career World Series home runs, 18, Mickey Mantle, and the list goes on and on. For more wonderful baseball records, go here

New York Yankee Top 10s: The best Yankee relievers throughout history

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

In the past, I’ve done about every New York Yankees Top 10s, that there could be.  From the best pitchers, catchers, infielders, outfielders, to the best and worst acquisitions.  One area that I have not addressed is the best Yankee relievers of all time.  Over the years, the definition of reliever has been blurred.  What was a closer in the 70s might be considered a middle reliever now.  Most of the great relievers with the Yankees have been set-up men and closers.  Here are my arbitrary selections for the top 10 relievers.

10. Delin Betances

Delin Betances didn’t have his option taken up by the Yankees two years ago, and he is now with the New York Mets.  Delin deserves to be on this list due to his eight-year tenure with the Yankees and his 2.36 ERA over the span.  He was primarily the setup man for Aroldis Chapman.  In the postseason, he pitched in five series for a 1-1 record and an ERA of 3.27.  Betances, in his years with the Yankees, was a dependable solid reliever.  Due to injuries, he did not pitch in the 2019 postseason.

9.  John Wetteland

John Wetteland has two solid years with the New York Yankees. In 1995 acting solely as a closer, he built up 34 saves, and in 1996 he led the league with 43 saves. The Yankees went to the postseason both of his years.  He was dominant in the postseason except for game 1 of the 1995 ALDS when he allowed seven runs in just four innings.  In 1996, for the Yankees, he won all three of his postseason games.  Wetteland was a strange guy, and with Rivera ready to take over for him, the Yankees and Wetteland parted ways following the 1996 season.

8. David Robertson

David Robertson pitched for the Yankees in two separate stints, the first for seven years from 2008 to 2014 and again from 2017-2018.  At nine years as a Yankee reliever, he deserved to be on this list.  He went 53-33 a .633 winning percentage. Although in his years with the Yankees, he was primarily the setup man for Mariano Rivera, however, he did manage 53 saves when Rivera was not available.

7. Luis Arroyo

Luis Arroyo is on this list primarily for his 1961 league-leading 29 saves. The New York Yankees got Arroyo from the Reds in 1960, where he was a full-time starter.  The Yankees converted him to a reliever.  His history with the Yankees is a tale of two different pitchers.  In his first two years, he was dominant, and in his last two years, he stank.  But in 1961, he closed 54 games for the Yankees. In his four years with the Yankees, he was 22-10 with a 3.12 ERA and a .688 winning percentage.

6. Wilcy Moore

Wilcy Moore is another pitcher that pitched long before the reliever was conceived.  He was just a pitcher that came in if the starting pitcher wasn’t pitching well.  He was also a starter who started 15 games while finishing 161 in his five years with the Yankees.  He had a 36-21 record while pitching to a 3.31 ERA.

Moore was one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in his era.  Back then, there was no ALDS OR ALCS just a World Series, and Moore was unhittable. In the 1927 World Series, he pitched 10.1 innings, and in 1932 he pitched 5.1 innings for a total of 15.2 innings while allowing a run to cross the plate, that’s an ERA of 0.56.

5. Dave Righetti

Righetti was a great relief pitcher for the New York Yankees but rated lower than Rivera, Lyle, and Gossage due to his lack of wins in the postseason that was the hallmark of the other three.  In 1986 he set the record for the most saves ever by a baseball player in a single season with 46 saves.  Mariano Rivera only bested that number of saves twice in his nineteen years.  He saved 224 games in seven seasons in the Yankees’ bullpen. He began his career as a starter and had a no-hitter in July of 1983 against the Red Sox, which made him a Yankee favorite.  Although he is most known as a reliever, he is one of the most successful pitchers in both fields.

4. Johnny Murphy

Johnny Murphy was closing games for the New York Yankees from 1932 to 1946, except for two years away for military service.  That’s 13 years of closing games for the Yankees before there was an official closer category. He was an All-Star three straight years, 1937-9, as a reliever. Saves weren’t yet a stat, but he led the league an amazing four times during the period. He closed in 415 games while starting only 40.  For his career, he went 93-53 with a 3.50 ERA.

3. Goose Gossage

Rich “Goose” Gossage is often credited as being one of the first pitching relievers in baseball.  Gossage was a frightening figure on the mound with his fierce look and electric pitches.  He saved 151 games for the Yankees in his remarkable 22-year career, six of them with the Yankees 1978-1983.  That’s an average of 25 saves a year.  Gossage was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

2. Sparky Lyle

The most difficult of my selections was whether to place Goose or Sparky in the second placement.  I choose Sparky due to his dominance in 1977, and his postseason performance.  In the ALCS, he pitched in four of the games against Kansas City.  In game three he closed 5.1 innings for the Yankee win, in game four he pitched the last 1.1 innings for the Yankee win.  In the World Series, he pitched 3.2 innings to close out the Yankee win over the Dodgers. All in all, in the postseason in 1977, he pitched to an ERA of 1.24 over 14.1 innings that is dominance.

Both Sparky Lyle and Gossage pitched seven seasons for the Yankees (but Gossage pitched only six prime seasons, returning for 11 games late in 1989). Both led the league twice in saves for the Yankees. Both dominated in the post-season for World Series champions, Lyle in 1977 and Goose in 1978.  Even though Gossage made the Hall of Fame, Lyle, in my opinion, was the better pitcher for the Yankees. Lyle is the only Yankee reliever ever to win a Cy Young Award. Gossage had some similar seasons statistically, but none that stood out as the best pitching performance in the league that year.

1. Mariano Rivera

Mariano Riveria is probably the greatest closer of all time. When Mariano Rivera entered a game to the sound of the Sandman, Yankee fans knew the game was over. Of course, he didn’t save every game but has the most saves of any pitcher (652) not only for the Yankees, but that’s for all of baseball history. Before he became the most dominant closer in baseball, he was the successful setup man for Yankee closer John Wetteland.

Consider the fact that it is near impossible for a pitcher to allow less than a run over nine innings, and you see why bests number two on this list by a mile.  If you break down his postseason years with the Yankees into two seasons, the first from 1995 to 2001, his stats look like this: seven runs allowed over 71 innings for a 0.89 ERA. His second season from 2002 to 2011 was even better; six runs allowed over 70.1 innings for an ERA of 0.64. In his longest tenure in Yankee history of 19 years, he pitched to an ERA of 2.21 in 1115 games.  Many forget in 1995, he started ten games for a 5-3 record. Rivera is the only player ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of fame in 2019 by a unanimous vote.

Honorable Mentions:  Lindy McDaniels, Ryne Duren, Andrew Miller, Joe Page, and at some point in the future, Aroldis Chapman may find himself on this list.

Method of selection:  In determining this list, I regarded tenure with the Yankees, overall performance, postseason performance, peak performance, Hall of Fame was important, but if on multiple clubs, performance with the Yankees overrode the Hall of Fame induction.  Also, players that may have been excellent relievers, if they were considered more a starting pitcher, were excluded from this list.

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

New York Yankees: This week in Yankee History (video)

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.

2002, May 9th:

The New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera recorded his 225th save, creating a new Yankee franchise record. He did it preserving a 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. The Yankee Hall of Famer completed his 19-year career, all with the Yankees with 652 saves. He was a 13 times All-Star, a 9 times MVP nominee, and a 6 times Cy Young Award nominee.

1934, May 10th:

The Yankees’ Lou Gehrig tied a major league record by hitting four extra-base hits in one game. This happened at Comiskey Park against the Chicago White Sox. He hit two home runs and two doubles in the game. He scored 7 RBI’s in just five innings before benching himself due to a severe cold. The Yankees won the game 11-3.

1946, May 11th:

The Boston Red Sox started the season at a torrid rate winning 23 games while losing 3 games. After winning 15 games straight before meeting up with the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on this day, Yankee pitcher Tiny Bonham allowed the Red Sox only two hits and broke their winning streak. He shut them out 2-0. However, it didn’t stop the Red Sox; they went on to capture the AL pennant.

2006, May 11th:

Prior to this day, the Yankee outfielder Hideki Matsui had played in every game since becoming a Yankee. That’s 518 straight games. But on this day, making a diving catch in left field, Matsui broke his left wrist. Matsui would never be the same in the outfield, and at the end of his career with the Yankees, he was mostly a designated hitter. His record of 518 games broke Hall of Famer Erie Banks, who started his career with 424 straight games.

2014, May 12th:

New York Yankee second baseman Alfonso Soriano became the seventh player in the major league to record 1,000 hits in both leagues. At age 38, he also became the first major leaguer to record 100 home runs, 500 runs, and 500 RBI’s in each league.

1929, May 13th:

This day marks the first time in major league history that two teams met each other in a game with both teams wearing numbers on the back of their jerseys. It was in a game when the Indians hosted the New York Yankees at Cleveland’s League Park. In those early days, numbers represented their place in the lineup.

1955, May 13th:

At Yankee Stadium on this day against the Detroit Tigers, Yankee slugger Micky Mantle hit a home run from both sides of the plate for the first time in his career. He ended the game by hitting three home runs in the Yankee 5-2 win. He drove in all the runs in the game.

1967, May 14th Mother’s Day special:

On this Mother’s Day and as a promise to his wife Merlyn, Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run. It was a cheap homer to the short porch at Yankee Stadium; nevertheless, he kept his promise. He was the sixth major leaguer to reach the dramatic milestone.

1996, May 14th:

Dwight “Doc” Gooden becomes the eighth Yankees to pitch a no-hitter. He threw 135 pitches in the 2-0 win over the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.

1912, May 15th:

You may have only heard great things about the legend Ty Cobb, but he wasn’t always the nice guy. On this day, being tired of being heckled, Cobb jumped into the stands and pummeled a fan. Claude Lueker missing many fingers due to a work injury got the shit beat out of him, including being kicked with Cobb’s cleats.

1941 May 15th:

New York Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio started his famous 56 game hitting streak. He would have a hit in every game through July 17th. His streak ended in Cleveland against the Indians.

 

New York Yankees: All-Time Starting Rotation and Bullpen

The New York Yankees have a great history of starting pitching and relievers. They arguably have the best closer of all time and a top 5 pitcher in the league every decade.

Ace: Whitey Ford

Ford won 25 games in his CY Young award-winning season, which is almost unreachable in this day and age. He was probably the most consistent pitcher in the 50s and never had an ERA over 3.24, helping him win the ERA title twice.

He was also a 10-time all-star, 6-time World Series champion, and even won a World Series MVP. A sure hall-of-fame player if the game has ever seen one.

2nd Starter: Vernon “Lefty” Gomez

The triple crown is usually associated with hitters, but Gomez won the triple crown for pitchers twice! In 1934 and 1937, he led the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.

Gomez was also clutch when it counted, he did not lose a single postseason game in his career. This made him the main reason for the 5 World Series titles the Bombers won in the late ’30s.

3rd Starter: Ron Guidry

In 1978, Guidry had one of the best seasons ever for a pitcher. He won 25 games, had an astounding 1.74 ERA, and nearly 250 strikeouts. That is a type of dominance only a few pitchers have reached in their careers.

He was even a slick fielder throughout his career, earned himself 5 Gold Glove awards.

4th Starter: Charles “Red” Ruffing

Along with Babe Ruth, the New York Yankees stole another piece from the Red Sox, Ruffing helped them win 6 World Series and achieved 6 all-star appearances.

Ruffing and Gomez was a deadly one-two punch back then, both had 20-win seasons in the late ’30s. If they held their opponents to under 4 runs on average, them they were guaranteed to win a lot of games with Ruth, Gherig, and others in the lineup.

5th Starter: Andy Pettitte

The model for health and longevity, Pettitte led the majors in games started three times in his career. He pitched 200+ innings in 10 seasons of his career and even won 20 games, in 1996.

Pettitte, as well as other pitchers above, helped the Yankees win 5 World Series rings in the late ’90s and early and late 2000s. He pitched in and won many big games for the New York Yankees, making it hard to leave him out of this rotation.

An argument can be made for Spud Chandler, Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, and Mel Stottlemyre to be in this rotation, but the five pitchers above allowed the Yankees to be. most successful throughout their history.

Bullpen

Long Reliever/Middle Reliever: Johnny Murphy

Murphy helped the ’30s New York Yankees win 6 World Series.

He even pitched 200 innings one season as a reliever, proving he can stay in games and consume innings. He led the league in saves four times as well.

Middle Reliever: David Robertson

His slider and ability to escape bases-loaded jams throughout the mid-2000s gives him a spot on this team. He could come out of the bullpen in the middle of an inning and let up no runs.

Robertson’s stuff allowed him to earn the second-best strikeout percentage in Yankees’ reliever history. He is the only active pitcher on this team.

Middle Reliever: Joe Page

Page only had an 8-year career, however, he led the majors in saves twice. He was also a 3-time all-star and lit up the radar gun.

Middle Reliever/Setup Man: Sparky Lyle

Lyle was a huge contributor to the 1977 and 1978 World Series Champion teams.

He led the league in saves in ’76 and would usually finish off games when he appeared. His most significant statistic was winning the 1977 CY Young award as a reliever.

Lyle could pitch multiple innings in relief, making him a good candidate for middle relief and setup man.

Setup Man: Dave Righetti

Beginning his career as a starter, Righetti was converted to the bullpen.

In 1986, Righetti led the majors in saves with 46. He won the 1981 Rookie of the Year award and reliever of the year twice.

He is second on the Yankees all-time saves list, behind none other than Mariano Rivera.

Setup Man: Rich “Goose” Gossage

He led the majors in saves three times, made 9 all-star appearances, and had his best years with the Yankees.

Gossage dialed up the radar guns and blew away hitters with his high 90s fastball. Not many pitchers in the league could throw with such velocity in the ’70s, making it even tougher to react to and make contact.

Closer: Mariano Rivera

There should be no argument here, Rivera won pretty much every award one can win as a reliever. He is the first unanimous hall of fame player in the history of Major League Baseball.

He has the most saves out of any closer ever (652), the most games finished (952), and the best ERA+ (205).

Any time “Enter Sandman” played on the loud-speaker, everyone in the budding knew the game was pretty much over. In 96 playoff appearances, Mo’ only lost one game.

He also had one of the most unhittable pitches ever, his cutter. He threw it inside on lefties and generated a lot of broken bats. He played on a level only a few relievers have reached in their careers.

When a bullpen consists of a Cy Young winner, two live arms, and the best closer ever, there is almost a guarantee the current game result as a win. A full 25-man all-time Yankees roster has been formed. This team could easily be the best group of players ever assembled.

Remembering some of the best relievers in New York Yankees history

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

The New York Yankees have gotten excellent performances from relief pitcher over the years. A team that wins 27 World Series and advances to 40 will need a fantastic bullpen, dont you think? That is the case with the Bronx Bombers.

Of course, we all know who will be number one in every list that contains relievers in MLB, but since Bryan Hoch recently promoted the debate on behalf of MLB.com, we will discover who joins the great Mariano Rivera in a top five list of the best Yankees bullpen arms.

5. Dave Righetti (1979, ’81-90)

Righetti was the 1981 Rookie of the Year, and what a career he had. He pitched a no-hitter back when he was starting in 1983, but upon Goose Gossage departing as a free agent, he took the closer role.

With 223 career saves and a 2.96 ERA the next six years, you could say that the transition period was smooth.

4. Johnny Murphy (1932, ’34-43, ’46)

Saves didn’t exist as a stat in Murphy’s days as a player, but per Hoch, he would have led the league four times between 1938 and 1942.

Murphy played on some excellent teams, winning six World Series. His manager Joe McCarthy summed up his career: “Johnny is one man I can always depend on.”

Murphy was aces in the World Series, closing the 1936 and 1939 editions and compiling a microscopic 1.98 ERA.

3. Sparky Lyle (1972-78)

Lyle was one of the most underappreciated performers of the seventies for the New York Yankees. He even won the Cy Young award in 1977 with a 2.17 ERA.

The Yankees decided to bring Goose Gossage in a multi-year pact, so Lyle was gone in 1978.

Hoch’s take: “One of the top relievers of the decade, Lyle was acquired from the Red Sox in March 1972 and recorded a 2.41 ERA (148 ERA+) in New York, tallying 141 saves and finishing 348 games. Featuring a slider-heavy arsenal, Lyle twice led the AL in saves and games finished, helping the Yankees to two titles. He detailed that wild tenure in a classic 1979 book, “The Bronx Zoo.”

2. Rich “Goose” Gossage (1978-83, ’89)

One of the most widely known looks in MLB, Gossage’s Hall of Fame plaque describes him best: “A dominant relief pitcher with a trademark moustache, whose menacing glare and exploding fastball intimidated batters for more than two decades.”

In six years with the Yankees, Gossage went to four All-Star games and had a 2.10 ERA with 150 saves.

1. Mariano Rivera (1995-2013)

The best reliever ever to play the game, Mariano is also the only unanymous Hall of Famer. He is the historic leader in saves with 652 and finished his career with an unbeliveable 2.21 ERA.

He did all of that with one pitch: the cutter, or cut fastball, which he describes as a gift from God.

“The Lord blessed me and opened a door for me to become the New York Yankees’ closer,” Rivera once said last year. “We had 25 tremendous players, nine on the field and the others waiting on the bench to take action. I can never say that I accomplished [anything alone], because it would be impossible. We accomplished it through all 25 players, and that is the beauty about it.”

New York Yankees Top 10s: The best Yankee Reliever/Closers, through the years

In the past six months, I’ve done about every New York Yankees Top 10s, that there could be.  From the best pitchers, catchers, infielders, outfielders, to the best and worst acquisitions.  One area that I have not addressed is the best Yankee relievers of all time.  Over the years, the definition of reliever has been blurred.  What was a closer in the 70s might be considered a middle reliever now.  Most of the great relievers with the Yankees have been set-up men and closers.  Here are my arbitrary selections for the top 10 relievers.

10. Delin Betances

Delin Betances didn’t have his option taken up by the Yankees this past postseason, and he is now with the New York Mets.  Delin deserves to be on this list due to his eight-year tenure with the Yankees and his 2.36 ERA over the span.  He was primarily the setup man for Aroldis Chapman.  In the postseason, he pitched in five series for a 1-1 record and an ERA of 3.27.  Betances, in his years with the Yankees, was a dependable solid reliever.  Due to injuries, he did not pitch in the 2019 postseason.

9.  John Wetteland

John Wetteland has two solid years with the New York Yankees. In 1995 acting solely as a closer, he built up 34 saves, and in 1996 he led the league with 43 saves. The Yankees went to the postseason both of his years.  He was dominant in the postseason except for game 1 of the 1995 ALDS when he allowed seven runs in just four innings.  In 1996, for the Yankees, he won all three of his postseason games.  Wetteland was a strange guy, and with Rivera ready to take over for him, the Yankees and Wetteland parted ways following the 1996 season.

8. David Robertson

David Robertson pitched for the Yankees in two separate stints, the first for seven years from 2008 to 2014 and again from 2017-2018.  At nine years as a Yankee reliever, he deserved to be on this list.  He went 53-33 a .633 winning percentage. Although in his years with the Yankees, he was primarily the setup man for Mariano Rivera, however, he did manage 53 saves when Rivera was not available.

7. Luis Arroyo

Luis Arroyo is on this list primarily for his 1961 league-leading 29 saves. The New York Yankees got Arroyo from the Reds in 1960, where he was a full-time starter.  The Yankees converted him to a reliever.  His history with the Yankees is a tale of two different pitchers.  In his first two years, he was dominant, and in his last two years, he stank.  But in 1961, he closed 54 games for the Yankees. In his four years with the Yankees, he was 22-10 with a 3.12 ERA and a .688 winning percentage.

6. Wilcy Moore

Wilcy Moore is another pitcher that pitched long before the reliever was conceived.  He was just a pitcher that came in if the starting pitcher wasn’t pitching well.  He was also a starter who started 15 games while finishing 161 in his five years with the Yankees.  He had a 36-21 record while pitching to a 3.31 ERA.

Moore was one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in his era.  Back then, there was no ALDS OR ALCS just a World Series, and Moore was unhittable. In the 1927 World Series, he pitched 10.1 innings, and in 1932 he pitched 5.1 innings for a total of 15.2 innings while allowing a run to cross the plate, that’s an ERA of 0.56.

5. Dave Righetti

Righetti was a great relief pitcher for the New York Yankees but rated lower than Rivera, Lyle, and Gossage due to his lack of wins in the postseason that was the hallmark of the other three.  In 1986 he set the record for the most saves ever by a baseball player in a single season with 46 saves.  Mariano Rivera only bested that number of saves twice in his nineteen years.  He saved 224 games in seven seasons in the Yankees’ bullpen. He began his career as a starter and had a no-hitter in July of 1983 against the Red Sox, which made him a Yankee favorite.  Although he is most known as a reliever, he is one of the most successful pitchers in both fields.

4. Johnny Murphy

Johnny Murphy was closing games for the New York Yankees from 1932 to 1946, except for two years away for military service.  That’s 13 years of closing games for the Yankees before there was an official closer category. He was an All-Star three straight years, 1937-9, as a reliever. Saves weren’t yet a stat, but he led the league an amazing four times during the period. He closed in 415 games while starting only 40.  For his career, he went 93-53 with a 3.50 ERA.

3. Goose Gossage

Rich “Goose” Gossage is often credited as being one of the first pitching relievers in baseball.  Gossage was a frightening figure on the mound with his fierce look and electric pitches.  He saved 151 games for the Yankees in his remarkable 22-year career, six of them with the Yankees 1978-1983.  That’s an average of 25 saves a year.  Gossage was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.

2. Sparky Lyle

The most difficult of my selections was whether to place Goose or Sparky in the second placement.  I choose Sparky due to his dominance in 1977, and his postseason performance.  In the ALCS, he pitched in four of the games against Kansas City.  In game three he closed 5.1 innings for the Yankee win, in game four he pitched the last 1.1 innings for the Yankee win.  In the World Series, he pitched 3.2 innings to close out the Yankee win over the Dodgers. All in all, in the postseason in 1977, he pitched to an ERA of 1.24 over 14.1 innings that is dominance.

Both Sparky Lyle and Gossage pitched seven seasons for the Yankees (but Gossage pitched only six prime seasons, returning for 11 games late in 1989). Both led the league twice in saves for the Yankees. Both dominated in the post-season for World Series champions, Lyle in 1977 and Goose in 1978.  Even though Gossage made the Hall of Fame, Lyle, in my opinion, was the better pitcher for the Yankees. Lyle is the only Yankee reliever ever to win a Cy Young Award. Gossage had some similar seasons statistically, but none that stood out as the best pitching performance in the league that year.

1. Mariano Rivera

Mariano Riveria is probably the greatest closer of all time. When Mariano Rivera entered a game to the sound of the Sandman, Yankee fans knew the game was over. Of course, he didn’t save every game but has the most saves of any pitcher (652) not only for the Yankees, but that’s for all of baseball history. Before he became the most dominant closer in baseball, he was the successful setup man for Yankee closer John Wetteland.

Consider the fact that it is near impossible for a pitcher to allow less than a run over nine innings, and you see why bests number two on this list by a mile.  If you break down his postseason years with the Yankees into two seasons, the first from 1995 to 2001, his stats look like this: seven runs allowed over 71 innings for a 0.89 ERA. His second season from 2002 to 2011 was even better; six runs allowed over 70.1 innings for an ERA of 0.64. In his longest tenure Yankee history of 19 years, he pitched to an ERA of 2.21 in 1115 games.  Many forget in 1995, he started ten games for a 5-3 record. Rivera is the only player ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of fame in 2019 by a unanimous vote.

Honorable Mentions:  Lindy McDaniels, Ryne Duren, Andrew Miller, Joe Page, and at some point in the future, Aroldis Chapman may find himself on this list.

Method of selection:  In determining this list, I regarded tenure with the Yankees, overall performance, postseason performance, peak performance, Hall of Fame was important, but if on multiple clubs, performance with the Yankees overrode the Hall of Fame induction.  Also, players that may have been excellent relievers, if they were considered more a starting pitcher, were excluded from this list.

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

 

New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera gives an inside look on his cutter

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

Legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera retired in 2013 after playing 19 years at the major-league level. He finished his career with a 2.21 averaged ERA and 1,115 games played.

What made Rivera so dominant was his cutter, separating him from other pitchers and utilizing it frequently to strike out opposing batters. Rivera struck out 1173 total hitters over his career, earning 13 All-Star appearances.

Via Instagram, Rivera describes how he held his cutter and what made it so deadly.

“You put pressure on the middle finger, and you finish strong. You have to put pressure on the middle finger. Once you put pressure on it, you’ll do what you’re supposed to do, finish. This is real important, guys. If this pitch goes with a breaking ball rotation, that’s no good. That means you’re throwing a slider or any breaking pitch. This pitch has to have a four-seam fastball rotation.” Rivera adds that you don’t have to “grip this pitch too hard.”

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“It’s something special, guys,” he said. “It will change your career if you throw this pitch the way I throw. I’ll be No. 1. You’ll be No. 2.”

Rivera, who’s ingrained in Yankee history for this incredible pitch and his profound ability to work his way through the final inning or so, might know a thing or two about success. However, despite his dominant career, his inception into the MLB couldn’t have been more rocky.

“I remember being called to the big leagues. I was so excited, I was calling everybody from home. It was a special day though. I was in California and I was facing the Anaheim Angels,” Rivera stated.

“I got my butt kicked though. That was my debut. I got my butt kicked,” Rivera expressed, continuing on to add that he lasted 3.1 innings, earning five strikeouts but allowing eight hits, three walks, and five runs in a 10-0 loss.

The Yankees And Mets Are Stepping Up To The Plate During The Pandemic

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

Right now we’re heading into the end of May and we’d just be wrapping up the second month of the Yankees and Mets season. Two months with no baseball in May is a weird feeling.  Like many of you, fans and players alike, I’m really missing baseball. 

Some players have been keeping baseball around by watching old games, playing MLB The Show, or simply just playing catch. 

New York has been hit the hardest by this Coronavirus. And times like this really show what people are made of.  After 9/11 people really came together, really stepped up. If I could take away one thing from this tragic time, it’s all the good that people are doing. 

In times like these, you look to your idols. And our superstars of New York, past and present have really stepped up. From legends like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter to future legends, Pete Alonso and Aaron Judge. Different players have been helping out in different ways, from donating food and medical supplies to auctioning off memorabilia for charity.  

How have the Yankees and Mets stepped up?

Former Yankees, CC Sabathia, and Mariano Rivera have been hands-on, with donating meals to those in need. Sabathia and his wife Amber, with the help of their PitCCh In Foundation, has been donating meals to the Boys And Girls Club once a week in the Bronx and their hometown in California. They’ve also teamed up with Fresh Direct for their “Operation 5 Borough Food Drive” which is helping feed kids across New York City.

Along with celebrating health care workers and donating headphones to students in New York City, Yankees rookie of the year and star outfielder Aaron Judge joined in on the “All In Challenge”. As well as Yankees manager Aaron Boone, CC Sabathia, the New York Yankees organization, and others. The “All in Challenge” is where fans can donate money for raffle tickets for a chance to win once in a lifetime experiences like on-field passes, dinner with the players, and more. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry, Meals on wheels, Feeding America, World Central Kitchen, and America’s Food Fund.

Aaron Judge’s foundation the “All Rise Foundation” has granted the Boys and Girls Club of America a mini-grant to help launch the “club on the go” program. A program that provides kits to kids with healthy snacks and learning activities to help prevent kids from falling behind during the pandemic.

Another former Yankees legend, Derek Jeter is auctioning off the 2014 All-Star jersey that he wore in his final All-Star game to raise money for the “All In Challenge”

Along with that, Jeter has stated he will be forgoing his salary during the pandemic, and the Marlins have committed $1 million to help the ballpark employees during this time. 

Giancarlo Stanton also donated 15,000 reusable face shields to health care workers in both New York City, and Southern California. Also both the Mets and Yankees have created funds for their employees to get paid during this time that there is no baseball. 

And the new Yankees Pitcher Gerrit Cole may not have even played his first game in pinstripes yet but is stepping up. Cole and his wife, through their foundation, the “Gerrit and Amy Cole Foundation” are donating to Direct Relief, which is an organization that coordinates with nonprofit organizations, and public health authorities to provide essential medical items and PPE to healthcare workers responding to Covid-19.

Pete Alonso may also be a newer addition to New York but has stepped up to the plate in a big way during this pandemic. Looking to give back, Pete and his Fiancé launched their new foundation “Homers For Heroes”. A foundation looking to honor our everyday heroes such as front line workers, veterans, teachers, and coaches.

In March Alonso sent a video message to an 82-year-old life long Mets fan who was just diagnosed with cancer, after her granddaughter took to twitter to reach out to the Mets. The one thing that could really help her during this time was watching her team play. But being that there was no baseball due to the pandemic, Alonso did the next best thing.  Alonso is not only a great player on the field but a great guy off the field as well.

Another Met and Fellow New Yorker, Steven Matz donated $32,000 to hospitals and first responders in NYC through his TRU32 charity. A charity that he started in 2016 to honor the FDNY, NYPD, and Military.

The one story that really stood out to me, was Nick’s Gourmet Deli in East Elmhurst that was closing their doors for good the day the Mets called and asked his deli to provide 1,000 meals. With even more meals in the days to follow. 

The Mets have also donated food from other small businesses which are also helping them to stay open. 

They also helped donate cases of produce to food banks in the local area along with 4,500 meals to health care staff on the front lines. I really applaud the Mets for this move, they are truly paying it forward and helping out their community. 

I always say I’m a die-hard New Yorker, that being a New Yorker is just part of who I am. And these teams represent our city, and couldn’t be more proud of the guys representing it.

Alexa, play New York, New York. 

New York Yankee History: The most famous exit from the mound at Yankee Stadium (Video)

For the New York Yankees, it was September 26, 2013, a cool moon-lit evening that was to feature a baseball game between the Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays.  It would be the last game played at Yankee Stadium in the 2013 season.  It would be a game in which the Yankees would be shutout.  But the Yankees weren’t in contention, so the loss was not heart-crushing.  Nevertheless, there was something extraordinary and emotional about this night.  Before the season, Mariano Rivera announced that he was to retire at the end of the season.  This night would be the last he would grace the mound at Yankee Stadium.

The game was started just after 7 pm on this Thursday night in the Bronx, Ivan Nova started the game for the New York Yankees. The game went well until the fourth inning when Nova gave up a run.  In the 7th, he gave up another run and was replaced by Dellin Betances.  Alex Cobb was pitching for the Rays and kept the Yankees scoreless through seven innings.

Being the last game at the Stadium that year during the game while the fans in the sold-out Stadium of 48,675, drank their soda and beer and chomped on hot dogs and ate pizza, player’s images appeared on the jumbo screen thanking fans.  With the game not going the New York Yankees way, fans were mostly silent.  Then the image of Mariano popped up with this thank you message, and the fans came alive with applause.

It was now the eighth inning and Dellin Betances was on the mound.  He would give up two more runs.  From the time he threw the first pitch, you could hear the crowd beginning to chant Ma-Ri-A-NO!  As emotion built, so did the chant reaching a crescendo as Manager Joe Girardi emerged from the dugout to take the ball from Betances.  As he did the chant from the fans changed to “We want Mo”, We want Mo.” Joe signaled to the bullpen, and #42 came out onto the field to the familiar enter Sandman entrance music.

Bellowing from the announcer’s booth came Bob Shepards recorded voice “number 42 Mariano Rivera number 42.”  As a sign of respect, the visiting Rays line their dugout applauding. You could feel the emotion building in the stands.  Mariano recorded the final two outs of the inning and was greeted by applause as the fans assumed he wouldn’t be coming out in the nine in a game that the Yankees were being shut out.  But when the top of the ninth started, Mariano, to the delight of adoring crowds, emerged from the dugout after a longer than usual pause to pitch the ninth. Little did fans know what history-making drama would be forthcoming.

Setting the scene, the feeling in the Stadium we electric.  From the time #42 took the mound, the fans stood applauding. Jose Lobaton tapped back to the mound. Yunel Escobar then popped out to second. Only one batter left, and Rivera would’ve closed it out, but that didn’t happen.  The Yankees have a way of highlighting important moments.  After getting Escobar out, in a highly unusual move, Joe Girardi sent Mariano’s two best friends on the team, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter to the mound to take the ball from Mariano one last time.

As the pair got halfway to the mound Mariano turned and realized it wasn’t Joe Girardi, and smiled.  As they reached the mound Andy put out his hand and Mariano gave him the ball and immediately hugged Andy, head on his shoulder he lost it and began to shake and cry.  All this while the Yankee faithful wildly cheered.  It seemed as though Mariano hugged Andy for the longest time, before turning, and hugging Derek Jeter. He finally regained his composure, and he walked off the mound for the final time at Yankee Stadium.

As he left the mound, it seemed impossible, but the crowd roared even louder as he approached Joe Girardi at the dugout steps, Joe hugged him as tears ran down Joe’s face.  Mariano worked his way through the dugout, being hugged by all the players.  The last player in line was Alex Rodriguez who hugged him as well.  A-Rod than grabbed his shoulders and guided him back onto the field.  The crowd showered Mariano with love as he tipped his cap several times acknowledging the fans’ love.

Mariano Rivera was done and he did it on his terms.  The previous year he had been injured shagging balls in the outfield and had to be carried off the field with the season ended knee injury.  He didn’t want to go out that way.  He recovered and pitched a brilliant season as he had done so many times before leading up to that night at Yankee Stadium when he would walk off the mound one last time.

In 2019 Mariano Rivera became the first baseball player ever to be unanimously inducted into the American Baseball Hall of Fame.  In the New York Yankees Monument park Rivera had his number 42 retired and a plaque placed in his honor.

EmpireSportsMedia’com’s William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

 

 

New York Yankees: Derek Jeter helps to fight Covid-19 and Mariano Rivera “devastated” by virus

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

New York Yankees legend and current minority owner of the Miami Marlins, Derek Jeter, fights Covid-19 via the “All In Challenge” while Mariano Rivera battles it close to home.

The All In Challenge has presented athletes with a method to give back to the community with awesome prizes, including Eli Manning’s Super Bowl-winning Corvette, batting practice with Aaron Judge, and Jeter’s 2014 All-Star Game jersey. This was his final appearance in the All-Star game before he retired from baseball.

“Look, there’s a lot of people struggling out there to put food on the table,” Jeter said. “Whether it’s kids, the elderly, or our heroes on the front line, we all need to come together to help out as much as we can.”

“As a player, you understand what an honor it is to play in an All-Star Game so that’s something that’s pretty special to me,” he added. “I hope everyone out there comes up with some huge bids on all these items because the more money raised is more people that can be helped.”

Jeter has always been good to the people, and he’s showing once more that he’s not only a legend on the field but off of it too.

On the other hand, another Yankee legend, Mariano Rivera, who runs the Refuge Of Hope Church in New Rochelle, N.Y., stated that the virus has been “devastating,” as the area had to institute a 1-mile containment-perimeter to stop the spread of the virus.

“That’s basically our home,” he told the YES Network’s, Jack Curry.

“Knowing that the town got infected with the coronavirus, we had to bring confidence and people had started wondering,” Rivera said. “We had to bring peace in the middle of tough times.”

Athletes and teams across the country have begun lending a helping hand to communities and individuals struggling to survive. Many stadium-workers have been left without work and struggling to find food, leading to teams committing millions of dollars to help those in need.