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 Yankees Top 10s: The best modern era Yankee acquisitions

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 star players that were homegrown 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 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, Starky 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 Yankees Top 10’s: The best Yankee right fielders thru history (videos)

This is another installment of my top 10 New York Yankees series; I give my choices for the top 10 Yankee right fielders of all time.  The Yankees, in their glorious history, have many of the best players ever to play in their positions in the history of MLB.  Previous installments have featured the top ten first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstops. With so many good players and different ways of measuring greatness, different writers may have different rankings; these are mine.

10.  Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has only played for the Yankees for five years but has racked up a batting average of .272 with 268 runs driven in and 119 home runs, plus another 11 long balls in postseason play. Considering his excellent stats, his defense is even better.  He has a rocket of an accurate arm, making many difficult plays look easy.  In future years he could easily rank considerably higher on this list.  The only thing that might prevent that is his frequent injuries. 2017 was his best year with the Yankees; his injuries have prevented him from greatness since then.

9. George Selkirk

Many Yankee fans may not know the name of George Selkirk, but he played for the New York Yankees between 1934 and 1942, playing his entire career for the Yankees. Selkirk was an excellent fielder and hit a .290 batting average for the Yankees with 576 runs batted. His fielding percentage was .976, which was excellent for that time.

8. Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield could have been higher on this list. However, he only played three years with the Yankees. Sheffield was a menacing figure at the plate. In his three years, he hit .291 with 269 RBIs and 76 home runs. Sheffield, like Aaron Judge, had a cannon for an arm. He made spectacular plays, often hitting the right-field wall. He had a remarkable 22-year career in the outfield. He played for the Yankees between 2004 and 2006.

7. Hank Bauer

Hanke Bauer is often an underrated right fielder. He played for the Yankees between 1948 and 1959. During that time, he hit .277 with 654 runs batted in and 158 long balls. He was one of the Yankee’s most contact hitters of his time. In 12 years with the Yankees, he hit an average of 110 hits a year for a total of 1326 hits. He was a five-time MVP candidate during the span.

6. Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella was one of the most popular New York Yankee players in the 1970s and ’80s. He spent eleven years with the Yankees hitting .295 with 417 RBIs. Piniella was not a home run hitter but had 971 hits in his Yankee tenure. He was a magnificent arm in the outfield. Piniella had a vast knowledge of the game and went on to be the Yankee manager from 1986 to 1987. He also managed the Mariners, Cubs, Rays, and the Reds. He returned to manage the Yankees for the second time in 1988.

5. Roger Maris

Roger Maris is a famous Yankees often overrated due to his record 61 home runs in 1961. What is overlooked is that he was an outstanding right fielder. His fielding percentage was .978. He hit .265 with 541 runs batting while getting 203 home runs. He was an MVP in the right field and an MVP in centerfield as well in 1961. He is one of the very few Yankees to win the MVP award several times. Maris, who came from the Athletics but his seven years with the Yankees, were his best years. After leaving the Yankees, he quickly faded away.

4. Dave Winfield

The hulking Dave Winfield was another Yankee that was a fan favorite. However, he didn’t have the best relationship with the New York Yankees’ primary owner George Steinbrenner and regularly fought with him. Winfield came to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in 1981 and hung around until 1990. During that time, he hit .290 with 818 runs batting in and 205 home runs. His 1300 as a Yankee was part of a career that produced 3,110 hits. While with the Yankees, he was an All-Star eight times and a five-time Gold Glover in right-field. Dave was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3. Reggie Jackson

George Steinbrenner, who was not shy when spending money, reached out into the new free-agent market and acquired Reggie Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles for just short of $3 million in 1976.  Jackson would later say:

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” the flamboyant Jackson said about Steinbrenner’s efforts after he signed a five‐year contract with the Yankees said to be worth $2.9 million. “Some clubs offered several hundred thousand dollars more. possibly seven figures more,‐ but the reason I’m a Yankee is that George Steinbrenner outhustled everybody else.”

It was a cheap buy for Steinbrenner as Jackson turned out to be George’s best purchase.  However, Jackson was a controversial player with the Yankees; some loved him, some hated him.  That includes manager Billy Martin, catcher Thurman Munson, and Steinbrenner himself.  There were often fights for power amongst the three.  He always wanted to be in the spotlight in dugout fights with Martin and his hitting three homers in one game.

Regardless of what negative views fans of others had of him, he deserved the praise.  During his five years with the New York Yankees, he hit .281 with 144 home runs.  He had a 900 OPS.  He also had a .980 fielding percentage in right field for the Yankees.  Reggie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

2. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neill is unsung and unrewarded as a Yankee right-fielder, and many sportswriters would put him down a few notches on this list. But this writer feels he is one of the best players ever to grace the right-field at Yankees Stadium.  His batting average of .303 over nine years with the Yankees speaks for itself.  He hit for power, he hit for contact, and he was the ultimate team player.  He consistently did what was needed to help his team.

O’Neill played for the Yankees from 1993 to 2001; he was part of four Yankee World Series Championships and contributed to them. During his time, the “Warrior” had 858 RBIs and hit 185 home runs while hitting nearly 1,500 hits.  Paul will probably not reach the Hall of Fame for his lack of home runs, but he owned the fans for his time with the Yankees.  In his last game as a Yankee in 2001, it was the ninth inning; from the entire stadium, all you hear for the whole inning was “Paulie” clap, clap, clap, clap, Paulie, clap, clap, clap, clap.

Since retiring from baseball, he has become an integral part of the YES Network, broadcasting and analyzing Yankee games.

1.  Babe Ruth

There is not enough space in this article to talk about the achievements of Babe Ruth; he is not only my pick for the best New York Yankee right-fielder but the best baseball player ever.  In what was called the worst trade in baseball history, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, being short on money, traded Babe Ruth away to the Yankees for $100,000 the day after Christmas in 1919.

Ruth would spend the next fifteen years with the Yankees.  Over the period, he had a batting average of an incredible .349, with 659 home runs.  There was no other hitter like him then and since then.  He had a fielding percentage that averaged .965, which for that time was very good.  Ruth was an All-Star and a most valuable player back when awards weren’t as common as they are today.  Being a pitcher for the Red Sox, he even pitched to a winning percentage of 1.000 with a record of 5-0.

In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships.  In 1936 Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.

New York Yankees Top 10s: The best Yankee acquisitions in modern times

In my New York Yankees top 10 series that has covered most aspects of Yankee baseball, today we take a look at the top 10 Yankee acquisitions in the modern era.  These acquisitions come from both signings and trades.  The Yankees have had many star players that were homegrown 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.  I am sure 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 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. 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’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, he was 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.

For his pitching with both 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 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 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, Starky 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.

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 10’s: The Yankees top right-fielders throughout history

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

This is another installment of my top 10 New York Yankees series, I give my choices for the top 10 Yankee right fielders of all time.  The Yankees, in their glorious history, have many of the best players ever to play in their positions in the history of MLB.  Previous installments have featured the top ten pitchers, catchers, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd baseman. With so many good players and different ways of measuring greatness, different writers may have different rankings, these are mine.

10.  Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has only played for the Yankees for five years but has racked up a batting average of .272 with 268 runs driven in, and 119 home runs, plus another 11 long balls in postseason play.. Considering his excellent stats, his defense is even better.  He has a rocket of an accurate arm, making many difficult plays look easy.  In future years he could easily rank considerably higher on this list.  The only thing that might prevent that is his frequent injuries. 2017 was his best year with the Yankees, since then his injuries have prevented him from greatness.

9. George Selkirk

Many Yankee fans may not know the name of George Selkirk, but he played for the New York Yankees between 1934 and 1942, playing his entire career for the Yankees. Selkirk was an excellent fielder and hit a .290 batting average for the Yankees with 576 runs batted in. His fielding percentage was .976, which was excellent for that time.

8. Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield could have been higher on this list. However, he only played three years with the Yankees. Sheffield was a menacing figure at the plate. In his three years, he hit .291 with 269 RBIs and 76 home runs. Sheffield, like Aaron Judge, had a cannon for an arm. He made spectacular plays, often hitting the right-field wall. He had a remarkable 22-year career in the outfield. He played for the Yankees between 2004 and 2006.

7. Hank Bauer

Hanke Bauer is often an underrated right fielder. He played for the Yankees between 1948 and 1959. During that time, he hit .277 with 654 runs batted in and 158 long balls. He was one of the Yankee’s most contact hitters of his time. In 12 years with the Yankees, he hit an average of 110 hits a year for a total of 1326 hits. He was a five-time MVP candidate during the span.

6. Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella was one of the most popular New York Yankee players in the 1970s and ’80s. He spent eleven years with the Yankees hitting .295 with 417 RBIs. Piniella was not a home run hitter but had 971 hits in his Yankee tenure. He was a magnificent arm in the outfield. Piniella had a vast knowledge of the game and went on to be the Yankee manager from 1986 to 1987. He also managed the Mariners, Cubs, Rays, and the Reds. He returned to manage the Yankees for the second time in 1988.

5. Roger Maris

Roger Maris is a famous Yankees that is often overrated due to his record 61 home runs in 1961. What is overlooked is that he was an outstanding right fielder. His fielding percentage was .978. He hit .265 with 541 runs batting while getting 203 home runs. He was an MVP in the right-field and an MVP in centerfield as well in 1961. He is one of a very few Yankees to win the MVP award several times. Maris, who came from the Athletics but his seven years with the Yankees, were his best years. After leaving the Yankees, he quickly faded away.

4. Dave Winfield

The hulking Dave Winfield was another Yankee that was a fan favorite. However, he didn’t have the best relationship with the New York Yankees’ primary owner George Steinbrenner and regularly fought with him. Winfield came to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in 1981 and hung around until 1990. During that time, he hit .290 with 818 runs batting in and 205 home runs. His 1300 as a Yankee was part of a career that produced 3,110 hits. While with the Yankees, he was an All-Star eight times and a five-time Gold Glover in right-field. Dave was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

3. Reggie Jackson

George Steinbrenner, who was not shy when spending money, reached out into the new free-agent market and acquired Reggie Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles for just short of $3 million in 1976.  Jackson would later say:

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” the flamboyant Jackson said about Steinbrenner’s efforts after he signed a five‐year contract with the Yankees said to be worth $2.9 million. “Some clubs offered several hundred thousand dollars more. possibly seven figures more,‐ but the reason I’m a Yankee is that George Steinbrenner outhustled everybody else.”

It was a cheap buy for Steinbrenner as Jackson turned out to be George’s best purchase.  However, Jackson was a controversial player with the Yankees; some loved him, some hated him.  That includes manager Billy Martin, catcher Thurman Munson, and Steinbrenner himself.  There were often fights for power amongst the three.  From Jackson in dugout fights with Martin and his hitting three homers in one game, he always wanted to be in the spotlight.

Regardless of what negative views fans of others had of him, he deserved the praise.  During his five years with the New York Yankees, he hit .281 with 144 home runs.  He had a 900 OPS.  He also had a .980 fielding percentage in right field for the Yankees.  Reggie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

2. Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neill is unsung and unrewarded as a Yankee right-fielder, and many sportswriters would put him down a few notches on this list. But this writer feels he is one of the best players ever to grace the right-field at Yankees Stadium.  His batting average of .303 over nine years with the Yankees speaks for itself.  He hit for power, he hit for contact, and was the ultimate team player.  He consistently did what was needed to help his team.

O’Neill played for the Yankees from 1993 to 2001, he was part of four Yankee World Series Championships and contributed to all of them. During his time, the “Warrior” had 858 RBIs and hit 185 home runs while hitting nearly 1,500 hits.  Paul will probably not reach the Hall of Fame for his lack of home runs, but for his time with the Yankees, he owned the fans.  In his last game as a Yankee in 2001, it was the ninth inning, from the entire stadium all you hear for the whole inning was “Paulie” clap, clap, clap, clap, Paulie, clap, clap, clap, clap.

 

Since retiring from baseball, he has become an integral part of the YES Network broadcasting and analyzing Yankee games.

1.  Babe Ruth

There is not enough space in this article to talk about the achievements of Babe Ruth, he is not only my pick for the best New York Yankee right-fielder but for the best baseball player ever.  In what was called the worst trade in baseball history, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, being short on money, traded Babe Ruth away to the Yankees for $100,000 the day after Christmas in 1919.

Ruth would spend the next fifteen years with the Yankees.  Over the period he had a batting average of an incredible .349, with 659 home runs.  There was no other hitter like him then and since then.  He had a fielding percentage that averaged .965, which for that time was very good.  Ruth was an All-Star and a most valuable player back when awards weren’t as common as they are today.  Being a pitcher for the Red Sox, he even pitched to a winning percentage of 1.000 with a record of 5-0.

In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships.  In 1936 Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.

 

Honorable mentions go to Jessie Barfield, Willie Keller, Tommy Henrich, and Giancarlo Stanton.

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.

 

New York Yankees Legends: Paul O’Neill “There’s a Warrior in right field”

In Paul O’Neill’s seventeen-year career, he hit an average of 22 home runs a year while driving in 100 runners across home plate, but that is not what he is known for. For nine years during the New York Yankees dynasty years, he was the fierce warrior that guarded the right field at the old Yankee Stadium.

Paul Andrew O’Neill was born in Columbus, Ohio, on February 25, 1963, one of six children of which he was the youngest. When Paul O’Neill was five years old, the family moved into a larger house that had a large, grass-covered and tree-shaded backyard that was a perfect template for a makeshift baseball field, where the children spent hours playing pickup games and competing in home run contests. His childhood was special, not only for his love of baseball but also for his love of a five-year-old girl who lived almost next door. The young girl, Nevalee Davis, would become O’Neill’s wife sixteen years later.

O’Neill’s Father “Chick” was a former minor league pitcher. His Dad passed on his knowledge of, and love for, the National Pastime to all six of his children, but it was Paul who picked up the game with ferocious zeal. In that backyard field, is where he learned to avoid the maple tree and hit to the opposite field.

Growing up in Ohio in the 1960s and early ’70s, O’Neill naturally became a fan of the Cincinnati Reds. He would later say, “What I would have given to play on a team with Pete Rose or to throw a ball to Johnny Bench. When Paul was seven years old, “Chick” would take Paul to his first Reds ball game at Crosley Field. At the game, Paul took special notice of the right fielder Roberto Clemente who wore the number 21. Prophetic or not, O’Neill would take the number 21 when he played for the Reds.

Paul would play in the little leagues, where he was coached by his Father. From a very young age, the future Yankee O’Neill was an intense competitor, almost like he was playing for a purpose. He was passionate, he carried the game on his sleeve and would not accept failure easily, something he brought with him throughout his career. Just ask any Gator Aid jug. O’Neill was multi-talented; at the age of 14, he was playing three sports at his Columbus Brookhaven High School.

In baseball games, he would not only hit but pitch as well. In his junior year, he threw a no-hitter in the city championship. In his senior year, he received offers of scholarships to play baseball and basketball. But a Reds scout would intervene and convince Paul to take a minor league contract at his home town Reds.

O’Neill would quickly advance through the minors. In 1984 Paul would play for the Vermont Reds. After the season was over, he would marry his childhood sweetheart. Paul would make his major league debut in 1987 under Manager Pete Rose mostly as a pinch hitter for the team. In 1988 he would become a full-time player and end up playing under Rose and Lou Pinella for eight successful seasons.

On November 3, 1992, the Reds traded Paul O’Neill to the New York Yankees for center fielder Roberto Kelly. At the time, the trade created quite a buzz. Kelly had been the Yankee’s top young prospect. O’Neill was crushed by the news. He was being sent away from his hometown team. “Once I’d set foot inside Yankee Stadium and met with Steinbrenner and general manager Gene Michael, I could see that a whole new baseball life was out there,” O’Neil later recalled.

His 1994 season was outstanding. He led the American League in hitting with a career-high .359 average. O’Neill cashed in on his remarkable season and signed a four-year Yankee contract worth $19 million. That same year he won the Silver Slugger Award.

O’Neill’s most successful seasons were from 1993 to 1998. He hit an average of 37 doubles, 21 home runs, and batted in 100. He appeared in seven ALDS’s, five ALCS’s, and six World Series. His batting average in the combined series was .273. In 1995 The Yankees would appear in their first postseason in 14 years. In a World Series the Yankees would lose, O’Neill hit a home run in the seventh of game two in a 15 inning nail biter.

In game 5, he hit a 2 run blast. O’Neill hit .333 in the series with 6 RBI’s.
In the deciding Game 6 of the 1996 World Series, O’Neill started and ignited the Yankees 3-run rally in the bottom of the third inning with a line-drive double to right field. One out later, he scored on a single by Yankees catcher Joe Girardi. With two outs in the ninth inning, Mark Lemke popped up to third baseman Charlie Hayes, and for the first time 18 years, the Yankees were champions of the baseball world.

The Yankees missed the World Series in 1997, but Paul had a great season, batting .324 with 42 doubles, 21 home runs, and 117 RBIs. He also made his fourth All-Star team. 1998 would see another World Series win for the Yankees. O’Neill hit .317, his sixth straight season of batting at least .300. He also hit 24 homers, collected 40 doubles, and knocked home 116 runs.

In 1999 just hours after his Father “Chick” passed away, O’Neill would play in Game 4 of the World Series. The Yankees eventually won the game and swept the Braves to win their 25th World Series Championship. In 2000 he hit .283 with 18 home runs and 100 RBI. He led the Yankees into the postseason again, who won the World Series over the New York Mets. It would be the last World Series win to date for the Yankees.

When the season ended, O’Neill’s status for the 2001 season was uncertain. His contract had expired; he was 37 years old and, he had a tough late-season and post-season run because of a nagging hip injury that he suffered in August. Once again, he was considering retirement or even playing for another team closer to his hometown in Columbus. But on November 16, 2000, O’Neill signed a one year contract for $7.25 million.

Paul O’Neill decided to retire after the 2001 season. In Game 5 of the failed World Series, O’Neill received a sendoff from New York fans. While standing in right field in the 9th inning with the Yankees down 2–0, the entire stadium continually chanted his name; “Paul O’Neill, Paul O’Neill.”

When the inning ended, O’Neill was still being cheered. With tears in his eyes, he tipped his cap, and another roar went up from the crowd at Yankee Stadium and with that another Yankee great was history. O’Neill was honored with a plaque in Monument Park. He is presently a commentator with the YES Network. One big question remains in New York Yankee fans heads, and that is why he never won a Gold Glove in right field. He was one of the greatest warrior defenders in Yankee history.

Photo: Paul O’Neill with present right-fielder Aaron Judge on New York Yankees opening day on March 28, 2019.

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

New York Yankees: Paul O’Neill and the players’ need to always get “more games”

New York Yankees

Right now, uncertainty reigns in the baseball landscape, as the rocky negotiations between the league and the players’ association hasn’t delivered any good news recently. As the country slowly overcomes the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary obstacle for a season to occur seems to be how MLB owners compensate players. Will we see the New York Yankees play this year? The answer is no one knows.

And, as there are no games, players are beginning to appreciate those days in which they would play without any bumps in the road or compensation issues. But as Yankees’ legend Paul O’Neill can teach us, no one knows how to truly appreciate something until it is gone and it will nor return.

MLB.com’s Mike Lupica talked to O’Neill about his last game for the Yankees, which turned out to be Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in Phoenix.

The New York Yankees’ right fielder back then had announced he would be gone after the 2001 season, and the home crowd gave him a huge ovation in Game 5 at the old Yankee Stadium.

“I never thought baseball was lucky to have me,” O’Neill said Sunday. “I always knew how lucky I was to have baseball.”

Three days later, he thought he would be going out in style as the Yankees were defending a lead entering the last inning.

“I went back to the locker room and put my bats in my locker and thought, ‘What a cool way for things to end,’” O’Neill said. “’Mo (Mariano Rivera) will get the last three outs and we’ll win one more Series, and then I’ll go home for good.’”

Then, he laughed.

“You know what I remember even better than putting my bats away for the last time? George Steinbrenner yelling at the guys at Fox who were putting up the stage for the trophy presentation,” he said. “He said they were going to jinx us. And guess what? About 15 minutes later, that stage was gone.”

After a series of broken-bat singles and a couple of outs, Luis Gonzalez’s blooper above derek Jeter’s glove gave the Arizona Diamondbacks the victory. O’Neill and the Yankees went from winners to losers

“We’d always been the ones having that kind of celebration,” O’Neill said. “Now I was watching them do that. It had happened to us as a group before, and killed me both times. We’d watched Junior [Ken Griffey Jr.] score the winning run at the end of Game 5 in ’95. And then in ’97, the Indians came back and beat us on their field in Game 5 of that Division Series. But never in the Series. Just like that, we went from winning to losing.”

O’Neill paused and said, “In the Series, that was the kind of game we’d always won.”

He considered one last dance with the Yankees

He was gone after that fateful night, but as a player, he considered the option of coming back. You see, players always want to get more games.

“Joe Torre called me the next season and asked how long it would take for me to get in shape,” O’Neill said. “They’d had some injuries and some guys had underperformed. Stick [Gene Michael] called, too, and said, ‘This might work out great, you’ve had some time to rest and heal and you’d only have to play half the season.’ That was all it took. All of a sudden, we were on a family vacation and I’m running and throwing and thinking I could do it. Then they decided to sign [Raul] Mondesi, and that was the end of that.”

He was, as it becomes evident by now, eager to return to the New York Yankees. “Even then,” he said, “even after it was over, I was thinking about getting a few more games.”

New York Yankees Analysis: The top 10 Yankee right-fielders, find out (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

In the sixth installment of my top 10 New York Yankees series, I give my choices for the top 10 Yankee right fielders of all time.  The Yankees, in their glorious history, have many of the best players ever to play in their positions in the history of MLB.  Previous installments have featured the top ten pitchers, catchers, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd baseman. With so many good players and different ways of measuring greatness, different writers may have different rankings, these are mine.

 

10.  Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has only played for the Yankees for four years but has racked up a batting average of .273 with 246 runs driving and a 126 home runs. Considering his excellent stats, his defense is even better.  He has a rocket of an accurate arm, making many difficult plays look easy.  In future years he could easily rank considerably higher on this list.  The only thing that might prevent that is his frequent injuries.

9.  George Selkirk

Many Yankee fans may not know the name of George Selkirk, but he played for the New York Yankees between 1934 and 1942, playing his entire career for the Yankees.  Selkirk was an excellent fielder and hit a .290 batting average for the Yankees with 576 runs batted in.  His fielding percentage was .976, which was excellent for that time.

  1. Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield could have been higher on this list. However, he only played three years with the Yankees.  Sheffield was a menacing figure at the plate.  In his three years, he hit .291 with 269 RBIs and 76 home runs.  Sheffield, like Aaron Judge, had a cannon for an arm.  He made spectacular plays, often hitting the right-field wall.  He had a remarkable 22-year career in the outfield.  He played for the Yankees between 2004 and 2006.

7.  Hank Bauer

Hanke Bauer is often an underrated right fielder.  He played for the Yankees between 1948 and 1959.  During that time, he hit .277 with 654 runs batted in and 158 long balls.  He was one of the Yankee’s most contact hitters of his time.  In 12 years with the Yankees, he hit an average of 110 hits a year for a total of 1326 hits. He was a five-time MVP candidate during the span.

6.  Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella was one of the most popular New York Yankee players in the 1970s and ’80s.  He spent eleven years with the Yankees hitting .295 with 417 RBIs. Piniella was not a home run hitter but had 971 hits in his Yankee tenure.  He was a magnificent arm in the outfield. Piniella had a vast knowledge of the game and went on to be the Yankee manager from 1986 to 1987.  He also managed the Mariners, Cubs, Rays, and the Reds. He returned to manage the Yankees for the second time in 1988.

  1. Roger Maris

Roger Maris is a famous Yankees that is often overrated due to his record 61 home runs in 1961.  What is overlooked is that he was an outstanding right fielder.  His fielding percentage was .978.  He hit .265 with 541 runs batting while getting 203 home runs. He was an MVP in the right-field and an MVP in centerfield as well in 1961.  He is one of a very few Yankees to win the MVP award several times.  Maris, who came from the Athletics but his seven years with the Yankees, were his best years.  After leaving the Yankees, he quickly faded away.

  1. Dave Winfield

The hulking Dave Winfield was another Yankee that was a fan favorite. However, he didn’t have the best relationship with the New York Yankees’ primary owner George Steinbrenner and regularly fought with him.  Winfield came to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in 1981 and hung around until 1990.  During that time, he hit .290 with  818 runs batting in and 205 home runs.  His 1300 as a Yankee was part of a career that produced 3,110 hits.  While with the Yankees, he was an All-Star eight times and a five-time Gold Glover in right-field.  Dave was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  1.   Reggie Jackson

George Steinbrenner, who was not shy when spending money, reached out into the new free-agent market and acquired Reggie Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles for just short of $3 million in 1976.  Jackson would later say:

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” the flamboyant Jackson said about Steinbrenner’s efforts after he signed a five‐year contract with the Yankees said to be worth $2.9 million. “Some clubs offered several hundred thousand dollars more. possibly seven figures more,‐ but the reason I’m a Yankee is that George Steinbrenner outhustled everybody else.”

For Steinbrenner, it was a cheap buy as Jackson turned out to be George’s best ever purchase.  However, Jackson was a controversial player with the Yankees; some loved him some hated him.  That includes manager Billy Martin, catcher Thurman Munson, and Steinbrenner himself.  There were often fights for power amongst the three.  From Jackson in dugout fights with Martin and his hitting three homers in one game, he always wanted to be in the spotlight.

Regardless of what negative views fans of others had of him, he deserved the praise.  During his five years with the New York Yankees, he hit .281 with 144 home runs.  He had a 900 OPS.  He also had a .980 fielding percentage in right field for the Yankees.  Reggie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

2.  Paul ONeill

Paul O’Neill is unsung and unrewarded as a Yankee right-fielder, and many sportswriters would put him down a few notches on this list. But this writer feels he is one of the best players to ever grace the right-field at Yankees Stadium.  His batting average of .303 over nine years with the Yankees speaks for itself.  He hit for power, he hit for contact and was the ultimate team player.  He consistently did what was needed to help his team.

O’Neill played for the Yankees from 1993 to 2001, he was part of four Yankee World Series Championships and contributed to all of them. During his time, the “Warrior” had 858 RBIs and hit 185 home runs while hitting nearly 1,500 hits.  Paul will probably not reach the Hall of Fame for his lack of home runs, but for his time with the Yankees, he owned the fans.  In his last game as a Yankee in 2001, it was the ninth inning, from the entire stadium all you hear for the whole inning was “Paulie” clap, clap, clap, clap, Paulie, clap, clap, clap, clap.

Since retiring from baseball, he has become an integral part of the YES Network broadcasting and giving analysis of Yankee games.

1.  Babe Ruth

There is not enough space in this article to talk about the achievements of Babe Ruth, he is not only my pick for the best New York Yankee right-fielder but for the best baseball player ever.  In what was called the worst trade in baseball history, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, being short on money, traded Babe Ruth away to the Yankees for $100,000 the day after Christmas in 1919.

Ruth would spend the next fifteen years with the Yankees.  Over the period he had a batting average of an incredible .349, with 659 home runs.  There was no other hitter like him then and since then.  He had a fielding percentage that averaged .965, which for that time was very good.  Ruth was an All-Star and a most valuable player back when awards weren’t as common as they are today.  Being a pitcher for the Red Sox, he even pitched to a winning percentage of 1.000 with a record of 5-0.

In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships.  In 1936 Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.

Honorable mentions go to Jessie Barfield, Willie Keller, Tommy Henrich, and Giancarlo Stanton.

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.