The New York Yankees are one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball. The Yankees have won 40 pennants and 27 World Series and have retired the names of 22 players and managers.
There have been so many great baseball players who were a part of this fabled franchise. And after going through all the names of the Yankees greats, there are 10 who stand out as the best New York Yankees players of all-time
1. Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth is the greatest Yankee of all-time. In his first five seasons after Boston sold his rights to the Yankees, Ruth batted at .370 and averaged 47 home runs and 131RBIs. During that period, he also had a ridiculous OPS of 1.28 during that half-decade. The Bambino hit at least 41 home runs in 11 out of his first 13 seasons in the Majors. He is the MLB’s all-time leader in slugging percentage and OPS. In 36 career games, he batted at .347 with 15 homers 30 RBIs and a 1.285 OPS during the World Series.
2. Joe DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio was special right from the very moment he arrived in New York. After batting a .323 with 29 home runs and 125 RBIs during his rookie season, DiMaggio would deliver at least 30 home runs and at least 12 RBIs in each of the next five seasons. He was an all-star in every season he played and he finished in the Top 10 of the MVP voting 10 times while winning the award thrice in 1939, 1941 and 1947. DiMaggio played in just 13 seasons but he was part of 9 World Series champion teams.
3. Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig was an unstoppable force long before his name became linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He played in 2,130 consecutive games and had 12 consecutive seasons where he recorded 27 home runs and 114 RBIs. He hit 40 or more home runs in five of those seasons and he also had seven seasons where he had at least 150 RBIs. He was AL MVP in 1927 and 1936. If only they had a World Series MVP awardee during his era, he would have at least won two. Gehrig was a career .361 batter in the postseason and he helped the Yankees win six World Series titles.
4. Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle had an eight-year window where he batted at .315 and averaged 40 home runs and 101 RBIs every year. He finished in the Top 5 in the AL voting in all but one of those years while winning the award in 1956, 1957 and 1962. During the 1956 season, Mantle batted at .353 with 50 home runs and 130 RBIs, leading the American League in all statistical categories and making him only the 4th player in 70 years to accomplish the “triple crown”. When it comes to the postseason, Mantle is the World Series record-holder for runs, home runs and RBIs with 42, 18 and 40, respectively in 65 World Series games. He played in a total of 12 World Series and won seven of them.
5. Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra leads all MLB catchers with 1,430 RBIs and his 358 career home runs are fourth all-time among catchers behind Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench, and Carlton Fisk. From 1950-56, he was in the Top 4 for MVP balloting, winning the AL MVP in 1951,1954, and 1955. During this stretch, Berra batted at .295 and averaged 27 home runs and 108 RBIs. He was an All-Star from 1948-1962 and helped the Yankees win 10 World Series titles during his entire career.
6. Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter was the face of the New York Yankees for two decades. He was a staple at the top of the batting order and was the only shortstop that fans from a certain era knew. But not only was he collecting beautiful actresses and celebrities as girlfriends, but he was also producing impressive numbers for such a long period of time. Starting his Rookie of the Year season in 1996, Jeter had at least 179 hits, 10 home runs, and 11 stolen bases in 14 out of 15 seasons. He was outstanding during the postseason where he batted at .308 with 200 hits and 20 home runs in a total of 158 playoff games. Jeter was named as the 2000 World Series MVP.
7. Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer in the history of Major League Baseball and I don’t think anyone will argue with that. Super Mariano’s cut fastball was a nightmare for opposing hitters. The 13-time all-star had four Top 3 finishes in the AL Cy Young race and he also finished in the Top 15 of the AL MVP voting six times. Though he never won either award, it was unheard of for a reliever to be even considered for both awards. In 141 postseason innings pitched, Rivera had an ERA of 0.70 and a WHIP of 0.74. His ERA is the lowest career postseason ERA despite the fact that he pitched more innings than 8 out of the 10 players on that list. In a total of 96 postseason appearances, he gave up only two home runs and had just one loss.
8. Whitey Ford
Whitey Ford is probably the best starting pitcher that New York ever had for over a decade. Ford is the Yankees’ career leader in wins with 236. Ford won the Cy Young award in 1961 after winning 25 games and while Roger Maris’ 61 home runs that year were a big help to him, Ford was, without doubt, a standout in any era. For his entire career, he had an ERA of under 3.25, including a four-year stretch from 1955-58 where he had an ERA of 2.41. In 22 starts during the World Series, Ford had an ERA of 2.71 and helped the franchise win six World Series titles. He even had a stretch from 1960 to the 1961 World Series where he pitched 32 scoreless innings across four wins in as many World Series starts.
9. Bill Dickey
Bill Dickey is one of the best hitting catchers in the history of Major League Baseball. The 11-time All-Star wasn’t a power hitter. His 202 career home runs aren’t even half of Mike Piazza’s 427. But among catchers with at least 7,000 career at-bats, Dickey batting average of .313 is supreme. Dickey batted at least .310 in nine out of ten seasons from 1929-38. In 1936, he batted at .362 and had an OPS of 1.045. The reason why he was such an excellent hitter was that he hardly struck out. In the 10 seasons we mentioned earlier, his strikeout percentage was just 3.37. Dickey struck out in only 11 at-bats in 491 plate appearances in 1935. Dickey wasn’t as big a star as Lou Gehrig was, but he was a key component of seven World Series wins.
10. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez had his best three years with the Texas Rangers and he didn’t join the New York Yankees until his 11th season. But with A-Rod, it’s not about how long he played in pinstripes but what he was able to do with the time he spent in New York. Rodriguez started his Yankees career with seven straight seasons where he had at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. During the 2005 and 2007 seasons, he hit a combined 102 home runs and 286 RBIs and won the AL MVP award in both seasons.