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ESPN New York released their “50 Greatest Yankees” list the other day. I can’t really argue too much with their list, although I probably would have swapped Thurman Munson (#12) and Bill Dickey (#10). Yes, I know Dickey is in the Hall of Fame and Munson isn’t. But it was Munson’s leadership, as much as anything else that returned the Yankees to their winning ways in the ’70s. And who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up if not for the plane crash?

Anyway, here’s their list. I’ve added in the dates they played for the Yanks, along with their position. An asterisk denotes a playing career interrupted by a military commitment; # denotes a Hall-of-Famer. Current players are in red type. Feel free to let us know how you feel about the list!

50. Mike Mussina (RHP, 2001-2008)

49. Bob Meusel (LF, 1920-1930)

48. Albert “Sparky” Lyle (LHP, 1972-1978)

47. Gil McDougald (IF, 1951-1960)

46. Jim “Catfish” Hunter (RHP, 1974-1978)#

45. David Cone (RHP, 1995-2000)

44. Roy White (LF, 1965-1979)

43. Hank Bauer (RF, 1948-1959)

42. Jack Chesbro (RHP, 1903-1909)#

41. Eddie Lopat (RHP, 1948-1955)

40. Rickey Henderson (1985-1989)#

39. Vic Raschi (RHP, 1946-1953)

38. Joe Gordon (2B, 1938-1946)*#

37. Tommy Henrich (RF, 1937-1950)*

36. Charlie “King Kong” Keller (LF, 1939-1949)*

35. Bobby Murcer (CF, 1969-1974, 1979-1983)

34. Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler (RHP, 1937-1947)

33. Willie Randolph (2B, 1976-1988)

32. Waite Hoyt (RHP, 1921-1929)#

31. Mel Stottlemyre (RHP, 1964-1974)

30. Paul O’Neill (RF, 1993-2001)

29. Graig Nettles (3B, 1973-1983)

28. Dave Winfield (OF, 1981-1990)#

27. Herb Pennock (LHP, 1923-1933)#

26. Allie “Superchief” Reynolds (RHP, 1947-1954)

25. Rich “Goose” Gossage (RHP, 1978-1983, 1989)#

24. Elston Howard (C, 1955-1967)

23. Earle Combs (CF, 1924-1935)#

22. Roger Maris (RF, 1960-1966)

21. Jorge Posada (C, 1995-present)

20. Phil Rizzuto (SS, 1941-1956)*#

19. Bernie Williams (CF, 1991-2006)

18. “Poosh ‘Em Up” Tony Lazzeri (2B, 1926-1937)#

17. Ron “Gator” Guidry (LHP, 1975-1988)

16. Andy Pettitte (LHP, 1995-2003, 2007-2010)

15. Reggie Jackson (RF, 1977-1981)#

14. Vernon “Lefty” Gomez (LHP, 1930-1942)#

13. Alex Rodriguez (3B, 2004-present)

12. Thurman Muson (C, 1969-1979)

11. Don Mattingly (1B, 1982-1995)

10. Bill Dickey (C, 1928-1946)#

9. Charles “Red” Ruffing (RHP, 1930-1942)#

8. Edward “Whitey” Ford (LHP, 1953-1967)*#

7. Derek Jeter (SS, 1995-present)

6. Lawrence “Yogi” Berra (C, 1946-1963)#

5. Mariano Rivera (RHP, 1995-present)

4. Mickey Mantle (CF, 1950-1968)#

3. “Joltin” Joe DiMaggio (CF, 1936-1951)*#

2. Lou “Iron Horse” Gehrig (1B, 1923-1939)#

1. George “Babe” Ruth (RF, 1920-1934)#

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Well-known sports author, Les Krantz, has come out with a new book entitled: Yankee Classics: World Series Magic from the Bronx Bombers -1921 to Today-. This is really a one-of-a-kind book, as it delves inside each World Series the Yankees played in. The design of the book, and the pictures inside will blow you away. They also include a DVD, which is narrated by Yankee great, Reggie Jackson. This book would be a great gift for any Yankees fan. 

Editorial Review:

No team, in any sport, enjoys a championship legacy as celebrated as the New York Yankees—and no book provides as thorough an exploration of that legacy as Yankee Classics. With year-by-year recaps filled with stories and photos, the book goes through all 40 World Series the Yankees have participated in, including the seven-game classics and the four-game cakewalks. Profiles of the biggest stars of the Fall Classic—from Ruth and Gehrig, to Berra and Mantle, to Jeter and Rivera—and detailed sidebars on the memorable moments, the October rivalries, and the lesser-known heroes round out this comprehensive look at an unprecedented sports success story.

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Horace Meredith Clarke played second base for the New York Yankees from 1965-1974.  With the retirement of longtime Yankee, Bobby Richardson, Clark became the Yankees full-time second baseman in 1967. In his 10 seasons with the Yankees, he hit .257, with 27HR’s and 300RBI’s.

My dad was born in 1955, and grew up watching these Yankees. It wasn’t a time of celebration, but rather a decade filled with disappointment. From 1965-1974, the Yankees won absolutely nothing. Some of these teams included the likes of Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson.

The big complaint about Clarke was that he wasn’t able to turn the double play. With runners trying for the take out slide at second base, he would wind up holding onto the ball instead of turning it. With that said, Clarke was also a durable player, who came out ready to play everyday. He became the face of those poorly performing Yankees ball clubs, which is often called “The Horace Clarke Era” or “The Horace Clarke Years.”

In a recent interview, conducted by Kenneth Hogan, Clarke expressed his feelings on the subject:

You see (Laughs) every time I hear “the Horace Clarke Era” I don’t know how to take it but I think it is mostly because we were losing and I was a member of all of those teams. I could understand because fans, writers, and commentators were spoiled at being so successful for so long. I know how the fans feel about the drought that we went through, it was a let down during that losing era. But when I hear it I think, “Here we go again. The Horace Clarke Era, the Horace Clarke Years”. I’m going to tell you something, while I was there some guys (writers) always target me, I was targeted more than anybody I think because I played just about everyday. When I was traded to San Diego a writer wrote, “You know, that guy wasn’t so bad after all.” Because he had gone to the record books and saw what I had done over those years.

They said I couldn’t make the double-play but Gene Michael and I were tops in double plays a couple of years. I have looked in Yankee books and compared my stats to some of the older second basemen over the years and they didn’t do any better than me but they were among elite players that won World Series. My play was consistent over the years. I got on base and scored runs everyday. During the time I played I had the 3rd leading fielding percentage among second basemen. How could I be that bad?

Year Tm   W L Ties  W-L% Finish
1974 New York Yankees 89 73 0 .549 2nd of 6
1973 New York Yankees 80 82 0 .494 4th of 6
1972 New York Yankees 79 76 0 .510 4th of 6
1971 New York Yankees 82 80 0 .506 4th of 6
1970 New York Yankees 93 69 1 .574 2nd of 6
1969 New York Yankees 80 81 1 .497 5th of 6
1968 New York Yankees 83 79 2 .512  5th of 10
1967 New York Yankees 72 90 1 .444 9th of 10
1966 New York Yankees 70 89 1 .440 10th of 10
1965 New York Yankees 77 85 0 .475 6th of 10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/21/2010.

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Andy Pettitte turns 38 years old today (born June 15, 1972). On April 29, 1995, Pettitte made his major league debut with the New York Yankees. Fifteen years later, he recorded his 200th win in a Yankees uniform, and joins the ‘Yankees 200 Win Club’ which includes only Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231). Happy Birthday, Andy.

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Tomorrow, the New York Yankees will host a ceremony prior to the game to honor the 2009 World Champion ball club. The gates will open up to the fans at 11AM. (All Information Courtesy of the NY Yankees Official Website)

The Festivities begin at 12:15PM ET

  • World Series Rings will be handed out to the players and coaches by Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra.
  • The Ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Bernie Williams. He will become the ninth ex-Yankee to throw an Opening Day first pitch.
  • Championship flags for each of the Yankees’ 27 WS titles will be on display, and it will encompass the roof of the entire Yankee Stadium.
  • Emmy & Tony Award winner Kristen Chenoweth will sing the national anthem. The colors will be represented by the West Point color guard.
  • A giant American flag will be unfurled in the outfield by the West Point Cadets
  • After the anthem, the Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC-12- a U.S. Navy Reserve fighter squadron. They are known as the “Fighting Omars,” and stand as one of the Navy’s two Reserve Hornet squadrons.), will execute a fly-over.
  • U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Mary May Messenger will perform “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch.

Hideki Matsui will be in attendance in an Angels uniform, and will probably get a well-deserved ovation. George M. Steinbrenner III is also planning to attend. According to George King, Gene Monahan will be there as well.

NYY vs. LAA: Pitching Matchup:

RHP Ervin Santana (0-1, 6.00) vs LHP Andy Pettitte (0-0, 1.50)

The game will start at 1:05PM ET. It will be televised on both the YES and MLB Network.

The Yankees ask their fans to please budget ample time when planning their trip to the Stadium and to consider using public transportation.

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With the first game being thisclose, I thought it might be fun to look back and see who has played the most Opening Day (first game of the season, not first home game) games per position — Relief pitchers need not apply. The available information only goes back until 1952, unfortunately. Next to each name below is the exact number of opening day games started for the Yankees.

Starting Pitcher: Whitey Ford/Ron Guidry/Mel Stottlemyre (7)

Catcher: Jorge Posada (10)

First Base: Don Mattingly (10)

Second Base: Willie Randolph (10)

Shortstop: Derek Jeter (13)

Third Base: Graig Nettles (11)

Left Field: Roy White (9)

Center Field: Mickey Mantle (13)

Right Field: Paul O’Neill/Hank Bauer (7)

Designated Hitter: Don Baylor/Ruben Sierra (3)

You can view each lineup since 1952 here.

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In the Yankees’ long line of history, they have retired in total 16 numbers for 17 players (Including Jackie Robinson) which is far above any other team in Major League Baseball history and over the course of the next 5 years will be adding more numbers to the list. Below is the list of current retired numbers with the appropriately named player for those numbers.

1 – Billy Martin
3 – Babe Ruth
4 – Lou Gehrig
5 – Joe DiMaggio
7 – Mickey Mantle
8 – Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra
9 – Roger Maris
10 – Phil Rizzuto
15 – Thurman Munson
16 – Whitey Ford
23 – Don Mattingly
32 – Elston Howard
37 – Casey Stengel
44 – Reggie Jackson
42 – Jackie Robinson
49 – Ron Guidry

Now, in the next decade, give or take, the Yankees will be adding more numbers to the already historic list. Personally, I believe the Yankees will retire all the below listed numbers.

2 – Derek Jeter
6 – Joe Torre
20 – Jorge Posada
21 – Paul O’Neill
42 – Mariano Rivera
46 – Andy Pettitte
51 – Bernie Williams

When do I think all these numbers will be retired? Hard to tell. Derek and Mo’s numbers are a given to happen within the first year or two of retirement. However, I don’t think Torre’s number will be retired with Brian Cashman working in the organization considering their falling out, but crazier things have happened. There is something that tells me Bernie and Posada’s numbers might take a little bit longer, but will eventually join Mariano and Derek’s numbers in time. Another issue that will come up is whether or not Pettitte’s number should be retired due to his admitted use of HGH. Now, I believe what he has told us, so I don’t think he should be penalized for what he has done. I mean, the Yankees have brought him back the last two years, so obviously they don’t think it’s an issue.

So there is the potential for 23 numbers for 25 players to be retired in the next decade, give or take, which is kind of crazy, but after this group gets their just due, it won’t be for a while that another number gets retired.

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Here are some early morning Yankees video clips to pass the time:

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Lou GehrigRecently, the New York Daily News published their list of the All-World Series Yankees team. Looking over it, there is not much much debate at who should be on it, with the exception of one or two spots (Brosius vs Nettles, Larsen vs. Pettitte). Are you happy with this list? To see the full article click here.

Manager – Casey Stengel

C – Yogi Berra
1B – Lou Gehrig
2B – Billy Martin
SS – Derek Jeter
3B – Graig Nettles
OF – Mickey Mantle
OF – Babe Ruth
OF – Joe DiMaggio
DH – Reggie Jackson

SP – Whitey Ford
SP – Red Ruffing
SP – Allie Reynolds
SP – Walte Hoyt
SP – Don Larsen
CP – Mariano Rivera

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