Best Yankees of all time: 15 players New York will never forget

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Here is The Post’s ranking of the best Yankees of all-time. The Post asked some of the top baseball minds in the business to rank the famous players from the most successful franchise in history and here is where they landed.

Vote total in parentheses. A first-place vote was worth 10 points, a second-place vote worth nine points, etc… 

1. Babe Ruth (60)

Ruth was one of the first most dominant players in baseball history, accomplishing many impressive feats in the sport. He was the first batter to hit 50 home runs in a season, the first to hit 60 homers in a season and the first to hit 500 home runs in a career. He was a two-time All-Star and a seven-time World Series champion, as well as the 1923 AL MVP and a 12-time AL home run champion. Ruth was inaugurated into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

At the time of his retirement, Ruth held many of baseball’s most esteemed records, including career home runs (714), slugging percentage (.690), RBIs (2,213), bases on balls (2,062) and on-base plus slugging (1.164).

2. Lou Gehrig (51)

After Wally Pipp sat out of a 1925 game with a headache, he lost his position to Gehrig, who would play every game there for the Yankees until his retirement in 1939.

Chiefly known for playing in 2,130 consecutive games for the Yankees, Gehrig owned that streak until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it. Gehrig usually batted fourth behind Babe Ruth and was often overshadowed by him, considering Gehrig was more reserved and quiet compared.

Gehrig scored more than 100 runs and recorded at least 100 RBIs for 13 straight seasons. He led the AL in runs four times, in home runs three times, in RBIs five times, in on-base percentage five times and in batting average once. Finishing among the league’s top-three hitters in batting average seven times, Gehrig racked up eight 200-plus hit seasons.

Ending his consecutive games streak in May 1939, Gehrig’s performance became hindered by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable neuromuscular illness that is now commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

3. Mickey Mantle (46)

Mantle played his entire 18-year career with the Yankees. Although he dealt with a slew of injuries in his career, Mantle still established himself as one of the game’s best players.

Growing up, Mantle’s leg was infected by osteomyelitis after being kicked in the shin while playing youth football, and effects of the disease lasted the rest of his life.

Mantle went on to be an All-Star for 18 consecutive years. From 1953-1955, Mantle, a switch hitter, averaged 28 home runs, 98 RBIs and 118 runs per season. He led the AL in 1954 with 129 runs and in 1955 he topped the AL with 37 homers, a .431 on-base percentage and a .611 slugging percentage.

In 1956, Mantle won the AL Triple Crown, batting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 RBIs and won the first of two consecutive AL Most Valuable Player awards. In his first eight seasons in New York, the Yankees won seven AL pennants and five World Series titles.

4. Joe DiMaggio (44)

A cultural icon, DiMaggio was known for his marriages to Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Arnold and his involvement in Paul Simon’s hit song, “Mrs. Robinson.”

One of his most notable accomplishments was his 56-game hitting streak in 1941.

Rival Ted Williams once asserted that DiMaggio’s career couldn’t be summed up in numbers and awards, but still he had a “profound and lasting impact on the country.”

5. Yogi Berra (36)

(From left to right) Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.
(From left to right) Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.Bettmann Archive

Another cultural icon whose “Yogi-isms” still linger to this day. Lawrence Peter Berra got the Yogi nickname during his teenage years. He had a reputation as a talker behind home plate, always looking to take opposing batters off their game. In the 1958 World Series, Yogi told Hank Aaron to “hit with the label up on the bat.”

Teammates says that Berra had the “fastest bat” they’d ever seen and that he could hit a ball late and still knock it out of the park. Pitchers feared him because he’d hit anything, so it was difficult to build a strategy facing hm.

Berra finished a 15-time All-Star, a three-time American league MVP and a 10-time World Series champion. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972 and passed away on Sept. 22 2015.

6. Derek Jeter (27)

A legendary Yankees shortstop, Jeter collected five championship rings and captained a dynasty. Earning the starting shortstop job in 1996, Jeter was unanimously voted the AL Rookie of the Year after batting .314. He helped lead the Yankees to their first title in 18 years.

The Yankees never missed the postseason over the next 11 seasons, winning titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Jeter collected 14 All-Star appearances and five Gold Glove Awards and was yearly among the league leaders in hits and runs scored.

Jeter never played a position other than shortstop in his 2,674 games in the field and reached the 200-hit plateau in eight seasons. Over 158 postseason games, Jeter hit .308 with 111 runs, 200 hits, 32 doubles, 20 homers, 61 RBIs and 66 walks.

7. Mariano Rivera (23)

Known for one the best cut fastballs in history, Rivera signed with the Yankees as an international free agent for $ 3,000 in 1990. He went 15 straight years with at least 28 saves and in 11 of those seasons, his ERA was under 2.00.

But it was in the postseason where Rivera became a legend. He saved 42 games in 96 postseason appearances, allowing two home runs in 141 innings. He recorded five blown saves and one loss – in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series – while posting a 0.70 ERA.

The Yankees won five World Series titles during his 19-season career in New York, while advancing to the postseason 17 times. He was the World Series MVP in 1999 and ALCS MVP in 2003.

A 13-time All-Star, Rivera posted a record 652 saves with a win-loss mark of 82-60. His career ERA of 2.21 ranks No. 1 among all pitchers who started their careers in the Live Ball Era (post 1919). His 952 games finished also ranks first all time.

8. Whitey Ford (22)

Ford was best known for performing his best when the stakes were the highest. After quickly rising through the minor leagues, Ford established himself in the Yankees rotation filled with veterans like Vic Raschi, Eddie Lopata and Allie Reynolds, and finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting after posting a 9-1 record with a 2.81 earned-run average.

Ford spent two seasons in the Army and returned in 1953 after two more Fall Classic wins by the Yankees. He picked up right where he left off and went 18-6 and helped the Yankees to their fifth straight World Series championship.

Ford won six titles while appearing in 11 World Series. He averaged 260 innings per season and suffered through only two losing seasons in 1966 and 1967.

Ford, who passed away in October 2020, finished 236-106 for a .690 winning percentage that is the best among modern pitchers with at least 200 victories. In the postseason, Ford was 10-8 with a 2.71 ERA and set a record with a stretch of 33 1/3 shutout innings. He was named the World Series MVP in 1961.

9. Reggie Jackson (5)

It was always Jackson’s dream to play in New York and when he finally got there in 1977, he said: “I didn’t come to New York to be a star, I brought my star with me.” He was named the World Series MVP that season.

In five World Series appearances (the first three with the A’s), Jackson hit 10 homers with 24 RBIs and batted .357. He once hit three home runs on three pitches during Game 6 of the 1977 World Series and earned the nickname “Mr. October.”

Jackson was just as big a star off the field as he was on, appearing in movies and television programs such as “MacGuyver,” “Malcom in the Middle,” “BASEketbal” and “The Naked Gun.” He was a 14-time American League All-Star, a five-time World Series champion and won the AL MVP Award in 1973 in Oakland.

In 21 MLB seasons, Jackson totaled 2,548 hits, 563 homers and 1,702 RBIs.

T10. Don Mattingly (4)

Mattingly was arguably the best player in Major League Baseball for a six-year span from 1984 to 1989, averaging 27 homers and 114 RBIs while slashing .327/.372/.530. The .530 slugging percentage led all qualified hitters, while Mattingly also paced MLB in extra-base hits (428) and RBIs (684) during that span.

He took home nine Gold Glove Awards as well as the 1985 AL MVP Award. Mattingly is one of 11 players to win at least nine Gold Gloves and an MVP. He finished his career with a .306 average, making him one of just eight first basemen in MLB history to hit at least .305 with 200 homers.

Mattingly remains one of just three players to homer in an MLB record eight consecutive games.

T10. Alex Rodriguez (4)

Rodriguez was one of the most dynamic and controversial players to ever put on pinstripes.

His feats on the field are tainted by doubts due to his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs, for which he received one of the stiffest penalties in MLB history (a season-long ban). He had multiple confirmed positive PED tests.

He was a three-time AL MVP, a 14-time All-Star, a 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner and finished his career with 696 home runs, which is fourth in league history. A-Rod helped the Yankees capture their 27th World Series title in 2009.

T10. Red Ruffing (4)

Ruffing was a key starter for seven pennant winners with the Yankees. He won seven of his nine decisions in World Series play with the Yankees and posted a 2.63 ERA during his postseason career, helping New York win championships in 1932, 1936-39 and 1941.

During the Yankees’ four consecutive title seasons from 1936-39, Ruffing won at least 20 games each year. He posted a 39-96 record in seven years with the Red Sox, but went 231-124 in 15 seasons with the Yankees.

In 1932, Ruffing threw a complete game shutout and hit a 10th-inning homer to give the Yankees a 1-0 win against the Washington Senators. He led the Yankees in both wins (16) and batting average (.339 in 109 at-bats) in 1935.

Ruffing finished his career with 36 homers and a .269 batting average. He led the AL with 25 complete games in 1928 and led the circuit with five shutouts in 1939. He paced the AL with 190 strikeouts in 1932 and worked at least 220 innings in every season from 1928-40.

How we ranked the best Yankees of all time

The Post’s experts compared the careers of the best to ever put on pinstripes as the storied dates back to 1913 and has accumulated 27 World Series titles. Fifteen players earned at least one vote with Bernie Williams, Bill Dickey and Ron Guidry falling outside our top 10.

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
Babe Ruth and Lou GehrigBabe Ruth Museum, Baltimore

Ken Davidoff’s greatest Yankees of all time

1. Babe Ruth
2. Lou Gehrig
3. Mickey Mantle
4. Joe DiMaggio
5. Yogi Berra
6. Derek Jeter
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Whitey Ford
9. Red Ruffing
10. Bernie Williams

Kevin Kernan’s greatest Yankees of all time

1. Babe Ruth
2. Mickey Mantle
3. Lou Gehrig
4. Joe DiMaggio
5. Yogi Berra
6. Whitey Ford
7. Derek Jeter
8. Reggie Jackson
9. Mariano Rivera
10. Alex Rodriguez

George A. King III’s greatest Yankees of all time

1. Babe Ruth
2. Lou Gehrig
3. Yogi Berra
4. Mickey Mantle
5. Joe DiMaggio
6. Derek Jeter
7. Whitey Ford
8. Mariano Rivera
9. Red Ruffing
10. Bill Dickey

Dan Martin’s greatest Yankees of all time

1. Babe Ruth
2. Lou Gehrig
3. Mickey Mantle
4. Joe DiMaggio
5. Yogi Berra
6. Derek Jeter
7. Whitey Ford
8. Alex Rodriguez
9. Reggie Jackson
10. Mariano Rivera

Joel Sherman’s greatest Yankees of all time

1. Babe Ruth
2. Joe DiMaggio
3. Mickey Mantle
4. Lou Gehrig
5. Mariano Rivera
6. Yogi Berra
7. Derek Jeter
8. Whitey Ford
9. Don Mattingly
10. Ron Guidry

Mike Vaccaro’s greatest Yankees of all time

1. Babe Ruth
2. Lou Gehrig
3. Joe DiMaggio
4. Mariano Rivera
5. Mickey Mantle
6. Yogi Berra
7. Derek Jeter
8. Whitey Ford
9. Don Mattingly
10. Bill Dickey

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