The New York Yankees have set the mark in baseball that looks as if it will never be matched. The Yankees have 27 World Series titles while the next most has just 12. With those championships comes a great deal of extraordinary talent.
For the purposes of this list, players will only be designated to the positions they play. Outfielders can only be used in the outfield, while the designated hitter spot can only be taken by someone who played designated hitter for the majority of their time with the Yankees.
With that said, lets take a look at who their ideal roster with all these legends would be. Keep in mind that the accolades mentioned for these players are only applicable to their time with the Yankees. The dates next to their name is their time with New York, not just their time in the majors.
Catcher: Yogi Berra (1946-1963)
18x All-Star, 13x World Series Champion, 3x AL MVP
The Yankees have several legendary catchers. From Bill Dickey, Jorge Posada and Thurman Munson, the Yankees have had an excellent catching core. However, there is no doubt that the best catcher in Yankees history is Yogi Berra.
Berra is known for his quick wit and powerful bat. What some people may not know either is that Yogi Berra has won more World Series than any other team in baseball other than the Yankees. He is not only a great catcher in terms of his ability, but a great face to put on the franchise. Berra was entertaining on and off the field, and is one of the greatest ballplayers to ever play the game.
First Base: Lou Gehrig (1923-1939)
7x All-Star, 6x World Series Champion, 2x AL MVP, Triple Crown (1934)
The Iron Horse was perhaps the best part of the historic 1927 Yankees. He also gave one of the most iconic speeches of the 20th century. He stated he was the “luckiest man on the face of the earth” during his retirement speech due to what is now called Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Gehrig may be one of the best hitters to ever play the game, as his career .340 batting average along with 493 home runs proves that.
Second Base: Robinson Cano (2005-2013)
5x All-Star, 1x World Series Champion, 5x Silver Slugger, 2x Gold Glove Award
Cano is one of the best power hitting second basemen of the 21st century. He has had sustained success and landed one of the largest contracts ever with the Seattle Mariners.
Cano was a perennial MVP candidate with the Yankees, finishing in the top six in voting for four seasons in a row. He has remained healthy through the years and can hit for power with the best of them for middle infielders. Don’t be mistaken, he can also flash some leather. He may not have as many World Series titles as other people on this list, but he fits right in with them.
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez (2004-2016)
7x All-Star, 1x World Series Champion, 2x AL MVP
Here we go. Perhaps one of the most controversial figures in baseball history. Rodriguez’s career is plagued by performance enhancing drugs and a negative reputation. For the purposes of this list though, we will leave the controversies in the rear view mirror.
Rodriguez signed the largest contract in sports history with the Yankees in 2004. His best year was in 2007 when he hit 54 home runs and a staggering 156 RBIs. He hit at least 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in the first seven years of his Yankees career. Despite all the hate that is steered his way, he had one of the greatest careers on the field in baseball history.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter (1995-2014)
14x All-Star, 5x World Series Champion, 5x Gold Glove, 5x Silver Slugger, AL Rookie of the Year (1996)
What else is there to say? The Captain fits right in there with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as one of the best to put on the famed pinstripes. He is in the Yankees top ten list for batting average, runs, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks and extra-base hits.
Surprisingly enough, Jeter is the only Yankee to reach 3,000 hits while in a Yankees uniform. Phil Rizzuto won more titles in New York, but Jeter was a key cog in the 1990s and early 2000s powerhouse in the Bronx. The future Hall of Famer will go down as the greatest shortstop of all time.
Left field: Mickey Mantle (1951-1968)
20x All-Star, 7x World Champion, 3x AL MVP, Triple Crown (1956)
Mickey Mantle played his career in center field. However, it is too difficult to leave him out of the starting lineup. Mantle and DiMaggio are right on par and their careers coincided with each other, so the center field spot was taken care of by hall of famers for over 30 years.
Mantle holds the record for most home runs in the World Series with 18 over his career. His triple crown year in 1956 is also one of the greatest seasons in Yankees history.
Center Field: Joe DiMaggio (1936-1942, 1946-1951)
13x All-Star, 9x World Series Champion, 3x AL MVP, Record 56 game hitting streak
All of DiMaggio’s stats have to be taken with a grain of salt. Not because he cheated or anything, but because they are lower than what they could because of World War II.
It cannot be stated enough how incredible DiMaggio and Mantle were in center. You cannot go wrong with either guy, but someone has to have the upper hand. If it was not for the war, DiMaggio may have the clear path to deserving the center field spot of Mantle. However, even with the time off, he proves his position with his nine World Series titles and his unbreakable 56 game hitting streak.
During that famed summer of 1941, DiMaggio set what may be the most unbreakable record in baseball with that 56 game hit streak. No player has come within 10 games of that hit streak since he set it. With this day in baseball too, it is unlikely that it will be reached again.
Right Field: Babe Ruth (1920-1934)
7x World Series Champion, AL MVP, AL Batting Champion (1924), AL ERA Leader (1916)
The Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, the Behemoth of Bust. Babe Ruth is widely considered to be the greatest to ever play the game due to the fact he could pitch and hit with the best. He was the first player to really introduce home runs to baseball at all as well. He brought the game out of the dead ball era and revolutionized the game of baseball all together.
Ruth is a big reason for who the Yankees are today. He is an immortal that would be found on the Mount Rushmore of baseball, and we will likely never see a player like him in our lifetimes.
Designated Hitter: Don Baylor (1983-1985)
2x Silver Slugger
There are plenty of guys that could fit into this designated hitter role who didn’t play the position. The designated hitter was not introduced until 1973, so the only people in this position are people who played a majority of their games at DH.
The late Don Baylor was only with the Yankees for three seasons, but he left his mark at DH during those three years. He provided some pop to the lineup but only eclipsed the .300 mark once.
As stated before, there are greater Yankees hitters of course. However, Don Baylor is the best to occupy the DH position.
Starting Pitcher: Whitey Ford (1950, 1953-1967)
10x All-Star, 6x World Series Champion, Cy Young (1961)
The Yankees have a staggering amount of Hall of Fame pitchers that could take the mound for them. However, Whitey Ford shines above them all. He leads the Yankees in several career stats such as wins, pitcher WAR, starts, strikeouts, and innings pitched.
He has the most experience as a pitcher in pinstripes, and was the best at it while doing it. Despite the fact that the Yankees have so many other pitchers that could top this list, Ford was an easy choice.
Closing Pitcher: Mariano Rivera (1995-2013)
13x All-Star, 5x World Series Champion, 5x Rolaids Relief Man of the Year, All time saves leader
Mariano Rivera is the greatest closing pitcher ever. The role wasn’t really established until the 70s and 80s, but since then there is no doubt he has been the best.
He had one of the best cutters the game has ever seen which was devastating for left handed hitters. Rivera was also one of the best pitchers to ever play in the postseason. He was the World Series MVP in 1999 and established himself as the go to guy at the end of games. He was also the last player ever to wear the number 42 as it was grandfathered in after baseball retired it for Jackie Robinson.
Everybody else on the roster
Starting Rotation: Andy Pettitte, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Ron Guidry
Relievers: Sparky Lyle, Goose Gossage, Dave Righetti, John Wetteland, David Robertson, Dellin Betances
Bench: Bill Dickey, Phil Rizzuto, Dave Winfield, Bernie Williams
Featured image from NY Daily News
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