Which Yankees could see their numbers retired in the future?
|Photo Credit: Rob Carr | Getty Images|
The Yankees have obviously been fortunate to have such a high number of incredible players come through their organization over the years. It does seem at times that they get a bit carried away with the whole number retiring thing but this is the way the organization chooses to honor the heroes of their numerous championship eras. The members of those great teams of the 90's and early 2000's all left around the same time and that led to several retirement ceremonies over the last few seasons. On the flip side of that is the fact that, looking at the recently departed and retired Yankees, I believe it could be quite a long while before we see another number retirement.
|Photo Credit: Keith Torrie | NY Daily News|
For his Yankee career, he batted .303 with 185 home runs and 858 RBIs. He also won the American League batting title in 1994 and was elected to the All-Star team in four of his nine seasons with the team. For his postseason career, he had a .284 batting average with a .363 on base percentage, 11 home runs and 39 RBsI. Perhaps the highlight of his postseason career was his performance in the 2000 World Series against the Mets where he batted .474 with two triples, nine hits and 15 total bases in five games. He rose to the occasion time and time again for the Yankees and did so by giving his all every day, often displaying intense fire and passion on the field during games.
Although he left the team as a player in 2001 he hasn’t gone too far, appearing regularly in the YES Network booth throughout the season. His number 21 jersey has been worn just twice since his departure, both times for very brief stints by LaTroy Hawkins and Morgan Ensberg in 2008. Whether or not this is some form of unofficial retirement by the team, we may never know but based on his accomplishments in Pinstripes, a number retirement for The Warrior would be widely applauded by the fans and more than deserved.
|Photo Credit: Anthony Grupposo | USA TODAY Sports|
Teixeira played eight out of 14 seasons for the Yankees and retired at the conclusion of this past season. Although his stats don’t jump off the page, he made memorable contributions throughout his time. He was always outspoken and honest and always seemed to be a good teammate and no matter how he was hitting he could always be relied upon to play stellar defense in the field. One of his most memorable moments with the team is his dramatic walk-off home run in game two of the 2009 ALDS.
He did put together an impressive list of accomplishments in Pinstripes, hitting 206 homers in his eight seasons, winning three Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and putting up three consecutive 30 and 100 seasons to begin his Yankee career. Overall Mark Teixeira was a consummate professional throughout his time in New York and at his best was a force at the plate and a wizard with the glove. I think it is this total package here that could earn him a spot in Monument Park.
|Photo Credit: Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports|
Although his stats aren’t eye popping, he has been around for a long while and has been a solid contributor throughout his time here. For his career he owns a .264 batting average and a .346 on base percentage and has also been a very durable player, playing less than 145 games in just one season since becoming a full time player in 2010.
He contributed valuable speed and defense during the Yankees 2009 World Series run and is one of the most successful homegrown prospects in recent memory. He has been the subject of almost nonstop trade speculation for the last few years but if he does last out his current contract he will have been with the team for 11 years. Similarly to Mark Teixeira, his numbers do not jump off the page but it is the total package here that should gain him consideration for this honor. He could really help his case with a few strong seasons at the plate in the coming years while continuing to be durable and playing his usual good defense in the field. He is not the most spectacular player by any means but if a few things go his way I could see the Yankees deciding honor a homegrown player who served them faithfully for over a decade. The Yankees already have numbers 1-10 retired in Monument Park and in a few years we might just see number 11 out there as well.
Entering the final season of his contract, the long time ace of the Yankees will present a legitimate chance at getting his number 52 retired by the New York Yankees. Although his last few seasons have shed a negative light on his Yankee legacy, Sabathia is a guy who the Yankees may deem worthy of this prestigious honor one day.
|Photo Credit: AP|
Sabathia joined the Yankees organization before the 2009 season. Anchoring the rotation throughout the season and throughout the postseason, Sabathia and company captured the franchise's 27th World Series title. During his first three seasons with the Yankees, Sabathia finished fourth, third, and fourth in Cy Young voting, and he also received MVP votes in each of those seasons.
In his Yankee career, Sabathia has three All-Star appearances to go along with a 106-68 record, 3.75 ERA, and 1333 strikeouts. Sabathia will not only be a pitcher who may be honored by the Yankees, but his numbers may also reward him with Hall of Fame consideration in the coming years, but that will be contingent on how many more seasons he plays after his contract expires following this 2017 season.
|Photo Credit: Robert Beck|
All told, he played 12 years for the team finishing with a .283 batting average, 351 home runs and 1096 RBI. For his career, he is also a member of the 600 home run club and the 3000 hit club joining that club with a home run, accomplishing something only two other players have done (Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs). Although the story of his career became much more complicated near the end, he always did have a knack for the spotlight and provided several dramatic moments over the years.
His performance during the 2009 postseason was especially memorable batting .365 with six homers and 18 RBIs during the run to the title, a run that included his game tying home run off of Joe Nathan in Game two of the ALDS. He also won two MVP awards and delivered seven consecutive 30 and 100 seasons to start his Yankee career.
As we all know, A-Rod came to be the poster boy for MLB's fight against steroid use, denying for years any wrong doing until he finally submitted and accepted a season long suspension in 2014. The fallout from that suspension was ugly and brought about a lot of acrimony between him and the Yankees. He made his return in 2015 seemingly humbled by his experiences and displaying a new found joy to be able to play baseball again.
Although that bitterness between him and the Yankees was very real the team saw fit to give him one final moment in the spotlight to end a truly one of a kind career. His knowledge of the game and ability to relate this to others led the Yankees to bring him back into the organization in a special advisors role where he will be mentoring the next generation of Yankee prospects. Only a few really know where his relationship with the Yankees’ brass stands and how his role with the organization will evolve going forward but Alex was something special to watch and did genuinely seem to enjoy the spotlight that came with being a member of this storied franchise. If it were strictly based on performance it would be no question. Of course it’s not that simple. For Alex, it never was.