The All-Time Yankees (a draft book chapter)
Who would be selected for a mythical All-Time Yankees dream team roster? Who would be the starters and who the backups? Who gets snubbed, not quite good enough to make the squad? And how have other authors, as well as fan surveys and the like, answered this fun question throughout the years?
This is the first of what will be many postings to Seamheads that summarize draft book chapters in my forthcoming book on baseball “All-Time Teams” (book title TBD.) As I update/write each chapter, I will post an abstract here, with a link to the full draft chapter as a PDF file hosted at my personal website. I am doing this in part to get comments and feedback as I continue the writing process. My intention is to post another team’s chapter every few weeks. It seems only fitting that I start things off with the chapter on the New York Yankees franchise — love them or hate them, we all must admit they are clearly the most successful franchise in MLB history. To read the entire draft chapter for the Yankees, please see the 27-page PDF file here. You can also see the index web page for these draft chapters, and also read the draft of the book introduction (as PDF) here.
(This first paragraph is the chapter’s introductory paragraph, as written…)
Without doubt, the Yankees are the most successful and well-known team in all of professional sports. They’ve won 27 championships and 40 AL pennants. The franchise actually started as the Baltimore Orioles (believe it or not) with the birth of the American League in 1901. For the 1903 season they moved to New York and went by the name of the Highlanders until 1913 when they became the Yankees. They didn’t win any pennants until 1921, the year after Babe Ruth joined the club. This means that they have won their amazing 40 pennants in only the past 84 years — almost half of the time! Naturally, their all-time team will be loaded with talent, and some hard decisions will keep very deserving players off the roster. However, the Yankees have not been uniformly blessed with talent across all positions, so their all-time team does have some (relative) weak spots too.
I will now list my selections for starter and backup at each position, including six outfielders (without separation by RF/CF/LF), and also including 10 pitchers (any combination of up to 8 starters and up to 4 relievers). For my write-ups on why I chose each player, and for the many other players I considered at each position, see the full draft chapter for this team.
- 1B: Lou Gehrig, Don Mattingly
- 2B: Tony Lazzeri, Willie Randolph
- 3B: Graig Nettles, Red Rolfe
- SS: Derek Jeter, Phil Rizzuto
- C: Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey
- OF: Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Bernie Williams, Earle Combs, Roy White
- SP: Whitey Ford, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez, Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte, Mel Stottlemyre, Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt
- RP: Mariano Rivera, Dave Righetti
There were some tough decisions, and lots of good players who didn’t make this roster, so see the full draft chapter for details. And for each team I am picking one “extra” player, the one who I felt was most deserving amongst those who were not selected as a starter, backup, or amongst the ten pitchers. Who do you think it should be for the Yankees?
So assuming no DH, one reasonable starting lineup might be:
- Derek Jeter SS
- Joe DiMaggio OF
- Babe Ruth OF
- Lou Gehrig 1B
- Mickey Mantle OF
- Yogi Berra C
- Graig Nettles 3B
- Tony Lazzeri 2B
- Whitey Ford SP
In the full draft chapter I then discuss the selections from other authors and fan surveys, including:
- 1949: The Yankees: A Pictorial History of Baseball’s Greatest Club, by John Durant
- 1953: 50th Yankee Anniversary All-Time Yankee Team, as provided in The Yankee Encyclopedia, 4th edition, 2000, by Mark Gallagher and Walter Lebonte
- 1959: Sport magazine, February issue
1963: The All-Yankee Team: The First 60 Years: 1903-1963, as provided in The New York Yankees 1982 Official Yearbook
- 1969: The Sporting News fan poll
- 1971: I Hate the Yankees, by John R. Bizzelle
- 1990: â€œAll-Time All-Star Teamsâ€, The Baseball Research Journal
- 1992: The All-Time All-Star Baseball Book, Nick Acocella, and Donald Dewey
- 1995: Baseball Ratings by Charles S. Faber
- 2001: Few and Chosen: Defining Yankee Greatness Across the Eras, by Whitey Ford with Phil Pepe
- 2002: Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball, by Glenn Stout
- 2003: Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups, by Rob Neyer
- 2006: The Team By Team Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, by Dennis Purdy (not an all-time team per se, but his list of “significant players”)
Do you know of any books or fan surveys that I’ve missed here? Please let me know in the comments to this posting.
Finally, as part of this project I am determining the all-time team that would be determined by Bill James’ innovativeÂ Win Shares system. To see those results, see the full draft chapter for this team.
Again, your comments and feedback on the draft chapter are very much appreciated, as I hope to get the book published in the next year or so.