Saturday, June 14, 2008

Greatest Yankees of all-time

With all the current attention being paid to the Yankees as this is the last year at the storied ballpark, I wanted to do my list of all-time Yankees players.

I'll do a couple positions a day for the next few days.

I'm going to limit it to just players I have seen. While I attended my first game in 1961, I really hardly remember anything except seeing Whitey Ford on the mound against the Red Sox, and that Maris or Mantle homered. Yankees won 13-2. But everything else is just a blur.

While, technically, I did see Mantle and some of the players from the glory days of the 1950's play, I hardly could say I have any true memory of them.

So, for all practical purposes, this list would just use players from the mid-1960's up until today. Players I saw and appreciated.

I'll start at catcher. The Yankees have been blessed with several great catchers in their history. Dickey and Berra, are among the best ever, both enshrined in Cooperstown. While Jorge Posada has been one of the best catchers in the AL since he broke in, and he definately fits in among some of the greatest Yankee catchers to ever put on the "Tools of Ignorance," he's not my guy. Add to that the simple fact I'm a huge fan, and he would be a shoe-in. But sorry. My guy is, was, and always will be the Captain, Thurman Munson. His .292 career average and his 113 dingers pale in comparison to Posada, but he was the heart of the Yankees, and led them to 2 World Championships (1977-78,) and an AL Championship (1976.) Munson was great at throwing out would be outbase-stealers. He didn't have the greatest arm, but his release made up for that. During his career, Carlton Fisk (HOF) and he were considered the best at their positions. Thurman deserves to be alongside Fisk in the Hall.
I can remember when rumors circulated that the Yankees were looking to make a trade for Johnny Bench (generally considered to be the best catcher ever.) When reporters asked Thurman what he thought of the deal, he said, "That's great, What position will he be playing?"

Munson was that cocky guy winning teams need.


Next is First Base. This is a little easier to call. For some reason, the Yankees, throughout history, have not been blessed with many great first sackers. Sure, Gehrig handled the job for a while, but through the 50's and 60's and much of the 70's the position had no really great players. Moose Skowron and Danny Cater were nice ballplayers, but no one ever mentions Hall of Fame and their names in the same sentence. Chris Chambliss? Again, a very good player, known for a clutch HR against KC, but just not my all-time guy.

Don Mattingly, aka Donnie Baseball, is my choice. OK, not exactly a stretch.

While his career numbers are respectable, injuries seriously hurt his chance for Cooperstown. Over 400 doubles, coupled with 200+ homers and a .307 average may have put him in the running. But he lost at least 3-4 seasons due to his relatively early retirement (age 34) and who knows how much more he would have accomplished if he hadn't missed at least 30 games in parts of 4 seasons in his prime. Keep in mind that he had some trouble even when he played, due to back problems. We could almost double all those numbers if he remained healthy.
And he was known as a great fielder, saving the infielders many errors over the years.

Two choices, both captains, get the nod.

More to come.


Go Yankees

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Hideki

Hideki Matsui celebrated his birthday in Oakland in a big way. He belted a grand slam to lead Andy Pettitte and the Yankees to victory over the A's.

Finally, the team is starting to get good starting pitching from Pettitte (who went 8 innings for the win) and Wang 2 days ago. They are beginning to look like the team I thought they would be back in spring training.


Go Yankees

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lots of general sports news

To begin with, the Yankees did win last night. Wang did great, and may be back on track.

Cool contest on another blog. Here's the deal.

You win a bag stuffed with great stuff.

The bag will have the normal assortment of wearable Market Leverage T Shirt, golf shirt, jacket and cap so you’ll be able walk around town and be a human billboard. Not that you’ll mind doing that since the bag will also contain the following really good stuff:

Flip video camera
$200 Market Leverage Amex Rewards card
USB drive that is also a pen
iPod Nano.
For that custom touch, the iPod will be engraved with Market Leverage and your blog name. Total value of the bag of stuff is over $500. And it can be all yours!

How To Enter

There are two ways to enter the bag of stuff contest. You’ll receive one entry by simply replying to this post. Easy, right? You only have to reply once. You can reply more than once but you’ll still only get one entry.

Go to John for the chance to win.

Go Yankees

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Me and my big mouth

Just when I said the Yankees look to be starting a streak, they get beat by KC of all teams.

Maybe this will be the one loss in their amazing streak to first place.

Go Yankees

Monday, June 9, 2008

This morning

I was talking with my Red Sox fan friend this morning. He agrees with me, Big Papi may be out a lot longer than expected. Here is where we differ, though. I'm happy about that, he's sad.
It looks like the Yankees are starting to pick up some steam. Joba showed a lot yesterday as he overcame first inning jitters to turn in a decent performance. He threw nearly 80 pitches in 4.1 innings of work, striking out 5. It may not qualify as a quality start in the traditional sense, but I thought it showed the potential is there.
The schedule for the next few weeks doesn't look too tough, so they may be getting ready for a nice run of wins. Interleague play starts next week, with Houston, San Diego, and Pittsburgh due in after a short series with Oakland. This may be a chance to close the gap with the division leading Sox. We could be in 1st (or darn near to it) by July 4th.

Go Yankees

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Yankee bats are coming alive

A-Rod, Giambi and Posada all belted homers in yesterday's battle with the Royals. This is the team I expected, one with power, and the ability to put up a lot of runs in a hurry. So, I'm pretty happy about that. The staff is ailing, though. While it may have been Andy Pettitte's worst game in years, if the pen wasn't in such disarray, he would have been gone long before the Guillen grand slam.
Today, Joba takes the hill in his second start. I'm not sure how many pitches he is scheduled to throw, but it is pretty damned stupid to announce it before the game like they did last time.
Melky Cabrera is becoming one of my favorites. He seems to get lost in the shuffle, and yet, his upside is so tremendous. It's hard to believe he is only 23 and this is only his 3rd year as a full time player. His predecessor in center, Bernie Williams, was sent to the minors at age 23.
I know Melky's name was bandied about over the winter in trade talks, but I firmly believe he will be, one day, mentioned in the same way other great former Yankee players are-- joining Mickey, Joe D., Bernie, and Bobby Murcer as legendary players who have patrolled centerfield in the Bronx.


Go Yankees

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Downtown, New Jersey, United States
Yankees fan. But the team hasn't been the same since Yogi retired. TV watching expert. Manly man.