All-Time Yankees Greats
Babe Ruth | 1920-34
There are several examples of how far superior a player Ruth was, but one that might stand out more than any was what he did in 1920. That year he hit 54 home runs in a season in which the second-highest total in the majors was George Sisler's 19. Those 54 homers were also more than any other American League team compiled. Ruth led the AL in home runs 12 times, including 1927 when he hit 60, a record that would stand until 1961 when it was broken by the Yankees' Roger Maris. Ruth's 714 career homers held up as baseball's all-time mark for 39 years until surpassed by Hank Aaron in 1974. As a Yankee, Ruth won four World Series (seven appearances) and hit .347 with 15 home runs. He was a member of the Hall of Fame's inaugural class of 1936 and his number 3 was retired by the Yankees in 1948.
Lou Gehrig | 1923-1939
The Iron Horse, who played in 2,130 consecutive games from 1925 to 1939, was a member of six World Series champions. Among those with at least 100 at-bats, Gehrig's .361 career average in the Fall Classic is the all-time standard. Gehrig, a two-time American League MVP, won four home run crowns and blasted 493 for his career. He drove in 1,995 runs, including three seasons of more than 170. Gehrig's 184 RBIs in 1931 represent the second-highest total ever. Perhaps a surprising career note is that he won only one batting crown (.363 in 1934) despite topping .350 on six occasions and hitting at least .373 three times. Gehrig was a special election to the Hall of Fame in 1939, the year the Yankees also retired his number 4. He passed away in 1941 after suffereing from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuromuscular disease later named after him.
Bill Dickey | 1928-43, '46
Despite playing on Yankees teams that boasted Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, Dickey was selected to play in 11 all-star games and was ahead of his time when it came to catchers that could hit for power and average. A .313 career hitter, Dickey hit .300 10 times with a .339 mark in 1930 his best effort. The runner-up for the 1938 MVP, he finished in the top five in home runs five times and topped 100 RBIs on four occasions. Dickey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954 and the Yankees retired his number 8 jointly with Yogi Berra in 1972.
Joe DiMaggio | 1936-51
An example of what a consistent threat DiMaggio was during his career, is that in the 11 seasons he played at least 120 games, he ranked in the top five in total bases on nine occasions. DiMaggio hit .325 in a career that resulted in three MVP awards, nine World Series titles in 10 appearances and two batting titles, including a .381 average in 1939. His 56-game hitting streak in 1941 is one of the great sporting accomplishments that may never be eclipsed. During the streak, which spanned May 15 to July 16, DiMaggio banged out 91 hits while batting .408 en route to hitting .357 for the season. He had his number 5 retired by the Yankees in 1952 and he was elected to the Hall of Fame three years later.
Phil Rizzuto | 1941-42, 46-56
The 1950 American League MVP appeared in nine World Series in his 13 seasons, tasting victory seven times. The shortstop finished in the top three in fielding percentage eight times. At the plate, Rizzuto's .324 in his MVP year was a career high and he finished in the top five in stolen bases on seven occasions. He appeared in five all-star games and led the junior circuit in sacrifices four straight seasons, 1949-52. Following his playing career, The Scooter stepped into the broadcast booth where he called games and did color over the course of four decades. His call of Roger Maris' 61st home run in 1961 is one of the game's most famous. Rizzuto's number 10 was retired in 1985 and he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995.
Yogi Berra | 1946-63
By the time he retired, Berra held virtually every major record for catchers. Though he did not lead the league in any major offensive category, Berra won three American League MVP awards - 1951, '54 and '55. A 10-time World Series winner who played in 15 all-star games, Berra finished in the top 10 in home runs and RBIs every season from 1949-56. He had a stretch of 10 straight seasons of hitting at least 20 home runs while reaching the 100-RBI plateau five times. Behind the plate, he was in the top four in gunning down base runners 10 times, led the league in fielding percentage twice and finished in the top five in that category eight times. He had his number 8 retired by the Yankees in 1972, the year he was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Whitey Ford | 1950, '53-67
The Chairman of the Board compiled a .690 career winning percentage (236-106) and led the American League in that category three times and finished second on four occasions. Ford won his lone Cy Young Award in 1961 when he compiled a 25-4 record (.892) with a 3.21 ERA that was actually nearly half a run higher than his career mark of 2.75. Ford, who won 15-plus games in 10 seasons, led the AL in ERA twice, including fashioning a 2.01 mark in 1958. In 22 World Series starts - he won six rings - the southpaw had 10 wins with a 2.71 ERA. Ford's number 16 was retired by the Yankees in 1974, the same year he was elected to the Hall of Fame.
Mickey Mantle | 1951-68
By the time he was 26, Mickey Mantle had won two MVP awards (winning the Triple Crown in 1956), was top five in MVP voting two other times, led the American League in home runs twice, RBIs once, batting once and runs scored three times. An American icon, the switch-hitter blasted 536 home runs with nine seasons of at least 30. Each year from 1954 to 1962, Mantle was no less than third in the American League in slugging percentage while leading the way four times. Mantle was victorious in seven of 12 World Series and holds the career Series record with 18 home runs. He topped .300 eight times and finished in the top five in American League batting six times. The Yankees retired his number 7 in 1969 and he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Elston Howard | 1955-67
When he made the club in 1955, Howard became the first African American to play for the Yankees. He went on to participate in nine World Series during his first 10 seasons and played in nine straight all-star games, 1957-65. During that period, Howard won an MVP (1963), a pair of Gold Gloves and batted a career-best .348 in 1961. Several years he was in the top five among league catchers in fielding percentage, assists and percentage of runners caught stealing. His number 32 was retired by the Yankees in 1984.
Roger Maris | 1960-66
Roger Maris played only seven seasons with the Yankees, but one of them is among the most historic in the game's history. For 37 years, the lefty swinging outfielder's 61 home runs in 1961 stood as the single-season record. Maris outlasted more-heralded teammate Mickey Mantle (54 HRs) in the pursuit of Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs established in 1927. The pressure and criticism Maris endured has been well documented, but the landmark homer came in his second at-bat on the season's final day. The record-setting season, which included a league-best 141 RBIs, earned Maris the American League MVP Award for the second straight year. He also won it in 1960 when he hit 39 home runs and led the AL with 112 RBIs in 136 games. Maris, who is not in the Hall of Fame, had his number 9 retired by the Yankees in 1984.
Thurman Munson | 1969-79
The Yankees' first captain since Lou Gehrig, Munson was the heart and soul of a team that appeared in three straight (1976-78) World Series, winning twice. Munson hit .529 in the 1976 Series and .357 in his postseason career. The 1970 American League Rookie of the Year and 1976 American League MVP was selected to play in seven all-star games. He hit .300 five times and drove in 100 runs three times. In a seven-year stretch (1970-76) he was either first or second in assists and twice led the league in percentage of throwing out base runners. Munson was tragically killed in a plane crash on August 2, 1979. His number 15 was retired by the Yankees that season
Ron Guidry | 1975-88
Louisiana Lightning authored one of the greatest seasons since the advent of divisional play. In 1978, he went 25-3 with a 1.75 ERA and nine shutouts to earn the Cy Young Award. Guidry followed up by going 2-0, 1.05 in the postseason for the World Series champs. The southpaw was a three-time 20-game winner and, in 1983, hurled 21 complete games - a total that has since been surpassed only once. He had a career winning percentage of .651, reaching .700 three times. A fine athlete, Guidry could field his position very well as his five Gold Gloves attest. The Yankees retired his number 49 in 2003.
Reggie Jackson | 1977-81
Reggie Jackson played only five seasons in the Bronx.and what a five seasons they were. While battles with manager Billy Martin and teammates attracted plenty of tabloid headlines, so did many of the feats he accomplished with a bat in his hand. In the 1977 World Series against Los Angeles, Jackson tied Babe Ruth with three home runs in a Series game and established the mark for home runs in a single WS with five. Jackson, who hit 144 of his 563-career home runs in pinstripes, had the only .300 season of his career with the Yankees in 1980 when he hit exactly .300. That year he also led the American League with 41 home runs. He average more than 100 RBIs in his four non-strike seasons with New York. The Yankees retired his number 44 in 1993, the same year he was elected to the Hall of Fame. His bust features a Yankees cap.
Don Mattingly | 1982-95
During a four-year period (1984-87) there was no more dangerous hitter in baseball. The 1985 American League MVP hit no less than .324 in that span while winning one batting crown, leading the league in RBIs once, hits twice and doubles three times. During his MVP season, Mattingly set major-league marks -- that still stand -- for most consecutive games hitting at least one home run (8) and most grand slams in a season (6). A career .307 hitter, Mattingly could also get it done in the field where he won nine Gold Gloves and led AL first baseman in fielding percentage four times. The tenth captain in Yankees history, his number 23 was retired in 1997.
Derek Jeter | 1996-present
As he nears the 3,000- hit plateau, Derek Jeter will go down in Yankee annals as one of the more celebrated players to wear pinstripes. His calm leadership and clutch play have been the hallmarks of a career that has resulted in five World Series titles. A .309 hitter in a record 147 postseason games, his resume also includes seven 200-hit seasons and 13 seasons of at least 100 runs scored. Jeter, who was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996, has hit at least .300 seven times, including a career-best .349 in 1999 when he led the league with 219 hits. The five-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop has placed in the top five in the AL in fielding percentage on nine occasions and putouts eight times.
Mariano Rivera | 1995-present
As Mariano Rivera closes in on the all-times saves mark, he continues to mow down opponents with remarkable efficiency. Rivera has led the American League in saves three times and recorded at least 40 saves seven times. Entering this year, the native of Panama had an ERA below 2.00 in 10 of his 15 previous seasons as a reliever. As remarkable as his nearly 600 saves and 2.22 career ERA in more than 1,000 career games are, he is the author of one of the most clutch statistics in the history of postseason play. In 31 series dating to his rookie season of 1995, Rivera has a miniscule 0.71 ERA in 94 appearances.