Choosing any New York Yankee All-Star team is nearly impossible. With their ultra-rich history, how can I leave out any star? This is a team of notable and legendary players who spent their entire careers with the Yankees only. Unfortunately, this rule leaves out Babe Ruth. Even Yogi Berra played four games with the New York Mets, so he does not qualify. Nevertheless, here is my All Yankees-Only starting lineup and reserves.
1st – Derek Jeter, SS
From his debut in 1995 and starter in 1996 through today, Derek Jeter has been the best shortstop in the game and one of the best ever. He is in the top ten in all-time hits. He has won five World Series, made 13 All-Star games. He won the 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year, five Gold Gloves, and four Silver Slugger awards. He has done a lot of this from the lead-off spot.
2nd – Bernie Williams, CF
Although Bernie Williams is not Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle, he is my starting center fielder. The switch hitter played 16 years (1991-2006) in pinstripes and hit .297 with 287 home runs and 1257 RBI with consistency. He made five All-Star teams and won four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. He also won four World Series while playing with Jeter and Jorge Posada.
3rd – Joe DiMaggio, LF
I know that Joe DiMaggio played almost all center field, but he could easily play all three positions. This Yankee legend not only hit 361 home runs from 1936-1951, but he could have had 500 or more if he did not miss three seasons in his prime. He missed to serve in World War II, making him even more special. DiMaggio was an All-Star every season he played and an MVP three times. His record 56-game hitting streak is safe – probably forever.
4th – Mickey Mantle, RF
Mickey Mantle played left and right fields in his 1951 rookie year, DiMaggio’s last. The powerful switch hitter then patrolled centerfield from 1952-1968 and became another Yankee legend, but I have him right because he could play it just as well. Mantle is best known for his 536 home runs, but he also hit .298 and got on base at .421. Mantle made 16 All-Star teams and won three MVP awards. He also won the Triple Crown in 1956.
5th – Lou Gehrig, 1B
Yet another Yankee legend, Lou Gehrig found his way into the starting lineup in 1925 due to Wally Pip’s need for a day off. Gehrig stayed in the starting lineup for 2130 straight games. He hit .340 with 493 home runs and 1995 RBI. Only the disease that tragically took his life at age 37 could stop him. Gehrig made seven All-Star teams and won two MVP awards.
6th – Robinson Cano, 2B
The current Yankee second baseman has played eight years since 2005 and has amassed a .308 average. He turned into a legitimate power hitter 2009. He has 177 home runs in his career, but 115 of them have come since 2009. He has also driven in 715 runs. Cano has already made four All-Star teams and won two Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers.
7th – Thurman Munson, DH
This former Yankee captain earns the DH role for his .292 career average over 11 seasons (1969-1979). He made seven All-Star teams and won the 1976 A.L. MVP. Munson came up huge in three straight postseasons from 1976-1978. I admit to some sentimental reasons for selecting Munson, who died tragically during the 1979 season in a plane crash, but he deserves the position.
8th – Bill Dickey, C
I had a tough choice between Jorge Posada and Hall-of-Famer Bill Dickey for catcher. Dickey wins for his run production. Dickey hit .313, 202 HR, 1209 RBI from 1928-1943 and 1946. He played in eight World Series and 11 All-Star games. He also threw out 47% of runners attempting to steal on him, topping 50% seven times with an incredible 64% in 1946.
9th – Red Rolfe, 3B
Not many notable third basemen played their entire careers with the Yankees. Red Rolfe debuted in one game in 1931 but did not bat. In his nine full seasons (1934-1942), Rolfe hit .289 but was on base at .360. He did not hit for much power (67 HR, 497 RBI), but he did make four All-Star teams. He also hit .284 in 28 World Series games.
Starter Pitcher — Whitey Ford, RHP
Whitey Ford is arguably the best Yankee pitcher ever. Ford went 236-106 in 16 seasons (1950, 1953-1967). He missed two years for military service but came back to have a Hall-of-Fame career. Ford made eight All-Star teams and won the 1961 A.L. Cy Young award. He lost 10 games only twice and averaged 17 wins and 230 innings per year.
Reliever — Mariano Rivera, RHP
Mariano Rivera is the game’s best reliever ever. He has saved 608 games from 1995-2012, and I hope he returns to save some more. He has a career ERA of 2.21. He has done all of this with basically one pitch, the cut fastball. In 96 postseason games, Rivera is 8-1 with 42 saves and a 0.70 ERA. The only thing left to determine when he will enter the Hall of Fame is whether or not he pitches in 2013 and beyond.
C Jorge Posada; 1B Don Mattingly; 2B Bobby Richardson; SS or 3B Phil Rizzuto;
Earle Combs, Tommy Henrich, Roy White
Mel Stottlemyre, Ron Guidry
These are the greatest Yankees-Only players at each position. I would put this lineup up against a similar one from any other team at any time.
Baseball Reference, Individual Player Pages (Linked Above), baseball-reference.com
Raymond was born in Connecticut into a family spilt between the Red Sox and Yankees. Although he grew up in Florida, Raymond became a Yankees fan. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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Rivera Says He Wants to Pitch in 2013: Fan Reaction
Derek Jeter Will Finish 2013 in Sixth Place in All-Time Hits: Fan Prediction
Top Five Yankees’ Heartbreaking Postseason Losses in Wild Card Era: Fan Opinion