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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Counting Down: Comparing Two Lists of the Top Yankees by Uniform Number

by Paul Semendinger

February 2, 2024


I started my long series of counting down the best Yankees at each uniform number on November 12, 2020.

On December 1, 2021, Bryan Hoch ran a similar article where he did the same exercise (albeit in much shorter form).

I saved Mr. Hoch's article, but I never read it. Now that my series is over, I want to compare our lists to see where we agree and where we differ. (I have been waiting years to do this.)

My articles are all linked in the chart below so readers can research any number in more detail. Please note, some of the older articles need a little re-formatting. When we moved to WIX as our platform, some of the formatting of the old articles changed. I am (slowly) working on cleaning these articles up and making them more presentable.

The Countdown Comparison:

(Note blanks were not issued at the times we wrote our articles.)

Uniform Number





Aaron Judge




























Alfredo Aceves



Thairo Estrada



Miguel Yajure



Josh Outman







Clarke Schmidt



Luis Cessa



Albert Abreu



Deivi Garcia



Brooks Kriske











Nick Nelson







Clint Frazier







David Hale



Ronald Torreyes



Michael King



Juan Miranda



Stephen Tarpley



Luis Avilan



Alan MIlls



Dellin Betances



Dale Mahorcic


John Ryan Murphy



Phil Hughes



Garret Cooper



Mike Morgan



Joba Chamberlain



Ted Lilly



Mike Lowell



Luke Voit



Dooley Womack



Steve Howe



Jim Bouton



Hideki Matsui



Goose Gossage



Bobby Abreu



C.C. Sabathia



Bernie Williams



Jay Howell



Ron Guidry



Andrew Miller



Ivan Nova



Andy Pettitte



Rudy May

It's now Gerrit Cole


Reggie Jackson



Jeff Nelson



Mariano Rivera



Joe Collins

Collins also wore other numbers


Lindy McDaniel



 Darryl Strawberry



Matt Nokes

Both were lefty hitting catchers


Casey Stengel

I didn't pick managers


David Cone



Mike Mussina



A.J. Burnett



David Wells



Elston Howard



Dave Winfield



Willie Randolph



Catfish Hunter



Sparky Lyle



Giancarlo Stanton



Orlando Hernandez

DJ LeMahieu someday?


Mark Teixeira


Robinson Cano



Don Mattingly



Roger Clemens

Allie > Roger


Paul O'Neill



Jorge Posada



Dave Righetti



Scott Brosius



Mickey Rivers

It's not really close


Whitey Ford



Thurman Munson



Lou Piniella

It's not really close


Alex Rodriguez



Wade Boggs

McDougald shouldn't be forgotten


Lefty Gomez



Phil Rizzuto



Roger Maris


Yogi Berra



Mickey Mantle



Joe Torre

White over a manager


Joe DiMaggio



Lou Gehrig



Babe Ruth



Derek Jeter



Billy Martin

Murcer was better


Final Notes -

I think Bryan Hoch did a good job, but I feel his list suffers a little from recency bias. There were players from the past, some mostly forgotten, that were better than the Yankees' more recent (and more famous) contemporaries (see #12 as an example).

Hoch also simply accepted the Yankees' retired numbers as the standard, which, on numeous occasions, proved to be inaccurate. IN short, the Yankees' awarding of retired numbers, and who the select for Monument Park is arbitrary at best and has little to do with the most deserving player or players.

Monument Park's standards are arbitrary, often changing, and always inconsistent. THis is also true for players who get their numbers retired. I believe this tarnishes the whole purpose of Monumenmt Park - and it hurts Yankees history as a whole. In short, to take the Yankees' perspectives on who their greatest players were is to take a false and often inaccurate history.

On the other hand, our standards were probably slightly different. In my articles, I looke, as best as I could at how each player performed in a certain number. I only considered their performance while wearing that number. A good example of this is the article on Uniform Number One. Earle Combs had a more distinguised career than Bobby Murcer, but comparing only when they each wore Number One, I feel Murcer was the better player. I sense that Bryan Hoch took the better overall player, so for uniform Number 12, it makes sense to take Wade Boggs over Gil McDougald, even though as a Yankee in uniform Number Twelve, McDougald was the better player. The same holds true for #22 where I took Allie Reynolds over Roger Clemens.

Of the 87 numbers we both looked at, we agreed on 61 (70%).

Have some fun with the above. Where Hoch and I differ, please read my article, and his, do some research of your own, and let me know who you believe is correct. Looking back on a project that lasted years, I'm still happy with my choices.

A quick final note, I still have to update the series to take into account the last few seasons, but since Bryan Hoch wrote his list a few years ago as well, it was only fair that I did this analysis before considering the most recent seasons - all taking place after Boch wrote his article.


10 commentaires

Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
03 févr.

I was a huge fan of Graig Nettles. But Maris's accomplishment of 61 homers in a single season, breaking the Babe's record eclipsed all the great power and defense of Graig Nettle's career, so I agree with Hoch's choice there.

In regard to #24, I would have picked Rickey Henderson over Robinson Cano. Cano was an outstanding player for many years, and I never let PED use (by Cano in this case) bias my choice in any way. But Rickey Henderson is one of the greatest of all time, certainly the greatest base stealer of all time, the greatest leadoff hitter of all time, and rare for a "leadoff speedster" with astronomical league leading stolen base totals, he also h…

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
03 févr.
En réponse à

Paul Waner is my go-to guy on Immaculate Grid for any career achievements intersecting with playing for the Yankees. You don't want to take the score hit that comes with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle or Jackson.


Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
02 févr.

I think most of the differences are based on Hoch picking the best player overall (e.g., Boggs) instead of the best player with the Yankees. I prefer your approach to the matter.

Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
03 févr.
En réponse à

We agree on a lot.


Mike Whiteman
02 févr.

Love seeing Vic Raschi and Alle Reynolds getting the press in your list!

Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
03 févr.
En réponse à

Thank you.


02 févr.

perhaps it's something other than recency bias that causes him to select Joe Torre

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