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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

Semendinger

Hoch

Notes

 99

Aaron Judge

 

 98

 

 

 97

 

 

 

 96

 

 

 

 95

 

 

 94

 

 

 

 93

 

 

 

 92

 

 

 91

Alfredo Aceves

 

 90

Thairo Estrada

 

 89

Miguel Yajure

 

 88

Josh Outman

 

 87

 

 

 

 86

Clarke Schmidt

 

 85

Luis Cessa

 

 84

Albert Abreu

 

 83

Deivi Garcia

 

 82

Brooks Kriske

 

 81

 

 

 

 80

 

 

 

 79

Nick Nelson

 

 78

 

 

 

 77

Clint Frazier

 

 76

 

 

 

 75

David Hale

 

 74

Ronald Torreyes

 

 73

Michael King

 

 72

Juan Miranda

 

 71

Stephen Tarpley

 

 70

Luis Avilan

 

 69

Alan MIlls

 

 68

Dellin Betances

 

 67

Dale Mahorcic


66

John Ryan Murphy

 

65

Phil Hughes

 

 64

Garret Cooper

 

 63

Mike Morgan

 

 62

Joba Chamberlain

 

 61

Ted Lilly

 

 60

Mike Lowell

 

 59

Luke Voit

 

 58

Dooley Womack

 

 57

Steve Howe

 

 56

Jim Bouton

 

 55

Hideki Matsui

 

 54

Goose Gossage

 

 53

Bobby Abreu

 

 52

C.C. Sabathia

 

 51

Bernie Williams

 

 50

Jay Howell

 

 49

Ron Guidry

 

 48

Andrew Miller

 

 47

Ivan Nova

 

 46

Andy Pettitte

 

 45

Rudy May

It's now Gerrit Cole

 44

Reggie Jackson

 

 43

Jeff Nelson

 

 42

Mariano Rivera

 

 41

Joe Collins

Collins also wore other numbers

 40

Lindy McDaniel

 

 39

 Darryl Strawberry

 

 38

Matt Nokes

Both were lefty hitting catchers

 37

Casey Stengel

I didn't pick managers

 36

David Cone

 

 35

Mike Mussina

 

 34

A.J. Burnett

 

 33

David Wells

 

 32

Elston Howard

 

 31

Dave Winfield

 

 30

Willie Randolph

 

 29

Catfish Hunter

 

 28

Sparky Lyle

 

 27

Giancarlo Stanton

 

 26

Orlando Hernandez

DJ LeMahieu someday?

 25

Mark Teixeira


 24

Robinson Cano

 

 23

Don Mattingly

 

 22

Roger Clemens

Allie > Roger

 21

Paul O'Neill

 

 20

Jorge Posada

 

 19

Dave Righetti

 

 18

Scott Brosius

 

 17

Mickey Rivers

It's not really close

 16

Whitey Ford

 

 15

Thurman Munson

 

 14

Lou Piniella

It's not really close

 13

Alex Rodriguez

 

 12

Wade Boggs

McDougald shouldn't be forgotten

 11

Lefty Gomez

 

 10

Phil Rizzuto

 

 9

Roger Maris


 8

Yogi Berra

 

 7

Mickey Mantle

 

 6

Joe Torre

White over a manager

 5

Joe DiMaggio

 

 4

Lou Gehrig

 

 3

Babe Ruth

 

 2

Derek Jeter

 

 1

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 comments

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…


J'aime
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.

J'aime

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.

J'aime
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
03 févr.
En réponse à

We agree on a lot.

J'aime

Mike Whiteman
02 févr.

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

J'aime
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
03 févr.
En réponse à

Thank you.

J'aime

fuster
02 févr.

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


J'aime
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