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  • Paul Semendinger

COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#19)

By Paul Semendinger

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I'm going to do this differently this time. I'm going to cut to the chase. The best Yankee at #19 is a pitcher.


It has to be a pitcher, but which one?


The Yankees have had a number of very good pitchers wear uniform #19. The best of the bunch are highlighted on this list:

  • Johnny Murphy (1934-46)

  • Bob Turley (1955-1962)

  • Fritz Peterson (1967-1974)

  • Dick Tidrow (1974-1979)

  • Dave Righetti (1981-1990)

  • Masahiro Tanaka (2014-2020)

Let's have some fun. Stop reading for just a moment and make a list ranking these pitchers in order from best to worst. Then, let's see if your list compares to my final rakings.


Let's take a look at various statistical categories:


Years:

  1. Murphy - 12

  2. Righetti - 11

  3. Peterson -9

  4. Turley - 8

  5. Tanaka - 7

  6. Tidrow - 6

Games Pitched:

  1. Righetti - 522

  2. Murphy - 383

  3. Peterson - 288

  4. Turley - 234

  5. Tidrow - 211

  6. Tanaka - 174

Innings Pitched:

  1. Peterson - 1,857.1

  2. Turley - 1,269

  3. Righetti - 1,136.2

  4. Tanaka - 1,054.1

  5. Murphy - 990

  6. Tidrow - 711.1

ERA:

  1. Peterson - 3.10

  2. Righetti - 3.11

  3. Murphy - 3.54

  4. Tidrow - 3.61

  5. Turley - 3.62

  6. Tanaka - 3.74

Wins:

  1. Peterson - 109

  2. Murphy - 93

  3. Turley - 82

  4. Tanaka - 78

  5. Righetti - 74

  6. Tidrow - 41

Saves:

  1. Righetti - 224

  2. Murphy - 104

  3. Tidrow - 23

  4. Turley - 13

  5. Peterson - 1

  6. Tanaka - 0

WHIP:

  1. Tanaka - 1.130

  2. Peterson - 1.146

  3. Righetti - 1.295

  4. Tidrow - 1.305

  5. Murphy - 1.373

  6. Turley - 1.407

So, just for fun. If I assign 6 points for first place, 5 points for second place, and etc... and total up the numbers for the pitchers from the categories above, the following is the list of the best Yankees pitchers:

  1. Fritz Peterson - 33

  2. Dave Righetti - 32

  3. Johnny Murphy - 29

  4. Bob Turley - 21

  5. Masahiro Tanaka - 17

  6. Dick Tidrow - 15

Just for more fun. This was my list before I started this exercise:

  1. Dave Righetti

  2. Fritz Peterson

  3. Masahiro Tanaka

  4. Bob Turley

  5. Johnny Murphy

  6. Dick Tidrow

I knew Fritz Peterson was a good pitcher, but was surprised that he ranked first overall in the categories above. Johnny Murphy, one of the first great Yankees relief pitchers, also did better than I thought.


Let's now see what WAR has to say:

  1. Dave Righetti - 22.9

  2. Fritz Peterson - 19.6

  3. Masahiro Tanaka - 17.5

  4. Bob Turley - 14.0

  5. Johnny Murphy - 13.9

  6. Dick Tidrow - 4.6

HOLY COW! THAT'S MY LIST! Hooray for WAR!


But there are other factors to consider:

  • Masahiro Tanaka - 2x All-Star

  • Dave Righetti - No-Hitter, 2x All-Star, 2x Best Relief Pitcher, Once Held Saves Record (season), Led League in Saves once

  • Dick Tidrow - 2x World Series Winner

  • Fritz Peterson - 1x All-Star, Won 20 Games once

  • Bob Turley - 4x World Series, 3x All-Star, Cy Young Award

  • Johnny Murphy - 6x World Series, 3x All-Star

I think some of these factors change things.


As such, all things considered from Sixth Place to First Place, Here are my final Official Rankings:


6. Dick Tidrow

5. Masahiro Tanaka

4. Fritz Peterson

3. Johnny Murphy

2. Bob Turley


and the greatest pitcher to wear #19 as a Yankee was


Dave Righetti.


***

Most of the background research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com and the SABR BioProject.

***

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