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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#2)

By Paul Semendinger

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Well, this is an easy one, as most of these low numbers have been.


The greatest Yankee to wear #2 was Derek Jeter.


But, before we get to the great Yankees' shortstop, let's take a quick look at the others who wore this uniform number. In total, seventeen different players wore uniform number two.


Here are the players that wore #2 the longest:

  • Derek Jeter - 20 years (1995-2004)

  • Red Rolfe - 12 years (1931-42)

  • Lyn Lary - 5 years (1930-34)

  • Bobby Murcer - 5 years (1979-83)

  • Wayne Tolleson - 5 years (1986-90)

  • Jerry Kenney - 4 years (1969-72)

  • Frank Crosetti - 4 years (1945-48)


The keen observer will note that both Red Rolfe and Lyn Lary wore the same uniform number during the same years. Interesting. In those years, Rolfe spent time in the minor leagues. Of note, when he was with the Yankees, the only uniform number he wore was number two. What makes little sense is that it seems that the only number Lyn Lary wore in those years was also number two - and he was never sent to the minor leagues in those years. Is it possible they both wore the same number at the same time? Lyn Lary wore #24 in 1929 and 1930 and in 1934, it seems he lost the battle for #2 as his uniform number became 22.


For decades, Red Rolfe was considered the greatest Yankees third baseman of all time. Graig Nettles eventually took that honor.


Red Rolfe is now oft-forgotten, but he was an amazing baseball player. Of note:

  • In the 9 full years he was a Yankee, Rolfe's Yankees went to six World Series, winning five

  • Rolfe was a four-time All-Star

  • Rolfe batted over .300 four times

  • In 1936, Rolfe's 15 triples led the A.L.

  • In 1937, Rolfe's 741 plate appearances led the A.L.

  • In 1939, Rolfe led the league in hits (213), runs (139), and doubles (46)

  • Rolfe walked 526 times in his career and only struck out 335 times


The following comes from the B-R Bullpen:


"After his playing career ended, Rolfe coached baseball and basketball at Yale University from 1943 to 1946. He was a New York Yankees coach in 1946, farm director of the Detroit Tigers in 1948 and Tiger manager from 1949 to 1952. He also coached basketball in the NBL, a predecessor of the NBA. Rolfe then was the athletic director at Dartmouth College from 1954 to 1967.


Rolfe went to Dartmouth College. One of the divisions of the Ivy League baseball league is named the Rolfe Division in his honor. The other is the Gehrig Division, named after Lou Gehrig, who went to Columbia and was Red's teammate with the Yankees."


Red Rolfe is a player who deserves to be better remembered.


Regarding Derek Jeter, I think fans today don't quite realize the remendous numbers he put up during his career. Baseball history will actually show Jeter in an ever better light than we see him today. He sits among the all-time greats at his position and across the game as well -and in regard to the Yankees, he is comfortable being considered along with the very greatest.


The following shows, just a snapshot, of how great Derek Jeter actually was:


  • No player in American League history has played more games at shortstop (2,674)

  • In all of baseball history, only Omar Visquel (2,709) played more games at shortstop

  • Jeter's 3,465 hits as a shortstop are more than any player at that position

  • Jeter's 260 home runs ranks 5th all-time in home runs at shortstop behind only Alex Rodriguez, Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Miguel Tejada. Jeter is the only one of that group that stayed at shortstop for his whole career.

  • Derek Jeter batted .300 or better 12 times

  • Derek Jeter was a 14-time All-Star

  • Derek Jeter played in 7 World Series, his team winning five of them.

  • In 158 post-season games, Derek Jeter batted .308

  • Jeter won five Gold Gloves

  • Jeter won five Silver Slugger Awards

  • And Derek Jeter ranks in the Top 10 Yankees All-Time in the following categories:

    • WAR (5th)

    • Offensive WAR (4th)

    • Batting Average (8th)

    • Games Played (1st)

    • At Bats (1st)

    • Plate Appearances (1st)

    • Runs Scored (2nd)

    • Hits (1st)

    • Total Bases (3rd)

    • Doubles (1st)

    • Home Runs (9th)

    • RBI (6th)

    • Walks (4th)

    • Stolen Bases (1st)

    • Singles (1st)

    • Runs Created (4th)

    • Times on Base (1st)

    • Extra Base Hits (5th)

    • HBP (1st)

    • Sacrifice Flies (7th)


Derek Jeter is an all-time great - and is easily the greatest Yankee to ever wear uniform number two.

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

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PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES: (All the links should work. If not, please let us know.)


댓글 5개


fuster
1월 08일

after the Yankees refused to issue 7 to him, didn't Clint Frazier ask for 007?

좋아요

jeff
1월 07일

I noticed on that list that "number" 0 is missing (Long time Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Shepherd did not consider 0 a "number" so whenever he announced a player who wore 0, he never said the word "number" before saying what the player wore on his back, like he did with every other "number"). When evaluating 0 (the last remaining single digit NOT retired), Only two Yankee players wore 0 for the Yankees, Adam Ottivino and Domingo German. I give the nod to German because he pitched a perfect game while wearing 0, which eclipses anything that Ottivino did while wearing that uniform with the Yankees.


I also don't see # 1 on that list, which was retired for…

좋아요
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
1월 08일
답글 상대:

Hi Jeff -


Yes, this has been a long series, so I'm getting to its conclusion.


I'll have to look at uniform #0 too.


좋아요
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