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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#27)

By Paul Semendinger


For this number, #27, it is possible that the best Yankee ever is the player currently wearing that number.

But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

In the history of the Yankees, 62 players have worn uniform number 27.

The first six players to wear #27, each only wore that number for one season: Sammy Byrd (1929), Cedric Durst (1930). Joe Sewell (1931), Myril Hoag (1932), Zack Taylor (1934), and Blondie Ryan (1935).

The history of the number states that Dixie Walker then wore #27 from 1933 to 1936. This makes sense in 1933 and 1936 when no other player wore the number, but it makes less sense in 1934 and 1935. That is, until one looks deeper into the numbers. Dixie Walker played all of 17 games for the 1934 Yankees and was out of the Major Leagues by August 8. In 1935, Walker spent most of the year in the minor leagues.

Between 1939 and 1941, the number was oft-used as the following players all wore #27: Spud Chandler, Joe Gallagher, Lee Grissom, Buster Milles, and Frenchy Bordagaray.

It goes on like this for much of Yankees' history.

The following players actually had #27 as their primary number for numerous seasons:

Rollie Hemsley (1943-44)

Johnny Lindell (1946-50)

Jim Brideweser (1952-53)

Woodie Held (1954-57)

Bobby Del Greco (1957-58)

Jack Reed (1962-63)

Tom Shopay (1967-69)

Jim Lyttle (1970-71)

Elliot Maddox (1974-76)

Dell Alston (1977-78)

Jay Johnstone (1978-79)

Brad Gulden (1979-80)

Aurelio Rodriguez (1980-81)

Butch Wynegar (1982-86)

Through 1986, the greatest #27 in Yankees history had to be Butch Wynegar. Wynegar his .293 in 1982 and .296 in 1983 while catching 63 and 94 games.

Mel Hall wore #27 from 1989-92. Mel Hall's history as a Yankee and after wasn't good. At all.

Bob Wickman, an underrated pitcher from his era wore the number from 1993 to 1996.

Graeme Lloyd wore #27 from 1996 through 1998.

Alan Watson wore #27 in 1999 and 2000.

Kevin Brown wore it in 2004 and 2005.

Kevin Thompson in 2006 and 2007.

Shawn Kelley in 2013 and 2014.

Austin Romine in 2016 and 2017.

Which brings us to Giancarlo Stanton who has worn #27 since 2018.

As a Yankee, Stanton has played in 381 games. He has his .270/92/257. Sometime this summer, Stanton should hit his 100th home run as a Yankee. In the history of the Yankees, 43 players have hit 100 or more homers in pinstripes.

Since he is signed through 2027, it's more than likely that Stanton will well surpass 100 homers...

If we give him ten more homers this year and then 20 homers a season through 2027, he'll end with 202 homers as a Yankee. This would put him in more rarefied company. Only 17 Yankees have hit 200 or more homers as Yankees.

If Stanton can average 30 homers a season through the end of his contract, he would become a top 10 Yankee all-time in homers.

But, even if Giancarlo Stanton retires today. It's very clear that he is already the best Yankee to wear #27. Even if he stopped playing today, he'd have this honor for a long time.

If he performs at 30-homer pace each season through the end of his contract, it's likely that Stanton will be the greatest Yankee forever at uniform #27.


Most of the background research for this project came from and the SABR BioProject.



1 Comment

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Jun 11, 2022

To date, Wynegar has a better Yankee WAR than Stanton, and he played 65 more games than Stanton so far. On a 162-game basis, Wynegar has a hair under 3.9 WAR, while Stanton has a hair over 3.9 WAR. If you gross up 2020 (multiply games played and WAR by 2.7), Stanton gets another total 1.6 WAR and causes a round-up to 4.0 WAR per 162 games. So while I think it's very close, Stanton has edged Wynegar as best No. 27, and of course, that gap is only going to widen.

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