COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#35)
Updated: Oct 3
By Paul Semendinger
This one is easy. There is only one possible answer to who is the greatest player at #35.
But, before we get to the answer, let’s have some fun:
33 different players wore #35 as a Yankee.
The most recent #35 is Clay Holmes.
Three future Hall of Famers wore #35 as Yankees. These were Yogi Berra (1946-47), Phil Niekro (1984-85), and the player who was the greatest Yankee at this number. (More on him in a moment.)
Spud Chandler, who would one day win an MVP, wore #35 in 1937.
Until Lee Guetterman wore the number from 1988 to 1992, no player wore #35 for more than two seasons except for Joe Ostrowski who wore the number from June 15, 1950 to the end of his career in 1952.
Don Gullett wore #35 in 1977 and 1978. If he didn’t have arm problems, he could have been one of the best free agents the Yankees ever signed.
Hideki Irabu wore #35 in his debut season in 1997. He was also a high profile acquisition for the Yankees.
Steve Trout, signed to save the Yankees 1987 season (it didn’t work out), wore #35.
Which now brings up to the greatest Yankee to wear #35. This pitcher wore this number from 2001 to 2008.
In those eight seasons, he won 123 games as a Yankee. He won 15 or more games in a season five times in New York. He pitched 195 or more innings five times as well (four times exceeding 200 innings).
As a Yankee, he accumulated 35.1 WAR putting him 10th all-time among Yankees pitchers.
The greatest Yankee to ever wear #35 was Hall of Famer Mike Mussina.
Most of the background research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com and the SABR BioProject.