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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#35)

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

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.

***


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