By Paul Semendinger
When I think of #41 and New York sports, I think first of a Met.
I love the Yankees, but I’ll always think of Seaver first when I think of #41.
And, unfortunately, the Yankees don’t have any player who compares, even remotely, to Tom Terrific in the list of all the players who wore this number.
There have been 44 Yankees who have worn uniform #41.
Most of these players did not leave much of an impression. Many names are of players long forgotten:
(The list goes on…)
There have been a few players who had promise who wore #41.
Miguel Andujar sparkled for a season in this number.
Sterling Hitchcock was a pitcher many had high hopes for.
Joe Collins wore #41 in 1952 when he had his best season.
But for those players, and so many others, it just never happened long term.
Rather than quickly revealing the greatest Yankee ever to wear #41, I am going to do this in a quiz format. If you feel brave, let us know how many questions into this quiz it took you before you were able to figure out the player I chose (if at all).
This player spent his entire Major League career as a Yankee wearing #41 exclusively (he never wore another number)
His lifetime batting average was .233
He played for the Yankees for 10 seasons
He hit a grand total (over his entire career) of 25 home runs
Except for one inning (in his rookie season) he played exclusively at one position, never appearing in another position on the field
He was a college quarterback at the University of Mississippi
He is in the College Football Hall of Fame
As a Yankee, he was a catcher, backing up Elston Howard and Thurman Munson to bookend his career. He was a starter for a few years in the middle of his career
While there were a few players who wore #41 for a few years, among them being Bob Cerv (1953-56) and Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson (2005-06), the best Yankee to ever wear #41, the player who should most be remembered as the best at this number is Jake Gibbs.
How about that!
Most of the background research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com.