COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#49)
By Paul Semendinger
I think we all know how this one will end.
Without doing any of the research, I am pretty certain, the conclusion is foregone.
But, let’s see…
Let’s start with a trivia question.
Who was the last Yankee to wear #49?
The list of Yankees who wore #49 is a short one. There is only one standout player on that list.
The following are the players and their accomplishments while wearing #49:
Lou Berberet: In 1954, he played in 5 games as a catcher.
Jim Bronstad: In 1959, he pitched in 16 games as a Yankee, He also wore #22 that season.
Bob Meyer: In 1964, he pitched in 7 games.
Charlie Sands: In 1967, he had one pinch-hit appearance as a Yankee. (He would later play for the Pirates, Angels, and A’s.)
Loyd Colson: He was a “Least Among Them” Yankee pitching in one game in 1970. That one game was his only Major League appearance.
Kerry Dineen: In 1975, he played in 7 games as an outfielder.
Jeff Johnson: In 1992, he pitched in 13 games.
And that is the complete list of players, other than Ron Guidry, who wore #49.
The trivia answer, as we can now see, is Jeff Johnson. He’s the only player to wear #49 after Guidry. The number wasn’t officially retired until 2003.
Ron Guidry wore #49 from 1975 until 1988. A Yankee for life, Guidry went 170-91, 3.29 over his career.
The Gator was the 1978 Cy Young Award winner.
He won five Gold Gloves.
He led the American League in ERA twice.
In the history of the Yankees, Ron Guidry ranks near the top in many significant pitching categories:
Pitcher’s WAR (4th)
Innings Pitched (7th)
Games Started (5th)
Ron Guidry was a Yankees great. #49 is, of course, retired in his honor.
(This one wasn’t even in question, but it was more of a landslide than I thought.)
Most of the background research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com.
PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES: