COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#63)
By Paul Semendinger
We are now getting to the point where we have uniform numbers that were worn by a plethora of players.
No fewer than 19 Yankees have worn uniform number 63.
Here is a quick look at the players:
Mike Morgan, 1982
Jim Walewander, 1990
Danny Rios, 1997
Mike Figga, 1997
Randy Keisler, 2000
Andy Cannizaro, 2006
Alberto Gonzalez, 2007
Colter Bean, 2007
Chris Britton, 2008
Jonathan Albaladejo, 2008-2010
Jesus Montero, 2011
Justin Thomas, 2012
Zoilo Almonte, 2013
Chris Leroux, 2014
Antoan Richardson, 2014
Jose Ramirez, 2014
Mason Williams, 2015
Jose Pirela, 2015
Lucas Luetge, 2021
As with #64, that is a long list of players, none of whom had much of an impact (at all) on the history of the Yankees.
On that list, only one Yankee, Jonathan Albaladejo, wore the number for more than one season. It would seem clear that he would be the best ever at #63, but I needed to be fair about this and do the research.
Albaladejo pitched in 49 games for the Yankees. He had a positive record going 5-2, 4.70 record in the 59.1 innings he pitched.
Of the other players, the only ones who played long enough as a Yankee in #63 to also be considered were the following:
Mike Morgan (1982) – pitched in 30 games (7-11, 4.37) throwing 150.1 innings. That is very significant. To make this exercise difficult, he also wore #39 that year.
Jesus Montero (2011) – when he arrived, he arrived big hitting .328/4/12 in 18 games
When Montero first came up, he showed the potential he had and demonstrated why the Yankees were so high on him. It just didn’t last. He was not the greatest at this number.
Next, in my research, I was unable to find any reference as to when Mike Morgan changed his uniform number from 63 to 39 (or from 39 to 63). Knowing that the Yankees did not often issue higher numbers when he played, I am going to assume that once he became a permanent member of the team in 1982, the Yankees issued him the lower of the two numbers. Thus, I cannot imagine that many of Morgan’s 150.1 innings came in uniform #63. But, even if they did, Albaladejo held the number longer in time, if not innings. He also appeared in more games than Morgan (49 to 30).
Because of all of this Jonathan Albaladejo gets the nod as the greatest Yankee to ever wear uniform number 63.
Most of the research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com.
PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES: