COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#65)
By Paul Semendinger
This has been a popular uniform number, especially in relation to some of the higher numbers we’ve looked at so far. In the history of the Yankees, eleven players have worn #65. These players are:
Juan Espino (1983)
Adrian Hernandez (2001-02)
Phil Hughes (2007-13)
Bryan Mitchell (2014)
Jose Ramirez (2015)
Diego Moreno (2015)
Caleb Cotham (2015)
Danny Burawa (2015)
Jonathan Holder (2016-17)
Domingo German (2018)
James Paxton (2019-20)
When looking at this list, it becomes clear that there is only one easy winner in this contest – Phil Hughes.
Phil Hughes was a very good pitcher who falls into a difficult category for highly touted prospects.. He was good, very good at times, but he wasn’t super good, and he wasn’t super great. And, as such, people remember Phil Hughes not for the very good player that he was, but as the player he didn’t become.
Phil Hughes was better than he is remembered.
One can make the argument that the Yankees would not have made it to the 2009 World Series without Phil Hughes. Coming out of the bullpen that year, he made 51 appearances going 8-3, 3.03 with three saves. He pitched 86 innings and allowed only 68 hits.
(Sit down, because I am quite sure you don’t remember this…) In 2010, as a starting pitcher, Phil Hughes went 18-8, 4.19.
Two years later, in 2012, Phil Hughes won 16 games for the Yankees.
Overall, from 2007 to 2012, Phil Hughes went 52-36, 4.38 for the Yankees.
That was very very very good. (Try to name another pitcher, other than Andy Pettitte, who came through the Yankees system since Dave Righetti, who has better numbers than Hughes.)
But he wasn’t Cy Young, he didn’t win a Cy Young, and people, when they remember Phil Hughes often remember the 2013 version – they guy who went 4-14, 5.19.
Hughes left the Yankees after 2013 and then had some pretty good years for the Twins as well, but that’s another story.
If Phil Hughes hadn’t been an over-hyped prospect and he just came up and did as he did for his career, he’d be remembered much more fondly. He did great. He just wasn’t the super great pitcher than most hoped he would be.
In regards to uniform #65, Hughes was the best. It’ll also take a pretty good career to beat Hughes.
He was (much) better than he is remembered.
Most of the research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com.
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