COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Number (#66)
By Paul Semendinger
Uniform number 66 has enjoyed a variety of interesting players who have worn the number. We will take a quick look at each to determine who the best ever was to wear this number.
The best player might just be the guy wearing that number today… believe it or not.
Steve Balboni (1981-83) – In his first go around with the Yankees, Steve Balboni wore three numbers, 33, 66, and 28. In that period, he played in 69 games batting .210 and hitting just 7 home runs. t one point, Balboni was heralded as the up-and-coming slugger, but it just didn’t happen as a Yankee. After the 1983 season, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Mike Armstrong. As a Royal, Balboni had some good power years. For six years, he hit 20+ homers. He returned to the Yankees for the 1989 and 1990 seasons, blasting 17 homers each season.
Jim Deshaies (1984) – This was another promising left-handed pitcher that the Yankees let get away. For the 1984 Yankees, he pitched in just two games going 0-1, 11.57. At 24-years-old, he was traded to the Houston Astros for Joe Niekro who was 40-years-old. Amazing. Over the next two seasons, Deshaies would go 23-11.
Juan Miranda (2008) – In 2008, Juan Miranda hit .400 for the Yankees. That was the good news. The bad news is that he had only 10 at bats.
Andrew Brackman (2011) – 6’, 10” Andrew Brackman appeared in only three games as a Yankee. He pitched 2.1 innings, walked three, never struck out a batter, but also never allowed an earned run. A lifetime 0.00 ERA isn’t a bad thing to own.
John Ryan Murphy (2013-15) – In three seasons, John Ryan Murphy batted .267/4/24 while serving as the Yankees #2 catcher. He appeared as a catcher in 115 games. In November 2015, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in a one-for-one deal for Aaron Hicks.
Mason Williams (2016) – In 2006, Mason Williams batted .296 as a Yankee. That was the good news. The bad news was that he played in only 12 games.
Bryan Mitchell (2017) – In 2017, Bryan Mitchell pitched in 20 games and sported a 5.79 ERA. As a Yankee, he also wore #65 and #55.
Kyle Higashioka (2018-20) – Higgy could be in the mix for the greatest Yankee to ever wear #66. Since 2018, he has appeared in 63 games. He has hit only .205, but he has blasted 10 homers. His batting average over the last two seasons is .231. Things are getting better for him. A big 2021 in #66 could propel him to the top, to be the best ever, but for now, he’s just the second best Yankee to ever wear #66.
The best Yankee to wear #66 was backup catcher John Ryan Murphy.
Backup catcher Kyle Higashioka has J.R. Murphy clearly in his sights.
Most of the research for this project came from Baseball-Reference.com.