COUNTING DOWN: The Best Yankee At Each Uniform Numbers (#73)
By Paul Semendinger
With #73, there is the chance that this gets somewhat interesting.
Imagine, first, a player who excelled in two numbers. If that were the case, that player could actually be the best player at two different uniform numbers. For example, it’ll take a while for us to get there, but might Mickey Mantle be the greatest Yankee to wear both #6 and #7? It’s possible.
For the record, without studying those numbers yet, I have a sense that Roy White will be the greatest #6 ever, but the main point holds. A player could be the best at two different numbers if he did great things in both.
What could also happen is that a player could be primarily known for one number, but be the greatest at a different number. That possibility also exists and that might happen here with #73.
Let’s look at the candidates for the greatest ever at #73:
Michael King (2019-20) : 10 games pitched. 1 Win. 7.76 ERA
Ryan Dull (2019): 3 games pitched. 19.29 ERA
Adonis Rosa (2019): 1 game pitched, 2 innings total
Whew, the candidates for this are mighty thin. With that one victory, it would be clear that Michael King is the greatest Yankee to ever wear #73.
In 2015, a different player wore this number – Gary Sanchez.
In spite of all the concerns about Sanchez and his recent performance, his career has been, to date, vastly superior than these other candidates.
The question is… how did he perform in #73? If Gary Sanchez played even satisfactory baseball in this number, he would be the greatest ever.
Alas! In uniform #73, Gary Sanchez played in just two games. He had but two at bats. He struck out once. He didn’t get a hit.
We know Gary Sanchez as #24, but there was a chance that he could have been the best ever at #73. He is not. It is clear to say that Michael King is the greatest Yankee to ever wear #73.
Let’s hope that in 2021, he adds to his resume.
(Final note – we will see Gary Sanchez again before we get down to #24.)
Most of the research for this project comes from Baseball-Reference.com.