More Yankees Who Should Be Hall of Famers
Non-Playing Yankees Worthy of Hall of Fame Consideration
By Paul Semendinger
September 27, 2023
NOTE - This article first appeared on September 15, 2023 in Here's The Pitch, the daily newsletter for the IBWAA.
In my article yesterday, I listed some legendary players, all former New York Yankees, who are not yet in the Hall of Fame. Today I'll look at some other greats of the game affiliated with the Yankees who also deserve consideration for baseball's most hallowed ground.
A Hall of Fame Coach?
There are no coaches in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Why is that? I believe it is time for baseball to recognize the great coaches in the game's history. In this regard, there might never have been a greater pitching coach than the legendary Johnny Sain, who coached for a host of teams, including the Yankees, in his long career from 1961 through 1977. Sain's reputation for getting the most out of his pitchers is legendary. The pitchers who worked under him, including Whitey Ford, often gave Sain credit for helping them achieve at their highest levels.
A Hall of Fame Manager?
Four long-time Yankees managers are in the Hall of Fame (Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, and Joe Torre). Is there room for one more? Ralph Houk provides an interesting case. As a manger, Ralph Houk led the Yankees to three World Series and two World Championships. In his long career as a manager, for the Yankees, Tigers, and Red Sox, Houk won 1,619 games. Today that number ranks 21st all-time, but when he left managing Houk's total ranked in the top ten all-time among Major League managers. In his career, Houk won more games than Hall of Famer managers Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams, and Earl Weaver — all his contemporaries. In addition, Lasorda and Williams each also won only two World Series and Earl Weaver won only one World Series. It seems that Ralph Houk's record stands up well in comparison.
A Hall of Fame Executive?
Gene Michael was the Yankees executive, in the roles as general manager, vice president, and senior advisor, who was the primary architect of the great Yankees teams of the mid-to-late 1990s. Gene took over the decision-making of the Yankees when the team was mired in last place and rebuilt the franchise into the sport's most dominant team. His record as a general manager and team executive in this period is unmatched if one considers wins, pennants, and championships. Many baseball experts considered Gene Michael one of the smarted baseball executives of his time. It was Gene Michael who made the Yankees into the powerhouse and the sport's most successful team of the last quarter century.
Two Hall of Fame Owners? Dan Topping and Del Webb owned the Yankees in the period from 1945 to 1964. In that period, the only years that the Yankees did not reach the World Series were 1945, 1946, 1948, 1954, and 1959. In that twenty-year period, the Yankees went to the World Series a remarkable fifteen times. Over that span, the Yankees won ten World Championships. This was the greatest era in Yankees history. It was one of the most remarkable sustained periods of success for any team in any sport - ever. It seems that there is a strong case for both of these men to be in baseball's Hall of Fame.
A Hall of Fame Announcer?
John Sterling has called Yankees games on the radio since 1989. That is a long and remarkable tenure, but the most impressive part of his career was the fact that he called a remarkable 5,060 consecutive games for the Yankees from 1989 to 2019. That record of dedication and consistency seems worthy of a Hall of Fame nod. John Sterling's signature calls including, "It Is High, It Is Far, It is Gone" and "The Yankees Win!" are some of the most famous signature phrases in the sport's history.
It seems that in addition to many worthy former players, the Yankees also have some other worthy candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Let the debates begin!
Dr. Paul Semendinger runs the Yankees site Start Spreading the News. His published books include From Compton to the Bronx, The Least Among Them, and Scattering the Ashes. Over the summer, Paul helped pitch his baseball team in Ridgewood, New Jersey to the league's championship. Paul can be found on Twitter @DrPaulRSem