New Year’s Wishful Thinking
The Off-Season: New Years Wishful Thinking
by Tim Kabel
January 3, 2022
As I was trying to determine the subject of this article, I considered several possibilities. I was leaning toward writing about the best Major League ballplayers who came from Connecticut and seeing if I could construct a team out of them, just as I did with the players from Ohio a week or so ago. Then, I started thinking about player acquisitions and some of the players the Yankees obtained from other teams either through trades or free agency. I thought about players who had tremendous success with other teams who came to the Yankees. In some cases, it worked out quite well; Reggie Jackson and Roger Clemens come to mind. Other times, it did not. Think of Randy Johnson, Jack Clark, or to a lesser degree, Steve Kemp.
This led me to think about players who never played for the Yankees. Although it seems like the Yankees had most of the greatest players in the history of the game, there were many who never wore the pinstripes. Despite the fact that almost every possible number has been retired by the Yankees, there were players who would have been tremendous Yankees but were never on the team. This leads to some interesting conjecture. As we look through the history of baseball, what great player do you wish had played for the Yankees. My goal in this is to have as the late, great John Candy said as one of the Schmenge brothers, “audience participation.”
If you could take one player throughout Major League Baseball history, even a current player, and move him onto the Yankees without trading for him, who would it be? In other words, if this player had just signed with the Yankees the way Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle did and it wouldn’t cost them one or more of their own players, who would you take? Would you go with a pitcher or a position player? How do you think this move would have affected the Yankees and the player in question?
I will start things off. Imagine if Ted Williams had played for the Yankees instead of the Red Sox. He played from 1939 until 1960. His career overlapped those of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. What if Ted Williams had played with both of them instead of against them? What if he played in Yankee Stadium instead of Fenway Park? Ted Williams was one of the greatest players of all time as it was. He hit 521 career home runs with 1839 RBI and had a lifetime banning average of .344. His career OPS was 1.116.
We could even speculate about the numbers he would have put up if he had not given up almost five full seasons to military service during World War Two and the Korean War. However, that’s a topic for another day. Besides, his military service speaks to his character and patriotism. Let’s stick with one hypothetical situation at a time.
I know it may be a little greedy to wish that Ted Williams had been a Yankee but, he would be my first choice of all the greats who never played for the Yankees.
I know there are other choices, and some of you may decide to go with a pitcher. Imagine Sandy Koufax as a Yankee. Imagine Tom Seaver as a Yankee. That is what I want you to do. I really want audience participation on this. I would like to hear what other people think. I tell you what I think all the time. I would like the readers who regularly respond to give me their thoughts on this one. I would like to know who ProfRobert and Fuster would select.
Also, for the people who normally don’t respond, try something different in the new year. I would like to see which player gets the most votes. We don’t have any actual baseball moves to talk about right now so, let’s have a little fun. It’s the first Monday back to work after the holidays. Take a minute or two and give me your thoughts on this.
I hope we have a great discussion!