The All Non-Hall of Fame Team – Outfield and DH
The Yankees have a history of producing Hall of Fame Players and Managers, with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera joining the ranks the past two seasons. Remarkably, the Yankees have such a rich history that you could make a full roster of players that are not in the Hall of Fame and still put together a great team. Without further ado, here is part two of the Yankee’s Non-Hall of Fame Team. Today, we will discuss the Yankees’ starting outfield (plus designated hitter).
LEFT FIELD: Charlie Keller
This was a very competitive spot. Bob Meusel, Roy White, Hideki Matsui, Lou Pinella, and Brett Gardner have all been stalwarts in left for the Bombers. That being said, Keller gets the nod because of his insanely great peak. From 1940 to 1943, Keller was on average a six-win player, with a .531 slugging percentage and a .410 on-base percentage. He averaged over 100 walks per season during that stretch while averaging only 63 strikeouts per season. Injuries derailed his career after he returned from fighting in World War II, but “King Kong” Keller’s dominant run gave him a career OPS+ of 152 and a career WAR of 43.5 in 13 seasons, via Baseball-Reference. Not to mention he had a .611 slugging in four World Series appearances.
CENTER FIELD: Bernie Williams
Bobby Murcer had a wonderful career manning center in the Bronx (also, he was the heir apparent to Mickey Mantle at said position). Williams barely edges out Murcer here for having a longer peak in Pinstripes. A cornerstone of the Bomber’s late-90s run, Williams had a .319/.404/.525 slash line with a 140 OPS+ during his peak stretch from 1994 to 2002, via Baseball-Reference. In the playoffs, Bernie burned even brighter, hitting 22 total home runs with a .480 slugging percentage, along with a 1996 ALCS MVP Award for hitting .474/.583/.947 en route to the Yankees’ first World Series victory in almost 20 years. His consistent, calming presence in the locker room more than cements William’s spot in this lineup.
RIGHT FIELD: Roger Maris
1961. The year Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s seemingly unbreakable home run record. Maris’ historic run that season was just one of his many great seasons in the Bronx. He posted a career 139 OPS+ in New York, along with a .356 OBP and a .535 slugging percentage. His power and his historic legacy put him as the starting right fielder.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Paul O’Neill
I decided to take some creative liberties here and pencil in the Warrior at the DH spot. Yes, the Yankees are the team to originate the DH position with Ron Bloomberg. Yes, O’Neill spent more of his career in right field than at DH. Yes, Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui spent more time at the DH spot during their times in the Bronx and were both great hitters.
That being said, O’Neill had such an iconic and important career in Pinstripes that I could not leave him out of this lineup. Aside from his fiery temper, O’Neill could rake, with a career .303/.377/.492 slash line in the Bronx. In the postseason, O’Neill rose to the occasion, with a career .828 OPS and 11 home runs, via Baseball-Reference. His legendary attitude and swagger on the field were too much to ignore, hence why Paul O’Neill snuck his way onto this list.
1. Willie Randolph (4)
2. Paul O’Neill (DH)
3. Alex Rodriguez (5)
4. Don Mattingly (3)
5. Bernie Williams (8)
6. Roger Maris (9)
7. Thurman Munson (2)
8. Frankie Crosetti (6)
9. Charlie Keller (7)
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece said that it was “part one” of this series.