The All NYY Non-HOF Team: Pitching Honorable Mentions
I’ve been on a little bit of a Hall-of-Fame kick since the Derek Jeter induction two weeks ago, and have been thinking of a very specific question:
What would be the best Yankees team one could make using only non-Hall of Fame players?
Through the rest of this week, I will make this team. Today we start with our honorable mention pitchers.
Given that this question I became consumed with is specific in nature in narrowing down an entire franchise into effectively one team while excluding the most prominent names of typical discussion (a.k.a Hall-of-Famers), I also wanted to make sure I was honoring players who played long enough in pinstripes to be deserving of the honor. Thus, I’ve also come up with my own rules for requirement:
Position players need to have played 7 years of baseball for the New York Yankees (While pitchers had to pitch 5+ years with the Yankees).
They cannot have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, be eligible on/for a current/future ballot for the HOF, or currently be playing baseball in the MLB.
Only their time in New York is being considered for their placing/inclusion on the list.
Now that we have these rules understood, let’s get into it!
All-NYY Non-HOF Pitchers (Honorable Mentions):
Starting Pitcher: Tommy John
Years in NY: 1979-1982 & 1986-1989
Pitching Line: 91-60 Record, 3.59 ERA (112 ERA+), 19.9 bWAR
Looking at his whole career Tommy John is a player that could one day be enshrined into Cooperstown from his playing career with his 288 Wins and 61.6 bWAR. And, his being the first player to undergo UCL surgery (now know as Tommy John surgery) has definitely helped his legacy.
In his 26-year career, John was a Yankee for 8 years, an All-Star twice and twice in the Top-5 for the AL Cy Young (both 1979 and 1980). By all means, he was a great Yankees pitcher.Embed from Getty Images
Starting Pitcher: Allie Reynolds
Years in NY: 1947-1954
Pitching Line: 131-60 Record, 3.30 ERA (115 ERA+), 19.6 bWAR
Allie Reynolds was a key piece in helping the Yankees win as much as they did in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s as an ace they took from the Cleveland Indians going into 1947. He had his best seasons in his career while in pinstripes- including two seasons with a 160 ERA+ in 1950 and 1952- and was a 6x All-Star and won 6 World Series. He could also be relied on as a starter or reliever, which was and is still rare.
Unfortunately his career was shortened as a result of a bus crash during the 1953 season which resulted in a back injury. His name has been considered for the BBHOF, but he continues to fall short during each deliberation, likely given his short career.Embed from Getty Images
Starting Pitcher: Spud Chandler
Years in NY: 1937-1947
Pitching Line: 109-43 Record, 2.84 ERA (132 ERA+), 22.9 bWAR
Winner of the 1943 AL MVP award, Chandler is the only member of the pitchers across the honorable mentions (and team) who has that honor as he led the AL in Wins (20) and ERA (1.64). A member of the Yankees during his entire career, he never had a losing record and holds the Yankees lowest ERA in a single-season with his performance in 1943.
A 4-time All-Star and 3-time World Series winner, Chandler also holds the highest winning percentage (.717%) of pitchers with 100+ wins. A great member for this team.
Starting Pitcher: Orlando Hernandez
Years in NY: 1998-2002; 2004
Pitching Line: 61-40 Record, 3.96 ERA (116 ERA+), 19.0 bWAR
Not only the originator of a great dance– unlike a pitcher who makes the team- Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez was a great Yankee. An all-around fan favorite during his Yankee tenure, the Yankees signed him in 1998 after defecting from Cuba and he helped to bring the team 3 World Series. A solid regular-season pitcher, he unfortunately came to the MLB late in his career to collect great overall numbers.
However, his postseason numbers (2.64 ERA with the Yankees) show that he was calm and collected even when under extreme pressure, including the 1999 ALCS MVP. Unfortunately, he never made an All-Star team.Embed from Getty Images
Starting Pitcher: Eddie Lopat
Years in NY: 1948-1955
Pitching Line: 113-59 Record, 3.19 ERA (121 ERA+), 17.3 bWAR
“Steady Eddie” was another member of the great Yankees teams in the late-1940’s and early-1950’s along with Allie Reynolds. A 1-time All-Star in 1951, Lopat also led the AL in ERA in 1953 and won 5 World Series with the Yankees.
For as good as he was, Lopat wasn’t given as much credit as he deserved, and unfortunately it looks as though that will continue as he’s stuck behind many other great Yankee pitchers.Embed from Getty Images
Relief Pitcher: Lindy McDaniel
Years in NY: 1968-1973
Pitching Line: 186 Games Finished, 2.89 ERA (118 ERA+), 9.8 bWAR
The first of two relievers (the other a closer) who I wanted to highlight as an honorable mention. He became a Yankee near the end of his career and was a solid reliver for his 6 years in pinstripes.
He set a then-Yankee record for 29 saves in 1970, though he wasn’t primarily used as a closer.
Relief Pitcher: Johnny Murphy
Years in NY: 1932; 1934-1943; 1946
Pitching Line: 277 Games Finished, 3.54 ERA (116 ERA+), 13.9 bWAR
A 3-time All-Star and 7-Time World Champion (the most of any pitcher in MLB history), Murphy originally broke into the league as a starter with 20 games in 1934 before only starting 20 more games across his remaining 12 years in baseball. He was one of the first true relief pitchers and helped transform the game with having a specialist in the bullpen.
What a better player than a guy who won 7 championships to add to the team?Embed from Getty Images