The All NYY Non-HOF Team: Position 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 continue with our honorable mention position players.
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 Position Players (Honorable Mentions):
Catcher: Jorge Posada
Years in NY: 1995-2011
Batting Line: .273/.374/.474 (.848 OPS/121 OPS+), 1664 Hits, 275 HR’s, 1065 RBI’s, 42.7 bWAR
While I strongly considered Elston Howard for this role (as the starting catcher is a pretty obvious pick), I had to go with the lifetime Yankee Jorge Posada.
A 4-time All-Star and 4-time Silver Slugger, let’s also not forget Posada was a solid switch-hitter (.267 AVG as a LHH, .288 AVG as a RHH) and a member of the core four who won 5 World Series.Embed from Getty Images
First Base: Wally Pipp
Years in NY: 1915-1925
Batting Line: .282/.343/.414 (.757 OPS/107 OPS+), 1577 Hits, 80 HR’s, 833 RBI’s, 29.3 bWAR
Most known for sitting himself and allowing Lou Gehrig to play 2,130 straight games, Wally Pipp goes forgotten for how good of a ballplayer he was.
He spent 11 years in pinstripes and was a member of the 1923 World Series winning team while being a consistent 2-4 WAR player. He’s never going to be a member of the BBHOF, but he’s a great member for this team.Embed from Getty Images
Second Base: Gil McDougald
Years in NY: 1951-1960
Batting Line: .276/.356/.410 (.766 OPS/111 OPS+), 1291 Hits, 112 HR’s, 576 RBI’s, 40.7 bWAR
Another career-long Yankee, Gil McDougald burst onto the scene with his best season his rookie year in 1951 while winning the Rookie of the Year award. But even so, he manned second base for the Yankees during their great stretch of the 1950’s.
The winner of 5 World Series and a 6-time All-Star, McDougald was a great player, but had too short of a career (10 years) to become a legend.Embed from Getty Images
Third Base: Red Rolfe
Years in NY: 1931; 1934-1942
Batting Line: .289/.360/.413 (.773 OPS/99 OPS+), 1394 Hits, 69 HR’s, 497 RBI’s, 29.1 bWAR
The Yankees have had a good history of third baseman, but only two (one ineligible player and the other member of the team) strictly played the hot corner. Luckily, the Yanks had plenty of good players who played all around infield, including Red Rolfe (who also spent time at short).
Rolfe’s best season came in 1939 when he led the AL in hits, runs, and doubles. He was a Yankee during his entire 10-year career, but like our second baseman had too short of a career.Embed from Getty Images
Shortstop: Frankie Crosetti
Years in NY: 1932-1948
Batting Line: .245/.341/.354 (.695 OPS/83 OPS+), 1541 Hits, 98 HR’s, 649 RBI’s, 24.5 bWAR
Our final lifetime Yankee on our honorable mention team, Frankie Crosetti spent his entire 17-year-career in the pinstripes. During his 17 years he won 6 World Series and was a 2-time All-Star.
Crosetti, a career 83 OPS+ hitter and a decent enough fielder gets remembered in large part due to his lengthy career- though his stats are underwhelming- and his being taken over at shortstop by Phil Rizzuto.Embed from Getty Images
Left Field: Charlie Keller
Years in NY: 1939-1943; 1945-1949; 1952
Batting Line: .286/.410/.518 (.928 OPS/153 OPS+), 1053 Hits, 184 HR’s, 723 RBI’s, 42.7 bWAR
Charlie Keller spent 11 years with the Yankees broken into 3 different stints due to military service and going to the Tigers for two years in the early 1950’s. However, when he was a Yankee he was a great hitter.
A 5-time All-Star and 3-time World Champion, Charlie Keller unfortunately never received above 7% in HOF voting and his case may be deserving of more consideration given his 153 OPS+. (This also made it impossible for me to add Hideki Matsui to the team…as much as I wanted to.) Embed from Getty Images
Center Field: Bobby Murcer
Years in NY: 1965-1966; 1969-1974; 1979-1983
Batting Line: .278/.349/.453 (.802 OPS/129 OPS+), 1231 Hits, 175 HR’s, 687 RBI’s, 27.7 bWAR
Bobby Murcer spent 13 years with the Yankees broken into 3 different stints due to military service and going to the Giants and Cubs for a few years in the mid-1970’s. One of very few Yankees to be with the club as long as he was without a World Series ring just missing the 1962 and 1977 and 1978 teams.
However, Murcer was a 5-time All-Star and a Gold Glove winner, so he did have his share of accolades in his playing career. Slated to be the next Mickey Mantle before his career, Murcer didn’t live up to that hype but was still a great player.Embed from Getty Images
Right Field: Roger Maris
Years in NY: 1960-1966
Batting Line: .265/.356/.515 (.872 OPS/139 OPS+), 203 HR’s, 547 RBI’s, 38.3 bWAR
Roger Maris is a player that could also find his way into the BBHOF if they honor him for having an incredible peak of his career. He won back-to-back MVP’s with the Yankees in 1960 and 1961 while hitting 61 HR’s and setting a then-single season HR record in 1961.
He was also a 7-time All-Star, won a Gold Glove, and was a 2-time World Series Champion with the Yankees. And while that career peak was great, his 7 years with the Yankees was unfortunately too short for him to crack the main team as their right fielder. (Note: Paul O’Neill was also highly considered for this spot, but I couldn’t pull that off either.)Embed from Getty Images