The Tuesday Discussion: The Yankees Mount Rushmore
This week we asked:
Who Would You Put On The Yankees’ Mount Rushmore?
(The Top 4 Yankees of All Time)
Babe Ruth – arguably the greatest player of all time.
Lou Gehrig – not far behind Ruth and his “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech is one for the ages.
Mickey Mantle – maybe the greatest 5 tool player of all time (although Giants fans will disagree). His numbers would have been even better had he not been hobbled by injuries.
Joe DiMaggio – he lost 3 years in his prime to the war. His numbers are still incredible. He struck out in only 2.1% of his plate appearances in 1941.
There are no easy answers, but my first Mount Yankeesmore includes:
Babe Ruth-The greatest ballplayer of all time. The acquisition of Ruth led directly to the Yankees becoming the most dominant team in baseball.
Lou Gehrig-Gehrig was one of the greatest players ever, but he also helped craft the best parts of the Yankees image.
Yogi Berra-As time has passed, it is Yogi who has emerged as the face of the mid-century Yankees dynasty. He was great ballplayer, longtime Yankees coach, occasional manager and a man of great decency and integrity.
Derek Jeter-He has been the best and most important Yankee of the last half century.
The Yankees have such a rich history that this is such a challenge to limit their greatness to four players, but I believe as life moves on, four Yankees will always stand taller than the rest in the history of the game:
Babe Ruth – The greatest
Lou Gehrig – The Iron Horse. 2,130 consecutive games played. ALS. The speech.
Joe DiMaggio – 56 games, the icon of an era
Mickey Mantle – He was The Mick. All those pennants. A decade and a half of winning.
Those four will always stand taller than the rest. I just can’t see a player, ever, being bigger than any of them.
Almost impossible to do, especially since the 90’s dynasty years, and my two favorites of all time are Don Mattingly and Thurman Munson. But here you go.
Babe Ruth – The greatest of all time, he went from one of the best pitchers in baseball to greatest player to ever live, setting numerous records along the way while revolutionizing the game.
Lou Gehrig – Not only played in 2,130 consecutive games, but dominated the league while doing so. Career .340 batting average and 493 home runs. Oh by the way, he hit .361 with 10 home runs in seven World Series.
Joe DiMaggio – His 56-game hitting streak in 1941 remains the benchmark for consistency and greatness. A Lifetime .325 hitter with 361 home runs, as a right hander in the old Yankee Stadium, where the fence was 457 feet away in left center during his career. Considered one of the most graceful outfielders to ever play. He was named baseball’s greatest living player during Major League Baseball’s 1969 centennial. Three time MVP winner. He led the Yankees to nine world championships in his 13 seasons. His stats would have been even more impressive, but he gave up 3 prime years to fight in World War II.
Mariano Rivera – The best to ever play his position. Period.
MLB record 652 career saves, and an incredible 42 postseason saves, 11 in the World Series (both major-league records) and 0.70 ERA. Second in the history of baseball with a career ERA of 2.23 among pitchers with 1,000 innings or more. The MVP of the 1990’s dynasty teams!
Babe Ruth – Not putting Babe on this is akin to not voting for Jeter for the HOF on the first ballot….
Lou Gehrig – Between his playing career, his character, and the tragic end of his career and life, I think his legend rivals Babe.
Derek Jeter – I don’t know that he is one of the top four Yankees players of all time, but I think he gets the nod for his clutch and leadership abilities.
Yogi Berra – I debated between him and Joe DiMaggio, but I give it to Yogi because of all he continued to do for and with the Yankees after his playing days and, of course, his Yogisms.
Babe Ruth – The Babe brought winning to the Yankees, and later “built” Yankee Stadium. He’s not only on the Yankee Rushmore, but probably for the sport as well.
Lou Gehrig – Again, another almost mythical figure. The first Captain. The streak.
Joe DiMaggio – Thirteen years, thirteen All-Star games. Ten AL Pennants, nine World Series Championships. There was always a level of mystique and awe that followed DiMaggio,
Derek Jeter – The face of the 1990s Dynasty. Was born to play in New York. No moment was too much. Widely respected and revered through the game.
Mickey Mantle: greatest switch hitter of all time. He played in 12 World Series.
Derek Jeter: in a world where hardly anyone stays on the same team for their entire career Jeter gave his all for the Yankees. He lead the team to 5 world championships.
Yogi Berra: Yogi won 10 World Series rings. He played in 18 All Star Games.
George Steinbrenner: His unorthodox approach to running the team lead them to 7 World Championships.
Babe Ruth: A legend in his own right, Ruth was the anchor behind the Yankees’ Championship teams that put the Bombers on the map.
Lou Gehrig – Another anchor to some of the Yankees’ earliest championship teams, Gehrig embodied the quiet, humble hero that embodies Major League Baseball.
Yogi Berra – The man of a million quotes. Aside from the Yogisms, Berra was one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time and won ten World Series as a player in New York. Ten.
Joe DiMaggio – I almost put Mariano Rivera on here for being the greatest player of all-time at his position. However, DiMaggio gets the final spot for being one of the largest figures in Yankee history. His 56-game hitting streak. His super celebrity status. His smile. And let’s not forget his remarkable on-field accomplishments.
NEXT WEEK WE WILL BRING YOUR OUR PERSPECTIVES ON WHO SHOULD BE ON THE YANKEES’ SECOND MOUNT RUSHMORE!
Edit: a previous version of this piece said that Jeter led the Yankees to 4 World Championships.
Edit: Patrick Gunn’s version was added after the article was published.