The Tuesday Discussion: The Yankees Mount Rushmore III (Four Non-Players)
YankeeRudy (long-time reader) asks
What if we made a Yankees Mount Rushmore of Four Non-Players.
Who would they be?
Here is YankeeRudy:
There are plenty to choose from over the long and storied history of the club. Mainstays like manager Joe McCarthy and long-time trainer Gene Monahan come to mind, and more recent bro-crush candidates like Joe Torre and Don Zimmer.
Here are my own choices. As Mike Meyers’ Liz Rosenberg might say, “tawk amongst yaselves.”
Bob Sheppard – started announcing for the Yankees full time in 1956, presiding over the only season DiMaggio and Mantle shared the outfield. His distinctive voice and style made some christen him “The Voice of God,” and he was an integral part of the Yankee stadium experience. His dulcet tones lived on past his death, as Derek Jeter insisted on using a recording of Bob’s introduction whenever he came to bat. Even opponents sung his praises; as Carl Yastrzemski once remarked, “You’re not in the big leagues until Bob Sheppard announces your name.”
Pete Sheehy – was the Yankees equipment manager for a long, long time. He watched Babe Ruth launch homeruns, and took Lou Gehrig’s glove when Lou decided he’d had enough. He saw DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak and assigned Mantle his #7. He was part of 29 pennant winners and 21 World Series Champions. He was a fixture in the Yankee organization for 58 years. And his first name was actually Michael(!)
Casey Stengel – was one of many outstanding managers in Yankees history, presiding over one of their greatest stretches ever. His teams won ten pennants and seven World Series in twelve seasons, including the first five in a row (the only time this has been accomplished.)
George Steinbrenner – bought the Yankees from CBS in 1973 for $8.8 million and quickly brought them back to their old glory. Under his leadership (or, some might say, in spite of it) the Yankees returned to contention in 1975, to the World Series in 1976, and to the Canyon of Heroes as World Champions in 1977 and 1978. His wheeling and dealing sometimes went a bit too far, trading away promising youngsters for fading veterans, but his goal was always to win another World Series. He was certainly larger than life, and he helped return the attitude of winning to the club. (I’ve already joked that his Mount Rushmore carving would be only marginally larger than his current Monument Park sculpture.)
Jacob Ruppert – was the owner who helped create the modern Yankees. He was instrumental in the acquisition of Babe Ruth and in building Yankees Stadium.
Casey Stengel – was the greatest manager in Yankees, and possibly baseball, history. He was the craggy face of the Yankees dynasty at its height.
Joe Torre – was the manager during the Yankees most recent run of greatness and brought stability and maturity, and four championships, to the Yankees.
Freddy Schuman – was the guy with the Freddy Sez signs and what appeared to be a frying pan at Yankee Stadium for years and represents all the millions of Yankees fans.
Brian Cashman – He’s been a brilliant general manager and has modernized the Yankees after years under a one man dictatorship.
George Steinbrenner – Love him or hate him, he should be there.
Billy Martin – Because having him next to Steinbrenner for eternity in stone is just too funny not to do. He was also a brilliant manager despite his personal failings.
Bob Sheppard – He announced 4,500 Yankee games and was a key part of the stadium experience for decades.
Although all of these were before my time, they all deserve it.
George Weiss – First as the head of the player development system from 1932-1947, when they won 9 Pennants and 8 World Series. He then moved on to General Manager from late 1947-1960 and they won another 10 Pennants and 7 World Series.
You can’t do much better than that.
Joe McCarthy – Yankee manager from 1931 to 1946 winning nine pennants and seven World Series. The highest winning percentage in major league history of .615% in the regular season and .698% in the postseason. 1,460 wins as Yankee Manager.
Casey Stengel – Manager from 1949-1960 won 7 world series in a 10 year stretch, including 5 in a row.
Mel Allen – The voice of the Yankees from 1939 to 1964 becoming one of the most recognizable voices in the US.
Phil Rizzuto – A great player and announcer for more than a half of a century. Yeah, be belongs. 100%. Holy Cow!
Miller Huggins – Among great managers (McCarthy, Stengel, Torre), I picked Huggins. He was the manager who first presided over the Yankees championship teams. He first helped bring glory to the Yankees. The others just followed the path he set.
Bob Sheppard – Yankee Stadium isn’t the same place without him. (I wish they’d let me sit behind that microphone for a few games each year. It’s been a dream…)
Jacob Ruppert -The first owner to envision making the Yankees THE team in New York. Like Miller Huggins, the rest followed the path and the foundation he set.
Casey Stengel – The only non-player to make either of my previous Mount Rushmores. Stengel’s career in Pinstripes – seven World Series titles, ten AL Pennants – and place in the game speaks for itself.
Joe McCarthy – Another manager with seven World Series titles. McCarthy helmed the Bombers during their glory days in the 1930s and 1940s, leading them to their current era of success.
Ed Barrow – The general manager who made the Yankees’ teams of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. During his time as GM (from 1920-1945), Barrow put together some of the greatest teams in Yankees history.
Gene Michael – He was only the Yankees’ GM for five years, but he shaped the way that New York built a team. His leadership has led the way for over 20 years of success.
Gosh, it’s been a while since I contributed to a Tuesday Discussion and the first one back is a very hard decision to make. Who is most important: Owners? Managers? Announcers? I know my list isn’t perfect, but this is a much harder list to theorize given he lack of analytics for team personnel.
Bob Sheppard – Carl Yastrzemski noted “You’re not in the big leagues until Bob Sheppard announces your name.” and Reggie Jackson called him “The Voice of God”. Calling over 4,000 games at Yankee stadium during his 56 year tenure, there’s nothing else to say.
Brian Cashman – While other GM’s may be Ed Barrow and George Weiss may have had more success during their tenures in the position, Cashman in my eyes easily takes the cake as those other GM’s didn’t have to deal with the MLB Draft, any collective bargaining agreements, salary caps, etc. While he has made some bad moves, his sticking around as the longest tenured Yankees GM solidifies how essential he has been to the team.
John Sterling – If Bob Sheppard’s 4,000 Yankees games seems impressive, consider Sterling’s 5,060 game consecutive streak from 1989 to July 2019, where he called every single Yankees game on the radio. They always say the best ability is availability, and Sterling has cemented that legacy far and away. And, let’s be honest, while his home run calls are ridiculous, they are a hoot to listen to.
Ed Barrow – While my list favors those I’ve been able to appreciate during my lifetime, it would be wrong to not include the first general manager for the Yankees, one who not only brought over Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox (and thus cursing them for a good 86 years) but also served as the benchmark to beat for all those who would follow his footsteps.
George Weiss – you don’t hear that much about him, but he was in Yankee player development and administration from 1932-1960. During this time he developed or acquired many Yankee legends. in his thirteen years as General Manager, the Yanks won ten AL pennants.
Casey Stengel – “The Old Perfessor” had one winning managerial season in nine NL seasons prior to his surprise hiring by Weiss to be Yankee manager in 1949. During his career in Pinstripes, Stengel won ten pennants in twelve seasons and was so highly regarded that he was voted to the Hall of Fame the season after retiring, waiving the usual five-year waiting period.
George Steinbrenner – He wasn’t a perfect person or owner by any means, but he brought the then downtrodden Yankee franchise back to relevance after leading a group to purchase the team in 1973. “The Boss” grew his investment to the economic powerhouse that it is today, while winning eleven pennants and seven world championships.
Joe Torre – Another surprise managerial hire after a mediocre NL career, Torre also managed the Yankees to a Hall of Fame enshrinement and team icon A New York City native, Torre shepherded the 1990s dynasty without the personality of Stengel, nor the fireworks of Martin, but with a humanity rarely seen in the “corporate” Yankees.