On Saturday, Yankees’ SS Derek Jeter became just the 28th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 career hits. In true fashion, “The Captain” became just the second player in Major League history to have his 3,000th hit as a homerun, joining Wade Boggs, who did it on August 7, 1999, while playing for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. A franchise with the most globally recognizable brand around the world, some of the greatest players in the history of baseball have played for this franchise, making them arguably the most decorated and storied teams in the history of professional sports. Jeter’s incredible performance (5-5 at the plate: a single in the first for hit No. 2,999 a no-doubt homerun to left in the third, a double in the fifth, a single in the sixth and a and a go-ahead single in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Yankees a 5-4 victory) has further cemented his image as one of the greatest New York Yankees of all-time, sparking this edition of the VoV Top 10.
10. Don Mattingly
Donnie Baseball. While with the team during the dark years in the 80′s and early 90′s, Mattingly was the face of the franchise. Having never won a World Series with the team, he goes down as the winningest player in franchise history to have never won a ring. In his second full season he hit .343, taking home the American League batting title. He played 14 seasons in pinstripes, winning nine Gold Gloves, six All-Star appearances, three Silver Sluggers and an MVP award in 1985. That year, he hit .324 with 35 homeruns. Mattingly also tied an MLB record in 1987 when he hit at least one home run in 8 consecutive games. He remains a candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
9. Thurman Munson
The last captain of the Yankees prior to Derek Jeter, and the first since Lou Gehrig. As the No. 4 overall pick in the 1968 Draft, he began starting at catcher in 1970, winning the Rookie of the Year award with a .302 batting average, six home runs and 53 RBI. Munson also won the MVP award in 1976 with .302 batting average, 17 homers and 105 RBI. Unfortunately, his life was taken in an airplane accident on August 2. 1979. On August 6, the Yankees beat the Orioles 5-4 in tribute to Munson. Munson’s shortened career saw him play in six All-Star Games, win three Gold Gloves, and finish with a .292 batting average, 113 homeruns and 791 RBI.
8. Yogi Berra
One the the greatest Yankee catchers of all-time, and also one of the most quotable stars in sports history. Berra spent his entire career (with the exception of four games) with the Yankees, recording 358 career home runs, 1,430 RBI and three American League MVP awards. Get ready for this–he’s an 18-time All-Star, and a 13-time World Series Champion. He is one of only four catchers in MLB history to field 1.00 in a season, and once had a streak of 88 errorless games. Berra was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972 and was also named to the MLB All-Century Team.
7. Derek Jeter
Jeter was drafted as a Yankee in 1992 and started to play in 1995. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1996, batting .314 with 78 RBI. He’s first in hits among shortstops, and is the club’s all-time hits leader. The eight-time All-Star is also the only player to ever win the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP in the same year. Thus far, he’s led the Yankees to four World Series Championships in five seasons (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000), and won it all again in 2009. For a franchise that everyone loves to hate, it’s hard to hate Derek Jeter.
6. Mariano Rivera
While not fully statistically (yet), Mo is the most feared, dominant and successful closer in the history of baseball. He came into the league as a starter, spent a little time as a setup man and transformed into the league’s best closer since 1997. He’s lead the league in saves three times, with his career high in being 53 in 2004, where he also sported a 1.94 ERA in 74 games. The postseason, however, is where he truly shines. In 94 playoff games, Rivera has 42 saves with an ERA of 0.71, both of which are MLB records. In his 15 seasons, Rivera has accumulated 581 saves (and climbing) which is second behind Trevor Hoffman (601). Rivera has also won the AL Rolaids Relief Award five times and is a 12-time All-Star. He was also a part of the core group of Yankees that won five World Series rings. He’s also the only reliever in history to have an ALCS and World Series MVP title.
5. Whitey Ford
“The Chairman of the Board.” Ford played 18 seasons with the Yankees, finishing with a 236-106 record with an incredible 2.75 ERA. His lone Cy Young award (1961) was won in a season when he went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA, starting a league-leading 39 games. Ford also won World Series MVP in that same 1961 season. His 236 wins as a Yankee remains a franchise record. Ford finished his career as a 10-time all-star, a six-time World Series champion and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
4. Mickey Mantle
The Mick spent 18 years with the Yankees and is probably best know for his home run record race against Roger Maris in 1961. Maris hit 61 home runs, while Mantle finished with 54. Mantle won three AL MVPs, was a 20-time All-Star and a seven-time World Series Champion. He finished with 536 home runs and is widely considered the greatest switch hitter of all-time. Mantle also hit 50+ home runs twice in his career. The Mick became a Triple Crown winner in 1956, and holds the record for most most World Series home runs (18), RBIs (40), runs (42), walks (43), extra-base hits (26), and total bases (123).
3. Joe DiMaggio
DiMaggio was an All-Star in all 13 seasons he played, and won the AL MVP award three times. In fact, he’s the only Yankee to be selected to an All-Star game in every season he played. DiMaggio won 10 pennants and nine World Series titles while with the Bronx Bombers. He’s best known for “The Streak” of 56 consecutive games with a hit.
2. Lou Gehrig
“The Iron Horse.” Gehrig is probably best known for Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), which cut short his career and his life in 1941. He spent 17 years with the Yankees, hitting 23 grand slams in his career, a major league record. Aside from a career .340 batting average, Gehrig hit 493 home runs and 1,995 RBI with the team, winning two MVP awards. His first MVP came in 1927, when he hit 47 homeruns, 175 RBIs with 52 doubles, a .373 batting average and a .765 slugging percentage in 155 games; his second award game in 1936 when he slugged 49 homeruns, 152 RBIs and a .354 batting average. Gehrig is a six-time World Series champion and a seven-time All-Star. Gehrig is also among rare company, as he’s just one of 15 players to hit four homeruns in a single game (June 3, 1932). His nickname came from playing in 2,130 consecutive games during his career. In the history of baseball, Gehrig has three of the six highest RBI totals for a single season, including 184 in 1931, which still stands as an AL record. Gehrig is also among the greatest first baseman to ever play the game and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939 with a unanimous vote.
1. Babe Ruth
“The Bambino.” Unlike the others, Ruth didn’t start as a Yankee–he started with the Boston Red Sox until 1919 when he was sold. Ruth spent 15 seasons in New York, compiling 659 home runs and 1,971 RBI with a .711 slugging percentage. Despite the astronomical numbers, he finished with just one MVP award in 1923, finishing with 41 homeruns and 123 RBI. His career record of 714 homeruns and 2213 RBI stood for many years until Hank Aaron broke them (Ruth’s totals currently stand third and second, respectively). In retrospect, Ruth’s numbers would be even higher if he had played more games than Aaron or Barry Bonds, who now holds the all-time homerun record. Simply put, he’s the greatest homerun hitter to ever play baseball. But the seven-time World Series Champion was the best all-around hitter, too: his career .324 batting average is 10th all-time and his .690 slugging percentage is still the best in history. There are so many things that Ruth will be remembered for–the Called Shot, The Curse of the Bambino, hot dogs–but most of all, he’ll be remembered as the greatest New York Yankee of all-time.