New York Yankees Mount Rushmore of Pitchers
The New York Yankees are the most successful and storied sports franchise in American history. There is much talk about their Mount Rushmore of greatest all-time players: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly, Derek Jeter. However, very few pitchers are ever mentioned for this immortal shrine. In fact, about the only pitcher mentioned seems to be Mariano Rivera, and rightly so.
In the history of the New York Yankees, there are 23 pitchers in the MLB Hall of Fame that have worn the pinstripes; 21 if you don’t count the two that pitched for the New York Highlanders. So, having a bit of fun, here are the rules:
- Spent at least 5 seasons with the Yankees (eliminates Dazzy Vance, Burleigh Grimes, Randy Johnson, Phil Niekro, Lee Smith, Gaylord Perry, Stan Coveleski, David Wells)
- Won at least 2 World Series with the Yankees (eliminates Mel Stottlemyre, Goose Gossage, C.C. Sabathia, Mike Mussina, Dave Righetti, Johnson)
- Was primarily a starter for the Yankees (eliminates Sparky Lyle, Righetti, Mike Stanton, Mariano Rivera).
With those rules in mind, let’s get to carving this mountain.
Waite Hoyt – Pitched three complete games in the 1921 World Series without allowing an earned run and won 45 games from 1927-1928.
Red Ruffing – Won two games in the 1938 World Series against the Chicago Cubs and finished fourth in the MVP voting that year. Won 231 for the Yankees, and that is the most for a right-handed pitcher in their history.
Catfish Hunter – Led the league in wins (23) in 1975 and finished second in the Cy Young voting. Hunter is also the last AL pitcher to win at least 20 games in five consecutive seasons.
Andy Pettitte – All-time postseason wins leader in MLB history (19). He is the Yankees leader in strikeouts (2,020), his 438 games started ties him for the most as a Yankee and is the winningest of any pitcher in the 2000s
Lefty Gomez – The accomplishments for Lefty are off the charts: five-time World Series Champion, three-time AL strikeout leader, seven-time all-star and he twice won the Triple Crown of pitching in leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. Gomez won six World Series games without a loss. Gomez is perhaps most famous for his reply when stating that he would throw at his own mother. ”She’s a good hitter.’’ He deservingly has a monument standing in his honor in Monument Park.
Allie Reynolds – ‘’Superchief’’ as he was called was a six-time World Series Champion including five in a row from 1949-1953. In 1951, Reynolds threw not one, but two no-hitters. He owns a 7-2 World Series record. Reynolds also appeared in relief in six World Series games recording a win or save in each of them. He finished third in the MVP voting in 1951 and second in 1952. But his career was unfortunately cut short due to a team bus accident that resulted in a back injury. The Yankees dedicated a plaque to Reynolds in August of 1989.
Whitey Ford – Ford is arguably the most successful pitcher in New York Yankees history, spending his entire sixteen-year career in pinstripes. He is a six-time World Series champion and a ten-time all-star. In 1961, he set a record of 243 consecutive innings without allowing a stolen base. ‘’The Chairman of the board’’ won both the AL Cy Young award and World Series MVP award in 1961 as well. His 236 wins are a Yankee record and his .690 career winning percentage is tops in all of baseball. His World Series accomplishments alone would be enough to land him on this list: Most wins (10), starts (22) and, before being broken by Mariano Rivera in 2000, the longest scoreless innings streak in World Series history at 33 innings. He is currently in the MLB Hall of Fame and his #16 is retired by the New York Yankees.
Ron Guidry – “Louisiana Lightning’’ has rightfully earned a place on the mountain spending his entire fourteen-year career with the New York Yankees. He is a four-time all-star, two-time World Series champion and a five-time Gold Glove winner. Guidry owns perhaps the greatest season ever by a pitcher in 1978. That season saw ‘’Gator’’ go 25-3 with an ERA of 1.74, nine shutouts and 248 strikeouts, still a Yankee record. He also unanimously won the Cy Young award that season as well. Guidry held the high honor of being the Yankee team captain from 1986-1988. His #49 is retired by the organization and there is a plaque in his honor in Monument Park.
There you have it. There have been some truly amazing pitchers that have come through the Yankee organization and sure to be more.