Best Yankees In My LifeTime

I was born in December of 1977, and started following the Yanks in 1984 or 1985. My favorite player growing up was Willie Randolph. My favorite player today is Derek Jeter. Below is a list of who I think are the 10 best Yankees since I started following the team.

  1. Derek Jeter
  2. Mariano Rivera
  3. Bernie Williams
  4. Jorge Posada
  5. Andy Pettitte
  6. Don Mattingly
  7. Willie Randolph
  8. Paul O'Neil
  9. Rickey Henderson
  10. Dave Winfield

This is an entirely subjective list. I'm sure advanced metrics or even less sophisticated measures show it to be very flawed. Indeed, I'm guessing that Jason Giambi probably deserves inclusion here, especially given the strength of his early seasons with the team, and the length of his stay. And I'm wondering if I'm excluding someone very obvious.

But who to bump? Rickey was here a short time, but he's Rickey! And Willie Randolph was above average on both sides of the diamond at second base. Maybe Winfield should be taken off, but I always felt his years with the Bombers were underappreciated. How about you? When did you start rooting for your team? Who's on your top 10 list? (Sox fans are welcome to discuss their favorite team. Actually, so are Brewers fans and anyone else.)

28 comments… add one
  • No Mike Mussina, Nick?
    Hmm, 10 best/favorite Sox in my lifetime (1982):
    1. Pedro Martinez
    2. Manny Ramirez
    3. David Ortiz
    4. Roger Clemens
    5. Wade Boggs
    6. Mo Vaughn
    7. Curt Schilling
    8. Nomar Garciaparra
    9. Mike Greenwell
    10. Jason Varitek
    This is probably ranked more by likes than by best, as Clemens and Boggs had HOF careers with the Sox and Ortiz did not, but come on. Clemens and Boggs never did in the postseason what Ortiz did. Ditto Schilling’s inclusion, despite the fact that he really only spent four years here, with one of those totally injured. I loved Greenwell and then Vaughn growing up, and Varitek’s on the list more because of his talent. I’ve never really liked him, and someone from the Youkilis/Pedroia/Beckett/Lester group is bound to get on there given a couple more good years.
    Nomar should probably be higher. He was so good.

    Paul SF September 10, 2009, 1:01 am
  • I guess I could have put Yaz up there, since he retired when I was 1, but that seems like cheating. And I totally forgot about new HOFer Jim Rice, who should be between Nomar and Greenwell and force Varitek off. Stupid list.

    Paul SF September 10, 2009, 1:03 am
  • Below is a list of who I think are the 10 best Yankees since I started following the team.
    Derek Jeter
    Mariano Rivera
    Bernie Williams
    Jorge Posada
    Andy Pettitte
    Don Mattingly
    Willie Randolph
    Paul O’Neil
    Rickey Henderson
    Dave Winfield

    What? A-Rod gets no love?

    SoxFan September 10, 2009, 1:20 am
  • Wow! Soxfan, that is the obvious guy I knew I was missing! Completely slipped my mind. I did this without rosters in front of me. But, yeah, he should definitely be on it, probably above Pettitte.

    Nick-YF September 10, 2009, 1:24 am
  • Still embarrassed about the A-Rod ommission! I’ll leave it there for posterity.

    Nick-YF September 10, 2009, 1:32 am
  • Shoulda let us think it was intentional.

    Kazz September 10, 2009, 2:03 am
  • My list, in no particular order:
    1. Derek Jeter
    2. Mariano Rivera
    3. Thurman Munson
    4. Jorge Posada
    5. Ron Guidry
    6. Andy Pettitte
    7. Bernie Williams
    8. Reggie Jackson
    9. Don Mattingly
    10. Alex Rodriguez
    11. Bucky F. Dent :)

    nettles September 10, 2009, 2:39 am
  • I am unclear whether this is a best of list or a favorites list – the beginning of the post implies best performances (for the Sox I will leave it to Paul’s brilliant compendium of top Sox’ seasons, in the archives), so I will alter this and go with “players who I thought were good, maybe great at the time, who I liked watching”. Apologies to Nick for self-defining the terms…
    In no particular order, except for the first two:
    1. Carlton Fisk (my idol)
    2. Pedro
    the rest:
    Wade Boggs (LOVED watching every at-bat, but what a louse!)
    Jim Ed
    El Tiante (I was young, but still had a knack he was unique)
    Gator (I don’t know why I enjoyed watching Gator, he was kind of surly, not that likeable, but I liked him)
    Johnny Damon

    SF September 10, 2009, 8:48 am
  • How on earth could you leave Steve Balboni off of your list Nick????? Sal Fasano????? So weak… ;)
    1. Derek Jeter
    1a. Donnie Baseball
    3. Mo
    4. Bam-Tino
    5. Burn baby burn
    6. O’Neill
    7. Pags
    8. Mr. May
    9. Gator
    10. ARod
    …and funions, yeah.

    krueg reincarnate September 10, 2009, 9:30 am
  • what, no kyle farnsworth?…what the heck?

    dc September 10, 2009, 11:04 am
  • Donnie Baseball at #6? That’s madness. And bumping him down to make room for Bernie? Really now. Be serious.
    Krueg’s got it right. The Captains take the first spot together.

    Rex Manning Day September 10, 2009, 11:14 am
  • sidebar:
    Love your name RMD! They filmed that in Wilmington, NC where I went to school. It’s like a big flashback everytime I watch it…great flick.

    krueg reincarnate September 10, 2009, 11:26 am
  • I guess mine was more of a favorite list, rather than best now that I look at it again…
    I left off Nettles, Rags, Willie, Reggie, Thurman, Clemens, Pettitte, etc.
    I failed due to poor reading comprehension.

    krueg reincarnate September 10, 2009, 11:29 am
  • I’ll go with the 10-ish favorite Yankees, because I can’t do “best.”
    1. Don Mattingly
    2. Don Mattingly
    3. Willie Randolph
    4. Don Mattingly
    5. Mariano Rivera
    6. Derek Jeter
    7. Derek Jeter
    8. Mariano Rivera
    9. Sweet Lou
    10. Dave Righetti
    11. Thurman Munson
    12. Graig Nettles
    13. Alex Rodriguez
    14. Ron Guidry
    15. Don Zimmer (stretching the rules, but he is my touchstone)
    16. Phil Rizzuto’s color on the radio (as long as I’m stretching)
    17. Rich Gossage
    18. Rick Cerone
    I guess that’s enough.

    attackgerbil September 10, 2009, 3:15 pm
  • Sox favorites in no particular order: Rice, Lynn, Dewey, Lester, Rooster, George Scott, Tiant, Fisk, Pedro (both of them), spaceman,

    dw (sf) September 10, 2009, 3:56 pm
  • My list would just be a mix of guys largely still on the team, as I began watching baseball in earnest in 1998 (fortunate or unfortunate, do you think? I doubt I’ll see a team that good again, even rooting for the Yankees).

    Rob in CT September 10, 2009, 4:36 pm
  • Nick: What, no love for Knoblauch? ;^)
    Paul and other SFs: I’m shocked not to see Wakefield on your lists.

    Hudson September 10, 2009, 6:16 pm
  • P.S. I’ve always hated the Yankees, but my favorite Bronx Bomber was Oscar Gamble.

    Hudson September 10, 2009, 6:17 pm
  • I always liked Mickey Rivers. He was a cool

    SoxFan September 10, 2009, 10:10 pm
  • #1. Mariano Rivera
    [Everybody Else]
    I’ve been watching the man for half my life, and he’s never let my expectations (formed as a 13 year old) down.

    Statler September 10, 2009, 11:51 pm
  • Wakefield’s a favorite, but he doesn’t properly belong on a Top 10 list with the “best” label.

    Paul SF September 11, 2009, 12:40 am
  • I’ve been watching the man for half my life, and he’s never let my expectations (formed as a 13 year old) down.
    Really? Tony Womack says “hi!”!

    SF September 11, 2009, 8:36 am
  • “…Really? Tony Womack says “hi!”!…”
    so does Luis Gonzalez…
    seriously though sf, it just depends on statler’s definition of “expectations”…if he acknowledges that mo is a man and not a machine, or a god, and therefore will occasionally fail, even while becoming what most folks think is the greatest post season closer of all time [and probably regular season too], bringing many more moments of enjoyment than disappointment to his fans, then mo has “met expectations”… ;)

    dc September 11, 2009, 8:56 am
  • Paul: Wakes should make such a list for (A) being the third-winningest pitcher in Sox history behind only Cy Young and Rahjah, and (B) his willingness over the years to play any role managers wanted. He’s been a key starter, a long reliever, a short reliever… And he has handled himself with humility and dignity throughout. Durability and class should count for something.

    Hudson September 11, 2009, 12:41 pm
  • right on hudson…i couldn’t make a favorite top 10 sox list, because the only name on it would be wake…not much of a list…but a huge compliment from a yf to a guy who is every you said and maybe more…

    dc September 11, 2009, 12:48 pm
  • As far as my favorites, it’s tempting to just say “the entire 1975, 2004 and 2007 rosters” — ’86 still wormwood — .but then I’d have to include Byung-Hung Kim. So here goes:
    … plus honorable mentions for/cameo appearances by OIL CAN, MILLAR and DAVE ROBERTS.
    Nomar probably should be on most lists but I never had much feeling for the guy, even before he became a pop-up king. My memories of Rice are mainly of him hitting into double plays. And Boggs’ defection to the Yankees spoiled a once-great thing. The less said about Clemens the better.

    Hudson September 11, 2009, 12:51 pm
  • Not trying to be argumentative but is everything that Clemens ever did for BOTH teams out the window with his PED accusations? It seems like to most of you it is…
    I can’t ignore what he did for us while a Yankee, he was awesome. PED’s or no, he deserves some recognition in my opinion. Same thing with his time with the Sox.

    krueg reincarnate September 11, 2009, 2:13 pm
  • I’ve stopped caring about PEDs. It really frees me up to actually focus on the game.
    Wakefield has been very good for a long time, which is why he’s coming up on a bunch of career marks. But that doesn’t make him as good as Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Luis Tiant, Cy Young (I’m pretty sure SF left him off his list of best Sox in his lifetime! :-D).

    Paul SF September 11, 2009, 2:43 pm

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