(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).
Even before Andy Pettitte announced his retirement, there was a feeling of transition surrounding the Yankees. Maybe it was ushered in by Derek Jeter’s contentious contract negotiations or the decision to make Jorge Posada a permanent DH, but regardless, the Yankees’ blogosphere has been filled with sentimental retrospectives centered on the Core Four.
Before the current roster of legends, guys like Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth were the icons for previous generations. However, as detailed in an earlier post, fans don’t always get the chance to say a proper goodbye. In most cases, a player’s final at bat or pitch passes by without any notice because the gravity of the moment is not yet understood.
Listed below are the final at bats/batters faced by the “best” players who have worn the pinstripes. With the exception of Ruth and Mike Mussina (and perhaps DiMaggio), there really was little reason to expect that the corresponding outcome would be the final snapshot in each player’s Yankee (or baseball) career. So, if there’s one lesson to be learned, it’s that fans should appreciate their favorite players while they can because many will be gone without warning.
Final AB of Yankees’ Top-20 Position Players, Ranked by WAR
|Last AB with Yankees|
|Babe Ruth^||149.6||9/30/1934||Senators||Tommy Thomas||Flyball to CF|
|Mickey Mantle||120.2||9/28/1968||Red Sox||Jim Lonborg||Pop fly to SS|
|Lou Gehrig||118.4||4/30/1939||Senators||Pete Appleton||Line out to CF|
|Joe DiMaggio||83.6||10/10/51+||Giants||Larry Jansen||Double to RF|
|Yogi Berra^||62.1||10/5/1963+||Dodgers||Don Drysdale||Line out to RF|
|Bill Dickey||54.4||9/8/1946||Senators||Sid Hudson||Single|
|Willie Randolph^||49.8||9/30/1988||Tigers||W.Hernandez||Flyball to RF|
|Bernie Williams||47.3||10/6/2006+||Tigers||Kenny Rogers||K swinging|
|Tony Lazzeri^||46.6||10/10/1937+||Giant||Don Brennan||Pop fly to SS|
|Earle Combs*||44.7||8/25/1935||ChiSox||J. Whitehead||Walk|
|Roy White||44.5||9/27/1979||Indians||Sid Monge||Sac Fly to LF|
|Thurman Munson||43.4||8/1/1979||ChiSox||Ken Kravec||K|
|Charlie Keller*||42.4||9/13/1952||ChiSox||Marv Grissom||K looking|
|Phil Rizzuto*||41.8||8/2/1956||Indians||Herb Score||Strikeout|
|Graig Nettles^||40.6||10/2/1983||Orioles||Tippy Martinez||Flyball to RF|
|Gil McDougald*||40||10/10/60+||Pirates||Roy Face||FC 6-4|
|Don Mattingly||39.8||10/8/1995+||Mariners||Randy Johnson||K looking|
|Tommy Henrich||37.6||10/1/1950||Red Sox||Harry Taylor||DP: 4-6-3|
|Joe Gordon^||36.3||9/18/1946||ChiSox||Earl Caldwell||Unknown out|
|Rickey Henderson^||30.1||6/20/1989||ChiSox||John Davis||RBI single CF|
^Last at bat of career with another team.
*Appeared as a pinch runner or defensive replacement after final at bat.
Final Batter Faced by Yankees’ Top-10 Pitchers, Ranked by WAR
|Last BF with Yankees|
|Whitey Ford||55.3||5/21/1967||Tigers||Jim Northrup||Groundout: 1u|
|Ron Guidry||44.4||9/27/1988||Orioles||Rene Gonzales||Groundout: 6-3|
|Lefty Gomez^||43.2||8/14/1942||Athletics||Dick Siebert||unknown out|
|Andy Pettitte||42.7||10/18/2010+||Rangers||Bengie Molina||Groundout: 6-3|
|Mel Stottlemyre||37.9||8/4/1974||Red Sox||Juan Beniquez||Flyball to CF|
|Bob Shawkey||37.6||9/29/1927||Athletics||Goose Goslin||unknown out|
|Mike Mussina||30.3||9/28/2008||Red Sox||Dustin Pedroia||DP: 4-6-3|
|Herb Pennock^||29.2||9/23/1933||Red Sox||unknown||unknown|
^Last batter faced in career as a member of another team.