Yesterday, all of our rooms got a little dusty between 11 AM and noon as Jorge Posada announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. There is no doubt that Posada was a great Yankee. He gave us so many incredible memories and I cannot wait for the day when Jorge is brought back to Yankee Stadium and given the honor of a plaque in Monument Park. As I was driving to lunch, my iPod died (as it usually does) so I flipped on sports radio (yes it sucks, but it’s better than FM) and Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts were talking about the possibility of the retirement of Posada’s number. They alluded to the fact that Bruce Bowen, he of the defensive prowess, is getting his number retired by the San Antonio Spurs; both hosts found that a little ridiculous and had a quick discussion of the standards for number retirement. Part of this is obviously an emotional discussion, but the empirical side of me had a thought. So, I decided to add up the WARs and see what the average Yankee-season WAR was for each player with a retired number.
I removed Billy Martin from the equation because he’s remembered more as a manager than as a player. The retired numbers can be found here. The total WAR (used bWAR) for these players (obviously minus Casey Stengel and Jackie Robinson) was 59.6308. Divide that by 13 to get the average, and you get 4.5870. The median WAR/Yankee season was Whitey Ford’s 3.4563 mark. So, where do Jorge and other retiree candidates (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, and Alex Rodriguez) rank?
Jorge averaged 2.7938 bWAR/Yankee season, which would put him above Elston Howard (2.2077) and just behind Don Mattingly (2.8429). Jeter has averaged 4.142 bWAR/Yankee season, which would put him ahead of Roger Maris (3.9857) but behind the ridiculousness that is the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio foursome. Rodriguez would pass Jeter, though, as he’s averaged 5.4500 bWAR/Yankee season. Andy Pettitte comes in at 3.2615 ahead of Ron Guidry (3.1714) and behind Ford (3.4563). Surprisingly, Mariano Rivera passes Pettitte, with 3.3118. Bernie Williams and his 2.9563 would edge out Mattingly and Howard, but fall short of Guidry’s mark, as well as Phil Rizzuto’s 3.2154 (which was higher than I expected).
Am I saying that those numbers should be the benchmarks for inclusion in Monument Park? Of course not. That’s just silly. I just thought it’d be interesting to take a look at.
I’ll close this out on a non-empirical (and non-player) note: Yesterday, we also learned that the Yankee family will be saying goodbye to Kim Jones. Though I’ve never been a fan of the “sideline reports” during games (I think they break the flow of the inning completely), I always liked Kim. Her role at YES always seemed beneath her and she was put in a position to ask a lot of empty questions. Regardless of that, I always felt that she could do much more to help the broadcast. Kim has shown herself to be an intelligent and trenchant journalist, especially in the wake of the child rape scandal at her alma mater, Penn State University. I wish her the absolute best of luck in her future journalistic endeavors; whatever outlet she lands at will be lucky to have her services and call her their own.