Pinstripe Bible's New Project: Ranking the Top-100 Yankees of All Time

This one is pretty ambitious. The Pinstripe Bible is going to try and rank the top-100 Yankees of all time, and they want input from Yankee fans:

We will be commencing the project with #100 sometime soon. If you want to submit your list of the top 100 Yankees and help make your imprint on this Pinstriped Bible project, please e-mail it to me at greatscott723@yahoo.com.

Take these guidelines into consideration:

  • If you’re a PB member, feel free to add in your username so we can list you as a contributor.
  • We are only ranking players–no managers or executives.
  • If you think making a list of 100 is too much for you, you can submit a list of your top 50 or 75 instead, and it will also be counted.
  • We’re not going to accept lists of fewer than 50 Yankees since we want some good thought behind it and due diligence given to those Yankees that might not always pop in your head when thinking of the greatest players.
  • Please do not submit your top 100 in the comments section for this thread. I will copy it down and include it when I get a chance to view it, but I will then promptly delete the comment so that other list-makers will not be influenced. Plus, it will just make it easier for me if I can track them via e-mail.
  • You can make submissions until 11:59 PM on Wednesday, January 16th.

I think that this could be a fun project for the community to do together. Make your voice heard!

We might be trying to pull together a TYA bloggers list, but its a pretty gigantic undertaking to pull off in just two days. Pulling together a top 10 or 20 is pretty easy–even though we’re internally already disagreeing on whether or not Derek Jeter should be in the top-5–but decisions don’t get easier as you work your way down the list. How do you judge the difference between Jimmy Williams and Hideki Matsui? Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs?  Paul O’Neil and Bobby Murcer?

Still, its a pretty cool exercise, and we can’t wait to see what Pinstripe Bible comes up with. If anyone wants to take a stab at it, definitely post it in the comments section here. We’re all interested to see people’s lists.

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

6 thoughts on “Pinstripe Bible's New Project: Ranking the Top-100 Yankees of All Time

  1. GMC

    Regarding Jeter in the top 5. I just don’t see it, I’d like to think Ruth, Gherig, DiMaggio and Mantle are easily accepted as the top 4 (in that order too). Is Jeter better than Berra, Ford or Mo? I’m not sure its so easy to say yes. Just to be clear, I do think he’s a top 10 yankee.

    • I ranked Jeter at #4, behind Ruth, Gehrig, and Mantle. Here’s a cut and paste of what I wrote on our internal bloggers email chain:

      “The game is more competitive now. Your outliers lie less outside than they used to. Players back in the day racked up huge WAR/etc totals because they were men among boys in terms of baseball talent. These days, standing out is far more difficult, because of advances in training scouting, integration of African American and Hispanic players, etc. Derek Jeter put up similar WAR/etc totals (just under Joe D, well over Yogi) despite playing in the more competitive era, and isn’t finished yet. Granted, DiMaggio did lose time to WWII, but I’m still willing to give it to Jeter.

      Also, a point that also always makes me favor newer players: We know more about them on defense. We hear all sorts of anecdotes about how great guys like DiMaggio, Berra, and Mantle were on defense, but we hear those today about Derek Jeter too. Without some kind of good statistical analysis, there’s no way to make an accurate judgment on their defense. We know that Derek Jeter was a great player despite being a negative value defender. Going by just offensive WAR, Jeter’s way ahead of the others.”

      • GMC

        There are definitely some points posted here that I hadn’t considered. I’m not sure if that changes the way I think of it, but I can certainly understand and appreciate how you (and others) came up with where Jeter ranks in comparison to other Yankee legends.

        I’m also glad we could all be civilized in our responses and not attack one another as I’ve seen on some other sites (like with RAB and the numerous trolls that live there)

  2. ADG

    I would even put Jeter at #2, for all the reasons you stated above EJ which are very astute (I think a lot of people don’t realize that baseball is much harder to play and be successful at today than it was 50 years ago) but also for this one simple fact. All time Yankees hit leader. Ruth is #1 with HR’s, Jeter is #2 with hits. I would then probably rank Gherig, DiMaggio and Mantle in that order.

  3. tjo161

    H.L.Gehrig (the most productive player in baseball history), G.H. Ruth, J. Paul DiMaggio, D. Jeter, M. Mantle, the Great Mariano Rivera, W. Dickey, L.P. Berra, E.C. Ford and Celerino Sanchez.

  4. tino raftery

    Two things:
    1) the comment about men among boys. In olden days there were infinitely fewer teams so the talent was not as diluted and the philosophy was different: you played until you dropped. In that sense, for me, these silly sybermetric stats are irrelevant when comparing generations.
    2) When one tries to rank players of past generations and one has not lived through those generations it is quite difficult to do if not impossible because relying on one’s optical perception and one’s own value judgement is a far better measuring stick than comparing stats compiled under distinct conditions. If one is not old enough to have watched these players perform one can perhaps ask those people who have for guidance. That to me is certainly more legitimate than me trying to figure out whether Jeter’s 3000 hits are more meaningful than Mantle’s 531 homers. I saw Mantle play but never DiMaggio, how do I know who is better when they were both outstanding and game changers during their careers? We as kids would spend entire summers discussing who was better Mantle, Mays, Williams or Snider; above and beyond our personal allegiance because of our team preference, we could point to Mantle’s speed as a game changer, or Williams batting eye or Mays unequaled grace or Snider’s sheer power and we could do that because we had them there in front of our eyes each and every day and, if we didn’t have a TV, we were glued to the radio visualizing and immortalizing their exploits.
    I guess, all I am saying is that it would be much more useful in this case to say who is a top ten Yankee player of all time than to try and rank players that we have never watched in person and must rely solely on stats.

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