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Yankees Retired

In observance of the start of Spring Training and who will be observed by teams for their contributions, I have taken it upon myself to look at who deserves to be acknowledged by specific teams. I will start by viewing those from the New York Yankees. Please note: no present players will be observed on this, as their time is still going and their true legacy is still being understood. These three players, in my opinion, should be recognized for their greatness and contributions to the club they played on.

Willie Randolph:

When one looks at the Bronx Zoo era in New York Yankee history, you think of characters like Goose Gossage, and especially Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin. George Steinbrenner needed a hole filled on the right side of the infield after trading Sandy Alomar, Sr. He plucked from Pittsburgh a guy named Willie Randolph, and he immediately began to contribute at the top of the lineup. Willie was able to hit for consistency during his time in the Bronx, as well as steal bases at a big clip, pilfering 251 in his career in pinstripes while only getting caught 82 times. Willie was also a huge spark plug; as mentioned above, he often hit leadoff and would set the table for guys like Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson. Willie also knew how to walk, leading the league in 1980 with 119. He contributed heavily to the success the team had in the late 70s and early 80s, winning back to back titles for the club in 1977 and 1978. His best complete season for the club came in 1980, hitting a brisk .295, stealing 30 bases and walking 119 times, earning him an All-Star nod, Silver Slugger award, and top 15 finish in MVP votes. You couldn’t ask for less from “Mickey” Randolph.

Hideki Matsui:

With the success of Ichiro in Seattle, New York decided to make a call to the Land of the Rising Sun and acquire the rights to Hideki in 2003 and made an immediate impact on the team. When he finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote, New York had a powerful slugger on their side. Godzilla, as he was affectionately known in both the MLB and NPL, Matsui was able to average 23 home runs and 100 RBI each year in his short career. Hideki helped New York clinch it’s first World Series title since 2000 in 2009, hitting an astounding .615 in World Series play and clobbering 3 home runs in the six game series against Philadelphia. Hideki often played in left field or served as designated hitter, the latter becoming the dominant position later in his career. Alongside the feared hitting corps of Jeter, Rodriguez, Sheffield and Williams, Hideki allowed New York to be feared on the map of baseball again. Plus, he hit tanks during Old Timers’ Day events, so what more could be wrong about him?

Dave Righetti:

In an effort to fill a hole and also kick out Goose Gossage who was disliked by higher ups, George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin (in return trip three of six) sent Goose flying south and a pitcher named Dave Righetti from Texas. Little did George and Billy know that Dave would become a Yankee cult hero. Dave started out as a starter, and he was alright in two seasons, even winning Rookie of the Year in 1981. He hit paydirt as a relief pitcher and went on to be integral in being a stud. With a family nickname of Rags under his belt, Righetti was a silent workhorse, pitching 217 innings in 1983 and 183 innings in 1982. Dave became the all-time leader in saves in New York before a certain fellow from Panama named Mariano Rivera came along and blew the record out of the water. Rags was able to average 26 saves a season, with 1986 being the pinnacle year: All Star nod, finishing fourth in Cy Young voting and even cracking the top ten in MVP votes. He was called both overwhelming and very overpowering according to White Sox manager Tony LaRussa.

Contributed by Dave Hummel

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