Balancing history and practicality among the retired numbers

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That sure is a long line of retired numbers. (Photo by flickr user aeonix01)

The Yankee fan masses have spoken. After three days of voting, 79 percent of you feel that Paul O’Neill’s number should not be retired while 21 percent of you would like to see 21 added to the growing list of Yankee retired numbers.

Despite these overwhelmingly one-sided results, the debate has generated a lot of conversation about the nature of retired numbers and the way the Yanks go about retiring the numbers. Some fans seem to feel that the Yanks retire way too much numbers; others feel that the honors are warranted. And no one can agree on exactly what standards are applied to a player to determine if a number is retired.

Take Phil Rizzuto’s number 10. Rizzuto is, famously, in the Hall of Fame after many passionate fans waged a rather rabid campaign to get him inducted, and one could say that he’s in the Hall as much for his decades-long career behind the microphone as he is for his play on the field. In fact, his play on the field, while great at its peak, wasn’t that spectacular overall. He played 13 years for the Yanks and hit .273/.351/.355.

In 1985, the Yanks decided to hang up Rizzuto’s 10. At that point, he had been retired for 31 years, and seven other players — including Chris Chambliss, Tony Kubek and Rick Cerone — had worn 10. Why the Yankees opted then to retire Rizzuto’s number is anyone’s guess. In fact, as an August 18, 1985 letter to The Times shows, Yankee fans 23 years ago were not of the mind that Rizzuto was deserving of a spot alongside the Yankee greats.

Ron Guidry’s 49 and Reggie Jackson’s 44 are also big question marks. Guidry was great for a long stretch but not a baseball immortal. Reggie had a few iconic games in the post-season for a team that played during an era when George Steinbrenner was hell-bent on winning the World Series. He ended up spending just five of his 21 seasons in the Bronx.

Interestingly, the timing of these two retirement ceremonies raises an eyebrow or two as well. Reggie’s number was retired in 1993 when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. At the time, the Yanks were mired in their worst World Series drought since the early years of the Twentieth Century, and perhaps, George was looking to recapture some of the aura of his glory years of the 1970s. Guidry’s number was retired in 2003 right when he was returning to the Bronx fold. The Times speculated that perhaps it was some sort of gesture of appreciation designed to draw Guidry into a soon-to-be vacant coaching job.

Whatever the case, retired numbers are a prickly issue in Yankee-land. Fans of players from recent teams grow vehement in their arguments for or against enshrinement in the outfield. Take the 1990s teams. Off the top of my head, I would guess that Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Joe Torre and Bernie Williams will see their numbers retired. Paul O’Neill supporters will feel slighted, and Jorge Posada fans will wonder why their catcher doesn’t get the same respect. Andy Pettitte‘s 46 never comes up and was in fact given out to five players during’s Pettitte’s three years in Houston. And the A-Rod debate will rage forever until or unless the Yanks win a few rings while he’s in town.

Meanwhile, as the Yanks slowly run out of respectable numbers, a few fans have floated the idea of un-retiring certain numbers while keeping the number circles up as monuments in Monument Park. While I like the idea in principle, how that would work is again anyone’s guess.

The Yankees have a tricky balancing act to perform. They have a vast history that they want to enshrine and recall. They have legends of the game and legends of the Bronx and just plain old fan favorites. As the available numbers decrease and more plaques find their way to the left field park, these debates will only grow more boisterous. Who needs single-digit numbers anyway?

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  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I’m 19, so other than the legendary figures that wore Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 (Yogi) 9 and 15, I have no feelings towards the rest of the retired numbers. I agree on the presumption that Nos. 2, 6, 42 and 51 will and should be retired….and hopefully Nos. 34 and 62 in the future :). I think maybe there should be different levels of the retired Nos., such as one tier for the numbers of players that have been retired and who are in the HOF and a lower tier for those who just have their numbers retired by the Yankees. If that is done then I feel the lower tier retired numbers should be circulated but still recognized by their previous infamous owners.

    I don’t know, I love the fact that we can respectably retire all of these numbers without being full of ourselves, it just speaks decibels to the rich tradition of this organization.

    I would like to see the entire team wear the retired number of a Yankee on their respective birthday during the regular season. Like every year the Yankees choose a player to honor for that year and on that player’s birthday theteam would wear that player’s number. For example if the Yankees choose to honor Babe Ruth in the year of the new stadium, then on his birthday or some important date during the regular season in his career, the whole team would wear #3. In 2010 they do the same with Mickey Mantle, the following year Lou Gehrig and so on and son. It would be cool as a refresher course of this organization’s history and also serve as a little lesson and glimpse into the past for the up and coming fans such as myself and those in the future.

    LoL, I know Grandpa mustang would like that. ;)

  • Rich

    A poster on another site raised the UNCC basketball example as model for what the Yankees should do:

    Honored Jerseys
    Rising high above the Smith Center floor are the names and uniform numbers of 40 Tar Heel players who performed with great distinction. Seven of the jersey numbers are retired and 33 of them are honored and may be worn by future Tar Heels. A player qualifies to have his number honored if he meets any of the following criteria: ACC Player of the Year; selected by the coaches as MVP of a NCAA championship team; member of a gold medal Olympic team; or a first- or second-team All-America selection.

    The Yankees should decide on comparable criteria to guide their decision making process on which numbers should remain retired (and will be in the future) and which numbers should merely be honored in Monument Park .

    • http://yetanotheryankeeblogger.blogspot.com/ Wolf Williams

      I proposed this same idea on my blog last month. Why not retire jersies, as opposed to numbers? It’s just as respectful to display an ‘O’Neill 21′ jersey as it is to retire ’21’ for all time (which I oppose, by the way…. sorry, Paulie).

      And besides, it’s a tremendous show of respect for an active player to choose a retired jersey number, as a show of appreciation for that former player’s great career, a la the LaTroy Hawkins decision to honor Roberto Clemente when he chose 21 as his Yankee number.

      And by the way…. to boo Hawkins for his number choice was a despicable display by some thick-headed Yankee fans. Boo the performance, if you must, but the guy has a right to any available number. People need to grow up.

      • http://yetanotheryankeeblogger.blogspot.com/ Wolf Williams

        Damn! I gotta get out of Taiwan! That Dunkin’ Donuts sign at the top of the picture made me cry….

        Anyone feel like sending me a box of eclairs….?

  • Mike P

    I don’t really have a position on whether you retire players or just honour them. The UNCC example is pretty good, except the Yanks don’t have players names on the back of shirts so logistically maybe not the best way.

    What I disagree with a lot of people about is that a retiree should be in the hall of fame, some have even said “garden variety” HOF’er. Being a great Yankee should be the criteria. You can be a great Yankee because you were the soul of the team for your career without ever being the best player in baseball. You can be a great Yankee if when people think of the team you played in, they couldn’t possibly imagine it being without you. In that sense I would retire Posada’s number because could you imagine the Yanks having a different catcher for the past decade? A leader on the field, with some great performances to boot.

    So by those criteria Jackson and O’neill shouldn’t get their numbers retired. Phil Rizutto? I’m not old enough to have seen him play, but by all acounts why not honour him?

    • Curramba

      By your criteria I couldn’t imagine the teams of the 90’s without O’neill. He along with Mattingly and few other players were the soul of the team that drove the Yankees to become winners towards the end of the decade. The trade for Oneill in which they sent Kelly to Cinci was a great one. I’ll admit I was upset at the time it happened but O’neill turned out to be a great get for the Yankees.

      • Mike P

        Maybe I didn’t clarify. But I think you really should have played most of your career as a Yankee to be honoured. And I love O’Neill too, I just think he wasn’t quite here long enough to define an era.

  • http://www.mvn.com/mlb-yankees Jim Johnson

    Bernie Williams? Really?

    • steve (different one)

      why not? he’s a borderline Hall of Famer with 4 rings and a lifelong Yankee.

      he is infinitely more deserving than O’Neill at least.

  • Rick in Boston

    I honestly have no issue with the way the Yankees retire numbers. Heck, look at the Boston Celtics. Their criteria is even more out of whack. Pretty much, anyone who has ever been a starter on an NBA title team has their number retired. If the Yankees did that, then it wouldn’t matter.

    The Yankees do have two “levels” of honor (actually, three). For those who played in the era prior to uniform numbers, or who weren’t known by a single number, there are plaques in Monument Park for them (I believe this includes Lefty Gomez and Allie Reynolds). Then we have the much-talked about retired numbers. And there are then five actual monuments to the all-time greats (Huggins, Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio).

    The crux of the issue is: “should the Yankees have so many retired numbers?”. My answer is, “Why not?”. Yes, Reggie didn’t play that long with the Yankees, and Gator was only dominant for a stretch, but you can’t tell me that the success of the late 70’s/early 80’s Yankees (four pennants, two series and I believe one more ALCS) would have been possible without these guys. It’s the same with the pre-90’s Dynasty Yankees. Would anyone have watched if not for Donnie? Doubtful – most of us would probably have turned it on out of loyalty, seen Andy Hawkins pitching, and then turned it off.

    What I’m saying is that each Yankee personified something important about being a Yankee. Whether it’s helping a team over the hump and to a title (Jackson), holding a fading franchise upright (Donnie), or providing decades of entertainment to generations of fans (Scooter), every Yankee deserves their number retired for their own reasons. I have no want or need to criticize any number that has been retired before, and while 2/6/42/51 and maybe 20 will someday sit as retired numbers in the new stadium, I say “Great. They deserved it.” And that’s my opinion.

  • r.w.g.

    You kind of hit the nail on the head with Rizzuto. I don’t have a problem with him being honored, but I do believe his number retirement was based more on his broadcast career than playing performance.

    If you got on playing career, how is Rizzuto any different than Bobby Richardson? Two all-glove, no-hit middle infielders with one truly great offensive season apiece. Rizzuto has more rings, but that’s more an issue of timing, as he found himself in two different dynasties.

    I wouldn’t make a ruling on Posada yet either. We’ve got to see what he does at the end of the contract. It hurts that he’s more than one defensive notch below guys like Berra, Dickey, and Howard. But if he can reach 300 homers, or at least have 2-3 more seasons where he’s pushing for 100 RBI, or he grabs another ring, I think he’s got a nice shot.

    Andy’s big problem is that he left the Yankees as a free agent for a while. However, he has made a really strong return. Let’s wait to see how strong both Pettitte and Posada finish before we definitely rule them out.

  • http://nyyu.blogspot.com Mike @ NYYU

    See my April 18 blog post “Paul O’Neill in Perspective.”

    http://nyyu.blogspot.com/2008/.....ctive.html

    You will see how O’Neill fits in with the rest of the retired numbers.

    Here is a quick fact: Nobody named “Jackson”is ahead of O’Neill in 10 categories.

  • Joey

    Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio untouchable. Maybe a few others like Mantle, the rest unretire, hold a press conference telling the fans not to torture the players, and while they are “honored” by having the plaques. The only problem I have with honoring players at lesser standards is in 40 years I don’t want to have to have a 10000 page book looking at all the names. I love Jamal’s idea about wearing the jersey’s on the birthday’s or specified days during the year. I just threw this off the top of my head really quick, you could easily go more in depth with this, no time now though

    • steve (different one)

      “maybe” Mantle? huh?

  • E-ROC

    Can we retire Chad Moeller’s number?

    • http://sw-balcony.blogspot.com Back Bay Yankee

      Chad Moeller: Back Up Catcher, 2008 Yankees. One of only two Yankees to hit a ball multiple times in the 2008 Season.

      Something like that?

  • Whitey14

    I may get blasted here, but I’m going to risk it anyway. The Red Sox policy is only to retire the numbers of those players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and who played a significant portion of their career in Boston. Those people, as well as old curmudgeon catchers that they really wanted to wear a Red sox hat on their HOF plaque, get the honor, others don’t.

    Honestly, many Sox fans were very upset when Manny trotted out number 24, but I guess the brass realized Dewey Evans had no shot at the HOF. But I don’t recall anybody booing Manny for wearing it.

    They’ve never given out Jim Rice’s number 14 since he still has a realistic shot at the HOF.

    I’m not sure of the situation with Wade Boggs. Maybe they’re just waiting for him to stop embarrassing himself in television commercials, but I believe I’ve seen his 26 on other players in the past few seasons.

    They haven’t given out Clemen’s 21 yet….not sure what the future holds for that number, but I’m very curious.

    I like Wolf’s idea of retiring Jerseys and not necessarily the numbers. That would allow all teams to have a more liberal policy for honoring their greats.

    • steve (different one)

      good post.

      hypothetical question: if there was a new player TODAY, in this day of blogs where every single minutia was beaten to death, who came out and took #24, would that player be booed in Fenway?

      i don’t know the answer, but i’d guess it’s a possibility.

      • Whitey14

        Definitely possible Steve. After all, we certainly have our share of jerks in Red Sox Nation. My issue would be them booing it with Manny in mind and not remembering and incredible defensive Right Fielder wore it before him and did it proud. I’m sure there are old timers out there who think I’m lame for forgetting somebody who wore it before him too.

        I think Manny even got a break because the fans were jacked up to get him in the first place and they knew, offensively speaking, he’d make us forget Dewey real quick.

        I once saw #14 in a Spring Training game and was really down on the guy wearing it, since Rice was my favorite player, but the player didn’t wear it the next game. I recall reading that the clubhouse guy in Florida was unaware of the “hold” on Rice’s number. My wife, of course, just didn’t understand. I won’t boo if there’s a guy wearing that one eventually. Although, people boo me on the Softball field all the time, but it’s probably not because I wear 14 ;-)

    • Dave P.

      I thought they did give out No.21. I was in Boston a few years ago and I saw a guy wearing a Red Sox t-shirt with the number 21 on the back. I didn’t recognize the player, I think it was spelling y-a-n-k-s-s-u-c-k or something like that. I guess he was Polish or something.

      But anyway you seem to be a little bit of an authority on Boston baseball, what do the Royal Rooters think of Fisk in the Hall but Rice not?

      Personally I think it’s a joke. Fisk had what two 100 RBI seasons and one 100 run scored season?

      • steve (different one)

        uhhh…seriously?

        Fisk was a catcher. Rice was a LFer.

        i don’t have to type anything else.

        • Whitey14

          Fisk and Lynn were two of the guys who left that Sox fans always seemed to love. I guess you could say they were the antithesis of Boggs and Clemens.
          Rich Gedman eventually came along and was decent catcher for a few years, even played in an all-star game or two, but people still missed Fisk.
          Jacoby Ellsbury is the first Center Fielder to come along since Lynn left that people think may be as exciting as Lynn was when he was young. We like Ellis Burks, but he was no Fred Lynn. I thouroughly believe, if Lynn had stayed in Boston, and didn’t constantly battle injuries, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He was made for Fenway Park.

          Many Sox fans believe that Rice will get into the HALL in 09. I think so because I’m biased and he was my favorite player. Others think that he put up similar numbers to some other HOFers and shouldn’t be penalized for the par he played in. I think what he did over a 12 year stretch is enough to get him in, considering the era in which he played. But again, I’m extremely biased. Besides, my Mom’s maiden name is Rice, and even though we’re caucasian, I’m pretty sure we’re related to Jim Ed ;-)

          • Dave P.

            But do you really believe that Fisk is a Hall of Famer?

            • Whitey14

              I do look at him as a Hall of Famer. Catching is an extremely demanding position and to do it for as long as he did is amazing. To put up the numbers he did is amazing as well. He actually stole some bases as a younger player as well and finished his career with about 130. 370+ HR, 1300+ RBI and a .270 average stack up ok against Bench and Berra and they were both very deserving of the Hall.
              Defensively, he threw out 664 of 1966 basestealers which equates to nearly 34% and he did win one Gold Glove way back in 1972. I’d say he was adequate defensively. Not stellar, but not a liability either.

        • Dave P.

          He was an average catcher.

    • chris

      i was a sox fan when i was a kid, because my dad is you know , and boggs was, is my favorite player, so when he went to new york i did too, any way i thought for sure they would retire his 26 in fenway, but then i saw some mook wearing it one day , and i was like what the hell. so recently i looked it up, and the sox are so strict on who they retire, its something like you have to be a hall of famer, you have to have played for the organization for consecutive years and you have to have retired as a red sox, so that leaves boggs and roger out. and i then i was like what about pudge, he didnt retire a sox, and it was like he came back for a job in the front office and they trotted him out there in uniform for like 1 game or something so they could say he retired a red sox, or something to that effect. but any way thats why they have so few numbers

      • chris

        meant to say 10 consecutive years

  • Glen L

    I think you may be too quick to pass judgment on Posada’s number not getting retired … he has an outside chance of making the Hall of Fame, depending on how his career finishes up … if he’s in the Hall, and having played his entire career for the yankees and having won multiple rings, his number will get retired

  • Casper

    I’m just re-posting my old response to this issue originally posted on 02/14 and re-posted in response to an entry on 04/01 (“Number 21 Returns to the Field”). I’ll add one thought to the quoted language below… Clearly this is a pretty arbitrary exercise, this retiring of numbers. I just think it’s important/helpful to try to take a step back, try to see things as you may see them, say, 20 years from now. I think we tend to want to honor players/people involved in championship teams (or multiple-championship teams, as the case may be), and that’s fine – but honoring too many people demeans the honor a bit. Personally, looking back on the teams of the late 70s/early 80s, I understand honoring Munson (kind of a special case) and Jackson (debateable for sure, but take everything about his time in pinstripes into account – the media controversy, the whole “Bronx is Burning” era, all of it – and I think you have a pretty historically significant period of time there), but I’d draw the line there. Just the greats, the guys who “define the era.” In the case of the late-90s teams, unpopular as this opinion may be, I think the job is done when you retire 2, 6 and 42. Jeter’s a surefire HOFer, as is Mo… and I think we need to remember how large Torre loomed over that era (easy to forget, especially this season as he moves on and dons Dodger blue).

    Here’s what I previously wrote:

    “Totally agree… We had a similar discussion back on 02/14, I just took a look back. Post was titled: “Yanks finally issue Paulie’s number.” The Yanks are in a unique situation in that they’ve retired so many numbers and may have to retire a few more (personally, I’d only go 2, 6, 42 (in addition to Jackie R.) from the recent crop of players). It’s not like there are rules about these things, the Yankees should just come up with a new system. I suggest they put retired numbers up somewhere to honor the players, but make a distinction between certain numbers that are “out of circulation” and certain numbers that may still be assigned to active players. You can honor the past without over-doing it. I said the following in response to the post back on 02/14:

    ‘Put all numbers back into circulation except 3, 4, 5, 7, 15, 42. Leave the other numbers up on the wall like they are, and add new numbers as appropriate (i.e. put 2 up there when Jeter retires).

    That way you’re honoring the past while also letting players wear numbers lower than 50. (I exaggerate… but there are already so many retired numbers and it’s only getting worse.)

    3, 4, 5, 7 and 42 for obvious reasons… Give the highest possible honor within the organization to the true highest-level of stars (plus 42 for Robinson per MLB rule/custom)… and I just like the idea of keeping 15 out of circulation to honor the fallen captain.'”

    That way you’re not necessarily creating a whole new system with different plaques or “retired names” or anything. Just seems to me like a pretty simple way to make a meaningful distinction.

    • Casper

      One more thing… I also think the system outlined above is useful because it will serve to diffuse all these arguments about retired numbers. Very, very few numbers would be “out of circulation,” and I think the bar for entry to that group of “out of circulation” numbers would a little more clear than the current bar (i.e. say A-Rod came up as a Yankee, played his whole career here… I’d think he’d get into that group). But as far as all the other guys with “retired” numbers – I don’t think people would take as much umbrage with the inclusion of certain guys (cough O’Neill cough) if there was a distinction between the true upper-echelon (3, 4, 5, 7, 42 and 15 if I was making the decision) and the rest of those guys.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    Question – why does the Sports Authority banner in that photo look like it was photoshopped? It also looks like it’s covering up an addidas sign toward the end of the banner.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I think the photo was taken in March when the Yanks were still prepping the stadium. What you’re seeing are advertisements in transition.

  • Steve S

    Is it really that big of a deal, there are what 16 numbers retired? And assuming Jeter, Rivera, Torre, Bernie, Posada, and Oneill all get retired. That makes 22. That still leaves 77 available numbers. And Im not even sure what “respectable numbers” means”. If there is a number and pinstripes surrounding it, its pretty respectable.

    When you win 26 Win World championships and dominate a sport, you are going to have some distinguishing characteristics about your organization, the least of which there are going to be some great players. I mean really its a game, and while we take some of this stuff seriously, retiring numbers is just a special way of remembering these players, why make this a debate. Anyone one of those guys from the 90’s represents a single part of the some of the greatest modern baseball teams ever assembled. And most of them wont be commemorated in the HOF, why not have something in Monument park.

    Everyone needs to stop trying to create these harsh objective standards to comprehend, analyze and breakdown this game. Its a game, lets leave some sentimental value in it. And what out there is meant to foster memories of different times. The Hall of Fame is immortality and posterity, monument park is for us, the fans.

    • Mike P

      The most sensible post I’ve read in a while.
      It’ll take quite some time for us to start worrying about a lack of numbers. And if that many players have warranted their number be retired, it’s the least of our worries. Heck it’d mean 10 more championships at least!

  • http://justinyates.wordpress.com Yankee Psycho-fan-t

    I don’t understand why it isn’t enough to just give them a plaque commemorating the time that they wore that number and putting it in monument park. Obviously you don’t re-enstate the numbers 3, 4, 5 or 7, as those players were truly very special, but there are a bunch more that could be put back in circulation without a great deal of histrionics from the peanut gallery. Keep the captains and the hall of famers retired, give everyone else back. I say it’s enough to be remembered for your greatness, I played a lot of baseball and never understood the importance of numbers. I chose 24 because it made me think of Tino, 21 because it made me think of Paulie. No one who loves Don Mattingly isn’t going to think Donnie Baseball when they hear number 23 regardless of whether or not someone else is wearing it at the time.

    • Steve S

      I think one thing is that the Yankees have stayed so close to the best on tradition. They never changed the uniform, they never added last names on the back, they kept it classy. Its part of the fabric of being a Yankees. And there are certain guys who wear a uniform number and they capture a generation. And when you retire that number its a way of the fans saying we wont let the ones who come along next to forget you. I think thats what is happening with Paul Oneill. I think were all looking at this from a very different perspective. Retiring of numbers is something that is meant for the casual fan and more importantly the elderly fan. The minute we found this blog we crossed out of that arena.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    The Yankees have been the leader in making a farce out of this time honored tradition. It started in the mid 80’s with Rizzuto, but he is a special case I will grant you that much. But let’s take a look at some of the others that aren’t so special;

    9. Roger Maris: I’m sick of hearing about him. He is the most overrated underrated player in all of sports. Unappreciated, what about the two MVP awards? Let’s keep in mind he had three great seasons and only two of them were worthy of MVP consideration, and guess what, he was awarded the MVP for those seasons. What is underappreciated about thatr The surly mid-westerner did nothing outside of the 60-62 period to even justify consideration for having his number retired. Hell, he’s not even the best player in Yankees history to wear number 9 (Nettles was and it’s not even close).

    1. Billy Martin A complete joke (I loved Billy but it makes no sense)

    44. Reggie Jackson A great player for sure but he spent only 5 years with the
    Yankees only one of which was an MVP type year. I have to say this the year
    Jackson arrived the Yanks won the division title going away and the penant in a hard fought 5 game series. My point, it wasn’t as if he joined a team 72-90. The big difference in the series of 76 and 77 was the starting pitching. In 76 the Yanks went into the series with only Hunter, the rest of the starting staff were journeymen. 77 They had Gullet, Guidry and Torrez much, much stronger.

    49. Ron Giudry: I love him, should have been honored with a plaque but his number should not be retired.

    Once you retire 21, then 51 and 20 come next. None of thos number’s should be retired. Jeter (2) and AROD (13) and Rivera (42) will be retired and rightfully so. I don’t think Torre’s #6 should be retired, honor his jersey yes but do not retire his number.

  • http://everythingbaseball.wordpress.com Aaron

    The thought of separating the retired numbers into two distinct tiers is intriguing but this is something that would have to be done cautiously.

    What defines the separation between the two? If we are going to call one section the “elite” section then we’d have to include Ruth, Gehrig, Ford, Berra, Mantle, and Dimaggio.

    Munson, Mattingly, and Rizzuto kind of fall inbetween the two groups. They weren’t phenomenal players but are beloved Yankees for other reasons.

    Finally, that leaves the remaining players in the “other” section where, by previous suggestions, these numbers could be recirculated to future Yankees without diminishing the honor and place they hold in left field.

    Now, here is where the criteria for which section one would fall in would have to be extraordinarily clear. The players in the first section, for instance, are Hall of Famers, legends, and spent most, if not all, of their career as a Yankee. Players like Jackson or Maris had great accomplishments as a Yankee, but not great Yankee careers. (There is a difference.)

    I guess my point is simply that while the idea is interesting, it isn’t quite practical and far too subjective. You’d have to come up with a criteria that would work for past and future. How do you determine which honor to give Jeter, Rivera, Torre, and Bernie? How do you justify things if one player goes in one section while another goes elsewhere and the fans are enraged or the player feels slighted? Again, there are just too many unanswered questions at the moment.

  • chris

    You know I think there are some numbers that should’nt be out there, because there are players numbers retired who have put up the same amount of numbers or less and get all this praise, for instance if you look at Reggie’s numbers while he was a Yankee, there almost the same as my boy Tino’s, and he has more rings, but theres no way they would ever retire the 24 for him would they. theres a core group of guys from 96-01 that did so much more in a time when it was so much harder too do, but half of them aren’t going to get the same praise as the other half and certainly not they same as the guys who have there numbers out there now, id like to see them retire Tino, Pauly, Berrnie, Andy,mabey Jorgie. but I know you only going to see Mo,Jete, and Torre, for sure. and theryer hall of famers so thats ok, but the other guys should at least get a plaque, and there should be mentions of the lesser guys out there too. and god help me if i ever see the likes of A-rods number out there.