The New York Yankees have long been considered a staple in American sports, and for good reason. They are the winningest team in Major League Baseball history with a win percentage of .569, thanks to their 10,000+ wins since their formation in 1901. With such success, there were many players that emerged as some of the league’s all-time greats.
The Yankees have won 27 World Series titles to date, along with 40 pennants; a dominant pair of statistics that most other teams strive for. Throughout the team’s history, they have been able to boast truly impressive rosters that resulted in an incredible 24 players reaching the Hall of Fame. Below are just a few of many.
Commonly referred to as Mr. October, Reggie Jackson earned his spot in Cooperstown largely in part due to his incredible postseason performances. In the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jackson hit an astounding three home runs against three different pitchers, leading his team to a championship title. His no. 44 jersey is proudly retired among the organization.
A name synonymous with baseball, Babe Ruth is perhaps the most well known player of all time. Many would argue that he is the best Yankee of all time, let alone the best player in MLB history. He was the first to ever hit 30 home runs in a season, followed by the first to ever hit 40 in a season, then 50, and then 60. The world had never seen a batter as successful as he was during the 1920s.
A Yankee from 1923-1939, Lou Gehrig saw most of his success as a hitter. To this day, no one has hit more grand slams in their career than Gehrig, who holds the title with 23. Perhaps even more impressive, he held a 56-year record for most consecutive games played with 2,130. Cal Ripken, Jr. however, dethroned him with 2,632. Gehrig’s career came to a tragic end at the young age of 36 when he was diagnosed with ALS, which many aptly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He passed in 1941, but remains immortal among Yankee greats.
Berra is often regarded as the greatest catcher in major league history. He claimed an incredible 10 World Series titles during his time with the Yankees, and was named American League MVP in three different seasons. He continues to hold the franchise record for most home runs by a Yankee catcher with 306. In his coaching career, he led the team to the 1964 World Series as a manager, and coached during the 1977 and 1978 championship seasons.
“The Yankee Clipper” remains the record-holder for most consecutive games with a hit with 56; a record that may never be broken. DiMaggio is another Yankee that many consider to be the greatest to ever play. He was named to the All-Star team in every single one of his seasons on the team not only for his impressive batting abilities, but also for his defensive play. As a center fielder, DiMaggio had impressive speed to snare any fly ball that came his way.
There are bound to be many more Yankees players inducted into the Hall of Fame in years to come (see Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera), but the extraordinary talent this team has been able to recruit throughout its history is, in itself, a remarkable achievement.