Monday, September 5, 2011

Top 5 Favorite New York Yankees

I previously gave my top 5 best Yankees list, but it did not go over well (it has the fewest hits of any Kooz Top 5 post).  I think the problem is that everyone knows the top 5 best Yankee hitters.  As for favorite Yankees, that's a different story and is personal for everyone.  Here are my favorites:

5: Paul O'Neill - We traded Roberto Kelly to get him--the same Roberto Kelly who led off Opening Day in 1989 by going 4 for 4.  The same Roberto Kelly who could dash to first in 3.9 seconds.  The same Roberto Kelly who was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise dismal Yankee squad.  And all these years later what I am most thankful of Roberto Kelly for is being trade bait for O'Neill.  O'Neill is the most intense player I've ever seen, and he was fun to watch--angry or otherwise.

4: Constantino Martinez - I can remember one year, 1997 I think, when Tino was pure magic.  He seemed to homer every time he came up in a big spot.  He even won that year's Homerun Derby!  I was thrilled to see him for Old Timer's Day in 2011, and even more psyched when he hit one out.

3: Derek Jeter - Jeter and I are almost the same age, and in his rookie season, we were about the same height and build.  While I am considerably more handsome than Jeter, he can hit a bit better than I can, which made me comfortable with him as Yankee shortstop over me.  Seriously, he is the first Yankee whose career I've watched from beginning to beginning-of-the-end (or maybe not, despite an ugly first half he's batting close to .300 as I write this).  It's been a fun ride.

2: Alvaro Espinosa - Not a ton of range at short, but this Yankee from '88-'91 whipped the ball sidearm to first at close to 100 mph.  I just loved watching him play.  There was something endearing about knowing that he was so weak in the batter's box that he once had the longest streak of at bats without a homerun in the majors.  In an interview Yankees Magazine, he said black beans and rice was one of his favorite dishes.  I've been a fan of it every since.

1: Don Mattingly - He was THE guy when I was growing up, and he had a sort of rivalry that fans manufactured with Boston favorite Wade Boggs.  In the New York/New England area, a regular dbate was which of these guys was the best in the game.  (Yeah, Tony Gwynn was doing something special in San Diego at the time, but nobody was paying attention.)  Mattingly had the sweetest swing in baseball, always took the first pitch, never struck out, and in 1987 hit six grand slams.  Boggs and Mattingly finally played together on the Yankees when Boggs was signed in 1993, but by then the best years of both were behind them.  Still, it was great to see the two great rivals of my youth play together for my team.

So who are your favorite Yankees?  Hate the Yankees?  Who are your favorite players?  Hate baseball?  Well, that's just too bad...


  1. Too many to choose from.I have O'Neil #1. Closely followed by Rickey Henderson. Think David Wells has to be on the list too. I'm absolutely shocked that anyone remembers Espinoza. Might as well have Mike Gallego on the list then too. I think my favorite crappy Yankee of all time would have to be Deion Sanders

  2. Hahaha, your favorite crappy Yankee... How about Luis Polonia.

  3. Nah. Polonia was actually pretty decent. Always thought he was under rated.

    My other prominent crappy yankees would be: Kevin Maas (the next Mickey Mantle), Oscar Azocar (the Kevin Maas of contact hitters, plus it was fun to say his name), Pascual Perez (biggest clown in MLB history.was this guy for real?), Steve Howe (7 strikes and your out), Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens (the guy would could only put up monster numbers in AAA and Japan), Ken Phelps (we traded Jay Buhner for this guy, still mad about this one)

  4. These should be favorite Yankees 1980-2001....for you to not even have bernie is a damn shame....mariano too...pettitte even...WTF?

  5. Darryl Strawberry, he came back to baseball after a cocaine addiction. nuff said

  6. I was born in '76. Of course my favorites are guys I grew up watching. I was never a big Bernie fan. Mo and Pettitte are great but I liked these 5 better.

  7. I'll step in with a vote for Mattingly from a non-Yankee fan. Always respected the way he played the game. Solid. Current Yankees, I like Teixiera, but that's as much because he's the first real guy I followed from freshman year in college all the way through into the pros; and I watched him play a good bit at Georgia Tech.

    Favorite players overall - Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel. Gotta flash the glove.