Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Growing Debate for the Yankees Franchise Four

Major League Baseball has an initiative this season to vote on all 30 team’s “Franchise Four” which is basically a Mount Rushmore for every team. While some team’s decisions are pretty simple, see teams like the Miami (Florida) Marlins and the Arizona Diamondbacks for instance, while some teams are extremely difficult. Then you have the New York Yankees where you could ask 100 different people and get 100 different answers and technically all 100 could be correct. It was a discussion that the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew had during the Yankees victory and after some Twitter debate with Buster Olney, which was cool to see him interact with us on Twitter, I decided to come out with my picks for the Franchise Four.

Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio are locks in my opinion and in the opinions of about every single person who has asked the question so we won’t cover them too much. The real debate is for the final spot in the Franchise Four and it truly is a race with names like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and even players like Don Mattingly and Roger Clemens getting honorable mentions. While I am not crazy enough to include Clemens or Mattingly on my list, and no Whitey Ford is not on it either, I will make the case for Mantle, Berra, Jeter and Rivera briefly.

First I’ll start with Rivera who Mr. Olney picked on his Franchise Four list. No closer, however dominant, is more valuable in my opinion than a player that plays every single day. Especially when you consider that one player has more World Series rings than he does fingers (I exaggerate a little on Berra, but not by much) while transcending the offensive catcher position while the other has over 500 home runs and without a drinking problem and two balky knees could have hit 700 in his career. Mantle may be considered the 3rd best center fielder of all time behind DiMaggio and Willie Mays but Yogi played for a team where their excellence and worth was judged by how many rings they have and he has more than anyone… how can it not be him for THIS team?

Jeter is a popular pick, and probably a nostalgic pick, as he holds many of the team’s all-time records due to his longevity, durability, the DH, 162 games, advanced medicine, not losing time to major World War’s etc. but he hasn’t done enough to surpass Mantle or Berra in my eyes. He’s probably Top 6 or Top 7 on my list but I’m being held to just four and he doesn’t make the cut, same for Rivera. So it comes down to Mantle and Berra. Berra has the rings and Mantle has the towering 500 foot home runs but while the team is nicknamed the Bronx Bombers you don’t become worth $3.2 Billion and the most successful team in major league history by just hitting home runs, you do it by winning World Series championships. That’s why I go with the man with the rings, the “nobody goes to that restaurant anymore because it’s too crowded,” the “it’s getting late pretty early,” Mr. Yogi Berra. 

1 comment:

  1. I have no problem with Yogi as the number 4 but he was the 2nd best catcher on the team the last half of his career.
    Most of the all-time baseball lists have Babe, Lou, Mickey and then Joe "D". The all-time center field list is Mickey/Mays (tied) and then Joe "D"!
    Myself, I would have had it Babe, Lou, Mickey and then Yogi/Joe "D" and lean more to the side of Yogi as the fourth man on the list.
    Everyone admired Joe "D" for his grace and talent but Mickey "OWNED" New York!


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