December 30 is one of the very few days of the year on which no Yankee,
past or present, was born. So instead, as the first decade of the 21st
century is about to end, I’ll share my thoughts on who were the top ten
performing New York Yankees during the past ten years.
Number 1 – Derek Jeter. He had all the numbers but what makes Jeter so
very special are the intangibles. Has their ever been an athlete more
suited to survive and prosper in the pressure cooker of Big Apple
professional sports? I think not.
Number 2 – Mariano Rivera. The best closer in the history of the game and the best there ever will be.
Number 3 – Alex Rodriguez. I have lots of problems rooting for A-Rod
but no doubts at all regarding his abilities on a baseball field.
Without him the Yankees would not be 2009 World Champs.
Number 4 – Jorge Posada. He plays the toughest position in baseball and
there are very few if any who played it any better than this guy has
during the past decade. He may go brain dead on the base paths from
time-to-time and his arm is not what it used to be but this guy is a
Number 5 – Andy Pettitte. Like Jeter, its the intangibles that make
Pettitte the top Yankee pitcher during the past ten years. Case and
point was his performance in the 2009 postseason.
Number 6 – Hideki Matsui. If he did not break his wrist on that diving
catch attempt in 2006, Matsui’s Yankee career would have been magical
instead of just brilliant and probably still going strong. Instead,
Yankee fans now must bear the pain of seeing this elegant athlete play
the game in an opposing team’s uniform.
Number 7 – Robinson Cano. Made this list by bouncing back both at the
plate and in the field during the 2009 regular season and in spite of
his performance in the 2009 postseason.
Number 8 – Mike Mussina. So much was expected of this guy when the
Yankees signed him as a free agent in 2001, that his 123-72 record in
pinstripes is almost overlooked. I guess that’s because the Yankees won
World Series the year before he signed and the year after he left with
none in between.
Number 9 – Bernie Williams. I loved the guy. Started the century with three great seasons but became ordinary in the last four.
Number 10 – I can’t decide between Giambi, Damon or Soriano. I think Wang also deserves consideration. What do you think?