Random thoughts on the New York Yankees:
The Yankee bullpen has some young pitchers who could throw a baseball through a brick wall — if they had enough control to hit the wall.
More than one-fourth of the American League pennants in the 20th century were won by the New York Yankees — and they didn’t win their first pennant until 1920.
The major league records for the highest batting average by a catcher (.362), the most runs batted in by a first baseman (184) and the most home runs by a third baseman (54) were all set by Yankees — Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig and Alex Rodriguez, respectively.
The Yankees got rid of Babe Ruth when he was over the hill. Why are they still sticking with Jason Giambi, who is a serious liability in the field? Let the man retire and spend his time counting his millions.
There is no excuse for major league outfielders running into each other, when for generations center fielders have had the right of way. The Yankees’ young center fielder Melky Cabrera doesn’t hesitate to wave off the other outfielders when he goes for the ball, even when these are veterans with big salaries.
During Alex Rodriguez’s great season this year, he became the first player in a quarter of a century to have more than 156 runs batted in. But Lou Gehrig had more than 150 RBIs in 7 of his 14 full seasons. That’s the record. Even Babe Ruth had only 6.
Gehrig was probably the greatest clutch hitter of all time. Even though more than 20 players hit more home runs during their careers, Gehrig still holds the lifetime record for the most home runs with the bases loaded.
In addition to being one of the great relief pitchers of all time, Mariano Rivera is a throwback to the great poise and professionalism of the Yankees of old.
Everybody remembers Willie Mays’ great catch in the Polo Grounds during the 1954 World Series but Joe DiMaggio made a great catch in the Polo Grounds, even deeper in center field, in the 1937 World Series.
Babe Ruth was easily the greatest ballplayer of all time, for he mastered every aspect of the game. No one else ever led the league in home runs, batting average, lowest earned run average and highest winning percentage as a pitcher. He was said to be the best bunter on the Yankees and even stole home a few times.
For all their greatness, the Yankees have never had a player with 3,000 hits in his career as a Yankee or a pitcher with 300 wins as a Yankee.
Derek Jeter is easily the best shortstop in the history of the Yankees — and I have seen Yankee shortstops as far back as Frankie Crosetti.
The Yankees have had two center fielders with identical lifetime batting averages of .325 — Joe DiMaggio and Earle Combs. But Combs played his career in the shadow of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
The Yankees once went 308 consecutive games without being shut out. That was the equivalent of two full seasons back in those days. The same pitcher shut them out on both ends of that streak — Lefty Grove.
On the other hand, when Lefty Grove had his greatest season with 31 wins and 4 losses, three of those four losses were to the Yankees.
The American League record for the most shutouts in a season by a left-handed pitcher is held jointly by a Yankee and a future Yankee — Ron Guidry and Babe Ruth.
Back in the heyday of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the Yankees often won the pennant by such a wide margin that there was little reason for fans to go to Yankee Stadium at the end of September.
To create an attraction, Babe Ruth pitched the last game of the season for the Yankees six times. His won-lost record in these games was 6 and 0.
During Babe Ruth’s record-setting 60 home run season, if you walked him you faced Lou Gehrig, who was batting .373 with 47 home runs and 175 runs batted in.
A Yankee player has led the league in home runs more years than players on any other team in the major leagues.