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Neck and neck with Lazzeri is Alex Rodriguez.
In his ninth season with the team, A-Rod’s been worth 49.2 bWAR and 50 fWAR (so both rankings have him in the team’s top ten position players), and I would bet that number increases by the time he’s done.
He may not be as well liked as some of the other players mentioned, but I still think that his number will be retired in the end. His run with the team has just been too good.
Outfielders Roy White and Charlie Keller also both rank very highly, and have very similar cases. Both are All-Star corner outfielders who are more or less career Yankees (Keller spent about 100 games in Detroit at the end of his career, but it’s close).
Keller, who played mostly in the ‘40s, missed time for World War II, but still managed to be worth 39.4 bWAR and 49 fWAR. White played in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, and was worth 43.0 bWAR and 47 fWAR.
While both would be good candidates, I can’t imagine them getting their numbers retired without something to build up the momentum behind their case, like a Veterans Committee selection to the Hall. As it is, both have faded from the public consciousness.
Not helping matters is the fact that they both also primarily wore numbers that have already been retired. Keller mostly wore No. 9, but also wore No. 12 for a few years. Similarly, White mostly wore No. 6, but also wore No. 48 for a bit. Neither is in as bad a position as Lazzeri in this regard, but it certainly can’t help.
Realistically, Keller is in the better position to be remembered and subsequently honored, as he has the better Hall of Fame case.
However, with as few people as the Veterans Committee has been honoring lately, I still wouldn’t bet on it.
Graig Nettles was a better player than either, with 41.0 bWAR and 47 fWAR in his 11 years with the team—and he’s the more recent player, which should mean he’s fresher in everyone’s memory. He should have a better chance at a belated honor than either of them too, with 62.8 bWAR and 72 fWAR.
Again, though, until an actual push at election or something similar to remind everyone of him happens, he’s a little far back on the list of who’s to be honored next.
And, again, the number he wore with the Yankees (No. 9) has been retired.
I never know exactly where to cut off consideration for past hitters, but Joe Gordon and Earle Combs seem like as good a place as any. Both are Veterans Committee choices for the Hall of Fame with impressive, yet shortened, careers.
Combs, in 12 years with the Yankees (1924 to 1935) was worth 40.0 bWAR and 46 fWAR. Gordon, in seven years with the Yankees (1938 through 1946, with two years off for WWII), was worth 35.1 bWAR and 45 fWAR.
These two might actually be at a disadvantage by being in Cooperstown; at least with players like Keller and White, you can dream and say, “Maybe people will honor them when they’re elected”.
In Combs and Gordon’s cases, they got elected, and there was still no nostalgic movement to retire their numbers.
For that reason, I would say they have even worse odds.
Also, if you hadn’t already guessed, their numbers (No. 1 for Combes, No. 6 for Gordon) are now associated with other Yankees.