New York Yankees’ Top 15 Postseason Performers of All-Time
The New York Yankees find themselves in a hole this postseason against the Texas Rangers. Looks like they need a hero? In this slide-show, Bleacher Report takes a moment to look at some of the past heroes in New York Yankees history. From dazzling starts to clutch moments, when a player carries the team it can lead to great fame.
But when the player is wearing pinstripes, a moment of greatness can lead to baseball immortality in the Bronx.
15. Jorge Posada
Jorge Posada is a member of the Core Four and has five World Series rings to show for it. Yes, he only played in a few games in 1996, but a World Series win is a win. Posada has been behind the plate for most of the games that the Yankees have won the past few years. He calls the game for the pitcher and has been doing that well.
He has not had any amazing moments or compiled superb numbers, but Posada has been with the team and played a small role in each of the World Series wins that the Yankees have had since 1998. Some respect is due to Posada.
14. Bucky Dent
When your name involves the use of a curse word in Boston and you have contributed to a Yankees postseason win in walk-off style you know you are doing something right. Such was the case with Bucky Dent in 1978 as the pronunciation of his name changed forever.
13. Aaron Boone
In a Boston reference book, Aaron Boone's entry would probably read "Please See: Bucky Dent". Aaron Boone entered baseball immortality in the Bronx in 2003, when he sent the Yankees into the World Series with a walk-off against the Boston Red Sox. Nothing could be sweeter for Yankee fans.
He delayed the hopes of a World Series championship for Red Sox fans for another year. The story get better for them from there, but for Yankee fans' purposes the Aaron Boone home-run is all that matters in the context of 2003-2009.
12. Don Larsen
In 1956, everything that Don Larsen wanted to go right did. That one game earned him immortality as a Yankees favorite. He may have never been one of the greatest pitchers the Yankees ever saw, but that one day he seemed like it. He was on fire against the Brooklyn Dodgers and looked like he could not miss any pitch that he located.
Up until 2010, he was the only pitcher to throw a no hitter in the postseason. He threw a perfect game and Roy Halladay joined him with a no-hitter in the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds. Larsen's game was pitched in the World Series. That gives it a whole lot more meaning for Yankee fans.
11. Orlando Hernández
This Yankee right hander came from Cuba and was phenomenal in his first few starts in the postseason. Think Cliff Lee in Yankee pinstripes in the 90's. That is what El Duque was for the Yankees. He had hitters guessing with his odd wind-up and odd curves in his pitches.
Again, Cliff Lee in the 90's. Hernandez was able to pitch in 15 postseason series through his career. He played 13 of those in the Bronx. Hernandez started off his playoff career in 1998 and did not lose a game until he faced the New York Mets in the 2000 World Series.
He may not be a legend, but in the 90's he was one of the top of the line postseason pitchers.
10. Bernie Williams
Catching the final out of the 2000 World Series will be a memory that Yankee fans will cherish forever and Bernie Williams is at the center of that moment. Bernie has been at the end of many Yankee wins especially with his postseason home-runs and huge moments. He knocked two out of the park that gave the Yankees a win in the series.
Bernie is near the top of the leader board for many of the postseason hitting records. He was very consistent and the Yankees rode his bat in the 90's as he was always an MVP candidate for his bat.
9. Whitey Ford
The Chairman of the Board has pitched in 11 World Series. He has collected ten wins and posted a Sub-3 ERA in his postseason career. The New York Yankees turned to Ford as one of their top of the line pitchers in his first few World Series in the 1950's. Those were the days when the Yankees would meet with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Yankees would take them down year in and year out for a while. Ford collected wins at the right times.
8. Babe Ruth
The New York Yankees went into the postseason ten times when Babe Ruth was in a Yankees uniform. In those ten years, Ruth was able to establish himself as the main reason the Yankees were favorites every time they were in the playoffs.
He slugged 15 home-runs while driving in 33 runs in those ten years. Considering the small amount of games that Ruth played in the postseason over ten years, he put up numbers that some players can only dream of posting on such a grand stage. The Called Shot is questionable, but seems to be included within those numbers.
7. Andy Pettitte
Andy Pettitte is Ol' Reliable for the New York Yankees. He holds the record for the most postseason wins and clinchers. The New York Yankees turn to him for a good game every once in a while and he delivers. Even when the Yankees were down against the Texas Rangers this year, Andy Pettitte and the Yankees showed that when he is on the mound the rest of the team is calm and collected.
The Yankees may not have won, but he gave them more than what they could have asked for. He has over 200 innings pitched in the postseason, so experienced is an understatement.
Reggie Jackson has his own nickname with "Mr. October", the only difference between his and Dave Winfield's is that Jackson's is actually good. He knocked three home-runs out of the par in three straight at-bats in 1977. Remember, that was the same year that New York City was in turmoil and the Yankees clubhouse was donned the Bronx Zoo.
Jackson was signed that year to be the star and he showed his worth in the World Series as the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to take the title. It was one of the biggest performances of the postseason ever by a Yankee and it would remain that way for a long time.
5. Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle was the face of the New York Yankees after players like Yogi Berra and Babe Ruth had their chances in the 20's and 30's. Mantle was a new face, but at the same time the Yankees mission remained the same. The Yankees won seven World Series with Mantle on the team.
Mantle may have not been on base at all times, but he came through with the big hits. He has a very high slugging percentage and hold the record for homers and RBI's in the World Series. He was a monster when it came to clutch time.
The definition of monster comes in when you find out that Mantle basted one of the longest home-runs by a Yankee into the upper deck at Yankee Stadium in 1964.
4. Lou Gehrig
Like Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig was the captain of the New York Yankees for a while. He played through pain and never gave up as evidenced by his consecutive game streak. He was able to win six World Series and only walk away empty handed once. Gehrig has became one of the most clutch Yankees as he got himself on-base and let his teammates help him out by driving him in.
Gehrig scored the winning run all throughout his postseason career.
3. Derek Jeter
Where to start with Derek Jeter? He is the captain and face of the most successful franchise in sports history and has been at the root of many of those great championship moments.
Jeter is a leader and goes into every game with the mentality as if it were a Game 7. As a result of that attitude in each game, he has been able to carry his team with walk-off home-runs, plays at home-plate, and set several records. Jeter holds the record for most games played in the postseason and most hits.
If all of that doesn't get you into Cooperstown after the first chance on the ballot, I don't know what Jeter has to do. He is clutch at all times and that has even led to him being donned as Mr. November after the homerun in 2001.
This year, Jeter looks to show critics why that is his nickname as the World Series will go on into November. His 2010 postseason has not been bad, Jeter is consistent. He showed that again this year.
The Best Yankee of All Time? He is making a strong case.
2. Mariano Rivera
Enter Sandman is the first sign of trouble for any team, as they are alerted who is coming in for the New York Yankees in the 9th inning. Postseason games for the Yankees could be said to only be eight innings long. When Mariano Rivera takes the mound, most of the times the other team heads back into the clubhouse with a loss.
Rivera started off as the set-up man for John Wettland and after the 1996 season, Rivera was starting to own the mound and establish himself as the most dominant closer in the game. Rivera has been able to participate in 31 postseason series and recorded 42 saves.
His ERA in over 70 postseason games is Sub-1. That is incredible and that makes him the greatest postseason pitcher of all time and greatest closer in baseball ever.
1. Yogi Berra
The New York Yankees are an organization with 27 World Series wins, which means there are 27 different rings to commemorate those championships. It gets scary when you hear that Yogi Berra owns 10 of those 27 different rings. If he had a role with the team in 2009 and was awarded a ring, he would be wearing it on his toe at a certain point.
He played with Mickey Mantle and was able to win championships with many teams in between and did it within a span of only 14 attempts. He holds the record for most World Series hits. He was clutch and had many opportunities to prove it.
He will always be remembered for being the one to leap on Don Larsen as he caught the perfect game in 1956.