Greatest Yankees Sluggers Of All Time
The Yankees are the most storied franchise in all of sports, winning 26 World Series titles over the last 80-something years. And so it goes without saying that some of the greatest power hitters in baseball history have worn Yankees pinstripes. Here, we take a look at the top home run hitters in franchise history. The list is based strictly on total homers with the team, meaning players like Reggie Jackson are left off.
Babe Ruth-Is there a single player in history that is synonymous with Yankee baseball? After coming over from the Red Sox in 1920, Ruth stopped pitching (he began his career as a pitcher with Boston) and instead became an everyday outfielder. With 659 lifetime home runs (714 total), Ruth ranks first all-time as a Yankee slugger and third in baseball history. Ruth played for the Yanks from 1920 to 1934, and his two best seasons were 1921 (59 homers, 171 RBI, .378 batting average) and 1927 (60 homers, 164 RBI, .356 batting average). Ruth helped the Yankees win four world championships and seven American League pennants, and was a charter member of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. He signed with the Boston Braves as a free agent in 1935 before retiring after that season.
Mickey Mantle-"The Mick" played his entire career in a Yankees uniform, from 1951 to 1968, and clubbed 536 home runs during that time. The outfielder had his best season in 1956 when he hit .353 with 52 homers and 130 RBI. Mantle, in addition to leading the Yanks to twelve pennants and seven championships, also won three American League MVP Awards, was a 16-time all-star, and led the league in homers four times. Mantle retired in 1969 and was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1974.
Lou Gehrig-First baseman Gehrig was a native New Yorker who got to not only play for his hometown team his entire career (1923-1939), but who became one of the greatest players of all-time. And while Gehrig is known for his consecutive games streak of 2,130, and for a career batting average of .340, he also had incredible power. Gehrig slugged 493 homers, including 23 grand slams, the latter being a record that still stands today. He won the American League MVP Award in both 1927 and 1936, but his best season may have been 1934 when he hit 49 homers with 165 runs batted in and a .363 batting average, earning Gehrig the Triple Crown. Unfortunately Gehrig's career and his life were cut short because of ALS, which later became known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."
Joe DiMaggio-He had two nicknames, "Joltin' Joe" and "The Yankee Clipper," and he deserved them both. Not necessarily known as a power hitter, DiMaggio is most remembered for his 56-game hitting streak in 1941 that still stands today and is believed to be a record that no one will ever break. But DiMaggio's 361 home runs ranks him fourth all-time with the Yankees, the only team he ever played for (1936-1951). DiMaggio won the American League MVP Award three times and his best season was 1937, with 46 homers, 167 RBI, and a .346 average. The outfielder also led the team to nine World Series titles and 10 American League pennants.
Yogi Berra-Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra was one of the greatest hitting catchers of all-time, playing his entire career with the Yankees (1946-1963) except for a very brief stint with the Mets in 1965. He also went on to later manage both New York teams. As a player, Berra won the AL MVP Award three times, and helped lead the Yanks to the World Series championship ten times. He hit 358 career homers, and his best season was 1950 when he hit 28 four-baggers with 124 RBI and a .322 batting average, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. In addition to being a great player, Berra is also known for his prophetic sayings such as, "It ain't over till it's over."
Bernie Williams-Though he hasn't officially retired from the game yet, switch-hitting outfielder Bernie Williams is currently out of baseball after playing his whole career with the Yankees (1991-2006). And the fact that he's ranked sixth all-time in home runs with the club certainly says a lot. All told, Williams has hit 287 career homers, including 30 in the year 2000 to go along with 121 RBI and a .307 batting average. Williams helped lead the Yanks to four World Series titles and six AL pennants, and leads the franchise in postseason home runs (22) and RBI (80).
Graig Nettles-Third baseman Graig Nettles played for six teams, but the bulk of his career was spent with the Yankees, from 1973-1983. Nettles was a big reason the Yanks won World Series titles in 1977 and 1978, and also made it there in 1976 and 1981. And though he only hit .253 during his tenure in New York, Nettles was a proficient slugger, belting 250 home runs over that time. He also was one of the best fielding third basemen to ever play the position, winning the Gold Glove in 1977 to go along with his best offensive season as a pro (37 homers and 107 RBI). Nettles went on to play for San Diego, Atlanta and Montreal before retiring in 1988.
Don Mattingly-Another adored Yankees player, first baseman Mattingly played his entire career in New York (1982-1995). Nicknamed "Donnie Baseball," Mattingly was a terrific hitter who batted .307 lifetime with 222 home runs, and won the AL MVP Award in 1985 to go along with nine Gold Glove Awards. That '85 campaign saw Mattingly hit .324 with 35 home runs and 145 runs batted in. Unfortunately though, the Yankees book-ended his career with World Series appearances (1981 and 1996) but never made it past the first round of the playoffs (1995) during his tenure with the team. Mattingly is currently the bench coach for Yankees' manager Joe Torre.
Dave Winfield-Outfielder Dave Winfield played for several teams, but had his best years as a Yankee in the ‘80s. All told, Winfield belted 205 homers with the Yanks, including a career high of 37 with 106 RBI in 1982. At the time Yankees owner George Steinbrenner signed Winfield in 1981, he was the highest paid player in the game at $23 million over ten years. Winfield retired from the game in 1995 and was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 2001.
Roger Maris-Though he only played in New York for seven seasons (1960-1966), right fielder Roger Maris hit 203 homers with the team, and is best remembered for belting 61 in 1961, a major league record that stood for 37 years before being broken by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. He also had 142 RBI in 1961, despite a .269 batting average. Maris helped the Yankees to two World Series titles and five American League pennants during his time with the team.
Honorable Mention: Bill Dickey, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter, Paul O'Neill, Charlie Keller, Tommy Henrich, Bobby Murcer, Tony Lazzeri, Jason Giambi, Joe Peptitone, Reggie Jackson