The term ‘Yankee,’ normally used by the British, Canadians, and Australians, refers to the Northern States Americans like New England and the Midwest. A Yankee is considered smart, crafty, and arrogant. Southerners consider the term derogatory, and calling them a Yankee is likely to invite trouble. It is said that a Yankee is an American to foreigners, a northerner to Americans, and a New Englander to Easterners. Baseball is the favorite American sport, and what baseball is to Americans, Yankees are to baseball. The New York Yankees is a professional baseball team which competes in Major League Baseball events. Starting in 1901 as the Baltimore Orioles, the team moved to New York in 1903 as the New York Highlanders and officially named itself the Yankees in 1913. In 2009, the team moved to the new ballpark Yankee Stadium. The Yankees hold a brilliant record of achievements winning 27 World Series Championships and 40 American League Pennants. As many as 44 Yankees players and 11 Yankees managers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1. Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr., better known as Babe Ruth, was born in Baltimore, Maryland on February 6, 1895 and died in New York City on August 16, 1948 at the age of 53. He was nicknamed Bambino and was sometimes also known as the Sultan of Swat. From 1914 to 1935, he played for 3 teams during 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). Ruth recorded 714 home runs, and there is a saying that ‘Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, and single hitters drive Fords.’ Ruth’s lifetime home runs record remained unsurpassed till 1974 when it was surpassed by Hank Aaron. Ruth was not the player who was made popular by base ball; he was, instead, the one who popularized the baseball sport. In 1999 an ESPN poll ranked him number three next only to Michael Jordan and Mohammad Ali.
2. Henry Louis Gehrig
Henry Louis Gehrig, better known as Lou Gehrig, was born in Yorkville, New York City, New York on June 19, 1903 and died in Riverdale, New York City, New York on June 2, 1941 at the age of 37. Gehrig is best remembered for his batting expertise and persistence giving him the nickname Iron Horse. He is also remembered for his untimely farewell due to suffering from a disease known as a motor neurons disease in British Commonwealth countries and as Lou Gehrig’s Disease in the U.S. after his suffering. Gehrig was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He was elected as the greatest first baseman of all time in 1969 by the Baseball Writer’s Association.
Joseph Paul DiMaggio, better known as DiMaggio, and nicknamed The Yankee Clipper, was born to Giuseppe and Rosalia Di Maggio in Martinez, California on November 25, 1914 and died in Hollywood, Florida on March 8, 1999 at the age of 84. He was an American Major League Baseball center fielder and played for New York Yankees for 13 years. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. The Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway made a reference to DiMaggio in his Nobel Prize winning masterpiece The Old Man and the Sea as:
‘In the American League it is the Yankees as I said,’ the old man said happily.’ They lost today’ the boy told him. ‘That means nothing. The great DiMaggio is himself again.’
4. Mantle; the Mick
Mickey Charles Mantle, batter known as Mantle; the Mick, was born Spavinaw, Oklahoma on October 20, 1931 and died in Dallas, Texas on August 13, 1995 at the age of 63. He was an American baseball center fielder and played 18 seasons MLB for the New York Yankees. He played from 1951 to 1968. He is considered the greatest switch hitter; the ambidextrous player of all time who played with both the right and left hands with equal dexterity. He was the recipient of three American League Most Valuable Player awards. He also received the Triple Crown in 1956. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Lawrence Peter Berra, popularly known as Yogi Berra, was born to Pietro and Paolina in St. Louis, Missouri on May 12, 1925. He was nicknamed Yogi by his friend Boby Hofman to whom he appeared like a Hindu Yogi when sitting cross-legged, particularly after losing a game. He played for 19 years for the New York Yankees. He is best known as the all-time, greatest catcher. Four times he was named as the Most Valuable Player of the American league and, as such, he is one of the only four so honored. He appeared in 21 World Series as a player, coach, or manager. Berra has been inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame, and in 1972 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
John Joseph Rodriguez was born in New York City, New York on January 20, 1978. He is a Major League Baseball outfielder. He is best known for his hitting expertise. He attended Brandies High School. He signed as a free agent by the Yankees in 1996. He played in the Yankees’ Minor League System for 8 seasons and later signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2005. In 2006, he won a championship ring when the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series. After joining the Cardinals he was nicknamed A-Rod after Alex Rodriguez on account of his quality hitting. He was the youngest player to hit 500 home runs.
7. Earle Bryan Combs
Earle Bryan Combs was born in Pebworth, Kentucky on May 14, 1899 and died in Richmond, Kentucky on July 21 at the age of 77. He played for New York Yankees from 1924 to 1935. He played as a central fielder on the Yankees 1927 team renowned as Murderer’s Row. He was known for being a thorough gentleman on and off the field. Miller James Huggins, the famous baseball player and manager once said, ‘If you had men like Combs on your ball club, you could go to bed every night and sleep like a baby.’ He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and said on the occasion, ‘I thought the Hall of Fame was for superstars, not just average players like me.”
8. Whitey Ford
Edward Charles Ford, better known as Whitey Ford, was born in New York City, New York on October 21, 1928. He attended Woodward High School, Walnut Hills High School, and the University of Cincinnati. In 1947 he was signed by the New York Yankees as a free agent and continued with it throughout his career of 16 years. He started his Major League Baseball career with the New York Yankees on July 1, 1950. He won a record of 236 wins with the Yankees. He was a six-time World Series Champion. Whitey Ford was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
9. Derek Jeter
Derek Sanderson Jeter was born in Pequannock Township, New Jersey on June 26, 1974. He is an American baseball player who has played 18 seasons for the New York Yankees in MLB. He is a five-time World Series champion and is the recipient of five Gold Glove Awards, four Silver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards, and a Roberto Clemente award. He is considered the best baseball player of his generation, and many baseball writers think that he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at retirement.
10. Vernon Louis Gomez
Vernon Louis Gomez, better known as Lefty Gomez, was born to Francisco Gomez and Rita Gomez in Rodeo, California on November 26, 1908 and died in Greenbrae, California on February 17, 1989 at the age of 80 years. He attended Richmond High School. He was a left-handed American baseball player. From 1930 to 1942, he played for the New York Yankees in the American League. He was five times a World Series Champion with the Yankees. He was a lively and witty person. On a foggy day when Bob Feller was on the mound, he lit a match before stepping onto the batter’s box whereupon the umpire asked ‘What’s the big idea? Do you think that match will help you see Feller’s fast one?’ He replied, ‘I just want to make sure he can see me!’
Like every great hero, the famous Yankees players too cannot continue forever. Every rise is followed by a decline, but the heights achieved by great men are maintained and remembered not only by their specific fan base but also by the nation in general. Living nations remember their history and their heroes. Whereas the fan base fades out gradually, the halls of fame serves as a permanent chapter in the national history.