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Monday, June 3, 2013

THE TOP FIVE YANKEES OF MY LIFETIME

As far as Yankees fans go, I consider myself very fortunate. I have been able to witness an amazing group of men take the field. Men who will be considered some of the greatest to play the game. Everyone has their favorites. Whether you are from the Mantle and Maris, the Murders Row, or the Billy Martin era. There is that list of guys that you think of immediately, when you remember the games you used to watch. These are my top 5:
#5- Don Mattingly: The one thing I remember most about Donnie Baseball is how much heart he had. In 1990, when he ended up in the disabled list, I remember being upset. To me, he was the Yankees. But I also remember knowing that a man like him could not be kept away from the game. His fielding was phenomenal, earning him nine Golden Glove awards. He was the Yankees captain from 1991 to 1995. My greatest sorrow for Donnie Baseball is that, in his career as a Yankee, he never won a Championship.

 #4- Bernie Williams: Bernie was probably the greatest center fielder of my lifetime. He always had this quiet calm about him. In his first few seasons with the Yankees, there was a question mark over his ability. George Steinbrenner actually wanted to trade him on more than one occasion. Despite that, Bernie remained a passionate player, and in 1998, he became the first player to win the batting title, gold glove, and world series ring in the same year. It was really hard not to love Bernie. Like a lot of the players from the Dynasty era, he left blood, sweat and tears on the field. He gave his all to the team, and it showed.

#3- Paul O'Neill: Fairly certain those who read BYB regularly had to see this one coming. He made the biggest impact on me as a fan. There was no denying that Paulie played with heart. He taught me that getting knocked down is okay, as long as you get back up. Though Paulie started his career with Cincinnati, he will forever be remembered by his days with the Yankees. The Boss used to call him "The Warrior," because of his dedication to the game.
#2- Mariano Rivera: What can be said about Mo, that hasn't been said already? I remember this skinny kid, from Panama taking the mound as a starter and wondering what would become of him. Honestly speaking, I'm eternally grateful that the Yankees moved him to the bullpen. Mo started playing at a time when The Boss' solution to everything was "trade him!" Could you imagine what the team would have been like without Mo as our closer? The stats really speak for themselves on this one. I had the opportunity to watch the entire career of the greatest closer of all time! In 40 years, when I watch the game with my grand children, I'll be able to tell them all about Mariano, and the fear that "Enter the Sandman" used to put into the heart of any team we faced. 


#1- Jorge Posada: I remember sitting at the dining room table, while my family sang me happy birthday, and the television showed this young kid take the field. He replaced Jim Leyritz. It wasn't really a big deal to me then, but it would become something of a joke between my grandfather and I later on. He'd call Jorge my "Birthday Present." I'm definitely okay with that. Jorge was always all heart and raw grit behind the plate. It seems strange to me that the Yankees once considered trading him for Pedro Martinez. Jorge was always pure determination. To me, he was as much a team captain as Derek Jeter. On September 21, 2011, I got to sit in the section 203, with my friend and fellow BYB writer, Jeana. I heard the deafening roar of the crowd as Jorge came out to pinch hit, and the even louder roar as he hit a two run single to clinch the division. Yea, 2011 wasn't his best season, but that one moment in time, was proof that you just couldn't count him out. Jorge never gave up, and even with everyone betting against him, he played his damn hardest. I miss Jorge on the field. I think I always will. 

This list was incredibly hard to make. To choose just five players that I have witnessed play as my favorites was near impossible. The more I thought about it, the more names came to mind. Tino Martinez, David Cone and Jim Abbott are just some of the others. I wasn't lucky enough to be born in time to watch Yogi Berra or Thurman Munson. I wish I had been. I would have enjoyed watching those guys take the field. But I have witnessed an incredible group of men. And I wouldn't change that for anything.



Erica Morales
BYB Senior Writer
@e_morales1804


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