Sunday, January 12, 2014


This time of the year has always been a drag for me. As I walk the streets of Manhattan, passing the discarded Christmas trees and seeing the building striped of lights and wreaths to return to their business-like grey stone and steel. The charm of the Holiday Season fades and the doldrums of January and February take its grip on The Big Apple.

I am not one to count down the days until Pitchers and Catchers report. I miss baseball, but the Hot Stove can be a great distraction. Instead I enjoy College Hoops (Go Orange!), watch hockey and select my annual “All-Time Yankee Team”. You don’t do that too?

Every year since…well it’s been a long time…I select a team of Yankee players that I have been lucky enough to watch suit up for the Bronx Bombers.   It’s a game I play with other friends from the old neighborhood, and it’s a lot of fun to see who makes somebody else’s line up card. We go all in selecting rotation, bullpen, bench and starters…even the skipper and coaches get chosen. Almost immediately after the team is selected I think of somebody I left off, but that’s the fun of it. Here is my 2014 club, Imagine, if you will, hearing the late, great Bob Shepard announcing their names:

“Your attention pleases, ladies & gentleman. Here is the starting lineup for the New York Yankees...

Leading off, the shortstop, number 2, Derek Jeter, number 2. Batting second the first baseman, number 23, Don Mattingly, number 23. Batting third, the right fielder, number 21, Paul O’Neill, number 21. Batting fourth the center fielder, number 51, Bernie Williams, number 51. Batting fifth, the designated hitter, number 44, Reggie Jackson, number 44. Batting sixth, the left fielder, number 31, Dave Winfield, number 31. Batting seventh, the catcher, number 15, Thurman Munson, number 15. 

Batting eighth, the third baseman, number 9, Graig Nettles, number 9. And batting ninth, the second baseman, number 30, Willie Randolph, number 30.”
  1. Jeter
  2. Mattingly
  3. O’Neill
  4. Williams
  5. Jackson
  6. Winfield
  7. Munson
  8. Nettles
  9. Randolph
    So those are my starters. Robbie Cano would have been a lock over Willie, but…hey, it's a New Year. Let bygones be bygones…until Seattle comes to town.

    I have gone back and forth with a few of my guys over the last couple years, but favorites like O’Neill, Jeter and Nettles always seem to get the nod. I think Big Dave makes it because I loved the way Shepard used to say, “Winfield”. I also used to do an impression of The Scooter’s WPIX homerun call, “You know what happens every time a Yankee hits a homerun! Dave Winfield, this Bud’s For You!”

    And so it’s on to the starting staff. This is always a tricky one, but here’s the rotation:

    Ron “The Gator” Guidry
    David Cone
    David “The Boomer” Wells
    Andy Pettitte
    Jimmy Key

    You are probably saying Jimmy Key over CC?! Again, this is not a team that will actually play. These are guys I’ve always liked. Sure, CC Sabathia is an ace, but I’ve always been a Jimmy Key fan. Maybe #52 is on your team or maybe he’ll make the 2015 edition. Anyway here’s the pen.

    Dave “Rags” Righetti

    Joba Chamberlain
    Jeff Nelson
    Mike Stanton
    Goose Gossage
    Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez

    Mariano Rivera

    You’re 100% right! El Duque is not a reliever…but he’ll be my long man. As a kid I tried to mimic Righetti’s leg kick and I would act out the 1983 No-No against Boston in my backyard. Joba? Well, he is one of my favorites. I’ll miss him playing in the Bronx and the kid that burst on the scene in 2007 should have gotten a better run for the Yankees. Anyway, Chamberlain is on the team sans the “Joba Rules”.

    The Bench is always a free for all. I usually select guys for an array of reasons. But here you go:

    Brett Gardner
    Bucky Dent

    Pat Kelly
    Hideki Matsui
    Jorge Posada
    Lou Piniella
    Mickey Rivers
    Robin Ventura

    Yeah, there are plenty of names that didn’t pop up on my bench…a few years ago I put Shane Spencer on the team because I was at the game when he went 5 for 5 and had everybody thinking about Roy Hobbs.

    I almost put Mike Pagliarulo on this year’s squad, but I love that Pat Kelly travels from “Down Undah” to play at Old Timers Day. And Ventura? Well, I just liked the way he played the game. Plus I felt bad for him when Nolan Ryan tuned him up.

    And finally, we come to the skipper and coaches. If you grew up in the 80’s there is only one manager. The always “-colorful” Billy Martin will take the helm of this year’s Yankee club. Billy will need a voice of reason because…well, he’s Billy Martin…so Joe “Mr. T” Torre is the bench coach along with Don Zimmer. Hey, you can’t have Dean Martin without Jerry Lewis. You can’t have Starsky without Hutch. You can’t have Torre without Zim.

    My hitting coach is Tino. I think the former Yankee first baseman caught a bad wrap in Miami and…well, it’s Tino. I think the man’s resume’ as a player gets him the job. GI Joe Girardi will handle the pen. Stott comes back as pitching coach and at the corners we’ll have Buck “Chuckles” Showalter and Larry “He’s a riot” Bowa. That’s my staff…probably too many cooks in the kitchen, but again this is pure fiction.

    So this is one of the ways I try to cheer myself up during this often-depressing time of the year. And it usually gives my friends and I a few laughs…until St. Patrick’s Day anyway.

    Who makes your All-Time Yankee team? Tell us.

    And don't forget, BYB did an All-Time Yankee team when Casey started this blog.  Read MY ALL-TIME YANKEES TEAM from February 2011.  Very interesting.


    --Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
       Twitter: @mikeyoh21
    "Paulie was always my favorite player."

    Thank you to all the Bleeding Yankee Blue readers for continued success.  You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in the history of Yankees fandom.  Thanks for reading, sharing and enjoying. Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue (Official) on Facebook, just type it in.

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