Friday, December 26, 2014


In the late 1990s, we had so many leaders in the Yankee clubhouse. New York had the likes of Donnie, Tino, Paulie, Coney and so on. They were focused on winning and doing things the “Yankee Way”. That crop of players helped usher in the watch of “The Core 4”, when a special group of homegrown Bombers took the franchise through the Dynasty Years and beyond.

It was truly another golden age of Yankee Baseball, reminiscent of the times when Babe, Lou, Joe D, Mickey, Yogi and Whitey patrolled the Big Ballpark in the Bronx.

As Bob Dylan so famously wrote, “The times they are a changin’.” Derek Jeter and those familiar faces have gone and left us with a sense of “What now?” Who will take the helm? I once wrote that I was convinced that the new pinstriped leader would be Brian McCann. I still believe that with a year now under his belt in the big city Mac will be back better and stronger than ever, both in the clubhouse and behind the dish…and he will have to be.

The Yankees are looking to get younger. A kid like Derek Jeter doesn’t come along everyday. We can hope that the rooks have a bit of #2’s maturity and work ethic, but I think it’s time for others to step up. We need a class to pick up where the Core 4 left off. Is it CC? Maybe. The big man is a born leader, no question there…but will he be on the mound enough?

Brett Gardner? Gardy can be fiery and is a homegrown Yankee who knows the ropes…but is he ready to be “the guy”? What about ARod? …Nah. I don’t see it. I think Alex should worry about keeping the profile down and the batting average up. I think Chase Headley might be a great choice to help rebuild the Yankees into a team that resembles some of those from the past. Chase is a heart and soul guy. He wants to play everyday and according to many his disdain for losing is on the “O’Neill Meter”.

That bodes well for the 2015 team. These Yankees have been told that they are not a contender already. The writers run them down as being old, expensive and brittle…they might be right…but the Yankees don’t have to accept that. They can go out and prove the “experts” wrong by just worrying about winning a game every time they step on the field. Old guys can empty the tank. Banged up guys can move heaven and earth to stay healthy. And the younger guys can take their shot at a big Yankee career…it’s been done before.

The question still remains. Who will lead the New York Yankees? Who is that player that will rally the troops and get them ready to battle every minute of every game? Who will it be? Who?

**Here we go, gents! Stand up and lead! Who are you?!**

Stay tuned on BYB for a great followup piece to Yankee Leaders this weekend by the great Steve Skinner!

 --Mike O'Hara
Senior "Features" Writer
Twitter: @mikeyoh21

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