The Bronx Bombers, The Pinstripers, The Bronx Zoo, The Evil Empire; call them how you want but the New York Yankees have always been a synonym to greatness. That's why not many players have the honor of having their Yankees number retired.
Throughout the course of their history, the Yankees have won an MLB-record 27 World Series. To put it in context, the St. Louis Cardinals would have to win the World Series for 16 consecutive seasons just to tie them.
Needless to say, that means the Yankees have had their fair share of superstars. Signing them is a sign of status among MLB players. It means you've made it. You're at the top of the world and nothing can bring you down.
But even among those many stars, just a handful of them have made an everlasting impact. Today, we'll honor them by reviewing every Yankees retired number ever. Note: we won't talk about Jackie Robinson, whose number was retired league wide.
Billy Martin - #1
Billy Martin won 5 World Series playing at second base for the Yankees. He was also an All-Star during his tenure in the Bronx and went back after retirement to serve as their manager twice. He was a bit scrappy as both a player and a coach but his passion for the game was contagious, for better or worst.
Derek Jeter - #2
Derek Jeter is the latest Yankee idol, the great captain, the guy everybody in New York wanted to be. Jeter's relentless work ethic, timely hitting, outstanding defense, and leadership made him a fan favorite for 20 seasons and one of the greatest shortstops ever. He was a 14-time All-Star, 5-time World Series winner, AL Rookie of the Year, World Series MVP, 5-time Gold Glove winner, 5-time Silver Slugger, and was one vote shy of being elected unanimously to the Hall of Fame.
Babe Ruth - #3
The man, the legend, Babe Ruth. He was great with the Red Sox but became a legend when he joined the Yankees. He played primarily as a right fielder in the Bronx, leading the AL in home runs 9 out of his 14 seasons there. He was also the AL MVP, AL batting champion, 5-time AL RBI leader, 2-time All-Star, and led the Yankees to 4 World Series pennants. Simply legendary.
Lou Gherig - #4
Few first basemen have made such an impact on and off the field as Lou Gherig in baseball history. Lou spent his entire career with the Pinstripes, making it to 7 All-Star Games, winning 2 AL MVPs, and 1 Triple Crown. He was an AL batting champion, 3-time AL home run leader, 5-time AL RBI leader, and won 6 World Series. He was also named team captain from 1935-39.
Joe DiMaggio - #5
Joe DiMaggio is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His hitting streak of 56 games is a record that still holds up to this day. Like many stars from his time, his career was interrupted to serve in World War II. He excelled at the center field and was a 13-time All-Star, 9-time World Series winner, 3-time AL MVP, 2-time AL batting champion, 2-time AL home run leader, and 2-time AL RBI leader.
Joe Torre - #6
Joe Torre lives for baseball. He was an outstanding hitter throughout his career, piling up 2,342 hits. Still, his impact as a manager was even bigger, as he won 2,326 games and led the New York Yankees to 4 World Series titles, also being named Manager of the Year twice during his stint with the Bronx Bombers.
Mickey Mantle - #7
Mickey Mantle surely stands out among most of the retired Yankee numbers. He was one of the greatest, deadliest sluggers and switch hitters in the history of baseball. Throughout his career with the Yankee, he made it to 20 All-Star games, won 3 AL MVPs, 7 World Series, 1 Triple Crown, 1 Gold Glove, 1 AL RBI leader, 1 AL Batting champion, and led the AL in home runs 4 times. He later served as a coach.
Bill Dickey - #8
Regarded by some as one of the best catchers in baseball history, Bill Dickey left his blueprint in the Yankees far beyond his playing days, as he later tutored the Yogi Berra. Dickey led the Yankees to 14 World Series (8 as a player, 6 as a manager and coach). He was a player-manager, an 11-time All-Star, and a reckless competitor and hitter.
Yogi Berra - #8
The Yankees retired number 8 in honor of the two greatest catchers they've ever had, Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra. Known for his malapropisms, hilarious phrases, defensive expertise, and power-hitting, Berra was a fan favorite throughout his entire career with the Yankees. He was an 18-time All-Star, 13-time World Series winner (10 as a player, 3 as a manager and coach). He was also a 3-time AL MVP and holds the record for most World Series wins.
Roger Maris - #9
Even though Roger Maris wasn't with the Yankees for that long, his impact in the right field could be felt right away. Through his 7-year tenure, he set the (then) record for most home runs in one season with 61, won 3 World Series, was named AL MVP twice, won 1 Gold Glove, and was a 3- time All-Star. He still holds the record for most home runs in a season in the American League.
Phil Rizzuto - #10
Even though he was a solid hitter, Phil Rizzuto became a legend for two things: His unmatched defense and his bunting skills. Spending 13 seasons (his entire career) as the team's shortstop, the Yankees retired his number after he led them to 7 World Series pennants. He was also named AL MVP once and was a 5-time All-Star. He's considered one of the greatest 'small ball' players of all time.
Thurman Munson - #15
The Yankees have had plenty of legendary catchers that have dominated their time and Thurman Munson wasn't the exception to that rule. He was a leader on and off the field and is the only catcher in MLB postseason history to have a .357 batting average, 22 RBIs, and 24 defensives caught stealing. He led the Yankees to 2 World Series titles, was a 3-time Gold Glove winner, AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and 7-time All-Star. That's how you get the Yankees to retire your number.
Whitey Ford - #16
Whitey Ford is one of the most controversial pitchers in baseball history. He was often in control and dominant as they come but he's also known for tricks on the mound. He used his ring to cut the ball, and used a suspicious combination of substances (resin, mud, baby oil, turpentine, spit, vaseline) to get a little edge over the hitters. Even so, he was a 10-time All-Star, 6-time World Series winner, CY Young, World Series MVP, led the AL in wins 3 times, and led MLB in era twice.
Jorge Posada - #20
Jorge Posada is the latest legendary New York Yankees' catcher. His 17 seasons at the Bronx were flooded by success as one of the best switch hitters in the league during his prime, and certainly, the best hitting catcher in the world. Posada had a batting average of .273 and had over 1,000 career hits and 275 home runs. He helped the team win 4 World Series, was a 5-time Silver Slugger, and a 5-time All-Star.
Don Mattingly - #23
Don Mattingly was one of the most dominating hitters and first basemen of his time. His so-called lack of power was topped by his ability to make contact, posting a .307 average throughout his career. He played 14 seasons for the Yankees and was named a 6-time All-Star, AL RBI leader, AL batting champion, won 9 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Slugger awards, one AL MVP, and was even the team's captain from 1991-95. Notably, he's the only Yankee to have his number retired despite never winning a World Series.
Elston Howard - #32
Elston Howard's impact goes beyond what he accomplished on the field. He was the first African American player to ever wear the New York Yankees' uniform. Sharing time as a catcher and left fielder, Howard was a 12-time All-Star, 2-time Gold Glove winner, AL MVP, and helped the team win 6 World Series. He later served as a coach for the team and was tied to the organization until his passing.
Casey Stengel - #37
Casey Stengel had a somewhat productive career as a player, but his true success came during his managing days with the Yankees, leading them to 7 World Series titles. He posted a .508 winning percentage throughout his managing career after logging a 1,905–1,842 record. Notably, he was the team's manager until he turned 70.
Mariano Rivera - #42
Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time and it's not even close. Over his 19 seasons in the league, he was a 13-time All-Star, 5-time World Series winner, World Series MVP, ALCS MVP, 5-time Reliever of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, 3-time Delivery Man of the Year, led MLB in saves 3 times, and holds the record for most career saves at 652, lowest era (2.21), and lowest WHIP (1.00).
Reggie Jackson - #44
Reggie Jackson isn't only one of the best right fielders ever but also one of the most clutch baseball players of all time, especially in the World Series. Throughout his 21-year career, he was a 14-time All-Star, 5-time World Series winner, 2-time World Series MVP, 2-time Silver Slugger, 4-time AL home run leader, AL MVP, and AL RBI leader. It doesn't get better than that.
Andy Pettitte - #46
Andy Pettitte was always in control. His work on the mound was flawless in the postseason, which is the reason why he holds the record for most playoffs wins (19). He helped the Yankees win 5 World Series, was a 3-time All-Star, led the AL in wins once, and was named ALCS MVP in 2001. He won more games than any other pitcher in the '00s and started 438 games for the Bronx Bombers.
Ron Guidry - #49
Ron Guidry dedicated his entire career to the New York Yankees. He served as a pitching coach for years after his 15-season playing career in the Bronx with the very team that drafted him. The Yankees retired his number after he helped them win 2 World Series. He was also a 4-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glove winner, 2-time AL wins leader, 2-time ERA leader, and AL Cy Young. He was a great leader.
Bernie Williams - #51
Bernie Williams became an instant fan favorite in the Bronx because of how often he came through in the playoffs. He was reliable, consistent, and trustworthy in every single aspect of the game. Throughout his career, he won 4 World Series, 4 Gold Glove awards, and 1 Silver Slugger. He was also named ALCS MVP, was the AL batting champion in 1998, and made it to 5 All-Star Games.