Now that Derek Jeter’s number sits alongside the other greats Yankees in Memorial Park, an inevitable question begs asking: Who’s next? For the first time in awhile, there’s no obvious choice.
amNewYork has selected a few who could be up for consideration in the coming years, with some rules: Only players who are still alive, do not yet have plaques in the museum and primarily wore a number that has yet to be retired. Note that it’s way too soon to think about kids like Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge.
13. Alex Rodriguez
Two AL MVPs and a World Series crown in 12 seasons usually would be enough. But there’s no way to separate A-Rod’s impressive on-field resume from all the baggage that came with it. The admission of PED use and the full-season suspension for a separate PED scandal will be hard to overlook.
24. Robinson Cano
If he’d remained a Yankee instead of taking the money to run to Seattle, the second baseman would almost assuredly be on his way to the Yankees’ top honor. But, while Cano was excellent for most of nine seasons here and was key for a world champion, it may not be enough.
27. Joe Girardi
He wore 25 as the catcher on three world champions, 27 when he skippered the 2009 Yankees to the title and 28 for the bulk of his managerial career in the Bronx. If he follows Joe Torre, Billy Martin and Casey Stengel as honored managers, 27 seems most appropriate.
28. Sparky Lyle
Would the Yanks retire a third closer’s number? It’s not out of the question, given Lyle won his AL Cy Young the year the Yanks won it all in 1977 and was there for the ’78 champs, too. That said, if it hasn’t happened by now, maybe it never will.
31. Dave Winfield
The Hall of Famer’s best numbers and most games came while in pinstripes. So, why isn’t the eight-time Yankees All-Star already in Memorial Park? Well, to say he and late owner George Steinbrenner never saw eye to eye is a gross understatement. Perhaps enough time has passed to right a wrong and honor Winfield.