All the hype and hullabaloo has now ebbed and Derek Jeter day and night is part of baseball lore and legend. He was and is one of a kind. Driven, dedicated, talented, the “Captain” deserves all the accolades, all the awards. He has earned them.
The Yankees have always had a thing about Derek Jeter and also about numbers. And if Jeter is the last Yankee to wear Number 2, the question begs to be asked: Who wore Number 2 first?
The answer: Mark Koenig
Back in 1929, the New York Yankees introduced identifying numbers sewn on the backs of player jerseys, the first time that uniform numbers were used on a full-time basis. The “original” ten Yankee uniform numbers were:
#1 – Earle Combs
#2 – Mark Koenig
#3 – Babe Ruth
#4 – Lou Gehrig
#5 – Bob Meusel
#6 – Tony Lazzeri
#7 – Leo Durocher
#8 – Johnny Grabowski
#9 – Benny Bengough
#10 – Bill Dickey
Since then, uniform numbers and all matter of numerology have affixed the lore and tradition of all things Yankees. Not to be accused of shameless pushing of my newest baseball tome: THE ULTIMATE YANKEE BOOK, coming fall 2017, http://www.frommerbooks.com/ultimate-yankees.html, what follows is a sampling of Yankees By The Numbers.
The 1927 Yankees made no changes to its roster all season long. They team began with 10 pitchers, three catchers, seven infielders, five outfielders, and ended that way.
Fewest passed balls in a season, 1931
In 283 innings in 1961, Whitey Ford did not allow a single stolen base.
Number of days Dave Winfield spent in minor-league baseball before reaching the majors.
With Derek Jeter’s No. 2 , the Yankees will be the only team with no single-retired uniform numbers. Disclaimer – unless they issue and retire zero if that is considered a number.
The Yankees have never had player names on the back of any jersey, unlike most other MLB teams.
After Allie Reynolds pitched his second no-hitter for the Yankees in 1951, the Hotel Edison where he along with some teammates lived changed his room number from 2019 to 0002.
Difference between the batting average of George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss: .30854 and White Sox Tony Cuccinello: .30845 in the closest batting race in major league history, 1945.
Pitcher Clark Griffith, 1903-1907, was the first Yankee Captain
Number of times Babe Ruth was pinch hit for. (Bobby Veach on August 9, 1925.)
Joe DiMaggio was the only player to get at least one hit in All-Star Games at Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field.
During Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hit streak, he had just one hit in 34 of those games.
Mickey Mantle hit for the cycle only 1 time in his career. He did it against Chicago at Yankee Stadium in 1957.
Billy Martin number retired August 10, 1986
Derek Jeter is the only Yankees shortstop to win the Gold Glove Award.
The major league rule banning a sticky substance such as pine tar on a bat beyond 18 inches from the bottom. That rule led to the “pine tar affair,” Yankees against Royals in 1983.
When George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in 1973, he officially made Merrill the singing voice of the Yankees for as long as the baritone opera singer wanted. The team even gave him his own pinstriped uniform and number sewn on the back. For many years Merrill sang the national anthem at Yankee Stadium.
PAUL DOHERTY: Others sang the anthem in person after Steinbrenner took over, although Merrill’s recording was used primarily with Jerry Vale’s, The Boston Pops (of all Orchestras!!) and at times The New York Philharmonic’s.
Top ERA in a season, Spud Chandler, 1943
Career earned-run average of Herb Pennock in World Series competition.
Shortstop Kid Elberfeld, second Yankee Captain, 1907-1909
Babe Ruth, two days in a row, hit grand slam homers.
Alex Rodriguez homered twice in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium on September 5, 2007 against the Mariners giving him 48 home runs for the season.
The number of managerial tours of duty of Bob Lemon, Gene Michael and Lou Piniella.
Fewest shutouts by a Yankee pitching staff in a season, 1994.
Fewest times in a season grounded into a double play: Mickey Mantle, 1961, Mickey Rivers, 1977.
Most grand slams in a game by a Yankee, Tony Lazzeri, May 24, 1936 at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park.
Bob Shawkey’s 1920 season league leading ERA title was the first ever won by a Yankee pitcher.
Prior to the second world war, box seats were regular wooden chairs that went back about two or three rows from third to first base. They cost about $2.50.” – Red Foley, NY Daily News
Lowest earned run average by a Yankee pitching staff, 1904.
First baseman Hal Chase was the third Yankee Captain, 1909-1912.
All three perfect games in Yankee Stadium history were seen by Joe Torre: Larsen’s beauty as a 16-year-old fan, and the ones pitched by David Wells and David Cone from the dugout as Yankee manager. The Yankees have the most perfect games pitched by one club, all at Yankee Stadium.
Babe Ruth’s uniform number, retired June 13, 1948, second Yankee number. While the great Yankee was the first to wear it, he was far from the last. Seven other Yankees wore No. 3. Outfielder Cliff Mapes wore it in 1948 when it was retired. Mapes switched to No. 7 the next year. After he was traded to the Browns in mid-1951, No. 7 went to a rookie named Mickey Mantle.
Shortstop Joe Sewell struck out only three times in 503 at-bats in 1932.
Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel are two of the players in history to hit for the cycle three times.
The Yankee Clipper is the only player to earn a ring for winning the World Series in each of his first four seasons, 1936-1939.
Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra each won three MVP awards.
Top number of perfect games by a franchise: Don Larsen, David Wells, David Cone.
In September, 1998, Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer tied a Major League record by hitting three grand slams in one month.
Record time Mickey Mantle able to run from home plate to first base, fastest for any player in history
Most consecutive losing seasons for Yankees, 1912-1915 and 1989-1992
Shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh was the fourth Yankee Captain, 1914-1921
In 1923, Babe Ruth hit for his highest single-season average: .393. He came within four hits of batting .400.
Lou Gehrig’s number, retired on July 4, 1ballpark.939, the first athlete in any sport. He is the only Yankee to have worn number 4.
Four straight Yankee MVP awards twice: Yogi Berra in 1954 and 1955, Mickey Mantle in 1956 and 1957. Then Mickey Mantle in 1960, Roger Maris, 1961, Mantle1962, Elston Howard, 1963.
Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2008 is the setting for the fourth All Star Game.
All-time record for All-Star saves by Mariano Rivera
Lou Gehrig’s career RBIs for at bats, second to only Babe Ruth.
Highest ERA by Yankee pitching staff, 1930
Outfielder Babe Ruth was the fifth Yankee Captain, May 20 to May 25, 1922.
Lefty Gomez was a starter in five All-Star Games, winning 3 of them)
Number of times Mickey Mantle hit a ball into the copper facade that hung from the old stadium’s roof.
Joe DiMaggio’s uniform number, retired in 1952
Yanks won the World Series a record five straight seasons – 1949-53
October 16th, 2003 – Aaron Boone was the fifth player — and second Yankee — to end a post-season series with a walk-off home run. His solo shot in the bottom of the 11th inning capped a 6-5, Game 7 victory over Boston, giving the Yankees their 39th American League Pennant.
No team in baseball history matches the Yankees for five catchers the quality of Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson, and Jorge Posada.
Playing fields for franchise: Hilltop Park 1903-1912, Polo Grounds 1913-1922, Yankee Stadium (original) 1923-1973, Shea Stadium 1974-1975, Yankee Stadium (refurbished) 1976-2008, New Yankee Stadium 2009 –
Shortstop Everett Scott was the sixth Yankee Captain succeeding Babe Ruth, 1922-1925
On June 6, 1934 – Yankee outfielder Myril Hoag tied an American League record with six singles in six at-bats.
Second baseman Joe Gordon, who played mostly in the 1940s, wore No. 6. He was inducted posthumously into Cooperstown in 2009.
Number of Yankee starters: Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, Red Rolfe, Red Ruffing, and George Selkirk in the 1939 All-Star game at Yankee Stadium.
Mickey Mantle’s rookie uniform number, changed by equipment manager Pete Sheehy to #7 after Mantle was recalled from Kansas City.
Number of times Billy Martin had a tour of duty as manager.
Don Mattingly hits a grand slam off Boston’s Bruce Hurst at Yankee Stadium on September 29, 1987, setting a Major-League record with six grand slams in a season.
Joe Torre’s Number retired by Yankees.
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His The Ultimate Yankee Book will be published fall 2017.
“As a lifelong Yankees fan, I was devouring every last delicious new detail about my beloved Bronx Bombers in this fabulous new book.” —Ed Henry, author of 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story
Article is Copyright © 2017 by Harvey Frommer. All rights reserved worldwide.
Frommer’s work His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men’s Heath, The Sporting News, Bleacher Report and more.