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For Bleacher Report's "Open Mic" feature this week, their editors suggested putting together an all-time lineup for our favorite team, which is a good idea if there's any challenge to it. I put together an All-Birthday team for myself once, but this was kind of a new thing for me.
But with the Yankees, it's pretty silly. Their all-time best lineup goes (more or less) like this:
SS Derek Jeter CF Joe DiMaggio RF Babe Ruth 1B Lou Gehrig LF Mickey Mantle 3B Alex Rodriguez C Yogi Berra DH Reggie Jackson 2B Joe Gordon
Want to change the batting order? Knock yourself out. Bat Ruth ninth if you like. What difference does it make? I hate to put the Mick in Left, but he did play there 129 times in his career, according to baseballreference.com, so it's not completely bogus. Anyway, what can you do? Put Dave Winfield in there instead and leave either Mickey or Joltin' Joe on the bench? That's just silly.
I would have Mattingly, Winfield, Bernie Williams, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, and Phil Rizzuto on the bench, but really, how often are they gonna play?
The starting staff consists of
The bullpen has Mariano Rivera, Goose Gossage, Dave Righetti, Sparky Lyle and, for my money, Johnny Murphy, who can provide long relief on those rare occasions where it might be needed.
You want Elston Howard or Jorge Posada instead of Dickey? Take him. Lazzeri starting instead of Gordon? Plug him in. Roger Maris or Hank Bauer or Roy White or George Selkirk on the bench instead of Bernie? He's yours. Clete Boyer or Willie Randolph or Bobby Richardson? No problem. You can have them. This team is going to score 1000 runs easily and probably win 100-110 games, even against the all-time lineups of the other 13 American League teams.
But the one thing you can't do is put four starting pitchers in the bullpen and pretend that they're relievers. We've got to have some law!
Anyway, that's boring. So I put together some other lineups, for your (and my) amusement.
All-Time Yankee "Moonlight Graham" Team
Yankees With One-Game Major League Careers.
There are 29 players in history who have played the one and only game of their major league careers for the Yankees. Unfortunately, most of these are pitchers who did not do very well, like Andy O'Connor in 1908 or Christian Parker in 2001. Several of them were backup catchers as well, which is all we've got on the bench (unless you want more lousy pitchers). This is the best I could do with a limited supply:
Starting Lineup C Harry Hanson , 1913, 0-for-2, one PO and one Assist.
1B* Heinie Odom, 1925, 1-for-1 and an Assist in the field.
2B George Batten, 1912, 0-for-3, one PO and one Assist.
3B Phil Cooney, 1905, 0-for-3, 1 PO and 1 Assist.
SS Frank Verdi, 1953, no PA or defensive plays.
RF Elvio Jimenez, 1964, 2-for-6 with 5 Putouts and no errors.
LF Larry McClure, 1910, 0-for-1, no plays in one game in Left Field.
CF Alex Burr, 1914, no at bats or plays in the field.
The batting order, frankly, doesn't matter. These guys aren't going to score any runs anyway. Ocf course, several of them never got a chance to bat, so who knows? Given three or four trips to the plate, they might surprise us.
I had to take a thirdbaseman named after his own butt and put him on first base, since I couldn't find a moonlight Graham for that position anywhere.
C Honey Barnes, 1926, walked in only plate appearance.
UT Charlie Fallon, 1905, Fielding position unknown, and no PA or plays in the field.
UT C.B. Burns, 1902, For the old Baltimore Orioles before they moved the franchise to NY and became the Highlanders. No position given, but he singled in his only at-bat.
Pitchers RHP Roger Slagle (1979) Two perfect innings.
RHP Loyd Colson (1970) 2 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 0 walks and 3 K's.
RHP Clem Llewellyn, (1922) One scoreless inning.
RHP Sam Marsonek, (2004) 1.3 scoreless innings.
RHP Walter Bernhardt (1918) Faced and retired 2 batters in his only game.
Totals: 9 innings, 2 Runs allowed, but we lose 2-0 because nobody in the lineup ever scored a run.
Anyway, it was more interesting thandeciding whether to bat Joe D. second or sixth.