Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cubs vs. Mets Game Recap!

Hey everyone, Drew back here! I can't believe it's already July; 2015 has been nothing short of a blur so far. As for my recent absence, I have been going through a decent amount personally of late, but things appear to be picking back up little by little. Last night, a couple of my friends and I visited Citi Field to see two of baseball's best young teams; the Cubs and Mets. We were able to figure out the subway system and made it to the ballpark with plenty of time to spare, and we were ready for a great game.

Unfortunately, despite strong pitching performances from Jon Niese and Kyle Hendricks, both teams generally weren't ready. There were a combined 7 hits in the game, Matt Szczur leading the way for the Cubs with two hits and the lone RBI. Daniel Murphy was impressive on both sides of the field in his return, making a sparkling diving grab to his left at third as well as crushing a double to the deepest area of Citi Field. The Cubs ultimately won the game, 1-0, snapping their 5 game losing streak but not necessarily in style.

The main draw for my friends and I was Kris Bryant, who we saw sign autographs prior to the game (starting to regret not sprinting down to the lower level to try and get one). Bryant singled and walked in a 1-3 effort, and also scored the lone run. It was cool to see considering he hopefully will go on to be at least a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year and a future star.

In other news, I took the advice of Parks and Recreation's Donna and Tom and treated myself to a beautiful 40 inch TV and a PS4 for my man cave! I have been saving up money for a while now, and now was a better time than ever to trade my Xbox 360 and 10 year old TV in for some new stuff.

I have quite a few things to show off including a few great care packages, a TTM, and some eBay pickups. Be sure to keep on the lookout!

See Ya!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - Best International MLB Players

Hey guys, Drew back here! Yesterday, news was made in Tokyo when baseball was one of eight sports to be recommended to be added to the 2020 Olympic Games. Baseball hasn't been much of a success when brought into the Summer Games, but baseball's enormous presence in Japan could make for one of the most exciting events to look forward to when the time comes. With that in mind, I wanted to investigate who I would definitively rank as the greatest Foreign Born player in MLB history.

My criteria for this list was simple. Each player I considered had to be born outside of the United States, which excluded Alex Rodriguez since he was born in New York City. Also, the player was only to be considered for their exploits in Major League Baseball alone, and not for their performance in any other league. And as you will see, players who have been caught for performance enhancing drugs were not viewed as highly as their statistics may have garnered them.

Top 10 Foreign Born MLB Players in History

Honorable Mentions - Roberto Alomar (Puerto Rico), Ferguson Jenkins (Canada), Vladimir Guerrero (Dominican Republic), Bert Blyleven (Netherlands), Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba)

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I debated over Alomar and the tenth ranked player for quite some time, and ultimately Robby fell just shy of making this list. Alomar was one of the more underrated players of his era, and he could simply no wrong throughout his illustrious 17 year career. He won 10 Gold Glove awards and is widely considered one of the best defensive second basemen of all time. He also came up within 300 hits of reaching the 3,000 hit plateau and was a 12 time All Star. I've talked about writing a post about the most underrated players in the Hall of Fame for several weeks now, and when that list does indeed come out, Alomar just might come to mind.

Vladimir Guerrero is one of my all time favorite players who never wore pinstripes. Watching him hit was one of the most entertaining sights, and keeping him off this list was especially tough. Rafael Palmeiro is one of five players to compile 3,000 hits and 500 home runs (congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on recently becoming the 5th), but he managed to fall short as well.

10 - Ivan Rodriguez, C, Puerto Rico

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The second coming of the "Pudge" moniker barely cracked this Top 10, which speaks to just how tremendous of an impact foreign players have made on the game. Rodriguez has been labeled as the best defensive catcher of this past generation, but he was no slouch at the plate either. He has more hits than any other catcher ever, and retired with a lifetime batting average of .296. He may not come before Berra and Bench on All Time lists, but he isn't as far behind them as one may think. The Hall of Fame should be calling him sooner rather than later, even despite the PED suspicion surrounding his legacy.

9 - Juan Marichal, SP, Dominican Republic

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It wouldn't make sense keeping the "Dominican Dandy" from making the cut. Juan Marichal was anything but dandy to face throughout his prime, going 154-65 with a 2.34 ERA between 1963 and 1969 alone. He made ten All Star teams and won more games than any other pitcher through the 1960's with help from a high leg kick and fearsome delivery. Marichal may not have stood out much more than Canada's Ferguson Jenkins and the Netherlands' Bert Blyleven statistically (who were listed as Honorable Mentions), but he was one of the first Hispanic pitchers who found success in the big leagues which gives him the edge here. Unfortunately, he was often overlooked because of the pitching-rich era he played during, which also featured legends like Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.

8 - Miguel Cabrera, 1B/3B/OF, Venezuela

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When Miguel Cabrera calls it a career, we may view him as one of the greatest offensive forces to ever step into the batter's box. He is on pace to join not only the 500 Home Run club but the 3,000 hit club as well, and could achieve much more if health remains to be on his side. This season, Cabrera is mashing .350 with a .456 OBP, 15 Home Runs and 52 RBI, already making up for a "bad" 2014 in which he batted .313 with 25 Home Runs. He is the best hitter I have had the pleasure of growing up with in my personal opinion, and I can't wait to see what more he will do before he calls it a career. It is safe to say "Miggy" will be closer to the top of these ranks by then.

7 - Manny Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic

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The highest ranked known PED user on this list was as dangerous an offensive weapon as could be in the mid 2000's. Ramirez was a colorful personality for several teams over his 19 year career; always finding some way or another to make headlines. But what would always take the biggest stage was his bat, which helped lead the Red Sox to 2 World Series titles and brought him to 12 All Star Games and 9 Silver Sluggers. Between he and David Ortiz, he fell just short of being listed on the Honorable Mentions on this list, the Red Sox had a 3-4 lineup punch that could not be denied. He retired with 555 Home Runs and over 2,500 hits. Tainted or not, it was quite a career for a man who thrived on simply being himself.

6 - Rod Carew, 1B/2B, Panama

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Ah, yes. Hall of Famer Rod Carew. Carew's sweet swing led him to seven batting titles and over 3,000 career hits. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1967 and won the AL MVP in 1977. He wasn't known for being a powerful bat, but was one of the greatest contact hitters in history. Carew was an All Star in every year but one throughout his 19 years in the big leagues, showing that he was not only a tremendous talent but a fan favorite as well. It isn't much of a surprise that he holds one of the higher places here. His trademark red batting gloves gave him all the extra flair he needed as his batting averages consistently soared to the top of the charts.

5 - Mariano Rivera, CP, Panama

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Rivera is one of my top 3 All Time Favorite Players, and the best closer in history. His cutter was unhittable on most nights throughout his excellent career, and he has become one of the most beloved athletes in New York sports history. His trophy shelf is enormous, and along with his various awards he also was named to 13 All Star teams. He was so good that he alone could change the outcome of a game when he entered, which is pretty rare to expect from a relief pitcher. Rivera will be most likely inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019 when he first arrives on the ballot, and it will be about time by then.

4 - Ichiro Suzuki, OF, Japan

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The next active player on this countdown currently is stuck in the freakshow that is the Miami Marlins' organization, led by General Manager and Manager Dan Jennings. But rather than focus on the now, let's all do Mr. Suzuki some respect and reminisce on the good times. He followed in Japanese hurler Hideo Nomo's footsteps when moving on from Nippon Professional Baseball to the Major Leagues in 2001, and from the very first game it appeared as though he never left. His quickness, precision, and dominance could all be felt in a heartbeat, and he went on to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in his rookie season. He has since made ten All Star teams, won ten Gold Glove Awards, and has racked up over 2,800 hits (not including another 1,278 in Japan, giving him over 4,000 professional base knocks!) in one of the most impressive careers to date.

3 - Pedro Martinez, SP, Dominican Republic

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I'm not one of the guys who puts Pedro among the top shelf of pitchers ever. But I do recognize the impact he left behind with this sport, and how dominant his prime seasons were. Pedro will be on his way into the Hall of Fame this summer after a brilliant career spanning 5 teams in 18 years. His years with the Boston Red Sox were of the most significance; where he won 3 Cy Young Awards in a 4 year stretch (he finished 2nd the other year of those 4). He was a vintage-type performer on the mound; never afraid to unleash his fastball on any player willing to put up a fight. At times, he could be dangerous, throwing at batters to make amends, but that was Pedro. And clearly, if the Hall of Fame voters put him in the Hall as quickly and deliberately as they did, his strategy worked.

2 - Roberto Clemente, OF, Puerto Rico

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When originally thinking of making this list, I was almost positive Clemente would reign supreme over all of today's stars. However, this was not the case. Clemente had a fantastic career, garnering exactly 3,000 hits before dying in a tragic plane crash at the age of 38. He made 15 All Star teams, won 12 Gold Glove Awards, the NL MVP in 1966, and was part of two Pirates World Series winners in 1960 and 1971! He was a true 5 Tool Talent, and was capable of hurting teams on both sides at a Hall of Fame caliber. He was clearly the most impactful and influential man to ever come to the big leagues from outside the country, considering he was the best of the initial wave of foreign players. But one man's talent was able to unseat him from his throne, becoming (in my opinion) the greatest all around International player in MLB history.

1 - Albert Pujols, 1B, Dominican Republic

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The Machine. Since Albert Pujols signed his mega deal in Los Angeles, a lot of people, myself included, have turned our attention to Miguel Cabrera instead. Pujols got off to a bad start, battling injuries, and Cabrera was crushing the ball better than ever before. How could we not drop Pujols with talent like that emerging? Besides, Pujols' contract far outweighs the best player on his own team, Mike Trout, and people like me began to doubt what Angels management was doing. This may not keep up, but 2015 has shown that the best supposedly clean power hitter of our generation is back at full health, and he hasn't lost a step.

Pujols' rookie season in 2001 was just as spectacular as Ichiro's, but the National League was filled with slugging superstars such as Bonds and Sosa, which kept him from also winning the MVP that year. Since then, he stole the show for much of the mid to late 2000's, winning 3 NL MVP Awards, 2 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals, and making 9 All Star teams. He hit his 500th career Home Run last year, and is cruising up the leaderboard (now 16th All Time with 543, chasing Mike Schmidt). This man had a presence that could be felt from miles away in his prime, and it's exciting to see slices of that tremendous past come back on occasion. When all is said and done for Prince Albert, he could potentially reaching 700 Home Runs and 3,000 hits. The only other player who has done that currently is Hank Aaron, but Alex Rodriguez may reach it as well if he hangs on long enough.

People are going to argue that Clemente was a better player than Pujols. That's okay. We as people tend to look back on the past and see it as better than the current. When you're young, you're prone to believing much of what you see, magnifying iconic athletes, celebrities, and musicians to be larger than life and far superior to others of their respective kinds. I'm not trying to slight Roberto by any sense of the word, but if you really compare their statistics and think about their individual dominance in baseball, they can relatively easily be compared. Nobody can match the impact Clemente left behind as a person, but on the field, I'll take Pujols.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below if you think otherwise!

*UPDATE: Sorry, this was meant to be posted yesterday. However, it's my blog, so I can do what I want with it. Call it "Ten for Wednesday" if it makes matters easier. Times have been especially tough lately on a personal note, and this was the best I could do, but I hope you all enjoy it!*

See Ya!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cashing in on Crawford!

Hey guys, Drew back here! It sure has been nice to have some eBay money to use for the first time in so long. On the same day I found that Scherzer autograph I posted recently, I found this card for dirt cheap of an emerging young star on my favorite National League team! 

Ah, yes. Gypsy Queen found a way to grow on me. I've loved each year's Gypsy Queen product thus far, but this year I really wasn't impressed at first. But, the more I've seen, the more I'm beginning to love this year's unique design. Some cards tend to work into the template more than others, but this card in particular is a thing of beauty.

Brandon Crawford is the double play partner of my current favorite player in the game, Joe Panik. Both Panik and Crawford have had spectacular 2015 campaigns, and both are currently worthy of being named to this year's All Star team. Crawford is batting .288 with 8 home runs, 38 RBI, and he is known to make dazzling highlight plays at shortstop. There is a lot to like about this kid's future, and all signs indicate that his current statistical output is no mirage. I payed a higher amount for the shipping alone on this card than for the card itself, and I think down the road I'll be happy I took the chance on it!

See Ya!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Book Review: "The Journey Home" by Jorge Posada

Hey everyone, Drew back here! I have been excited to write this post since I first received my hard copy of Jorge Posada's new autobiography "The Journey Home" last month. I'm not exactly a swift or aggressive reader by any means, so after a few weeks I finally was able to complete the 344 page story of the most unknown member of the "Core Four". I think I've said on several occasions that Posada's status in the "Core Four" tends to rival Ringo Starr's status in the "Fab Four". Even down to the enlarged facial features. Silly jokes aside, I've been excited to check out what Jorge had in store for baseball fans since the moment it was revealed to be released. I didn't know much about Posada's life, and really was interested in learning about the man who was the Bronx's primary backstop throughout all of my early childhood.

Posada begins with an important chronicle of his early years in Puerto Rico, recalling a summer in which his father moved an enormous pile of dirt into his backyard that he requested young Jorge spread across the yard. His father had a noticeable impact in all of Jorge's decisions and his progression into a big league ballplayer and one day All Star. He embarrassed him at games, making him bat left handed until he became fluent at both sides of the plate, and certainly did not go easy on him. "Tough love", as Jorge called it, would become the staple of his childhood, but eventually he learned there was a method to his father's madness.

His dad's goal was to make a ballplayer out of his son, and we all know how that went in the long run. But as the title recognizes, it was the journey that we all wished to know more about. We wanted to know how Jorge came to be best friends with Derek Jeter, how he felt about performance enhancing drug users keeping him from achieving great milestones (such as the 2003 AL MVP, which he succumbed to Alex Rodriguez), and of course, how he felt about his compadre, Pedro Martinez. We got all of that and more as Posada made his march through the Yankees organization and into the big leagues.

One interesting, and quite hilarious tidbit I gathered from Jorge's story, was how he met his now wife, Laura. Apparently, he was too nervous to approach her although he knew he would marry her if he could, and it was Jeter who pushed him to do so. Jeter seemed to have his back throughout all of Jorge's hardships, and it was pleasant hearing that their relationship is far beyond superficial. Also, Joe Torre's supposed position as a mentor and father figure were put to the test when Jorge discussed his challenges with his son Jorge Jr., who battled with cryniosynostosis (a birth defect where joints of the skull close prematurely). Torre lived up to what has been said of him, and was there for support whenever it was needed on their battle to keep Jorge Jr. alive and healthy. It was touching to hear that Jorge Jr. is now a young adult and doing better, and nothing beats the story of Jorge sending him out on the field during the 2003 All Star Game lineup announcements.

The final chapter was particularly controversial among recent headlines, where Posada spoke about his relationship with current Yankee manager Joe Girardi. It was clear from the time he first introduced Girardi in the story during his time backing him up that their relationship was strictly professional. Posada hoped Don Mattingly would have taken the reins after Joe Torre left following the 2007 season, but was not upset when Girardi was first hired. In fact, from Posada's perspective, it sounds like their relationship grew much stronger during Girardi's first few seasons managing. However, things eventually took a tumble when Posada was texted rather than being told first hand what he would be asked to do with the team. I can see where Jorge was coming from, as this was his job after all and I would have even taken a phone call over being texted important news. They grew apart as years passed, and Jorge was no longer asked to join the catcher meetings because he was told not to. He became a semi-permanent DH, and wasn't happy with his demotion considering the blood, sweat, and tears he put into being a Yankee for as long as he had. He did mention his final big moment with the team, when on September 21st, 2011, he pinch hit and knocked in the go ahead run that would win the division for the Yankees. I was at that game, and can easily say it was my favorite moment I shared with #20 in my time as a fan.

My goal in reading this book was to gain a new outlook on our fiery, hard-nosed catcher. Jorge turns out to have just as much of a temper as we saw on the field, and left an almost overwhelming amount of emotion in his words. The only flaw I came across in reading this was how he approached some of the Yankees big moments, but I will give him a pass considering just how many there were in his tenure with the team. If you don't know about what went on during the Yankees dynasty run in the 1990's and some of the crucial moments, the second half of "The Journey Home" may confuse you. But, Jorge was clearly writing to an audience that already somewhat knew him, the Yankee fanbase. Luckily now, we know even more.

Rating: 8/10 - An absolute recommendation for any Yankee fan who hope to gain more insight on Posada's career. The emotion was real from Jorge, and after reading this I now feel satisfied with his career and story.

But wait, there's more. My pre-ordered copy from Barnes and Noble was signed by Jorge himself, which was an added bonus! For $20, they sold signed copies of the book for a short period of time, and I was able to pounce on the deal while it was available. Jorge's autograph generally sells for $30+ alone, so I felt like I bought an autograph and his entire life story for an incredible bargain! This now makes my second autograph of his in my collection of hopefully more to come!

Did any of you get a chance to read Jorge's new book? If so, what did you think of it? I can say that I'm now very excited for Jorge Posada Day on August 23rd of this season, and really hope I can get tickets to see his number retired by the Yankee organization.

See Ya!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ten for Tuesday - 10 Greatest Yankees

Hey guys, Drew back here. It's safe to say that this week hasn't gotten off to the brightest start, but that's okay. My contest idea of having an All Time Re-Draft didn't seem to catch on to you all, so I decided to let it go and forget about it. Lately I've been putting a great deal of work into this site and improving my writing to help diminish some of my previous posts when I was younger and evolve as a writer, so with this failure I decided to just keep on going, and work harder towards giving you the best quality I can provide.

This week, I decided to take a week off from roasting the Hall of Fame, and instead thought it would be necessary for you all to know my stance on the ten greatest players from the team I have studied religiously and adored for now over a decade: The New York Yankees. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are perhaps the most famous professional sports franchise in the world, and have had some of the greatest players in history come through the organization. Although I was not there to watch a majority of the men I'm about to speak about, I've done my share of research, watched Yankeeographies and documentaries, and can say that I know more than the average fan does about them all. We'll begin with those who just missed my cut.

Top 10 New York Yankees of All Time

Honorable Mentions - Thurman Munson, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez, Reggie Jackson

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Thurman Munson was the most tragic Yankee in history. A perennial All Star and fan favorite; Thurman never got to reach the Hall of Fame level he could have gotten to thanks in part to his early death at the age of 32 in a plane accident. Munson was a 7 time All Star, 3 time Gold Glove Winner, 2 time World Series Champion, and the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1976. He was the leader, the captain, and was far beyond simply "the straw that stirred the drink".

(Dis)Honorable Mention - Alex Rodriguez

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Rodriguez is officially the most hated Yankee of All Time, topping Bucky F*****g Dent, Roger Clemens, and ruthless owner George Steinbrenner. I personally do not root for him as a person but will root for him as long as he is in the lineup helping the team win. A-Rod is a 14 time All Star and has won 3 MVP's, 2 of which in New York in 2005 and 2007. He's attempted to sue the team, was suspended for all of last season for being involved in the Biogenesis scandal, and simply put; is a douchebag. He is far from the epitome of a Yankee, but I'll give him credit for how he has responded to all of the criticism he has faced this season. Finally, as the man is closing in on 40 years old and 3,000 career hits, he is growing up. Unfortunately, it is too late for him to fully recover for his wrongdoings, and he will never make this list, even if he wins 3 more MVP's in pinstripes before he hangs up his $300 million dollar cleats.

10 - Don Mattingly
1B, 1982-1995

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There may have been a few players listed in my Honorable Mentions who were better than Don Mattingly. But few could resemble a Yankee in the way that our former superstar first baseman could. Mattingly was at the top of the game for about a six year stretch, until a nagging back injury ended his career prematurely. Unfortunately, this situation will likely keep "Donnie Baseball" from reaching the Hall of Fame (although his statistics are very close to HOF'er Kirby Puckett), unless his managerial career in Los Angeles boosts him up higher on the pedestal. Players, coaches, and fans absolutely loved #23 in New York, and he deserves a place on this list solely because of his leadership and work ethic.

9 - Bill Dickey
C, 1928-1943, 1946

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Can it be set in stone that Bill Dickey is the most underrated Yankee in the Hall of Fame? As much as we all love Yogi Berra, it was Dickey that taught him the tools to become a legendary catcher. He made 11 All Star teams and was a part of 14 World Series teams. I don't know much about him to be frank, but I don't think many people do. That, is a problem.

Dickey was mostly known for his presence behind the plate, but he was just as good at the dish. He was always outshined by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio, but he can not be forgotten. Some of his offensive seasons rank among the best ever for a catcher, and being able to pair that with his defensive ability makes him one of the greatest catchers in history.

In no way do I feel that Dickey is better than Berra for teaching him the way, but he does deserve more respect than he does for it. I feel like sharing a retired number for Yogi does take away from his legacy, because most Yankee fans associate the number with the more modern Berra.

8 - Whitey Ford
SP, 1950, 1953-1967

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"The Chairman of the Board". As you would assume, the highest ranked starting pitcher in my opinion is the man who dominated with control and finesse throughout a period of time the Yankees owned more than any other period. He is not the highest rated pitcher here, but if I were to put any pitcher on the mound over the course of a season who have ever donned the pinstripes, it would be difficult to argue against this guy.

While I'm discussing Ford, if I were to build a rotation off of former Yankees starters, it would most likely be lefty heavy. Literally. Following Ford would be Red Ruffing and "Lefty" Gomez, two more obscure pitchers from the earlier generations. The final two I would choose are Ron Guidry and Andy Pettitte, which would make a rotation consisting of four left handed pitchers. Maybe I'd throw Pat Venditte in there just for kicks.

The all time franchise leader in wins would be higher ranked if it weren't for some of the best position players in baseball history that deserve it even more-so. Be on the lookout for Ford on a future list honoring some of the more underrated players in the Hall of Fame, as well as perhaps Dickey as well (hint, hint).

7 - Mariano Rivera
CP, 1995-2013

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Call it controversial, I don't care. Mariano Rivera is the most dominant relief pitcher ever, and there's really no argument otherwise. He had his moments that proved that he was human after all, but for the most part there was no other reliever who was on top of his game for as long, and as well, as Mo was. I know I've been frequently debating amongst myself how I feel about where relievers stand in comparison to not only starting pitchers, but position players as well. I've called Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley overrated, and Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm downright undeserving of being included in Cooperstown. Rivera may be a little overhyped because he was a Yankee, under the bright lights in the media capital in the world. Most Yankees are; let's be honest. But there is nobody I've ever watched in my lifetime as a fan who could end a game before even entering it. Some may say he belongs even higher on this list, but my bias against relievers is probably the reasoning for this placement.

6 - Derek Jeter
SS, 1995-2014

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We now come to my favorite player, the most recent Captain, Derek Jeter. Jeter was the face of baseball during a period in which players that would have been were cheating. Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Roger Clemens were better players. But as far as anyone can tell, Jeter did it the right way. He has forever been my role model, and despite perhaps being a little overrated towards the end of his career; it was for the right reasons. I remember meeting one of my Little League teams while in middle school, and my coach asked everyone who their favorite player was. Almost all of them said Derek Jeter. Not Bonds, not Clemens, not Sosa, not A-Rod. Jeter. Major League Baseball has done a fantastic job marketing a man who did it right for 20 years.

And to any of you who think Jeter doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame at all, and I've seen you out there; I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. If it weren't for Derek Jeter keeping my fandom for the game alive during one of the darkest periods of baseball history, I may not be writing this post right now. Maybe I'd be attempting to be a musician. Maybe I'd be studying engineering. Luckily, Jeter kept my dream for a life in the sports industry alive.

5 - Yogi Berra
C, 1943-1963

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Despite my love for my Captain, I did not have it in me to place him ahead of the man who has been all over the news in recent weeks. If you haven't heard, Yogi Berra's family organized a petition to President Obama to give Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award has been given to former icons in all realms of pop culture, including Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial, and several others. On the final night of the petition, fans everywhere were able to gain 100,000 total supporters, enough for it to be considered. There is no living player more deserving of this honor than a man who served in World War II and will forever live on for his baseball skill and hilarious philosophy.

The three time MVP falls just outside of my Yankees "Mount Rushmore", which has been a recent hot subject of debate among different sports and teams. The four you are about to see are the four you most likely expected to see at the top, and most likely in the order you assumed them to be in. But that's not the point of the Yankees list. What most people are curious in are where the top eight players are ranked, particularly 5-8. With Jeter and Rivera being more recent, it's hard to not over-rank them. Also, the final two choices are always interesting to see.

4 - Mickey Mantle
CF, 1951-1968

3 - Joe DiMaggio
CF, 1936-1951

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One debate I did have to have was whether I considered Mantle better than DiMaggio or vise versa. I have always loved Mickey Mantle, despite his being plenty of years before my time. I even placed Joe DiMaggio on my overrated list last week, and of these final four he is easily my least favorite player. But, that doesn't mean Joe D wasn't really, really good. I placed him on the Overrated list because he was voted "The Greatest Living Player" while Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams were all alive. It was only for that reason why he was even considered for the list. Because let's face it, if DiMaggio had played the three years he missed in the thick of his prime rather than serve our country; he may have ended up with more comparable statistics to the aforementioned Mays, Aaron, and Williams. With that argument, you can also say that if Mickey Mantle didn't face the injuries he struggled with his statistics would rank among the very best. 

What places DiMaggio ahead of Mantle slightly on this list is that his dominance over his first seven years in the Majors was one of the most dominant stretches ever. Mantle retired with 201 more hits than DiMaggio in 1,281 more at bats. He scored 286 more runs. Considering how much more Mantle played than "Joltin' Joe", those comparisons are not that impressive. However, Mantle was a better power hitter and reached base at a higher rate than DiMaggio. It cannot be determined which defender was better, even with sabermetrics. It is difficult to coin anything from that era to be true, even with the most advanced statistics. No statistic can value a player's impact on a team, and both players did more than that throughout their spectacular careers. 

It isn't easy, and if I had to choose, I would be biased towards Mantle. But, in terms of being politically correct, DiMaggio may have been a slightly better player. Not many people alive today were able to see both men play, and an even fewer selection of those people know about today's metrics well enough to make a decision on who was better without letting their biases get in the way. Many felt slighted when Mantle came in and stole DiMaggio's spotlight. Many loved Mantle because he had a better reputation with the fans and media. It will always go both ways. That's baseball, for you. There will never be a right or wrong answer to these questions, and that's what is so amazing about this sport; what makes it stand out among other sports.

Who was better?
Joe DiMaggio
Mickey Mantle
Poll Maker

2 - Lou Gehrig
1B, 1923-1939

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1 - Babe Ruth
RF, 1920-1934

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A debate that is much easier to agree upon is Ruth vs. Gehrig. Lou Gehrig can be made a case for being the second best player ever. But only one player put baseball on the map, and that achievement alone gives Ruth an edge. There isn't much to be said about these two men that hasn't already been said. So, I'll leave it at that. Babe Ruth is easily the greatest Yankee, and player, ever. If it weren't for him, baseball could have just been a phase.

I want to apologize for getting this out so late today, it has been a very busy past few days, and I hope this doesn't feel rushed. If you would like to discuss the rankings in the comments below, as well as anyone I may have missed, feel free!

See Ya!