Monday, April 12, 2010

A Top 5 List And A World Series Celebration

The toughest opening week you can have if you're the Yankees is at Boston for three and at Tampa for three. The two off days give it a little bit of a different feel, but it's a tough week nonetheless. You would have unequivocally been content with a 3-3 week. But as Joe Girardi said in more words than this - and I love that he's saying this, however obvious it may seem - that the Yankees are not satisfied hanging in, or being even, even on a tough road trip. Fans can be happy with 3-3, the team can't. Spot on. Going 4-2, winning both series, and doing so after losing the first game in each set, however, is something the team and the fans can be happy with. Excellent week.

The week almost went from being a good start to a having a special twist. C.C. Sabathia was throwing a no-no 23 outs into the game. As happens more often than not, it ended up getting broken up. Obviously I was rooting hard for it just as I root hard for every Yankees pitcher who gets close to a perfecto or a no-no. But I had a little extra giddy-up on this root.

For a lot of reasons, some I can explain and some I can't, I just love C.C. Sabathia. I became enthralled with his efforts for the Brewers in the second half of the 2008 season, telling his agent to buzz off so he could pitch on three days rest for a team and a city he had just arrived in. His signing with the Yankees right after that performance had me thinking the Yankees had just acquired as special a player as they had in some time. Before the 2009 season even started, stories like the one Joe Girardi told about the Yankees beating C.C. 1-0 on a Friday night and him being the only player at Progressive Field Saturday morning when Girardi arrived going at in the weight room had me all kinds of fired up. Then he was unbeatable in the second half of 2009 (Yankees were 13-1 and he had a 2.36 ERA in his second half starts prior to that last playoff tune-up vs. Tampa Bay), and then dominated in the playoffs, giving the Yankees the kind of October starts they hadn't gotten since the earlier part of the decade, and doing so on short rest almost half the time no less. There is much else, including the fact that he now wears patent leather Jordan XI cleats (if there is anything in sports Gunn loves close to New England teams, it's Jordan's, so he can appreciate this even from a Yankee I'm sure).

Thinking about all of this during C.C.'s start Saturday, I began thinking about my Top 5 Yankees that I have seen play. Derek Jeter is a no doubter. My favorite athlete of all-time any sport. Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, and Don Mattingly, in no particular order, are also definitely on my list. C.C. Sabathia may very well be in that last spot. He's been here for barely over a year, but he's right there. Just something about the dude. That game when the Yankees were two games under last May and Rivera wasn't available and he went the distance, striking out the side in the 9th to end it emphatically (also the Rodriguez game). I could go on and on. There are others that would be in the mix. Pettitte, Posada, O'Neill, Tino, El Duque. But right now I'd have to say it's C.C. He's also such a good person, he's a pleasure to have this team and watch on a daily basis. I look forward to hopefully being able to do so for many more years. Guy is awesome.

Opening Day tomorrow at Yankee Stadium, and I'll be in the house. Obviously a win is what we are looking for here first and foremost, but the Ring Ceremony should be fun as well. 2009 was such a spectacular season and I'm looking forward to celebrating that again. It will be especially sweet because Matsui will be in the house, which is very fitting. The roof should come off the place when he gets his ring, and I will definitely be doing my part to contribute. Much deserved.

In the meantime, I'd be interested to hear all of your Top 5's of guys who played for your team since you've been a fan.


the gm said...

This is without any thought, so I might have to mull it over a little bit and revise as needed, but...

1. C. Crisp
2. N. Garciaparra
3. P. Martinez
4. M. Greenwell
5. D. Pedroia

...and just missing the cut:
Tom Brunansky, Mike Stanley, Andre Dawson, Mo Vaughn, Ellis Burks

from the bronx said...

1. derek jeter
2. bernie williams
3. bobby murcer
4. don mattingly
5a. thurman munson
5b. mariano rivera

and just missing the cut: brett gardner, ricky henderson, chamblis, reggie, nettles, mantle (i saw him too late in his career), guidry and gossage

and bucky dent.

from the bronx said...

1. derek jeter
2. bernie williams
3. bobby murcer
4. don mattingly
5a. thurman munson
5b. mariano rivera

and just missing the cut: brett gardner, ricky henderson, chamblis, reggie, nettles, mantle (i saw him too late in his career), guidry and gossage

and bucky dent.

TimC said...

I'm sure on my top three (and their order) but after that it gets murky...

1. Pedro
2. Nomar
3. Manny
4. Roberts
5. Dice

Others I considered include Trot, O'Leary, Valentin, El Guapo, steroids, Cabrera, Walker, Mirabelli, and Lowe.

Ross Kaplan said...

I'm not sure what the qualifications for this list are, but based on DV's list I'm going with favorite players I've seen play, not necessarily the best:

1. Bernie Williams
2. Derek Jeter
3. Don Mattingly
4. Danny Tartabull (only in there because he hit a home run in the first Yankees game I ever went to)
5. Nick Swisher and Shelley Duncan (tie)

#5 were definitely not the most talented guys on the field, but were most definitely the most fun to watch. I remember during the summer of 2007 I wanted to see A-Rod hit his 500th career home run so I went to like 3 home games in a 10 day span and ended up seeing Shelley Duncan going on an absolute home run tear. In case you're wondering I did see A-Rod hit his 500th on that beautiful Saturday afternoon in July of 2007.

Anonymous said...


CC is good at baseball but is fat. He'll fall apart eventually just like every other fat person that's ever lived.

My top 5 Red Sox, in order:

1. Manny Ramirez
2. Jonathan Papelbon
3. Curt Schilling
4. Pedro Martinez
5. Trot Nixon

I also thought I'd add in another category and give you the Yankees I hate the most (from my era- people that did stuff before I was born I don't care about)

1. Paul O'neill
2. Tino Martinez
3. Roger Clemens
4. Andy Pettitte
5. Scott Brosius


Anonymous said...


I did not know that about CC's footwear. I have to say I'm impressed (begrudgingly) as I not only wore a pair of Air Jordan XI's to my prom, but I continue to wear a pair from time to time on lighter work days in the gym. If nothing else, we can all agree that CC Sabathia has great taste in sneakers.

And my top-five list is here:

1. Manny Ramirez
2. Pedro Martinez (this was a closer vote than I had anticipated)
3. Mo Vaughn
4. David Ortiz
5. Nomar Garciaparra

Honorable mention: Schilling, Mirabelli (DOUGIE IS GOING DEEP TONIGHT), Brian Daubach, Todd Walker (a huge fan), Kevin Youkilis.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...


Great call on Todd Walker. He would be honorable mention for me too.


the gm at work said...

As far as hatable Yankees go, I'd have to do the following:

1. Arod
2. Karim Garcia
3. Jeff Nelson
4. Sheffield
5. Posada

I can't believe Damon, Teixeira and Brosius aren't on this list.

And the least-enjoyable Red Sox have to include Drew, post-2005 Varitek, Manny Alexander, Wil Cordero, Craig Grebeck/Ed Sprague, Wasdin, Matt Young, the Bad John Burkett, and Ramiro Mendoza.

And on second review of my original list, you have to bump Pedro up to second and Keith Foulke (that's right) and Nixon to honorable mention.

I have various Guapo and Daubach stories that should not be published online. I'm surprised to see Todd Walker get that kind of consideration. And Dougie's Going Deep Tonight has changed America forever. I mean, when we installed a door on a bathroom stall here in the office, we called it Project Mirabelli because of the scene when Dougie is accessing the facility with the door open and yelling at whoever walked by.

Anonymous said...


Glad you liked Todd Walker. The guy started out on fire in 2003 and finished on fire (for some reason people forget how awesome he was in that postseason--he hit five home runs in 12 games). In the middle he was pretty average, but in a primacy/recency world, the middle doesn't matter all that much.


I wanted to be all positive in this post, but seeing Sheffield's name brought back some memories--he is easily my least favorite Yankee of all-time. It's not even that close between him and Posada.

Also, I had a particular distaste for Ramiro Mendoza: the Red Sox edition, if for no other reason than because he killed the Sox when he was a Yankee, was washed up when he got to Boston (which all Sox fans knew, by the way) and then proceeded to be awful in Boston and become perhaps the only player in postseason history to BALK IN A RUN.

--the Gunn

jason said...

1. aaron sele (my first game was his debut)
2. manny
3. youk
4. wakefield
5. pedro