MLB Top 5: New York Yankees Catchers and Managers

This is the first article in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for the New York Yankees. In this installment are catchers and managers.

At first glance, the franchise now known as the Yankees could trace its history back to the start of the American League in 1901. Ban Johnson, the president of the new circuit, wanted a team in Baltimore to replace the one the National League shut down two years earlier. That club shared an ownership group with the Brooklyn team and moved all of its good players up north in the late 1890s. The new Baltimore team was run by two former players who would go on to be fantastic managers, John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson.

McGraw and Johnson constantly butted heads and the manager was suspended indefinitely in 1902 for fighting with umpires. Instead of trying to move the Orioles to New York after the season (as it was rumored), McGraw instead jumped ship to the Giants. Since he was still owed money, he worked out an agreement in which, instead of being paid, he took several of Baltimore’s players with him, leaving the team with a depleted roster. Johnson took control of the Orioles, filled out the lineup and finished off the season before revoking the franchise’s license. Although there was an American League franchise in New York in 1903, the team is treated as separate from the one that played in Baltimore.

There are more than a few fans today who think the Yankees have not always conducted their business on the up-and-up, so it would probably come as no surprise to those fans to learn that the New York club’s original owners had ties to organized crime. While coal merchant and public face of the franchise Joseph Gordon was clean, the money came from Frank Farrell, a pool hall owner whose establishment was a front for illegal bookmaking, and Big Bill Devery, a disgraced former police chief whose beat included the neighborhood of Farrell’s gambling parlor, yet he somehow avoided prosecution. Both Farrell and Devery had connections to Tammany Hall, a powerful political organization that had control of New York City at the time.

The new team was called the Highlanders, either because of the high ground in Manhattan that the stadium, Hilltop Park, was built upon, or to pay homage to Gordon, who shared a name with a famous British military leader whose regiment earned that moniker. The Highlanders existed for a decade, posting a record of .500 or better five times and finishing in second place in three seasons, although Farrell and Devery pushed Gordon out of his role in 1907.

Fans and newspaper editors were happy when the name officially changed to Yankees in 1913, but behind the scenes, the two owners were feuding. Eventually, the club was sold to brewery owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert and engineering and construction company owner Tillinghast Huston, who was a Captain during the Spanish-American War. The two had tried to buy the Giants and were tempted to take over the Cubs, but instead settled on the Yankees for the price of $463,000.

The lease on Hilltop Park expired and the Yankees became tenants of the Giants at the Polo Grounds for the next 10 years. The club spent most of that decade in the middle of the pack in the American League until 1919, when two game-changing events occurred. The first came in the middle of the season, when Red Sox pitcher Carl Mays walked off the mound during the game and began actively seeking trade partners. The Yankees and Red Sox had a deal worked out, but Ban Johnson suspended Mays. Ruppert and Huston got a court injunction that allowed the pitcher to play, and the disagreement created a stalemate among the other owners and ultimately led to the appointment of Kenesaw Mountain Landis as baseball’s first commissioner.

The other major move came in January 1920. Boston owner Harry Frazee sold a disgruntled pitcher and power-hitting outfielder named Babe Ruth to New York for $100,000 in cash, not to fund a Broadway play (as rumored), but because the player was a team disruptor and constantly made higher salary demands. As it turns out, those demands proved to be warranted, with Ruth setting records with his new club that many fans at that time thought would never be equaled.

While the Yankees built a new stadium and began their ascent in the standings, the two owners feuded over on-field control. Huston wanted Wilbert Robinson as manager while Ruppert backed Miller Huggins. Ruppert got his choice and eventually bought Huston out for $1.175 million, with executive Edward Barrow buying a 10 percent stake in the team. In the nearly two decades of Ruppert’s control, the Yankees went to 11 World Series, winning eight times, including four from 1936-39, the last coming nine months after the Colonel passed away due to phlebitis in his left leg.

Ruppert’s death left control of the Yankees to his nieces, who ran the team through trustees. New York went to three straight World Series during this time, winning twice. After years of searching and haggling and with the help of former baseball executive and then-War Department member Larry MacPhail, the Yankees were purchased for $2.8 million by construction magnate Del Webb and tin manufacturer Dan Topping, who owned a now-defunct NFL team called the Brooklyn Tigers, and the three had an equal share in the team.

Webb and Topping were able to push out the mercurial MacPhail in 1947 and the team went on to have unprecedented success. Over the next 18 seasons, the Yankees went to the World Series an astounding 15 times and won 10 titles, including five straight from 1949-53. Topping and Webb sold an 80 percent share of the team to the CBS television network in 1964 for $14 million, with Topping staying on as an operating partner.

The team suffered during the eight years of CBS ownership. After winning the championship the first year, the Yankees broke out of the bottom half of the American league just twice and finished a distant second in the newly formed East Division in 1970. Two years later, the team was sold for $10 million to a group led by George Steinbrenner, a shipping magnate who found himself in legal trouble from the start of his tenure.

In 1974, Steinbrenner worked out a plea deal for illegal campaign contributions for President Richard Nixon, which led to him being suspended from day-to-day operations of the Yankees for two years. Meanwhile, the club shared Shea Stadium with the Mets while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. The Yankees extended their playoff drought to 11 years before getting back to the World Series three straight times from 1976-78, winning in the latter two years.

Following a one-game playoff victory of the Red Sox (highlighted by a Bucky Dent home run) and a title win against the Dodgers, the Yankees did earn another championship for 16 years. They lost in the ALCS to the Royals in 1980, fell to the Dodgers in the World Series the following year and were in place in 1994 when the players’ strike began. Steinbrenner could not remain clean even after his previous suspension. He had a public feud with slugger Dave Winfield and paid Howard Spira, a radio reporter and known gambling associate, to get dirt on the outfielder. Once again, the owner was facing a suspension, but agreed to step down as managing general partner for three years. Some of Steinbrenner’s ownership partners began to bring lawsuits and he was allowed back in control only after settling all of them.

When play resumed in 1995, the Yankees mixed a young core of players led by shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada, lefty starter Andy Pettitte and reliever Mariano Rivera with veteran free agents and went on a run of 17 playoff appearances in 18 years. Most of that success came under manager Joe Torre, an All-Star catcher and third baseman with the Braves who also had a forgettable stint leading the Mets. Throughout this run, the Yankees were accused of “buying” the best players and thus, championships, on a near-constant basis.

New York won five more titles in its latest dynasty, including three straight from 1998-2000 and their only miss came in 2008, when they finished in third in the A. L. East with an 89-73 record in the first year after Torre left, with former catcher Joe Girardi taking over as manager. The team’s championship the following year was their 27th, far and away the most in major league history (the Cardinals rank second with 11). Steinbrenner passed away in 2010, with his sons Hal and Hank being made co-chairmen and younger son Hal gaining controlling interest in the franchise.

In the past 11 years, the Yankees have made the playoffs seven times and have gone as far as the ALCS twice, losing to the Astros both times. New York finished in fourth place in the division despite an 82-80 record in 2023. Their current squad is led by star outfielders Aaron Judge and newly acquired Juan Soto and reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole.

The Best Catchers and Managers in New York Yankees History


Honorable Mentions – While many teams have an issue finding enough talent to round out a Top 5 list, that is certainly not a case with the Yankees. Any of New York’s backstops could start on most other teams’ all-time lists and even the ones that did not make the countdown are still talented. Among those was Wally Schang, who was one of the first catchers that bucked the “all-field-no-hit” catcher trend. He had an on-base percentage of .390 during his five seasons with the Yankees (1921-25) after coming over in a trade from the Red Sox.

Schang was a part of three Yankees pennant-winning teams, including the team’s first title in 1923, and the switch-hitter became the first player to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game (with Philadelphia in 1916). Schang also played with the Athletics, Browns and Tigers in his 19-year career and was a player and coach in minor and independent leagues for a decade after his official retirement in 1931. He passed away in 1965 at age 75.

After spending the early part of his career with the Rangers, Mike Stanley signed with the Yankees and spent four seasons in New York (1992-95). He was an All-Star in his final season with the team and earned a silver slugger award after hitting 26 home runs and driving in a career-best 84 runs in 1993. Stanley homered and drove in four runs in six playoff games, but his greatest moment came in August 1995, when he became the first Yankee in 18 years to hit three home runs in a game (but the Indians swept a doubleheader).

Gary Sanchez hit at least 20 home runs in four of his seven seasons with the Yankees (2015-21) and earned All-Star selections in both seasons in which he topped 30. The two-time MLB Futures Game participant finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2016 after hitting 20 homers and batting a career-high .299. The following year, he was an All-Star and won his lone silver slugger after driving in a personal-best 90 runs. Sanchez had 19 hits, seven homers and 19 RBIs in 31 playoff games with the Yankees. He was also the third fastest in baseball history to reach 100 career home runs (355 games). Sanchez played for three teams over the past two seasons and has signed with the Brewers for 2024.

5. Jorge Posada – He spent his entire 17-year career with the Yankees (1995-2011), earning five All-Star selections, winning five silver sluggers and starring on five World Series championship teams (although he was not on the roster for New York’s 1996 title win). The Puerto Rico-born Posada was one of the homegrown cornerstones of the franchise, becoming a full-time starter in his fourth season.

Posada had eight seasons in which he hit at least 20 home runs and drove in 80 runs. He posted a .281-30-101 stat line in 2003 to finish third in the MVP voting and hit a career-high .338 in 2007. Posada enjoyed the Yankees’ success, playing in 125 postseason games and totaling 53 runs, 103 hits, 23 doubles, 11 home runs and 42 runs batted in, including five against Philadelphia in 2009.

The hard-nosed catcher ranks third in franchise history in strikeouts (1,453), seventh in doubles (379) and eighth in games (1,829) and home runs (275) to go with a .273 average, 900 runs, 1,664 hits, 1,065 RBIs and 2,888 total bases. Posada wasn’t too shabby behind the plate either, leading all American League catchers in putouts three times, assists twice and double plays and runners caught stealing once each. One of the biggest fan favorites in recent Yankees history, Posada has also written a children’s book and started a foundation which raises money to combat craniosynostosis, a birth defect that impedes brain development.

4. Elston Howard – He had his first professional experience with the Kansas City Monarchs, a powerhouse in the Negro Leagues, and also played baseball while he was in the Army during the Korean War. Howard became the first black player on the Yankees when he made the team out of spring training in 1955. Although Brooklyn’s “Bums” won the World Series that year, the catcher had five hits and smacked a home run in his first at-bat.

With the top player on this list still in the midst of a stellar career, Howard played first base and outfield before becoming the full-time starting catcher in 1960. He went on to earn 12 All-Star selections and two gold gloves. His best year was 1963, when he became the first African American to win the MVP Award in the American League after batting .287 with a career-high 28 homers and 85 runs batted in.

Howard’s later career was marred by injuries, including surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow and having a ball fouled off his finger. His 13-year Yankees tenure (1955-67) came to an end with a trade to the Red Sox. Howard ended his time in New York with a .279 average, 588 runs, 1,405 hits, 211 doubles, 161 home runs, 733 RBIs and 2,199 total bases in 1,492 games. He appeared in the World Series nine times with the Yankees, winning the Babe Ruth Award in 1958 and totaling 25 runs, 40 hits, five homers and 18 RBIs in 47 games.

Following his retirement after the 1968 season, Howard became the first black coach in the American League when the Yankees hired him to coach first base, and he also had several side businesses in New Jersey. He collapsed in an airport in early 1979 and was diagnosed with myocarditis (inflamed heart). Howard was moved to the front office, but his condition worsened, and he passed away less than two years later at age 51.

3. Thurman Munson – Although he was not a fan of talking to the New York media, Munson was loved by fans, coaches and teammates for his hard-nosed play, and he was named the first Yankee captain in nearly 40 years. He came out of the Army Reserve and was called up to the major league roster in 1969 and immediately showed his value throwing out would-be base stealers. He earned the Rookie of the Year Award after batting .302 the following season.

Munson developed a professional rivalry with the other premier catcher in the American League at the time, Boston’s Carlton Fisk, and the two would battle one another on the stat sheet and in the field. The Yankees star continued to improve offensively, smacking a career-best 20 home runs in 1973 and driving in at least 100 runs in three straight years. In 1976, Munson got a much-deserved MVP Award after batting .302 with 17 homers and a career-high 105 RBIs. However, in the World Series, the Yankees fell to the “Big Red Machine” and their superstar catcher, Johnny Bench.

“Tugboat” had another stellar season in 1977, but he feuded with the newest Yankee star, Reggie Jackson, as well as owner George Steinbrenner for giving Jackson a bigger contract (which was against a promise the owner made to the catcher). Although Munson and the Yankees were successful, he asked about playing for his hometown team, the Indians, while also getting his pilot’s license. On August 2, 1979, Munson and two friends went to the airport in Canton, Ohio, to practice landings. After two successful attempts, the plane hit a tree stump and burst into flames. The friends both escaped but they couldn’t get Munson unhooked from his seatbelt before the plane became completely engulfed and the catcher passed away in the incident.

Munson finished his 11-year Yankees career (1969-79) with a .292 average, 696 runs, 1,558 hits, 229 doubles, 113 home runs, 701 RBIs and 2.190 total bases in 1,423 games. He was a seven-time All-Star and a three-time gold glove winner who led the league in assists three times, double plays and caught stealing percentage twice each and also was the 1971 fielding champion. Munson played on two championship teams, amassing 19 runs, 46 hits, three home runs and 22 RBIs in 30 postseason games, and he drove in seven runs in the World Series win against the Dodgers in 1978. His name lives on in an awards banquet held annually to benefit children and adults with learning disabilities, and his locker at Yankee Stadium has never been given out to any other player.

2. Bill Dickey – He starred both on offense and defense during a 17-year career spent entirely with the Yankees (1928-43 and ’46). In a lineup that included some of the greatest players in baseball history, Dickey held his own. After a 10-game stint with New York in 1928, he reached the .300 mark the next six seasons and 11 times overall. He was also an 11-time All-Star, an impressive feat since the game was not instituted as an annual event until his sixth season.

Dickey hit .310 and drove in 84 runs in 1932, then had seven hits and drove in four runs in a sweep of the Cubs in the World Series. Later in the decade, the catcher had four straight stellar seasons with at least a .300-20-100 stat line. In 1936, he batted a career-high .362 with 107 runs batted in, and he posted a .332 average and a personal-best 133 RBIs the following year. In 1938, Dickey finished second in the MVP voting after posting a .313-27-115 line. He also singled to stop Carl Hubbell‘s historic run of five straight strikeouts of future Hall of Famers in the 1934 All-Star Game.

“The Man Nobody Knows” continued his solid play but lost two years to Naval service during World War II, most of which was spent leading his team to the Service World Series title. Dickey returned for one final season in 1946 and gave up playing time in order to manage the team. He also saw the debut of the next player on his list, as well as Elston Howard, and helped both of them develop their catching skills as a coach for several years after his playing career ended.

Dickey was tied for fifth in franchise history with a .313 average, and he ranks eighth in RBIs (1,209), ninth in games (1,789), hits (1,969) and total bases (3,062), tenth in doubles (343) and tied for tenth in triples (72). The five-time Top 10 MVP vote-getter also had 930 runs and 202 home runs. Dickey won seven titles in his eight World Series appearances, totaling 19 runs, 37 hits, five homers and 24 RBIs in 38 games. On defense, he won four fielding titles and led American League catchers in putouts six times and assists and caught stealing percentage three times each.

Dickey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954 and retired five years later after serving as a Yankees’ scout. One of the best all-around catchers in baseball history worked selling securities and passed away in 1993 at age 86. He and the next player on this list have the unique distinction of both wearing number 8 on their jerseys and both having that number retired by the Yankees.

1. Lawrence “Yogi” Berra – The son of Italian immigrants, he lived in New York across the street from best friend and future big-league catcher and broadcaster Joe Garagiola. Berra got his nickname from a movie character who was a snake charmer and he left school after eighth grade and took odd jobs that allowed him to play baseball on a regular basis. His early career was interrupted by World War II, and he was a Navy machine gunner who was on a rocket boat during the D-Day invasion and the storming of the Normandy coast in France.

Berra joined the Yankees at the end of the 1946 season spent his first few seasons in New York as a catcher and outfielder. He became a full-time backstop in 1949 when Casey Stengel came on as manager and named Dickey as the young catcher’s tutor. Berra was a free swinger long before Vladimir Guerrero, but he rarely struck out. Eventually, the catcher supplemented his hitting skills with defense and pitch-calling to become a well-rounded player.

Yogi’s statistics and accolades would be welcomed by any player at any position: 18 All-Star selections, 11 straight seasons with at least 80 runs batted in and five with 100 or better, 10 campaigns in a row with 20 or more home runs, 14 pennants, 10 championships, seven straight top five MVP finishes and three MVP Awards. After batting a career-best .322, driving in 124 runs and finishing third in the voting the year before, Berra took home his first MVP in 1951 and had six hits in a World Series victory over the Giants.

The catcher won back-to-back MVPs in 1954 (.307, 22 homers and a career-high 125 RBIs) and 1955 (.272-27-108). Despite Berra’s performances, the Yankees finished second to the record-setting Indians, then fell to the Dodgers in the World Series in those years. In 1956, he hit 30 home runs in the regular season, added three homers and 10 RBIs in the World Series and also caught Don Larsen‘s perfect game against Brooklyn in Game 5. Despite down years by his standards, Berra was a part of three more pennant-winning squads, splitting a pair of World Series against the Braves and falling to the Pirates in 1960. He was playing more in left field to give Howard a chance behind the plate over the final few years of his career.

The Yankees played in three more World Series after Ralph Houk took over for Stengel, but Berra retired and took over as manager in 1964. He finished his career fourth in games (2,166), fifth in home runs (358, including a then-record 306 as a catcher) and RBIs (1,430), seventh in total bases (3,641) and eighth in runs (1,174) and hits (2,148) to go with a .285 average and 321 doubles in 18 seasons (1946-63).

Berra played in a record 75 World Series games, batting .274 and amassing 41 runs, 71 hits, 10 doubles, 12 home runs and 39 runs batted in. Despite his early struggles behind the plate, he became an excellent defensive catcher, winning a pair of fielding titles and leading American League backstops in putouts eight times, double plays six times, and assists and runners caught stealing three times each. Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, the same year he took over as manager of the Mets.

While Berra is known for his competitiveness (and big ears), modern fans might know him more for his “Yogi-isms.” His famous lines include such sayings as “It’s déjà vu all over again,” “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” “Baseball is 90 percent mental, the other half is physical” and “It ain’t over until it’s over.” In addition, he invented some new sayings in a 2002 Aflac commercial. Berra’s nickname was given to a famous Hanna Barbara cartoon bear, and the catcher was also a spokesperson for the YooHoo chocolate drink. He passed away in 2015 at age 90.


Honorable Mentions – The wealth of talent that Yankees have amassed through the years has paid dividends for the team’s managers. New York has the best winning percentage in major league history by far and, despite sitting eighth on the all-time franchise wins list, all the teams ahead are from the National League and have played at least 20 more seasons. Clark Griffith was the first skipper to get the franchise to perform on a consistent basis. A star pitcher for the Cubs in the 1890s, Griffith joined the Highlanders as a player-manager in 1903. During his six years at the helm (1903-08), the team had three winning seasons and a pair of second place finishes. Griffith resigned his post after amassing a 419-370 record and joined the Reds in 1909. The future Hall of Famer was lured away from Cincinnati to manage in Washington and eventually became the owner of the Nationals, a post he held until his death in 1955.

Stanley “Bucky” Harris was another player and manager with Washington ties. A longtime second baseman with the Nationals, Harris took over as manager when he was just 27 years old. Washington won pennants in his first two years at the helm, including 1924, when the rookie skipper led the team to its only title in the Nation’s Capital. After stints in Detroit, Boston and Philadelphia and a second long stay in Washington, Harris came to New York in 1947 and hoped to turn around a Yankees franchise that was in turmoil after both Joe McCarthy and Bill Dickey left during the season.

In his first year, Harris led the Yankees to 97 wins and a seven-game World Series victory over the Dodgers. While New York won 94 games in 1948, the Indians were three games better and went on to win what would be their final championship to date, and the impatient Yankees fired their manager despite a 191-117 record in two seasons. Harris had one more run in Washington and a second stint with Detroit before retiring in 1956 with a 2,158-2,219 record in 29 years as a manager. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1975.

Lawrence “Yogi” Berra the manager would never have the success of Yogi Berra the player; no one would. The 10-time champion, 18-time All-Star and three-time MVP retired and led the Yankees to 99 wins and the pennant in 1964. Following a seven-game loss to the Cardinals, Berra returned to his usual spot behind the plate for four games with the Mets the next season. He went on to coach with the National League franchise until taking over as manager in 1972 after the passing of another New York legend, Gil Hodges. Although Berra led the Mets to the pennant in his second season, his time as skipper was mostly disappointing, as was his two-year stint with the Yankees in 1984-85. He was fired after just 16 games in that second season, despite New York bringing in his son, Dale, as a utility infielder. As a result, he had no contact with the team for nearly 15 years before finally reconciling with Steinbrenner in 1999. Berra was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and passed away in 2015.

Ralph Houk won two World Series and ranks fifth on the team’s managerial wins list, but his detractors will say that he led a team that was assembled by Casey Stengel. A little used catcher during Berra’s heyday, Houk took over a stacked Yankees lineup and became the first manager to win the World Series in his first two seasons. After losing to the Dodgers in 1963, he moved to the front office for the next two years and came back to the bench in 1966, but the team rarely was in contention for a playoff spot. “Major” resigned at the end of the 1973 season, leaving behind a 944-806 record and three pennants in 11 years (1961-63 and 66-73). His best campaign was his first, when the team won 109 games and toppled the Reds for the title. Houk also managed the Tigers and Red Sox, and he was the vice president of the Twins during their prosperous period in the late 1980s. He passed away in 2010 at age 90.

Bob Lemon was a stellar pitcher who was a seven-time All-Star, won 20 or more games seven times and led the Indians to the 1948 championship during his 13-year career in Cleveland. The 1976 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee had managerial stints with the Royals and White Sox before joining the Yankees to turn around the mess of egos and emotions in the late 1970s. The even-keeled Lemon got the team to respond, and the 1978 season ended with a World Series victory over the Dodgers. Owner George Steinbrenner made him general manager but took him off the bench the following year when he lost his passion for managing following the death of his son in an automobile accident. Lemon returned in 1981, leading the Yankees to the World Series in the strike-shortened season before falling to the Dodgers. He was removed again after 14 games the following year, finishing with a 99-73 overall record. Lemon passed away in 2000 at age 79.

Another of the many in the revolving door of Yankee managers, Dick Howser was a middle infielder with three teams (including New York) during a nine-year playing career. He lost his only game filling in as a manager in between Lemon and Billy Martin in 1978. Two years later, after more issues with Martin, the intense Howser returned, leading New York to 103 wins and a division title. However, the Yankees got swept by the Royals in the ALCS and several questionable coaching decisions led to Steinbrenner firing his manager after just one season. Howser spent the next six years in Kansas City, leading the Royals to a title in 1985. The following year, he had surgery to remove a malignant tumor in his brain and never managed again. In 1987, he had an experimental procedure to inject cancer-killing cells into his brain, but the procedure was not successful, and Howser passed away less than three months later.

Buck Showalter got his start as a minor league coach with the Yankees in the mid-1980s, working his way up to the major league level and eventually becoming the team’s manager in 1992. New York had an American League-leading 70 wins in 1994 when the strike ended the season early, and the following season, the young skipper led his team to the first playoff appearance in 13 years. After a loss to the Mariners in the Division Series (and a 313-268 record in four seasons from 1992-95), Showalter agreed to be the first manager in Diamondbacks history. He also spent time with the Rangers, Orioles and Mets, amassing a 1,727-1,665 record in 22 seasons.

Joe Girardi had a 15-year career as a catcher and won three titles in four seasons with the Yankees in the late 1990s. After one season in South Florida in which he won the Manager of the Year Award, he came back to New York, leading the team to 103 wins and the franchise’s most recent championship in 2009.  Girardi led the Yankees to a winning record in each of his 10 seasons at the helm (2008-17) and brought them to the playoffs six times. Following a loss to the Astros in the ALCS, he was let go with a 910-710 record, and he eventually latched on with the Phillies for three seasons. Girardi was fired in June 2022 and spent the next year and a half as a television analyst for the Cubs. He will have the same role for the Yankees on the YES Network in 2024.

Aaron Boone had a 12-year playing career that included an All-Star selection as a member of the Reds in 2003. He was traded to the Yankees later that season and had nine hits and two home runs to help the Bombers reach the World Series, where they lost to the Marlins. Boone’s biggest moment came in the ALCS when he hit a series-winning home run against the Red Sox in Game 7. He has been New York’s manager since 2018 and has led the club to a winning record each year. Although the Yankees won 103 games in 2019, they fell to the Astros in the American League Championship Series for the second time in three years. In six seasons, Boone has a 509-361 record and two trips to the ALCS.

5. Alfred “Billy” Martin – To say that the Yankees’ managerial situation was in flux throughout the first two decades of George Steinbrenner’s ownership would be an understatement. In the first 20 years of his regime, he changed managers 20 times and Martin was five of those changes. Born Alfred Pesano Jr., his mother changed their last name after his father abandoned them. He became a middle infielder and had an 11-year career, mostly with the Yankees, which included an All-Star selection in 1956. He also was a member of five championship teams in the 1950s.

Then again, Martin’s fiery personality and cockiness wore out his welcome everywhere he managed. Minnesota? Fired after just one season for arguing with ownership and questionable decision-making in the playoffs. Detroit? Fired after three years for several disagreements with management and a suspension for ordering his pitchers to throw spitballs, a pitch that had been banned for half a century at that point. Texas? He won 84 games in his first full season in 1975 and was fired the following year for underperformance despite the Rangers signing several free agents before the campaign.

Martin was only out of work for a week before the Yankees hired him. He continued the trend of winning everywhere he went until the Bombers ran into the “Big Red Machine” from Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series. The following year, the skipper feuded with his owner and Reggie Jackson, his new star player, but managed to get New York past Los Angeles and win the championship. Martin was forced to resign in July 1978 after making disparaging remarks about Steinbrenner and Jackson, was rehired the following year and fired after the season after the team failed to make the playoffs.

The manager instituted an aggressive style of play called “Billyball” when he joined Oakland in 1980, and the team made the playoffs after the strike-shortened campaign the following year. The Athletics swept the Royals in the Division Series but were swept by the Yankees in the ALCS. Martin was let go after the 1982 season for poor performance, especially with his handling of pitchers. He returned to New York and challenged a George Brett home run in a game against Kansas City that will forever be known as the “pine tar incident.”

Martin was fired again and replaced by Berra, but he returned to take over again for the Yankee legend in 1985. Despite winning 91 games and finishing in second place, he was let go once again. Martin had his jersey retired by the team the following year and Steinbrenner brought him back one more time in 1988, a stint that lasted 68 games. He finished with a 556-385 record during his Yankee tenure and a 1,253-1,013 mark over his 16-year career.

While he had quite a bit of success on the field, he made several poor decisions outside of baseball. In addition to his arguments with owners, team personnel and players, he got into fights with bar patrons, cab drivers, a couple of his players and even a marshmallow salesman. On Christmas Day 1989, Martin and a friend were on the way to his country home in Fenton, NY, near Binghamton, after a night of drinking when his pickup truck skidded off an icy road, fell down a 300-foot embankment and flipped over, with Martin passing away on impact.

4. Miller Huggins – He overcame a strict father who banned “frivolities” and his diminutive size (5-foot-6, 140 pounds) to have a 13-year playing career as a second baseman with the Reds and Cardinals. The “Mighty Mite” also was St. Louis’ manager for five seasons, four while still playing for the team. His knowledge of the game ability to organize his players caught the eye of Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, who hired him despite his co-owner, Tillinghast Huston, favoring acquiring Brooklyn skipper Wilbert Robinson.

The two owners fought over the choice of manager, with Ruppert eventually winning out and acquiring Huston’s part of the team. However, despite a solid winning percentage, the Yankees did not get to the World Series until Huggins’ fourth season. The club lost to their New York neighbors, the Giants in 1921-22 before finally winning a title with a 4-2 win the following year. Two straight lackluster seasons had Huggins on the hot seat, but the Yankees responded with three straight pennants and two titles. The 1927 team won 110 games, the second-most in franchise history, and was labeled “Murderer’s Row” for its dangerous lineup.

After another title the following year, Huggins’s body began to show effects of the pressure of being a manager under immense pressure. Late in the 1929 campaign, he developed a blotch under his left eye which became infected. Huggins didn’t finish the season. The blotch turned out to be a bacterial skin infection that spread throughout his body and, despite undergoing several blood transfusions, ended his life on September 25. “Mighty Mite” finally was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1964, 35 years after his death.

Huggins had his toughest challenge in trying to control the biggest star of the era, Babe Ruth. The “Bambino” loved a carousing and hard-partying lifestyle, would show up late for batting practice, games and team events, and used his temper and influence to get his way. Huggins responded by fining and suspending the star in 1925, trying to show him that no one player was greater than the team. When Ruppert backed up his manager, the Babe backed down, changed his ways and even apologized to Huggins.

3. Joe Torre – While Berra may have had the better playing career, Torre had the better combination of player and manager accolades. He was selected to nine All-Star Games won the 1971 MVP Award and batting title with the Cardinals and earned a gold glove with the Braves in their final season in Milwaukee in 1965. Following an 18-year run as a catcher and corner infielder, he endured managing the Mets through one of their least competitive stretches and having limited success as skipper with the Braves and Cardinals.

A Brooklyn native, Torre was hired to replace Showalter with the Yankees, a team coming off a Wild Card appearance the year before in the first season of an expanded playoff format. New York, guided by four young homegrown talents (Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera and Posada), went on to win six pennants in an eight-year stretch and take home four titles in Torre’s first five years on the bench. The 1998 squad set a franchise and American League record with 114 wins, then took out the Rangers and Indians before sweeping the overwhelmed Padres in the World Series.

Torre overcame prostate cancer the following year and the Yankees swept the Braves in the World Series. In 2000, the first Subway Series in more than 40 years took place with the Bombers beating the Mets in five games. The next two World Series appearances ended with losses to the Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Marlins two years later, and the Yankees made history in 2004 as the first team to lose a seven-game playoff series after being up 3-0, falling to the curse-breaking Red Sox.

The Yankees lost in the first round in each of Torre’s final three seasons with the club and he left after being asked to take a pay cut. He spent three seasons with the Dodgers and led them to a pair of playoff appearances before retiring from the bench in 2010 with a 2,326-1,997 record in 29 seasons as a manager, including an 1,173-767 mark in 12 seasons with the Yankees (1996-2007). Following his retirement as a manager, Torre focused on his foundations that aided women and adolescents, worked as the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball from 2011-2020 and is currently a special assistant to the Commissioner.

2. Charles “Casey” Stengel – He had a solid 14-year career as an outfielder primarily with the –Robins (later Dodgers) under the tutelage of Hall of Fame manager Wilbert Robinson. Stengel was seen as an entertainer during his time leading the Dodgers and Braves, and he also had minor league stints in Milwaukee, Kansas City and Oakland before being named a surprising choice to become the new Yankee skipper in 1949 at age 58.

Stengel would bring back a forgotten managerial strategy in the platoon system, using lineup switches for just about every player on the Yankees except for superstar Joe DiMaggio. New York averaged 98 wins in the first five years the “Old Professor” was at the helm, and the team set a record by taking home five straight championships. The Yankees won 10 pennants in 12 seasons under Stengel (1949-60) and won seven titles and three Sporting News Manager of the Year Awards. Ironically the team had its most successful season in one of those two non-pennant seasons. The Yankees won 103 games in 1954, but the Indians went to the World Series after setting a then-American League record with 111 wins.

Stengel led the Yankees to five seasons with pennants and at least 90 wins over the next six years. His 1960 season started with him being hospitalized due to chest pains and ended with a seven-game loss to the Pirates in the World Series. Stengel and co-owner Dan Topping butted heads on several issues, including the team’s instructional school that the manager set up and had helped budding stars like Mickey Mantle develop, and the “Old Professor” stepped down.

Following a Yankee career in which he posted an 1,149-696 record, he took over a new team in New York, the Mets, a hapless collection of aging former stars from Big Apple teams that floundered in its early years. Stengel was right at home as a “clown” leading the club to a 20th century record 120 losses in 1962. Eventually, aging and injuries such as a broken wrist and hip in separate falls caused him to give up managing in 1965. The following year, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee. Stengel had his number retired by the Yankees in 1970 and succumbed to lymphatic cancer in 1975 at age 85.

1. Joe McCarthy – He had to work odd jobs growing up to help his family stay afloat after his father died during a cave-in. McCarthy had a decent minor league career despite suffering a broken kneecap in a childhood baseball game, but he never got to the majors as a player. He managed the Cubs’ AA affiliate in Louisville for seven seasons before being named the skipper of the big-league club in Chicago. Under McCarthy, the Cubs won the pennant in 1929 and fell to the talented Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series.

Despite a second place finish the following year, the Cubs decided not to offer McCarthy a new contract. The Yankees quickly hired him and went on a run of success rarely seen in baseball. The New York franchise has an air of respectability, seriousness and standards that started with McCarthy’s expectations and has carried through even today with the franchise’s no facial hair policy. Under “Marse Joe,” if you were with the Yankees, you had an expectation of professionalism in public and high standards to meet on the field.

The Yankees certainly lived up to their manager’s expectations. In his 16 seasons at the helm (1931-46), McCarthy led his team to eight pennants and seven World Series titles, including four straight from 1936-39. The Bombers never had a losing season under his watch, won 90 or more games 11 times and had six 100-win seasons. In 1932, the Yankees won 107 games and swept McCarthy’s former team, the Cubs, in the World Series. In 1939, New York went 106-45 and swept the Reds for the title.

McCarthy’s Yankees fell off a bit during the latter years of World War II and he resigned in late May 1946. The manager was dealing with gallbladder issues and did not get along with new team president Larry MacPhail, who replaced the more supportive Ed Barrow. McCarthy finished his tenure in New York with a franchise-best mark of 1,460 wins and 867 losses. Two years later, he took over the rival Red Sox and led the Boston squad to a pair of seasons the ended with 96 victories and second-place finishes. McCarthy resigned in 1950 and went to his farmhouse in upstate New York, staying out of baseball except for his Hall of Fame induction by the Veteran’s Committee in 1957. He passed away from pneumonia in 1979 at age 90.

Upcoming Stories

New York Yankees Catchers and Managers
New York Yankees First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters – coming soon
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A look back at the New York Mets

New York Mets Catchers and Managers
New York Mets First and Third Basemen
New York Mets Second Basemen and Shortstops
New York Mets Outfielders
New York Mets Pitchers

A look back at the Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins Catchers and Managers
Minnesota Twins First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Minnesota Twins Second Basemen and Shortstops
Minnesota Twins Outfielders
Minnesota Twins Pitchers

A look back at the Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers Catchers and Managers
Milwaukee Brewers First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Milwaukee Brewers Second Basemen and Shortstops
Milwaukee Brewers Outfielders
Milwaukee Brewers Pitchers

A look back at the Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins Catchers and Managers
Miami Marlins First and Third Basemen
Miami Marlins Second Basemen and Shortstops
Miami Marlins Outfielders
Miami Marlins Pitchers

A look back at the Los Angeles Dodgers

A look back at the Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels Catchers and Managers
Los Angeles Angels First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Los Angeles Angels Second Basemen and Shortstops
Los Angeles Angels Outfielders
Los Angeles Angels Pitchers

A look back at the Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals Catchers and Managers
Kansas City Royals First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Kansas City Royals Second Basemen and Shortstops
Kansas City Royals Outfielders
Kansas City Royals Pitchers

A look back at the Houston Astros

Houston Astros Catchers and Managers
Houston Astros First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Houston Astros Second Basemen and Shortstops
Houston Astros Outfielders
Houston Astros Pitchers

A look back at the Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers Catchers and Managers
Detroit Tigers First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Detroit Tigers Second Basemen and Shortstops
Detroit Tigers Outfielders
Detroit Tigers Pitchers

A look back at the Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies Catchers and Managers
Colorado Rockies First and Third Basemen
Colorado Rockies Second Basemen and Shortstops
Colorado Rockies Outfielders
Colorado Rockies Pitchers

A look back at the Cleveland Guardians

Cleveland Guardians Catchers and Managers
Cleveland Guardians First and Third Basemen and Designated Hitters
Cleveland Guardians Second Basemen and Shortstops
Cleveland Guardians Outfielders
Cleveland Guardians Pitchers

A look back at the Cincinnati Reds

A look back at the Chicago White Sox

Chicago Cubs Catchers and Managers
Chicago Cubs First and Third Basemen
Chicago Cubs Second Basemen and Shortstops
Chicago Cubs Outfielders
Chicago Cubs Pitchers

A look back at the Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Catchers and Managers
Boston Red Sox First and Third Basemen
Boston Red Sox Second Basemen and Shortstops
Boston Red Sox Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Boston Red Sox Pitchers

A look back at the Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles Catchers and Managers
Baltimore Orioles First and Third Basemen
Baltimore Orioles Second Basemen and Shortstops
Baltimore Orioles Outfielders and Designated Hitters
Baltimore Orioles Pitchers

A look back at the Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Catchers and Managers
Atlanta Braves First and Third Basemen
Atlanta Braves Second Basemen and Shortstops
Atlanta Braves Outfielders
Atlanta Braves Pitchers

A look back at the Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks Catchers and Managers
Arizona Diamondbacks First and Third Basemen
Arizona Diamondbacks Second Basemen and Shortstops
Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielders
Arizona Diamondbacks Pitchers

Main Image: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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