The Yankees have an illustrious history of captains in their franchise history, so let’s take a look at the past, present, and future of the role.
The New York Yankees have a long and illustrious line of great captains. From their first Captain, Hall of Famer Clark Griffith all the way to Derek Jeter, The captain title means something. Not only are you the leader and captain of one of the greatest sports teams in history, but you also are the heart and soul to keep your teammates going.
Which brings us to the question, Who should be the next captain of the New York Yankees? Before we answer that let’s go through the history of some of the greatest Yankee captains and what they meant to the organization.
Its safe to say that any person, baseball fan or not, knows the name Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth joined the Yankees in 1920 after serving a six-season tenure under the Boston Red Sox. In 1922, Ruth is named the captain for the Yankees. Ruth would go onto be captain for years……no I’m kidding, he lasted Five days. After arguing a call at second base and throwing dirt into the umpire’s face, Babe Ruth would be ejected and fined a whopping 200 dollars. On his way out of the stadium, Ruth would also get into a fight with a fan. Classic Babe wasn’t the best captain for the Yankees and dare I say, may have been the worst.
Henry Louis Gehrig is another Yankee great to be given the honor of captain. Gehrig played from 1923 to 1939. In that span from 1925 to 1938 he played in 2,130 consecutive games. He did this until his body couldn’t go anymore. In his last 4 years as a major leaguer, Gehrig was graced with the Yankee captain role.
The Iron Horse is the definition of a Yankee leader, A Yankee great and A Yankee legend. The luckiest man on the face of the earth was deserving captain in every sense of the word.
Before I begin, I must say my father instilled in me at a young age that Thurman Munson is the greatest baseball player to ever play the game (his opinion). So I’m biased to say Thurman Munson is one of the best captains to grace this list. Munson accomplished amazing things in his 10-year career. AL Rookie of the Year in 1970,
AL MVP in 1976, Three-time Gold Glove and seven All-Star appearances.
The most interesting fact here is that Munson, from the list of all the people I presented to you, is the only one to not be in the hall of fame (or will be inducted). The main reason Munson wouldn’t be inducted would be his untimely death in 1979. Munson solidified his role as team leader in 1976 and would take the rivalry with the Red Sox to the next level with his feud with Carlton Fisk.
Throughout this article, the word captain has been tied to one man. Not Ruth, not Gehrig and not Munson. Derek Jeter IS the Yankees captain. Having the longest tenure as captain at 11 years, Derek Jeter did something that all these Yankee greats never did. Jeter was the hands down leader of the Yankees from 2003 to 2014.
In Jeter’s illustrious 20 year career, he would end with a .310 average and be a 14-time all-star. Some of the greatest New York Yankees highlights feature number two in all his glory. The cutoff throw against the Oakland Athletics in 2001, the diving catch into the crowd against the Red Sox. Jeter was a constant professional and the only man in the last 20 years to represent the Yankees. Derek Jeter is THE captain, but can anyone take his place as the leader in the Bronx?
The Passing of the Torch
The history of the Yankee captains is a line of great men. Is there anyone on the current roster that can take the mantle? The simple answer is….yes. There is only one man that can do that. A man that is here for the long haul and is a constant professional on and off the field.
That man is Aaron James Judge. He is the obvious choice to take over for Derek Jeter. If everything in the Yankees organization goes according to plan, Aaron Judge will be a Yankee for a long long time. Judge already has his chambers so its about time he gets his captains role as well.
Sure others could be considered but deep down there is no better answer then “The Judge”. In my prediction, in the next two to three years, the Yankees will finally name a new captain and Judge will be the leader and heart of the New York Yankees.