It’s no secret that the Yankees have had more than their fair share of legendary players, but which uniform numbers have been donned by multiple star Yankees?
Ever since the 1929 Yankees became the first team to put numbers on the back of their uniforms, uniform numbers have become an integral part of the game, not only helping fans with player identification but also giving players a chance to forever have that number associated with them. With only 100 numbers available to choose from, and having fielded nearly 2,000 players in their over 100 years of existence, the Yankees have recycled nearly every single uniform number through multiple players, with the 74 players who wore #26 for the franchise being the most to wear any single number.
Each number has its own significance and connections to different players throughout history. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some uniform numbers that have grazed the backs of multiple legendary Yankees.
The only number that the team has retired twice (other than #42 for Mariano Rivera and Jackie Robinson), Berra and Dickey had a lot more in common than just the number on their backs. Not only are the two of them the Yankees’ all-time leaders for rWAR among catchers (59.5 and 57.3, respectively), they rank #6 and #7 among all catchers in rWAR, trailing only Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Ivan Rodriguez, Carlton Fisk and Mike Piazza.
Dickey was the team’s primary catcher from 1928-1943, with his best stretch coming from 1936-1939 when he slashed .326/.415/.565 with 102 home runs and 460 RBIs over 512 games. He was an All-Star and finished in the top six in American League MVP voting all four of these years. After missing the 1944 and 1945 seasons to serve in World War II, Dickey returned to play 54 games in 1946 before retiring. He won eight World Series titles as a player and would go on to win another six as a manager and coach. One of his teammates on that 1946 team was the rookie Berra, who took over the catching duties once Dickey retired.
With Dickey’s help, Berra quickly became a household name and a force to be reckoned with, both with the bat and behind the dish. He was named to the All-Star team every single year in a 15 year stretch with the Yankees from 1948-1962 and was named American League MVP three times, in 1951, 1954 and 1955. After his 18 year career with the Yankees, Berra played four games with the Mets in 1965 before retiring. In his 2,120 games, Berra slashed .285/.348/.482 with 358 home runs and 1,430 RBIs. His 1,430 RBIs are the most of any catcher all-time, and his 10 World Series rings are the most of any player in MLB history.