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Analysis

Yankees: What Are The Best Uniform Numbers In Franchise History?

Yankees
Source: Getty Images

#9: Hank Bauer, Roger Maris, Graig Nettles

While no Yankee to wear #9 has been elected to the Hall of Fame (other than Joe DiMaggio, who only wore the number for one season), Bauer, Maris, and Nettles all hold a significant place in Yankees history.

Hank Bauer spent 12 years with the Yankees from 1948-1959, but only wore #9 for his final eight seasons with the team. Within those eight years, Bauer put together a stretch of three straight All-Star Game appearances from 1952-1954, also finishing in the top 23 in MVP voting every year from 1952-1956. In his eight years wearing #9, Bauer slashed .272/.342/.444 with 999 hits, 124 home runs, and 476 RBIs. Of the seven World Series titles he won as a player, four of them came during those eight years he wore #9 for the Yankees. He would also go on to win the World Series as the manager of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles following his retirement.

Roger Maris took ownership of #9 in 1960 after Bauer’s departure from the team in 1959. He would spend seven years in the Bronx, though his first two years would be the most memorable. In Maris’ first year with the team in 1960, he slashed .283/.371/.581 with 39 home runs in 136 games. His 112 RBIs and .581 slugging percentage led the American League, and he won the American League MVP. Maris’ 1961 season would truly be one for the record books, as he famously bested teammate and fan-favorite Mickey Mantle in the home run chase, with his 61 home runs breaking the single-season record set by Babe Ruth in 1927. In addition to his 61 home runs, Maris’ 132 runs and 366 total bases led all of baseball, and his 141 RBIs led the American League. He would go on to put together five more solid seasons in pinstripes, but none as impressive as his first two seasons. He won two World Series titles with the Yankees in 1961 and 1962, then won another title with the Cardinals in 1967.

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Graig Nettles was the next notable Yankee to wear #9, as the 22-year veteran spent 11 years of his career donning #9 for the Bombers. Known for being a defensive stalwart at the hot corner, Nettles took care of matters with the bat as well, slashing .253/.329/.433 with 250 home runs and 834 RBIs over his 11 years in the Bronx. He was named to the All-Star team five times, and his 32 home runs in 1976 led the American League. Nettles was a key component of the Yankees’ World Series-winning teams in 1977 and 1978, winning a Gold Glove each year and finishing 5th and 6th in American League MVP voting in those years, respectively.

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