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Analysis

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

Yankees
Source: Getty Images

#24: Rickey Henderson, Tino Martinez, Robinson Cano, Gary Sanchez

Rickey Henderson enjoyed a 25 year MLB career, and while the all-time stolen base leader is most known for his stints with the Athletics, his time with the Yankees shouldn’t be overlooked either. Henderson spent parts of five seasons with the Yankees, coming over in a trade from Oakland before the 1985 season. The speedster racked up 326 stolen bases in his 596 games with the Yankees, swiping 80 or more bags in three of his four full seasons in the Bronx. He led all of baseball in runs in 1985 and 1986, scoring 146 and 130 runs those two years, respectively. He also batted upwards of .290 three times, only missing the mark in his disappointing 1987 season. Henderson was dealt back to Oakland in June of 1989.

The next significant Yankee to wear #24, Tino Martinez was dealt from the Mariners to the Bombers before the 1996 season. He was to fill the shoes of Don Mattingly at first base, and at first fans were skeptical, but to say Martinez delivered would be an understatement. He won four World Series titles in his six years with the team and was a key offensive producer for them every year. Overall, Martinez slashed .279/.348/.488 with 175 home runs and 690 RBIs across his six years with the team. His best year came in 1997, when he hit 44 home runs with 141 RBIs, slashing .296/.371/.577 and finishing 2nd in American League MVP voting. He was named to the All-Star team for the second time in his career. Martinez signed with the Cardinals after the Yankees’ 2001 World Series loss to the Diamondbacks, but eventually spent one last season in pinstripes in 2005 before retiring.

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Robinson Cano wore #14 and #22 when he was first called up in 2005, but went on to wear #24 for the next eight seasons he would spend in the Bronx. Cano progressed from a skinny slap-hitting second baseman to a power-hitting middle of the order bat during his time with the Yankees. After serving as the team’s everyday second baseman during their 2009 World Series-winning season, he broke out in 2010, slashing .319/.381/.534 and slugging 29 home runs with 109 RBIs. He finished 3rd in AL MVP voting and also won a Gold Glove at second base. Cano would go on to spend three more years with the Bombers before signing a 10 year, $240 million contract with the Mariners after the 2013 season. In his eight years wearing #24 for the Yankees, he slashed .310/.359/.510 with 1,494 hits, 190 home runs, 760 RBIs, and 555 extra-base hits.

Following Cano’s departure, Gary Sanchez has followed as the next slugger in line to wear #24. After appearing in three games at the end of 2015 and the start of 2016, Sanchez was recalled in August 2016 and went on an absolute tear with the bat in the two months before the season ended. He finished 2016 with a .299/.376/.657 slash line and 20 home runs and 42 RBIs, absurd numbers to post in only 53 games. His late-season surge was impressive enough to get his name thrown around in American League Rookie of the Year talks, though he eventually finished second overall in voting as Tigers hurler Michael Fulmer took home the award. Other than a disappointing 2018, during much of which he was injured, Sanchez has only continued to improve offensively in his time in the majors since 2016.

Through the end of the 2019 season, “El Gary” has slugged 105 home runs and driven in 262 runs over his 372 career games and has improved defensively behind the plate as well. In August 2019, his blast off of Dodgers pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu made him the fastest player in American League history to hit 100 home runs, doing so in his 355th game. He will look to continue to cement his legacy as the next great player to wear #24 for the Yankees once baseball finally returns.

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