NEW YORK - APRIL 13: Gary Sheffield #11 of the New York Yankees strikes out against the Kansas City Royals during their game at Yankee Stadium April 13, 2006 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Royals 9-3. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
On the 2019 Hall of Fame Ballot, there are 13 players with connections to the New York Yankees and 14 if one counts Fred McGriff, who was drafted by the organization. We all know the guys with the best shot of attaining immortality, Mariano Rivera, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte but what about the rest?
Lance Berkman: Fat Elvis spent 37 games and a handful of postseason contests with the 2010 squad. Berkman did homer in the 2010 ALDS against the Minnesota Twins but his best years were spent with the Houston Astros and he even had a renaissance with the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. I don’t see him making it but the first time candidate certainly has stats which could keep him on the ballot beyond this year.
Roger Clemens: Rocket would be in the Hall of Fame already if not for performance-enhancing allegations. Much like Barry Bonds with the Pittsburgh Pirates, had Clemens simply stopped playing after his Boston Red Sox days, his numbers would still probably be good enough to get in eventually. Spending parts of seven seasons in the Bronx, Clemens helped the Yankees win two World Series titles, four AL pennants and earned the 2001 Cy Young Award. Look for Clemens to linger longer for another year.
Freddy Garcia: Known for his heavy sinker with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox, Garcia was a pleasant surprise with the 2011 club and pitched two seasons in New York. Garcia was a solid innings eater on the backend of the rotation and pitched to a 3.62 ERA during that campaign. This marks Garcia’s first time on the ballot and perhaps his last.
Travis Hafner: Pronk played on a forgettable Yankees squad in 2013, had a nice April and then basically ran out of gas. Hafner swatted 12 home runs in pinstripes. Hafner was known mostly for his playing days with the Cleveland Indians, smacking 42 home runs in 2006. This also marks Hafner’s first time on the ballot and most likely his last.
Andruw Jones: Known more for a career which appeared to have a surefire Hall of Fame trajectory with the Atlanta Braves, Jones rounded out his career with the Yankees. Spending two seasons in the Bronx, Jones smacked 27 home runs between 2011 and 2012 in a mostly platoon role. In his second year on the ballot, I would suspect Jones will remain on but his post-Braves playing days certainly leave voters wanting more.
Ted Lilly: Pitching for six teams across 15 seasons, Lilly spent parts of three seasons with the Yankees from 2000-02. Lilly recorded a 10-strikeout game against the Red Sox in 2001 and an 11-strikeout game against the San Diego Padres in 2002 but was unfortunately traded for Jeff Weaver. This marks his first time on the ballot and most likely the last.
Derek Lowe: Lowe was a gamer with a rubber arm pitching mostly with Boston, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta. Lowe was about at the end of his rope with the Yankees picked him up off the scrap heap from the Indians in August of 2012. Lowe wasn’t terrible, wasn’t spectacular and pitched to a 3.04 ERA in 17 games out of the pen with New York. His first time on the ballot will likely be his last.
Gary Sheffield: Like Clemens, Sheffield would probably be in if not for alleged performance-enhancing allegations. Sheffield slugged 509 career home runs and won a World Series title with the 1997 Florida Marlins. One could argue the Yankees should’ve signed Vladimir Guerrero instead in the 2003-04 offseason but there was no debating Sheffield’s toughness and tenacity while in the Bronx from 2004-06. Sheff boasted two All-Star campaigns in pinstripes, smashing more than 30 home runs in 2004 and 2005, nearly killing third base coach Larry Bowa in the process. His fifth year on the ballot, Sheffield’s stats will more than likely keep the five-tool player on the ballot for the foreseeable future.
Vernon Wells: Most known as a doubles machine and a gold glove center fielder with the Toronto Blue Jays, Wells rounded out his career with the Yankees in 2013. Much like Hafner, Wells got off to a solid start in the Bronx for about the first two months but ultimately ran out of gas, hitting 11 home runs on the campaign. This is Wells’ first time on the ballot and his long and solid career reminds me of Jones to a certain extent.
Kevin Youkilis: Youkilis’ crowning achievement in pinstripes was convincing the Yankees to pay him $12 million dollars to play there in 2013. Youkilis played 28 mostly forgettable games with the Yankees and hit two home runs before becoming injured early in the season. The former third baseman did most of his damage with Boston. This is Youkilis’ first time on the ballot and likely his only.
Fred McGriff: McGriff was a draft choice of the Yankees in 1981 and was dealt to the Blue Jays for Tom Dodd and Dale Murray in a brutal 1980’s type deal. On his tenth and final year on the ballot, McGriff was a model of consistency in his 19-year career. McGriff, a five-time All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, earned three silver slugger awards, two home run crowns and a World Series title in 1995 with the Braves. If you’re of the opinion that round numbers matter, the baseball strike probably cost McGriff 500 home runs, as he ended up with 493 on his career.