BRONX, N.Y. — The 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot features eight players with ties to the New York Yankees. Among the first-year eligibles on the ballot are 2009 World Series members, Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett. Yet, short of a drastic shift in opinions regarding alleged PED users such as Roger Clemens and Gary Sheffield, it’s not likely the Yankees will have a player enshrined in Cooperstown for a third consecutive year.
So, when is the next best chance for a former Yankee to attain baseball immortality?
It’s a ways off but if next year’s in-person induction also gets nixed by the coronavirus, we could theoretically have Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez sharing the stage in 2022. A-Rod, who played parts of a dozen seasons in the Bronx, earned two MVP’s here and helped win the 2009 World Series. Also potentially joining those two could be Mark Teixeira. Teixeira spent parts of eight seasons in pinstripes, winning the 2009 crown, along with the home run title, gold glove, silver slugger, and MVP runner-up that season.
Will A-Rod overcome getting banged for PED? Did injuries hamper Tex’s chances too much?
Carlos Beltran is the lone player with Yankee ties in 2023. Once regarded as a logical heir-apparent to Bernie Williams, it wasn’t until 2014 that Beltran made his way to the Bronx side of New York. Playing parts of three seasons in pinstripes, Beltran was essentially on his last legs. His postseason stats could potentially place him over the top. Yet, he was part of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal with the Houston Astros, so who knows?
Bartolo Colon and Matt Holliday both spent a New York minute in the Bronx. Colon in 2011. Holliday in 2017. Colon had a nice first half in pinstripes and then looked like he was running out of gas, only to pitch for eight more seasons. This assumes Colon doesn’t make a comeback in 2021 but he probably won’t make it based on his PED connection as well. Holliday also had a splendid first half of 2017 and pumped up the offense before fading late. Holliday likely comes up a bit short as well, despite some impressive credentials.
This is where it gets really fun and most likely for a HOF inductee. As former Yankees are concerned, CC Sabathia headlines the group. Assuming he doesn’t make another comeback, Ichiro Suzuki is also a first-ballot lock. Joining those two are Melky Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Brian McCann, Mark Reynolds, and Troy Tulowitzki.
Sabathia spent 11 seasons in the Bronx and helped lead the 2009 team to a title with an ALCS MVP. Ichiro spent parts of three seasons in pinstripes from 2012-14 and hit .353 in the 2012 ALCS.
McCann, who spent parts of three seasons in New York from 2014-16, appeared to be on a HOF arc before fading somewhat into his 30’s. Granderson, who smacked 115 home runs from 2010-13 with New York, had a stellar career on the field and was a superb ambassador off the field.
Cabrera was a homegrown Yankee, playing in the Bronx from 2005-09. He was part of the 2009 World Series team, hitting .391 in the ALCS and he also hit for the cycle that season. Cabrera’s PED past doesn’t likely help his razor-thin chance though. Reynolds was a feast or famine player who hit six home runs in 36 contests during a forgettable 2013 season in the Bronx. Once upon a time, Tulowitzki was thought to be a potential successor to Jeter but it wasn’t until 2019 that he found his way to the Bronx, hitting one home run in five games. Tulowitzki was on a HOF trajectory but injuries likely derailed his train to Cooperstown.
On the current roster, certainly Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu (can we re-sign him already?), Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Aroldis Chapman, all have potential but a long way to go with a lot of variables that could break either way.