I suggested on Twitter that Jorge Posada is the most underrated Yankee by Yankees fans of all-time, and received a multitude of responses on the subject. Posada is one of the 3 best catchers of the last 15 years and is a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate, but I find that many Yankees fans just see him as a solid player who was fortunate enough to play on good teams. Here are some other nominations for the most underrated Yankee:

@Cephster: Jimmy Key you almost never hear about him

@rstowe75: Bernie Williams

@eddieperez23: I’d say ARod.

@AndrewLeighNYC: it goes back a ways but Maris, with the tepid support during the HR chase and the Mantle-worshiping

@pmarchione: Mussina

@AndyNY2: Believe it or not, Yogi is underrated. He is revered, but the myths and malapropisms seem to obscure his on-field greatness.

@amolmodi: I’d go with Willie Randolph or Roy White

@Nebkreb: In a way, I think a lot of fans don’t realize how great Gehrig was. Always overshadowed by Babe

@Titan4Ever2488: In a weird way, I think DiMaggio. Obviously revered, but I think he gets obscured by the love affair with Mantle.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these suggestions? Are there others who were not brought up?

17 Responses to “Discussion: Most Underrated Yankee By Yankees Fans”

  1. (more or less reposting a comment I left on the RAB Posada thread this morning)

    I agree on Posada, and I figure it’s because the Yankee tradition of great catchers has led to an impossibly high standard for them.

    Consider that there have been fifteen catchers ever (“catcher” here is defined as at least 70% of games played at catcher) to accumulate 40 bWAR. Ten of those fifteen accumulated 40+ bWAR while wearing one uniform, thus making the “catching tradition” of a particular franchise. Of those ten, four were Yankees (Dickey, Berra, Munson, Posada). No other team has more than one. The other teams are Cincinnati (Bench), Chicago Cubs (Hartnett), Detroit (Bill Freehan), St. Louis (Ted Simmons), Texas (Pudge), and Montreal/Washington (Gary Carter). That list excludes guys like Piazza and Carlton Fisk, who are associated with multiple teams.

    Add to that Posada playing alongside other first-ballot HOFers, and you have the perfect recipe for being overlooked.  (Quote)

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  2. Bobby Richardson.  (Quote)

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  3. I’m going with Bernie Williams. He was overshadowed for a very long time by Griffey, but Bernie had just as much to do with the 90s dyansty as Jeter, Pettitte, Jorge, or Mariano. His skills were really about getting on base, but he was in his prime before we all started to value OBP like we do now. He deserves consideration for the HOF.  (Quote)

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  4. It’s a good question and I don’t know the answer off the top of my head. If we’re just naming candidates though, I’ll throw Graig Nettles out there. He was a very important member of those 70’s championship teams that tends to be overlooked. He didn’t have the flash of Reggie, wasn’t the team leader like Thurman, and doesn’t have the one hit that Chambliss had that has been played over and over. He also was maybe hurt by being a low BA guy in an era when BA was seen as a lot more important than it is today and had the misfortune of playing in an era with some of the best all-time 3B: Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, George Brett and Pete Rose. He was a helluva player though — a real slugger and one of the best defensive 3B I’ve ever seen. If his career hadn’t overlapped with Brooks Robinson, he might have won 10 gold gloves. He racked up 60+ WAR over his career, trailing Yogi only by .3 WAR for whatever its worth. And in his best year (1976), he had 7.4 WAR which trailed only George Brett yet he finished 16 in MVP voting with 3 Yankees (Munson, Rivers, & Chambliss) getting more votes. I think you could make an argument that he barely misses being a top ten 3B of alltime yet you don’t hear the same kind of love and admiration for him that you hear for Munson, Mattingly, Jeter or even Posada.  (Quote)

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  5. I would put Jason Giambi into the mix.

    Mike Mussina and Willie R are other good ones.

    If we can go really old school, then Gil McDougald.  (Quote)

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  6. Earle Combs is far an away the most underrated Yankee all time. No one else comes close.  (Quote)

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  7. I suspect that if you suggest Graig Nettles, you grew up in the 70s while if you suggest Earl Combes, there’s a chance you’re a bit older. Given the level of subjectivity inherent in this discussion, those are probably fair assumptions.

    Since I fall into the former age-group, I’d have to go with Randolph. Rarely do my contemperaries cite Willie (to be honest, neither do I; I was a huge Munson and Guidry fan) as being the main cog in those championship teams – but he should be cited, given his overall value. And in order to be underrated there needs to be a gap between one’s actual value and the perception of one’s value. Randolph’s cumulative WAR numbers are comparable to some of the top second-basemen of all-time, maybe the top couple of hundred players of all time. I am pretty certain that he is not perceived that way. (If memory serves, Rob Neyer might have made this point recently in a post about Alomar, so maybe I’m just unconsciously plagiarizing.)

    The other Yankee from that era that I like to think of as underrated is Roy White, but only because it offends me as a Yankee fan that Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame and Roy…well, he’ll need to buy a ticket to get in.  (Quote)

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  8. Of the last 15 years, I’d say it was either Posada or Moose.

    Of the mid 90s “Showalter” Yankees (which overlapped considerably into ’96), I’d say Jimmy Key.

    Of the last 30-35 years, I’d say it’s got to be Willie Randolph.

    All time? This is tough. Position players I would say Bill Dickey, who is sort of sitting in Berra’s long (and still living) shadow and Tony Lazzeri. But how about Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez? Admittedly the Yanks are best known for their lumber, but it seems to me that fans completely ignore any pitcher before Whitey Ford (and after ignore everyone until Gator). So many fans are trying to put Pettite into the HoF for his 5 rings, and yet don’t know anything about these two HoF pitchers who preceded him (with a bunch of bling of their own).  (Quote)

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  9. Tommy John, EL Duque, Sparky Lyle, Bob Turley to name a few.

    I don’t know how Yogi can be underrated , he won 3 MVP awards, has a monument is worshipped at every Yankee event and is in the HOF.
    Maris was a terrific RF’er, with a fine arm and was a good base runner, probably the best RF’er in the American league in those days behind Al Kaline. I don’t know how he could have been underrated because of Mantle, Mantle batted behind him and protected him, made him much better .
    What’s lost in the Maris story was he injured a hand and the Yankee Dr.s couldn’t find anything wrong.The press started calling him a malingerer , intimating he was faking an injury because he had ‘lost” it but then when he was traded to the Cards, it was determined he had a hairline fracture in his hand that didn’t show up in Yankees X-rays.He recovered form it and had some decent seasons with the Cards.
    Smoking 2 packs of unfiltered cigarettes every day for 12-14 years, I’m sure didn’t lengthen his career.  (Quote)

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    mister d Reply:

    I think Yogi can be and may be underrated because while adored by Yankee fans, it is debateable how many of them love him because of what he IS (a Yankee Symbol and Colorful Character), and how many actually understand just how great he was on the field.  (Quote)

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  10. Do you mean underrated at the time or underrated now? It’s hard to know how players from before we were aware of such things were rated when they played. I think a lot of Yankee players from the past are pretty overrated by Yankee fans. I do agree that a lot of current fans rate Bernie way below where he belongs, and quite a few do the same for Posada.  (Quote)

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  11. David Cone  (Quote)

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  12. If you are in the HOF it is hard to be considered under rated. With that in mind I’ll go with Bob Meusel , Allie Reynolds, Gil McDougald, Roy White, Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles and Jorge Posada. These guys are under rated by Yankees fans. Don Mattingly, Mike Mussina, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson, Bernie Williams & Roger Maris are under rated by baseball fans.  (Quote)

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  13. No one ever mentions Jerry Kenney

    –Probably for good reason.

    Danny Cater was also special, and not in the way that requires a short bus.

    But overall, I would say Bob Meusel.  (Quote)

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  14. Randolph, Nettles, and Roy White all of whom Bill James has argued could/should be HOF’ers. White of course had the disadvantage of burning up the best of his career during the Dark Age of Yankee history. During his career I thought that Nettles was a no-brainer, Bill James opened my eyes on Randolph.  (Quote)

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