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Pride of the Yankees

The Yankees are in town this week, so we take today to look back at the greatest franchise in the history of sports.

They've won 26 championships, and their all-time roster is loaded with a who's who of baseball superstars. We look at the best moments in franchise history — and a few of the worst. We give you our selections of the best players, in order, to ever wear the famed pinstripes and our all-time Yankees roster.

Greatest players

Our picks, in order, for the 10 greatest players in Yankees history.

1. Babe Ruth: Founding father of greatest team in sports history.

2. Joe DiMaggio: They wrote songs about the guy.

3. Lou Gehrig: A lifetime .340 batting average. Ridiculous.

4. Mickey Mantle: Three MVPs and 16

all-star appearances.

5. Derek Jeter: Heart and soul of current dynasty. Hasn't missed the postseason in

12 seasons!

6. Yogi Berra: Three MVP awards and 10 World Series titles.

7. Bill Dickey: Won seven World Series and caught record 38 World Series games.

8. Whitey Ford: Best starting pitcher in franchise history.

9. Mariano Rivera: Most dominant closer in baseball history.

10. Reggie Jackson: Only wore pinstripes for five seasons but earned Mr. October nickname with postseason heroics.

Five worst

moments

1. Catcher Thurman Munson killed at age 32 in 1979 plane crash.

2. Pitcher Carl Mays accidentally kills Indians' Ray Chapman with a pitch in 1920.

3. Pirates' Bill Mazeroski hits homer in bottom of the ninth of Game 7 to beat Yankees in 1960 World Series.

4. Yankees become first MLB team to blow a 3-0 series lead and lose 2004 ALCS to hated Red Sox.

5. Mariano Rivera gives up two runs in bottom of the ninth in Game 7 to lose 2001 World Series to Arizona.

The Yankees'

ultimate lineup and 25-man

roster

Starting lineup

Catcher: Yogi Berra

First base: Lou Gehrig

Second base: Tony Lazzeri

Shortstop: Derek Jeter

Third base: Graig Nettles

Rightfield: Babe Ruth

Centerfield: Joe

DiMaggio

Leftfield: Mickey Mantle

Reserves

Catcher: Bill Dickey

Infielders: Don Mattingly, Joe Gordon, Phil Rizzuto, Alex Rodriguez

Outfielders: Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Bernie Williams

Starting rotation

Whitey Ford

Ron Guidry

Lefty Gomez

Red Ruffing

Andy Pettitte

Bullpen

Goose Gossage

Sparky Lyle

Dave Righetti

Mariano Rivera

MANAGER

Casey Stengel

10 greatest moments in Yankees history
The luck of the Bambino

The Yankees had never won a world title when they bought Babe Ruth, the best player in baseball, from the Red Sox heading into the 1920 season. That all changed with Ruth. During Ruth's 15 seasons with the Yankees, he led the league in homers 10 times and the Yankees won seven pennants and four world titles.

Reggie, Reggie, Reggie

Facing three pitchers. Taking three swings. Crushing three home runs. The controversial Reggie "Straw That Stirs The Drink'' Jackson capped the zany 1977 Bronx Zoo season and helped deliver the Yankees' first world title since 1962 with three homers in the deciding sixth game of the World Series against the Dodgers.

56 straight games

On May 15, 1941, Joe DiMaggio went 1-for-4 against the White Sox and thus began, perhaps, the greatest record in the history of baseball. Not until 56 games later, on July 17, did DiMaggio play in a game and not get a hit — and it took two stellar defensive plays to snap the streak. How impressive is it? Only 23 players have had a streak of at least 30 games since then, and the closest anyone has come is Pete Rose with

44 games — still a dozen games shy — in 1978.

61*

In 1961, the American League expanded from eight teams to 10 and from 154 games per team to 162. All season, teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris chased Babe Ruth's record of 60 homers in a season. Mantle eventually faded, hitting 54, but Maris continued his assault. After 154 games, Maris had 59 homers. Finally, in the last game of the season, Maris hit No. 61. Commissioner Ford Frick said that an asterisk would be placed next to Maris' record because he didn't break it in 154 games.

The Perfect Game

Don Larsen was a mediocre pitcher. He was 81-91 with seven teams over 14 seasons. But on Oct. 8, 1956, he delivered what must be considered the greatest pitching performance of all time. He is one of 17 pitchers to ever throw a perfect game. But Larsen is the only one to ever do it on baseball's biggest stage — the World Series. Seeing catcher Yogi Berra jump into Larsen's arms after the last out is one of baseball's lasting images.

Deep to left

On July 19, 1978, the Yankees trailed the rival Red Sox by 14 games in the AL East. The Yankees caught the Sox, went ahead then had to duke it out in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park. Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent, who would hit only 40 homers in 12 seasons, lifted a three-run homer over the Green Monster to spark the Yankees to the victory and, ultimately, their second straight world title.

It could be … it is … gone

The great Yankees had gone 12 years without reaching the World Series — their longest drought since before they acquired Babe Ruth — when they played the Royals in the fifth and deciding game of the 1976 ALCS. In the bottom of the ninth inning of a tied game, Chris Chambliss lined a Mark Littell pitch into the rightfield stands and sent the Yankees to the World Series for the first time since 1962.

King George buys the Yankees

In early 1973, shipbuilder George Steinbrenner led a group of investors that bought the struggling Yankees from CBS for $10-million. With free agency on the horizon, not only did Steinbrenner change the Yankees, he changed Major League Baseball by spending whatever it took to field a winner. Love him or hate him, the Yankees continued to be the premier sports team under his ownership.

Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth

Those 13 words are not only the most famous ever spoken in baseball history, but showed the courage of one of baseball's true greats. Lou Gehrig spoke those words on July 4, 1939, not only as he was ending his baseball career but dying from the disease that would claim his life and bear his name less than two years later.

The dynasty

Okay, so it's not really one moment, but how can you put together a list of great Yankees moments and not talk about winning five consecutive World Series titles from 1949 to 1953? Think of the names — Mickey, Yogi, Whitey. And think of this: No other team has ever won five consecutive World Series.



10 greatest moments in Yankees history

Pride of the Yankees 05/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2008 10:39am]

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