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Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees: How they match up all-time. Really.

Martin Fennelly: Our analysis reveals that position-by-position, the Yankees have an edge on Rays all-time.
Centerfielders Carl Crawford (then of the Tampa Bay Rays) and  Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees. [Times files/Associated Press]
Centerfielders Carl Crawford (then of the Tampa Bay Rays) and Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees. [Times files/Associated Press] [ [Times files/Associated Press] ]
Published Sep. 24, 2019|Updated Sep. 24, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Yankees are in town for a big two-game series for the Rays, at least it is for the Rays. There have been big Yankees-Rays series before, pressure-packed, like in 2010, or 2011, Game 162, probably the biggest game in the rivalry, at least it is for the Rays.

The Yankees arrive with nothing to prove, having already won 102 games. It’s the kind of confident nonchalance that comes from 40 pennants and 27 world championships. The Rays continue to work on it.

But it got me to thinking.

How do the Yankees and Rays matchup, position by position, all time?

Let’s get to it.

From left: Casey Stengel, manager of the New York Mets, player Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, manager of the New York Yankees, at Shea Stadium in New York, Aug. 24, 1964. Berra, one of baseball's greatest characters and a mainstay on 10 Yankees championship teams, died on Sept. 22, 2015 at age 90. (Larry C. Morris/The New York Times)
From left: Casey Stengel, manager of the New York Mets, player Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, manager of the New York Yankees, at Shea Stadium in New York, Aug. 24, 1964. Berra, one of baseball's greatest characters and a mainstay on 10 Yankees championship teams, died on Sept. 22, 2015 at age 90. (Larry C. Morris/The New York Times)

Catcher: Dioner Navarro vs. Yogi Berra

Navarro was clutch backstop on 2008 Rays, hitting .295 with seven homers and 54 RBIs. Berra won 10 World Series rings, more than any other player, and was AL MVP three times. Edge: Yankees.

First base: Carlos Pena vs. Lou Gehrig

The fun-loving Pena hit 46 homers and drove in 127 runs for the Rays in 2007. He had two stints in Tampa Bay. Gehrig was a Hall of Fame, a career .340 hitter who played on six world champions. He also was known for his endurance, playing in a then-record 2,130 games. In 1939, Gehrig gave a memorable speech and called himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Pena recently broke down the AL wild-card race for the MLB Network. Edge: Yankees.

Second base: Aki vs. Tony Lazzeri

Rays fan-favorite Akinori Iwamura made the final putout when the Rays won the pennant over the red Sox in 2008. Aki hit .281 in three seasons with the Rays. Lazzeri, a Hall of Famer, hit .291 in his career and was part of the Yankees’ famed “Murderers’ Row.” Edge: Yankees.

Evan Longoria's walkoff homer in Game 162 of the 2011 season was his signature moment. [Times photo]
Evan Longoria's walkoff homer in Game 162 of the 2011 season was his signature moment. [Times photo] [ Times photo (2011) ]

Third base: Evan Longoria vs. Alex Rodriguez

Longoria was a longtime star for the Rays, at the plate and in the field, and hit the biggest home run in franchise history, his Game 162 walk-off that put the Rays in the 2011 postseason. Three-time AL MVP Rodriguez hit at least 50 homers in a season three times and 696 in his career, with 2,086 RBIs and 3,115 hits. Also: cheated, Edge: Yankees.

Shortstop Jason Bartlett vs. Derek Jeter

Bartlett was voted team MVP of the AL champion Rays by Tampa Bay media. Jeter, known for his leadership and October success, finished with 2,465 hits and captained five world championship teams. Edge: Yankees.

Outfield: Carl Crawford vs. Mickey Mantle

Crawford, the electrifying “C.C,” excited Tampa Bay fans for speed and hitting. He once stole six bases in one game and was named MVP of the 2009 All Star Game. Mantle, a Hall of Fame once hit a 565-foot home run, hit 526 for his career and hit 18 home runs in World Series play. He was reportedly known as “The Mick.” Edge: Yankees.

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Joe DiMaggio gets a hit in a then-record 42nd straight game with a single in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Washington on June 29, 1941. His record 56-game hitting streak still stands.
Joe DiMaggio gets a hit in a then-record 42nd straight game with a single in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Washington on June 29, 1941. His record 56-game hitting streak still stands.

Outfield: Kevin Kiermaier vs. Joe DiMaggio

KK, as he is known, is hust-a-lin’ every day. DiMaggio was once rumored to have had a long hitting streak, married Marylin Monroe and was in a Simon and Garfunkel song. Edge: Yankees.

Outfield: B.J. Upton vs. Babe Ruth

Too close to call. Upton was that rare combination of speed and power. Ruth, alias “Bambino,” pitched some, hit home runs for children in hospitals and called home runs. Upton did not have a movie made about him. Edge: Yankees.

Former Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Former Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Others

Right-handed pitcher: James Shields vs. Roger Clemens: Shields was a bulldog. Clemens cheated. Edge: Yankees

Left-handed pitcher: David Price vs. Whitey Ford. Ford scuffed balls. Edge: Yankees.

Reliever: Fernando Rodney vs. Mariano Rivera. Heard Rivera killed a guy. Edge: Yankees.

Manager: Joe Maddon vs. Casey Stengel. Maddon wouldn’t get a word in. Edge: Yankees.

Contact Martin Fennelly at mfennelly@tampabay.com or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly






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