Yanks announced today that Yogi Berra will be throwing out the first pitch, to no one’s surprise. But it got me to thinking. Yogi will be 83 (b. May 12, 1925), and while we all wish him a Bob Sheppard-like run as the Yankee standard bearer, at his age its appropriate to begin wondering who would be the next one to hold the mantle.
Whitey Ford is an obvious candidate, but he’s only 3 years younger (b. Oct 21, 1928) than Yogi. I have no doubt that the all time Yankee Wins leader would be offered the title in Yogi’s absence. But I’m really looking for the next standard bearer, one who would do it for another 10 years or so. Yogi and Whitey represent the great teams of the 50′s and 60′s, so the next group would be the late 70′s-early 80′s teams that went to 4 WS and won 2 of them. Candidates include Gator, Reggie, Graig Nettles, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph and Bucky Dent. Gator is probably the most deserving, he’s very high on the all time team lists (5th in wins, 2nd in SO) and was the ace of the late 70′s championship teams. Goose is a fan fave and a recent HOF inductee. But I suspect it will be Reggie. He’s a HOFer, and was prolific in the post season. I don’t like it, I think of him as much as an Oakland A’s as I do a Yankee. He only spent 5 years here, but he really left his mark.
There is another possibility however, although it will have to wait until his current obligations are finished. But by the time this becomes an issue, some years down the road, those commitments should be over. Someone older than Reggie, who’s won more and who Yankee fans of all generations would embrace with open arms.
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