The New York Yankees are a storied franchise with a long and successful history. A large part of that success is due to the great players who have donned the pinstripes over the years. Many of those players have had their numbers retired by the team in recognition of their contributions.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at who the retired Yankees numbers are and what they meant to the team.
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As the Yankees move forward into a new decade, the organization has decided to retire some of the most iconic numbers in franchise history. This list includes some of the most legendary names to don the pinstripes, and their contributions to the team will forever be remembered. Here are the retired Yankees numbers.
Babe Ruth – 3
Babe Ruth played for the Yankees from 1920-1934. He was a left handed pitcher and an outfielder. He wore #3 and his nicknames were “The Sultan of Swat” and “The Babe”. He is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. After he retired, his number was retired by the Yankees in 1948.
Lou Gehrig – 4
First baseman Lou Gehrig played his entire Major League career with the New York Yankees (1923-1939), earning the nickname “The Iron Horse” for his string of 2,130 consecutive games played. A six-time World Series champion, Gehrig was a two-time American League MVP and seven-time All-Star. In 1939, he was forced to retire due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which now bears his name. His number 4 was retired by the Yankees in 1940, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
Joe DiMaggio – 5
Joe DiMaggio played his entire 13-year career with the New York Yankees. He is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He was a 3-time MVP and a 13-time All-Star. He helped the Yankees win 9 World Series championships. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955.
Mickey Mantle – 7
Mickey Mantle was an American professional baseball player. He played his entire Major League Baseball career with the New York Yankees as a center fielder, right fielder, and first baseman. Mantle is regarded by many as one of the greatest players in baseball history.
Mantle was born in Spavinaw, Oklahoma, and grew up playing baseball on sandlots. He signed with the Yankees in 1949, and he quickly rose through their farm system. By 1951, he was the Yankees’ starting left fielder, and he won his first World Series that year. Mantle moved to center field in 1952, and he won three more World Series titles as well as an American League Most Valuable Player Award during his career.
Mantle’s body began to break down in the early 1960s, and he retired from playing baseball in 1969 after suffering several injuries. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Yogi Berra – 8
Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015) was an American professional baseball catcher, who later took on the roles of manager and coach. He played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), all but the last for the New York Yankees.
Berra was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Born a Catholic, Berra has been described as spiritual by those who knew him later in life, though he came to reject formal religious practices later in life. In his book The Yogi Book: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said!, he elaborated: “I don’t really believe some of the things I said.”
The Yankees have retired twenty-two numbers in their history. They are the most of any team in Major League Baseball. The first number retired by the Yankees was Lou Gehrig’s #4 in 1939. The most recent number retired by the Yankees was Mariano Rivera’s #42 in 2013. The Yankees have also retired four managers’ numbers: Casey Stengel’s #37, Joe McCarthy’s #1, Billy Martin’s #1, and Yogi Berra’s #8.
Babe Ruth, “The Sultan of Swat” and one of the greatest players in baseball history, became the first athlete to have his number (3) retired by a major league team when the Yankees honored him on April 15, 1948. Ruth, who played for the Yankees from 1920-34, is one of only four players in team history whose number has been retired by the Yankees. The other three are Lou Gehrig (4), Joe DiMaggio (5) and Mickey Mantle (7).
Lou Gehrig played his entire career with the New York Yankees, from 1923 until 1939. He was a six-time World Series champion and a seven-time All-Star. His most famous moment came in 1939, when he gave a farewell speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Joe DiMaggio was a Yankee legend who played for the team from 1936 to 1951. He was a 3-time MVP and a 13-time All-Star. He was also voted the Greatest Living Baseball Player in 1969. His number, 5, was retired by the Yankees in 1952.
Mickey Mantle was one of the most popular and revered players in Yankees history. He was a member of the Yankees from 1951-1968, and his number (7) was retired by the team in 1969. During his time with the Yankees, Mantle was a 20-time All-Star, won three MVP Awards, and helped the team to win seven World Series titles. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in baseball history.
Yogi Berra was an American professional baseball catcher who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), all but the last for the New York Yankees. He was an 18-time All-Star and won 10 World Series championships as a player, and went on to win another as manager. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Berra signed with the Yankees in 1943 before serving in the United States Navy during World War II. He made his major league debut at age 21 for the Yankees in 1946, and was named the American League Rookie of the Year.