Number 16 was worn by some of the greats during the New York Yankees’ storied history. Here’s a look at some of the players who donned the number 16 for the Bronx Bombers.
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Don Mattingly was the first baseman for the New York Yankees from 1984 to 1995. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Evansville, Indiana. Mattingly was drafted by the Yankees in 1979 and made his Major League debut in 1982. He won the American League batting title in 1984 and was named the American League MVP in 1985.
Mattingly’s time with the Yankees
Mattingly made his major league debut on September 8, 1982, against the Baltimore Orioles. He singled off Doug Conner in his first at-bat. In his next at-bat, he hit a home run off Scott McGregor. He ended the game with two hits in three at-bats, both against left-handed pitching. Mattingly’s hitting display prompted Yankees manager Dick Howser to bat him second in the lineup for the rest of the season, ahead of Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson. On September 11, 1982, he tied a major league record by hitting three consecutive home runs off three consecutive left-handed pitchers: Minnesota Twins’ Steve Barcelona (6th inning), Pete Redfern (7th inning), and Jesse Orosco (8th inning). The home runs came off Mattingly’s first three at bats of the game.. He finished the season batting .283/.351/.481 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 49 games played.
In 1983, Mattingly took over as the Yankees’ starting first baseman, a position he would hold for the next decade. Although he batted only .240, he had 19 home runs and 77 RBIs. His batting average increased to .342 in 1984; he also had fourhome runs and 16 RBIs in 24 games that year. In 1985, he won his first Silver Slugger Award after batting .324 with 210 hits—the most ever by a Yankee left-handed hitter—and 33 doubles en route to an All-Star selection..
Why Mattingly wore number 16
Mattingly began his Major League career with the New York Yankees in 1982. He was originally given the number 46, but after Yogi Berra complained (Berra had worn number 8 for his entire career), Mattingly switched to number 23. He continued to wear number 23 until 1985, when newly acquired left fielder Jesse Barfield took over the number. Mattingly then chose the number 16, which he explained was in honor of Mickey Mantle: “When I first came up, I wanted to wear No. 7 like Mickey Mantle. But that was retired, so I looked around and saw that no one was wearing No. 16. It just seemed like a good fit.”
Bernie Williams was the last player to wear number 16 for the New York Yankees. He was a center fielder for the Yankees from 1991 to 2006. Williams was a four-time Gold Glove winner and a five-time All-Star. He won two World Series with the Yankees.
Williams’ time with the Yankees
Bernie Williams was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1991 and made his Major League debut in 1991. He became a key member of the Yankees’ dynasty that won four World Series titles in five years from 1996 to 2000. Williams played his entire 16-year career with the Yankees and retired as a Yankee in 2006.
Why Williams wore number 16
Bernie Williams is a retired professional baseball player who played his entire career with the New York Yankees. During his time with the team, he wore the number 16.
Williams was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and grew up a Yankee fan. His favorite player was Mickey Mantle, who also wore 16 for the Yankees. When Williams was drafted by the team in 1991, he asked for permission to wear Mantle’s old number. The Yankees granted his request, and Williams went on to have a Hall of Fame-worthy career with the team.
In his 16 seasons with the Yankees, Williams won four World Series titles and was named an All-Star five times. He also won five Gold Glove Awards and four Silver Slugger Awards. He retired in 2006 as one of the most popular players in franchise history.
Alfonso Soriano wore number 16 for the New York Yankees from 1999 to 2003. He was acquired by the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners in a three-team trade that also included the Chicago White Sox. Soriano played for the Yankees for four seasons, winning the World Series in 2000. He was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2003 for Alex Rodriguez.
Soriano’s time with the Yankees
In November 2006, the Yankees announced that they had agreed to a trade with the Texas Rangers for outfielder Alfonso Soriano in exchange for second baseman Robinson Canó and right-handed pitcher Joaquín Arias. The deal reunited Soriano with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, his former catcher with the Chicago Cubs. In his first season with the team in 2007, he batted .302 with 33 home runs, 19 stolen bases, and 102 runs batted in (RBIs), leading the Yankees in home runs and stolen bases while finishing second on the team behind Alex Rodriguez in RBIs.
Why Soriano wore number 16
Soriano has said that he wears number 16 in honor of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig, who wore the same number. Gehrig’s record for most consecutive games played (2,130) stood for 56 years before it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995. Soriano wanted to pay tribute to Gehrig by wearing his number.
Mark Teixeira, a former professional baseball first baseman, wore number 16 for the New York Yankees from 2009 to 2016. He was an eight-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove Award winner. Teixeira was also a member of the 2009 World Series champion team.
Teixeira’s time with the Yankees
Teixeira was drafted by the Texas Rangers out of Georgia Tech with the fifth overall pick in the 2001 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 2003 after earlier being traded to the Rangers from the Montreal Expos organization as part of a deal for All-Star closer Ugueth Urbina. Teixeira was part of a controversial and highly discussed trade to the Atlanta Braves in 2007 that sent outfielder/third baseman Elvis Andrus, pitcher Neftali Feliz and two other minor leaguers to the Rangers in exchange for Teixeira and minor leaguer Ron Mahay.
Teixeira played one season for the Braves before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Casey Kotchman in 2008. He played with the Angels until 2010 when he signed an eight-year, $180 million contract with his former team, the Texas Rangers. After three seasons with Texas, Teixeira was traded back to the Atlanta Braves (along with cash considerations) at the trade deadline in 2013 for Minor League pitchers Pete O’Brien and Corey Black.
Teixeira finished his career where it started, playing parts of 7 seasons with the New York Yankees (2009-2016), winning a World Series championship with them in 2009. After signing a one-year contract extension with the Yankees for 2017, Teixeira announced his retirement from Major League Baseball on August 5th, 2017.
Why Teixeira wore number 16
Mark Teixeira wore number 16 for the New York Yankees from 2009 to 2016. He also wore number 25 during his time with the Texas Rangers from 2003 to 2007.
Teixeira explained that he chose number 16 because it was the reverse of his college number, 61. He wanted a fresh start when he joined the Yankees, and he thought that reversing his college number would be a good way to do that.