Who Wore #18 for the New York Yankees?

Did you know that 18 different players have worn #18 for the New York Yankees? See the complete list, with photos, of every single player.

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Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly wore #18 for the New York Yankees from 1991 to 1995. He was a 6x All-Star, 9x Gold Glove winner, and the 1985 American League MVP. Mattingly is currently the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Debut

Don Mattingly made his Major League debut on April 20, 1982, batting sixth and playing first base against the Baltimore Orioles. He collected his first hit — a home run off Mike Flanagan — in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Yankees won the game 8-4.

Mattingly’s Number

Don Mattingly’s number, 18, was retired by the New York Yankees in 1997. He is the only player in team history to have his number retired while still an active player. Mattingly played his entire 14-year career with the Yankees, winning nine Gold Glove Awards and six Silver Slugger Awards. He was a six-time All-Star and the 1985 American League MVP.

Paul O’Neill

Paul O’Neill was the player who wore #18 for the New York Yankees from 1993-2001. He was a right fielder and is considered one of the best right fielders in Yankees history. O’Neill was a five-time All-Star, won four World Series titles with the Yankees, and was the American League batting champion in 1994.

Debut

Paul O’Neill made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds on September 3, 1985. He went 0-for-1 in his only plate appearance in a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros.

O’Neill’s Number

In baseball, uniform numbers are oftenretired by teams as a tribute to superstar players who made a significant impact on the game. A number is retired to honor a player’s career with a team, and to prevent other players from wearing the same number and potentially causing confusion or distaste among fans. The Yankees have retired 18 different numbers in their history, the most of any team in Major League Baseball. One of those 18 is #18, which was worn by Right fielder Paul O’Neill from 1993 to 2001.

O’Neill was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1981 and quickly made his way through their farm system, reaching the major leagues in 1985. He became a regular player for the Reds in 1986 and helped them win the World Series that year. He was traded to the Yankees in 1993 and quickly became a fan favorite, known for his hustle and competitiveness on the field. He was a integral part of the Yankees’ dynasty in the 1990s, winning four World Series titles with the team. After he retired from baseball in 2001, his #21 was immediately retired by the Yankees as well; he is one of only four players in franchise history to have had their number retired while they were still active players.

O’Neill’s number has been retired alongside some of the greatest names in Yankees history, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Joe DiMaggio. His legacy as one of the best right fielders in team history is cemented by this distinction.

Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams was the last Yankee to wear #18 before it was retired for Roger Maris. Williams was a switch-hitting outfielder who spent his entire 16-year career with the Yankees (1991-2006). He was a four-time World Series champion and a five-time All-Star.

Debut

Bernie Williams made his major league debut with the Yankees on July 7,1991, wearing number51. Williams was 22 years old when he made his debut. He played in 12 games that season, batting .211 with one home run and two RBIs.

Williams became a regular starter in 1992 and took over the Yankees’ center field duties full-time in 1993. He quickly established himself as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, winning four Gold Glove Awards in a row from 1997 to 2000. At the plate, Williams was a consistent power hitter, averaging over 20 home runs and 100 RBIs per season from 1995 to 2001. In 1998, he helped lead the Yankees to their first World Series title in 18 years.

Williams continued to be a key player for the Yankees throughout the early 2000s. He helped the team win three more World Series titles in 2000, 2001, and 2003. His career totals include 2,336 hits, 1,362 RBIs, 287 home runs, and a .297 batting average. Williams was inducted into the Yankees Hall of Fame in 2015.

Williams’ Number

Initially, Bernie Williams wore number 51 when he played his first game with the Yankees in 1991. Thurman Munson’s number 15 had been retired by the team in 1979, and Williams wanted to show respect to the late Yankees captain by not wearing his number. However, when Williams hit a home run in his first game, many fans shouted “We want Bernie! We wantBernie!” in reference to the 1975 film “The Natural”, in which Robert Redford’s character wears number 9. After the game, Manager Stump Merrill informed Williams that he would be wearing number 18 for the remainder of the season.

Munson’s number 15 was retired by the Yankees on August 4, 1979. As a result, Williams was able to wear his preferred number 51 during his rookie season of 1991. In 1992, newly-signed free agent Danny Tartabull asked for and was given Munson’s old number 25. As a result, Williams switched back to wearing number 18. He would go on to wear 18 for the rest of his 16-year career with the Yankees.

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