Best Yankees Pitchers Ever
For all of the championships that the New York Yankees have won over the past century, naming the best Yankees pitchers ever is a tougher task than one might imagine. Their nickname of "The Bronx Bombers" is quite appropriate due to all the great hitters they've had over the years. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle and Jeter are examples. Yankee pitchers have often times taken a back seat to the hitters over the years, but here the pitchers are going to get the ink for once. After all, a team can't win 27 World Series titles without some darn good pitching along the way.
- Edward “Whitey” Ford – Known as the “Chairman of the Board” or “Slick” to his teammates, Ford (who got his main nickname because of his blonde hair) is hands-down the best Yankee starting pitcher to ever don the pinstripes. Ford has the most regular season wins as a Yankee pitcher with 236 and a career postseason ERA of 2.71 in 22 starts. Whitey was money in the clutch; there was no other pitcher you’d rather have on the mound to win you an important game during his Yankee career. He was the 1961 American League Cy Young Award winner and an eight-time All Star. He played all sixteen seasons of his career in New York and compiled a 236-106 record, a 2.75 ERA, with 1,956 strikeouts, and 156 complete games in 3,170.1 innings pitched. Whitey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1974.
- Mariano Rivera – Relief pitchers are often underappreciated when it comes to their contributions to winning teams, but with Rivera, that cannot be said. As proof of underappreciated relievers, there are only five pitchers in the Baseball Hall of Fame who spent most of their careers as relief pitchers. Rivera, however, is a sure-fire Hall of Famer as he is, without doubt, the best relief pitcher to ever play. He is a twelve-time All Star and is second all-time in regular season saves (a record he is almost sure to pass). But it’s in the postseason where Rivera has shined the brightest. He is the all-time career leader in postseason saves with 42 and is a five-time World Series winner and winner of the World Series Most Valuable Player award in 1999. What makes it all the more remarkable is that Rivera has accomplished this with basically two pitches—a fastball and a cut fastball that reaches the mid-90s but has great movement and is, at times, virtually unhittable.
- Vernon “Lefty” Gomez – Gomez was the best starting pitcher of the powerhouse Yankee teams of the 1930s. He had 189 career wins for New York (good for fourth all-time) and won twenty or more games four times in his career. He played in seven straight All Star games from 1933 to 1939. Lefty pitched on five World Series winning teams during his career with the Yanks and his postseason numbers were tremendous; he compiled a record of six wins and no losses with a 2.86 ERA in 50.1 innings pitched. Colorful and quotable, Gomez is also notable for his Hispanic heritage during a time when other minorities were not allowed to play in the majors. Lefty was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1972.
- Charles “Red” Ruffing – Ruffing played somewhat of a second-fiddle to Lefty Gomez on the Yankees in the 1930s, and perhaps it was unfair for he was just as accomplished as Gomez in many ways. Ruffing is second in most Yankee all-time pitching categories to Whitey Ford. He was a six-time All Star and a six-time World Series winner. He won 231 games over fifteen years in New York.
- Ron Guidry – Known as “Louisiana Lightning” for his blazing fastball, Guidry was the ace of the Yankee staff for nearly a decade from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, and won the 1978 American League Cy Young award with an amazing 25-3 record and 1.74 ERA. A four-time All Star and two-time World Series winner, Guidry finished with 170 career wins as a Yankee.