Do Yankees Have 9 Hall Of Famers?

Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees look on during a pitching change against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Are we looking at four future Hall of Famers in that photo? And do the current Yankees have five more on the 40-man roster. Well, it's not impossible but ...

Was I the only one who suspected the Yankees wouldn't have acquired Ichiro Suzuki if he weren't Ichiro Suzuki?

Would the Yankees really have been so interested in a player with no power, and a .301 on-base percentage over these last three seasons, if his name was Dick Smith?

I kind of don't think so. I kind of think they figured hey we're the goddamn New York Yankees and that famous player might look nice in pinstripes and we're not losing the division to the Orioles so what the hell.

And because they like stories in the newspapers like this one, wherein the Post's Mark Hale wonders if the current 40-man roster includes not one or two or three or four or five or six or seven or eight, but nine future Hall of Famers ...

They would essentially merit their own wing in Cooperstown.

"It’s truly amazing," manager Joe Girardi admitted when told of it yesterday.

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Andruw Jones are all Hall candidates. The 1931-33 Yankees had nine Hall of Famers, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, Tony Lazzeri, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Herb Pennock, Joe Sewell and Earle Combs.

Those 1931-1933 Yankees would enjoy an advantage that today's Yankees probably will not: an incredibly generous Veterans Committee. Three of them -- Combs, Gomez, and Sewell -- were elected by the Veterans Committee in the 1970s, some decades after their careers ended, while Lazzeri wasn't elected until 1991. We can argue about all four of them, but all four were marginal candidates. The hitters benefited from playing in a hitter's era, and the pitchers benefited from pitching for a franchise that was loaded. And then, decades later, they benefited from a Veterans Committee that ... well, you would have been hard-pressed to find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

In Cooperstown, anyway.

Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are locks, at this point. I believe Alex Rodriguez will be elected, though it might take quite a while. Ichiro has a fighting chance. Cano's well on his way, although of course the same has been said about any number of great young players who eventually fell short. Same for Sabathia.

The truly questionable candidates are Teixeira, Pettitte, and Jones. I would say that each of them is something of a long shot, and all three getting elected is the longest of long shots.

Teixeira's going to finish his career with monster RBI, thanks in part to the Yankees' largesse; they're going to pay him so much money that it'll be hard to get him out of the lineup, even as he slides to mere adequacy. But there are going to be a lot of sluggers with big numbers on Hall of Fame ballots in the coming decades, and it's not likely that Teixeira will have done enough to separate himself from the pack. He's finished as high as second in the MVP voting just once, and higher than 19th just twice.

I actually sort of like Pettitte, but the HGH story isn't going to help him, nor is the fact that he never won a Cy Young Award, and still hasn't won 250 games in his career. I waffle on Pettitte. His winning percentage is outstanding, but his ERA+ is not. I do think he deserves some credit for his postseason pitching, but that would carry more weight if his postseason performance was outstanding (it's not).

Andruw Jones is the best of these three, at least when it comes Wins Above Replacement. But Hall of Fame voters don't like players who are great early on, then hang around for many years as merely decent players. Also, Jones' most outstanding skill -- his defense in center field -- now seems like a brief phenomenon, disappearing long ago.

It's just occurring to me that I addressed this exact subject a few months ago. But that was pre-Ichiro, and his acquisition gives everyone another chance to reflect upon the greatness of these Yankees, or upon their once-greatness. So I suspect I've got roughly the same answer now that I had then, with a post-Ichiro amendment: These Yankees probably have six future Hall of Famers on the roster: Ichiro, Rivera, Jeter, Rodriguez, Sabathia, and Cano, and if not Cano then one of the others.

Nine, though? Nah. And probably not seven or eight, either.

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