"Now, what is this site about, how Joe Torre ruined pitchers' arms? Is that it?"
-Michael Kay, August 18, 2009

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Derek Jeter's in my Fave 5...Who's in yours?

I have only been a Yankee fan since 1996. I know what you're thinking: bandwagon hopper. This is not true. In 1996, I was 8 years old. It just so happens that at the age I was able to fully understand and appreciate baseball, one of the greatest dynasties was being formed. Don't hold that against me. Since that time, I have made a valiant effort to learn pretty much all that there is to know about Yankees baseball.

Now, the point of this post is to stir up some conversation. Who are your five most favorite baseball players of your lifetime? They can be from your favorite team, but they don't have to be. Mine will all be from the Yankees because all the other teams are irrelevant.

1. Derek Jeter

I have been watching Derek Jeter since he first became the starting shortstop in 1996. His career started right when I first started watching baseball, so I feel that I grew up while he was growing up as a professional baseball player, much like older adults today grew up watching Mickey Mantle, Don Mattingly, etc. I have talked to some friends, and we all agree that we will first feel old when Jeter retires. The emotional attachment is there, and all of the criticism he gets is unwarranted. The man is a winner and he is the definition of a New York Yankee (whatever that means).

2. Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams will always be a favorite of mine. Like Jeter, much of my childhood was spent watching Williams play. From the clutch hits to the sliding catches in center field, he always tried his hardest. While he has since moved on from baseball, and the ending was rather ugly, he is most certainly missed.

3. Paul O'Neill

I hate to use the George Steinbrenner cliché terms, but Paul O'Neill was truly a "warrior." He was the team's emotional leader during the late 90's and the team fed off of him. You could tell when he was pissed off and the fans loved him for that. He has been gone for six years now, but he has never been adequately replaced, and frankly, he is rather irreplaceable.

4. Andy Pettitte

I had always felt a special connection to Andy Pettitte: we are both left-handed and we are both named Andrew. He is a big game pitcher and can always be depended on to pick the team up after a loss. I was so disappointed and upset when he signed with Houston after the 2003 season that I decapitated my Pettitte bobblehead doll that I received at a game in 2001. Obviously, I am thrilled he is back home this year. I just wish the team would help him out a little more.

5. Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez

Orlando Hernandez is loved by all Yankee fans. He was a great clutch pitcher and always pitched well in October. We first saw him in 1998, crazy leg kick and all. From then until 2002, and again in 2004, he was a fixture of the Yankees pitching staff. Now he is pitching for the Mets, and while it is a little disappointing, I still love watching the man pitch.


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