In the first part of this series we took a look at the first eight players in Yankees history to win Gold Gloves. There was no shortage of superstars on that list and this batch is no different. Yankee stars were well represented when it came to fielding hardware from the glory years of the Bronx Zoo through the slow decline in the 80's and continuing into the early 90's rebuild. Here's the breakdown:
Bobby Murcer - OF - 1972
The late, great Yankee broadcaster established himself as a star with a breakout offensive year in 1971. That naturally led him to more widespread recognition and a Gold Glove a year later. However, both Fangraphs and Baseball Reference agree that, even at his best, Murcer was nothing special in the outfield. In fact, both sites report that this was one of just two seasons over the course of his career that he put up a non-negative value in dWAR.
Thurman Munson - C - 1973-1975
As the Yankees were working themselves up to contender status, Munson, perhaps more than any other player, helped sow the championship seeds that would later be reaped. The Walrus also earned three straight Gold Gloves along the way and rightfully so. He had a reputation as one of the best backstops in the league when he played and Baseball Reference agrees. His 11.6 dWAR over his far too short career ranks 11th in Yankees' history and is by far the best mark for a Yankee catcher.
Graig Nettles - 3B - 1977 & 1978
As mentioned before in this space, Graig Nettles has been criminally underrated by both Hall of Fame voters and the Yankees' brass. It's no coincidence that his two Gold Gloves coincided with two World Series wins, but Nettles was truly a master at third base. Even though they back him up, one doesn't need advanced defensive metrics to prove it. Just take a look at this highlight reel from the 1978 World Series.
Ron Guidry - P - 1982-1986
The Gator did not look like your typical pitcher. At just 5 foot 11 with a wiry frame he didn't exactly intimidate on the mound and had to get by on the deceptiveness of his stuff. His slender body did help him become an excellent fielder though. He could quickly get to balls that most other pitchers couldn't and was sure-handed when he did. During his five consecutive Gold Glove years he committed just two total errors.
Dave Winfield - OF - 1982-1985 & 1987
If Ron Guidry was a diminutive baseball player, Winfield was just the opposite. He filled out his athletic 6 foot 6 frame well and was actually selected in the MLB, NBA, and NFL drafts coming out of college despite never playing college football. That made for an impressive sight on the baseball field which is probably the biggest reason for him getting all of the Gold Glove consideration that he did. In his five Gold Glove seasons in New York he was defensively at least a full win below replacement in each of them according to Baseball Reference.
Don Mattingly - 1B - 1985-1989, 1991-1994
Donnie Baseball worked his way through the Yankees' system primarily as an outfielder but found it to be crowded territory when he reached the Bronx for good in 1983. He was converted to a first baseman and took to the position extremely well. With excellent range and the surest of hands he earned nine total Gold Gloves. A quick glance at his dWAR numbers reveal that he was below replacement level as a fielder for all but one of his Gold Glove seasons. Those must be typos because according to this author Don Mattingly is the greatest baseball player of all-time and can do no wrong.
Wade Boggs - 3B - 1994 & 1995
This Hall of Famer will always be known first and foremost for being a hit machine. That's appropriate considering that he's a 3,000 hit club member and racked up five batting titles, but his glove has never gotten the love it deserves. Always a solid fielder, Boggs traded the range he had as a younger player for a steadier glove as an older one. In his waning years with the Yankees he was finally recognized with some hardware for the first time at the ages of 36 and 37.