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Honoring Willie Randolph by the numbers

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A look at some of the significant numbers in the career of the ever underappreciated Willie Larry Randolph.

T.G. Higgins/Getty Images

Yesterday, the Yankees officially recognized the contributions of one of the best players in franchise history with a long overdue plaque in Monument Park. Unfortunately, it appears that Yankee executives were not exactly thrilled about the celebration. They lumped it in with the usual Old-Timers' Day festivities so that Willie had to share the stage with dozens of other former stars. After the slap in the face they issued to him over the winter, it's a wonder he even showed up in the first place. Despite the cold shoulder, Randolph absolutely deserves his spot among the greats. Here's a look at some numbers to prove it.


Willie's rank in all-time WAR (Baseball Reference version) by a Yankee second baseman. This wasn't a total inflated by a couple of great seasons surrounded by a sea of mediocrity. Randolph consistently churned out solid season after solid season as a Yankee. As an on-base machine at a time when batting average was still king, his game was rarely flashy, but it always got the job done. His WAR is also ninth all-time for position players in franchise history.


Randolph's rank in all-time defensive WAR by any Yankee. Only Hall of Fame shortstop Phil Rizzuto put up a better career mark in pinstripes. Willie was truly an excellent fielder, one of the best of his generation, but never really got any credit for it. During his 13 years with the Yankees, he never earned a Gold Glove but probably deserved at least a handful of them.


Number of World Series rings that Willie earned with the Yankees, two as a player and four as a coach. As a player, he joined a team very much on the rise in 1976 and was a key catalyst for the World Series winner just a year later. As a coach, he joined Buck Showalter's staff in 1994 when the team was sowing championship seeds once again after a long drought. Just two years later, new manager Joe Torre kept him around to coach third base as the Commissioner's Trophy made its way to the Bronx once again. Willie was a good luck charm to say the least.


Number worn by Randolph for the duration of his Yankee career that was curiously still not retired yesterday. The number has mostly been circulated to forgettable relief pitchers since he left the Bronx to manage the Mets in 2005. Matt Smith, Sean Henn, Cory Lidle, Scott Patterson, David Robertson, and now Nathan Eovaldi have all worn it with only Robertson having any kind of success. The Yankees REALLY didn't like Willie's move to Flushing.


Stolen bases as a Yankee for Randolph, which is third in franchise history behind only Derek Jeter and Rickey Henderson, of course. As a young player, Willie was a threat to steal 30 bases per year but settled into the 10-15 range by his late twenties. His 75% success rate in pinstripes indicates that he generally chose wisely when attempting to steal. Randolph inherently understood the precious value of outs long before it was fashionable.


Walks as a Yankee, sixth in franchise history behind Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Derek Jeter, and Bernie Williams. That's some rarefied air for Mr. Randolph. What's more impressive is that he struck out only 512 times as a Yankee, which is about 300 fewer than any of those five. While his offensive game lacked power he made up for it with extreme efficiency.

On a personal note, I wouldn't be half the Willie Randolph fan that I am had my dad not wisely extolled his virtues during my formative years. So to Willie, and dads all over Yankee Universe, thanks for cultivating future Yankee fans and Happy Father's Day!