I think a lot of sports fan in general are guilty of over-looking decent, solid players. Which is fair, we all want every player on our favorite teams to be the best at their position. On this Yankees' team, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner are getting most of the plaudits on offense, and deservedly so. But then there's Brian McCann, who is having a pretty good season himself. Yet he's flying under the radar, because he hasn't been quite as good as the rest.
Q: July 23rd is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day. Vanilla ice cream is useful, but a bit boring. Who is your all-time favorite Yankee that was effective but still flew under the radar?
There was this Derek Jeter fellow who was always useful, not sure if anyone heard about him too much.....
I'm sure this is cheating, given how good he was, but I'm going to go with Mike Mussina. A special career, that somehow never felt like it got the recognition it deserved. A cornerstone of several excellent Yankee teams; likely would be remembered very differently if his time in pinstripes featured a pair of rings rather than being bookended by championships, or if he stuck around for a couple more years to reach 300 wins.
How about Jon Lieber? Only played one year in New York, but in that year he was the most consistent starter for a team that won 101 games and pitched well in the ALCS that got mysteriously cancelled after game 3. He definitely wasn't lighting up the radar gun or getting many swings and misses, but he led the league by walking less than a hitter per nine and kept hitters just off balance enough. Then the Yankees let Lieber go and replaced him with Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright
Does David Robertson count? He wasn't a closer until his last year in pinstripes but he was killed the whole time he was setting up for Mo.
The obvious answers are probably Mike Mussina, Roy White, and Charlie Keller, but I'm going to take this another direction. Do yourselves a favor and look up Tom Gordon's 2004 & 2005 seasons in pinstripes. In 159 games and 170 1/3 innings, he had a 0.98 WHIP, a 2.38 ERA (54 ERA-) and a 3.02 FIP (69 FIP-, nice). He was every bit the dream setup man to Mariano Rivera that Joe Torre desperately searched for in the post-Jeff Nelson days, and he was even better. Not his fault that Torre wrecked his arm and he was toast by October.
The first thing that comes to mind when hearing "under the radar" is Alex Rodriguez. No, but seriously. I'll go with Nick Swisher. His personality was far from vanilla. But his personality often did overshadow his play. He was a very effective and serviceable player.
Ramiro Mendoza! The sinker-balling set-up man/emergency starter extraordinaire who can probably be considered the only Panamanian with a calmer demeanor than Mariano Rivera.
You know, it's hard to say. During the majority of my Yankee fandom, they have been a great team. Mike Mussina is probably the correct answer in this situation, but it's still hard to pick him. I'd also say Brett Gardner, but a lot more people have been taking notice of him lately. I think my answer is going to be Mike Stanley though. Great catcher on the early 90's Yankees squad. Hit well and was a good compliment to that resurrection.
If it was a year ago at this time, the runaway answer probably would've been Brett Gardner, but he is getting his due this season. But my answer is gonna Eric Chavez. For one, I bet many of you forgot he was a Yankee. Second, he seems like the type of player that would've had an unremarkable Yankee career. But his 2012 season was pretty good. In 113 games, he hit .281/.348/.496. For someone that many people have probably forgotten existed, that's pretty solid. And a shoutout to poor Hiroki Kuroda, who's probably somewhere still getting no run support.
That's what we had to say and now we want to hear from you. What other good/great Yankees flew under the radar?