“We’re a fully operational Death Star,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman recently said in response to a question about the team’s ongoing offseason moves. It’s easy to envision a Ninja Cash action figure perched atop a Death Star playset, plotting the Yankees’ conquest of the baseball galaxy. What if we also imagine our favorite pinstriped heroes as some of the most popular Christmas toys to ever find their way beneath the tree?
CC Sabathia - Big Wheel
Anyone who grew up in the 1970s or 80s probably had a Big Wheel. Before this iconic toy came along, tots who had outgrown their tricycles, but were not quite old enough for a full-scale BMX bike, had scant transportation options. The Big Wheel finally provided a formidable alternative to the training-wheeled bicycle with the little bell. One could really feel the power while rumbling down the sidewalk on that Big Wheel. Racing them was a lot of fun, too. Is there any doubt that CC is the Big Wheel of this team?
Aaron Judge - Optimus Prime
The Transformers animated series was must-see television in 1984, and the toys were under every Christmas tree. Optimus Prime was the leader of the Autobots (the good Transformers). Here’s what Wikipedia says about him: “Optimus Prime is constantly, if not always depicted as having strong moral character, excellent leadership, and sound decision-making skills, and possesses advanced extra-terrestrial weaponry.” Sound like Aaron Judge? Yep.
Gary Sanchez - He-Man
Sanchez usually looks like a mere mortal, quietly going about his business playing baseball. And then suddenly, “by the power of Grayskull,” he smashes a bone-crushing home run that travels 450 feet in mere seconds and sends the pitcher to the hospital with whiplash.
Giancarlo Stanton - Battleship
Battleship started as a pad-and-pencil game during World War I, and was finally released as a plastic board game in 1967. Battleship was a huge hit that Christmas, and has only increased in popularity since with electronic versions, video games, mobile apps, and a feature film. Stanton scored a hit during his pinstripe debut by blasting two home runs against the Blue Jays on Opening Day. Yep, he sank Toronto’s battleship.
Didi Gregorius - Easy-Bake Oven
The Easy-Bake Oven debuted in 1963, and has been putting smiles on kids’ faces ever since. Didi does too, with his charming personality, effervescent smile, and always-positive affect.
Miguel Andujar- Lite-Brite
I love the way Andujar always appears for post-game interviews. That takes a lot of guts in a place like New York, yet he does so happily and always has something positive to say.
Brett Gardner - G.I. Joe
The original 12-inch G.I. Joe stormed toy store shelves in 1964. The 80s cartoon spawned a whole new action figure line for the next generation, and a big-budget Hollywood movie revived the heroes’ popularity in the new millennium.
George Steinbrenner once called Paul O’Neill “my warrior.” Brett Gardner is the warrior on the current squad.
Masahiro Tanaka - Tickle Me Elmo
The always gleeful Tickle Me Elmo hit toy stores in 1996, and still remains popular. Tanaka is always seen smiling in the dugout, and seems to genuinely love being a Yankee.
Luis Severino - Rubik’s Cube
The Red Sox (and everyone else) unlocked the mystery behind Sevy tipping his pitches. Now, if the Yankees could just figure out how to stop it.
J.A. Happ - Simon
Happ is like the perfect team spokesman. He always has the right answer during interviews.
Jacoby Ellsbury - Operation
Beginning in 1965, Operation taught generations of youngsters how to use a pair of tweezers.
Luke Voit - Tonka Truck:
Voit came out of nowhere to become one of the Bombers’ best stories of 2018. Just think, the Yankees got him for Chasen Shreve. Anyone else remember playing in the dirt with their Tonka Truck?
Aaron Hicks - Slinky
Hicks is always smooth — at the plate, in the field, and running the bases — just like a slinky.
The Slinky was invented by a @penn_state grad in the 1940’s and has been made in PA ever since. This retired math teacher from Bucks County is on a mission to make it PA’s state toy. #PAproud https://t.co/M98HNXGWC6— Pennsylvania (@PennsylvaniaGov) December 17, 2018
Clint Frazier - Luke Skywalker
”Red Thunder” has that combination of boyish charm and gritty determination that we found so endearing about Luke when we first met the Star Wars hero back in 1977.
Greg Bird - BB-8
BB-8 was the biggest thing to come out of the Star Wars sequels. Hopefully, Bird’s game-winning blast off Andrew Miller of the Indians in ALDS Game Three back in 2017 won’t be his last big contribution to the Yankees.
Gleyber Torres - Atari 2600:
Gleyber’s got game, and Atari’s got lots of them. Space Invaders still rocks, but the E.T. game is still lame.
Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Jonathan Holder - Power Rangers
Power Rangers usually work in teams of five. So we’re saving a spot in the hope that David Robertson decides to re-sign with the Yankees.
Austin Romine - Furby
I didn’t want to disappoint any Furby fans, so Romine it is.
James Paxton - Buzz Lightyear
The Toy Story hero was inspired by Apollo 11 astronaut “Buzz” Aldrin. Let’s see if new arrival Paxton can elevate this team to the stars.
The film Toy Story was released #OTD in 1995! Did you know that a Buzz Lightyear action figure spent 15 months aboard the @Space_Station & flew home on Shuttle Discovery in 2009? After landing, the toy joined his namesake, @TheRealBuzz, for a homecoming parade at Disney World. pic.twitter.com/1VNI36jkPz— NASA History Office (@NASAhistory) November 22, 2018
What were some of the toys on the top of your Christmas list? Which Yankees players do they remind you of? Let us know in the comments section below.