Right field is not the most glorious position to play in Little League, but the Yankees have a rich history of employing some of the best right fielders in all of Major League Baseball. In fact, the honorable mentions at the bottom of this article are some of the best players in Yankees history, and they’re not even in the top five!
There’s no other way to start this list than with the man who’s not just the best right fielder in Yankees history, but the greatest player in MLB history.
Babe Ruth, 142.8 bWAR
The Babe isn’t just the Yankees’ positional leader in WAR, he’s the overall franchise leader in WAR with 142.8. And not only that, he’s the overall MLB leader in WAR with 182.5. As Larry David would say, that’s pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Do I even have to explain Ruth’s case? He’s third all-time with 714 home runs, second with 2,214 RBI, first with a 1.164 OPS, and he hit .342 for his career. He also leads the Yankees in all these categories.
The question wasn’t if Ruth would be number one, but if it would be in right field or left. Although Ruth played bot—along with pitching!—he spent 54% of his Yankees games in right. This slight advantage means that, for our purposes, he’s with the right fielders.
Tommy Henrich, 39.2 bWAR
Henrich ranks second among Yankees right fielders in bWAR, which is a bit surprising given some of the big names below. But, Henrich wasn’t too shabby. In fact, he’s one of the most underrated Yankees ever.
Henrich was a five-time All-Star and four-time champion who also left the bigs from 1943-1945 to serve during World War II. A career Yankee, Henrich led the league in triples twicem runs once, and slashed .282/.382/.491 for his career.
You could lock Henrich in for about 20 home runs and 85 RBI for the better part of 15 years. This consistency makes him the second best right fielder in Yankees history by bWAR.
Hank Bauer, 29.4 bWAR
A mainstay for much of the Yankees’ glory period, Bauer made three All-Star teams and won seven World Series over 12 years with the Bombers. Much like Henrich before him, Bauer was more notable for his consistency than his raw numbers. He’s the 27th-most valuable Yankees position player of all-time by bWAR.
Bauer was traded to Kansas City in 1960 as a part of a trade that included Don Larsen and netted the Yankees Roger Maris. A consistent cog for the Bombers, it doesn’t get much better than starting for seven championship teams in 12 years.
Dave Winfield, 27.1 bWAR
Winfield played the majority of his games as a Yankee, having hit the most home runs of his career in the Bronx. He slashed .290/.356/.495, made eight All-Star teams, and won five Silver Sluggers and four Gold Gloves.
But, Winfield is enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Padre due to a strained relationship with George Steinbrenner. Winfield came to the Bronx with high expectations, but only made the playoffs once in 10 years before leaving in 1990.
Winfield played all over the outfield, but spent most of his time as a Yankee in right field once Reggie Jackson moved on. A prolific hitter for power and average, Winfield’s defense was also above-average. He’s 34th in bWAR among overall Yankees position players.
Paul O’Neill, 26.7 bWAR
Separated from Winfield by just 0.4 of a win, the fan-favorite O’Neill rounds out our top five. O’Neill began his career in Cincinnati, but hit his stride with the Bombers, where he won a batting title, made four All-Star teams and won four World Series rings. Few hitters were more consistent than O’Neill during the ‘90s, who was routinely good for 20 home runs and 90+ RBI per year.
O’Neill’s passion immediately endeared him to Yankees fans, which has remained as he’s adapted to a successful career in broadcasting.
Other notable Yankees right fielders:
- Roger Maris weighs in with 26.4 bWAR, just 0.3 wins out of the top 5. He hit 100 home runs in his first two years with the Yankees (when he won two MVPs), but only hit 103 over his next five seasons. Still good, but by WAR he’s just short of the top five.
- Aaron Judge is eighth among Yankees right fielders in bWAR with 19.1. A little more health should propel him into the upper tier.
- Reggie Jackson is one of the club’s most iconic right fielders, but he only stayed in pinstripes for five seasons. Judge has already surpassed Jackson’s 17.2 bWAR as a Yankee.