While there is potential for baseball on the horizon, we are still without games right now. As we wait, let’s do one of my favorite things to do even during the season, go look at crazy games from the past. In fact, I put together a lineup of the best individual performances in Yankees history.
Here’s how this was put together: Once a game was chosen, then the position and batting order that person played that day are off the board. For example, the first game chosen was Tony Lazzeri’s from May 24, 1936. That meant that every game from a player hitting eighth and games from second basemen were off the board. There are better games than some of those on this list, but these are my picks for the best that could make a coherent lineup based on where they played and hit that day.
Also of note is that there are no playoff games included, as the importance of them skews things. We’re just here to gawk at cartoonish stat lines as opposed to highlight the most important performances in franchise history. With that, enjoy my picks.
Those of you good at remembering dates may recognize this as the day of Jeter’s 3000th hit. Somewhat lost in the jubilation of the home run that got him to the milestone is the impressiveness of his day on the whole. In addition to the homer, the Captain went 5-for-5 with a double, and two RBI. He recorded half of the Yankees’ hits on the day, and his contributions were arguably the difference in a one-run win over the Rays.
The two slot and right field were the last spot chosen, but Murcer’s performance was still pretty dang good. He went 3-for-4 with five RBI and two home runs. He also had one of the biggest hits in the game, recording a two-out single to score two runs in the eight inning to tie things up. Rick Cerone got to play the hero with a walk-off single, but the Yankees don’t get there without Murcer.
This game against the Tigers wasn’t particularly close, but that was mainly thanks to Williams. He went 3-for-4 with two home runs, two walks, while driving in eight runs. The final margin was nine runs, and you can do the math.
There can be no choice for first base and the cleanup spot other than the only four-homer game in Yankee history.
The 2005 season would end with an MVP for A-Rod, and this April game helped set the tone for that. He went 4-for-5 with three home runs and 10 RBI. He accounted for over half of the total bases put up by Yankees’ players in the win over the Angels.
Eight years to the day prior to that Rodriguez game is the choice for the DH and six spot. In a win over the White Sox, Fielder went 5-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, and five RBI.
Selkirk is the only player to have grounded into a double play but still make this list. In his other at bats, he recorded two home runs, a single, and eight RBI.
As mentioned, this was the first game I inserted into the lineup. Hitting out of the eight hole, Lazzeri went 4-for-5 with three home runs, a triple, a walk, and a Yankee record 11 RBI. The Yankees scored 14 runs even if you take away those 11, so it wasn’t just him. That being said, those are video game numbers.
The former Yankees manager gets the nod for the catcher’s spot and nine hole thanks to a 4-for-6 game with two doubles, a triple, and seven RBI. He and eight hitter Scott Brosius (who would have been a good candidate for the eight spot had the Lazzeri game not happened) were responsible for eight hits and 13 of the Yankees’ 21 run in a win over the Rangers.
On the other side of all those hits is David Wells’ perfect game. His gets the slight edge over Cone’s because of the strikeout total.
If you order the respective results of these at bats and have the results happen like they did in these respective games, the Yankees would lead 21-0 after the first inning. Selkirk’s would make the final out to end the inning in his third at bat of the day.