After a six-game stretch where he hit .571/.640/1.333 with five home runs, Aaron Judge was named AL Player of the Week for his performances against the Rays and Orioles. A few weeks before that, Corey Kluber got the award after putting in two very good starts in a week back in the end of April/early May.
While both of them had very good weeks to earn the accolades, they’re far from the best weeks in Yankees history. The Player of the Week Awards only came into existence in 1974. Plenty of weeks happened long before that, so let’s check them out. Let’s go back through the years and look at the best “weeks” in Yankees history.
Any list of great Yankees offensive performances pretty much has to start with Babe Ruth. The all-time legend had plenty of great weeks over the year, but probably none better than one in 1932.
If you take the Monday to Sunday definition MLB uses for the Player of the Week awards, then it’s hard to top what Ruth did from July 25-31 in 1932. In 21 plate appearances across six games, Ruth hit .786/.857/1.714, which is a cool 2.571 OPS. That came from a 11-14 with seven walks in six games performance.
If you want to fiddle around with what constitutes a week, then you can improve even those insane numbers. If you include the two previous games and remove the July 31st one, making it an even seven, you can add in two games where he made pinch-hitting appearances and drew a walk in each. That might not sound like much, but it takes that batting line to .800/.882/1.800, an 111 point increase in OPS.
When you put on a Ruth filter, the highest OPS in any seven-game stretch belongs to Oscar Gamble, who put up one of 2.442 from April 16-26, 1980. However, several of those appearances came as a pinch-hitter, and his playing time was a little sparse, so he only made 13 plate appearances in those seven games. If you put a minimum of 20 plate appearances on that, the highest non-Ruth person is, not shockingly, another Yankee legend. Mickey Mantle put up a 2.350 OPS from July 2-8, 1962.
As far as pitching goes, it’s hard to top a Hank Thormahlen stretch from 1918. It wouldn’t exactly fit the POTW criteria as the first of the two starts he made in the stretch came on a Thursday and then the next Wednesday. However, he deserves some sort of award for what he did.
On May 16th, Thormahlen got the start for the Yankees against the St. Louis Browns. He would throw a complete game, allowing four hits and four walks in a shutout victory. He also did all that despite having not much room for error, as the Yankees only gave him one run of support.
So, how did he follow that up? Well, six days later, he did the exact same thing, only over 14 innings. Against the White Sox on May 22nd, Thormahlen threw 14 scoreless frames as the Yankees again squeaked out a 1-0 win. In terms of win probably added, his total across those two games was 1.9.
In his historic 1978 season, Ron Guidry had a crazy two-game stretch that actually was within a week and did net him a POTW award. Like Thormahlen, Guidry threw two-straight complete game shutouts, one on June 12th and the next on the 17th. He allowed just seven hits across the 18 innings while striking out an insane 29 combined batters.
The All-Star break meant it wasn’t a full week, but in terms of home runs, the most in a seven-game stretch belongs to Don Mattingly with nine in a stretch from July 8-17. That was part of his eight-game home run streak, an MLB record in which Mattingly is part of a three-way tie for.
The most hits ever recorded over a seven-game sample belongs to two different but overlapping streaks where Bernie Williams recorded 20 hits in 2002. Giancarlo Stanton very nearly matched that earlier this season when he recorded 19 from April 27th through May 5th. That was split over two weeks, but he would’ve been a decent contender for POTW in either one. His teammate Kluber and John Means beat him for either award, which is fair enough.
There are plenty of other really good ones that could be included on this list. Anytime you play around with small sample sizes, you can come up with some really fun results. Someone putting up an OPS over 2.000, even if it just for a week, is most definitely fun to watch.