It is no secret that the Yankees have an illustrious history. In 2015, they plan to honor four Yankee legends, picking up where they left off in 2014 with former Yankee reliever Goose Gossage. Sweeny Murti provides details on the number-retiring festivities:
Yankees announced they will retire 3 numbers this year: Bernie Williams 51 (5/24), Jorge Posada 20 (8/22), Andy Pettitte 46 (8/23).— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) February 16, 2015
Former Yankees second baseman Willie Randolph will also get a plaque, but will not have his number retired.
All four players had storied careers in pinstripes. For his Yankee career, Andy Pettitte went 219-127 with an ERA of 3.94. His ERA does not do him justice, however, as he pitched during an offense-dominated ERA in a traditionally high-powered division with four notorious hitter-friendly ballparks. Pettitte, a member of the "Core Four," amassed 18 playoff wins in addition en route to five World Series rings.
Jorge Posada, the fiery switch-hitting catcher, provided the Yankees with plenty of offense at a traditionally weak-hitting position, putting up a career (.273/.374/.474) batting line with a wRC+ of 123 and 275 home runs. In addition to five All-Star appearances and Silver Sluggers, Posada famously doubled off Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS to tie the game, setting the stage for Aaron Boone's unforgettable walk-off home run. Posada's .922 OPS in that series matched his .922 OPS during the 2003 regular season, a season which saw him finish third in the AL MVP voting.
Former center fielder Bernie Williams is not considered to be part of the "Core Four," much to the chagrin of many fans, because he was not on the 2009 World Series winning team. However, he has an undeniable place in Yankee history with a career line of (.297/.381/.477), including seven straight seasons with an OPS above .900 (1996-2002). His 22 postseason home runs trail only Manny Ramirez for the all-time record.
Willie Randolph played second base for the Yankees from 1976-1988, serving as a high-OBP bat with excellent defense. Randolph, a New York City native, put up a (.275/.374/.357) line in pinstripes and is credited with 16.3 defensive WAR during his Yankee tenure, in addition to winning back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978.
Congratulations are in order for these four men who have undoubtedly earned their right to ascend to Yankee immortality. All four of them consistently handled themselves with class and dignity, never taking for granted what it meant to be a Yankee. Feel free to reminisce on their fantastic careers in the comment section.