Yankees

By The Numbers: Who’s On First After Lou?

Mark Teixeira  of the New York Yankees hits a home run in the fourth inning of their game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 26, 2012. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees hits a home run in the fourth inning of their game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on May 26, 2012. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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By Father Gabe Costa
» More Columns

A week or so ago, Alex Rodriguez hit his twenty-third grand slam home run, tying him with the immortal Lou Gehrig for most career circuit clouts with the bases loaded.

Lou Gehrig, the first player ever to have his number retired (number 4), was the ultimate clean-up hitter. He has been selected as the “Greatest First Baseman Ever” on virtually every All-Time All-Star Team ever discussed, and is still is considered as the prototypical cleanup hitter.

It follows that no one would dispute the assertion that Lou Gehrig was the greatest of all Yankee first basemen.

In this blog we consider the question of who reigns as the second greatest Yankee initial sacker.

Some of the possible nominees follow.

For example, Hall of Famer Frank Chance, the Peerless Leader, actually played for the Bombers in 1913 and 1914…but only logged 24 at-bats. Joe Collins played ten seasons for the Pinstripers, winning a half-dozen World Series rings…yet he never batted .300, drove in 60 runs or hit 20 home runs in a season. Bill “Moose” Skowron was selected for the All Star team several times and played nine seasons with the Yankees… but he never hit 30 homers nor did he ever drive in 100 runs. And Chris Chambliss, in his six years with the Yankees, never drove in 100 runs nor did he ever have a 20 home run season (but he did hit a memorable shot off Mark Littell in 1976!)

It seems pretty clear that we can narrow down our choices to three All-Stars: Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez and Mark Teixeira.

At the age of 32, Tex has played only three and one half years with the Yankees. But he is a great fielder, does not know how not to hustle and can certainly power the ball from both sides of the plate. He is a Yankee fan favorite and certainly enjoys playing the game. He should play at least a few more years in New York, and a renewal/extension of his present contract is certainly in the realm of possibility. So…in terms of playing with the Yankees, to put him on a somewhat equal footing with Donnie Baseball and the Bamtino, I will take his records from 2009 through 2011 and project these totals for five more years, thus giving him an eight year career with the Yankees, making him 36 years old when his service with the Bronx Bombers would end.

Both Martinez and Mattingly were very similar to Teixeira with regard to baseball skills, instincts and passion for the games. During Tino’s six years with the Yankees, he was an integral part of the dynasty which won four World titles, narrowing missing a fifth; and few Yankees were ever more loved than the present manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Donnie Baseball. All three of these stars could field their position with the “best of them”…none was blessed with great speed…and they all comported themselves with dignity on the field.

The following chart compares these three great players. Note that all statistics have been taken from http://www.baseball-reference.com and that TPQ (Total Power Quotient) is defined as: TPQ = (HR + TB + RBI)/AB.

Don Mattingly (1982-1995)

Tino Martinez (1996-2001)

Mark Teixeira (2009-2016)

AB

7003

3467

4797

H

2153

966

1275

BB

588

367

667

R

1007

523

816

RBI

1099

690

909

2B

442

180

280

3B

20

11

11

HR

222

175

296

BA

.307

.279

.266

OBP

.358

.352

.366

SLG

.471

.488

.513

OPS

.829

.840

.879

TPQ

.514

.739

.765

I would be happy to have any one of these three first basemen on my team…but, offensively, it looks like Tex gets the nod.

What do you think?

 

Is Teixeira the second-greatest Yankee first baseman? Voice your opinion in the comments below…