TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork) — It seems like throughout the Yankees’ history, the team has always had a marquee guy, but in reality that hasn’t always been the case.
There have been some lean years and transitional seasons — like now. And with the infusion of all the young talent, the question becomes, can Gary Sanchez become the face of the franchise?READ MORE: NYPD Officer Killed In Harlem Shooting, Another Fighting For His Life
Sanchez loudly announced his arrival with 20 homers in 53 games last season, giving Yankees fans someone in particular to look forward to.
“Wow, I was so surprised in the beginning,” fan Tony Vargas told CBS2’s Otis Livingston. “I mean, when you see him hitting those long, long home runs — it was amazing.”
“To see him succeed as much as he did, I just hope he carries it on,” said Ed Goss, who was wearing an “#IAMGARY” T-shirt.READ MORE: SEE IT: Mayor Adams, NYPD Commissioner Sewell On Killing Of NYPD Officer In Harlem: 'An Attack On The City Of New York'
Sanchez is not resting on his laurels. He’s working hard to earn the accolades and the fans’ respect.
“During the offseason, I watch a lot of video, try to correct the things I did wrong,” Sanchez said through a translator. “Once you get here, you kind of want to keep working on the things that are going to help you to do better.”
But could Sanchez end up with a retired jersey, like all the great Yankees catchers? Or beyond?
“Could be borderline Hall of Fame,” Goss said. “I’d like to see that, yes. He’s that good.”MORE NEWS: With Tragic Shooting Of 2 Police Officers In Harlem, 5 NYPD Officers Have Been Shot In January
Manager Joe Girardi warned the fans to take it slow and let Sanchez grow. He said there are going to be some ups and downs along the road, and he doesn’t want Sanchez to feel the entire weight of the organization on his broad shoulders.