Mar 25, 2024; Tampa, Florida, USA; a general view of the stadium before a game between the New York Mets and New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to figuring out the best players in the history of a franchise, this might simultaneously be one of the easiest and hardest to do. We all know the New York Yankees are arguably the greatest franchise in Major League Baseball history but they’re also one of the greatest sports franchises ever.

The list of great Yankees is long and starts almost as soon as they began playing in 1903, so narrowing it down was pretty hard. Still, we were able to pick out 10 players who summed up The Yankee Way as much as possible for this storied franchise.

Here are the 10 best New York Yankees of all time.

10. Bill Dickey, catcher

For almost 20 years, Bill Dickey was the Yankees’ catcher. During that time, he was a seven-time World Series champ and 11-time All-Star. Dickey gets overshadowed because he played with the likes of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, but he played an important part for those early New York teams too, He ended his Yankee career batting .313, with 202 home runs and 1,200 runs batted in. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954.

9. Yogi Berra, catcher

After Bill Dickey was gone, the Yankees were blessed with yet another great catcher, Yogi Berra. Berra is better known for his quirky sayings but was also a terrific ballplayer. He batted .285 with 258 home runs and over 1,400 RBIs during his career. Berra is also a 13-time World Series champion, an 18-time All-Star, and three-time AL MVP He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972. Berra once said “In baseball, you don’t know nothing,” but we know he was darn good.

8. Reggie Jackson, outfielder

You can’t have a list of Yankees list without Mr. Octorber on it. How good was Reggie Jackson? Legend has it that several Southern schools were ready to break the color barrier just to have him on their football team. Jackson didn’t start his baseball career as a Yankee, but he was there when it counted. He became one of the most feared batters, especially when it came to playoffs. Jackson all but put the Yankees on his back during the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, clobbering dingers in Games 4, 5, and 6. In Game Six, he hit three home runs (hence his nickname). Jackson finished his storied career with 563 dingers and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

7. Mariano Rivera, reliever

Some say Mariano Rivera was the greatest closer of all time. Look at his stats and they might just be right. If “The Sandman” came into the game for the Yankees, you knew it was over.  Rivera was the closer for the Yankees for 17 years and, along with Derek Jeter, was a huge reason the Yankees found success. Rivera would break batter’s hearts and end a team’s playoff hopes with his cutter. During his career, he had a 2.21 ERA with 1,178 strikeouts. Rivera was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019 with 100 percent of the vote.

6. Whitey Ford, pitcher

Whitney Ford was born to be a Yankee. He was born in Manhattan, played in the Bronx, and died in Nassau County. You can easily argue that Ford may have been the best starting pitcher to ever put on the pinstripes. He is a six-time World Series champion, 10-time All-Star, Cy Young award winner, and World Series MVP. Ford ended his career with 236 wins and a 2.75 ERA. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.

5. Derek Jeter, shortstop

The captain and leader of those great 1990s and 2000s Yankees teams was Derek Jeter. Jeter is the Yankees’ all-time career leader in hits (3,465), doubles (544), games played (2,747), stolen bases (358), times on base (4,716), plate appearances (12,602) and at-bats (11,195). He is also a five-time World Series champion, 14-time All-Star, American League Rookie of the Year, World Series MVP, and five-time Gold Glove winner. Jeter was this generation’s Joe D, a statesman and a superstar on and off the field. Jeter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by 99.7 percent of the vote.

4. Mickey Mantle, center fielder

There are a lot of great Yankees on this list but Mickey Mantle may be the biggest fan favorite of them all, not only his play but for who he was off the field. If you talk to older Yankee fans, they will probably say they grew up watching Mantle play and, boy,  was it a sight to see. Mantle was a seven-time World Series champ, 20-time All-Star, Triple Crown winner, and three-time AL MVP. When he retired, Mantle was third all-time in home runs with 536 and batted .298. He was inducted into Cooperstown in 1974.

3. Joe Dimaggio, center fielder

Mickey Mantle replaced another Yankees great in center field, Joe Dimaggio. Joe D played his entire 13-year career in New York, and during that time, he batted .325 with 361 home runs and over 1,500 RBIs. His most memorable moment may have been his 56-game hitting streak. The nine-time World Series champion, 13-time All-Star, and three-time AL MVP started his streak in 1941, just a few weeks after Lou Gehrig’s death. Dimaggio was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1955.

2. Lou Gehrig, first baseman

We all know about Lou Gehrig’s death, but in his life, he was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. The Iron Horse not only played in 2,130, a record that stood for decades, but he batted an unheard-of .340 with 493 home runs and nearly 2,000 RBIs. Not to mention the man was a six-time World Series champion, made the All-Star team seven times, was a two-time AL MVP, and was a Triple Crown winner in 1934. If it wasn’t for teammate Babe Ruth, he’d probably be No. 1 on this list.

1. Babe Ruth outfielder/pitcher

The legend of the great Babe Ruth started in Boston where he was a pitcher. Then he was traded to the Yankees and the rest is history. Ruth made baseball the most popular game in America and his star shined on and off the field. But his accomplishments on the field are why he is considered by many to be the greatest player ever. Listen to these stats: .342 average, 714 home runs (a record many thought would never be broken), and over 2,200 RBIs. He also is a seven-time World Series champ, two-time All-Star, two AL MVPs, and even led the AL in ERA when he pitched earlier in his career. Ruth was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.