New York is home to plenty of household names in baseball. It’s also home to one of the most storied franchises in baseball history but that’s not all. The city itself is the like center of the universe for the sport as many who were born from that state spawned into great talents. As we continue our Best Players Series, here is a look at the New York’s baseball players of all time.
We are using career WAR as a guide. However, we are considering other factors, including ERA, career accomplishments and statistics.
The Best New York Baseball Players
Stats: 3,315 H, 47 HR, 1,821 R, 1,299 RBI, 741 SB, .333/.424/.429, 142 OPS+, 124.4 WAR
Accolades: AL MVP, 6x World Series Champion, 1939 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
Eddie Collins established himself as the Philadelphia Athletics regular second baseman in 1909. Collins hit .347 with 104 runs, 198 hits and 63 stolen bases. It mark the first of 10 seasons where he hit higher than .340. Collins helped the A’s win World Series titles in 1911 and 1913 before being sold to the Chicago White Sox. He continued his excellent play while leading the White Sox to the 1917 World Series title. In 1919, he hit .319 with a league-leading 33 stolen bases, the season known forever as the Black Sox scandal. Collins was never implicated in the scandal, continuing to play his Hall of Fame career until 1930.
SP, 1942, 1946-1965
Stats: 363-245, 3.09 ERA, 750 G, 665 GS, 382 CG, 28 SV, 5,243 2/3 IP, 1.195 WHIP, 100.1 WAR
Accolades: 1957 AL Cy Young and World Series Champion, 3x ERA title, 17x All-Star, 1973 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
Warren Spahn has the sixth-most wins in baseball history and the most for any left-hander. Despite missing three seasons to serve in WWII, Spahn was a dominant force as one of the best pitchers in the 1950s. Spahn pitched in three World Series for the Milwaukee Braves, winning the Fall Classic in 1957. He won 20 games 13 times while leading the league in ERA three times. He even led the league in complete games every year from 1957 to 1963. In 1963, at 42 years old, Spahn went 23-7 with a 2.60 ERA.
2B, CF, C, 1988-2007
Stats: 3,060 H, 291 HR, 1,844 R, 1,175 RBI, 414 SB, .281/.363/.433, 112 OPS+. 65.5 WAR
Accolades: 4x Gold Glove, 5x Silver Slugger, 7x All-Star, 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee
After hitting .344 in 141 minor league games, Craig Biggio was called up to the Houston Astros in June 1988. He took over as Houston’s catcher, hitting 13 home runs with 60 RBI while winning his first of five Silver Slugger Awards. By 1992, he became Houston’s second baseman to lengthen his career. Biggio made the transition look like nothing, averaging 17 home runs and 30 steals a season from 1993-1999. He even hit 668 doubles, en route to fifth on the all-time list. Biggio joined the 3,000 hit club in 2007, the final season of his career. He’s the only baseball player to have 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs
New York City, NY
Stats: 268-152, 2.86 ERA, 558 G, 521 GS, 211 CG, 4 SV, 3,948 IP, 2,212 SO, 1.180 WHIP, 68.5 WAR
Accolades: 2x ERA Title, 3x World Series Champion and Cy Young, 4x Gold Glove, 6x All-Star, 1990 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
From 1969 to 1979, Jim Palmer went 192-101 with a 2.52 ERA while averaging 277 innings a season. During that span, Palmer was in the top five in AL Cy Young voting, winning the award in 1973, 1975 and 1976. In 1973, he was the runner up to Reggie Jackson for the AL MVP. The four-time Gold Glove winner led a rotation that featured Doyle Alexander, Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally. Since his retirement in 1984, Palmer’s 268 career victories remain a Baltimore Orioles record.
DH, 1B, 1987-2004
New York City, NY
Stats: 2,247 H, 309 HR, 1,219 R, 1,261 RBI, 49 SB, .312/.418/.515, 147 OPS+, 68.4 WAR
Accolades: 2x AL Batting Champion, 5x Silver Slugger Award, 7x All-Star, 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
Edgar Martinez is the best all-around offensive player in Seattle Mariners history. His .933 OPS is second in franchise history behind .934 of Alex Rodriguez. He played more games than anyone in team history, scored more runs as he has the second-best average with .312. Martinez finished his career as one of six players with 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a batting average of .300, career OPS of .400, and slugging percentage of .500.
New York City, NY
1B, LF, 1930, 1933-1941, 1945-1947
Stats: 1,628 H, 331 HR, 1,046 R, 1,274 RBI, 58 SB, .313/.412/.605, 159 OPS+, 55.5 WAR
Accolades: 2x MVP, 2x World Series Champion, 4x AL Home Run Leader, 5x All-Star, 1956 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
A two-time AL MVP, Hank Greenberg was one of the most dominant power hitters of his generation. His MVP award came in 1935 as a first baseman. He he hit .328 while leading the league with 36 home runs and 168 RBI. Greenberg won his second MVP in 1940 as an outfielder, batting .340 with 41 home runs and 151 runs. This marked the first time that a player won an MVP award playing two different positions. Even though he stepped away from the game due to WWII, Greenberg didn’t skip a beat upon his return. In his final year as a member of the Detroit Tigers, he once again lead the league with 44 home runs and 127 RBI.
New York City, NY
SP, 1950, 1953-1967
Stats: 236-106, 2.75 ERA, 498 G, 438 GS, 156 CG, 11 SV, 3,170 IP, 1,956 SO, 1.215 WHIP, 57.1 WAR
Accolades: 2x ERA Title, 6x World Series Champion, 10x All-Star, 1961World Series MVP and Cy Young Award Winner, 1974 Hall of Fame Inductee
Whitey Ford ran through the minor leagues, appearing in New York in the summer of 1950. He quickly solidified a spot in the Yankee rotation, going 9-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 20 games as he finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. After spending two years in the Army, Ford returned in 1953, picking up where he had left off. Over the next seven seasons, he earned 15 wins on average despite never pitching more than 250 innings a season. The World Series record book is filled with Ford’s accomplishments. He set the record of 33 1/3 shutout innings from 1960-62, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 29 2/3 innings. Ford holds records for games and starts (22), innings pitched (46), and strikeouts (94)
LF, 1B, 1961-1983
Stats: 3,419 H, 452 HR, 1,816 R, 1,844 RBI, 168 SB, .285/.379/.462, 130 OPS+, 96.5 WAR
Accolades: AL MVP, AL Triple Crown, 3x AL Batting Champion, 7x Gold Glove, 18x All-Star, 1989 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
Carl Yastrzemski replaced Ted Williams in Boston’s lineup in 1961. By the end of his career, Yastrzemski became a legend of his own. By 1967, he produced one of the most incredible seasons in baseball history. He won the AL Triple Crown while leading the Impossible Dread Red Sox to the AL pennant. In his final 37 at-bats, Yastrzemski racked in 20 hits, three home runs, 14 RBI with a .541 batting average. He even led the AL in runs, hits and total bases as Boston clinched the pennant on the last day of the regular season.
Stats: 165-87, 2.76 ERA, 397 G, 314 GS, 137 CG, 9 SV, 2324 1/3 IPM , 2,396 SO, 1.106 WHIP, 48.9 WAR
Accolades: 1963 NL MVP, 2x World Series MVP, 3x Cy Young, 3x Triple Crown, 4x World Series Champion, 5x ERA title, 7x All-Star, 1972 Hall of Fame Inductee
With limited baseball experience, Sandy Koufax struggled with control at first. But, his talent overshadowed that as one of the best pitchers to play the game. He was the first pitcher to throw four no-hitters as well as the first to win multiple Cy Young Awards. His 1965 season was one of the best of his career, finishing 26-8 with a 2.04 ERA while striking out a then-record 382 batters. Of his 41 starts, he completed 27 as he threw eight shutouts in 335 2/3 innings. Koufax remains the youngest inductee elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
New York City, NY
Stats: 2,721 H, 493 HR, 1,888 R, 1,995 RBI, 102 SB, .340/.444/.632, 178 OPS+, 113.6 WAR
Accolades: 2x AL MVP, 5x World Series Champion, 7x All-Star, 1934 Triple Crown and AL Batting title, 1939 Hall of Fame Inductee
It’s no secret that Lou Gehrig is from the Big Apple, signing with his hometown Yankees for $1,500 in 1923. Gehrig is truly one of the greats, a power-hitting first baseman who played in 2,130 consecutive games- a record that stood for 56 years until Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed it. The “Iron Horse” drove in 100 runs or more in 13 straight seasons as he holds the AL record with 184 RBI in 1931. He even finished among the league’s top-three hitters in batting average seven times, achieving eight 200-plus hit seasons. Gehrig’s career ended abruptly in May 1939 when ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) hindered his performance and eventually his life two years later.
Eddie Collins, Warren Spahn, Craig Biggio, Jim Palmer, Reggie Jackson, Doyle Alexander, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Greenberg, Whitey Ford, Babe Ruth, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr.