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Is it Time to Retire the Numbers of the 90s Dynasty?

By Mike Silva ~ September 14th, 2011. Filed under: New York Yankees.

Mariano Rivera collecting his 600th save last night made me think about the late nineties version of the Yankees. In recent years this group was represented by the “Core Four,” which is now the “Core Three,” and soon to be “Core Two” once the team parts ways with Jorge Posada this offseason. The 2012 version of the Yankees will probably be more known for CC Sabathia, Robinson CanoMark Teixeira, and the up and coming kids like Jesus MonteroIvan Nova, and possibly the Killer B’s. Although Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will be key parts of the team for the near future, enough time passed since the dynasty was born to put that era in the history books. Is it time to think about retiring numbers from the team that started this run of excellence that is going on 16 years?

Bernie WilliamsTino MartinezPaul O’NeillAndy PettitteDavid Cone, and Roger Clemens are all candidates to be considered for the next wave of inductions. I think Williams and Pettitte are locks, while O’Neill and Martinez are on the fence.

Wouldn’t it be a great event for the fans to retire Williams and Pettitte the next two years? Williams is technically not retired, but perhaps selecting him for this honor will give him the motivation to file the inevitable papers that have been sitting on his desk since 2007. For those wondering about the future status of Andy Pettitte, do the Yanks really need the veteran lefty with their depth of young pitching and coming off a one year layoff?

As for Martinez and O’Neill, I think neither is at the level of retired number status. O’ Neill was a warrior; the heart and soul of a championship team, but he wasn’t in retired number elite status; same for Martinez.

Finally, Clemens is out because of PEDs and his off the field troubles; let’s face it, the Rocket is bad for the Yankees luxury brand name.  As much as I like David Cone, he has rankled the gulag at YES for not towing the company line, plus he has more wins as a member of the other team in town. I wouldn’t be surprised if his 2003 comeback with the Mets still sticks in the organization’s craw. I also use Guidry as the baseline for retiring the numbers of Yankees pitchers. Neither meets that benchmark so the off the field stuff is moot.

Another option is to wait for Rivera and Jeter to finish their career and have a ceremony with Pettitte, Williams, and Posada. Honoring the “Core Five” they could call it. I am sure there is a luxury brand they can find to sponsor it. The problem with that scenario is you may have to wait awhile for the ceremony. Jeter has another three years on his contract, Rivera might close ballgames till he is 50, and Posada is so stubborn who knows when he calls it quits. In case you are wondering about A-Rod, I consider him the next class and he probably will get a separate day for breaking tons of league records.

In all seriousness, the fans deserve some kind of remembrance of the era that started this all. Give Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte there due now, and retire the numbers of the remaining three when they finally call it quits.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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12 Responses to Is it Time to Retire the Numbers of the 90s Dynasty?

  1. Pizza Man

    A number of those players were great, but you have to be better than that to get your number retired. Jeter, Mo, and Jorge, sure. Bernie, maybe. Pettitte, probably shouldn’t but he did spend a long time with the team. All of them are probably getting monuments.

    The rest I don’t think should get either. They were key parts to a dynasty, but they were merely above average players. Tino and Paulie were great, but not elite.

  2. Chuck Johnson

    Mo and Jeter yes, everyone else no.

  3. Brien Jackson

    Mo, Jeter, and Bernie are all inarguable locks, and Posada and Pettitte are locks too, though I think you can kind of argue with them a little if you want to. Everyone else is a no.

  4. Stu B

    42 is already retired for Jackie Robinson. No MLB player will wear it after Rivera.

  5. Mike Silva


    I think in Mo’s case they would retire it “honorarily” - I can’t see them not doing that.

  6. UncleMario

    The St. Louis Cardinals retired Bruce Sutter’s #42 at a ceremony at Busch Stadium on September 17, 2006. Besides, Mo’s number was “grandfathered” at the time of the league-wide retirement of #42.

    While we talked of the retirement of both #2 and #42 what about #6, Joe Torre?

  7. Sean

    1. Never should have retired Guidry’s number.
    2. Core 4 plus Bernie are locks - but there will be a long delay for Jorge. Probably until after Girardi and Cashman are out of the organization.
    3. Plenty of guys from 40s-50s-60s were just as important to Championship dynasties as Tino, O’Neill, Cone.

    Tommy Hendrich? Alley Reynolds?

    HELL NO ON CLEMENS! They won in ’96 and ’98 without him.

  8. tnt1528

    joe torre is/was a lousy mgr.even david wells said a trained baboon could have won with them. pettite =steroid user.

  9. Ralph C

    Rivera and Jeter are locks to have their numbers retired barring something unforseen. I’m not sure about Bernie Williams. I also have mixed feelings on Pettitte because he was an admitted steroid user and was an average at-best regular season pitcher and an overrated postseason one. For all his great games he had a ton of debacles as well (1996 World Series game 1, 1997 ALDS, 1998 ALCS game 3, 1999 World Series game 3, 2001 World Series, 2002 ALDS game 2). He will probably be retired though. The only other Yankee on those teams that deserves consideration is Posada: I would say no. He had absolutely nothing to do with the 1996 team-Girardi and Leyritz were the catchers that year, Posada came up full time in 1997-and while a very good player was far from great.

  10. UncleMario

    Then retire #6 for Tony Lazzeri or Joe Gordon (or both) since they’re both Hall of Famers.

    Perhaps the Yankees should use “NY” logo in honor of both Miller Huggins and Joe McCarthy (never wore uniform numbers) as the baseball Giants use “NY” to honor John McGraw and Christy Mathewson.

    Always felt that #1 should have not been retired for Billy Martin. Should have retired it for Earle Combs instead. Also the Yankees should have retired #11 for Lefty Gomez.

    Perhaps the Yankees should use Cooperstown as a criteria in retiring future uniform numbers which I mentioned Lazzeri, Gordon, Combs, and Gomez, are in the Hall of Fame.

  11. Tom

    Can’t imagine the Mets retiring Franco or Piazza. Franco had a long run with the club, but was a very average pitcher the entire time (IP-H ratio nearly 1-1). Piazza killed the ball for the Mets for four-plus years, but no more. He had more HOF-type years with the Dodgers.

    If you’re inclined to retire a guy’s number for a relatively short run of greatness, Dwight Gooden (119-46 his first seven years) would be more deserving than Piazza.

  12. Mister D

    1. The Yankees have too many retired numbers IMO, because George let sentiment (or business) dictate those decisions. I’d be happy if we un-retired Reggie, Billy, and maybe even Guidry and Maris (I know it won’t happen).

    2. Mariano is so awesome they already to retired his number.

    3. Cone, O’Neill and Tino were great players (though only Cone had a HoF case) but not career Yankees. Their numbers should not be retired.

    4. Don’t talk to me about Rocket.

    5. Jeter is a lock.

    6. Posada (who is essentially a career Yankee no matter what happens next year), Bernie and Andy (who is a near career Yankee) are all home grown players, fan favorites, key parts of a dynastry and borderline (at best) HoFers. I would have no problem with them retiring those numbers, and if they do one, they should do them all.

    7. That said, there are still great players who have been overlooked and are in danger of being forgotten because they played when numbers weren’t retired. I’m thinking specifically of Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzerri, Red Ruffing, Earl Combs

    8. ARod will be interesting. Likely HoF lock. Never the most popular player on the team but the best. Only 1 ring so far, but that’s better than other’s who wore pinstripes. The Yankees have not retired other HoFers who played a long time in NY - Winfield, Henderson, Goose and Rocket spring immediately to mind.

    9. And all of this makes me think we need to find a way to SuperRetire Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle.

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