“Joe Girardi has stated he wants to win this series.”  – Orel Hershiser, 08/07/11

It was a working weekend for me, so I missed almost all of this Sunday night’s game. About all I picked up from it is that Dustin Pedroia is an MVP because he punches the bench when he gets out; that Pedroia has tiny, tiny hands, according to Bobby Valentine, who would know and definitely share that information; that Joe Girardi has stated he wants to win this series; and that, according to Valentine, bunting after a home run is considered a violation of an unwritten rule, which is an amazing unwritten rule. Also, it is my understanding this game might not even be over yet.

So, because that’s all I know about this game, you guys are getting a listicle today. There’s an A and there’s a B. Enjoy:

A.

As you know, the Yankees have retired a lot of numbers. They’ve retired so many numbers that they retired one number twice, and in a decade or so the lowest number available will be 11. Lots of retired numbers.

You might think this means the Yankees have loose retirement standards, but far from it. There are some great players whose numbers weren’t retired. Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres retired Steve Garvey’s number. Steve Garvey played five seasons for the Padres late in his career and had a 100 OPS+ and less than 2.0 Wins Above Replacement. He also had a big home run for the Padres in the NLCS once. The San Diego Padres also retired Randy Jones’ number. Jones — who had two marvelous seasons, including a Cy Young award — pitched eight seasons with the Padres, with a losing record and a 104 ERA+.

Steve Garvey and Randy Jones would not have had their numbers retired on the Yankees.

What if the Yankees retired every number? Asteroid on its way to earth, want to honor as many people as possible as quickly as possible, that sort of thing? Here’s the most deserving Yankee at each available number.

No. 2: Derek Jeter. They should probably retire this number now, and not let Jeter wear it anymore. “Only greats get this number,” they’ll tell him. He might just quit!

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Yes, clearly.

No. 6: This could go to Tony Lazzeri, but it won’t. But Lazzeri deserves a nod. Among all retired Yankees position players, he ranks ninth in WAR. He had five top-15 MVP finishes, a 120 OPS+ as a middle infielder, and he spent 12 seasons as a Yankee. But it’s not Lazzeri, and it’s not Joe Gordon, and it’s not Roy White; this one goes to Joe Torre, of course.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? The Padres haven’t retired any managers’ numbers, so technically we can’t say. But let’s pivot to the Royals, who retired manager Dick Howser’s number after six seasons, a .524 winning percentage and one World Series title. Clearly, Torre crushes those qualifications.

No. 11: Lefty Gomez. Seven straight All-Star appearances, two ERA titles and the 15th-best winning percentage in baseball history. And 6-0 in the postseason.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Yes. Gosh yes. Lefty Gomez’ number might be retired in every other franchise in baseball.

No. 12: Charlie Keller. You ready for this? In 11 seasons on the Yankees, Keller had a 153 OPS+. That’s the 24th-best in Major League history.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Sweet goodness yes.

No. 13: Alex Rodriguez. They’ll probably pull some not-a-true-Yankee shenanigans to keep from retiring his number when he retires, but you and I know. Average Yankee season: 38 home runs, .952 OPS, 5.9 WAR.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Not a true Padre, but otherwise, yes.

No. 14: Probably Bill Skowron, in a fairly weak number. Curtis Granderson is a No. 14, too, but no threat to Skowron yet.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? In nine years he had a 129 OPS+ for the Yankees, and hit seven World Series home runs for them, so there’s some True Yankee in him. Definitely better than Garvey as a Padre and for longer than Garvey as a Padre, so yes.

No. 17: Vic Raschi.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? He won 30 more games as a Yankee than Jones did as a Padre, and he did it with a ridiculous .720 winning percentage. That would be best in Major League history if he hadn’t gone on to suck as a Cardinal. He won 20 three times in a row and finished top-20 in MVP voting five years in a row. Easily passes Jones.

No. 18: Since it’s not Jeff Weaver, it’s probably one of two guys with postseason-driven reputations: Scott Brosius or Don Larsen.

Do they meet Padres’ standards? Even with the perfect game, Larsen probably doesn’t, with half as many wins (though a better ERA+) than Jones. But Brosius played just 17 fewer games as a Yankee than Garvey did as a Padre, and despite a slightly lower OPS+, Brosius was more valuable because of his position and defense. His performance in the 1998 postseason matches Garvey’s in 1984, but then Brosius went on to be awful in the postseason the next three years. This is close. I say: yes!

No. 19: Dave Righetti.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Hard to compare relievers to starters. But Righetti won a Rookie of the Year award, led the league in ERA and threw a no-hitter as a starter; then set the all-time saves record as a closer; and also went 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in the postseason. He also out-WARs Jones. If Dave Righetti had this career with the Padres, I bet they’d have retired his number.

No. 20: Jorge Posada

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Clearly.

No. 21: Spud Chandler or Paul O’Neill.

Do they meet Padres’ standards? Either one is an easy yes. The question is which of these two gets to represent the uniform number forever. I’ll say Chandler, who has the highest winning percentage in history and won an MVP award and never played anywhere but New York and threw a shutout in a World Series clincher.

No. 22: Robinson Cano.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? He could use a signature postseason moment, but he’s clearly above Garvey.

No. 24: Rickey Henderson. Not a great uni number for the Yankees. Next best is probably Tino Martinez.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Garvey was worth less than 2 WAR as a Padre. Rickey had a 10-WAR season with the Yankees. In five seasons, he averaged 7 WAR per year. He was an All-Star four of those years. All the same, you could argue that Garvey is in because of that one postseason swing, and Rickey didn’t play in the postseason with the Yankees. Would the Padres have retired Rickey’s number if he’d had those five seasons in San Diego? Yeah, I’ll say yes. He did as much in those five seasons as Dave Winfield did in his seven, and Winfield got his number retired by San Diego without a postseason appearance.

No. 25: Tommy John.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? John has one fewer win as a Yankee than Jones as a Padre. He has a better ERA and ERA+. Jones won 20 games in back-to-back years; so did John. Jones finished 1st and 2nd in CY voting; John finished 2nd and 4th. John had a 2.51 ERA in six post-season appearances with the Yankees, and Jones never pitched in the postseason. Jones was worth 22 WAR as a Padre. John was worth 18.2 as a Yankee. John had that surgery named after him. This is darned close, and I’ll say the lack of a Cy Young award tips it. Tommy John does not meet the Padres’ standards.

No. 26: We’re thinning out. The best choices here are wild, spectacled 1960s closer Ryne Duren; or Orlando Hernandez. Hernandez gets the edge because of the playoffs.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Better ERA+ than Jones, but in a lot fewer innings and without the signature regular season accomplishments. On the other hand, Duque went 9-3 in the postseason with a 2.67 ERA in 104 innings, and we can see (in Garvey) how the Padres tend to overvalue postseason performances. Still. I’ll say no, Orlando Hernandez doesn’t meet the Padres’ standards.

No. 27: Bobby Murcer.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Played three times as long with the team as Garvey did, and had a 129 OPS+, though without any postseason success. He compares well with no-postseason Winfield, though, by WAR or by OPS+ or by All-Star appearances. He does meet the Padres’ standards.

No. 28: Sparky Lyle.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Like Jones, he won a Cy Young award, and he tops Jones in MVP voting and All-Star appearances. It’s otherwise hard to compare the reliever to the starter. To be conservative, I’ll say no.

No. 29: Catfish Hunter.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? A Cy Young runner-up, but the same ERA+ in fewer innings and with fewer wins, and a meh postseason record. No.

No. 30: Willie Randolph.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Easily. Among retired Yankees position players, he is tops in WAR.

No. 31: Dave Winfield.

Does he meet Padres’ standards?

  • Winfield as a Padre: 4,512 plate appearances, 134 OPS+
  • Winfield as a Yankee: 5,021 plate appearances, 134 OPS+

So, yes.

No. 33: Bill Dickey (as a coach) perhaps. Or David Wells, or Nick Swisher.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Dickey was a coach on the Yankees teams that won five consecutive World Series, but coaches don’t get their numbers retired except in extreme cases. Wells is probably just short of Jones, and Swisher annoys everybody. No.

No. 34: Mel Stottlemyre? Pitching coach on teams that won four World Series? Probably a stretch. Really limited options at this point. Not A.J. Burnett.  Not Jaret Wright.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? No.

No. 35: Mike Mussina.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? Blows away Jones in WAR (30), wins, ERA+, longevity. Threw a ton of postseason innings, adequately. Incidentally: Mike Mussina never made the All-Star team as a Yankee. Javier Vazquez did.

No. 36: Johnny Mize.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? No. Mize and Garvey’s cases are similar in a lot of ways — stage of their careers, reputations, performance, postseason heroics — but Mize is 225 games played short of even Garvey’s low bar.

No. 38: Johnny Blanchard.

Does he meet Padres’ standards? You know, he probably does. As a part-time catcher, he outhit Garvey (115 OPS+) and had a similarly impressive postseason stat line (.345/.387/.690 in 15 games). And while Garvey played more games with the Padres, Blanchard spent more years with the Yankees. Blanchard is probably the very worst a Yankee could be and still meet the Padres’ standards.

No. 39: Jim Coates or Ron Davis.

Do they meet the Padres’ standards? No. But it’s worth pointing out that Ron Davis and Jim Coates were basically the same. Each played four seasons with the Yankees at the start of his careers. Each was used primarily in long relief, and each led the league in winning percentage once. Each was an All-Star once, Davis in his third year, Coates in his fourth. Davis finished his Yankee career with a .730 winning percentage; Coates finished his with a .712 winning percentage. Neither one meets the Padres’ standard, though.

No. 40: Chien-Ming Wang.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? No.

No. 41: Joe Collins.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? He hit better than Garvey for longer than Garvey, but without the postseason moment. No.

No. 42: Mariano Rivera.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes.

No. 43: Rudy May.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Led the league in ERA, but no.

No. 45: Joe Girardi.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? No.

No. 46: Andy Pettitte.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes.

No. 47: Luis Arroyo.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? No.

No. 48: Roy White.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes. Forty-four WAR as a Yankee, with a .387 OBP in the postseason.

No. 50: Don Zimmer.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? No.

No. 51: Bernie Williams.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes. Forty-seven WAR as a Yankee, bunch of postseason records.

No. 52: CC Sabathia.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes, unless he opts out of his contract and doesn’t pitch for the Yankees after this year.

No. 53: Johnny Kucks.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? No, but he did win 8 or 18 games in each of his first five seasons, which is weird.

No. 54: Goose Gossage.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes. Now, Gossage did pitch for the Padres, and they haven’t retired his number, but his time with the Yankees was longer and much more impressive. (Three times as much WAR, etc.)

No. 55: Hideki Matsui.

Does he meet the Padres’ standards? Yes, easily.

After No. 55, the players really thin out, and there’s probably no number that meets the Padres standard. So we’ll stop there. Using the Padres’ standard, they would have retired 40 uniform numbers by now.

B.

As far as I’m concerned, the most important topics that the Annotated Box Score covers are 1) pistachios replacing peanuts in baseball, 2) fans who wave at the camera from behind home plate and 3) players whose name is Johnny. Earlier this year, we marveled at the 1980s video game name “Johnny Venters.” And, above, we mentioned in passing Johnny Kucks, who sounds sort of like a mobster but really sounds like a cop who takes bribes from mobsters.

So this got me looking for Johnnies throughout baseball history. First, there are 113 Johnnies who played in the majors, by my count, which is almost certainly short by one or two but not much more. These are my 10 favorite Johnnies among them:

Johnny Riddle, a professional magician who used his illusions to steal the Mona Lisa in broad daylight without being detected.

Johnny Peacock, who led a revolt at the insane asylum.

Johnny Sturm, screen name S7urmCha$3r, a hacker who is running for his life after stumbling onto a dangerous secret.

Johnny Lush, a dealer in a Las Vegas casino who unexpectedly finds himself at the final table of the World Series of Poker, or similar event with a non-trademarked name.

Johnny Priest, a professional assassin played by Nicholas Cage in a film directed by McG.

Johnny Podres, a professional assassin played by Nicholas Cage in a film directed by McG and dubbed for distribution in Latin America.

Johnny Jeter, the traveling salesman who seduced Derek Jeter’s mom when a tornado forced everybody inside for one frightening, romantic night.

Johnny Gee, who booked concerts at CBGB in the late 90s.

Johnny Gooch, a real son of a bitch.

Johnny Lazor. Obviously.

Meanwhile, there are, by my count, 458 Johns. At most, two of them have cool names: John Rocker and John Wockenfuss, though both names would be undeniably better if they were Johnny Rocker and Johnny Wockenfuss.

This was originally supposed to be an in-depth look at the John vs. Johnny divide. I thought there might be reasons for why some guys get to be Johnny and others get stuck with John. There were some moderately promising trends — Johns are more likely to have English words for last names; Johnnies are more likely to have names ending in S — but there was really nothing compelling. So I’m going to save you all the trouble.

I’ll just note that there are 11 surnames that have had both a John and a Johnny. In those groups, the Johns have combined for -1.0 Wins Above Replacement. The Johnnies have combined for 49 Wins Above Replacement.

All in all, a disappointing Item B.

Sam Miller is a baseball writer who covers the Angels for the Orange County Register. He is on Twitter.

Comments (8)

  1. Does that 40 include the numbers already retired by the Yankees though? Either way, never realized that the Padres had such low standards.

  2. The 40 includes the 16 numbers already retired.

  3. “Earlier this year, we marveled at the 1980s video game name “Johnny Venters.”

    At first thought you meant that there was a player in an 80s baseball game that had the name Johnny Venters. This has lead me to wonder how many players (if any) have had their names randomly generated in baseball video games before they were in the majors? For instance, was there a Justin Upton in Triple Play 2001?!

  4. Cano wears 24 now and has for the last few years. Forget the exact year he switched. Might have been 2008

  5. Cano wears number 24.

  6. Fine except for number 22. Cano has been wonderful, and will continue to be if he learns to swing at strikes; but us old guys remember Allie Reynolds, “The Chief.” Two no-hitters in 1951. Started and came out of the bullpen to close in the World Series. Cano hasn’t got his number yet. Also, give me Bob Turley over Dave Righetti at number 19. Turley won the 1958 World Series almost by himself.

  7. You stopped one number short; where’s #56, the Bulldog, Jim Bouton?

    Boooooooooo!!!!!!!

    Of course I’m not serious, but it’s fun to think about.

  8. Roy White wore #6 during most of his Yankee career and is clearly a good choice for that number. I don’t think Torre deserves it.

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