The hobby is dominated by New York Yankees legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and Derek Jeter. And they all happen to be everyday positional players. Collectors often overlook the pitchers they played with. So while a few weeks ago I took a look at 10 Cards of the Greatest Post-War Pitchers in MLB History, today I’ll be running down the statistics, and some cards, of the best New York Yankees pitchers.
Rivera was a game-changing pitcher who holds the MLB record for saves with 652. He also had an astonishing 2.21 career ERA. More impressively, he was 8-1 in the postseason with 42 career saves and a 0.70 ERA. The 13x All-Star won 5 World Series titles and is always in the conversation for greatest Yankees pitcher of all time. His 1992 Bowman card in PSA 10 condition is now pushing $1k.
The Yankee’s pitcher that gives Rivera a run for his money and the top of the greatest list is Whitey Ford. He’s the best starter in Yankees history with 6 World Series titles. He also won both the Cy Young and MVP awards in 1961. Ford put up 236 career wins with a 2.75 ERA while making 10 All-Star games. Ford is card #1 is arguably one of the most significant post-war sets, 1951 Bowman.
Ruffing is second all-time in wins on the Yankees. Over his career (Red Sox, Yankees, and White Sox), he had 273 wins and a 3.80 ERA. He was also a member of 6 World Series Champion Yankees teams. PSA has graded fewer than 350 of these Diamond Stars Red Ruffing cards.
Pettitte played for the Yankees between 1995 and 2003, then Houston between 2004 and 2006 before returning to the Yankees between 2007-2010 and 2012-2013. He’s the most famous modern-day Yankees pitcher with 5 World Series championships. Pettitte finished his career with 256 wins and 2448 strikeouts. A PSA 10 1993 Bowman Pettitte card goes for around $250.
When Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio play behind you, odds are you’ll do pretty well. But Gomez was still a 2x triple crown winner with 189 career wins. The last sale of a PSA 8 of the 1941 Play Ball Gomez was $999.
Stottlemyre won 5 World Series with the Yankees as a coach but was also a great Yankees pitcher between 1964 and 1974 with 164 wins and a 2.97 ERA. The 1971 Topps Stottlemyre is pretty affordable, with 8s selling for between $60 and $75.
Guidry spent his whole career with the Yankees finishing with 170 wins, a 3.29 ERA while earning 4 All-Star appearances and two world series wins (1977 and 1978). He was a great fielding pitcher winning five gold gloves too. Guidry pitched the first immaculate inning, and you can get his 1983 Topps card for less than grading costs.
Rich “Goose” Gossage
Gossage had 151 saves with the Yankees and won the 1978 championship with the team. While he pitched for nine different teams, he was at his best with the Yankees. While not as iconic as his 1973 Topps card, Gossage’s 1983 Topps card is still pretty great.
Raschi had monster seasons between 1949-1951 with the Yankees and had a 120-50 record and a 3.58 ERA over eight seasons (1946-1953) while winning 6 World Series championships. And you can’t go wrong picking up an early Bowman card of a Yankee great.
Righetti was the Rookie of the Year 1981 and had a 74-61 record with 224 saves and a 3.11 ERA with the Yankees between 1979 and 1990. The 1982 Topps Righetti in PSA 10 is ~$60 these days.
Honestly, I extended this list to 11 players just because I like Reynolds’ 1952 Topps card that much; it’s one of my favorite cards in the entire hobby. Reynolds started his career with the Yankees farm team (Cleveland… that’s a joke), and he also won 5 straight (6 total) World Series, with the team winning 131 games over that time.
Many historians would also include Mike Mussina or Roger Clemens on this list, but I associate their careers more with the Baltimore Orioles and Boston RedSox than the Yankees.
Hopefully, this list will help you both appreciate some of the great pitchers that helped the Yankees’ dynasty while also giving you a few ideas of cool cards to add to your collection. Please let me know on Twitter if you feel I left anyone important off the list, and happy collecting!