Life’s Not Always Grand for Yankee Captains

Throughout their illustrious history, the Yankees have had 11 captains, including Babe Ruth, who was captain for all of five days in 1922.

Of the remaining 10 captains, the big names are Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter.

Gehrig, pictured left, and Mattingly, below, set records with their respective grand slam exploits. Munson and Jeter didn’t fare nearly as well with the bases loaded.

Of his 493 career home runs, Gehrig hit 23 grand slams, the last in 1938. Today, 70 years later, that remains the major league record. Among active players, Manny Ramirez is second with 20 grand slams and Alex Rodriguez has 17.

Gehrig hit four grand slams in 1934, tying the single season record held by Ruth (in 1919, with the Red Sox) among others. That record was broken until Ernie Banks hit five for the Cubs in 1955.

In 1987, Mattingly broke the single season grand salami mark with six, a record equaled by Cleveland’s Travis Haffner in 2006.

Strangely enough, Mattingly hit 222 home runs during his career, but only six grand slams — all in 1987.

Munson was selected Yankee captain 1976, the first since Gehrig, captain until his death in 1941. Munson hit 113 home runs during his career, but never a grand slam. He died in a plane crash in Canton, Ohio, in 1979 at age 32.

Jeter, who was named captain in 2003, hit the only grand slam of his career in 2005 against Joe Borowski of the Cubs. He has 206 homers lifetime entering this season.

  Yankee Captains

1912                            Hale Chase

1914-21                      Roger Peckinpaugh

1922                            Babe Ruth*

1922-25                     Everett Scott

1935-41                    Lou Gehrig

1976-79                    Thurman Munson

1982-84                      Graig Nettles

1986-89                      Willie Randolph

1986-89                      Ron Guidry

1991-95                      Don Mattingly

2003-current             Derek Jeter

* Just five days into his captaincy, Ruth was called out by umpire George Hildebrand on a close play at second versus the Senators at the Polo Grounds,  Ruth disagreed with the call and threw dirt into the face of Hildebrand,  who promptly ejected Ruth. On the way to the dugout, a fan called Ruth a “lowdown bum and other names that got me mad” so he attacked the fan in the stands as well. That outburst ended Ruth’s run as Yankee captain.


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