Lords of the Ringless: Yankee Edition

Yankees without rings. Doesn’t sound right; there’s no ring to it. Yes, it’s a short list. But there are some very good ballplayers who wore the pinstripes and yet missed out on the World Series victories. The list includes a Hall of Fame pitcher, an AL MVP and batting champ, a Rookie of the Year, 20-game winners and 40-home run hittes.

Here are the best Yankees never to win a championship:

1. Don Mattingly — Spent his entire 14-year career with the Yankees, but made his only playoff appearance in the 1995 wild card round  (when he hit .417). A .307 lifetime hitter with 222 home runs, Donnie Baseball, right. was a batting champ in 1984, AL MVP in 1985, and a nine-time Gold Glove winner at first base. The captain just missed out on the 1996 championship, the Yanks first in 18 years.

2. Bobby Murcer — Joined the club as a 19-year -old rookie in 1965, the year the Yankee dynasty collapsed. He was traded to the Giants for Bobby Bonds in 1975, but returned four years later after a stint with the Cubs. Some 175 of Murcer’s 252 career home runs came as a Yankee, and he was a .277 lifetime hitter. Murcer made his only World Series appearance in a 1981 loss to the Dodgers.

3. Mel Stottlemyre — Came up as a rookie in August  of 1964 and fueled the Yanks run to the World Series, where he started three games against the Cardinals. That was the high point for The Needle, who stands seventh all-time in Yankee wins with 164, included three 20-win seasons. Stott had 40 career shutouts and hit an inside-the-park grand slam against Boston in 1965.

4. Dave Righetti — Pitched for the Yankees for 11 years before signing with the Giants as a free agent. He was AL Rookie of the Year in 1981 and threw a no-hitter against the Red Sox on the Fourth of July in 1983 before being moved to the bullpen. Rags racked up 224 of his 252 career saves as a Yankee, including a then MLB record 46 saves in 1986.

5. Mike Mussina — Signed away from Baltimore as a free agent, Mussina spent eight years in the Bronx and won 123 games (270 total). Moose came within one strike of pitching a perfect game against the Red Sox in 2001, and won 20 games for the first time in 2008, his final season, just missing out on the Yankees 27th championship. He did pitch in the World Series as 2001 and 2003.

6. Hal Chase — One of the Highlanders, Prince Hal, a great fielding first baseman with a corrupt side, recorded a .291 lifetime batting average and 363 stolen bases. He just missed out on a World Series after 1918, when the Reds traded him to the Giants. Chase came up to the majors in 1905, and played his first nine years in New York before being traded to the White Sox in 1913.

7. Tommy John — Pitched and lost to the Yankees in the 1977 and 1978 World Series before taking the if you can’t beat em join em approach and signing as a free agent. In two tours of duty with the Yankees TJ was 91-60, with 21 wins in 1979 and 22 in 1980. Overall John was 288-231 over a 26-year major league career that ended with the Yankees in 1979.

8. Jason Giambi — Signed as a free agent a year after winning the AL MVP with Oakland, he joined the Yankees in 2002 and played for seven years, missing out on the 2009 title run. He hit 41 home runs in each of his first two years in pinstripes, and wound up belting 209 of his 429 career home runs as a Yankee. The Giambino finished his career in Colorado

9. Lindy McDaniel — Joined the Yankees in 1968 and pitched for six years before being traded to the Royals in a move that brought Lou Piniella to the Bronx. McDaniel had 141 wins and 172 saves in a 21-year career. He led the Yanks with 29 saves in 1970, and overall was 38-29 with 58 saves for the Bombers. .

10. Phil Niekro — After spending his first 20 years throwing knuckleballs for the Braves, Knucksie signed with the Yankees in 1984, and recorded back to back 16-win seasons. On the final day of the 1985 season, Niekro, right, shut out the Blue Jays for his 300th win. He then left for the Indians, before winding up back in Atlanta in 1987. Niekro was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.

More Lords of the Ringless

Baseball Edition

Quarterback Edition

Running Back Edition

Hoops Edition

Wide Receiver Edition


Quick Hitters V — Observations of a Sportslifer

Phil Hughes 0-3, 8.82 ERA, Ian Kennedy 0-2 9.04 ERA. Do you think Hank Steinbrenner is keeping an eye on Johan Santana and reminding Brian Cashman about the trade that was never made….like every 10 minutes or so. That’s what George would have done.

Hughes’ blog sure gets more hits than sportslifer…..but he gives up more hits too.

We’ve seen just about enough of Jason Giambi in the middle the of the Yankee lineup. He can’t hit, he can’t field, he can’t throw and he can’t run. Other than that, he’s a great guy.

But now that A-Rod has a strained quad, we’ll no doubt be treated to even more of the Giam-balco. Unless the Bombers decide to bring back Joe Pepitone.

Considering the lack of starting pitching, clutch hitting, and a lot of road games, it’s amazing the Yankees are 10-10.

Over the years, Yankee fans have come to take the playoffs for granted. The last time they failed to make the playoffs was 1993 (remember 1994 was the strike year). There are college kids who can’t remember the last time the Yankees didn’t get into the post-season.

Suns vs. Spurs has to be one of the best first-round series in NBA history. Double OT in Game One. Remindful of some of those Knicks-Bullets encounters of the late 60s and early 70s.

Speaking of past Knicks, loved the headline the New York Post on Saturday — BYE-SIAH! Wish GO-LAN for James Dolan was next.

German Pope visits the White House and Yankee Stadium, baseball season opens in Japan. The world has changed since WWII. And that’s a good thing.

Rangers over Devils was not a surprise — Rangers dominated the regular season, and had more firepower. The surprise was the sieve-like effort turned in by Marty Brodeur, who has carried the Devils on his back all these years.

Brodeur missed a bunch of pucks throughout the series, and he missed Sean Avery’s handshake on the receiving line at the end of Game 5.

Couple of dozen blogs ago, sportslifer posed the question: Name the only college football team to have three players make the NFL Hall of Fame? The answer: the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons, with Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson, and Bob St. Clair.