Old Fox to All Rise: Tales of 16 Yankees captains

Yankees captains

Table of Contents

A History of Yankees Captains

Leading the New York Yankees, the most famous baseball team in the world, is an honor for any sportsperson. Aaron Judge is now in an elite group of those leaders after becoming the Yankees captain on Wednesday. When Hal Steinbrenner officially announced Judge’s new nine-year, $360 million contract, he also anointed Judge as the team’s 16th captain and the first after 2014.

Since pitcher Clark Griffith became the first Yankees captain, there are 16 men who have this honor. Here are they.

Captains Position Years active Tenure
Clark Griffith P 1891–1914 1903–1905
Kid Elberfeld SS 1898–1914 1906–1907
Willie Keeler OF 1892–1910 1908–1909
Hal Chase 1B 1905–1919 1910–1912
Frank Chance 1B 1898–1914 1913
Roger Peckinpaugh SS 1910–1927 1914–1921
Babe Ruth OF 1914–1935 1922
Everett Scott SS 1914–1926 1922–1925
Lou Gehrig 1B 1923–1939 1935–1939
Thurman Munson C 1969–1979 1976–1979
Graig Nettles 3B 1967–1988 1982–1984
Willie Randolph 2B 1975–1992 1986–1988
Ron Guidry P 1975–1988 1986–1988
Don Mattingly 1B 1982–1995 1991–1995
Derek Jeter SS 1995–2014 2003–2014
Aaron Judge OF 2016–present 2023–present

Clark Griffith (1903-1905)

Griffith was the first Yankees captain when they were called the New York Highlanders. He held that title until 1905 as a player-manager. Then captains were in charge of running the team on the field. He played for five years and had a 2.66 ERA. In five-plus seasons as a manager, he led his team to a 419-370 record.

Norman ‘Kid’ Elberfeld (1906–1907)

From 1906 to 1908, Elberfeld was the Yankees captain. After Griffith was fired, he finished the 1908 season as the team’s manager. Over seven seasons, the infielder hit .268 with four home runs and 257 RBIs.

Willie Keeler (1908-1909)

In 1909, Keeler was the Yankees captain. It was the last of his seven years with the team. The outfielder hit .294 for the team and had 10 home runs and 206 RBIs.

Hal Chase (1910-1912)

Chase was the Yankees captain in 1910 and 1911. He was also the team’s manager during those years. He played first base most of the time for the Yankees and hit .284 with 20 home runs and 494 RBIs.

Frank Chance (1913)

Chance joined the team in 1913 and was the Yankees captain until the middle of that season. He was also the team’s manager for two years. As a player, he played in 13 games and had a record of 117-168.

Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-1921)

In 1914, the shortstop became the Yankees captain, a job he kept for seven years. He played for the team for nine years and hit .257 runs, 36 home runs, and 428 runs batted in. He was also the team’s manager for the rest of the 1914 season.

Babe Ruth (1922)

Babe Ruth became the team’s eighth Yankees captain at the beginning of 1922, but he only held that position for about two months. The Bambino became one of the most famous athletes of all time. He hit 714 home runs in his career, 659 of which were for the Yankees.

Everett Scott (1922-1925)

He took over the captain mantle from Babe Ruth, who was with it only for two months. The shortstop had a .249 average in 1,654 games.

Lou Gehrig (1935-1939)

The legend was the Yankees captain from 1935 to 1939 when he had to quit because of ALS. The Iron Horse played 2,130 games in a row, which was a record until Cal Ripken beat it in 1995. The two-time MVP hit .340 with 493 home runs and 1,995 RBIs over 17 years. His No. 4 was the first number in team history to be taken out of use.

Thurman Munson (1976-1979)

Before 1976, when Munson was named the Yankees captain, the team had not had a captain for 37 years. The catcher carried the team well and won the AL MVP award. He was captain until a plane crash in 1979 took his life. In 11 seasons as the team’s catcher, Munson hit .292 with 113 home runs and 701 RBIs.

Graig Nettles (1982 to 1984)

Nettles became the Yankees captain in 1982 and stayed in that position for two years before being traded to the Padres. The six-time All-Star played for the Yankees for 11 years, during which he hit 250 home runs and drove in 834 runs.

Willie Randolph (1986-1988)

From 1986 to 1988, Randolph was the Yankees captain for two years. Six times he was an All-Star, and once he won the World Series. He played at second base for the Yankees for 13 years and hit .275 with 48 home runs, 549 RBIs, and 251 stolen bases. During Randolph’s time as captain, the job was shared.

Ron Guidry (1986-1989)

“Gator” was the co-captain along with Randolph. He was the Yankees captain until 1989, when he retired. During his 14 years with the Yankees, Guidry led the Yankees to two championships and became the AL Cy Young Player of the Year in 1978. He had a career ERA of 3.29 and struck out 1,778 batters.

Don Mattingly (1991-1995)

He was the Yankees captain from 1991 to 1995. An AL MVP, Mattingly hit 222 home runs, 442 doubles, and 1,099 RBIs over the course of 14 years.

Derek Jeter (2003-2014)

Derek Jeter was the Yankees captain for the longest tenure. He was captain from 2003 until his retirement in 2014. Fans called him “The Captain and Captain Clutch” and he led the Yankees to win five World Series. He was an All-Star 14 times and is in the Hall of Fame.

Aaron Judge (2023 onward)

Judge was named the Yankees captain after a dramatic free agency process in which he met the Giants and the Padres. He ended up staying in The Bronx after hitting 62 home runs in 2022, breaking Roger Maris’ AL and team records of 61 home runs.

How do you rate Aaron Judge’s leadership? Leave your comment below.

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