Who riles up Yankees fans most? Here are the top 10

New York Yankees fans are holding placard slamming the Astros as cheaters in 2022.
AP
Michael Bennington
Thursday November 30, 2023

Table of Contents

Yankees fans are the most passionate and vocal supporters of their team. It is frequent to see them fervently and frequently targeting opponents who torment their beloved Yankees stopping their quest for victory. Here are the 10 such players who Yankees fans hate the most.

#1. Jose Altuve: Yankees fans’ biggest enemy

jose-altuve
usa today sports

This diminutive 5’6 second baseman snatched an MVP from Aaron Judge in 2017, engaging in cheating practices along the way. His walk-off home run in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees, propelling the Astros to the World Series, remains etched in infamy. Regardless of whether buzzers were involved or not, the mere mention of Jose Altuve triggers intense disdain among Yankee fans.

No other player elicits the level of animosity from Yankees fans quite like Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. His exceptional skills have repeatedly bested the Yankees in regular-season matchups and postseason clashes. Simultaneously, his association with the cheating scandal of 2017, accused of pilfering a championship from the Yankees and swindling an MVP from Aaron Judge, cements his status as a reviled figure.

Even Aaron Judge doesn’t shy away from jesting at Altuve’s expense. In 2021, following a home run in Houston, Judge’s deliberate two-handed shirt-tugging during his trot around the bases subtly conveyed his belief that Altuve may have employed a sign-stealing device under his jersey during the pivotal homer off Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS.

Despite the passage of five years since the cheating scandal, fans continue to shower Altuve with “[Bleep] Altuve!” chants at Yankee Stadium.

#2. George Brett: The postseason enemy of Yankees fans

George-Brett
si.com

George Brett‘s remarkable career facing the Yankees, marked by a batting average of over .300 in more than 200 games, was particularly notable for his postseason achievements against them.

Between 1976 and 1980, Brett’s Royals clashed with the Yankees in four ALCS series—1976, 1977, 1978, and 1980—with the Royals securing victory only in 1980. Despite facing defeat in three of the four series, Brett consistently posed a challenge for the Yankees. In 17 playoff games during those series, Brett showcased an impressive .358 batting average, hitting six home runs, 13 extra-base hits, recording 14 RBIs, and scoring 16 runs.

Brett’s involvement in the infamous Pine Tar Incident added another layer to his encounters with the Yankees. His ninth-inning, go-ahead home run at Yankee Stadium was nullified due to officials deeming excessive pine tar on his bat. Brett’s passionate reaction and subsequent game protest ultimately resulted in a loss for the Yankees.

#3. Carlos Correa: Yankees fans hate him for cheating

Carlos-Correa
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Apart from his provocative involvement in the cheating scandal, Carlos Correa further antagonizes Yankee fans, particularly following his walk-off home run in Game 2 of the 2019 ALCS.

#4. David Ortiz: Hate stems from Yankees-Red Sox rivalry

david-ortiz-derek-jeter
essentiallysports

In times past, David Ortiz would have been the most despised opponent for a Yankees fan: a power-hitting slugger from the rival Boston Red Sox who has, to a large extent, been overlooked by the anti-PED brigade despite purported inclusion in the Mitchell Report for testing positive in 2003.

Certainly, a significant portion of that animosity waned after he was shot in the Dominican Republic last June — understandably, it’s challenging to harbor intense feelings against someone who had to fight for their life. Nevertheless, he still symbolizes an era of Boston Red Sox history that Yankee fans detest more than sheer animosity itself, so the notion of him as a player endures on this list.

#5. Joe Kelly: The 2018 episode led to disdain

joe-kelly
usa today sports

The disdain for Joe Kelly among Yankees fans traces back to April 11, 2018, when he hit Tyler Austin, seemingly in retribution for a forceful slide into Brock Holt earlier in the game, sparking a substantial brawl. This skirmish is frequently highlighted by my Boston-supporting friends whenever Kelly’s name is mentioned, even though Tyler Austin’s own momentum, not Kelly’s combat skills, caused him to hit the ground.

#6. Manny Machado: The comment that invites wrath

Manny-Machado
AP

Few players who have never worn Yankees pinstripes have stirred as much debate among the fanbase as Manny Machado. Yankees fans’ opinion about him things on his infamous “Hustling is not my cup of tea” quote.

Certainly, Machado’s existing reputation doesn’t work in his favor, and it’s understandable why he’s probably not only on this list but on the list of every team, except perhaps the Orioles and Padres.

#7. Ken Griffey, Jr.: The father’s son

Ken-Griffey-Jr
USA TODAY Sports

In a fiery 1995 ALDS series against the Yankees, Ken Griffey Jr. showcased his prowess by hitting .391 with five home runs and seven RBIs over five games, including scoring the game-winning run in the 11th inning of Game 5.

However, Griffey’s most controversial act was claiming that his father had been mistreated during his tenure with the Yankees, firmly stating that he himself would never entertain the idea of wearing the iconic Yankee pinstripes.

Despite earning the ire of many in the Bronx, Griffey continued his impressive performance, maintaining a batting average of .311 with 36 home runs and 102 RBIs in 133 games against the Yankees throughout his career.

#8. Curt Schilling: The anti-Ruth villain

curt-schilling
nj.com

Curt Schilling is etched in the memory of many for his remarkable postseason performances in Boston against the Yankees and his pivotal role in breaking the Curse of the Bambino during the 2004 World Series triumph.

His iconic moment is often associated with Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, where the Red Sox faced elimination. Despite battling an ankle injury with visible blood seeping through his sock, Schilling pitched seven innings, surrendering just one run. His heroic effort propelled the Red Sox to Game 7 and ultimately secured the World Series.

What tends to be less emphasized is one of Schilling’s most remarkable career achievements. During the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Schilling delivered a stellar performance against the Yankees, starting Games 1, 4, and 7 (Games 4 and 7 each on three days’ rest).

Across those three games, Schilling pitched 21.1 innings, conceding only 12 hits, two walks, and four earned runs. He struck out an impressive 26 batters, playing a pivotal role in the Diamondbacks’ World Series victory.

#9. Carlton Fisk: The Red Sox baddie

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sportslifer

Thurman Munson stood out as one of the Yankees’ most cherished figures, serving as their team captain and on-field leader until his untimely demise in a tragic plane crash in 1979.

In the 1970s, Munson shared a fierce Yankees-Red Sox rivalry with Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, characterized by intense collisions at home plate, bench-clearing brawls (in which Fisk was involved in at least two), and vocal criticism of the Yankees. Fisk’s actions, including an instance where he rebuked Yankee outfielder Deion Sanders for not hustling on a pop-up, contributed to making him one of the most disliked opponents in Yankees history.

While Fisk’s career statistics against the Yankees may not be overwhelmingly impressive, his significant role in shaping the intense Yankee-Red Sox rivalry secures his place on this list.

#10. Alex Bregman: The scandalous wrongdoer

Alex-Bregman
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Alex Bregman, a member of the Houston Astros, openly admitted his involvement in the scandal and issued a public apology. Despite this, fans remained discontented, and the Yankees, already affected by the scandal, found it difficult to cope with this added distress.

The prevailing discontent among fans largely arises from the perception that Astros players mishandled the fallout of the scandal. Not only did they attempt to downplay its significance, but they also failed to earnestly seek forgiveness. The team’s avoidance of championship forfeiture and what many considered an insufficient response from Rob Manfred, the baseball commissioner, further fueled the dissatisfaction.

Who do you want to add to the list? Leave your comment below.

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