By The Numbers: Yankees Captains

05/29/2012 2:11 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Derek Jeter and Willie Randolph have both been Captains of the New York Yankees.(AP)
As of press time, it has been nearly nine full calendar years since Derek Jeter was named Yankees Captain on June 3, 2003. Jeter is the Yankees’ 11th official Captain, and of the 10 men who came before him, five have their number retired in Monument Park and two of those five are in the Baseball Hall of Fame – honors that Derek is likely to see in his lifetime as well.

You may know the names of all 10 men who preceded Jeter as Yankees Captain, and you of course know some of their big numbers, like Babe Ruth’s 714 home runs and Lou Gehrig’s 2,130 consecutive games played.

But there’s a lot beyond that, and we go By The Numbers to share some other facts and figures you may not know about the 11 men who have earned one of the franchise’s highest honors.

33: Joe DiMaggio has the longest hit streak in Major League Baseball history, of course. But in Yankees history, the second-longest belongs to Hal Chase. Hal, who was named the first Yankees captain in 1912, was a career .291 hitter and had a 33-game hit streak with the then-Highlanders in 1907.

4: Roger Peckinpaugh, who hit .257 in eight-plus seasons with the Yankees, served as the second Captain from 1914-21. But in 1925, the then-Washington Senator somehow won the American League MVP by just four voting points, beating the Athletics’ Al Simmons despite Simmons’ numbers (.387 averages, 24 homers, 119 RBI) dwarfing Peckinpaugh’s line of .294-4-64 and 13 stolen bases.

6: Total number of days Babe Ruth served as Yankees Captain. He was named as the third Captain on May 20, 1922, but was stripped of the title on May 25 after he went into the stands to confront a heckler at the Polo Grounds.

481: Everett Scott, the man who succeeded The Babe as Captain, played exactly 481 games with the Yankees from 1922-25. He spent all but the first month of his tenure in New York with the proverbial “C” on his jersey, and hit .254 before being waived. In a pair of odd twists, he was claimed by the Senators to become teammates with Peckinpaugh – who went to Boston in the trade that originally brought Scott to New York in the first place.

621: Lou Gehrig, who became the fifth Captain of the Yankees on April 21, 1935, played the final 621 games of his legendary streak (and his career) with that honor . Even though his career ended in 1939, Gehrig would nominally remain the Captain until he passed away on June 2, 1941.

35: It would be nearly 35 full years after Gehrig’s death before the Yankees would name their sixth Captain. That man was Thurman Munson, who was bestowed with the honor on April 17, 1976, and like Gehrig would hold it until his tragic passing on August 2, 1979.

37 and 39: Graig Nettles was 37 years old when he was named as the seventh Yankees Captain on January 29, 1982, and was 39 years of age when he was traded to the San Diego Padres (and relieved of the Captaincy) on March 30, 1984. Those two ages make him the oldest man to ever be named Captain, as well as the oldest man to ever hold the title so far.

2: The Yankees have only had Co-Captains once in the history of the franchise. Those two men were Willie Randolph and Ron Guidry, who were jointly named to the post on March 4, 1986. Randolph’s Captaincy ended when he became a free agent (and subsequently signed with the Dodgers) after the 1988 season, and even though Guidry never pitched another game after 1988, he nominally remained as the sole Captain until officially retiring on July 12, 1989.

.288-9-68: Don Mattingly became the 10th Yankees Captain on February 28, 1991, and went on to hit .288 with nine homers and 68 RBI that season. It was a stark turnaround for “Donnie Baseball,” who had put up a .256-5-42 line while playing just 102 games in 1990 due to a back injury.

9: And finally, we come to Derek Jeter, who was named Yankees Captain on June 3, 2003. That makes 2012 Jeter’s ninth full season (and 10th total campaign) as the Bombers’ honorary leader, giving him the longest tenure of anyone who has ever held the position.

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