Like New York City itself, everything about the Yankees is magnified. Their storied history, former stadium, unrivaled collection of World Series Championships, and a few fallen angels. The legends about the exploits on and off of the field of their dominant players like Mickey Mantle and Roger Clemens, the teams that they played on, and against, fill sports encyclopedias the world over.
The many colorful characters and legends of the New York Yankees may not ever be topped again in the baseball universe. So one might have thought that this would be a record that could easily have grown to three figures at least with such a venerable and sometimes stormy franchise as the Bronx Bombers.
But in the old days the media was under a much tighter leash of ethics and even personal consideration for the difficulties that an untoward story in the Daily News, NY Times etc might have had upon a player's career and life. With a wink and a nod here, and a Grant or a Franklin or two there, many potentially juicy scandals have thus undoubtedly been averted.
Such concerns are long gone in the wind, but the relative newness of these Yankees forgettable things wish list indicates that such lack of discretion in the press is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Living in the fast lane like they do, it is amazing that the Bronx Bombers have managed to keep their proboscises as pristine as they are. Not clean enough however to avoid filling this list with disgrace upon disgrace!
15 Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud
He was for a while touted as the next Lou Gehrig. Everyone says that Joe Pepitone did not live up to his potential. That is true of a lot of players and really of people in general. At the end of the day he had a fairly respectable career, posting similar all-time numbers to another widely respected peer in the late great Moose Skowron. Skowron hit two hundred eleven home runs in fifty-five hundred forty-seven at bats to Pepitone's two hundred nineteen big flies in five thousand ninety-seven official trips to the plate.
What the Fabulous Thunderbirds would probably recommend to the Yankees management would be to develop a sense of amnesia about Pepitone's legendary earlier off the field activities. Paving the way for such other prominent personalities as Daryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra. Forgetfulness might prove difficult though if the feature length film of his resurgent biography ever shows at a theater near you. That movie to depict in cinematic glory his sleazy New York City lifestyle back in the day.
14 James Kaprielian's Medical Report
As Rod Stewart proclaimed, "some guys have all the luck," not! Lure of riches and fame in the Big Apple will continue to send still many more a poor star struck lad to the hospital ward, and for what, millions of dollars and national acclaim?
James Kaprielian endured a flexor tendon strain while also missing most of the 2016 campaign. You might think that guys that spend more time in occupational therapy than on the ball field might consider a different line of work.
This isn't the case, the goal of experiencing the thrill of victories to be won assuage the pain and the interminable wait for the operation to heal. At least Major League Baseball players and politicians have some of the best medical benefits in the world. Unfortunately for the next couple of years the only thing Kaprielian will be famous for is being in rehab.
13 They Are Not The World's Most Valuable Team
One wonders as to the exact moment in history that the Yankees were no longer the most valuable sports team in the world. For surely given their glorious past at one time they must have been.
For them to be displaced by the comparably upstart Cowboys must be irksome for the franchise that once resided at the very pinnacle of world acclaim, and probably value and profitability as well.
Some people say that the Bronx Bombers are in a rebuilding mode and are therefore of a somewhat lower stature than their venerable days of old. Babe Ruths and Mickey Mantles don't grow on trees and so all teams must be born anew at some stage.
For now the American League representatives of the Big Apple will have to be content with simply being the most valuable team in all of baseball. As baseball diminishes in popularity compared to other sports and to what it once was, that value may also depreciate.
12 Mike Kekich/Fritz Peterson "Trade"
The wife-swapping that the two Yankees pitchers engineered back in the more conservative days of 1973 was probably not the kind of publicity that the storied franchise was seeking for their ball club. It is safe to assume that after all of these years probably neither player will ever get his own plaque out in Monument Park.
Of the two, Fritz Peterson was by far the more productive player. Posting a twenty-win season sporting pinstripes in 1970 while appearing in the All-Star Game that year. He also won seventeen games twice during what were so-so seasons for New York. Mike Keckich's baseball career may perhaps best be summed up by his wins above replacement of minus five point two.
Both wife-swappers were sent packing shortly after their announced indiscretion. Had they each maintained their productivity after and during the affair they might have secured a more desirable end for all concerned. Alas, the illogical yearnings of passion!
The movie "The Trade," a new baseball drama of what at the time appeared a most sordid affair. Still appears planned for production by super stars Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. But it has yet to be released to further scandalize the team's legacy on the silver screen. For that at least all Yankees concerned may be thankful.
11 Clemens Sticks it to Piazza
Throughout baseball's annals it has often been shown that it benefits the pitcher when the batter believes that he has a screw loose. Some might have believed that Roger Clemens had flipped his wig after he tossed a broken bat shard in front of fellow future Hall of Famer Mets' Catcher Mike Piazza's forward progress upon the base path en route to first base.
The Yankees pitcher had a logical explanation at the ready however, "He thought it was the ball." And that "There was no intent there." Proving the old adage that you always will see something never seen before at the ballpark.
Yet everyone somehow managed to overlook the incident, one of the great shows of collective self-induced sports amnesia in history. Unfortunately for Piazza and the Mets he and they never got to first base against the Yankees juggernaut, losing the somewhat dud of a Subway Series in five games.
Much later on, similarities might have been noticed in The Rocker's other great public meltdown, which will serve as item ten.
10 Roger Goes to Washington
Once his status as one of the Yankees' all-time great pitching legends was all but secured. And then suddenly in the wink of a congressional eye it and all of its immortal rewards appeared in terrible jeopardy the day that Roger Clemens took on Congress. He must at once be given credit for fighting and be disparaged for it as well.
Credit for as the rock and roll classic hit goes he, "fought the law and the law won." Disparaged because although Clemens eventually won the retrial he came off of that world stage looking very, very guilty as charged. All of his years in the public eye of the steroid storm's controversies make him a loser in the court of public opinion.
A better media spin might have been to cry like a baby and to invoke all manner of clichéd assurances of turning over new leafs. It would have been much more dramatic and less anticlimactic.
9 Giambi Comes Clean
The number of fallen superstars grows as Jason Giambi admits to the high crime of juicing up. Especially damming for the Yankees is the light it casts upon their 2003 American League Championship season. Because it is doubtful whether the Yanks make it that far without mighty Giambi's PED driven forty-one home runs and one hundred seven runs batted in.
It is nice that he later came clean to admit his steroidal perfidies, but that does not change the horrible fact that no matter what kind of ribbon an apology may have been wrapped in, the paragon of virtuous sports competition, The New York Yankees' reputation was thus sullied.
That may have been a factor in the team's jettisoning of the tainted player after his forthright disclosure. Well not that forthright as he had already been proven guilty of using steroids. Which was kind of like Nixon's vague requests for forgiveness, more ploys for sympathy for the devil.
You have to hand it to the Yankees. Though they have not been anything like a dynasty lately, at least they are consistently somewhat competitive. Unless you want to call it a dynasty of mediocrity, for so it is compared to the pinstripes' glorious eras past. The Babe and the Mick et al have of course set the bar impossibly high.
Sure Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron could break the Babe's spell on regular season numbers. But neither they nor the clubs they represented as players ever came close to scaling the momentous post-season heights that Gehrig, Ruth, Yogi, Whitey and company once ascended.
Oh yeah, 1990. Not a good year for the Bronx Bombers who bombed miserably. They finished twenty-one games out of first place, the furthest off of the pace that the team had ever finished since 1971 before that. For a team with such a pedigree, finishing seventh of seven is pretty humiliating. What outcome could possibly be worse for a baseball team like them, try the next forget me yes…
You thought seventh of seven is bad, and it is, for an even more pitiful showing try tenth of ten! You can't blame it on Pepitone. He smashed thirty-one homers with eighty-three RBI. And there were still some of the fabled sluggers left on the club who continued to sock home runs, albeit not as many as they used to: Mickey Mantle (23), Roger Maris (13), Tom Tresh (27) Clete Boyer (14).
Examining the stats of the failed team the diagnosis must be aging superstars who can no longer field or run the base baths well enough to compete. Of the regulars Mantle's .288 average was highest but he and Maris each batted less than four hundred times. Teams need their sluggers at the plate as much as possible.
It was the last year that M&M sweetened the Yanks batting order. The next season Maris was in St. Louis, both players retiring after their 1968 campaigns.
And it was a very good year for many things, except for New York Yankees baseball.
6 Abused By The Yankees
Behind the glamorous world of Big Apple Major League Baseball lies a seamy steamy locker room full of naughty and perverse pleasures, bigoted un-inclusive humor and actions, and downright mean spirited and dishonest Yankees. The preposterous idea of gay sex committed by Yankees legends has fans wondering just who is on deck and who is in the hole.
According to ex-Yankees employee and unofficial mascot Paul Priore, those and other abominations done by pinstriped players unto the mild mannered assistant equipment manager are a shame to even speak of.
If one is to believe the critics an almost equal disservice has been done to Priore's readers, who must endure his rambling literary style or lack thereof. One thing that he accomplished in writing his controversial memoir was to inculcate fans young and old with new perspectives about their sports heroes.
His revelations about Yankees gambling habits makes Pete Rose look like a virtual choirboy.
5 Mitchell Report
Speaking of revelations, the book of Mitchell was thrown at Roger Clemens for his PED use and general surliness, with only a few pages and a weakened spine casting their weighty proclamations of major misconduct, when it came to steroids, aimed at a certain other Yankees pitcher, one lovingly enshrined in left field.
And that is where any such dispersion against the steroidal character of the clean cut and thoroughly likeable Andy Pettitte were greeted as coming from. Yes it is an enlightened ignorance practiced by the good folks at the Yankees' front office.
Brushing under their red carpets any such unpleasantries, Yankees culture prevails against the raging winds of congressional disapproval and their vicious wrist slapping. Pettitte was penitent enough that he wasn't penalized by public opinion like his partner in crime of a teammate Clemens was. Pettitte seemed awful skinny to be on steroids, nothing like that Bull Moose the rocket.
4 The Drug Suspension
Alex Rodriguez was zapped with the longest drug ban in history up to that point, it was a case of "Bosched" PR if ever there was one. Biogenesis was not after all a new planet building technology as noted in a Star Trek movie but the evil laboratory where the mad scientist created his baseball monsters.
In Rodriquez he appears to have rewrote the tome of Frankenstein's theories and tailored them to fit a more modern age. Not being content to accept his twenty lashes or fifty-game suspension he instead assayed by his bad judgment in seeking a more Pyrrhic victory of the powers that be. So he opted for door number two in the form of binding arbitration.
For his trouble A-Rod received a full year suspension, a loss of his fat 2014 paycheck and the humiliation of sitting in the stands while the Yankees floundered to twelve games away from their annual goal of first place.
Luckily, for Rodriguez at least, there is the happily ever after of broadcasting, and the province of other steroid ogres; roving spring training instructor.
3 Paterson's Free World Series Tickets
Being connected with the governor of The Empire State is usually a good business move, unless it involves begging the purveyors of pinstripes for tickets to the sporting event of the year, the 2009 World Series. It's a story about a successful politician that risked his career for the love of the game. Thus exemplifying the phrase, "the agony of defeat."
If David Paterson had deigned to pay the Yankees for his World Series tickets, like all of the other of the privileged few who could actually afford and harder still acquire such priceless sports emeralds. He might have saved some of the sixty-two thousand one hundred and twenty-five dollar fine that he incurred for the extortive act upon the Yankees brass, of being so crass as to ask for a free pass as the sovereign right of his lordship.
Unfortunately, the New York State Commission on Public Integrity disagreed and so disciplined his Excellency Lord Paterson, caught red-handed with his hand in the Yankees cookie jar.
2 Chapman's Bad Judgment
When you are a millionaire superstar you do not "choke," you simply have exercised the former. The great and powerful interests of Major League Baseball, in their infinite wisdom have declared that convictions are not needed as a requirement to be brought before their awful justice. But merely the hint of such behavior as displayed by the fastest gun in the east will not be condoned.
It was the San Francisco treat Giants' Matt Cain who theorized the necessity of stepping on the opponents' throat in order to win the World Series. So apparently such logic is common in the sport.
Some players, once inculcated with that mentality, closers probably even more than others, might not be able to leave it behind on the field. But after serving his thirty-game suspension, Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees closer certainly has a choke hold on the closer's job up in the Bronx. Eighty-six million will buy a lot of scarves.
1 Fake Memorabilia of Barry Halper
In 1999 Barry Harper sold Major League Baseball a forged version of a uniform worn by tainted legend Shoeless Joe Jackson, a year earlier he sold the same buyer a fake of Mickey Mantle's 1951 Rookie Jersey number six (briefly worn before switching to his iconic number seven). This is New York City, where a co-owner of the venerable Yankees franchise carried then and now a lot of credibility.
Maybe that is the reason that so many prominent authorities like MLB and the Hall of Fame were taken in and made clowns of by Halper, the head jester of baseball artifacts. He was a virtual Professor Moriarty of forgers when it came to memorabilia surrounding the pastoral pastime.
In order to give his bogus mementos the look of authenticity he often enlisted the unwitting support of Yankees baseball elite such as Yogi Berra, Rickey Henderson and George Steinbrenner. They all lent their mojoes to support his tall tales and fictitious products.
In conclusion I will say that this list could not have gone on much longer. The scandals are soon exhausted. So I do declare the team, with only about fifteen major blights upon their record extending all the way back to the dark ages, has kept the lid quite well on their most truly shocking acts. Stay tuned for the next horrifying list, "Thirteen Yankees Players Who Were Also Vampires!"