When you think about the New York Yankees, speed is not something to comes immediately to mind. With home run hitters like Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Jackson and so many others they are called the “Bronx Bombers” for a reason.
But once in a while a player has come to the organization delivering speed and with it a different kind of excitement with his presence. John Milton Mickey Rivers was one such player.
Rivers was a known commodity before he came to the Yanks from the Angels in a trade along with pitcher Ed Figueroa, as “Mick the Quick” stole an AL-best 70 bases in 1975 with the Halos.
Rivers didn’t disappoint in Pinstripes, either, finishing third in MVP voting in his first season in the Bronx thanks to a .312 batting average with 43 steals and 67 RBI. It was an all too quick visit to New York for Rivers, traded to the Rangers in 1979.
“Mick the Quick” was still unforgettable in his New York stint, though, playing on the Yanks 1977 and 1978 World Series championship teams. Rivers, an above average center fielder thanks to his speed though not his arm, capped his career with a .295 lifetime average, 267 stolen bases and 1,660 hits including a strong stretch with the Texas Rangers.
And talk about triple the fun, Rivers’ feet hardly seemed to touch the ground when he ripped around the bases in arguably the sport’s most exciting play. The two-time AL thefts leader collected 34 of his career 71 three-baggers while playing for the Yanks and nearly each one seemed to take your breath away.
There were a couple of special Mickey’s to play for the Yanks over the years, and Rivers was certainly one of them.