Yankees: All-time greatest seasons by position
Center field – Mickey Mantle (1957)
Some consider Mickey Mantle to be the most significant baseball player ever. Today, people compare Angels phenom Mike Trout to him. Here’s the thing, if Mickey Mantle didn’t get hurt towards the second half of his career, he would have been the greatest player of all-time.
Mantle did it all as a ballplayer. He hit for a high average consistently, had tremendous power, speed and he was an exceptional fielder. While he struck out a lot, he still raked at the plate.
Mantle had three seasons with a WAR above 10! Those seasons were 1956 (11.2), my personal favorite 1957 (11.3) and 1961 (10.5). If you caught it, you’d realize Mantle had a higher WAR than Maris did in 1961 when the two were chasing the home run record Maris eventually won with 61.
In 1957, a year after winning the Triple-Crown Award, Mantle had his most productive season. He slashed .365/.512/.665, belted 34 home runs, 94 runs batted in and 16 stolen bases.
Home runs are not the most substantial factor for me as you can see. In Mantle’s career, he hit more than 34 home runs six times, and in fact, hit over 50 twice (1956,1961).
Bernie Williams (1998)
I am not making my Yankees’ all-season 25-man roster without one of my favorite baseball players on it. Bernie Williams was clutch and a vital member of the Yankees’ dynasty in the 1990s.
In my opinion, his best season was 1998 when he led the league with a .339 batting average. He also had an OBP of .422 and SLG of .575 with 26 home runs and 97 RBIs. Williams also took home a Gold Glove Award, made the All-Star team and finished seventh in MVP voting.