New York Yankees all-time best second basemen – No. 1: Willie Randolph
Willie Randolph may not have been the name you were expecting to be at the top of this list. In a subjective ranking, he might fall to third behind Lazzeri and Gordon.
This is no knock on Randolph. While he did not put up the eye-catching stats of those other Yankee second basemen, he was a steady performer in New York for 13 years. He only hit .300 once, but he also only hit under .267 twice. If you throw out those three outliers, he hit between .294 and .267 In all of his other ten seasons in the Bronx.
He never hit more than seven home runs, and he never knocked din more than 61 runs, but he sported a career on-base percentage with the Yankees of .357. Six times he was in the top ten in on-base percentage. He stole bases, averaging nearly 20 a season, and he scored runs, crossing the 1,027 times in 13 years.
As a Yankee, he played in five all-star games and won the Silver Slugger in 1979.
He was just as steady in the field. He was in the top ten in Defensive WAR four times, in putouts at second nine times, and in assists at second four times. He led the American League in both of the latter two categories in 1979.
Randolph was part of four World Series teams and two World Champions in the late seventies and early eighties, but was also was part of the second-longest playoff drought in team history during the last half of his career with New York.
Randolph didn’t need the gaudy numbers of some of his fellow second basemen to top this list. Often it is just a degree of consistency over a long period that leads to success.
The New York Yankees have one of the more fascinating histories in all of baseball, and it shows with the great second basemen from so many different eras.