New York Yankees all-time best shortstops – No. 5: Tony Kubek
Although predominantly a shortstop, Tony Kubek was versatile enough to help around the field when needed. Throughout his nine seasons with the Yankees, he played all positions but catcher. He saw plenty of time in the outfield, with over 30 games at each spot in the grass.
Kubek’s career was a curious one in that he debuted reasonably young at 21, winning the 1957 American League Rookie of the Year, and he retired young, at age 29. According to SABR, he retired due to a neck injury he suffered years earlier, and there was a risk of paralysis if he continued to play baseball.
His best overall season was 1960 when he swatted 14 home runs and drove in 62. In 1961, he set the table for Mantle and Maris as they made history, scoring 84 runs.
While he was a starter, he only played in more than 140 games twice and under 130 games four times. He was a three-time all-star.
After retiring from the Yankees, he enjoyed a long and successful broadcasting career culminating in winning the Ford C. Frick award in 2009.