New York Yankees: Ten Unsung heroes from the 2000s
By Ryan Doyle
P Chien-Ming Wang (2005-2009)
A hero in his home country of Taiwan, Chien-Ming Wang looked destined to be one of the Yankees’ top arms for a decade. Wang entered the fold in 2005, starting 17 games in his rookie year with a solid 4.02 ERA. His power sinker kept teams at bay as he helped fill one of many holes in the New York rotation.
Wang would follow up his rookie campaign with a stellar 19-6 record, 3.63 ERA, finishing second in Cy Young voting to Johan Santana. Wang was far from a strikeout artist but he led the league in HR/9 in back-to-back seasons.
His style fit well in the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium and he quickly became a top starter alongside veteran Mike Mussina. He was only 27-years-old by the end of his 2007 campaign and it seemed like he was in line for a long-term extension.
After consecutive 19-win seasons, his career came to a complete stop. In 2008 Wang was hurt running the bases against the Houston Astros and he was never the same. More injuries would pile on and his devastating sinker that helped carry the Yankees rotation for two years gone.
Instead of being remembered as a staple member of the rotation, he has become one of the more intriguing “What-ifs?” in recent memory.
For those interested in a look at Wang in recent years, a fantastic documentary about his big league comeback is on Netflix, “Late Life: The Chien-Ming Wang Story“.