Yankees: 3 Hall of Famers you forgot played for NYY

New York Yankees outfielder Rickey Henderson in 1989. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
New York Yankees outfielder Rickey Henderson in 1989. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images) /
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The Yankees have such a rich history that there are some Hall of Famers who’ve made forgotten cameos in Pinstripes.

Yankees fans know Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio like the backs of their hands — at least, the would, if each finger weren’t so obscured by championship rings.

Most fans can even recall the deepest rung of unheralded Hall of Fame talents, who’ve graced the Bronx with wonderful cameos. From Wade Boggs to Tim Raines, to even Randy Johnson and, yes, Rickey Henderson, many of the league’s elite from other venues chose to take their talents here, after they’d already been well established across the baseball landscape.

But then, a level below those stars who brought their talents to town only briefly, are the Hall of Famers who you never in a million years would’ve guessed ever suited up in our iconic uniform. Consider this your primer — yes, everyone really does want to put on the pinstripes before they wrap things up.

Phil Niekro #35 of the New York Yankees pitches during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium on September 13, 1985 in the Bronx, New York. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /

3. Phil Niekro

Phil Niekro, aka Knucksie, was a member of the Yankees in his old age.

Long before Tim Wakefield made the Yankee Stadium mound equal parts nightmare and fantasy for NYY bats (depending on the day), his most famous predecessor put on the home whites.

The remarkable Phil Niekro, on the heels of his spectacular and befuddling knuckler, won 318 games and pitched from age 25 to 48 in MLB, and was largely effective for his entire tenure.

Though most famous as a venerated Atlanta Brave, Niekro spent his age 45 and 46 seasons in the Bronx, making the All-Star team in 1984 with a 16-8 record and 3.09 ERA.

The next season, he remained an effective pitcher (16-12, 4.09), and in a season marred by the brutal import of Ed Whitson, the team even tried to double their pleasure, adding Phil’s 40-year-old brother Joe, a fellow knuckleballer, to the rotation. The experiment didn’t last long; though the “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” ’80s Yankees got some good promotional photos out of the whole endeavor, Joe only made three starts that season alongside his bro.

When Phil departed after the ’85 season, though, Joe stuck around, going 9-10 with a 4.87 mark the next year.