New York is home to more than just the Empire State Building and Central Park, it’s also home to hundreds of professional baseball players. Whether born in Albany, the capital, or one of the many boroughs such as the Bronx or Queens, it seems baseball is in the genes of many kids growing up in the Empire State.
Thanks to the Yankees and Mets, baseball is a part of life in New York. Let’s take a look at just how many major leaguers claim a hometown in New York, and who among them can argue for being the state’s best player. Do any of your favorites hail from this great state?
Empire State of Play
It should be no surprise New York has so many players who’ve graduated from little league to the pros – it’s where baseball was born. It houses the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, which is visited by nearly 300,000 people every year.
Across the two professional baseball teams, it’s a story of old and young. The Yankees have been around for over 110 years, while the Mets just completed 55 seasons. The Yankees have made 53 playoff appearances, claim 40 pennants, and have won 27 World Series while the Mets have nine playoff appearances, five pennants, and two World Series.
Almost 500 professional baseball players have made their way to the Major League by way of Brooklyn and New York City. This doesn’t mean smaller cities haven’t made contributions to professional baseball. Yonkers, just north of New York City, has seen 11 men make it to the on-deck circle. Joe Panik, second baseman for the San Francisco Giants, calls Yonkers his hometown and has done his birthplace proud in his short career. In just four seasons, he’s won a World Series, finished as an All-Star, and has received a Golden Glove Award.
Hall of Fame Players Around the State
Not only does Brooklyn get to call one of the greatest players a son of its city, but one of the greatest managers as well. Joe Torre led the New York Yankees to four World Series over a five-year period. During his days out on the field, Torre had many achievements. As a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, he was the league MVP in 1971 with 230 hits and 137 RBIs.
Boston Red Sox fans may want to avert their eyes, as one of their best players, Carl Yastrzemski, was actually born in Southampton, New York. He had a career batting average of .285, 452 home runs, and over 3,400 hits. Yastrzemski was an 18-time All-Star and was 1967 league MVP.
New York, New York
Who are we kidding? New York and baseball is just a match made in heaven. Whether it’s the boys sporting the pinstripes, or the ones being cheered on by Mr. Met, New Yorkers love fly balls, Cracker Jacks, and the seventh inning stretch just as much (maybe even more) than the rest of us. It makes sense that they would have produced so many legends of the game. Whether your favorite major league player was born upstate or the Bronx, wear his name and team colors with pride with the best officially licensed merchandise and apparel through Fanatics.