Although 2021 isn’t off to the greatest start, most of us are happy to see 2020 move along. The sports world was rocked by the coronavirus (COVID-19) that continues to wreak havoc today. The New York Yankees had a very difficult 2020 off the field as they endured the deaths of 16 former players this past year.
Seven MLB Hall of Famers died in 2020, two were New York Yankees
Major League Baseball took a big hit in 2020 as it lost a tremendous amount of its legends. Seven Hall of Famers died this past year as the league was hit hard on and off the field. Two of those members of the Hall of Fame were former members of the New York Yankees.
Edward Charles ‘Whitey’ Ford is widely considered the greatest pitcher in New York Yankees history. He spent 16 years with the club and racked up 236 regular-season wins against 106 losses. Ford was a 10-time MLB All-Star, a six-time World Series champion, and a Cy Young Award winner. He finished with a 10-8 record in the postseason. Ford died Oct. 8, 2020, at the age of 91.
Phil Niekro, one of the best knuckleball pitcher to ever put on a big-league uniform, also passed away in 2020. Niekro was known for his time with the Atlanta Braves, the team he spent 21 of his 24 years of Major League Baseball with. Niekro spent the 1984 and 1985 seasons with the Yankees, making the All-Star Game in 1984. He was a five-time All-Star who racked up 318 regular-season wins. Niekro died Dec. 26, 2020, at the age of 81.
Don Larsen went from a nobody to a legend with one outing
Statistically, he wouldn’t be known as a legend, but the New York Yankees consider him one. Don Larsen’s career got off to a pretty ugly start. In his second year in the big leagues – with the Baltimore Orioles in 1954 – Larsen went 3-21 as a starting pitcher, leading the league in losses.
The following season, he was with the New York Yankees and spent the next five seasons with the team. In 1956, Larsen had his best season in the big leagues, compiling an 11-5 record with a 3.26 ERA. He helped guide the Yankees to a berth in the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
During that World Series, Larsen was the starting pitcher in Game 5. Larsen made history by becoming the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in the postseason. The Yankees defeated the Dodgers 2-0. On New Years Day of 2020, Larsen passed away at the age of 90.
The New York Yankees had 16 former players die in 2020
While they all weren’t known for their time as a New York Yankee, at some point in their career, they wore the pinstripes. Sixteen former players who put on that Yankees uniform passed away in 2020. In addition to those players, Hank Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ co-chairman and part-owner, passed away on April 14 at 63 years old.
According to NJ.com, the other members of the Yankees who passed away in 2020 are Tony Fernandez (age 57), Hank Workman (94), Jimmy Wynn (78), Damaso Garcia (63), Bob Oliver (77), Matt Keough (64), Bob Watson (74), Claudell Washington (65), Mike McCormick (81), Horace Clarke (81), Jay Johnstone (74), Lindy McDaniel (84), and Phil Linz (81).