Nine for now

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Nine For Now

It was a sad week in the Yankees Universe as the winningest franchise in all of sports lost two titanic figures, public address announcer Bob Sheppard and principal owner George M. Steinbrenner III. Having grown up in the Bronx, smack dab in the middle of the Steinbrenner heyday, having heard literally thousands of players come to the plate to the dulcet tones of Sheppard's godly voice, I couldn't help but reminisce about the Yankees of the past.

While the professorial Sheppard drew nothing but praise, respect and admiration from all who came into contact with him and his work, that wasn't always the case for the brash, cantankerous, overbearing, sometimes petty, bully that Steinbrenner was for much of his tenure. However, for as much bad as the man showed, especially in dealing with his managers and players, he always wanted to win and did everything in his power that he thought would make his team better.

Steinbrenner often treated his real-life team as a fantasy squad, and like all of us, he had his ups and downs. During the dark period from 1982 to 1994, a time the recent five World Series titles has helped push to the dark recesses of Yankees fans memories, the biggest criticism of Steinbrenner was that he sacrificed his young talent to acquire high-priced veterans. Who can ever forget Frank Costanza's disgusted rhetorical question to Larry David's portrayal of "The Boss" on Seinfeld asking "What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?" referring to the 1988 deal that sent the then-young slugger who'd end up with 310 career home runs to the Mariners for DH Ken Phelps, who'd hit just 17 home runs for New York. In the later years Steinbrenner's advisors convinced him to be less impetuous with young players, resulting in long careers for the homegrown Core Four. Still, a few current former Yankees farmhands are making an impact away from the Bronx. Here are the Top 9.

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