Curtis Granderson: Not DiMaggio or Mantle, but One of the Best Players Today

Let’s get one thing straight. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Bernie Williams and Earle Combs rank ahead of Curtis Granderson among New York Yankees’ center fielders. All but Williams are in the Hall of Fame.

It is unlikely that Granderson will ever be voted into the Hall of Fame, but for his era, Granderson is one of the best players in the game.

Until 2011, the most home runs that Granderson had hit in a season was 30 with the Detroit Tigers in 2009. Despite the 30 home runs, it wasn’t one of Granderson’s better seasons. He hit .249/.327/.453 with 20 stolen bases.

In 2011, Granderson belted 41 home runs.

Earle Combs, who batted lead off for the Yankees of the Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig era, had a career high of nine home runs in 1932. However, Combs hit triples. He led the league in 1927 with 23 triples, in 1928 with 22 triples and in 1930 with 22 triples.

Yankee Stadium cost DiMaggio many home runs. The only time the greatest of all Yankees’ center fielders (don’t start. I’m a Mickey Mantle fan) hit more than Granderson’s 41 home runs was in his sophomore season of 1937. He led the league with 46 home runs.

Mantle was one of the all-time great home runs hitters. He has seasons in which he hit 54 home runs (1961), 52 home runs (1956) and 42 home runs (1958).

Finally, Bernie Williams had excellent overall power, but like Combs, he was not a home run hitter. In his top home run season of 2000, Williams had 30 home runs.

Granderson fits in magnificently with the current Yankees. He has great speed, can steal bases, hits with power and is a slightly above average defensive player.

Although he has cut down on his strikeouts, Granderson, who led the league with 174 in 2006, set a Yankees’ record for strikeouts with 169 in 2011.

When Mickey Mantle hit .311/.394/.530, he was criticized for striking out 111 times.

Although today a strikeout is considered “just another out” by many, the fact is that the Yankees are hesitant to hit-and-run with Granderson.

Since Brett Gardner often bats ninth, once the batting order turns around, Granderson has Gardner and Jeter batting ahead of him, which gives him great RBI opportunities.

Granderson and I have one thing in common, which makes me feel very good.

As a little kid, Curtis Granderson used to hurry home from school to watch “Saved by the Bell.” One day, he turned on the television, but instead of his favorite show, TBS was telecasting a game between the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.

It was love at first sight. Granderson became a Braves’ fan.

As a little kid, I used to watch “Flash Gordon” on New York’s channel 11, WPIX. One day, I turned on the television (a 7″ Fada), but instead of Flash Gordon, WPIX was televising a Yankees’ game.

I have been a Yankees’ fan since 1951.

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