Greatest Rookies of the Year in New York sports history

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Aaron Judge will be judged in the end on his entire body of work for 2017, but the Yankees outfielder appears headed in the direction of the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

If he wins it, he will join a long line of New York-area athletes so honored in the post-World War II era, when such awards became commonplace and standardized.

Who are the best? Here is our top 20, ranked mostly by performance as a rookie, with extra credit for future achievements and/or historic significance.

Apologies to worthy rooks who narrowly missed winning their league’s awards, including second-place Yankees from Kevin Maas to Hideki Matsui to Gary Sanchez.

And also to those in the pre-Rookie of the Year era. Here’s to you, Joe DiMaggio, for batting .323 with 125 RBI in 1936!

20. Gump Worsley, Rangers, 1952-53

Remarkably, Worsley made an impression goaltending for a
(Credit: AP)

Remarkably, Worsley made an impression goaltending for a team that finished last -- by a wide margin. The next winter he was sent to Vancouver of the WHL after a salary dispute, and was the league MVP.

19. Dave Righetti, Yankees, 1981

Righetti started the strike-shortened '81 season in the
(Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Righetti started the strike-shortened '81 season in the minors but still went 8-4 with a 2.05 ERA while giving up one homer in 105 1/3 innings. He ranked second in the majors to Nolan Ryan in Adjusted ERA+.

18. Jacob deGrom, Mets, 2014

Little was expected of deGrom when he joined
(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Little was expected of deGrom when he joined the Mets in mid-May, but much was delivered. He finished 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA and 144 strikeouts -- including the first eight Marlins he faced on Sept. 15.

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17. Darryl Strawberry, Mets, 1983

There was huge pressure on Strawberry to deliver
(Credit: AP / Ron Frehm)

There was huge pressure on Strawberry to deliver excitement to the Mets after being drafted No. 1 overall in 1980. He showed flashes of what he could do as a rookie, batting .257 with 26 homers and 74 RBIs.

16. Denis Potvin, Islanders, 1973-74

Compared to what he became, Potvin's rookie numbers
(Credit: AP / Ray Stubblebine)

Compared to what he became, Potvin's rookie numbers were modest: 17 goals and 37 assists. But that was not the point. It was evident he was what the hapless Isles needed to start building respectability.

15. Thurman Munson, Yankees, 1970

After narrowly missing the required at-bats to count
(Credit: AP)

After narrowly missing the required at-bats to count as a rookie in 1969, Munson won the award in 1970 by batting .302 with 57 RBI, plus 80 assists, throwing out 52 percent of would-be base-stealers.

14. Willie Mays, Giants, 1951

Willie Mays did not join the Giants until
(Credit: AP)

Willie Mays did not join the Giants until late May, then started slowly before swatting a home run over the leftfield roof at the Polo Grounds against Warren Spahn for his first big-league hit. He totaled 20 home runs.

13. Patrick Ewing, Knicks, 1985-86

Injuries limited Patrick Ewing to 50 games as
(Credit: AP / Richard Drew)

Injuries limited Patrick Ewing to 50 games as a rookie, but he averaged 20 points and nine rebounds and confirmed the team had, in fact, enjoyed a franchise-turning bit of luck in the previous year's draft lottery.

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12. Joe Namath, Jets, 1965

After an 0-5-1 start, the Jets improved upon
(Credit: AP/ Harry Harris)

After an 0-5-1 start, the Jets improved upon making Joe Namath the starter at quarterback. He finished with 18 TDs, 15 interceptions, 2,220 yards and a special place in New York sports lore that remains in 2017.

11. Bryan Trottier, Islanders, 1975-76

The second-round draft pick did not take long
(Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS / Richard Drew)

The second-round draft pick did not take long to declare himself as another pillar in the Islanders' rise to dominance, totaling 32 goals and 63 assists in 1975-76 for a then NHL rookie record 95 points.

10. Don Newcombe, Dodgers, 1949

Newk did not join the Dodgers until late
(Credit: AP / Harry Harris)

Newk did not join the Dodgers until late May but still finished with a 17-8 record, including five shutouts, and helped Brooklyn win the pennant. In 1956 he went 27-7 and won the first Cy Young Award.

9. Tom Seaver, Mets, 1967

Sure, the Mets lost 101 games in 1967,
(Credit: AP)

Sure, the Mets lost 101 games in 1967, but their fans finally had a future to look forward to after watching "The Franchise" win 16 games, throw 18 complete games, strike out 170 and record a 2.76 ERA. Terrific!

8. Derek Jeter, Yankees, 1996

George Steinbrenner was not sure Derek Jeter was
(Credit: Simon Bruty/Getty Images)

George Steinbrenner was not sure Derek Jeter was ready in 1996. Then Jeter hit a home run on Opening Day. Then he hit .314 with 104 runs. Then the Yanks won the World Series. Then he was announced as a unanimous Rookie of the Year pick.

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7. Willis Reed, Knicks, 1964-65

The long climb to the 1969-70 NBA title
(Credit: AP)

The long climb to the 1969-70 NBA title had many milestones, none bigger than drafting Reed in the second round. He quickly established himself by averaging 19.5 points and a career-high 14.7 rebounds.

6. Brian Leetch, Rangers, 1988-89

The record for goals by a rookie defenseman
(Credit: AP / Ray Stubblebine)

The record for goals by a rookie defenseman remains 23, the standard Leetch set in '88-89, when he also had 48 points -- in 68 games. He matched that 23-goal total in 1993-94 as a cornerstone of, well, you know.

5. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants, 2014

Despite being limited to 12 games, Beckham finished
(Credit: AP / Kathy Willens)

Despite being limited to 12 games, Beckham finished with 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. You also might recall a certain acrobatic, one-handed catch he made one night against the Cowboys.

4. Dwight Gooden, Mets, 1984

True, 1985 always will be remembered as the
(Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS / Anonymous)

True, 1985 always will be remembered as the ne plus ultra of Doc Gooden's career arc, but he was a 19-year-old revelation in 1984, striking out 276 in 218 innings with a 2.60 ERA. He finished second in Cy Young voting.

3. Mike Bossy, Islanders, 1977-78

As a newcomer Bossy scored 53 goals (in
(Credit: AP)

As a newcomer Bossy scored 53 goals (in 73 games) -- then the record for a rookie -- and added 38 assists. He totaled six penalty minutes. He went on to score more than 50 goals in each of his first nine seasons.

2. Lawrence Taylor, Giants, 1981

Lawrence Taylor was credited with 9 1/2 sacks
(Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun)

Lawrence Taylor was credited with 9 1/2 sacks in the last season before sacks became an official statistic. Oh, and by the way: He picked up the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award along with his rookie nod. Never been done before or since.

1. Jackie Robinson, Dodgers, 1947

It is true Jackie Robinson was a 28-year-old
(Credit: AP)

It is true Jackie Robinson was a 28-year-old with plenty of pro experience when he won the one rookie award for both leagues given in '47, batting .297 with 125 runs scored. But let's just say it was not his idea to wait that long.

Now the rookie award is named for him, and he is recalled as the most significant figure in the history of baseball.

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