2009 World Series champion, 2015 All-Star and 2016 Gold Glove outfielder: That’s the stat line of Brett Gardner throughout his 14 year playing career. Those are also three major accomplishments that are sought after by every MLB player, but a small resume for a player who played 14 years.
What Baseball Reference doesn’t tell you right off the bat is that Brett Gardner: is the 15th-longest tenured Yankee is franchise history (14 years) | Has played in the 13th-most regular season games (1,668), which is 77% of the possible 2,166 games | 22nd all-time in hits (1,470) | 16th all-time in walks (699) | 3rd all-time in stolen bases (274).
Brett Gardner was and still is one of the most well-known players to ever sport a Yankees jersey. So, why did Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman just let Gardy fade away into being an unsigned free agent who is basically unofficially retired. We can all agree that the Yankees organization didn’t give Gardy a proper farewell.
Now I’m not saying that New York should retire Gardner’s No. 11 jersey, if they had any intent to do so then Anthony Volpe wouldn’t have been allowed to sport it. Volpe did ask Gardner for permission to wear the number though – why? – well because the pinstriped 11 holds prestige.
I feel like the Yankees should hold a Brett Gardner day where they properly give Gardy his final party and send off into retirement. The pregame event would be like a jersey retirement, just without actually retiring his jersey.
Brett Gardner did a lot overall with the Yankees, but I don’t think it’s enough to ever retire the 11.
Nevertheless, Brett Gardner will go down in Yankees history as a beloved player (and from a fan’s perspective that’s a hard accomplishment considering how the Bronx faithful are).