Derek Jeter won the ROY Award in 1996, after a 15 game cameo in 1995.
Do you remember who was the Yankees’ starting SS before Jeter?
It was Tony Fernandez, best known for his years in Toronto.
According to the NY Post,
the 57-year-old former shortstop was in critical condition after suffering complications from polycystic kidney disease, which Fernandez revealed he had in 2017.
Fernandez played with Toronto I (1983-1990), San Diego (1991-1992), The NY Mets (1992-1993), Toronto II (1993), Cincinnati (1994), the Yankees (1995), Cleveland (1997), Toronto III (1998-1999), Milwaukee (2001) and finished his career with his FOURTH (Toronto IV) separate stint with Toronto in 2001.
In 1995 for the Yankees, Fernandez played in 108 games, basically missing six weeks, and hit .245-5-45, OPS+ just 75. Not a good year. He did hit for the cycle in one game that season, and I was at that game. He was the Yankees SS in the 1995 ALDS vs. Seattle, hitting 5 for 21.
In 1996, he broke his right (throwing) elbow in a spring training game, and missed the whole season. He was basically “Wally Pipp’d” by Jeter, who took over at SS, won the ROY and was on his way to the HOF.
A switch-hitter, Fernandez was on the 1993 WS Champion Toronto team, was a 5x All-Star and 4x Gold Glove winner. He also played for the Indians in the 1997 WS.
He got MVP consideration 4x, and finished 8th in the 1987 voting.
He hit .288 in his MLB career, with 2276 hits. His 162 game average was .288-7-63 with 18 SB and an OPS+ of 101.
In postseason play, he hit .327-1-23 in 43 games.
Primarily a SS, he did play a little 3B and 2B also.
The JAWS system on baseball-reference.com lists Fernandez #34 as far as all-time greatest SS.
One thing though…. it does seem like he always did better on astroturf (Toronto) than on grass (both NY teams, for example).
Hopefully he pulls through.
About a half hour before the start of the Super Bowl, Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone tweeted out his prediction for the final score, and he nailed it dead on.
Any prediction for the Yankees this year, Skip?