Masahiro Tanaka will wear No. 19, but which Yankees sported the number before him?
Not only is Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka headed to the Yankees, but he's also got his new number picked out already:
As Big League Stew's Mark Townsend points out, Tanaka's traditional number, 18, is currently being worn by fellow Japanese starter Hiroki Kuroda, and seniority always rules out in these things.
But, that photo got us wondering -- what other notable Yankees wore No. 19?
Whitey Ford -- worn in 1950
Ford played his entire 16-year career in the Bronx, racking up Hall of Fame numbers -- 236 wins, a 2.75 ERA and 1,956 Ks in 3,170.1 innings pitched.
While Ford spent most of his playing days in his now-retired No. 16, he wore No. 19 during his rookie campaign, finishing with a 9-1 record and a 2.81 ERA.
His first postseason start came that same year, in Game 4 of the 1950 World Series -- an outing in which he held the Phillies (nicknamed the "Whiz Kids") scoreless through 8 innings, clinching the Championship for the Yankees.
It was the very first of Ford's record 10 World Series games won, and he did it wearing No. 19.
Dave Righetti -- worn in 1981-1990
Righetti's 1981 Rookie of the Year award came on the strength of his 8-4 record in 15 starts, finishing with a 2.05 ERA and a league-leading 7.6 K/9.
In 1983, Rags, as he was affectionately known, pitched a no-hitter against the Red Sox -- but that would be his last season as a starter before being converted into a closer for the 1984 season.
He'd spend the next seven seasons closing games for the Yankees, leading the league in saves in 1986, and winning the AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year twice. His 224 saves for the Yankees places him second on the all-time franchise list -- behind Mariano Rivera, of course.
Robin Ventura -- worn in 2002-2003
The long-time White Sox third baseman and current White Sox manager had a stint with the Yankees just after the turn of the century (isn't it fun we get to say that?). In fact, he earned his final All-Star appearance while with the Bombers in 2002, and did so wearing No. 19.
Ventura isn't a Hall of Famer, and the bulk of his career was spent in Chicago, but he was an important piece on the 2002 AL East Champion Yankees -- a feat Tanaka would surely be happy repeating.
Aaron Boone -- worn in 2003
Boone played one season for the Yankees, but to hear Red Sox fans talk about him, you'd think he played 10.
Acquired by the Yankees via trade in 2003, Boone played in just 54 regular season games for the Bombers. His most famous moment, of course, came in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS when he did this to a Tim Wakefield knuckleball, and sent the Yankees to the World Series:
Bob Turley -- worn in 1955-1962
Reader @KASDad pointed out another fantastic Yankee No. 19: All-Star pitcher "Bullet Bob" Turley.
Turley put up fantastic numbers during eight seasons with the Yankees -- going 82-52 with a 3.62 ERA. In 1958, he led the league in wins and complete games en route to the Cy Young Award.
He won two World Series Championships during his time in the Bronx, and of course, he did it all while wearing No. 19.
Clarence "Cuddles" Marshall -- worn in 1949
OK, Cuddles Marshall was a reliever with a four-year career who managed to earn a lifetime 5.98 ERA. In his one year wearing No. 19, Cuddles somehow gave up 48 hits and 48 walks in 49.1 innings. There's no way someone could do that without it being intentional, right?
So why are we mentioning him here? Because he's nicknamed Cuddles Marshall.
Tanaka's got a lot to live up to.