Brian Cashman: “I don’t think we need a captaincy”

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One of the most iconic roles in baseball is being the captain of the New York Yankees. In fact, there have been only 16 captains, ranging from Clark Griffith to Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig to Thurman Munson to Don Mattingly to Derek Jeter. So, it was rather surprising to hear Brian Cashman say that the Yankees shouldn’t give out the captain role following Derek Jeter’s retirement.

“I think there’s leadership that comes a lot of different ways,” Cashman said after today’s game. “Derek wore it so well for so long, but we’ve had a number of guys leading this club over the years. Mariano (Rivera) led the relievers, (Andy) Pettitte at times or (Roger) Clemens or whoever led the starters. Leadership comes in different forms or fashions. Joe is obviously the manager. We’ve had it in a lot of different forms and fashions. I don’t think we need a captaincy, personally, but obviously Derek wore it well.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily something that’s important for us to fill. I think it will fill on its own, naturally. Leadership steps up in different forms and fashions whether you’re on the team plane, in the clubhouse, on the field of play, in the bullpen or in the manager’s office. It just comes in different forms and fashions.”

I had to take a few hours to actually think about how I was going to respond to Brian Cashman’s words. And now that I have, here’s my main thought: There will be another captain after Derek Jeter. I understand there’s no clear-cut player on the team that could be the captain this season or even next season, but to say the Yankees should never name a new captain again is ludicrous.

If the Yankees were to retire the captain legacy, they should have done it with Gehrig or Munson, who were known as two of the best captains in the Yankees organization but also had their lives tragically cut short. Gehrig was the captain until his death in 1941. Munson was the captain until his death in 1979.

I understand Jeter is the only shortstop the young generation has seen, but if we look back at Yankees history, Jeter wasn’t the best Yankees captain out of the bunch. There’s going to be a player in the future worthy of the captain role, but are we not going to give him the role as captain because the Yankees retired the role of captain for Jeter?

Cashman’s comments even caught manager Joe Girardi off-guard and while Girardi didn’t exactly elaborate on Cashman’s statement, he did add his two cents on the situation.

“I didn’t think we needed a captain this year,” Girardi said. “And I think guys need to lead (without it). I don’t think you necessarily have to have a captain to have leaders. … We give the freedom to our guys in the clubhouse, whoever wants to speak up, I don’t care how many days (in the big leagues) you have, you can speak up.”

Girardi hit it right on the nose. The Yankees don’t need to have a captain this year. But eventually there will be someone who will rise to the occasion and lead the Yankees in their march to a World Series championship. Luckily, Cashman isn’t the one in charge of who’s the next captain, that’s the ownership’s decision. But Cashman’s comments caused a bit of controversy, and even have majority of the fans raising their eyebrows.

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12 Responses to Brian Cashman: “I don’t think we need a captaincy”

  1. Ollie says:

    I still say Cashman must have landed on his head decending that building! They may not have anyone to name now but to say the after Jeter's retirement that shouldn't name another captain is a silly statement!

    • Terry says:

      I agree.I think it takes time to earn the Captain title.To say that in the the future we won't have another great to name Captain is ridiculous

  2. Yankeesfan22 says:

    I think they should have a captain. Tex, Gardner,CC, Elsbury ,Beltran,McCann. Someone should be captain no matter what. If they don't it looks like no player on this team is worthy and that's not a good message to send to players or fans. Jeter stepped up and really relished in that role. Maybe another player would do the same thing.

  3. hotdog says:

    I don't think Cashman was against naming another captain if that happens naturally over time, i believe he was talking about leadership and the idea that the title of captain isn't necessary in order to lead…

  4. Mr Baseball says:

    I think cashman is an idiot for saying that the Yankees don't need a captain from now on after Jeter.

  5. I don't think the Yankees need a captain any time soon, but to say they don't need one again ever is silly. On that note, in baseball a captain does essentially nothing. It's not like hockey where they have an actual role on the team (dealing with the refs). It's a figurehead title that means nothing.

  6. scooter10 says:

    To say "we should retire the captainancy" is ludicrous. What if they had done that after Gehrig. No Munson, Mattingly and Jeter as captains. I agree that there is no rush. And if we go 5-10 years without a captain, so be it. If someone emerges with character and lead by example as previous captains, great . If not, wait until someone does. I hope it happens in my lifetime.

  7. JPNYC says:

    The captaincy went on hiatus after Lou Gehrig until the 1970s with Munson. Dickey, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Ford, Howard, etc. No captains on those team. Somehow they survived.

    • mlblogsnewyorkyankees13 says:

      True, but for Cashman to say the Yankees should never name another captain would be wrong.

      • JPNYC says:

        I don't see a direct quote that they should never have another captain. I think its more about letting it regain the stature it deserves by letting it happen naturally. After Gehrig, the thought was that there would never be another captain…despite many, many great players that would have deserved the position playing during the ensuing years. Munson was finally appointed, not because he was better than DiMaggio or Berra, but because management felt the time was right and he was the heart and soul of the team. A captain was needed for that group of guys. Other than Mattingly and Jeter, I don't think anyone that followed in the role really embodied it the way Gehrig and Munson did, despite being highly respected players. They were given the honor because having a captain became the norm. Maybe it shouldn't be the norm. Its a worthy discussion.

  8. Robert Rufa says:

    Cashman should butt out. It should be up to the players.

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