Forgoing $ to Stay a Yankee? How Rich(ardson)!

Bobby Richardson, who played second base for the Yankees (1955–66) and is perhaps best known for being named the World Series MVP in 1960 (despite playing for the losing team) and for snaring the final out in the seventh game of the World Series two years later, has some advice for Robinson Cano:

Richardson, once a great Yankee second baseman, thinks that kind of fan passion should “figure into the mix” when another great Yankee second sacker, Robinson Cano, makes his free agency decision this winter.

“I hope he’ll remember he got his notoriety and his start from the Yankees and that he won’t do something that others have done and just go where the money is,” Richardson said of Cano Tuesday before the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association’s annual dinner.

“I hope he’ll be part of a tradition that I think will continue and he’ll be important for, if he stays, a number of years.”

Richardson, 78, was certainly aware of the tradition back in 1953, when he signed with the Yankees out of Edmunds High School in Sumter, S.C. Twelve different teams offered Richardson the same bonus — there was no amateur draft then — but his choice was easy.

“Money is great, but I chose the Yankees because I had seen the film ‘Pride of the Yankees’ and I felt they were a notch above,” Richardson said. “They had won. The tradition was there.

Leaving aside the writer’s absurd claim that Richardson was “great” — he was a solid defender but pretty anemic at the plate — the old-timer is guilty of chutzpah.

Sure, “Yankee Pride” might have swayed a young Richardson in 1953 to forego the competing offers, but in the free-agent era, when the Yankees have routinely showered the best available players with riches that other teams couldn’t hope of matching, let alone exceeding, was that tradition at work too?

For a (most welcome) change, the Yankees may be on the verge of losing their best player by far — and for whom they have no one on the farm remotely capable of replacing his .384 wOBA and 6.0 fWAR and above-average defense — and, lo and behold, Richardson isn’t happy about it.


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