Brett Gardner
Dan Hamilton | USA TODAY Sports

Mike Francesa is a hard marker when it comes to Brett Gardner.

Francesa praised the popular former Yankees outfielder for his “hustle and determination [to become] an everyday player” during his latest BetRivers podcast. But then the WFAN legend handwaved a listener email asking how the team should handle Gardner’s legacy.

“I always liked Gardy,” Francesa said. “But Gardy doesn’t have a legacy. He wasn’t that type of player.”

Gardner spent 14 seasons with the Yankees. He won the World Series in 2019, was an All-Star in 2015 and received a Gold Glove in 2016. Most notably, he was a clubhouse leader that bridged transition from the end of the Core Four and A-Rod era to the current one led by stars like Aaron Judge.

Gardner, 38, is a free agent. He has not officially retired, but his career is unofficially over by all accounts unless the Yankees were to unexpectedly call. Gardner turned down overtures from other teams this offseason and his agent has said he is not expected to play in 2022.

Francesa’s take on Gardner comes off as harsh. But that does not mean it is wrong. Gardner was a productive player. Whenever he starts appearing at Old Timer’s Day, he will draw some of the loudest cheers each summer. But he obviously won’t have his number retired. A plaque in Monument Park is not completely out of the question, but the odds there are likely long.

It’s hard to argue Gardner deserves a plaque when Bobby Murcer and Roy White do not have one. Hideki Matsui may also be ahead of Gardner in the pecking order. Tino Martinez does have a plaque, which helps Gardner’s case. But he also won four titles as a Yankee to Gardner’s one.

“Gardy was a good, solid player,” Francesa said. “He got some very big hits, he was a guy who was a real go-getter. He had a lot of hustle and a lot of moxie. But I’m sorry, he doesn’t have a legacy. He’s not a legacy-type player.”

James Kratch can be reached at

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.