I’m not your typical New York Yankees hater. While I’ve never jumped on any Yankees bandwagon, good or bad, my second favorite New York baseball team sure seems to have prospects falling over themselves trying to ruin their careers. It started with Brien Taylor, the #1 overall draft pick of 1992, who signed for a then unheard of $1.5 million dollars but never made it to The Show due to an injury sustained in a fight.
For those unaware of just how big of a deal Brien was, Topps Company chose Taylor as the first player included as a certified autograph in a Topps brand. Yes, Topps chose Taylor as their inaugural autograph despite guys like Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle being readily available. For context, Upper Deck beat Topps to the punch two years prior and chose Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson, as their first autograph.
Not long after Brien’s sad fate we had the Yankees’ Ruben Rivera, who was being touted everywhere as the “Next Mickey Mantle” by publications like Beckett Baseball. By 1996, the word was out and everyone was expecting big things from Rivera, who hit 33 bombs and drove in 101 runners, while also managing to steal 48 bases in the Minors in 1994. The future looked bright for Ruben and the Yankees.
Ruben was eventually released after stealing a glove from fellow teammate, Derek Jeter. Rivera played less than 100 games for the Yankees and through parts of 9 MLB seasons, never put up numbers anywhere close to his amazing 1994 season. As of 2019, 46-year-old Rivera was hitting bombs in Mexico, where he had become somewhat of a baseball legend. Between MiLB, MLB, and Independent/Mexican leagues, Ruben hit 504 home runs.
That brings us to 2022 and the story of Jake Sanford, a 24-year-old, 3rd round draft pick from 2019, who followed closely in Rivera’s footsteps by stealing his teammates’ equipment. Sanford, not to be outdone, also made several online deals through social media and decided to rip people off by not sending over the goods after receiving payment, which is one level worse than Ruben Rivera.
Having no shame, the Ottawa Titans, an independent league team, immediately signed Sanford to a contract after the Yankees washed their hands clean of Jake. As of May 19th, Sanford has deactivated both his Twitter and Instagram accounts but you can still get to see your former, favorite Yankees prospects if you’re in Canada and certain U.S states by checking out the Titans’ schedule HERE.