New York Yankees Born in December

frankie2My name is Francesca Cinquanti. My Poppi writes this Pinstripe Birthday Blog.

Poppi’s a big Yankee fan, so big that he’s taken the time to sort the entire all-time Yankee roster by birth dates. He then started this blog and every day of the year, he’d post a story about the Yankee player born on that day.

Poppi’s all-time lineup of Yankees with December birthdays looks like this:

If you want to find out what Yankees were born on your birthday and learn more about them,  enter the date in the search box underneath the ad that appears in the right hand column of this page and click the “search” button. The WordPress search engine that is provided with this blog has some design inefficiencies. For example if you enter the date “December 2″ your search results will start with a player born on December 29 at the top and you’ll have to keep scrolling down through the results to find December 2 birthday celebrants. This will be true for any search you do for the first three days of every month.  (You can also search by the player’s name.)

On most dates, more than one Yankee celebrates a birthday so be sure to keep clicking on the “older posts” links that appear at the bottom of your search results to make sure you find every Yankee born on that date.

November 1 – Happy Birthday Masahiro Tanaka

tanakaThe hype surrounding Masahiro Tanaka’s migration from a pitching God in the Japan Pacific League to a first year Yankee phee-nom was as intense as any New York free agent signing since Reggie Jackson. Just 24 years-old, coming off a perfect 24-0 regular season in his native country, the Yankees made it clear they were not going to be outbid for the right-hander’s services and they made sure they weren’t.

They gave this kid $155 million and from April to July, his performance on the mound made it seem as if he was underpaid. In his first twenty starts, he never gave up more than three earned runs and his record on July 4th of the 2014 season was 12-3 with a 2.27 ERA.

That’s when the injury  jinx permeating the Yankee roster since the 2012 postseason hit Tanaka. On July 9th he went on the disabled list with soreness in his right elbow. Doctors discovered a slight tearing in the ligament of that joint. I admit I was shocked when New York’s front office announced the decision not to surgically repair the tear and even more shocked when they told the media they intended to put Tanaka back in the rotation after resting him for six weeks. As Joe Girardi’s crippled team slowly dropped out of AL East title contention and eventually from a shot at a Wild Card spot, I was one of many who figured the plan for Tanaka would change and he would be shelved for the entire season. We were all wrong.

Per their original rehab blueprint, New York started their young ace in a September 21st contest versus Toronto and you could just about hear the collective sigh of relief emanating from Yankee universe, when Tanaka pitched six strong innings and got the win. If his season ended there and then, I’d be supremely confident going into 2015 spring training that this young man would be ready to again dominate opponents in his second big league season. But six days after his return against Toronto, he was given another start against Boston and he got absolutely shelled, giving up 7 runs and only getting five hitters out before Girardi  mercifully removed him from the game. It was a disappointing end to a brilliant season that had begun with so much promise.

Tanaka shares his birthday with this WWI era Yankee and this one too.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2014 ★ NYY 13 5 .722 2.77 20 20 0 3 1 0 136.1 123 47 42 15 21 141 1.056
1 Yr 13 5 .722 2.77 20 20 0 3 1 0 136.1 123 47 42 15 21 141 1.056
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/16/2014.

October 27 – Happy Birthday Martin Prado

Bt54BlfCMAAxoPGWhen I first heard that the Yankees had acquired veteran Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks at the July 31st trading deadline of the 2014 season, I smiled. My aging in-laws in Florida have been huge Braves’ fans for years and the Venezuelan-born Prado had been one of their favorite players during his first seven big-league seasons, all spent with Atlanta. Since we watched plenty of Braves’ baseball whenever my wife’s parents were visiting, I could see why they liked the guy. His entire game was solid, not flashy but dependably solid.

That’s the reason why it was Prado the Diamondbacks accepted in a 2013 preseason trade that sent the multi-talented Justin Upton to Atlanta. After a year and a half with his new team, Arizona decided it did not want to pay his $11 million salary for the next two seasons so they sent Prado to the Bronx for minor league slugger, Pete O’Brien, a Yankee catching prospect who had already hit 33 home runs for two different New York farm teams during the 2014 minor league season.

The reason I liked Prado in a Yankee uniform was his versatility and style of play. He can play second, third or the outfield plus he’s a good fit offensively anywhere you need to put him in the lineup. His intangibles are solid as well. The guy hustles all the time and all indications are he’s a great teammate.

Sure enough, during the 37 games he wore the pinstripes last year, he played second, third and all three outfield positions and belted 7 home runs which is a pace that translates into a 30-homer full season. The only downside was the fact that he ended the year on the DL. I don’t expect this guy to be a 30-homer hitter for New York but we desperately need players who can stay healthy for full seasons.

With the December, 2014 signing of Chase Headley, the Yankees made it clear that they intended to make Prado their everyday second baseman in 2015. If he stays healthy, he won’t make Yankee fans forget Robbie Cano but he will win over New York fans big time..

Prado shares his October 29th birthday with this former Yankee outfielderthis other former Yankee outfielder and this former Yankee shortstop.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2014 NYY 37 137 133 18 42 9 0 7 16 1 3 23 .316 .336 .541 .877
9 Yrs 981 4036 3691 487 1075 230 22 78 426 36 270 441 .291 .340 .429 .769
ATL (7 yrs) 683 2799 2546 355 752 168 16 52 286 30 197 308 .295 .345 .435 .780
ARI (2 yrs) 261 1100 1012 114 281 53 6 19 124 5 70 110 .278 .326 .398 .725
NYY (1 yr) 37 137 133 18 42 9 0 7 16 1 3 23 .316 .336 .541 .877
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/18/2014.