June 2010

June 29 – Happy Birthday Rick Honeycutt

In 1995, this veteran starter turned reliever joined the Yankees appearing in three games out of the bullpen. He gave up three runs during his one cumulative inning of work and then never pitched again in pinstripes. Honeycutt pitched in the big leagues for 21 seasons, with six different teams. He retired in 1997 with a 109-143 lifetime record.

In 1903, the Baltimore Orioles became the New York Highlanders. The Orioles Manager and starting catcher in 1902, was Wilbert “Uncle Robbie” Robinson. He had succeeded John McGraw as skipper in Baltimore after “Little Napoleon” got the Managerial position for the New York Giants. Robinson was in line to become the first Yankee skipper when the team was moved but he instead accepted an offer from McGraw to join the Giants’ coaching staff. In 1914, Robinson became manager of the Brooklyn Robins where he remained for the next 19 seasons. Why am I bringing this up? Because Uncle Robbie is technically part of the Yankee’s All-time franchise roster and he too was born on June 29, way back in 1863, in Bolton, MA.

Sharing Honeycutt’s and Robinson’s June 29th birthday is the only Yankee to ever pinch hit for Babe Ruth.

June 27 – The June-born All-time Bronx Babies Team

There are a few days during the calendar year for which I can find no
current or former Yankee player, manager, coach, front office exec,
announcer etc. celebrating a birthday. June 27 happens to be one of
those dates. So instead, let’s look at the all-time best starting
lineup of Yankees who celebrate their birthday in June:

1B – Lou Gehrig – June 19
2B – Horace Clarke – June 2
3B – Phil Linz – June 19
SS – Derek Jeter – June 26
C – Bill Dickey – June 6
OF – Hideki Matsui
OF – Don Baylor – June 28
OF – Vic Mata – June 17
DH – Thurman Munson – June 7
P – Andy Pettitte – June 15
RP – Eddie Lopat

This month’s All-Pinstripe-Birthday team is strong at catcher. In
addition to Dickey and Munson, Mike Stanley and Jose Molina were also
June-born babies. The team is weak at third. I could have used “the
Stick,” Gene Michael, Fernando Gonzalez or Gary Templeton at the hot
corner but in the end went with Linz. The June-born Bronx Babies was
also one player short of having a great outfield and I was forced to
use the crafty starter, Eddie Lopat in this team’s bullpen for lack of
a closer.

June 20 – Happy Birthday Art Schult

They called him Dutch. He was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1928 and a quarter century later he was a 6’4″ slugging outfield prospect of the New York Yankees. The problem for Schult was the Yankees’s system was loaded with great outfielders, so after a very short 7-game trial with the 1953 New York team, he never again wore the pinstripes. He did eventually play parts of four more seasons in the big leagues.

According to a Baseball Digest article from March, 1957, Schult’s most famous moment as a Yankee minor leaguer took place during a home game for Kansas City against the Indian’s Indianapolis affiliate. He hit a home run and was loudly booed by his own fans as he circled the bases. Why? The blast came with two outs in the final inning and was the first and only hit given up by a young phee-nom fireballer named Herb Score. That day’s Kansas City crowd evidently was really hoping to see Score complete the feat.