September 2010

September 29 – Happy Birthday Mike McCormick

On September 19, 1970 in an afternoon game at Tiger Stadium in front of fewer than 9,000 fans, Yankee Manager Ralph Houk inserted veteran lefthander Mike McCormick in the game to pitch the bottom half of the seventh inning with the Yankees trailing by three runs. McCormick held the Tigers scoreless in the seventh but gave up a home run to backup catcher Jim Price in the eighth inning. In the Yankee half of the ninth New York scored five runs on five singles a walk and a wild pitch, to take a 7-6 lead. Jack Aker pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth and in the process saved Mike McCormick’s 134th and final big league victory. McCormick had joined New York’s pitching staff in July of that season when the Yankees traded pitcher John Cumberland to the Giants in exchange for the 1967 NL Cy Young Award winner. In his first start with his new team, Mike lasted seven innings and beat the Angels, but he’d been roughed up as both a starter and reliever in each subsequent appearance. The Yankees ended up releasing the Pasadena, CA native in spring training the following year and after trying to hang on with the Royals, McCormick ended his very good 16-season big league career.

He may have had a lot more than those two wins in pinstripes if the Yankees were inclined to pay bonuses back when Mike was a high school pitching sensation in the early fifties. New York’s arrogant front office felt it was a privilege for any young man to even be offered a contract to play for their organization so they refused to offer signing bonuses. The New York Giants were the only team to offer McCormick one, in the amount of $50,000 and the youngster grabbed it. In addition to the Giants, Yankees and Royals, Mike also pitched for Baltimore and the Senators during his career.

McCormick shares his September 29th birthday with this former Yankee outfielder, this one-time shortstop prospect and this one-time Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1970 NYY 2 0 1.000 6.10 9 4 3 0 0 0 20.2 26 15 14 2 13 12 1.887
16 Yrs 134 128 .511 3.73 484 333 69 91 23 12 2380.1 2281 1100 986 256 795 1321 1.292
SFG (11 yrs) 107 96 .527 3.68 357 252 52 78 19 11 1822.2 1737 833 745 195 616 1030 1.291
WSA (2 yrs) 19 22 .463 3.42 85 53 13 11 4 1 374.0 351 162 142 40 87 189 1.171
BAL (2 yrs) 6 10 .375 4.40 29 23 0 2 0 0 153.1 153 80 75 19 74 88 1.480
KCR (1 yr) 0 0 9.31 4 1 1 0 0 0 9.2 14 10 10 0 5 2 1.966
NYY (1 yr) 2 0 1.000 6.10 9 4 3 0 0 0 20.2 26 15 14 2 13 12 1.887
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/29/2013.

September 28 – Happy Birthday Grant Jackson

Grant Dwight Jackson was born on September 28, 1942, in Fostoria, OH. He spent his first six big league seasons with the Phillies as a starting pitcher. After getting dealt to Baltimore in 1970, the Orioles converted Jackson into a reliever and he became a mainstay in their bullpen for the next five seasons. In June of 1976, he was made part of an unusual mid season ten-player trade that took place between the Yanks and Orioles. It was unusual because both teams were fighting for the same AL Eastern Division pennant at the time and normally, teams competing for the same flag don’t do deals with each other, much less deals involving ten guys. In the swap, New York sent Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan to the Birds in return for Jackson, Doyle Alexander, Ken Holtzman, Elrod Hendricks and somebody named Jimmy Freeman.

Jackson quickly became a key member of Billy Martin’s pitching staff, appearing in 21 games during the second half of that season, mostly in relief and winning all six of his decisions. Alexander was 10-5 that year with New York and Holtzman was 9-7. That means the three pitchers the Yankees got in the Baltimore deal won an impressive total of 25 games during the balance of that 1976 season. After Jackson pitched poorly during the ’76 postseason, the Yankees left him unprotected in that year’s AL expansion draft and he was selected by the new Mariners franchise.

Jackson shares his September 28th birthday with this Yankee center fielder from the roaring twenties,  this one-time Yankee first baseman and this former Yankee pitching prospect.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1976 NYY 6 0 1.000 1.69 21 2 8 1 1 1 58.2 38 11 11 1 16 25 0.920
18 Yrs 86 75 .534 3.46 692 83 291 16 5 79 1358.2 1272 589 523 109 511 889 1.312
PIT (6 yrs) 29 19 .604 3.23 278 2 119 0 0 36 354.1 339 143 127 31 136 173 1.341
PHI (6 yrs) 23 43 .348 3.99 154 70 32 15 4 3 563.1 571 288 250 44 224 431 1.411
BAL (6 yrs) 24 12 .667 2.81 209 9 120 0 0 39 333.1 268 111 104 24 105 241 1.119
KCR (1 yr) 3 1 .750 5.17 20 0 10 0 0 0 38.1 42 27 22 7 21 15 1.643
MON (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 7.59 10 0 2 0 0 0 10.2 14 9 9 2 9 4 2.156
NYY (1 yr) 6 0 1.000 1.69 21 2 8 1 1 1 58.2 38 11 11 1 16 25 0.920
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/29/2013.

September 25 – Happy Birthday Tony Womack

When the Yankees signed Tony Womack as a free agent after the 2004 season, I was not too excited. He had just completed arguably his best Major League season, hitting .307 and smacking 170 hits and helping to lead St Louis to an NL Championship, but he had hit only.182 in that year’s World Series as the Cardinals got swept by the Red Sox and even though he had lot’s of speed, his ability to get on base was far from impressive. Evidently, Joe Torre was not too excited either because by May of the 2005 season, Robinson Cano was the Yankees’ starting second baseman and the only action Womack was seeing was in the Yankee outfield. During his one and only season in the Bronx, Womack hit .249 and had just a .279 on base percentage. He was shipped to the Reds the following December. Even though it did not work out in New York, Womack had a very good 13-season big league career, winning a ring with Arizona and amassing over 1,300 hits.

Also celebrating a birthday today is the Yankee legend who inspired this blog, this great former Yankee pitcher and this one-time Yankee reliever.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2005 NYY 108 351 329 46 82 8 1 0 15 27 12 49 .249 .276 .280 .556
13 Yrs 1303 5389 4963 739 1353 190 59 36 368 363 308 649 .273 .317 .356 .673
ARI (5 yrs) 629 2744 2521 392 677 98 37 21 200 182 159 303 .269 .314 .362 .676
PIT (5 yrs) 351 1475 1362 190 379 55 17 9 103 122 92 210 .278 .325 .363 .688
CHC (2 yrs) 40 109 101 10 26 3 1 1 4 3 5 15 .257 .292 .337 .629
COL (1 yr) 21 81 79 9 15 2 0 0 5 3 0 9 .190 .200 .215 .415
STL (1 yr) 145 606 553 91 170 22 3 5 38 26 36 60 .307 .349 .385 .735
CIN (1 yr) 9 23 18 1 4 2 0 0 3 0 4 3 .222 .364 .333 .697
NYY (1 yr) 108 351 329 46 82 8 1 0 15 27 12 49 .249 .276 .280 .556
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/25/2013.

September 24 – Happy Birthday Jeff Karstens

This native of San Diego was born on this date in 1982. The Yankees drafted the right-hander in the 19th round of the 2003 draft out of Texas Tech. He got his first call-up to the parent club in late August of 2006 and got six starts during the final month and a half of that season, winning two of his three decisions. He didn’t fare as well for New York the following year, going 1-4 with an ERA that ballooned to over 11 earned runs for every nine innings pitched. In 2008, he was made part of the package the Yankees dealt to Pittsburgh for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. He got off to a great start in the Steel City, winning his first two starts and not giving up a single run but then he had a tough time finding success with the poor-hitting Pirates. In 2011, the Pirate offense showed some punch and Karstens numbers have gotten demonstrably better. I was in Pittsburgh earlier this season and got to see him pitch a super game against a very tough Philadelphia line-up. He turns 29-years-old today and I think he’s young enough to put together some solid seasons in the next few years. The question is will the Pirates have a team that can score him the runs he will need to do so.

I’m sure you don’t remember when Dixie Walker wore pinstripes but are you old enough to remember when Eric Soderholm played for the Yankees? Both celebrate their birthday today.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2006 NYY 2 1 .667 3.80 8 6 2 0 0 0 42.2 40 20 18 6 11 16 1.195
2007 NYY 1 4 .200 11.05 7 3 2 0 0 0 14.2 27 21 18 4 9 5 2.455
7 Yrs 26 40 .394 4.44 138 91 14 2 2 0 592.1 636 321 292 80 153 330 1.332
PIT (5 yrs) 23 35 .397 4.31 123 82 10 2 2 0 535.0 569 280 256 70 133 309 1.312
NYY (2 yrs) 3 5 .375 5.65 15 9 4 0 0 0 57.1 67 41 36 10 20 21 1.517
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/24/2013.

September 21 – Happy Birthday Sam McDowell

They called him Sudden Sam and along with one of the best fastballs in big league history, he also possessed one of the game’s worst drinking habits. His career began in Cleveland in 1961 and during his eight seasons as the ace of the Tribes’ pitching staff he threw 21 shutouts and led the American League in strikeouts five times. McDowell would drink himself into oblivion every day of the week with the exception being the day before he was scheduled to pitch. By 1971, the Indians threw up their hands and traded the southpaw fireballer to the Giants for Gaylord Perry. It took San Francisco just over a season to realize their mistake and they unloaded McDowell by selling him to the pitching hungry Yankees. When Sam won five of his first six decisions in pinstripes, Yankee fans thought it was the best deal in franchise history. But McDowell then proceeded to lose seven straight to close out the 1973 season and when he dropped six of seven decisions the following year, New York released him. He signed on with the Pirates but his drinking had become so bad, he was quickly kicked off the team and out of baseball for good. Miraculously, Sam got his alcohol addiction under control and became a very effective substance abuse counselor after his pitching days were over. He was born in Pittsburgh on this date in 1942.

Another former Yankee celebrating his birthday today is the father of a Prince but has no royal blood running through his veins. This long-ago Yankee outfielder was also born on September 21st.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1973 NYY 5 8 .385 3.95 16 15 1 2 1 0 95.2 73 47 42 4 64 75 1.432
1974 NYY 1 6 .143 4.69 13 7 3 0 0 0 48.0 42 27 25 6 41 33 1.729
15 Yrs 141 134 .513 3.17 425 346 39 103 23 14 2492.1 1948 999 879 164 1312 2453 1.308
CLE (11 yrs) 122 109 .528 2.99 336 295 24 97 22 11 2109.2 1603 805 702 138 1072 2159 1.268
SFG (2 yrs) 11 10 .524 4.36 46 28 7 4 0 3 204.1 200 109 99 16 115 157 1.542
NYY (2 yrs) 6 14 .300 4.20 29 22 4 2 1 0 143.2 115 74 67 10 105 108 1.531
PIT (1 yr) 2 1 .667 2.86 14 1 4 0 0 0 34.2 30 11 11 0 20 29 1.442
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/21/2013.

September 19 – Happy Birthday Nick Johnson

Nobody expected Nick Johnson to be a huge star in the big leagues but when he first came up with New York in August of 2001, the Yankee brass made it sound as if he had a good enough bat to force their poor-fielding first baseman, Jason Giambi to the full-time DH role. He turned out to be an OK fielder with a good batting eye but he definitely did not hit well enough during his first tour of duty in pinstripes to deserve the full-time first-baseman’s job. He was shipped to Montreal in 2004 in the deal that made Javier Vazquez a Yankee for the first time.

Since then the injury bug has hit Johnson hard. He was having his best big league season in Washington, in 2006, smacking 23 home runs and averaging a career high .290, when in a late season game he broke a leg when he collided with current Yankee teammate, Austin Kearns. That injury forced Nick to miss the entire 2007 season. Washington traded him to the Marlins during the 2009 season and then Brian Cashman played a hunch and signed Johnson to replace Hideki Matsui as Yankee DH in an effort to save salary. It turned out to be a bad decision for the Yankee GM. The Sacramento native was off to a horrible start last year before an injury placed him on the DL for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Johnson was born on September 19, 1978. He shares a birthday with former Yankee starting pitcher, Jim Abbott, former Yankee first baseman, Nick Etten, this WWII era left fielder and the 1958 Cy Young Award winner.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2001 NYY 23 78 67 6 13 2 0 2 8 0 7 15 .194 .308 .313 .621
2002 NYY 129 441 378 56 92 15 0 15 58 1 48 98 .243 .347 .402 .749
2003 NYY 96 406 324 60 92 19 0 14 47 5 70 57 .284 .422 .472 .894
2010 NYY 24 98 72 12 12 4 0 2 8 0 24 23 .167 .388 .306 .693
10 Yrs 832 3316 2698 430 723 173 5 95 398 29 522 572 .268 .399 .441 .840
WSN (5 yrs) 487 2041 1666 263 467 121 5 56 248 21 326 335 .280 .408 .460 .867
NYY (4 yrs) 272 1023 841 134 209 40 0 33 121 6 149 193 .249 .378 .414 .791
BAL (1 yr) 38 102 87 9 18 4 0 4 11 2 11 26 .207 .324 .391 .714
FLA (1 yr) 35 150 104 24 29 8 0 2 18 0 36 18 .279 .477 .413 .890
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/21/2013.

September 16 – Happy Birthday Mel Hall

Just three days ago, this blog celebrated the birthday of Bernie
Williams
, the last great Yankee center fielder. Last year on this same date,
the PBB celebrated the birthday of Tim Raines, a Williams’ Yankee
teammate who was also one of the soft-spoken outfielder’s best friends
and biggest admirers. Today we recognize Hall, who was also a teammate
of Williams. But unlike “Rock” Raines, Mel Hall was not a friend or
booster of Bernie’s. Instead, he was one of the talented
switch-hitter’s biggest detractors and most unrelenting antagonists. In
past interviews, Williams credits the ongoing barrage of insults hurled
at him by Hall during Bernie’s 1992 rookie season with the Yankees, as
one of the driving forces behind his development of the mental toughness he now
credits for helping him achieve the success he did during his 16-season
pinstripe career. When that 1992 season ended, the Yankees dumped Hall,
traded their starting center-fielder, Roberto Kelly to the Reds for
Paul O’Neill, who then teamed with Williams to form the core of an
outfield that would lead New York to perpetual postseason appearances
and four World Series rings.

 

September 13 – Happy Birthday Bernie Williams

Bernie Williams, the starting center fielder for four World Championship New York Yankee teams was born on this date in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1967.

My earliest memories of Bernie were of those watching him play for the Albany-Colonie (NY) Yankees at the now-closed Heritage Park somewhere around 1990.  Back then, Bernie was one of two prospects with the last name of Williams trying to make their way from New York’s double A minor league franchise to the Yankee Stadium outfield and I have to admit, I thought Gerald Williams would win the competition.

But Bernie was a grinder. The only superstar skill he had was using his great speed to get into position to catch just about any fly ball hit his way. In Yankee Stadium’s spacious center field, that was an important skill to have. He was also a switch-hitter. These were probably the two key reasons why Buck Showalter made Bernie his regular center fielder in 1993. From that point on, Bernie simply evolved himself into a great Yankee and became a key cog in the pinstripe teams that won four World Series during the glorious 1996-2000 run.

During his peak years, Bernie made five straight AL All Star teams and put together seven consecutive years of scoring at least 100 runs, of driving in at least 90, and eight consecutive years hitting above 300.

One of Bernie’s unheralded talents and also his most annoying was the way he would step out of the batter’s box at exactly the precise moment when the opposing pitcher was about to initiate his windup. Nobody did this more effectively than Bernie. Unfortunately, it was also the reason most Yankee games took four hours to complete when Bernie was on the team.

I do regret the fact that the Yankees did not permit Bernie to retire on his own terms. He was pretty much forced off the team when the Yankees decided to go younger in the outfield with Melky Cabrera in 2007. I will always feel that Bernie deserved a Yankee roster spot at the beginning of that season.

Today is also the birthday of this former Yankee reserve catcher , this one too and this 1997 20-game-winning pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1991 NYY 85 374 320 43 76 19 4 3 34 10 5 48 57 .238 .336 .350 .686
1992 NYY 62 293 261 39 73 14 2 5 26 7 6 29 36 .280 .354 .406 .760
1993 NYY 139 628 567 67 152 31 4 12 68 9 9 53 106 .268 .333 .400 .734
1994 NYY 108 475 408 80 118 29 1 12 57 16 9 61 54 .289 .384 .453 .837
1995 NYY 144 648 563 93 173 29 9 18 82 8 6 75 98 .307 .392 .487 .878
1996 NYY 143 641 551 108 168 26 7 29 102 17 4 82 72 .305 .391 .535 .926
1997 NYY 129 591 509 107 167 35 6 21 100 15 8 73 80 .328 .408 .544 .952
1998 NYY 128 578 499 101 169 30 5 26 97 15 9 74 81 .339 .422 .575 .997
1999 NYY 158 697 591 116 202 28 6 25 115 9 10 100 95 .342 .435 .536 .971
2000 NYY 141 616 537 108 165 37 6 30 121 13 5 71 84 .307 .391 .566 .957
2001 NYY 146 633 540 102 166 38 0 26 94 11 5 78 67 .307 .395 .522 .917
2002 NYY 154 699 612 102 204 37 2 19 102 8 4 83 97 .333 .415 .493 .908
2003 NYY 119 521 445 77 117 19 1 15 64 5 0 71 61 .263 .367 .411 .778
2004 NYY 148 651 561 105 147 29 1 22 70 1 5 85 96 .262 .360 .435 .795
2005 NYY 141 546 485 53 121 19 1 12 64 1 2 53 75 .249 .321 .367 .688
2006 NYY 131 462 420 65 118 29 0 12 61 2 0 33 53 .281 .332 .436 .768
16 Yrs 2076 9053 7869 1366 2336 449 55 287 1257 147 87 1069 1212 .297 .381 .477 .858
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2013.

September 9 – Happy Birthday Jerry Mumphrey

Jerry Mumphrey was a speedy, singles-hitting outfielder with the Cardinals during the first six years of his big league career. He got traded to San Diego in 1980 and had his best big league season for Manager Jerry Coleman’s Padres, hitting .298 and stealing 52 bases for a team that led the NL in thefts that season. George Steinbrenner had become convinced that his Yankee team needed to employ more of a small-ball strategy so his front office engineered a six-player swap that exchanged New York’s 1980 starting center-fielder, Ruppert Jones for Mumphrey. Mumphrey hit .307 for the Yankees in the strike shortened season of 1981 but played poorly in the postseason. In fact, his failure to hit got him benched for the fourth game of that year’s Fall Classic with the Yankees holding a two games to one lead over LA. With New York leading by three runs, Manager Bob Lemon had the opportunity to insert Jerry Mumphrey in center when Bobby Brown pinch ran for Oscar Gamble late in the game. Instead, Lemon put Brown out there and he misplayed a ball that led to three Dodger runs and an eventual Yankee defeat that changed the momentum of the Series to the Dodgers’ favor. Jerry had his best season in pinstripes in 1982, leading the team with a .300 batting average and driving in what was then his career high of 68 runs. But when he slumped at the plate during the first half of 1983, the Yankees sent him to Houston for the Astros’ center fielder, Omar Moreno. Mumphrey finished his fifteen year big league career with two good years in Houston and three more with the Cubs.

This former Yankee pitcher , this one-time Yankee manager and this one-time New York outfielder share Mumphrey’s September 9th birthday.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1981 NYY 80 350 319 44 98 11 5 6 32 14 9 24 27 .307 .354 .429 .783
1982 NYY 123 533 477 76 143 24 10 9 68 11 3 50 66 .300 .364 .449 .813
1983 NYY 83 302 267 41 70 11 4 7 36 2 3 28 33 .262 .327 .412 .739
15 Yrs 1585 5545 4993 660 1442 217 55 70 575 174 80 478 688 .289 .349 .396 .745
STL (6 yrs) 522 1739 1571 222 434 60 22 8 134 66 42 144 205 .276 .336 .358 .694
CHC (3 yrs) 292 758 684 81 206 32 4 18 85 3 4 68 108 .301 .362 .439 .801
NYY (3 yrs) 286 1185 1063 161 311 46 19 22 136 27 15 102 126 .293 .351 .434 .785
HOU (3 yrs) 325 1241 1111 135 323 55 7 18 161 26 14 115 159 .291 .354 .401 .755
SDP (1 yr) 160 622 564 61 168 24 3 4 59 52 5 49 90 .298 .352 .372 .724
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/17/2013.

September 10 – Happy Birthday Nick Green

Robbie Cano has been a remarkably durable player since taking over as the New York Yankees’ starting second baseman during the 2005 season. His one serious injury occurred in his sophomore season when he developed a tear in his hamstring in June of that season and was forced onto the DL. The Yankees had Miguel Cairo to replace Cano as starter and also called up today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant from their Columbus Clippers triple A team to back up Cano.

Green got his first start in pinstripes against the Mets in early July and after walking in his first official plate appearance as a Yankee to open the third inning of that contest, he came up again later in the same inning and hit a two run home run in his first official at bat for his new team. He would end up finishing the regular season with New York, hitting .240 in 46 games, which included 19 appearances at second base, 17 at third and ten more spelling Derek Jeter at shortstop. Joe Torre did not put him on the Yankees postseason roster and though he wanted to remain a Yankee, he would not accept a return assignment to Columbus and Yankee GM Brian Cashman let him walk. He resurfaced in Boston three seasons later, where he became the Red Sox’ staring shortstop that year. But he hit just .236 in that role and was again released. Green is still trying to get steady work in the big leagues. He now plays in the Marlins’ organization.

He shares his September 10th birthday with an outfielder and a pitcher who both enjoyed much more noteworthy big league careers than Green did.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 NYY 46 82 75 8 18 5 0 2 4 1 5 29 .240 .296 .387 .683
8 Yrs 418 1220 1078 147 254 58 5 17 103 6 80 286 .236 .303 .346 .649
TBD (2 yrs) 128 420 357 57 79 15 2 5 29 3 39 97 .221 .315 .317 .631
MIA (2 yrs) 25 89 78 5 17 5 0 1 7 0 3 20 .218 .276 .321 .596
LAD (1 yr) 5 9 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 .125 .222 .125 .347
SEA (1 yr) 6 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000
NYY (1 yr) 46 82 75 8 18 5 0 2 4 1 5 29 .240 .296 .387 .683
ATL (1 yr) 95 290 264 40 72 15 3 3 26 1 12 63 .273 .312 .386 .698
TOR (1 yr) 9 14 13 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 .154 .214 .154 .368
BOS (1 yr) 104 309 276 35 65 18 0 6 35 1 20 69 .236 .303 .366 .669
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2013.