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.