September 2010

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.