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.
|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|
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.
|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|
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.
|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|