Irv Noren was the fourth Yankee outfielder for five seasons beginning in 1952 and he won three World Series rings in that role during his stay in the Bronx. The Yankees got Noren from the Senators during the 1952 season, giving up top prospect Jackie Jensen and pitcher Spec Shea as part of that deal. Born on this date in 1924, the Jamestown, NY native’s best season in pinstripes was, ironically, the only season the team did not win the AL pennant with Noren on the roster. That was 1954, when Irv hit .319 and drove in 66 runs and was named to the AL All Star team, while backing up starters Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer and Gene Woodling in the Yankee outfield. During the winter of 1957, the Yankees included Noren in a huge trade with Kansas City that brought Art Ditmar, Bobby Shantz and Clete Boyer to New York. Noren played sparingly for four more seasons for four different teams before retiring. He played his entire career handicapped by chronically sore knees.
|NYY (5 yrs)||488||1649||1451||214||394||66||15||31||198||16||166||151||.272||.348||.402||.750|
|WSH (3 yrs)||279||1233||1100||166||314||63||16||22||186||16||124||115||.285||.359||.432||.791|
|STL (3 yrs)||142||239||216||27||59||14||2||5||32||0||17||29||.273||.335||.426||.761|
|CHC (2 yrs)||77||186||167||27||51||6||2||4||20||2||16||28||.305||.376||.437||.813|
|KCA (1 yr)||81||172||160||8||34||8||0||2||16||0||11||19||.213||.267||.300||.567|
|LAD (1 yr)||26||26||25||1||5||0||0||1||1||0||1||8||.200||.231||.320||.551|
I still remember Larry Gura’s 1974 initial season with the New York Yankees. The young left-hander went 5-1 as a starter on that squad and two of his victories were impressive complete game shutouts. I thought he was destined to become the next great Yankee southpaw but I was sadly mistaken. After Gura posted a 7-8 record in 1975, the Yankees traded the Joliet, IL native to the Royals for catcher Fran Healy. Kansas City brought him along slowly and by 1978, he was ready to become a regular part of the team’s starting rotation. He went 16-4 that year and achieved double digits in victories for the Royals for seven straight seasons. He would have been a great Yankee starter during that time.
Like Gura, this Yankee starter was born on November 26th but unlike Larry, he was not traded by New York early in his career and instead went on to become one of the franchise’s all-time great pitchers. This former Yankee reliever and this one-time phee-nom right-hander also share Gura’s birthday.
|KCR (10 yrs)||111||78||.587||3.72||310||219||37||61||14||12||1701.1||1628||792||704||166||503||633||1.253|
|CHC (5 yrs)||3||10||.231||5.01||59||14||20||1||0||2||138.1||165||84||77||23||44||86||1.511|
|NYY (2 yrs)||12||9||.571||3.21||34||28||3||9||2||0||207.1||227||82||74||15||53||82||1.350|
Russell Earl Dent was a very good defensive shortstop who helped solidify the middle of the Yankee infield when New York acquired him from the White Sox in an April, 1977 trade. Bucky was one of those players who never seemed to be featured in the headlines or a post game report. He just gave his team solid and steady play both in the field and at the plate, game after game. But in one brief shining moment, Bucky Dent became a pinstripe legend, and gave all Yankee fans a thrill that will forever be cited as one of the top moments in franchise history. His home run against Red Sox starter Mike Torrez in the 1978 playoff game to decide the AL East division race, just cleared the top of Fenway’s Green Monster, simultaneously bringing Boston’s dejected left fielder, Carl Yastrzemski to his knees and millions of Yankee fans, screaming in sheer ecstasy, to their feet. Dent’s blast gave the Yankees a lead they never relinquished and they went on to capture their second consecutive World Championship that season. Bucky remained hot in that Fall Classic against the Dodgers, hitting .417, driving in 7 runs and winning the Series MVP award.
He continued to start at shortstop for New York for the next three and a half years before getting traded to Texas for outfielder, Lee Mazzilli, during the 1982 season. In all, the Savannah, Georgia native played for twelve seasons in the big leagues, retiring in 1984 with 1,114 career hits and a .247 lifetime batting average. He then got into coaching, started a very successful baseball instructional school and actually piloted the Yankees for parts of the 1988 and ’89 seasons. I personally will never forget sitting in front of my television set on that early October afternoon in 1978 and hearing Yankee announcer Bill White call out the words “Deep to left…”
Here are Dent’s Yankee and career playing stats:
|NYY (6 yrs)||695||2429||2163||229||518||81||10||27||209||4||174||147||.239||.295||.324||.618|
|CHW (4 yrs)||509||1973||1777||168||462||64||11||10||165||10||117||159||.260||.305||.325||.631|
|TEX (2 yrs)||177||614||563||52||131||24||2||3||48||3||36||41||.233||.278||.298||.577|
|KCR (1 yr)||11||10||9||2||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||2||.333||.400||.333||.733|
Here are Dent’s stats as Yankee manager:
As the 2005 season began, Brian Cashman thought he had assembled the starting pitching staff New York would need to recapture the AL pennant from Boston and help Yankee fans forget the horror of the Bronx Bombers’ ALCS collapse to the hated Red Sox, the previous postseason. The Yankee GM had traded for Randy Johnson and signed Carl Pavano during that offseason and was hoping those two veterans would combine with Mike Mussina and Kevin Brown to give New York the type of overpowering rotation a team needed to make it to the World Series. That did not happen. Johnson was good but not great, ditto for Mussina and both Brown and Pavano missed most of that season due to injuries. The Yankees were forced to improvise with their starting pitching and they did so by bringing up Chien-Ming Wang from their farm system, trading for a Pittsburgh starter named Shawn Chacon and using a free agent pitcher they had signed the previous January named Aaron Small. Wang and Chacon won 15 games between them but it was Small’s performance that year that won the AL East Division flag for Joe Torre’s squad. The tall right hander won all ten of his decisions including five big wins in September, giving up just 3.2 runs every nine innings he pitched. Small was a high school teammate of Jason Giambi in Covina, CA. That great performance in 2005 earned him a million dollar contract from New York in 2006 but he would never win another big league game. After losing his third straight decision in 2006, he was sent down to Columbus, where he spent the rest of that year. He ended up retiring after that season with a 25-13 record and four saves during his nine years of big league pitching.
|OAK (3 yrs)||11||9||.550||5.63||107||3||30||0||0||4||161.1||197||112||101||12||76||93||1.692|
|NYY (2 yrs)||10||3||.769||4.60||26||12||3||1||1||0||103.2||113||56||53||13||36||49||1.437|
|FLA (2 yrs)||1||0||1.000||6.35||14||0||1||0||0||0||22.2||31||17||16||6||13||13||1.941|
|ARI (1 yr)||3||1||.750||3.69||23||0||9||0||0||0||31.2||32||14||13||5||8||14||1.263|
|ATL (1 yr)||0||0||27.00||1||0||1||0||0||0||0.1||2||1||1||0||2||1||12.000|
|TOR (1 yr)||0||0||9.00||1||0||1||0||0||0||2.0||5||2||2||1||2||0||3.500|
I remember not too long ago when Austin Romine was being labeled the second best minor league catching prospect in all of baseball. His problem at the time however, was that the one guy in front of him, Jesus Montero was also the property of the Yankee organization. Now at least Montero’s out of the picture but Romine still has a long way to go if he’s going to figure prominently in the Yankee’s future behind the plate plans.
This California-born son and brother of big leaguers, finally got his chance to dance in the big show in 2013, when Francisco Cervelli was again injured and lost for the season. He did OK defensively but got off to an absolutely horrible start with his bat. He was hitting just .103 for the Yankees at the end of May and you could tell he looked absolutely lost at the plate.
By July, however, Romine was a much more confident hitter and he was able too get his average up to as high as .227 by September of the 2013 season. Does he have the potential to become a .300 hitter, a 20-homer guy or drive in 100 runs in a season? I don’t think so and evidently, neither do the Yankees any more. New York’s front office made it clear that they will be pursuing free agent catcher Brian McCann this offseason, which means they see Romine as a backup catcher in the years ahead.