November 2010

November 29 – Happy Birthday Irv Noren

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.

Also born on this same date is a former Yankee DH nicknamed “Hit Man”  the best closer in baseball history and this former Yankee phee-nom.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1952 NYY 93 306 272 36 64 13 2 5 21 4 26 34 .235 .316 .353 .669
1953 NYY 109 392 345 55 92 12 6 6 46 3 42 39 .267 .350 .388 .738
1954 NYY 125 480 426 70 136 21 6 12 66 4 43 38 .319 .377 .481 .859
1955 NYY 132 422 371 49 94 19 1 8 59 5 43 33 .253 .331 .375 .706
1956 NYY 29 49 37 4 8 1 0 0 6 0 12 7 .216 .408 .243 .651
11 Yrs 1093 3505 3119 443 857 157 35 65 453 34 335 350 .275 .348 .410 .758
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2013.

November 26 – Happy Birthday Larry Gura

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.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1974 NYY 5 1 .833 2.41 8 8 0 4 2 0 56.0 54 17 15 2 12 17 1.179
1975 NYY 7 8 .467 3.51 26 20 3 5 0 0 151.1 173 65 59 13 41 65 1.414
16 Yrs 126 97 .565 3.76 403 261 60 71 16 14 2047.0 2020 958 855 204 600 801 1.280
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/25/2013.

November 25 – Happy Birthday Bucky Dent

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…”

Bucky shares his November 25th birthday with this guy, this guy and this guy too.

Here are Dent’s Yankee and career playing stats:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1977 NYY 158 540 477 54 118 18 4 8 49 1 39 28 .247 .300 .352 .653
1978 NYY 123 415 379 40 92 11 1 5 40 3 23 24 .243 .286 .317 .603
1979 NYY 141 490 431 47 99 14 2 2 32 0 37 30 .230 .287 .285 .573
1980 NYY 141 553 489 57 128 26 2 5 52 0 48 37 .262 .327 .354 .681
1981 NYY 73 258 227 20 54 11 0 7 27 0 19 17 .238 .300 .379 .679
1982 NYY 59 173 160 11 27 1 1 0 9 0 8 11 .169 .207 .188 .395
12 Yrs 1392 5026 4512 451 1114 169 23 40 423 17 328 349 .247 .297 .321 .618
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/24/2013.

Here are Dent’s stats as Yankee manager:

Rk Year Tm Lg W L W-L% G Finish
1 1989 New York Yankees AL 2nd of 2 18 22 .450 40 5
2 1990 New York Yankees AL 1st of 2 18 31 .367 49 7
2 years 36 53 .404 89 6.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/24/2013.