December 4 – Happy Birthday Bob Shawkey

It was a huge honor for CC Sabathia to be given the first ever start in the new Yankee Stadium in 2009. Although the Yankees and CC ended up losing the game to Cleveland, New York did go on to win their 27th World Series title during the new ballpark’s inaugural season. Eighty seven years ago, Bob Shawkey was given the honor of starting the first game ever in the old Yankee Stadium. Shawkey did better than Sabathia. He beat the Red Sox, 4-1 and the Yankees went on to win their very first World Series during their first year in their new stadium. New York had purchased Shawkey from the Philadelphia Athletics midway through the 1915 season. The following year, the fast-balling right-hander broke out with a 24-14 record, the first of what would be four 20-victory seasons in pinstripes. His career was interrupted when he served in the Navy during WWI but when he returned from active duty in 1919, he started a streak of six consecutive seasons during which he won at least 16 games. He also pitched in four World Series for New York (and one with the A’s) but fared poorly, winning just one of three postseason decisions. After three consecutive losing seasons, Shawkey hung up his glove for good following the 1927 season. When Miller Huggins died suddenly during the 1929 season, the Yankees gave his managerial position to Shawkey. The 1930 Yankees went 86-68 in Shawkey’s first season at the helm but with five future Hall of Famers in the lineup and three more on the pitching staff, their third place finish wasn’t good enough for the team’s brass. Shawkey’s first year as Manager turned out to be his only year and he was replaced by the legendary Joe McCarthy. Shawkey was born December 4, 1890 in Sigel, PA. He died in 1980.

Shawkey shares his December 4th birthday with the tallest of the three “Killer B” pitching prospects, this former Yankee catcherand this former closer who was once MLB’s all-time saves leader.

Here’s Shawkey’s regular season Yankee and career stats:

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1915 NYY 4 7 .364 3.26 16 9 6 5 1 0 85.2 78 38 31 2 35 31 1.319
1916 NYY 24 14 .632 2.21 53 27 24 21 4 8 276.2 204 78 68 4 81 122 1.030
1917 NYY 13 15 .464 2.44 32 26 5 16 2 0 236.1 207 81 64 2 72 97 1.181
1918 NYY 1 1 .500 1.13 3 2 1 1 1 0 16.0 7 2 2 0 10 3 1.063
1919 NYY 20 11 .645 2.72 41 27 11 22 3 5 261.1 218 94 79 7 92 122 1.186
1920 NYY 20 13 .606 2.45 38 31 6 20 5 2 267.2 246 88 73 10 85 126 1.237
1921 NYY 18 12 .600 4.08 38 31 6 18 3 2 245.0 245 131 111 15 86 126 1.351
1922 NYY 20 12 .625 2.91 39 34 4 22 3 1 299.2 286 112 97 16 98 130 1.281
1923 NYY 16 11 .593 3.51 36 31 3 17 1 1 258.2 232 114 101 17 102 125 1.291
1924 NYY 16 11 .593 4.12 38 25 8 10 1 0 207.2 226 107 95 11 74 114 1.445
1925 NYY 6 14 .300 4.11 33 19 8 9 1 0 186.0 209 101 85 12 67 81 1.484
1926 NYY 8 7 .533 3.62 29 10 14 3 1 3 104.1 102 49 42 5 37 63 1.332
1927 NYY 2 3 .400 2.89 19 2 11 0 0 4 43.2 44 19 14 1 16 23 1.374
15 Yrs 195 150 .565 3.09 488 333 117 197 33 28 2937.0 2722 1200 1008 111 1018 1360 1.273
NYY (13 yrs) 168 131 .562 3.12 415 274 107 164 26 26 2488.2 2304 1014 862 102 855 1163 1.269
PHA (3 yrs) 27 19 .587 2.93 73 59 10 33 7 2 448.1 418 186 146 9 163 197 1.296
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2013.

Here’s Shawkey’s record as Yankee manager:

Rk Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% G Finish
1 1930 39 New York Yankees AL 86 68 .558 154 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2013.

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