January 2011

January 16 – Happy Birthday Jack McDowell

jack-mcdowell-ny-daily-news.jpg.gifThe New York Yankee team of 1994 was 6.5 games ahead of second place Baltimore in early August of that season, when Major League baseball players walked off the job to begin what would become the longest strike in League history. That Yankee team had a starting pitching staff of Jimmy Key, Jim Abbott, Melido Perez, Terry Mulholland and Scott Kamieniecki. So even though I was disgusted with both the players and the owners at that time, I do remember being slightly excited when I learned the Yankees had acquired the 1993 AL Cy Young Award recipient and two-time twenty-game winner, Jack McDowell, from the White Sox in December of 1994.

They called the lanky right-hander “Black Jack” and he was one of those free spirits that graces the game every now and then. He was a grunge musician. He was never happy about his contract and he could care less what anybody said about him and that included Yankee fans and the cannibalistic Big Apple Sports Media. This explains why, when he was lifted after getting bombed in the second game of a mid July double-header against his old team the White Sox, McDowell flipped the bird to booing Yankee Stadium fans as he walked back to the dugout. He actually had a decent season in New York, leading the staff in victories with 15 and shutouts with 2. But his pinstripe future was sort of sealed when he gave up the walk-off two-run double to Edgar Martinez that knocked New York out of the 1995 playoffs. His middle finger and his lack of postseason success convinced the Yankee front-office that they could afford not to offer McDowell another contract and he ended up signing with the Indians.

Also born on January 16 is this former Yankee with the nickname of “Bye-Bye,”  this former Yankee reliever and this one too.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1995 NYY 15 10 .600 3.93 30 30 0 8 2 0 217.2 211 106 95 25 78 157 1.328
12 Yrs 127 87 .593 3.85 277 275 0 62 13 0 1889.0 1854 874 809 173 606 1311 1.302
CHW (7 yrs) 91 58 .611 3.50 191 191 0 49 10 0 1343.2 1258 562 522 105 419 918 1.248
ANA (2 yrs) 5 7 .417 5.68 18 18 0 0 0 0 95.0 127 62 60 15 24 57 1.589
CLE (2 yrs) 16 12 .571 5.11 38 36 0 5 1 0 232.2 258 144 132 28 85 179 1.474
NYY (1 yr) 15 10 .600 3.93 30 30 0 8 2 0 217.2 211 106 95 25 78 157 1.328
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/16/2014.

January 9 – Happy Birthday Stan Javier

sjavierThe son of long-time Cardinal second baseman Julian Javier, Stan Javier was named after his dad’s storied St. Louis teammate, Stan Musial. Originally signed by the Cardinals in 1981, when he was just 17-years-old, he and Bobby Meacham were traded to New York the following year. The younger Javier was an outfielder who played well enough at each level of the organization’s farm system to advance quickly up the ladder. Invited to the Yankees 1984 spring training camp, Manager Yogi Berra announced Javier would be on the team’s Opening Day roster, but would remain in the Bronx only until Oscar Gamble recovered from an injury.

He appeared in seven games for New York during that first month of the 1984 season, mostly as a late-inning outfield replacement. He only managed seven plate appearances but he got his first big league hit off of Cleveland’s George Frazier and scored his first big league run. He was sent back down to the minors at the end of April and then the following December, he was included in the five-player package the Yankees used to get Ricky Henderson from Oakland. Javier went on to put together a very decent 17-year big league career. He played for seven big league teams collected 1,358 hits and finished with a .269 lifetime batting average and a .345 on base percentage.

Javier shares his January 9th birthday with this other former Yankee prospect who enjoyed a long and successful big league career as a non-Yankee, with this long-ago co-owner of the Yankee franchise and with this former 20-game-winning Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1984 NYY 7 7 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .143 .143 .143 .286
17 Yrs 1763 5755 5047 781 1358 225 40 57 503 246 578 839 .269 .345 .363 .708
OAK (7 yrs) 635 2115 1866 286 475 79 11 23 183 103 199 313 .255 .328 .346 .673
SFG (4 yrs) 460 1677 1464 225 413 69 10 17 151 73 175 239 .282 .360 .378 .738
LAD (3 yrs) 281 584 510 83 131 17 7 5 40 23 59 91 .257 .333 .347 .680
SEA (2 yrs) 194 715 623 105 176 32 6 9 73 15 78 111 .283 .362 .396 .758
PHI (1 yr) 74 313 276 36 72 14 1 0 24 17 31 43 .261 .338 .319 .656
CAL (1 yr) 92 269 237 33 69 10 4 3 28 12 27 33 .291 .362 .405 .767
NYY (1 yr) 7 7 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .143 .143 .143 .286
HOU (1 yr) 20 75 64 12 21 4 1 0 4 3 9 8 .328 .405 .422 .827
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/10/2014.

January 7 – Happy Birthday Johnny Mize

Known as “the Big Cat,” Mize was an outstanding hitter and first baseman in the National League with the Giants and Cardinals for a decade, before joining the Yankees in 1949 and helping Casey Stengel win five straight World Championships. Mize had that rare ability to hit for power without striking out a lot. His career on base pecentage as a National Leaguer exceeded .400. He won a batting title with St. Louis in 1939 along with four NL home run titles and three NL RBI crowns. He was also a very good defensive first baseman and an outstanding base runner. The Yankees purchased Mize from the Giants during the 1949 season for $40,000. He became the team’s best pinch hitter. The highlight of his Yankee career was the 1952 Series against the Dodgers, when Johnny hit three home runs, batted .400 and was named MVP in New York’s seven-game victory. He retired after the 1953 season. His career Slugging Average of .592 places him 17th on the All-Time List. It took a while after he retired, but in 1981, the Hall of Fame’s Veterans Committee finally recognized just how good this guy’s numbers were and put him in Cooperstown.

This former Yankee, also born on January 7, is the only player in the franchise’s history to have more than 30 home runs, 100 RBIs, 40 stolen bases and bat .300 in the same season. This catcher on the great 1927 Yankee team was also born on January 7th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1949 NYY 13 28 23 4 6 1 0 1 2 0 4 2 .261 .393 .435 .828
1950 NYY 90 305 274 43 76 12 0 25 72 0 29 24 .277 .351 .595 .946
1951 NYY 113 373 332 37 86 14 1 10 49 1 36 24 .259 .339 .398 .736
1952 NYY 78 150 137 9 36 9 0 4 29 0 11 15 .263 .327 .416 .743
1953 NYY 81 118 104 6 26 3 0 4 27 0 12 17 .250 .339 .394 .733
15 Yrs 1884 7370 6443 1118 2011 367 83 359 1337 28 856 524 .312 .397 .562 .959
STL (6 yrs) 854 3581 3121 546 1048 218 66 158 653 14 424 279 .336 .419 .600 1.018
NYG (5 yrs) 655 2815 2452 473 733 110 16 157 505 13 340 163 .299 .389 .549 .938
NYY (5 yrs) 375 974 870 99 230 39 1 44 179 1 92 82 .264 .342 .463 .805
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/8/2014.