February 18 – Happy Birthday Luis Arroyo

Arroyo-Luis-1962.jpgThe 1961 New York Yankee team was loaded with talent at every position, except one. They had no closer. Ryne Duren was supposed to fulfill that role but he was a serious alcoholic and by 1961, his drinking and his behavior when drinking had gotten completely out of hand. New York traded the troubled Duren to the Angels and manager Ralph Houk eventually replaced him with a Puerto Rican screwballing lefthander named Luis Arroyo.

At the time Arroyo was already 34-years old. He had made his big league debut seven seasons earlier, with the Cardinals, going 11-8 as a starter in his rookie season and making the 1955 NL All Star team. The following year, Fred Hutchinson was hired to manage St Louis and Old Hutch did not like Arroyo. Instead of getting the opportunity to make his second NL All Star team, Luis first found himself back in the minors as the ’56 season started and then traded to Pittsburgh. He spent the next four years battling a sore arm and developing a screw ball. By the time he joined the Yankees in 1960, his arm had healed and he had perfected his new signature pitch. He went 5-1 in his first season in New York setting the stage for his magical year in 1961.

Arroyo appeared in 65 games that season, finishing 54 of them. He compiled a 15-5 record and saved 29 games. He relieved Whitey Ford 24 times that season and saved 13 of the Yankee aces 25 wins. Arroyo’s ERA was 2.19. Topping that off, he hit .280 that year and pitched four shutout innings and got a win in the ’61 World Series against Cincinnati, gaining some revenge on Fred Hutchinson, who by then was the Reds’ Manager.

Unfortunately for Arroyo, that great screwball he developed has also been described as the reason why he again developed a sore pitching arm.  That sore arm limited him to just 27 appearances in 1962 and just 3 the following year. The Yankees released Luis at the end of the 1963 season.

Also born on February 18th is this former Yankee second basemanthis long-ago Yankee starting pitcher and this former Yankee catcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1960 NYY 5 1 .833 2.88 29 0 17 0 0 7 40.2 30 14 13 2 22 29 1.279
1961 NYY 15 5 .750 2.19 65 0 54 0 0 29 119.0 83 34 29 5 49 87 1.109
1962 NYY 1 3 .250 4.81 27 0 15 0 0 7 33.2 33 20 18 5 17 21 1.485
1963 NYY 1 1 .500 13.50 6 0 3 0 0 0 6.0 12 9 9 0 3 5 2.500
8 Yrs 40 32 .556 3.93 244 36 119 10 1 44 531.1 524 261 232 58 208 336 1.378
NYY (4 yrs) 22 10 .688 3.12 127 0 89 0 0 43 199.1 158 77 69 12 91 142 1.249
PIT (2 yrs) 6 14 .300 4.69 72 12 19 1 0 1 159.1 187 93 83 24 43 118 1.444
STL (1 yr) 11 8 .579 4.19 35 24 6 9 1 0 159.0 162 80 74 22 63 68 1.415
CIN (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 3.95 10 0 5 0 0 0 13.2 17 11 6 0 11 8 2.049
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2014.

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