February 27 – Happy Birthday Ron Hassey

hassey.jpgBetween 1984 and 1986, Ron Hassey went back and forth via trades between Chicago and New York more times than the Amtrak Cardinal. Hassey’s Windy City to Big Apple and back moves began in 1984, when the Cubs traded him and three other players to the Yankees for Brian Dayett and Ray Fontenot. A year later, New York sent Hassey and pitcher Joe Cowley to the White Sox to acquire starting pitcher, Britt Burns. Two months later, just before the 1986 Yankee spring training camp opened, they got the catcher back as part of a seven-player deal with the White Sox. And finally, in July of 1986, Hassey again was packed off to the White Sox in the trade that put pinstripes on Ron Kittle, Joel Skinner and Wayne Tolleson.

Why was Hassey dealt so many times? During his one and only complete season in New York in 1985, the Tucson, AZ native had proved his left-handed swing was a real nice fit for Yankee Stadium. He had smashed 13 home runs in just 92 games, driven in 42 and averaged over .290. The Yankees liked his bat. They were not that impressed, however, with his catching ability. In just 69 games behind the plate that year, Hassey had led the American League by allowing 15 passed balls. He also lacked the game management skills of New York’s starting catcher that season, Butch Wynegar. So even though Hassey’s bat had a lot more pop than Wynegar’s, the Yankees continued to find him expendable whenever a deal was in the making.

That of course didn’t sit too well with Hassey. He loved playing in New York, he adored Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch and he wanted to remain a Yankee. He could not have been that bad a game-managing receiver either because he remains the only big league catcher in history to have caught two perfect games. The first was Len Barker’s 1981 gem as a Cleveland Indian and the second was the Dennis Martinez perfecto which Hassey caught in 1991, with the Expos. That ’91 season turned out to be the swan song for Hassey’s fourteen-year big league playing career. He was born on February 27, 1953.

Also celebrating a birthday today is this former Yankee reliever who led New York in appearances during the 1991 season, this former Yankee catcher/coach and this former Yankee reliever who went undefeated during his first season in pinstripes.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1985 NYY 92 298 267 31 79 16 1 13 42 0 28 21 .296 .369 .509 .878
1986 NYY 64 219 191 23 57 14 0 6 29 1 24 16 .298 .381 .466 .847
14 Yrs 1192 3906 3440 348 914 172 7 71 438 14 385 378 .266 .340 .382 .722
CLE (7 yrs) 569 1929 1690 168 458 80 5 26 226 9 196 181 .271 .345 .370 .716
OAK (3 yrs) 298 949 845 79 198 34 0 17 90 3 81 116 .234 .302 .335 .637
NYY (2 yrs) 156 517 458 54 136 30 1 19 71 1 52 37 .297 .374 .491 .865
CHW (2 yrs) 98 339 295 37 84 20 1 6 32 0 39 22 .285 .372 .420 .792
MON (1 yr) 52 135 119 5 27 8 0 1 14 1 13 16 .227 .301 .319 .620
CHC (1 yr) 19 37 33 5 11 0 0 2 5 0 4 6 .333 .405 .515 .921
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

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