March 15 – Happy Birthday Mike Pagliarulo

Pagliarillo-front.JPGOnly three Yankee third basemen have hit more than thirty home runs in a season. Graig Nettles did it twice and A-Rod has done it in each of the seven seasons he’s been in New York. Today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant, however, is the only third baseman who came up through the Yankee minor league organization to have hit more than 30 round trippers in one year. That happened in 1987, when the player they called “Pags” hit 32 home runs and drove in 87, both of which would end up being career highs for the native of Medford, MA.

The Yankees drafted Pagliarulo out of the University of Miami, in 1981. He made the parent club in 1984 and replaced Toby Harrah as New York’s starting third baseman. Pags was a better than average fielder with good power but he struck out too much and could never get his batting average out of the .230’s. He was a hard-nosed type of player who always seemed to be wearing a dirty uniform. I remember he once got hit in the face by a pitch that smashed both his nose and lip into bloody messes. The next day he was back in the lineup wearing bandages all over his face. Both Billy Martin and Lou Piniella loved the guy but by 1989, both were gone and Pagliarulo’s average had slipped below .200. The Yankees shipped him to San Diego for starting pitcher, Walt Terrell. When he became a free agent after the 1990 season, he signed with the Twins and became Minnesota’s starting third baseman. He hit a career high .279, his first year in Minneapolis and helped the Twins win the 1991 World Series.

Pags played 11 big league seasons in all, retiring in 1995 with 134 career home runs, all but thirty of which were hit while he wore the Yankee pinstripes. He also played one year in Japan and after retiring, started a scouting service that helped Major League teams evaluate Japanese baseball talent. That company played a role in the Yankee signings of both Hideki Matsui and Kei Igawa.

This former Yankee outfielderthis more current Yankee third baseman and this long-ago first baseman were also born on March 15th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1984 NYY 67 219 201 24 48 15 3 7 34 0 15 46 .239 .288 .448 .735
1985 NYY 138 435 380 55 91 16 2 19 62 0 45 86 .239 .324 .442 .766
1986 NYY 149 565 504 71 120 24 3 28 71 4 54 120 .238 .316 .464 .780
1987 NYY 150 582 522 76 122 26 3 32 87 1 53 111 .234 .305 .479 .784
1988 NYY 125 490 444 46 96 20 1 15 67 1 37 104 .216 .276 .367 .643
1989 NYY 74 244 223 19 44 10 0 4 16 1 19 43 .197 .266 .296 .562
11 Yrs 1246 4317 3901 462 942 206 18 134 505 18 343 785 .241 .306 .407 .712
NYY (6 yrs) 703 2535 2274 291 521 111 12 105 337 7 223 510 .229 .300 .427 .727
MIN (3 yrs) 246 780 723 79 197 40 4 9 68 8 40 106 .272 .317 .376 .693
SDP (2 yrs) 178 614 546 41 130 30 2 10 52 3 57 105 .238 .313 .355 .668
TEX (1 yr) 86 262 241 27 56 16 0 4 27 0 15 49 .232 .277 .349 .625
BAL (1 yr) 33 126 117 24 38 9 0 6 21 0 8 15 .325 .373 .556 .929
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

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