April 2011

April 29 – Happy Birthday Sterling Hitchcock

hitchcock.jpgAt one time the Yankees expected this left-hander to some day take over the top spot in their starting rotation. That never happened. Hitchcock advanced through the Yankee farm system pretty rapidly and after just three years in the organization was getting late-season call ups to the Bronx by the early 1990’s to see if he could bolster what was a pretty poor Yankee pitching staff. By 1995 he was the fifth starter for Manager, Bucky Showalter and finished that season with an 11-10 record.

Against Seattle in that year’s postseason, Hitchcock did not pitch well in his two appearances. His failure to do so helped get him traded to that same Mariner team as part of the deal that brought Tino Martinez to New York. Hitchcock then enjoyed his finest big league season with Seattle in1996, with a record of 13-9. He was then traded to San Diego, where he was paid about $19 million over the next five seasons in return for a 34-42 cumulative record. After being released by the Padres, the Yankees re-signed Hitchcock as a free agent in 2001 but he pitched poorly and was dealt to St Louis. He retired after the 2004 season with a 74-76 record for his 13-year big league career.

Hitchcock shares his April 29th birthday with this long-ago utility infielder,  this hard-partying former Yankee pitcher and this other Yankee pitcher who was also a civil engineer.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1992 NYY 0 2 .000 8.31 3 3 0 0 0 0 13.0 23 12 12 2 6 6 2.231
1993 NYY 1 2 .333 4.65 6 6 0 0 0 0 31.0 32 18 16 4 14 26 1.484
1994 NYY 4 1 .800 4.20 23 5 4 1 0 2 49.1 48 24 23 3 29 37 1.561
1995 NYY 11 10 .524 4.70 27 27 0 4 1 0 168.1 155 91 88 22 68 121 1.325
2001 NYY 4 4 .500 6.49 10 9 0 1 0 0 51.1 67 37 37 5 18 28 1.656
2002 NYY 1 2 .333 5.49 20 2 11 0 0 0 39.1 57 29 24 4 15 31 1.831
2003 NYY 1 3 .250 5.44 27 1 8 0 0 0 49.2 57 33 30 6 18 36 1.510
13 Yrs 74 76 .493 4.80 281 200 27 10 2 3 1285.2 1374 738 685 181 471 997 1.435
NYY (7 yrs) 22 24 .478 5.15 116 53 23 6 1 2 402.0 439 244 230 46 168 285 1.510
SDP (6 yrs) 34 42 .447 4.47 122 106 4 4 1 1 649.0 656 346 322 100 216 548 1.344
STL (1 yr) 5 1 .833 3.79 8 6 0 0 0 0 38.0 34 17 16 8 14 32 1.263
SEA (1 yr) 13 9 .591 5.35 35 35 0 0 0 0 196.2 245 131 117 27 73 132 1.617
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/29/2013.


April 26 – Happy Birthday Sal Maglie

maglie.jpgBaseball pundits knew this right-hander was something special when he made his big league debut with the Giants in 1945 and three of his five wins were complete game shutouts. But instead of returning to the Polo Grounds, Maglie went south of the border for more money to pitch in the Mexican League. That move got him banned from the Majors until 1949. Nicknamed “the Barber” because he had a tendency to throw up and in close shaves at opposing batters, Maglie rejoined the Giants in 1950 and during the next three seasons was one of the very best pitchers on the League. When he turned 38, the Giants released him and after some time with the Indians, he joined Brooklyn in 1956, went 13-5 and finished second in that year’s Cy Young and MVP votes.

He didn’t put on the pinstripes until 1957, when he was 40 years of age. He still had enough in that right arm to pitch his 25th career shutout as a Yankee. He retired after the 1958 season and passed away in 1992 at the age of 75.

The Yankees ended up releasing the 41-year-old Maglie on June 14 of 1958 and the next day acquired another 41-year-old pitcher named Virgil Trucks. Trucks, like Maglie was one of baseballs better right-handers in the 1950’s with both Detroit and the White Sox. Trucks and Maglie were also both born on April 26, 1917. Maglie went on to become a big league pitching coach who was featured prominently in Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” book, which chronicles Bouton’s 1969 season as a pitcher with the old Seattle Pilots. Suffice it to say that the “Bulldog” was not a fan of the “Barber’s” coaching methodology.

This current Yankee reliever also was born on April 26th as was this long ago hard-partying pitcher and this guy, who like Maglie gained most of his fame pitching for another team.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1957 NYY 2 0 1.000 1.73 6 3 3 1 1 3 26.0 22 6 5 1 7 9 1.115
1958 NYY 1 1 .500 4.63 7 3 4 0 0 0 23.1 27 12 12 3 9 7 1.543
10 Yrs 119 62 .657 3.15 303 232 35 93 25 14 1723.0 1591 684 603 169 562 862 1.250
NYG (7 yrs) 95 42 .693 3.13 221 171 23 77 20 8 1297.2 1216 512 451 117 434 654 1.272
BRO (2 yrs) 19 11 .633 2.89 47 43 1 13 4 1 292.1 248 107 94 33 78 158 1.115
CLE (2 yrs) 0 2 .000 3.82 12 2 4 0 0 2 30.2 32 16 13 1 9 13 1.337
NYY (2 yrs) 3 1 .750 3.10 13 6 7 1 1 3 49.1 49 18 17 4 16 16 1.318
STL (1 yr) 2 6 .250 4.75 10 10 0 2 0 0 53.0 46 31 28 14 25 21 1.340
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2013.


April 24 – Happy Birthday Mike Blowers

blowers.jpegMike Pagliarullo had worn out his welcome as the Yankees’ starting third baseman by the end of the 1980’s. Although everybody loved Pags’ desire and hustle, his batting average had declined every year he wore the pinstripes. When it fell to .197 in 1989, the Yankees shipped him to the Padres and used Tom Brookens, Randy Velarde and today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant to fill the hole the trade had left at the hot corner. Blowers had been a prospect in the Expos’ organization. The Yankees sent pitcher John Candalaria to Montreal for the young infielder in August of 1989 and Yankee Manager, Bucky Dent played him at third in thirteen September games that season. The following year, Stump Merrill gave the kid a bonafide shot at winning the job but in 42 starts at the position, Blowers hit just .188. The following year, New York traded him to the Mariners. Though he was born in Germany, Blowers had been raised in the State of Washington, played baseball for the University of Washington and getting sent back home turned out to be a great move for his career. He became the Mariners starting third baseman in 1993 and hit .280 with 15 home runs. In 1995, his 23 home runs and 96 RBIs helped Seattle make the playoffs where they beat Buck Showalter’s New York Yankees in that year’s ALDS. His stats in Seattle were good enough to get him a $2.3 million contract from the Dodgers in 1996. He did not play well in Tinseltown and ended up finishing his career back with the Mariners. He eventually became a member of the Mariners’ TV broadcasting crew.

Also born on this date is this Yankee relief pitcher who played in pinstripes during the late sixties, this Yankee outfielder, and this Yankee starting pitcher from the roaring 1920s.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1989 NYY 13 41 38 2 10 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 13 .263 .317 .263 .580
1990 NYY 48 157 144 16 27 4 0 5 21 1 0 12 50 .188 .255 .319 .574
1991 NYY 15 40 35 3 7 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 3 .200 .282 .286 .568
11 Yrs 761 2585 2300 290 591 116 8 78 365 7 8 248 610 .257 .329 .416 .745
SEA (6 yrs) 464 1534 1357 182 366 69 4 55 231 5 8 153 351 .270 .343 .448 .791
NYY (3 yrs) 76 238 217 21 44 4 0 6 25 1 0 19 66 .203 .270 .304 .574
OAK (1 yr) 129 455 409 56 97 24 2 11 71 1 0 39 116 .237 .302 .386 .689
LAD (1 yr) 92 358 317 31 84 19 2 6 38 0 0 37 77 .265 .341 .394 .735