May 16 – Happy Birthday Rick Rhoden
The ace of the 1986 Yankee pitching staff was a tall left-hander named Dennis Rasmussen, who had a career year for manager Lou Piniella’s squad when he went 18-6. He was the only starter to win in double digits for New York that season which helps explain why the Yankee front office had made acquiring a veteran starter a priority during the ’86 off season. That veteran turned out to be Rick Rhoden. The right-handed native of Boynton Beach, Florida had made his big league debut as a Dodger a dozen seasons earlier, in 1974. He helped LA make it to the World Series in 1977 and ’78 and then got dealt to the Pirates for pitcher Jerry Reuss.
It was in the Steel City that Rhoden became one of the NL’s upper tier starters, putting together five straight double digit victory seasons from 1982 through ’86. He also became one of the top hitting pitchers in baseball during that time. The Yankees traded their best young pitching prospect, Doug Drabek along with Brian Fisher and Logan Easley to the Bucs in November of ’86 to get Rhoden and two relievers.
Short term, the deal worked out exactly as the Yankees hoped it would. Rhoden won 16 games for New York in 1987 but it wasn’t enough to keep the team from finishing in fourth place in the AL East that year. When he slumped to 12-12 in ’88, the Yankees gave up on him and shipped him to the Astros for three players most Yankee fans never heard of. That one year as an Astro was Rhoden’s 16th and final big league season. He finished with a 151-125 lifetime record and a career ERA of 3.59.
During his final season in New York, Rhoden got to play for this Yankee manager who shares his May 16th birthday. Rhoden was once traded for this other May 16th born former Yankee pitcher. This former Yankee reliever also shares that same birthday.
|PIT (8 yrs)||79||73||.520||3.51||215||213||1||39||9||1||1448.0||1461||620||565||90||440||852||1.313|
|LAD (5 yrs)||42||24||.636||3.40||118||91||10||21||7||0||670.1||647||283||253||59||203||325||1.268|
|NYY (2 yrs)||28||22||.560||4.09||60||59||1||9||1||0||378.2||390||191||172||42||117||201||1.339|
|HOU (1 yr)||2||6||.250||4.28||20||17||2||0||0||0||96.2||108||49||46||7||41||41||1.541|