July 14 – Happy Birthday Robin Ventura

When most baseball fans hear the name Robin Ventura, they visualize the 1993 incident during which Nolan Ryan held him in a headlock and threw punches at his head. It is easy to forget the fact that Ventura was one of the best all-around third basemen in baseball during his sixteen-year big league career that included a season and a half tenure wearing the pinstripes in 2002 and ’03. He won a total of six Gold Gloves, hit 294 career home runs and the only two third basemen who had more 90 RBI seasons than Ventura (8) were Hall of Famers, Mike Schmidt (11) and Eddie Matthews (10).

The Yankees signed him as a free agent in 2002 to take over the starting hot corner position after Scott Brosius retired. He was to be the interim guy at third while the Yankees were developing Drew Henson in their farm system. Ventura did a very good job that first season in the Bronx, belting 27 home runs, driving in 93 and making the AL All Star team. But by then he was 35 years old and when his offensive production began to slip in 2003 the Yankees decided to make a move. That move did not involve Henson, who was floundering in Columbus at the time, striking out with regularity and making tons of errors in the field. Instead, New York acquired Aaron Boone from the Reds and on the same day sent Ventura to the Dodgers for pitcher Scott Proctor and outfielder Bubba Crosby.

Boone of course became part of Yankee postseason history with his walk-off grand salami against the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS. Ventura stuck around in Los Angeles for one more year and then retired. He was born on this date in 1967, in Santa Maria, CA. He shares his July 14th birthday with this original Yankee “Fireman” and this long-ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2002 NYY 141 562 465 68 115 17 0 27 93 3 90 101 .247 .368 .458 .826
2003 NYY 89 326 283 31 71 13 0 9 42 0 40 62 .251 .344 .392 .736
16 Yrs 2079 8271 7064 1006 1885 338 14 294 1182 24 1075 1179 .267 .362 .444 .806
CHW (10 yrs) 1254 5310 4542 658 1244 219 12 171 741 15 668 659 .274 .365 .440 .805
NYM (3 yrs) 444 1771 1513 219 394 81 1 77 265 6 237 301 .260 .360 .468 .828
LAD (2 yrs) 151 302 261 30 61 8 1 10 41 0 40 56 .234 .334 .387 .721
NYY (2 yrs) 230 888 748 99 186 30 0 36 135 3 130 163 .249 .359 .433 .792
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.

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