September 28 – Happy Birthday Whitey Witt

Earl Combs was considered the Yankee’s first great centerfielder. In fact, the Bob Meusel, Combs, Babe Ruth Yankee outfield of the mid twenties is considered one of the best starting outfields in baseball history. But before Combs was part of it, Whitey Witt was the regular center fielder between the Bambino and Long Bob and he did not do too badly himself.

One of the smallest players in the big leagues, Witt became a Yankee when his contract was purchased from the Athletics at the beginning of the 1922 season. The Yankee front office wanted players who could get on base in front of Ruth and Meusel to give the two sluggers runners to drive in. Witt did just that in 1922 with a .400 on base percentage and 98 runs scored, helping New York get to their second straight World Series, which they again lost to the Giants. He was even better the following season when he also became the first Yankee starting centerfielder and the first Yankee ever to bat in brand new Yankee Stadium. Witt hit .314 in 1923 and scored 113 runs and New York knocked off the hated Giants that October to win their first-ever World Series flag. It looked as if Witt would be in pinstripes for a long time.

But after the 1924 Yankees slumped to second place and the 1925 team stumbled to seventh Manager Miller Huggins felt as if some of the veterans on the club, led by Ruth, were not taking their profession seriously enough. Since Ruth had to stay, the Yankee front office responded by dealing away or releasing several of the team’s veterans including Witt. After appearing in 22 games with Brooklyn in 1926, Whitey’s big league career was over.

This former Yankee relief pitcherthis one-time Yankee first baseman and this former Yankee pitching prospect were all also born on September 29th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1922 NYY 140 628 528 98 157 11 6 4 40 5 89 29 .297 .400 .364 .763
1923 NYY 146 686 596 113 187 18 10 6 56 2 67 42 .314 .386 .408 .794
1924 NYY 147 662 600 88 178 26 5 1 36 9 45 20 .297 .346 .362 .707
1925 NYY 31 46 40 9 8 2 1 0 0 1 6 2 .200 .304 .300 .604
10 Yrs 1139 4778 4171 632 1195 144 62 18 302 78 489 309 .287 .362 .364 .726
PHA (5 yrs) 612 2657 2322 311 643 86 39 7 167 60 270 210 .277 .353 .357 .710
NYY (4 yrs) 464 2022 1764 308 530 57 22 11 132 17 207 93 .300 .375 .376 .752
BRO (1 yr) 63 99 85 13 22 1 1 0 3 1 12 6 .259 .351 .294 .645
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/29/2013.

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