September 2011

September 11 – Happy Birthday Brandon Laird

Brandon Laird was born on September 11, 1987. He grew up in Cypress, CA and was drafted right out of high school in the 27th round by the Cleveland Indians in 2005 but decided not to sign. Instead he played ball at Cypress Community College and two years later, when the 27th round of the 2007 MLB draft rolled around again, the Yankees picked him. He has spent the past five years working his way up New York’s farm system, starting with their Tampa Rookie League affiliate and landing with Triple A Scranton during the second half of the 2010 season.

The kid plays third base and has shown he has decent power in the Minors. He hit 23 home runs for Charleston in 2008, 23 more with Trenton the following season and last year, he hit 16 for Scranton. He had an excellent 2011 spring training for Joe Girardi and in the process also made a positive impression on Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long. The Yankees brought Laird up last year in June for a mid season look-see. In his first big league game, he pinch-hit for Derek Jeter during a Yankee blow-out of Oakland and walked in his first at bat. Two innings later he came up again and singled in a run to get his first big league hit and RBI in his first official at bat in the Majors.

He was sent back down to Scranton at the end of July last year and never got another opportunity to play in pinstripes. He hit 15 home runs and drove in 77 in Triple A during the 2012 season but couldn’t get his average out of the .250′s. The Yankees put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Astros on September 1, 2012. Houston currently has him on their big league roster and he just recently hit his first big league home run as an Astro. Laird’s biggest obstacle to a career with the Yankees was A-Rod. There’s no way the kid could have supplanted the superstar at that position in the near future, especially since there are so many years left on A-Rod’s huge contract.

Laird’s older brother Gerald is a catcher with ten years of big league experience who currently plays for the Tigers. In December of 2009, the Laird brothers were involved in a bizarre fight during an NBA game between the Celtics and Suns at US Airways Arena in Phoenix.

Laird shares his September 11th birthday with this former Yankee catcher and this long-ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 NYY 11 25 21 3 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 4 .190 .292 .190 .482
3 Yrs 45 114 104 10 22 4 0 4 13 0 7 30 .212 .274 .365 .640
HOU (2 yrs) 34 89 83 7 18 4 0 4 12 0 4 26 .217 .270 .410 .679
NYY (1 yr) 11 25 21 3 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 4 .190 .292 .190 .482
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2013.

September 9 – Happy Birthday Waite Hoyt

Today’s Pinstripe Birthdays Blog celebrant is the New York Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher, Waite Hoyt, born in Brooklyn, NY, September 9, 1899.

Another gift from the Red Sox, the Yankees obtained this right-hander in 1920 in a seven- player deal a year after they purchased Babe Ruth from Boston. The Yankees also were able to steal Hall of Fame hurlers, Herb Pennock and Red Ruffing and five-time 20-game winner Carl Mays from the Red Sox during the same ten-year period.

In his very first season in Pinstripes, Hoyt won nineteen regular season games and then pitched three complete games against the Giants in the 1921 World Series winning two and not allowing an earned run in any of them. He pitched for New York for ten seasons, winning 157 games, which places him in ninth place on the Yankees All-Time victories list. Hoyt pitched a total of twenty seasons in the big leagues including stints with all three of the New York City teams, retiring in 1938. He then became the first ex big-leaguer to make the move into the broadcast booth. He spent 21 years doing Reds’ games and became an institution in Cincinnati.

A huge drinker who beat the habit, the colorful Hoyt was also a great storyteller and had plenty of stories to tell. During the off-season he worked in both a funeral parlor and in Vaudeville. He had one of the closest relationships with the great Ruth of any ballplayer and his stories about the Bambino were considered classics. Hoyt’s ability to entertain Reds’ fans with tales of his past during rain delays were so entertaining, recordings of the sessions became best-selling records.  Hoyt died in 1984.

This  former Yankee outfielder, this one-time Yankee manager and this former Yankee third baseman all share Hoyt’s September 9th birthday.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1921 NYY 19 13 .594 3.09 43 32 7 21 1 3 282.1 301 121 97 3 81 102 1.353
1922 NYY 19 12 .613 3.43 37 31 3 17 3 0 265.0 271 114 101 13 76 95 1.309
1923 NYY 17 9 .654 3.02 37 28 7 19 1 1 238.2 227 97 80 9 66 60 1.228
1924 NYY 18 13 .581 3.79 46 32 13 14 2 4 247.0 295 117 104 8 76 71 1.502
1925 NYY 11 14 .440 4.00 46 30 14 17 1 6 243.0 283 124 108 14 78 86 1.486
1926 NYY 16 12 .571 3.85 40 28 8 12 1 4 217.2 224 112 93 4 62 79 1.314
1927 NYY 22 7 .759 2.63 36 32 4 23 3 1 256.1 242 90 75 10 54 86 1.155
1928 NYY 23 7 .767 3.36 42 31 11 19 3 8 273.0 279 118 102 16 60 67 1.242
1929 NYY 10 9 .526 4.24 30 25 3 12 0 1 201.2 219 115 95 9 69 57 1.428
1930 NYY 2 2 .500 4.53 8 7 0 2 0 0 47.2 64 27 24 7 9 10 1.531
21 Yrs 237 182 .566 3.59 674 425 171 226 26 52 3762.1 4037 1780 1500 154 1003 1206 1.340
NYY (10 yrs) 157 98 .616 3.48 365 276 70 156 15 28 2272.1 2405 1035 879 93 631 713 1.336
PIT (5 yrs) 35 31 .530 3.08 156 45 69 23 4 18 616.1 635 250 211 25 115 270 1.217
BRO (3 yrs) 8 13 .381 3.94 41 24 7 10 1 1 210.0 242 119 92 9 47 54 1.376
NYG (2 yrs) 5 7 .417 3.39 19 12 4 3 0 0 98.1 103 43 37 6 25 31 1.302
BOS (2 yrs) 10 12 .455 3.85 35 22 12 12 3 1 226.2 222 114 97 3 69 73 1.284
DET (2 yrs) 12 16 .429 5.22 42 32 9 13 1 4 227.2 300 159 132 9 79 35 1.665
PHA (1 yr) 10 5 .667 4.22 16 14 0 9 2 0 111.0 130 60 52 9 37 30 1.505
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/17/2013.

September 6 – Happy Birthday Fran Healy

There were two reasons why I did not like the 1976 early-season trade that made Fran Healy, Thurman Munson’s backup. First of all, that Yankee team already had the young Rick Dempsey as a reserve catcher and I liked him a lot. The second reason was because New York gave up their promising left-handed starter, Larry Gura. Gura impressed me when he went 5-1 as a starter during his first season in Pinstripes in 1974, with two of those victories being complete game shutouts. Though he had not been as good the following year, I thought he was still one of New York’s best pitchers and I hated to see him dealt.

In Healy, the Yankees got an OK receiver to spell their snarly team Captain once a week, a job that Dempsey could have handled much better. It wasn’t until 1977 that the intangible value of the Healy acquisition paid huge dividends for New York. That was the year the Yankees decided to put the flamboyant and pretty self-centered superstar, Reggie Jackson, in the same dugout as the mercurial, alcoholic Billy Martin. For some reason, Jackson decided to befriend Healy and actually take his advice from time-to-time. On more than one occasion, Healy was able to talk Reggie out of doing something that would further provoke Martin or hurt New York’s chance of winning. Fran was born on September 6, 1946, in Holyoke, MA.

As for Gura, he became the very good Major League starting pitcher I knew he would. Dempsey would go onto become an Oriole defensive mainstay behind the plate for many seasons. As for Healy, once the Yankees fired Martin in 1978, there was little left for the catcher/diplomat to do in the Yankee clubhouse so he switched careers and moved to the broadcasting booth. From there, Healy evolved into a sports celebrity interviewer. New York sports fans know him for his popular “Halls of Fame” interview show in which he interviews members of the Halls of Fame from each major sport.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1976 NYY 46 129 120 10 32 3 0 0 9 3 9 17 .267 .318 .292 .609
1977 NYY 27 75 67 10 15 5 0 0 7 1 6 13 .224 .288 .299 .586
1978 NYY 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
9 Yrs 470 1496 1326 144 332 60 6 20 141 30 154 242 .250 .329 .350 .679
KCR (5 yrs) 304 1070 946 102 244 45 6 17 106 25 111 163 .258 .336 .372 .708
NYY (3 yrs) 74 205 188 20 47 8 0 0 16 4 15 31 .250 .305 .293 .598
SFG (2 yrs) 92 221 192 22 41 7 0 3 19 1 28 48 .214 .317 .297 .614
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/17/2013.

September 5 – Happy Birthday Randy Choate

A decade after he first broke into the Majors as a Yankee reliever, this southpaw became the workhorse in the Tampa Bay bullpen in 2010, leading the league with his 85 appearances that year and setting his career high for victories out of the bullpen in a season with 4. Choate then joined the exodus of Rays who opted for free agency after the 2010 season and signed a two-year $2.5 million deal with the Marlins. He has pitched well for them in 2011 but this year’s very poor Florida starting rotation has not handed him too many leads to hold.

The former Florida State Gator’s best season as a Yankee was his second one in 2001. That year, he had a 3-1 record in 37 appearances and a 3.35 ERA. He failed to come close to that success during his next two seasons in the Bronx and was subsequently sent to Montreal in the 2003 trade that brought Javier Vazquez to the Yankees a first time. Before he had a chance to play for the Expos, Choate was traded to Arizona, where he spent the next five seasons bouncing back and forth between Tucson and the parent club. Randy was born in San Antonio, TX in 1975.

Other Yankees who share this birthday are this former Yankee first baseman and this long-ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2000 NYY 0 1 .000 4.76 22 0 6 0 0 0 17.0 14 10 9 3 8 12 1.294
2001 NYY 3 1 .750 3.35 37 0 13 0 0 0 48.1 34 21 18 0 27 35 1.262
2002 NYY 0 0 6.04 18 0 11 0 0 0 22.1 18 18 15 1 15 17 1.478
2003 NYY 0 0 7.36 5 0 2 0 0 0 3.2 7 3 3 0 1 0 2.182
13 Yrs 13 12 .520 3.89 530 0 90 0 0 6 339.2 291 166 147 16 157 290 1.319
ARI (4 yrs) 2 5 .286 4.89 114 0 20 0 0 0 73.2 84 42 40 1 36 65 1.629
NYY (4 yrs) 3 2 .600 4.43 82 0 32 0 0 0 91.1 73 52 45 4 51 64 1.358
TBR (2 yrs) 5 3 .625 3.89 146 0 21 0 0 5 81.0 69 38 35 7 28 68 1.198
MIA (2 yrs) 1 1 .500 2.16 98 0 10 0 0 1 50.0 29 18 12 3 22 58 1.020
STL (1 yr) 2 1 .667 2.67 54 0 7 0 0 0 30.1 23 9 9 0 11 24 1.121
LAD (1 yr) 0 0 4.05 36 0 0 0 0 0 13.1 13 7 6 1 9 11 1.650
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2013.

September 2 – Happy Birthday Monte Pearson

The great Yankee Manager Joe McCarthy was not particularly fond of managing ballplayers born in the south. He felt too many of them played the game with too much emotion and were difficult to control. That’s one of the reasons he told Yankee GM Ed Barrow, to go ahead and trade a very good Yankee pitcher named Johnny Allen for two Cleveland Indian pitchers named Monte Pearson and Steve Sundra right before Christmas in 1935. Allen was born in North Carolina and he had a mean temper. Pity one of his infielders who made an error while he was on the mound because Allen would actually scream at the guy in front of a full stadium crowd.

Pearson, on the other hand, was born and raised in laid back California. He had been an 18-game winner for Cleveland in 1934 but when he slumped to 8-13 the following year Cleveland let him go. Pearson didn’t have a bad temper but he did have a strange tendency to miss starts because of an assortment of crazy illnesses. But he stayed well often enough to win 19 games during his first season in pinstripes. During his five seasons with New York the right-hander went 63-27, including a no-hitter in 1938. He also was a perfect 4-o in World Series as a Yankee, winning one game each in four straight Fall Classics, all of which ended with New York championships.

After he tore a shoulder ligament during the 1940 season, he was not the same pitcher and New York traded the then 32-year-old right-hander to the Reds. He retired after a bad 1941 season with Cincinnati and went back to California where he began a long career as a public official. That career ended badly when he was convicted of accepting a bribe and sentenced to eight months in jail.

Pearson shares his September 2nd birthday with this one-time Yankee who was nicknamed “Marvelous” and this former number 1 Yankee draft pick.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1936 NYY 19 7 .731 3.71 33 31 2 15 1 1 223.0 191 99 92 13 135 118 1.462
1937 NYY 9 3 .750 3.17 22 20 2 7 1 1 144.2 145 60 51 6 64 71 1.445
1938 NYY 16 7 .696 3.97 28 27 1 17 1 0 202.0 198 107 89 12 113 98 1.540
1939 NYY 12 5 .706 4.49 22 20 0 8 0 0 146.1 151 77 73 9 70 76 1.510
1940 NYY 7 5 .583 3.69 16 16 0 7 1 0 109.2 108 48 45 8 44 43 1.386
1941 CIN 1 3 .250 5.18 7 4 3 1 0 0 24.1 22 15 14 3 15 8 1.521
10 Yrs 100 61 .621 4.00 224 191 24 94 5 4 1429.2 1392 721 635 82 740 703 1.491
NYY (5 yrs) 63 27 .700 3.82 121 114 5 54 4 2 825.2 793 391 350 48 426 406 1.476
CLE (4 yrs) 36 31 .537 4.21 96 73 16 39 1 2 579.2 577 315 271 31 299 289 1.511
CIN (1 yr) 1 3 .250 5.18 7 4 3 1 0 0 24.1 22 15 14 3 15 8 1.521
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/6/2013.