November 18 – Happy Birthday Gary Sheffield

Over the two-year period between 2004 and 2005, Gary Sheffield was the best player on the Yankee team. He was the best hitter, the best fielder, an outstanding base runner and he had a cannon for an arm. He played hurt. He hustled on every play and for the most part, he got along with his teammates, Manager Joe Torre and the Yankee front office.

He made me a true Gary Sheffield fan during those first two extremely productive years as a Yankee. I loved to watch him take some of the American League’s best pitchers, extremely deep into counts during at bats that would always include at least one and sometimes several rocket line drives into foul territory down the left-field line. I found it incredible that a guy with such a powerful swing did not strike out all that much which meant a very efficient on base percentage and plenty of run scoring production.

Then in 2006, Sheffield injured his wrist in a late April game and didn’t return to the lineup until September. By then, the Yankees had acquired Bobby Abreu to play right field and had probably already decided to not resign Sheffield. Sheffield realized this as well and reacted by becoming a much more divisive force in both the New York media and the clubhouse. He felt unappreciated and responded more like a child than an adult professional athlete who had already earned millions of dollars.

I had the opportunity to watch both Sheffield and Abreu during their Yankee careers and given my druthers, I would much prefer to have a healthy and happy Sheffield as my favorite team’s right fielder. My problem with Gary is that I think he was a pretty significant steroid user and nothing he’s said or done to refute that allegation has succeeded in dampening my suspicions.

Sheffield’s last big league season was 2009. He retired with 509 home runs and a .292 lifetime batting average. He was born in Tampa and turns 43 years old today. He also shares his November 18th birthday with this former Yankee reliever and this one-time Yankee utility player.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2004 NYY 154 684 573 117 166 30 1 36 121 5 92 83 .290 .393 .534 .927
2005 NYY 154 675 584 104 170 27 0 34 123 10 78 76 .291 .379 .512 .891
2006 NYY 39 166 151 22 45 5 0 6 25 5 13 16 .298 .355 .450 .806
22 Yrs 2576 10947 9217 1636 2689 467 27 509 1676 253 1475 1171 .292 .393 .514 .907
FLA (6 yrs) 558 2358 1870 365 538 98 7 122 380 74 424 290 .288 .426 .543 .970
LAD (4 yrs) 526 2276 1866 358 583 88 6 129 367 43 365 232 .312 .424 .573 .998
MIL (4 yrs) 294 1244 1110 138 287 61 3 21 133 43 97 96 .259 .319 .376 .695
NYY (3 yrs) 347 1525 1308 243 381 62 1 76 269 20 183 175 .291 .383 .515 .897
ATL (2 yrs) 290 1257 1068 208 341 63 2 64 216 30 158 108 .319 .412 .562 .974
SDP (2 yrs) 214 900 815 121 260 46 5 43 136 10 66 70 .319 .372 .546 .918
DET (2 yrs) 247 1075 912 159 225 36 1 44 132 31 142 154 .247 .354 .433 .788
NYM (1 yr) 100 312 268 44 74 13 2 10 43 2 40 46 .276 .372 .451 .823
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/18/2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: