January 27 – Happy Birthday Fred Heimach

After seven seasons of pitching in the big leagues, left-handed fireballer, Fred Heimach found himself back in the minors in 1927, pitching for the St Paul Saints. The Camden, New Jersey native had been a combination starter/reliever for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s during his first half-dozen big league seasons before getting traded to the Red Sox during his seventh. Boston had a horrible team and “Lefty” had a horrible year pitching for them, going just 2-9 with an ERA of 5.65, which set the stage for his demotion to St Paul. His fortunes changed in Minnesota. He won 34 games for the Saints over the next two seasons and caught the attention of the New York Yankees, who purchased his contract in August of 1928.

Yankee Manager, Miller Huggins immediately added Heimach to the Yankee starting rotation that season and he finished 2-3 in his first 13 appearances (including 9 starts) in pinstripes. The following season, Freddie finally realized the full benefits of pitching for the Yankees’ magnificent offensive lineup. In his ten starts and twenty-five relief appearances during the 1929 season, he finished 11-6 with three shutouts and four saves. It was his best year in the big leagues but ironically, it also ended up being his last season in pinstripes. Heimach’s biggest problem was consistency. He’d look great in one outing and putrid in the next. According to Yankee skipper Huggins, all Freddie needed to become a star was a good change up. Unfortunately, the diminutive Yankee manager died during the 1929 season and Heimach lost his biggest booster. Huggins’ replacement, Bob Shawkey was not impressed by the pitcher’s performance during New York’s 1930 spring training season and Lefty Heimach’s roster spot was given to a 21-year-old pitcher from San Francisco named Lefty Gomez.

Heimach ended up pitching most of the next four seasons for Brooklyn. He was out of the big leagues by 1934 and ended up becoming a cop on the Miami Beach police force. He shares his January 27th birthday with this one-time Yankee who won the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year Award, this long-ago Yankee pitcher and this much more recent Yankee hurler.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1928 NYY 2 3 .400 3.31 13 9 3 5 0 0 68.0 66 30 25 3 16 25 1.206
1929 NYY 11 6 .647 4.01 35 10 15 3 3 4 134.2 141 72 60 5 29 26 1.262
13 Yrs 62 69 .473 4.46 296 127 104 56 5 7 1288.2 1510 755 639 65 360 334 1.451
PHA (7 yrs) 29 37 .439 4.57 142 67 44 28 1 1 644.0 773 392 327 37 208 185 1.523
BRO (4 yrs) 18 14 .563 4.31 86 28 38 14 1 2 340.0 411 189 163 15 65 81 1.400
NYY (2 yrs) 13 9 .591 3.77 48 19 18 8 3 4 202.2 207 102 85 8 45 51 1.243
BOS (1 yr) 2 9 .182 5.65 20 13 4 6 0 0 102.0 119 72 64 5 42 17 1.578
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/29/2014.

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