March 2012

The March 2012 Pinstripe Birthdays Trivia Quiz

The March 1st Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is a one-time Yankee pitcher named Ron Klimkowski. The Yankees got him from Boston during the 1967 season in a trade that sent a former AL MVP winner to the Red Sox. Who did the Yankees trade for Ron Klimkowski? Get the correct answer here.

This March 2nd Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was the 1950 National League MVP Award winner, who went on to become a relief pitcher for the Yankees. Do you know who he is? Get the correct answer here.

This March 3rd Pinstripe Birthday celebrant was a small Hall-of-Fame outfielder who played for the Highlanders and held the big league record for most consecutive 200-hit seasons (8) until 2009. Who is this former Highlander and who broke his record in 2009? Get the correct answers here.

This March 4th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant won seven straight NL strikeout titles from 1922 through 1928 and was nicknamed Dazzy. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

The March 5th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is an outfielder by the name of Elmer Valo who began and played most of his career for an American League franchise that used to play its home games in a Stadium that was originally called Shibe Park. What was the name and home city of Valo’s first big league team? Get the correct answer here.

Pitcher Freddie Garcia and this March 6th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant are the only two players on the current Yankee roster to have been born in Valenzuela. Who is this March 6th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant? Get the correct answer here.

The March 7th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant broke Ted William’s record for most home runs by a rookie when he hit 33 for the Twins in 1963. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 8th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant won twenty games for the Yankees during his second full season in the big leagues in 1963. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 9th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was a six-time AL stolen base champion between 1965 and 1972. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 10th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant led the Yankees in saves during the 1994 season. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 11th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant joined A-Rod as the only two Yankees to achieve both 100 runs and 100 RBIs during both the 2007 and 2008 season. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 12th Pinstripe Birthday celebrant won the 1994 NL Rookie of the Year Award as a Dodger outfielder. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 13th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was a member of the Yankee’s 1996 starting infield who hit .340 that season. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

Javier Vazquez, Jon Lieber, Mike Mussina and this March 14th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant were all starting pitchers for the Yankees in 2004 and each of them won at least 10 games. Who is this March 14th Pinstripe Birthday celebrant? Get the correct answer here.

This March 15th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant hit 32 regular season home runs to lead the 1987 Yankees in that category. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

The March 16th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is a former Yankee starter named Charles Hudson who won 11 games for the 1987 Yankee team. Just two other Yankee pitchers on that ’87 staff had more victories than Hudson. Name one of them. If you can name both pitchers who finished ahead of Hudson that season, consider yourself a Pinstripe Birthday Trivia All Star! Get the correct answer here.

The March 17th Birthday Celebrant is the very troubled former Yankee reliever, Rod Scurry. He was one of the players involved in an infamous 1985 grand jury investigation and drug trial, when it was discovered that drug dealers were actually  selling cocaine to players inside the clubhouses of what former Major League stadium? Get the correct answer here.

The March 18th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is the former Yankee pitcher Brian Fisher, who’s best year in New York was his 1986 season when he went 9-5. Who led that ’86 Yankee pitching staff with 18 wins? Get the correct answer here.

The March 19th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is an obscure shortstop named Fritz Brickell, who played almost all of his lifetime Yankee games during the 1959 season. What place did the 1959 Yankees finish in that year’s AL standings? Get the correct answer here.

The March 20th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is a reliever named Paul Mirabella, who came to New York with Dave Righetti for one-time Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle as part of a November 1978 trade. With what team did New York make that trade? Get the correct answer here.

The only Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant for March 21st is an obscure Yankee outfielder named Bill Lamar, who played for New York during the WWI years.? He played for two different Yankee managers during the three seasons (1917, ’18 and ’19) he spent with the team. Every true-pinstripe-blue Yankee fan should be able to name one of the managers Lamar played for in New York but naming both of them would be a true accomplishment. Can you do it? Get the correct answer here.

The March 22nd Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is Glenallen Hill. He (16 HRs), David Justice (20) and Jose Canseco (6) combined to hit 42 home runs for the Yankees during the second half of what season? Get the correct answer here.

The March 23rd Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was Jorge Posada’s back-up and David Cone’s personal catcher for most of the 2000 season. Any idea who he is? Get the correct answer here.

Brian Cashman signed this March 24th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant and one-time Indian closer to a four year contract in 2001 to be Mariano Rivera’s primary set up man but he pitched just one full season before back surgery stunted his career. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 25th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is Woodie Held, a former Yankee infielder who got traded to the A’s in 1957 in part because a group of Yankees had gotten into a fight at Manhattan’s Copa Cabana Nightclub. Held wasn’t even at the Copa that evening but one of the Yankees who was, did get traded to the A’s with Woodie. Who was he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 26th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was the second baseman acquired by New York when Chuck Knoblaugh’s throwing problems got really bad during the 2000 regular season. Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

This March 27th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is a pitcher named Steve Sundra who went 11-1 during the 1939 season. It remains the third highest single-season winning percentage (.917) in franchise history. One of the two Yankees ahead of him on this list went a perfect 10-0 during the 2005 season. Who was that pitcher? Get the correct answer here.

This March 28th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was nicknamed “the Springfield Rifle.” Who is he? Get the correct answer here.

The March 29th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is a former Yankee relief pitcher named Bill Castro, who pitched for New York during the strike-shortened 1981 season. After that year, he was traded for one of the worst-fielding third basemen in Major League history, who also played college football for Bear Bryant and once hit 30 home runs in a season for the Red Sox. Who was that third baseman? Get the correct answer here.

The March 30th Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is Dick Woodson. This big righty only pitched for the Yankees a short time during the 1974 season but he did play a significant role in  baseball history when he was hand-picked by the legendary Marvin Miller to be the first MLB player to do what? Get the correct answer here.

The March 31st Pinstripe Birthday celebrant is Chien-Ming Wang. He had evolved into one of the best starting pitchers on the Yankee staff until a 2008 base-running injury derailed his career. Against what team did Wang’s injury occur? Get the correct answer here.

March 28 – Happy Birthday Edwar Ramirez

It was the day before Independence Day in 2007 and the Yankees were hammering the Twins 8-0 in a night game at the old Yankee Stadium. Chien-Ming Wang had started the game and pitched shutout ball for seven innings before Joe Torre pulled him and let Scott Proctor start the eighth. Proctor kept the Twins scoreless that inning and Torre picked the mop-up top of the ninth of that contest to debut the Yankees newest relief pitcher. His name was Edwar Ramirez. I remember when I first saw the spelling, I thought someone had forgotten the second “d” in his first name. I remember when I first saw Edwar, that someone had forgotten to feed him. He was six feet three inches tall and when the television camera got an angle of him standing sideways on the mound, he just about disappeared. This guy was skinny.

His pitches must have looked just as skinny on that evening of his Yankee debut, because in that bottom of the ninth inning against Minnesota, Ramirez struck out all three hitters he faced. Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Lew Ford all went down swinging at third strikes. As you can imagine, that performance caused a bit of a buzz in the Stadium’s stands and press box that evening and suddenly, all eyes were on Ramirez.

His best pitch was his change up and he threw a very good one. The problem was he had a tough time throwing his fastball for strikes so he tended to throw lots of change ups. The problem with that is the change up is most effective when hitters don’t expect it. Opposing teams simply started waiting for Edwar’s change up. Just two weeks after his impressive debut, Torre brought in Ramirez with the Yankees behind Tampa Bay 4-0, with two outs and a man on second and when he left there was still two outs, the score was now 9-0 and there were two more Rays still on base. After that game, the bewildered rookie was found crying in front of his locker.

Mariano Rivera was a huge help to Ramirez at this time. When he was sent back down to the minors, The Sand Man urged him to work on getting control of his fastball and that’s exactly what the kid did. He was a different pitcher at the beginning of the 2008 season for new Yankee Manager, Joe Girardi. In his first 13 appearances he had 15 strikeouts in 13.5 innings and did not give up a single earned run. He couldn’t keep up that pace but the 2008 season would be the best of his career. He appeared in 55 games, won five of his six decisions and finished with an ERA of 3.90. But after that strong start to his year, you could see his control problems reappear and it got to a point late in the 2008 season that you didn’t know what to expect from Ramirez when he was put into a game.

He struggled mightily to regain his form in 2009 but this time a return trip to the minors did not help. The Yankees gave up on him in March of 2010 and sold him to Oakland. The A’s released him following the 2010 season. In 2011, Ramirez was pitching in the Mexican league. He shares his March 28th birthday with this great post WWII Yankee starting pitcher and this other former Yankee reliever.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2007 NYY 1 1 .500 8.14 21 0 5 0 0 1 21.0 24 19 19 6 14 31 1.810
2008 NYY 5 1 .833 3.90 55 0 16 0 0 1 55.1 44 25 24 7 24 63 1.229
2009 NYY 0 0 5.73 20 0 2 0 0 0 22.0 25 15 14 6 18 22 1.955
4 Yrs 7 2 .778 5.19 103 0 26 0 0 2 109.1 102 66 63 20 66 126 1.537
NYY (3 yrs) 6 2 .750 5.22 96 0 23 0 0 2 98.1 93 59 57 19 56 116 1.515
OAK (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 4.91 7 0 3 0 0 0 11.0 9 7 6 1 10 10 1.727
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/16/2014.

March 27 – Happy Birthday Steve Sundra

Most of the top four occupants of the Yankee’s All-Time leader lists read like a Who’s Who of Baseball’s legends. Except for the all-time single season best winning percentage list for Yankee pitchers with at least ten decisions. For that list you really do need a score card. Tom Zachary is number one with his 12-0 performance in 1929. He’s tied with Aaron Small who went 10-0 for the 2005 Yankees. Alfredo Aceves, who now pitches for the Red Sox, helped the 2009 Yankees win a World Championship with his 10-1 season pitching out of the bullpen. Most Yankee fans of today remember both Small and Aceves. Zachary is a familiar name in Yankee history because he was also the pitcher who gave up Babe Ruth’s 60th home run in 1927. But I’m willing to wager no current Yankee fan has ever heard of the pitcher in third place on this list. His name was Steve “Smokey” Sundra and he is the Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant for March 27th.

Sundra was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Cleveland, where he began his pitching career with area semi-pro teams. He was originally signed by his hometown Indians in 1932 and pitched in that team’s farm system until 1935 when he was made part of a trade that sent him and Monte Pearson to the Yankees for the temperamental pitcher, Johnny Allen. The Yankees assigned Sundra to their Newark farm team and during the next two-and-a-half seasons, he went 32-14 for one of the best minor league clubs in history. That performance helped earn him a spot on the 1938 Yankee roster and he finished his first season in pinstripes with a decent 6-4 record, appearing in 25 games including 8 starts. He ended that ’38 season with four straight victories but did not get to participate in the 1938 World Series, which New York won, to make it three championships in a row for Manager Joe McCarthy’s Bronx Bombers.

You don’t win three consecutive World Series in any era without great pitching and those Yankee teams of the late thirties had as many good arms as any team in history. Just making that staff was a testament to Sundra’s pitching ability and in 1939, he proved it. He appeared in 24 games that year and won his first 11 decisions. With the four straight wins he had to close out his 1938 season, Sundra’s winning streak grew to 15 games just one short of the AL Record. Despite losing Lou Gehrig, that 1939 Yankee team ran away with the Pennant by winning 106 games. They were so far ahead in the standings McCarthy began resting his front line starters in late August by expanding his rotation. Sundra loved the regular turns and won five of six consecutive starts posting a shutout and throwing five complete games during that impressive stretch. But in his last start of the regular season, in the second game of a double-header against Boston, the big right-hander’s streak came to an end when he lost a 4-2 decision to finish the year at 11-1. Despite his late-season excellence and his 11-1 record, Sundra made just one two plus inning relief stint in the Yankees fourth straight World Series victory that October.

When he slumped to 4-6 the following year he was sold to the Senators who traded him to the Browns in June of the 1942 season. Pitching against war-time diluted lineups, Smokey went 25-14 during his one complete and two partial seasons in St. Louis before entering military service. He tried to come back in 1946 but failed. He retired with a 56-41 lifetime record. Unfortunately, Sundra became a victim of a ravaging form of cancer that ended up killing him in 1952 at the age of 41.

Sundra shares his March 27th birthday with this Hall-of-Fame Yankee Manager who also died quite young and this former Yankee DH.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1936 NYY 0 0 0.00 1 0 1 0 0 0 2.0 2 0 0 0 2 1 2.000
1938 NYY 6 4 .600 4.80 25 8 15 3 0 0 93.2 107 61 50 7 43 33 1.601
1939 NYY 11 1 .917 2.76 24 11 8 8 1 0 120.2 110 43 37 7 56 27 1.376
1940 NYY 4 6 .400 5.53 27 8 10 2 0 2 99.1 121 68 61 11 42 26 1.641
9 Yrs 56 41 .577 4.17 168 99 44 47 4 2 859.1 944 461 398 50 321 214 1.472
NYY (4 yrs) 21 11 .656 4.22 77 27 34 13 1 2 315.2 340 172 148 25 143 87 1.530
SLB (4 yrs) 25 14 .641 3.42 57 45 7 21 3 0 341.2 358 157 130 13 102 72 1.346
WSH (2 yrs) 10 16 .385 5.35 34 27 3 13 0 0 202.0 246 132 120 12 76 55 1.594
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/14/2014.