April 6 – Happy Birthday Bronson Sardinha
Today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant has a name that’s a lot harder to forget than his brief Yankee career. The sky was considered the limit, when the Yankees made Hawaiian born Bronson Sardinha their first round pick in the 2001 Amateur Draft. Just 18 years-old at the time, he became the highest school-boy draft pick (34th overall pick) in the island state’s history and the Yankees signed him to a million dollar deal. A shortstop in high school, that’s where he began his minor league career, with the Tampa Yankees of the Gulf Coast League in 2001. He had a great offensive season that year, hitting .303 but his defensive work at short convinced the Yankee brass to switch him to the outfield the following year. Over the course of the next five seasons, Baseball America had Sardinha rated as a better prospect than both Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang. But unlike those two future stars, the six-foot one-inch , 220 pound Honolulu-born Sardinha could not get over the triple A hump. He did get his shot in the Bronx as a late-season call-up in September of 2007 and though he was used mostly as a pinch-runner, he did get ten at bats, scored six runs and collected three hits. That, however, has turned out to be his only taste of the big leagues. The following December, the Yankees released him and though he has since been signed by three different big league teams, chances are getting slimmer and slimmer that we will see Sardinha back in the big leagues. If he never gets a second shot he will retire with a lifetime Yankee and big league batting average of .300 and Bronson Kiheimahanaomauiakeo Sardinha will remain in first place on the all-time Yankee list for players with the longest middle names.
Ironically, the two other former Yankees born on April 6th also never made the successful transition from hot-Yankee prospect to Major League regular. They included this pitcher from the late seventies and this first baseman from Sardinha’s own era.