April 2012

April 17 – Yankee Report Card for 2012 Season Start

No Pinstripe Birthday Celebrants exist for April 17th so like last year on this same date, I offer a report card for the Yankee’s play at the start of the new season. After ten games played the Yankees record is 5-5 for the new season, compared to their 6-4 start last season. They are a game behind the AL East Division leading Orioles and half-game behind the second place Blue Jays.

 The incomparable Derek Jeter is off to a great start at the plate and has led the Yankees offensively. Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez have been New York’s biggest run producers but in general, New York’s vaunted offense has really not gotten itself untracked.

As for the soon-to-be over crowded Yankee rotation, Ivan Nova and Hideki Kuroda have turned in the most impressive starts. CC Sabathia has had some rough patches in both of his appearances and Phil Hughes and Freddie Garcia have been downright disappointing. If Pettitte and Michael Pineda were to show up today in the Bronx, ready to pitch, it would be Hughes’ and Garcia’s spots that they would take.

The Yankee bullpen has been the team’s strong point thus far in 2012. From the moment Mariano blew that opening game save in Tampa until Cory Wade got roughed up last night by the Twins, the Pinstriped relief corps has performed pretty close to flawlessly.

The MVP for the first ten games would be Jeter, the most surprising start would belong to reliever David Phelps and the most disappointing would probably go to Hughes. But its a long season, my friends and by this time next month, we will have a much more reliable reading on the postseason potential of this Yankee team.

April 16 – Happy Birthday Paul Waner

Even close followers of baseball history are probably surprised to learn that Hall of Famer, Paul Waner was a Yankee. Waner was best known as a Pittsburgh Pirate where he played in the same outfield with his younger brother and fellow Hall of Famer Lloyd from 1927 until 1940, when Paul was released and signed on with Brooklyn. Paul was nicknamed “Big Poison” and they called Lloyd “Little Poison. ” Together they collected 5,611 base hits during their careers, beating both the three DiMaggio brothers and the three Alou’s for most hits by Major League siblings.

Paul won three NL batting titles during his career and collected his 3,000th career hit after joining the Boston Braves, in 1941. In September of 1944, the Yankees found themselves chasing the St. Louis Browns for the AL Pennant and they signed the then 41 year-old Waner, hoping he’d be the spark that led the team to the postseason. That’s not what happened. Waner got just one hit in nine at bats for New York that season and the Yankees ended up finishing in third place.

Waner is one of just five Yankees who have collected 3,000 hits during their playing careers. The others are Derek Jeter, Ricky Henderson, Wade Boggs and Dave Winfield.

Other Yankees born on April 16th include this former back up catcher and this one-time utility infielder.

Year Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1944 NYY AL 9 9 7 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 1 .143 .333 .143 .476
1945 NYY AL 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000
20 Yrs 2549 10766 9459 1627 3152 605 191 113 1309 104 0 1091 376 .333 .404 .473 .878
PIT (15 yrs) 2154 9536 8429 1493 2868 558 187 109 1177 100 909 325 .340 .407 .490 .896
BRO (3 yrs) 176 475 396 50 115 20 1 1 46 0 70 16 .290 .398 .354 .752
NYY (2 yrs) 10 10 7 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 1 .143 .400 .143 .543
BSN (2 yrs) 209 745 627 83 168 27 3 3 85 3 109 34 .268 .377 .335 .712
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/15/2013.

April 13 – Happy Birthday Mark Leiter

Of the two Leiter brothers from Toms River, NJ who were both Yankee pitching prospects, it was older brother Mark who was more impressive in the Minors and younger brother Al who did best as a pro. Mark was two years older than Al and threw right-handed while his younger sibling was a southpaw. But in 1986 Mark hurt his pitching shoulder and underwent surgery. That same shoulder was cut open two more times in the next seventeen months forcing Leiter to sit out three full seasons. By the time he finally got a shot with the Yankees, his brother Al had already been traded and Mark wasn’t the same pitcher he had been four years earlier. He split his only two decisions in pinstripes before being shipped to Detroit the following year. In 11 big league seasons Mark won 65 and lost 73 while Al went 162-132 during his nineteen-year Major League career.

Mark shares his April 13th birthday with this WWII-era third baseman and  the first starting shortstop in Yankee franchise history.

Year Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
1990 NYY AL 1 1 .500 6.84 8 3 2 0 0 0 26.1 33 20 20 5 9 0 21 1.595
11 Yrs 65 73 .471 4.57 335 149 88 15 1 26 1184.1 1205 664 602 155 424 43 892 1.375
DET (3 yrs) 23 18 .561 4.36 100 42 18 3 0 1 353.1 352 184 171 42 137 14 248 1.384
SFG (2 yrs) 14 22 .389 4.38 53 51 0 8 1 0 331.0 336 184 161 44 105 11 247 1.332
PHI (2 yrs) 17 22 .436 4.98 100 31 50 3 0 23 271.1 283 168 150 33 111 9 232 1.452
MON (1 yr) 4 2 .667 4.39 12 12 0 1 0 0 69.2 68 35 34 12 19 1 46 1.249
CAL (1 yr) 4 7 .364 4.72 40 7 15 0 0 2 95.1 99 56 50 13 35 6 71 1.406
SEA (1 yr) 0 0 6.75 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.1 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 1.500
NYY (1 yr) 1 1 .500 6.84 8 3 2 0 0 0 26.1 33 20 20 5 9 0 21 1.595
MIL (1 yr) 2 1 .667 3.75 20 3 3 0 0 0 36.0 32 16 15 6 8 2 26 1.111
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/12/2013.