August 2012

August 19 – Happy Birthday Bobby Richardson

Those of us who are old enough to have been Yankee fans back in 1961, remember today’s birthday celebrant fondly.  Bobby Richardson was born on today’s date in 1935, in Sumter, SC. He was the lead-off man and starting second baseman for one of the great teams and most impressive starting infields in Pinstripe history. He combined with first baseman Moose Skowren, shortstop Tony Kubek and the late Clete Boyer at the hot corner to provide New York’s pitching staff with an outstanding first line of defense. The seven-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner had a productive bat as well. He reached the .300 mark twice during his twelve-year career, led the league in hits with 209 in 1962 and drove in a record 12 RBIs in a losing effort against Pittsburgh, during the 1960 World Series. His only weakness was his inability to draw more walks as a lead-off man. In 1961, for example, Richardson drew just 30 base-on-balls in over 700 plate appearances. How many more RBI’s would his teammates Mantle and Maris have had that year if Bobby wasn’t such a free swinger?

Richardson retired from the Yankees in 1966, just 31 years-old at the time. He became a successful college baseball coach at the University of South Carolina and ran for Congress in the mid seventies. Always a deeply religious man, younger Yankee fans were introduced to Bobby when he officiated at teammate Mickey Mantle’s funeral.

Richardson shares his birthday with this former Yankee pitcher, who afterwards became the Yankee scout who signed Ron Guidry.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1955 NYY 11 29 26 2 4 0 0 0 3 1 2 0 .154 .214 .154 .368
1956 NYY 5 7 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .143 .143 .143 .286
1957 NYY 97 320 305 36 78 11 1 0 19 1 9 26 .256 .274 .298 .573
1958 NYY 73 195 182 18 45 6 2 0 14 1 8 5 .247 .276 .302 .578
1959 NYY 134 507 469 53 141 18 6 2 33 5 26 20 .301 .335 .377 .713
1960 NYY 150 507 460 45 116 12 3 1 26 6 35 19 .252 .303 .298 .601
1961 NYY 162 704 662 80 173 17 5 3 49 9 30 23 .261 .295 .316 .610
1962 NYY 161 754 692 99 209 38 5 8 59 11 37 24 .302 .337 .406 .743
1963 NYY 151 668 630 72 167 20 6 3 48 15 25 22 .265 .294 .330 .624
1964 NYY 159 728 679 90 181 25 4 4 50 11 28 36 .267 .294 .333 .626
1965 NYY 160 713 664 76 164 28 2 6 47 7 37 39 .247 .287 .322 .609
1966 NYY 149 648 610 71 153 21 3 7 42 6 25 28 .251 .280 .330 .610
12 Yrs 1412 5780 5386 643 1432 196 37 34 390 73 262 243 .266 .299 .335 .634
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/19/2013.

August 18 – Happy Birthday Burleigh Grimes

When Joe Gordon was inducted into the Hall of Fame three summers ago, he became the 51st former Yankee player, manager or team executive to join the Hall. (Jacob Rupert later became the 52nd) Most of the names on this list are familiar ex-Yankees but there are a few who, though well-known as great baseball players, were not at all noted or remembered for their time wearing Pinstripes. The two ex-Yankee members of Cooperstown who are tied for spending the least amount of time in a New York uniform are the great hitter and outfielder, Paul “Big Poison” Waner and today’s birthday celebrant, Burleigh Grimes. Both appeared in just ten Yankee games at the very end of their illustrious careers. Grimes was baseball’s last and arguably most famous legitimate spitball pitcher. In fact, his 270th and final big league win came as a Yankee in 1934 and marked the last time in the history of Major League baseball that the winning pitcher was permitted to throw a spitball. Grimes was born in Emerald, WI on August 18, 1893.

Also born on this date, 51 years after Grimes was born, was this former Yankee third baseman and third base coach and this one-time Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1934 NYY 1 2 .333 5.50 10 0 9 0 0 1 18.0 22 11 11 0 14 5 2.000
19 Yrs 270 212 .560 3.53 616 497 94 314 35 18 4180.0 4412 2050 1638 148 1295 1512 1.365
BRO (9 yrs) 158 121 .566 3.46 318 287 26 205 20 5 2426.0 2547 1175 934 76 744 952 1.357
PIT (5 yrs) 48 42 .533 3.26 132 92 34 58 7 5 830.1 818 398 301 28 237 260 1.271
STL (4 yrs) 32 17 .653 3.45 59 50 7 27 4 1 386.0 434 179 148 18 112 130 1.415
CHC (2 yrs) 9 17 .346 4.35 47 25 12 8 2 4 211.0 245 118 102 10 79 48 1.536
NYG (1 yr) 19 8 .704 3.54 39 34 4 15 2 2 259.2 274 116 102 12 87 102 1.390
BSN (1 yr) 3 5 .375 7.35 11 9 2 1 0 0 49.0 72 53 40 4 22 15 1.918
NYY (1 yr) 1 2 .333 5.50 10 0 9 0 0 1 18.0 22 11 11 0 14 5 2.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/18/2013.

August 17 – Happy Birthday Chad Qualls

Chad Qualls was what you would call a Yankee band aid. As the season progresses, a player on your roster gets injured, goes into a slump or for one reason or another does not perform well in a certain situation that is frequently encountered by your team. This causes a “hole” in your team’s roster that needs to get filled or covered over. Cory Wade had been pitching super out of the bullpen since the Yankees signed him as a free agent in June of 2011. He went 6-1 last year for New York and after his first fifteen appearances this season, his ERA was just 1.59 and he looked near un-hittable. Then all of a sudden, he couldn’t get anyone out. By the end of June, his ERA had exploded to 5.79 runs per game. In his first appearance in July, he was called in to pitch with one out in the seventh inning of a Yankee/Red Sox game with his team trailing 5-4. Seven batters later, it was still the seventh inning, Boston was ahead 9-4 and Wade was being replaced by Clay Rapada on the mound. A day later, he was replaced on the Yankee roster by today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant.

Chad Qualls has been pitching relief in the big leagues since coming up with the Astros in 2004. By the time he put on the pinstripes, this huge 6’5″ right-hander had already won 39 games and saved 51 more. After four solid seasons in Houston, the Diamondbacks acquired Qualls in a trade for Jose Valverde and eventually made him their closer. He saved 24 games for Arizona in 2009 but in late August of that season he injured his knee and required surgery and he hasn’t been the same pitcher since.

After losing the closer’s job in Arizona in 2010, he pitched for the Rays, Padres and Phillies before Brian Cashman acquired him from Philadelphia for future considerations. In his second appearance for New York, he got the victory in a 6-5 win over the Angels. Two days later, he was shelled for three runs by those same Angels. Nine days later he walked the only hitter he faced in the bottom of the seventh inning of a game against the Mariners. It would be that game that eventually cost Qualls his pinstripes but it wasn’t that walk. In the top half of the same inning, King Felix had hit Alex Rodriguez on the hand with a pitch and broke his finger. A-Rod ended up on the DL. Eric Chavez was the Yankee backup at third but he hit left-handed. New York had the right-handed Jason Nix on the roster who could also play third, but Nix was not considered a power-hitter and Joe Girardi and Cashman liked having some offensive pop at that position. Suddenly, a new but very small hole had opened up on the Yankee roster that either could remain open until A-Rod got back from the DL in September or could be covered with a temporary band aid. That band aid turned out to be Casey McGehee, a right-handed Pirate third baseman who had hit a bunch of homers for the Brewers earlier in his career. The cost for McGehee was Chad Qualls.

Qualls turns 35-years-old today. he shares his birthday with this great Yankee catcher and this one-time Yankee DH.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2012 NYY 1 0 1.000 6.14 8 0 4 0 0 0 7.1 10 5 5 0 3 2 1.773
10 Yrs 43 36 .544 3.84 647 0 190 0 0 51 641.2 646 300 274 64 178 491 1.284
HOU (4 yrs) 23 12 .657 3.39 262 0 52 0 0 6 284.0 267 113 107 30 84 218 1.236
ARI (3 yrs) 7 14 .333 4.34 171 0 93 0 0 45 163.2 175 93 79 14 40 150 1.314
TBR (1 yr) 2 0 1.000 5.57 27 0 1 0 0 0 21.0 24 15 13 2 6 15 1.429
PIT (1 yr) 0 0 6.59 17 0 5 0 0 0 13.2 14 11 10 0 2 6 1.171
PHI (1 yr) 1 1 .500 4.60 35 0 6 0 0 0 31.1 39 18 16 7 9 19 1.532
SDP (1 yr) 6 8 .429 3.51 77 0 20 0 0 0 74.1 73 30 29 7 20 43 1.251
NYY (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 6.14 8 0 4 0 0 0 7.1 10 5 5 0 3 2 1.773
MIA (1 yr) 3 1 .750 2.91 50 0 9 0 0 0 46.1 44 15 15 4 14 38 1.252
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/17/2013.