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.
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.
|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|
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.
|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|