September 5th, 2012

September 5 – Happy Birthday Buddy Hassett

After spending six seasons in the National League with the Dodgers and Braves, the Yankees acquired Hassett to play first base in 1942, replacing the light-hitting Johnny Sturm. The New York City native who was born September 5, 1911, did OK in Pinstripes, hitting .284 and scoring 80 runs for a Yankee team that won 103 regular season games and captured the AL Pennant. After hitting .333 in a losing effort against the Cardinals in that season’s World Series, Hassett never appeared in another big league ball game.

He was called into military service the following year and the Yankees went out and got Nick Etten to play first base during the ’43 season. By the time Hassett returned from the Navy he was one of over 500 big league and more than 4,000 minor league players coming back from the armed services to reclaim or try to win a limited number of big league roster spots. Though Hassett had been one of a small group of players in history to have compiled at least 375 plate appearances during each season of his major league career before joining the service, he failed to make a post- WWII big league roster (even though the commissioner had expanded those rosters from 25 to 30 players to accommodate returning players.)

September 5 is also the birthday of Bill Mazeroski. My first vivid memory of being a Yankee fan was running all the way home from school as a first grader on an October afternoon in 1960 so I could watch the end of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series. I got in front of our family’s black & white Sylvania just in time to see Yogi Berra staring up at the top of the ivy-covered left field wall at Pittsburgh’s old Forbes Field, watching Mazeroski’s series-winning home run fly over it. So I won’t be wishing the former Pirate second baseman a happy birthday, ever.

Another Yankee born on September 5th is this former Yankee reliever and this long ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1942 NYY 132 581 538 80 153 16 6 5 48 5 32 16 .284 .325 .364 .689
7 Yrs 929 3807 3517 469 1026 130 40 12 343 53 209 116 .292 .333 .362 .695
BSN (3 yrs) 389 1572 1453 190 409 43 11 3 120 27 90 45 .281 .324 .332 .656
BRO (3 yrs) 408 1654 1526 199 464 71 23 4 175 21 87 55 .304 .346 .389 .734
NYY (1 yr) 132 581 538 80 153 16 6 5 48 5 32 16 .284 .325 .364 .689
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2013.