September 30 – Happy Birthday Rusty Torres
Their dynasty had already crumbled by the time the Yankees drafted today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant in the 54th round of the 1966 amateur draft. Rusty Torres was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in Queens, where he starred in baseball as a high school and sandlot player. It took him five plus seasons to work his way up the Yankee ladder of farm teams, but when he hit 19 home runs and averaged .290 for the Triple A Syracuse Chiefs in 1971, Ralph Houk decided to give the switch-hitting youngster an opportunity to become New York’s starting right-fielder, alongside Bobby Murcer and Roy White.
Torres proved not up to the task. He got into 80 games during the 1972 season but hit a putrid .211 with just 3 home runs and 13 RBIs in 199 at bats. That November, the Yankees sent Torres, Charley Spikes, Johnny Ellis and Jerry Kenney to Cleveland to obtain third baseman, Graig Nettles.
Even though his lifetime average was just .212, Torres defensive skills as an outfielder helped him last nine seasons in the Majors. His only year as a starter was 1976, when he was the Angels’ everyday center fielder.
Torres shares his September 30th birthday with this long-ago Yankee starting pitcher.