December 16 – Happy Birthday Ted Wilborn
How many ballplayers can say they once replaced Mr. October during an October baseball game? Today’s birthday celebrant can. He made his last appearance in Pinstripes by replacing Reggie Jackson in right field at the start of the third inning, during an October 5, 1980 game against Detroit. It was New York’s regular season finale and the Yankees had already clinched their Division. New York Manager, Dick Howser let Reggie get an at bat (he tripled) and then pulled his superstar out of the meaningless contest and replaced him with Wilborn. Ted’s real name is Thaddeus Inglehart Wilborn. He was born in Waco, TX, on December 16, 1958.
New York had originally drafted this speedster in the 4th round of the 1976 Major League Draft but then lost him to Toronto in the Rule 5 Draft two years later. The Yankees got him back from the Blue Jays in the same 1979 deal that had brought catcher Rick Cerone to the Bronx. He appeared in just eight games for New York during his only season in pinstripes. He went back down into the Yankee farm system the following year and ended up getting packaged in a 1982 trade with the Giants for Doyle Alexander. He went on to steal over 200 bases in the Minors but never again played in a big league game.