February 7 – Happy Birthday Damaso Garcia

garcia.jpgThe Yankees waited until after the 1979 World Series to make the deal to replace Thurman Munson, who had been tragically killed in a plane crash earlier that same season. When they did pull the trigger, I was disappointed. First of all, I was a big Chris Chambliss fan. When it was announced that New York had traded Chambliss along with Paul Mirabella and a young Yankee shortstop prospect to the Blue Jays for Toronto’s starting backstop Rick Cerone and two pitchers, not only was I upset to see Chambliss go, I thought they traded for the wrong guy. I was hoping New York’s front office would target Ted Simmons of the Cardinals as their choice to replace Munson. Simmons was a switch-hitter and perennial All Star while the much younger Cerone had not done anything with his bat up to that point in his career and was too young to provide the sort of veteran leadership I thought the Yankees needed back then.

As it turned out, Cerone did pretty well in pinstripes for a couple of seasons and the Yankees did a good job at replacing Chambliss at first. Even though the Jays turned around and traded Chambu to the Braves for a guy named Barry Bonnell, Toronto made out OK too because they got that young Yankee prospect named Damaso Garcia. The Blue Jays switched him to second base and during the next seven seasons, this Dominican was always among the top two or three players at that position in the American League. He made the AL All Star team in both 1984 and ’85. He spent a total of seven seasons with Toronto, averaged .288 and stole right around 45 bases a year. After Bucky Dent was traded by New York in 1980, Roy Smalley, Bobby Meacham and Wayne Tolleson each had two-year tenures as Yankee starting shortstops. I believe Garcia would have been a much better answer at the time.Garcia shares his February 7th birthday with this one-time Yankee prospect who was once hailed as “the next Lou Gehrig.”

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1978 NYY 18 44 41 5 8 0 0 0 1 1 2 6 .195 .227 .195 .422
1979 NYY 11 38 38 3 10 1 0 0 4 2 0 2 .263 .263 .289 .553
11 Yrs 1032 4124 3914 490 1108 183 27 36 323 203 130 322 .283 .309 .371 .680
TOR (7 yrs) 902 3756 3572 453 1028 172 26 32 296 194 110 284 .288 .312 .377 .690
NYY (2 yrs) 29 82 79 8 18 1 0 0 5 3 2 8 .228 .244 .241 .484
MON (1 yr) 80 222 203 26 55 9 1 3 18 5 15 20 .271 .317 .369 .686
ATL (1 yr) 21 64 60 3 7 1 0 1 4 1 3 10 .117 .159 .183 .342
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2014.

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