July 7 – Happy Birthday Chuck Knoblauch

I had taken my two sons to the second game of the 1998 American League Championship Series against Cleveland. It turned out to be a pitchers’ duel, first between David Cone and Charles Nagy and then each team’s bullpen. The score was tied one to one in the top of the twelfth when Jim Thome led off the inning with a single off of Yankee reliever Jeff Nelson. Enrique Wilson came into run for Thome and the next hitter, Travis Fryman, laid a bunt down the first base line. Knoblauch was covering first when the throw hit Fryman and the ball squirted into foul territory. Instead of going for the ball, Knoblauch decided to argue runner interference with first base umpire John Shulock.

As Knoblauch stood there arguing, Wilson rounded third and scored the go-ahead run as me and my boys and about 57,000 other fans in the Stadium that evening screamed at the clueless Yankee second baseman to get the damn ball. The incident turned what could have been a baseball classic into an extra inning nightmare and I was never ever able to completely forgive Chuck for that bonehead play.

As it turned out, Knoblauch was just not a good fit for the Yankees. The artificial turf in Minnesota had helped him average better than .300 with the Twins and he was never the same hitter on Yankee Stadium turf. He also developed that horrible case of the “Steve Blass” throwing disease that eventually forced Joe Torre to play him at designated hitter.Knoblauch was born on this date in 1968, in Houston.

Knoblauch shares his July 7th birthday with the only former Yankee player to become a big league umpire.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 NYY 150 706 603 117 160 25 4 17 64 31 76 70 .265 .361 .405 .765
1999 NYY 150 715 603 120 176 36 4 18 68 28 83 57 .292 .393 .454 .848
2000 NYY 102 457 400 75 113 22 2 5 26 15 46 45 .283 .366 .385 .751
2001 NYY 137 600 521 66 130 20 3 9 44 38 58 73 .250 .339 .351 .691
12 Yrs 1632 7387 6366 1132 1839 322 64 98 615 407 804 730 .289 .378 .406 .783
MIN (7 yrs) 1013 4573 3939 713 1197 210 51 43 391 276 513 453 .304 .391 .416 .807
NYY (4 yrs) 539 2478 2127 378 579 103 13 49 202 112 263 245 .272 .366 .402 .768
KCR (1 yr) 80 336 300 41 63 9 0 6 22 19 28 32 .210 .284 .300 .584
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/7/2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: