August 3rd, 2013

August 3 – Happy Birthday Kevin Elster

Todays Pinstripe Birthday celebrant is best known for his days with the New York Mets. He started at shortstop for the Amazin’s from 1988 through 1991 and set the since broken Major League record for consecutive error-less games at short with 88 straight during the 1988 and ’89 seasons. Kevin’s problem was his offense or lack there-of. He struggled to hit .230 during his days at Shea. When he hurt his shoulder during the 1991 season and underwent surgery, his Met career was all but over. He was then signed and released by respectively, the Dodgers, Marlins and Padres without appearing in a big league game for any of those teams. The Yankees then signed him in May of 1994 and he played in 13 games in pinstripes during the remainder of the 1994 and beginning of the ’95 seasons before he was again released. He signed with Texas in 1996 and suddenly erupted with his bat, hitting 24 home runs and driving in 99 from the bottom spot in the Rangers’ lineup. That one-time spurt got him a $1.6 million dollar one-year contract with the Pirates in ’97 and another $1.5 million in ’98 but he never again approached those lofty numbers.

Elster was considered a “hunk” by the ladies who used to swoon over him wherever he played. Married and divorced twice, the native of San Pedro, CA once hoped to use those good looks to establish a film career. He did get cast in a small part in the film “Little Big League” in 1994. In 1995,  just before he started his second season with the Yankees, he told a New York Times interviewer that he kept making excuses for his below-average play, especially his poor hitting during the first part of his career. He actually retired after the 1998 season and was working on opening a bar in Las Vegas. An amateur drummer himself, Elster’s plan was to invite musicians to jam there whenever they wanted. Before the idea got off the ground, he accepted an offer to play for the Dodgers in 2000. His one last thrill as a big league player occurred on April 11th of that season, when the Dodgers travelled to San Francisco to face their arch-rival Giants in the first game ever to be played in Petco Park. Elster hit three home runs in that game to lead LA to a win.

Other Yankees born on August 3rd include this one-time phee-nom and  this long-time New York bullpen coach.  I’d also like to wish my oldest son Matthew John, who also happens to be a great Yankee fan, a very happy 35th birthday.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1994 NYY 7 22 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 .000 .048 .000 .048
1995 NYY 10 18 17 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 .118 .167 .176 .343
13 Yrs 940 3225 2844 332 648 136 12 88 376 14 295 562 .228 .300 .377 .677
NYM (7 yrs) 537 1765 1584 166 355 75 6 34 174 10 142 242 .224 .288 .343 .631
TEX (2 yrs) 241 932 812 112 199 42 3 32 136 4 85 204 .245 .315 .422 .738
NYY (2 yrs) 17 40 37 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 11 .054 .103 .081 .184
LAD (1 yr) 80 259 220 29 50 8 0 14 32 0 38 52 .227 .341 .455 .796
PIT (1 yr) 39 164 138 14 31 6 2 7 25 0 21 39 .225 .327 .449 .776
PHI (1 yr) 26 65 53 10 11 4 1 1 9 0 7 14 .208 .302 .377 .679
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/3/2013.