February 2014

February 28 – Happy Birthday Marty Perez

The Yankees traded their number 1 pick in the 1971 MLB Draft, a guy named Terry Whitfield, to the Giants in 1977 for the veteran infielder, Marty Perez. Perez had come up to the big leagues with the Angels in 1969. He then spent most of his career as a valuable middle infielder for the Atlanta Braves. He made his Yankee debut in an April 1977 game against Baltimore when Billy Martin gave Graig Nettles the day off and started Marty at third base. He went 2 for 4 in New York’s 6-2 victory. The next day, the Yankees included Perez and their unpredictable pitcher, Dock Ellis in a swap with Oakland that brought pitcher Mike Torrez to New York. Terry Whitfield ended up spending parts of ten seasons in the big leagues, mostly with San Francisco and hitting .281 lifetime. Torrez would win two games for New York in the 1977 World Series and then sign with Boston the following year and give up the Bucky Dent home run. Perez hit .231 for the A’s in 1977 and was out of the big leagues the following year. He is the only member of the Yankees’ all-time roster to celebrate a birthday on this date.

Perez was born in Visalia, California on February 28, 1946. If the Yankees had to field an all-time line up of native Californians, Perez would not be on it but the following guys probably would:

1b Hal Chase (Los Gatos)

2b Tony Lazzeri (San Francisco)

3b Graig Nettles (San Francisco)

SS Frank Crosetti (San Francisco)

c Matt Nokes (San Diego)

OF Bob Meusel (San Jose)

OF Joe DiMaggio (Martinez)

OF Roy White (Los Angeles)

DH Jason Giambi (West Covina)

SP Lefty Gomez (Rodeo)

RP Dave Righetti (San Jose)

Mgr Billy Martin (Berkeley)

Marty Perez wore uniform number 27 during the short time he played for the Bronx Bombers. The last six Yankees to wear this same number were: Raul Ibanez, Chris Dickerson, Kevin Russo, Colin Curtis, Greg Golson, and Joe Girardi. Number 27 was also worn on the backs of Kevin Brown, Graeme Lloyd, Mel Hall, Butch Wynegar, Elliott Maddox and Johnny Lindell.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1977 NYY 1 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000
10 Yrs 931 3463 3131 313 771 108 22 22 241 11 245 369 .246 .301 .316 .617
ATL (6 yrs) 690 2639 2394 240 594 81 16 18 191 7 184 269 .248 .302 .318 .620
OAK (2 yrs) 131 427 385 33 86 14 5 2 23 1 29 70 .223 .282 .301 .583
CAL (2 yrs) 16 18 16 3 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 .188 .278 .188 .465
SFG (1 yr) 93 375 332 37 86 13 1 2 26 3 30 28 .259 .318 .322 .640
NYY (1 yr) 1 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 27 – Happy Birthday Greg Cadaret

cadaretThe nice thing about writing a blog like this is that in doing the research necessary, I learn things about my all-time favorite team that I never knew or realized. For example, I remember when Greg Cadaret wore pinstripes but I had no idea he actually appeared in over 180 games for New York during the three and a half seasons he pitched as a Yankee. His best season in the Bronx was 1991 when he went 8-6 out of the bullpen with three saves and a 3.62 ERA. He came to New York in the 1989 in-season trade that sent Ricky Henderson back to Oakland. The Yankees sold him to Cincinnati after the 1992 season. Greg was born in Detroit on February 27, 1962.

Another Yankee celebrating a birthday on February 27 is this former catcher who is the only man in MLB history to have caught two perfect games during his career. This former catcher/coach and another former Yankee reliever also share Cadaret’s birthday.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1989 NYY 5 5 .500 4.58 20 13 1 3 1 0 92.1 109 53 47 7 38 66 1.592
1990 NYY 5 4 .556 4.15 54 6 9 0 0 3 121.1 120 62 56 8 64 80 1.516
1991 NYY 8 6 .571 3.62 68 5 17 0 0 3 121.2 110 52 49 8 59 105 1.389
1992 NYY 4 8 .333 4.25 46 11 9 1 1 1 103.2 104 53 49 12 74 73 1.717
10 Yrs 38 32 .543 3.99 451 35 120 4 2 14 724.1 716 351 321 58 403 539 1.545
NYY (4 yrs) 22 23 .489 4.12 188 35 36 4 2 7 439.0 443 220 201 35 235 324 1.544
OAK (3 yrs) 11 4 .733 3.24 113 0 29 0 0 3 139.0 118 57 50 8 79 108 1.417
ANA (2 yrs) 1 2 .333 3.91 54 0 17 0 0 1 50.2 49 22 22 7 23 48 1.421
KCR (1 yr) 1 1 .500 2.93 13 0 3 0 0 0 15.1 14 5 5 0 7 2 1.370
TEX (1 yr) 0 0 4.70 11 0 3 0 0 0 7.2 11 4 4 1 3 5 1.826
CIN (1 yr) 2 1 .667 4.96 34 0 15 0 0 1 32.2 40 19 18 3 23 23 1.929
DET (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 3.60 17 0 9 0 0 2 20.0 17 9 8 0 16 14 1.650
TOR (1 yr) 0 1 .000 5.85 21 0 8 0 0 0 20.0 24 15 13 4 17 15 2.050
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 26 – Happy Birthday Rip Collins

rcollins.jpg1920 was an historic year for the New York Yankee franchise. Major League baseball was in the throes of scandal over the alleged involvement of several Chicago White Sox players in a concerted effort to lose the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati. Fans all over the country were turning away from the game in disgust. That wasn’t the case in the Big Apple thanks to the Yankees’ acquisition of Babe Ruth from Boston in January of 1920. In his first season as a Yankee, Ruth stunned the nation by hitting the then unbelievable total of 54 home runs. That would be like someone hitting 180 home runs during the 2010 season, without the help of any pharmaceuticals.

New York set a franchise record by winning 95 games that year and although Ruth was clearly the driving force behind that success, New York had also assembled an outstanding pitching staff. Three veterans on that staff, Carl Mays, Bob Shawkey and Jack Quinn combined to win 64 games that season. The fourth starter was a young, whiskey drinking rookie from Texas named Rip Collins. He was a former Texas Aggie football player who was as tough as they come and he put together a fourteen-victory season during his first year in pinstripes. The following year, Ruth hit 59 bombs and the Yankees won the first AL Pennant in their illustrious history. Collins went 11-5 in his sophomore season and although he had a tendency to walk too many hitters, it looked as if he was in the infant stages of what promised to be a long and successful career with New York. But Yankee manager Miller Huggins had different ideas. From the moment Ruth came to New York, Huggins found it impossible to control this slugging wild man off the field. The manager knew he couldn’t trade Ruth so he did the next best thing. He started getting rid of the Yankee teammates that Ruth enjoyed partying with. Young Rip Collins was one such teammate. In December of 1921, the pitcher was part of a seven player swap with the Red Sox. He went 14-7 during his one season in Beantown but the same control issues that he had experienced as a Yankee followed him to Boston as he led the AL in bases-on-balls. Collins then spent the next five years in Detroit pitching for the Tigers. He then pitched in Canada in 1928 and then signed with the Browns, where he finished his big league career in 1931. Lifetime, Collins was 108-82. After he left baseball he began a career in law enforcement which included a job as a Texas Ranger. He died in Texas in May of 1968 at the age of 72.

Other Yankees born on February 26th include this most famous third string catcher in the team’s history and this former first base prospect.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1920 NYY 14 8 .636 3.22 36 18 12 10 2 1 187.1 171 83 67 6 79 66 1.335
1921 NYY 11 5 .688 5.44 28 16 4 7 2 0 137.1 158 103 83 6 78 64 1.718
11 Yrs 108 82 .568 3.99 311 219 49 84 15 5 1712.1 1795 926 760 73 674 569 1.442
DET (5 yrs) 44 40 .524 3.94 137 102 14 34 6 1 743.0 787 415 325 25 240 214 1.382
SLB (3 yrs) 25 18 .581 4.09 78 54 17 18 2 3 434.0 460 224 197 32 174 156 1.461
NYY (2 yrs) 25 13 .658 4.16 64 34 16 17 4 1 324.2 329 186 150 12 157 130 1.497
BOS (1 yr) 14 11 .560 3.76 32 29 2 15 3 0 210.2 219 101 88 4 103 69 1.528
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 25 – Happy Birthday Roy Weatherly

58091-942FrToday’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was the fourth outfielder on Joe McCarthy’s last pinstriped World Championship team, the 1943 New York Yankees. Roy Weatherly was a short and speedy native of Warren, Texas, who had made his big league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1936 and had worked his way into the Tribe’s starting center-fielder’s job by 1940. A good contact hitter with a bit of power, he had his best big league season that year, when he averaged .303 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs. He was considered to be a solid defensive outfielder.

The Yankees got Weatherly in December of the 1942 season along with infielder Oscar Grimes in a trade that sent spare outfielder Roy Cullenbine and a decent-hitting backup catcher named Buddy Rosar to Cleveland. Some Yankee historians felt the deal was triggered by McCarthy’s anger at Rosar for leaving the Yankee ball club without permission during the ’42 regular season to take a civil service exam for a policeman’s job in Buffalo, NY. All four players involved in this trade were married and had children, which meant none of them were in danger of being drafted to serve in WWII, which was raging in both Europe and the Pacific at the time.

Both Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Henrich were lost to military service following the ’43 season, leaving the Yanks with a starting outfield of Charlie Keller, a former pitcher named Johnny Lindell and 28-year-old rookie, Bud Metheny. Weatherly, who hit from the left side of the plate, saw action in 77 games that season, as McCarthy platooned him with the right-hand hitting Lindell in center field.

He had a solid year for the Yankees, helping them get to their second straight World Series against the Cardinals that fall, but he only got one at bat in New York’s five-game victory over the defending champions. He then volunteered to serve his country in April of 1944 and spent the next two years in the US Army. When he was discharged in 1946, he tried to re-start his Yankee career but could not win a permanent spot on a Yankees outfield depth chart that had been replenished with returning soldier/athletes.

Instead of hanging up his cleats, Weatherly returned to minor league ball and continued playing into his forties. In 1950, his perseverance paid off when the NY Giants brought him up to be their team’s fourth outfielder that season, at the age of 35.

Weatherly passed away in 1991 back in his native Texas, at the age of 75. He shares his birthday with this former great Yankee outfielderthis one-time Yankee first baseman and this former Yankee skipper.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1943 NYY 77 307 280 37 74 8 3 7 28 4 18 9 .264 .311 .389 .700
1946 NYY 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
10 Yrs 811 3007 2781 415 794 152 44 43 290 42 180 170 .286 .331 .418 .749
CLE (7 yrs) 680 2616 2430 368 701 141 38 36 251 38 149 151 .288 .331 .422 .753
NYY (2 yrs) 79 309 282 37 75 8 3 7 28 4 18 9 .266 .312 .390 .702
NYG (1 yr) 52 82 69 10 18 3 3 0 11 0 13 10 .261 .378 .391 .769
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 24 – Happy Birthday Mike Lowell

lowellbow.jpgI remember being upset when the Yankees traded third base prospect Mike Lowell to the Marlins, after New York picked up Scott Brosius in 1998. I had been following Lowell’s progress at Columbus at the time and he looked like the real deal. Brosius of course went on to have a super 1998 season and postseason and worked his butt off during his four years in pinstripes.

But Mike Lowell turned out to be a very good ballplayer and a class act in the clubhouse. And he would come back and haunt his former franchise for dealing him. He spent seven solid seasons with the Marlins and in 2003, he led them to the World Series where the Fish pulled off an upset 4-games-to-2 victory against the Yankees. That regular season, Lowell set career highs with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs.

Then in November of 2005, Red Sox GM Brian Epstein pulled off a stunning trade with Florida, getting both Lowell and starting pitcher Josh Beckett for a package of four prospects that included both Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. That deal brought the one-time Yankee prospect back to the AL East Division. During the next five seasons, Lowell appeared in 76 Red Sox-Yankee games and hit .314 in those contests including 12 home runs and 56 RBIs. Even worse, in 2007, he set new career highs in RBIs (120) and batting average (.324) and led Boston to an AL East Division title. He then averaged .352, smashed 18 hits and drove in 15 runs in the Red Sox’ 14-game ’07 postseason, which culminated with a second ring and a World Series MVP award for Lowell.

That ’07 playoff run would turn out to be the high point of Lowell’s career in Beantown. During the next three seasons, he was afflicted with an A-Rod like hip injury that would eventually force him into retirement after the 2010 season.

Its interesting to think about what would have happened if New York started Lowell at third in 1998. Would they have gone for A-Rod when they did if they had a young and productive Lowell at third? Would that mean Soriano might still be a Yankee today? I of course get to ask these questions while Cashman earns his salary by answering them.

Lowell shares his birthday with this former Yankee utility outfielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 NYY 8 15 15 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .267 .267 .267 .533
13 Yrs 1601 6500 5813 771 1619 394 7 223 952 30 548 817 .279 .342 .464 .805
FLA (7 yrs) 981 4005 3554 477 965 241 3 143 578 21 354 528 .272 .339 .462 .801
BOS (5 yrs) 612 2480 2244 293 650 153 4 80 374 9 194 288 .290 .346 .468 .814
NYY (1 yr) 8 15 15 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .267 .267 .267 .533
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2014.

February 23 – Happy Birthday Rondell White

I personally remember three instances when Yankee television broadcast crews actively promoted the acquisition of a player on a competing team. The first was Scott Brosius. It seemed as if whenever New York played the A’s during the 1997 season, somebody in the New York booth would make it a point of commenting how Brosius, then Oakland’s starting third baseman, would be a perfect fit on the Yankee team. The next time I remember it happening was that same season when the Royals were in town and somebody in the booth talking about how Kansas City ‘s switch-hitting DH, Chili Davis would be a great addition to the Yankee lineup. The last time I remember the booth chatting about who would be a great addition for the Yankees, the subject was a Chicago Cub and former Expo outfielder, Rondell White.

I’m sure there have been several other instances when somebody with a Yankee microphone made statements about acquiring players from other teams but either I wasn’t listening or the conversation centered on a superstar that every team coveted at the time. Brosius, Davis and White were all considered good solid players in their day but not superstars. That’s why it is so easy for me to remember thinking the booth chatter about each was odd. It almost seemed as if somebody in New York’s front office asked the game announcers to talk about each player as a way of making the team’s interest in them public but I couldn’t think of any real good reasons why they would want to do so.

In any event, the announcers were spot on about Brosius. The Yankees got him in a trade for Kenny Rogers after the ’97 season. The TV guys were also right about Davis. After a year of bad health, he became a key cog as the full-time DH of New York’s 1999 World Championship team. Unfortunately, their good feelings about Rondell White as a Yankee proved to be unfounded. The Milledgeville, GA native was signed as a free agent after the 2001 season and the hope was that he would fill the huge outfield hole left by the retiring Paul O’Neill. That didn’t happen. His batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage fell of the cliff as soon as he put on the pinstripes and after just one season in the Yankee outfield, he was traded off to the Padres. White played well just about everywhere else, ending a fifteen year big league career in 2007 with a .284 lifetime batting average and 198 home runs. He was born on February 23, 1972.

This great Yankee catcher and this one-time Yankee outfielder also celebrate birthdays on today’s date.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP
2002 NYY 126 494 455 59 109 21 0 14 62 1 25 86 .240 .288
15 Yrs 1474 5852 5357 756 1519 296 34 198 768 94 360 925 .284 .336
MON (8 yrs) 742 3021 2756 420 808 165 23 101 384 88 200 494 .293 .348
MIN (2 yrs) 137 474 446 40 102 21 1 11 58 1 17 73 .229 .266
CHC (2 yrs) 114 431 390 50 121 21 1 19 57 1 31 68 .310 .374
DET (2 yrs) 218 898 822 125 238 45 5 31 120 2 56 125 .290 .342
KCR (1 yr) 22 85 75 13 26 6 1 4 21 0 6 8 .347 .400
SDP (1 yr) 115 449 413 49 115 17 3 18 66 1 25 71 .278 .330
NYY (1 yr) 126 494 455 59 109 21 0 14 62 1 25 86 .240 .288
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2014.

February 22 – Happy Birthday Kelly Johnson

johnsonNo one complained more than me during the 2013 preseason about the Yankees’ penny pinching approach to developing the team’s 25-man Opening Day roster. You won’t hear me complaining this year. Prince Hal and company have put an additional $400 million Yankee bucks back into their product thus far this winter.

The Bronx Bombers have upgraded their catching position, their rotation and their outfield. The recent signing of former A’s closer Andrew Bailey was Brian Cashman’s way of putting in place some insurance for a stretch run just in case David Robertson proves unready to master the Closer’s role in New York’s bullpen.

The only area of the team that the Yanks can be accused of “downgrading” is the infield. Granted, if Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter can both bounce back from serious injuries, Yankee fans will be pleased with the results. But the efforts to replace Robbie Cano with Brian Roberts and A-Rod with today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant were definitely done on the cheap.

Johnson will not make us forget what A-Rod was in his juiced-up prime but, then again, who could. He’s an eight-year veteran who came up with the Braves in 2005 and later put up some good home run numbers for the Diamondbacks. The Yanks are hoping their Stadium’s short right field porch provides as big a boost to Johnson’s power stats as he got from the thin desert air during his top dinger-production days in Arizona. If that does happen, Joe Girardi should be able to live with Johnson’s limited defensive experience and skills as a third baseman

Born in Austin, Texas on this date in 1982, Johnson was a first round draft pick of Atlanta’s in 2000. He spent last year with the Rays and the year before that with the Blue Jays so he’s got lots of experience against AL East pitchers. Both Scott Sizemore and the perennial Yankee infield question mark, Eduardo Nunez will challenge Johnson for the hot corner job this spring but conventional wisdom says the spot is his to lose.  He shares his birthday with this former 20-game-winning pitcherthis one-time Yankee closer,  this former Yankee phee-nom and this grandfather of a number 1 Yankee draft pick.

Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
8 Yrs 1051 4174 3664 540 926 191 38 124 442 79 439 928 .253 .335 .427 .762
ATL (4 yrs) 490 1902 1661 270 439 97 22 45 206 29 203 359 .264 .346 .430 .777
ARI (2 yrs) 268 1152 1015 152 256 59 10 44 120 26 123 280 .252 .335 .460 .795
TOR (2 yrs) 175 713 622 77 145 23 4 19 64 17 78 190 .233 .323 .375 .697
TBR (1 yr) 118 407 366 41 86 12 2 16 52 7 35 99 .235 .305 .410 .715
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2014.

February 21 – Happy Birthday Joel Skinner

Joel Skinner came to the Yankees in a trade with the White Sox during the 1986 season. New York was hoping he could take over the starting catcher slot from a disappointing Butch Wynegar, who was hitting in the low .200s at the time. Skinner did OK for Manager Lou Piniella’s team the rest of that season but not good enough to stop New York from re-acquiring Rick Cerone in 1988 and then Don Slaught from Texas in 1989. Skinner remained in pinstripes both years as the backup catcher, hitting just .214 as a Yankee. He was born in La Jolla, CA on this date in 1961. After his playing days were through in 1991, Skinner got into coaching and managing and in 2002, he was hired to replace Charley Manuel as the Indians’ field boss for the second half of that season. Skinner shares his February 21st birthday with this starting left-fielder for the 1990 Yankees and the first 34th round draft pick in Yankee history.

Can anybody out there tell me what the following Yankee lineup has in common?

C   Joel Skinner

Here are Joel Skinner’s Yankee regular season and MLB career stats:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1986 NYY 54 174 166 6 43 4 0 1 17 0 7 40 .259 .287 .301 .589
1987 NYY 64 154 139 9 19 4 0 3 14 0 8 46 .137 .187 .230 .417
1988 NYY 88 272 251 23 57 15 0 4 23 0 14 72 .227 .267 .335 .602
9 Yrs 564 1551 1441 119 329 62 3 17 136 3 80 387 .228 .269 .311 .580
CHW (4 yrs) 131 311 284 32 65 11 2 5 29 2 21 76 .229 .282 .335 .617
CLE (3 yrs) 227 640 601 49 145 28 1 4 53 1 30 153 .241 .279 .311 .590
NYY (3 yrs) 206 600 556 38 119 23 0 8 54 0 29 158 .214 .253 .299 .551
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2014.

February 20 – Happy Birthday Brian McCann

mccannYankee teams don’t win World Championships without good solid starting catchers. I’ve been a Bronx Bomber fan for over 50 years and during that time its been names like Berra, Howard, Munson, Girardi and Posada, who have been behind the plate when my favorite team won a ring. Most of these guys could hit, most of them were strong defensively as well and each and everyone of them were tough, strong leaders who weren’t afraid to take control of their pitching staffs.

Russell Martin was that type of player for the Yankees. Certainly not a superstar but most definitely a leader behind the plate and a guy who craved at bats with the game on the line. He had no fear and the Yankees could have got to a World Series with him as their starting catcher, which is why it distressed me, when they let him walk away to Pittsburgh last offseason and decided they’d try instead to go cheap by staffing such a critical position with Cervelli, Stewart, and eventually Austin Romine. It was that single front office decision that convinced me that this current Yankee brain trust actually believed they could be clever money-ball practitioners when I knew they were not. More importantly, I knew that trying to win with less money took away the franchise’s biggest advantage over its competition, which is HAVING MORE MONEY to spend!

We all saw the results. The offensive performance of the Yankee catching staff was as bad as I knew it would be last season and the co-catcher model hurt the stability of the pitching staff. There were also more empty seats in Yankee Stadium and fewer viewers watching those commercials on the YES Network.

Brian McCann had to be signed by New York, this offseason. He’s exactly the kind of catcher the Yankees must have to get back to Fall Ball. He’s also the signal I needed to see that this Yankee brain trust fully realized the error of their penny-pinching ways last winter. I’m once again officially excited about Opening Day!

McCann shares his birthday with Old Reliablethis former Yankee outfielder, this one-time Yankee catcher and this one-time Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
9 Yrs 1105 4354 3863 464 1070 227 2 176 661 23 414 630 .277 .350 .473 .823
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2014.

February 19 – Happy Birthday Alvaro Espinosa


The 1989 season was a bad one for Yankee fans. That year’s team became the first New York club in fifteen seasons to lose more regular season games than it won, (74-87.) It was a season of transition for my favorite baseball team but unfortunately, that transition was moving in the wrong direction. That year would be the last time Don Mattingly would average .300 in a full regular season in pinstripes. It was the first time in almost a decade that Dave Winfield wasn’t a Yankee outfielder and the last season Ricky Henderson was. It was the first year of Ron Guidry’s retirement and the final year George Steinbrenner would officially have dictatorial control over all organizational and personnel moves before being suspended for his role in the Howie Spira scandal. The Yankee managers that season were Dallas Green and then Bucky Dent, both of whom were fired, clearing the way for the Stump Merrill era to begin one season later or as I like to refer to it as “the era of being completely Stumped.”

It appeared as if the only good thing happening in Yankee Stadium in 1989 was the introduction of a flashy Venezuelan-born starting shortstop. But alas, even that turned out to be an illusion. When I think of Alvaro Espinosa during his Yankee playing days I’m reminded of a line that comedian Billy Crystal used on Saturday Night Live whenever he impersonated the actor, Fernando Lamas, with one slight modification. “It is better to look good than to play good.”

At first appearance to Yankee fans, Alvaro Espinosa looked like a classic Major League shortstop. He hit .282 his first full year as a Yankee and played shortstop with a flair that often thrilled us.  As time and Yankee seasons wore on however and the team’s losses mounted, it became clear that Espinosa’s defensive skills, though not horrible were far from great and his propensity to swing at terrible pitches on 3-0 counts and his lack of run production made him a liability in the Yankee lineup. When Buck Showalter replaced Stump Merrill in 1992, Espinosa’s three-year reign as New York’s starting shortstop was officially over. There was of course Espinosa’s great gold necklace. I could be wrong but I do believe it was Alvaro who first introduced bling to big league baseball in the Bronx. In any event, happy 52nd birthday to Mr Espinosa and may he enjoy many more. He shares his birthday with this Yankee catcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1988 NYY 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
1989 NYY 146 544 503 51 142 23 1 0 41 3 14 60 .282 .301 .332 .633
1990 NYY 150 472 438 31 98 12 2 2 20 1 16 54 .224 .258 .274 .532
1991 NYY 148 509 480 51 123 23 2 5 33 4 16 57 .256 .282 .344 .626
12 Yrs 942 2659 2478 252 630 105 9 22 201 13 76 324 .254 .279 .331 .610
CLE (4 yrs) 344 802 749 88 189 36 2 11 74 4 22 103 .252 .276 .350 .626
NYY (4 yrs) 447 1528 1424 133 363 58 5 7 94 8 46 171 .255 .281 .317 .598
MIN (3 yrs) 70 107 99 9 24 3 0 0 10 0 2 19 .242 .265 .273 .537
NYM (1 yr) 48 144 134 19 41 7 2 4 16 0 4 19 .306 .324 .478 .801
SEA (1 yr) 33 78 72 3 13 1 0 0 7 1 2 12 .181 .213 .194 .408
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/27/2014.