May 2014

May 30 – Happy Birthday Al Mamaux

Al Mamaux seemed to be on top of the baseball world after putting together consecutive 21-victory seasons for his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates in 1915 and ’16. His bubble quickly burst the following season, however, when he went just 2-11 and was also suspended by Pittsburgh Manager, Hugo Bezdek for violating “team rules” during a road trip to  New York. When I first found out about the suspension, it caused me to surmise that perhaps Mamaux, who was just 22 years old at the time, had let success go to his head. A closer look at this right-hander’s season stat lines indicated other reasons may have existed for his quick and precipitous downfall. During his two big seasons with the Pirates, he had pitched more than 550 innings of baseball, far more than he had ever thrown over a two season period. All those innings must have put a tremendous strain on his young right arm because he was never again able to approach that same level of success in the big leagues.

The Pirates traded him and Burleigh Grimes to Brooklyn in 1918 in a deal that sent future Yankee skipper Casey Stengel to Pittsburgh. Mamaux hardly pitched for his new team in 1918 but recovered to win 10 games in 1919 and 12 more in 1920. He would spend a total of six seasons with Brooklyn and his big league career was just about over when the Yankees purchased his contract in 1924. He appeared in 14 games for New York in 1924, splitting his only two decisions. That performance ended his big league playing days but put him on the path to his second career as a very successful manager of the Yankees’ Newark Bears farm team. Before he took over as Newark’s field boss, he anchored the Bears starting rotation for four seasons during which he won 79 games. In 1930 he replaced Tris Speaker as skipper of the Bears. His Newark teams were considered the very best in that proud franchise’s illustrious International League history and Mamaux would later become a highly regarded college coach at Seton Hall.

The only other Yankee born in this date made his debut as a Yankee pitcher during the same season Mamaux became the Bears’ manager.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1924 NYY 1 1 .500 5.68 14 2 7 0 0 0 38.0 44 28 24 2 20 12 1.684
12 Yrs 76 67 .531 2.90 254 137 79 78 15 10 1293.0 1138 541 416 22 511 625 1.275
BRO (6 yrs) 26 30 .464 3.07 127 49 49 26 4 8 541.2 513 241 185 12 183 244 1.285
PIT (5 yrs) 49 36 .576 2.61 113 86 23 52 11 2 713.1 581 272 207 8 308 369 1.246
NYY (1 yr) 1 1 .500 5.68 14 2 7 0 0 0 38.0 44 28 24 2 20 12 1.684
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/30/2013.

May 29 – Happy Birthday Charlie Hayes

HayesCFate shined kindly on this fourteen-year veteran when he found himself catching the final out pop-up of the 1996 World Series as the Yankee’s third baseman. New York had picked him up late that same season to serve as a late-inning defensive replacement for Wade Boggs. Hayes had also been the Yankee starting third baseman in 1992 but was left unprotected in the MLB Expansion Draft and was selected by Colorado.

After he caught the last out of the ’96 Series, he actually started more games at third for the Yankees the following season than Boggs did. But after the Indians bounced the Yankees out of postseason play in the first round of the 1997 playoffs, Charlie was traded to San Francisco and the Yankees went out and got Scott Brosius from Oakland to be their new third baseman.

Born in Hattiesburg, MS in 1965, Charlie retired after the 2001 season with 144 home runs and 1,379 career hits during his 14-season big league career.

Charley shares his May 29th birthday with long-ago Yankee outfielderthis utility player and  this first baseman

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1992 NYY 142 549 509 52 131 19 2 18 66 3 28 100 .257 .297 .409 .705
1996 NYY 20 69 67 7 19 3 0 2 13 0 1 12 .284 .294 .418 .712
1997 NYY 100 398 353 39 91 16 0 11 53 3 40 66 .258 .332 .397 .728
14 Yrs 1547 5766 5262 580 1379 251 16 144 740 47 420 918 .262 .316 .398 .714
SFG (4 yrs) 216 683 609 72 150 17 1 18 110 5 67 106 .246 .320 .366 .686
PHI (4 yrs) 519 1981 1849 174 474 88 5 41 238 15 105 303 .256 .296 .376 .672
NYY (3 yrs) 262 1016 929 98 241 38 2 31 132 6 69 178 .259 .310 .405 .715
COL (2 yrs) 270 1093 996 135 297 68 6 35 148 14 79 153 .298 .352 .484 .836
PIT (1 yr) 128 500 459 51 114 21 2 10 62 6 36 78 .248 .301 .368 .669
HOU (1 yr) 31 58 50 4 10 2 0 0 4 0 7 16 .200 .293 .240 .533
MIL (1 yr) 121 435 370 46 93 17 0 9 46 1 57 84 .251 .348 .370 .718
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/29/2013.

May 28 – Happy Birthday Cory Wade

One of the true bright spots of the Yankees 2012 season was the performance of their bullpen. If someone told you at the beginning of that year’s spring training camp that Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson would all be on the DL at the same time but their absence would have little negative impact on the quality of New York’s relief pitching, you’d call that person crazy. But that’s exactly what happened. Raffie Soriano, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley all stepped up big time and got a huge early-season assist from today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant.

Through the middle of June Cory Wade appeared in 27 games for New York that season and pitched 27 innings. He has struck out 30 hitters, walked just 5 and allowed only 8e earned runs for an ERA of 2.63. He wasn’t really a flash in the pan for New York either. In 2011, this right-handed native of Indianapolis appeared in 40 games for the Yankees, went 6-1 with an ERA of just 2.04.

Unfortunately for Wade and the 2012 Yankees, his pitching fell apart during the second half of June. When he gave up a total 10 earned runs in his final two appearances that month, New York skipper Joe Girardi lost confidence in the pitcher and he was demoted to Scranton.

Wade came up to the big leagues with the Dodgers in 2008 and pitched well for Manager Joe Torre. He then injured his shoulder in 2009 and required surgery. The Dodgers released him and he signed with Tampa but never pitched an inning for the Rays. The Yankees signed him in June of 2011 and with his arm completely healed, Wade’s been pitching well ever since. He’s not a hard thrower. His fastball tops out at about 90 miles per hour but he has very good command of four different pitches and has been mixing speeds masterfully since he donned the pinstripes. Let’s hope it continues.

Wade was called back up by New York for the 2012 stretch run and pitched OK but not great. He was then left off the Yankees’ postseason roster and put on waivers that October. He’s now pitching in the Royals’ minor league system.

Wade shares his May 28th birthday with another very effective Yankee relief pitcher from the 1950s. 

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 NYY 6 1 .857 2.04 40 0 8 0 0 0 39.2 33 10 9 5 8 30 1.034
2012 NYY 1 1 .500 6.46 39 0 7 0 0 0 39.0 46 29 28 8 8 38 1.385
4 Yrs 11 6 .647 3.65 161 0 38 0 0 0 177.2 158 78 72 23 41 137 1.120
LAD (2 yrs) 4 4 .500 3.18 82 0 23 0 0 0 99.0 79 39 35 10 25 69 1.051
NYY (2 yrs) 7 2 .778 4.23 79 0 15 0 0 0 78.2 79 39 37 13 16 68 1.208
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/28/2013.