Results tagged ‘ all star ’

March 15 – Happy Birthday Bobby Bonds

bonds.jpgBobby Bonds came to the Yankees in a blockbuster trade that sent Yankee fan favorite, Bobby Murcer to the Giants in 1974. After a strong 1975 season in Pinstripes, Bobby was traded to the Angels for Ed Fiqueroa and Mickey Rivers. Bond’s most memorable contribution to baseball was his son Barry. Bonds died of Lung Cancer in August 2003.

I was 20-years-old when the Bonds for Murcer trade was made and can remember it as if it were yesterday. As a lifelong Yankee fan who had watched the Bomber dynasty crumble in the latter half of the sixties, Murcer was my favorite player at that time. He didn’t have superstar skills but he was the best player on some of the worst Yankee teams in the franchise’s hallowed history.

I started watching baseball in 1960 as a six-year-old and back then, Yankee fans took for granted that every October we’d be able to watch our Bronx Bombers play in the World Series. And that was the case right up until 1965. Then, within a matter of just a few years, instead of rooting for guys like Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford, Howard and Skowron to win a pennant, I found myself actually getting some satisfaction when players with names like Tepedino, Repoz, Whitaker, Amaro and Kenney could win just enough to keep my team out of the AL basement.

Murcer, Mel Stottlemyre, and a new kid named Munson were pretty much the only bright spots for us Yankee fans during that bleak period and then “The Boss” showed up in the Bronx. After putting together and heading a group of investors that purchased the team from CBS in January of 1973, George Steinbrenner began looking to make huge changes to the roster almost immediately, convinced he could deal his team back into the World Series.

He therefore was ready to jump at the opportunity to acquire Bonds from the SF Giants for Murcer. Baseball pundits at the time thought a lot more of Bonds’ skills than Murcer’s and they were right. Bonds was a genuine five-tool player who always seemed just on the verge of super stardom. Murcer on the other hand, earned his keep by playing hard every second he was on the field. Plus Bobby loved being a Yankee and always used to say that the saddest day of his life was the day the Yankees swapped him for Bonds.

As it turned out, Steinbrenner was right about this one but not because Bonds ended up leading New York back to the Fall Classic. Instead, after just one pretty good year in pinstripes, the Yanks swapped him for Fiqueroa and Rivers who immediately became two critical cogs in the team’s drive to the 1976 World Series.

This former Yankee third baseman, this much more recent Yankee third baseman and this long-ago first baseman also celebrate their birthday on March 15th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1975 NYY 145 626 529 93 143 26 3 32 85 30 89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888
14 Yrs 1849 8090 7043 1258 1886 302 66 332 1024 461 914 1757 .268 .353 .471 .824
SFG (7 yrs) 1014 4610 4047 765 1106 188 42 186 552 263 500 1016 .273 .356 .478 .834
CAL (2 yrs) 257 1106 970 151 256 33 12 47 169 71 115 231 .264 .340 .468 .808
STL (1 yr) 86 270 231 37 47 5 3 5 24 15 33 74 .203 .305 .316 .621
TEX (1 yr) 130 555 475 85 126 15 4 29 82 37 69 110 .265 .356 .497 .853
CHC (1 yr) 45 190 163 26 35 7 1 6 19 5 24 44 .215 .323 .380 .703
CLE (1 yr) 146 631 538 93 148 24 1 25 85 34 74 135 .275 .367 .463 .830
NYY (1 yr) 145 626 529 93 143 26 3 32 85 30 89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888
CHW (1 yr) 26 102 90 8 25 4 0 2 8 6 10 10 .278 .347 .389 .735
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

February 14 – Happy Birthday Tyler Clippard

The first few times I watched Tyler Clippard pitch in a Yankee uniform, I did not think he was going to be a particularly effective big league pitcher. I suppose one of the reasons I formed that initial opinion was the right-hander’s very unorthodox windup. Clippard is tall and thin and during his delivery, it seemed as if he could fold his back into a right angle and puff out his chest to a point where you thought it was going to explode. At the same time, he stretched and waved every appendage on his body to their furthest points. After winning 31 games during his four-year stay in the Yankee farm system, he made his big league debut against the Mets in May of 2007, pitching six strong innings and getting a win. Just 22 years old at the time, Clippard seemed to pitch less effectively in each successive start. He had a fastball in the very low nineties, he walked a lot of batters and he gave up a lot of fly balls. As a right-hander in the old Yankee Stadium that was not a good recipe for success on the mound. But Clippard did have an outstanding change-up, which made his very low nineties heater much more sneaky fast. New York’s front office gave up on the Yankee Clippard after the 2007 postseason, trading him to the Nationals for Jonathan Albaladejo. Clippard has evolved into a real force in Washington’s bullpen. He saved 32 games for the Nats in 2012. Meanwhile, Albaladejo did nothing but struggle for the Yankees.

Clippard was born on Valentine’s Day, in 1985. This “Voice of the Yankees” was also a Valentine’s Day baby as was this former Yankee relief pitcher and this one-time Yankee utility infielder.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2007 NYY 3 1 .750 6.33 6 6 0 0 0 0 27.0 29 19 19 6 17 18 1.704
7 Yrs 30 21 .588 3.00 345 8 82 0 0 33 420.2 286 146 140 52 176 466 1.098
WSN (6 yrs) 27 20 .574 2.77 339 2 82 0 0 33 393.2 257 127 121 46 159 448 1.057
NYY (1 yr) 3 1 .750 6.33 6 6 0 0 0 0 27.0 29 19 19 6 17 18 1.704
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/26/2014.

January 4 – Happy Birthday Ted Lilly

The Yankees obtained pitcher Ted Lilly as a player to be named later in a 2000 trade that sent Hideki Irabu to Montreal. Although he was just 8-12 during his one and a half seasons in pinstripes, I remember liking the way the young left hander conducted himself on the mound. In one of his final starts as a Yankee, Lilly threw a complete game, three-hit shutout against the Padres and I was certain he was about to become a solid winner in the Yankee rotation. Shows you how astute I was about Yankee baseball. Just two weeks after that shutout, New York traded away Lilly in a three-team deal that put pitcher Jeff Weaver in Pinstripes. Irabu left baseball in 2003. Weaver never became the big winner experts thought he would. Meanwhile, Lilly won 130 games after leaving the Bronx with his best year coming in 2008, when he went 17-9  for the Cubs. Lilly was born January 4, 1976, in Torrance, CA. He announced his retirement after the 2013 postseason.

Another Yankee who celebrated his birthday on January 4 was this right-fielder who took the place of Babe Ruth in New York’s lineup, in 1935. This former Yankee GM and this former Yankee reliever were also born on January 4th.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2000 NYY 0 0 5.63 7 0 1 0 0 0 8.0 8 6 5 1 5 11 1.625
2001 NYY 5 6 .455 5.37 26 21 2 0 0 0 120.2 126 81 72 20 51 112 1.467
2002 NYY 3 6 .333 3.40 16 11 1 2 1 0 76.2 57 31 29 10 24 59 1.057
15 Yrs 130 113 .535 4.14 356 331 5 5 3 0 1982.2 1827 974 913 293 661 1681 1.255
LAD (4 yrs) 24 21 .533 3.83 58 58 0 1 1 0 341.0 296 157 145 48 95 284 1.147
CHC (4 yrs) 47 34 .580 3.70 113 113 0 0 0 0 705.2 623 306 290 101 184 598 1.144
NYY (3 yrs) 8 12 .400 4.65 49 32 4 2 1 0 205.1 191 118 106 31 80 182 1.320
TOR (3 yrs) 37 34 .521 4.52 89 89 0 2 1 0 505.1 485 269 254 77 228 424 1.411
OAK (2 yrs) 14 11 .560 4.37 38 36 0 0 0 0 201.2 202 104 98 29 65 165 1.324
MON (1 yr) 0 1 .000 7.61 9 3 1 0 0 0 23.2 30 20 20 7 9 28 1.648
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/4/2014.

January 6 – Happy Birthday Don Gullett

Don Gullett was just nineteen years old when he made his Major League debut in 1970 as a relief pitcher for Cincinnati. The Lynn, Kentucky native struck out Willie Mays to end his first inning of work in the big leagues. He got his first win a few days later when Reds ace Jim Maloney tore his achilles tendon in a game against the Dodgers and Gullett was called in to replace him. Willie Stargell called the hard-throwing rookie’s stuff “wall-to-wall heat” and for the next seven seasons, this left-hander was one of the most dominating pitchers in the National League and became the ace of the Big Red Machine’s pitching staff. After Cincinnati swept the Yankees in the 1976 World Series, Gullett became one of George Steinbrenner’s earliest free-agent acquisitions. He paid immediate dividends, going 14-4 for the 1977 World Championship Yankee team. The following year he won four of his first six decisions before a sore arm shut him down. The diagnosis was a double tear of the rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He worked like crazy to rehab the damage but never again pitched in the big leagues. His nine-year career resulted in 109 lifetime victories and an amazing .686 winning percentage.

Gullett shares his January 6th birthday with this long-ago Highlander starting hurlerthis former Yankee shortstop, this former reliever and this one-time Yankee pitcher who was better known for his days as a Brooklyn Dodger.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1977 NYY 14 4 .778 3.58 22 22 0 7 1 0 158.1 137 67 63 14 69 116 1.301
1978 NYY 4 2 .667 3.63 8 8 0 2 0 0 44.2 46 19 18 3 20 28 1.478
9 Yrs 109 50 .686 3.11 266 186 35 44 14 11 1390.0 1205 528 481 115 501 921 1.227
CIN (7 yrs) 91 44 .674 3.03 236 156 35 35 13 11 1187.0 1022 442 400 98 412 777 1.208
NYY (2 yrs) 18 6 .750 3.59 30 30 0 9 1 0 203.0 183 86 81 17 89 144 1.340
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/7/2014.