Results tagged ‘ december 14 ’

December 14 – Happy Birthday John Anderson

His nickname was Honest John and he was the first native Norwegian to play in the Major Leagues. He was also the first New York Yankee (Highlander) starting position player to bat from both sides of the plate. Anderson was already familiar with the Big Apple when the St Louis Browns traded the then 30-year-old to New York after the 1903 season because he had been a starting outfielder for Brooklyn for most of the previous decade. With New York, he joined Wee Willie Keeler and Patsy Dougherty to form a strong  Highlander outfield that helped lead that team to a 92-victory season, falling just one and a half games short (to Boston) of the franchise’s first AL pennant. Anderson hit .278 and led the team with 82 RBIs. When he had a slow start at the plate the following year, New York waived him and he was picked up by the Senators, with whom he rebounded nicely by hitting .290 the rest of that season. During his second season playing in our Nation’s Capitol, he led the AL with 39 stolen bases in 1906. Honest John retired after the 1908 season with 1,843 hits and a .290 lifetime batting average during his fourteen seasons of big league ball.

The only other Major League position player to have been born in Norway was also a Yankee, serving as Bill Dickey’s backup at catcher for most of the 1930′s. Do you know his name? I’ll give the answer in tomorrow’s post.

Today is also the birthday of this former Yankee relief pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1904 NYY 143 598 558 62 155 27 12 3 82 20 23 37 .278 .313 .385 .699
1905 NYY 32 108 99 12 23 3 1 0 14 9 8 8 .232 .296 .283 .579
14 Yrs 1636 6848 6345 871 1843 328 124 50 978 338 310 356 .290 .329 .405 .734
BRO (6 yrs) 487 2131 1937 331 576 86 57 20 350 124 83 100 .297 .333 .432 .764
WSH (3 yrs) 339 1406 1316 145 370 58 14 4 152 80 75 90 .281 .323 .356 .679
SLB (3 yrs) 402 1735 1650 215 495 109 21 14 262 66 68 69 .300 .330 .417 .747
NYY (2 yrs) 175 706 657 74 178 30 13 3 96 29 31 45 .271 .311 .370 .681
WHS (1 yr) 110 471 430 70 131 28 18 9 71 18 23 19 .305 .357 .516 .873
CHW (1 yr) 123 399 355 36 93 17 1 0 47 21 30 33 .262 .321 .315 .637
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/15/2013.

December 14 – Happy Birthday Jim Roland

Mr. Roland is one of just two former Yankees I came across, who were born on December 14. I remember him mostly as a pitcher for the Twins in the early sixties. He went 4-1 for Minnesota in ten starts during his rookie season of 1963 and the Twins used him as their fifth starter at the beginning of the next season. Unfortunately for Roland, he did not pitch well in 1964 and he spent the entire 1965 season back in the minors where he was forced to watch the Twins make it to that year’s World Series. He was back in the big leagues for good by 1967, got sold to Oakland in 1969 and then the Yankees in 1972. He relieved in 10 games for New York, losing his only decision and failing to earn a save. The Yankees traded him to Texas and he retired after failing to catch on with the Rangers. Roland’s most impressive career performance actually took place against the Yankees during the 1964 season when he started and completed a 12-inning 7-2 victory over the eventual AL Champions. The southpaw died of cancer at the age of 67.

I was much more personally familiar with another almost-Yankee born on this same date. His name was Mitch Lyden, but unfortunately for Mitch, all his Yankee games took place as a member of the Albany Colonie Yankees, New York’s Double A Eastern League affiliate back in the eighties and early nineties. Mitch was a catcher who spent 16 seasons in the minors, including parts of five with Albany Colonie. His only taste of the big leagues was a six-game call-up with the Marlins in 1993. It seemed as if every time I took my kids to an Albany Colonie Yankee game, Mitch would hit a home run. In fact, his 47 career HRs and 170 career RBIs are the most ever for an Albany Colonie player.

The only other big league Yankee I could find who was born on December 14th was this switch-hitting outfielder who played for New York’s AL franchise way back in 1904.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1972 NYY 0 1 .000 5.04 16 0 10 0 0 0 25.0 27 14 14 3 16 13 1.720
10 Yrs 19 17 .528 3.22 216 29 64 6 1 9 450.1 357 185 161 34 229 272 1.301
MIN (6 yrs) 10 9 .526 3.42 95 24 32 4 1 5 244.2 197 110 93 22 123 151 1.308
OAK (4 yrs) 9 7 .563 2.59 100 5 21 2 0 4 177.1 126 58 51 8 88 104 1.207
TEX (1 yr) 0 0 8.10 5 0 1 0 0 0 3.1 7 3 3 1 2 4 2.700
NYY (1 yr) 0 1 .000 5.04 16 0 10 0 0 0 25.0 27 14 14 3 16 13 1.720
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/15/2013.