Results tagged ‘ december 25 ’

December 25 – Happy Birthday Gene Robertson

RobertsonThis St.Louis native evidently had a tough time leaving home. He went to college at St. Louis University and then after a couple of seasons in the minors, signed with his hometown Browns. It soon looked as if Robertson was on his way to big league stardom when he won the starting third base position for St. Louis in 1924 and averaged .319. The following season, the 5’7″, 152 pound left-handed hitter surprised all of baseball by belting 14 round-trippers and driving in a career high 76 runs.

Then in 1926 he stopped hitting and the Browns let him go. He spent the 1927 season regaining his stroke with the St.Paul Saints. Yankee skipper, Miller Huggins, had become a silent one-third owner of the Saints’ franchise in 1924 and over the next few seasons, the contracts of several St.Paul players were purchased by the Yankees, including Robertson’s in August of 1927.

He made his Yankee debut the following year, sharing third base pretty much evenly with “Jumpin” Joe Dugan and averaging .291 during his first season in pinstripes. That fall, he saw the only World Series action of his career, appearing in three games against the Cardinals, driving in two runs and winning his first and only ring.

When the Yankees struggled early during the 1929 season, Huggins, who had been feeling physically lousy since spring training, inserted Robertson as his every-day third baseman. He again hit for a decent average but once it became clear his team had no chance of catching the Philadelphia A’s in that year’s pennant race, the Yankee skipper decided he needed to begin rebuilding the Yankee lineup for the 1930 season. He made 23-year-old Lyn Lary his new starting third baseman and in his last player personnel move before checking into the hospital, the Huggins sold Robertson to the Boston Braves. One week later Huggins was dead.

Robertson got off to a horrible start for the Braves in 1930 and was hitting just .186 when he was sent to the Pacific Coast League. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 81. He joins this speedy outfielder and this one too as former Yankees who were born on Christmas day.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1928 NYY 83 277 251 29 73 9 0 1 36 2 14 6 .291 .328 .339 .667
1929 NYY 90 347 309 45 92 15 6 0 35 3 28 6 .298 .358 .385 .743
9 Yrs 656 2489 2200 311 615 100 23 20 250 29 205 79 .280 .344 .373 .717
SLB (6 yrs) 454 1767 1553 229 431 75 17 19 166 23 157 64 .278 .347 .384 .732
BSN (2 yrs) 29 98 87 8 19 1 0 0 13 1 6 3 .218 .269 .230 .499
NYY (2 yrs) 173 624 560 74 165 24 6 1 71 5 42 12 .295 .345 .364 .709
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2013.

December 25 – Happy Birthday Ben Chapman

Only two New York Yankees have led the American League in stolen bases three times while wearing pinstripes and both celebrate their birthdays on Christmas day. Today’s birthday celebrant accomplished it in consecutive seasons beginning in 1931.

Chapman began his big league career in 1930, when Bob Shawkey made the rookie the Yankees’ starting third baseman. The Nashville native had a terrific first year, hitting .316 and driving in 81 runs. When Joe McCarthy took over as New York manager the following season, he switched Chapman to left field, where he teamed with Babe Ruth and Earle Combs to give the Yankees one of their best outfields in franchise history. Chapman was more than just a base-stealer. He drove in 327 runs during the next three seasons while the Bambino had 403 RBIs of his own during that same span. Chapman later replaced Combs as the Yankee starting center fielder.

During his seven seasons in the Bronx, Chapman averaged .305 and played great defensively. So why did the Yankees trade such a talented ballplayer to the Senators for a guy named Jake Powell just before the midway point of the 1936 season? There were actually two reasons. The first was a young center fielder named Joe DiMaggio, who showed up in the Bronx in 1936. But perhaps the biggest reason Chapman was dealt was because he also happened to be one of the meanest and most unfriendly Yankees to ever put on the uniform. He got into fights with everybody, umpires, opponents, teammates, it didn’t matter who. He insulted Babe Ruth, was suspended for hitting an umpire and told his first wife he wanted a divorce just two months after they were married. Worst of all,  Chapman was also considered by many to be a vocal racist and an anti-semite. And he must of got meaner as he got older because once the Yankees got rid of him, Chapman was traded seven more times during the next dozen years. His meanest and lowest moments came after he retired as a player when in 1947, while he was manager of the Phillies, Chapman became infamous for his relentless and unusually cruel hazing of the great Jackie Robinson.

Chapman was definitely the Yankee Grinch who stole a lot of bases.

You can read about the Yankees’ other Christmas Day-born base-stealing champion here. This former Yankee third baseman was a Christmas baby too.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1930 NYY 138 565 513 74 162 31 10 10 81 14 43 58 .316 .371 .474 .845
1931 NYY 149 686 600 120 189 28 11 17 122 61 75 77 .315 .396 .483 .879
1932 NYY 151 663 581 101 174 41 15 10 107 38 71 55 .299 .381 .473 .854
1933 NYY 147 654 565 112 176 36 4 9 98 27 72 45 .312 .393 .437 .830
1934 NYY 149 665 588 82 181 21 13 5 86 26 67 68 .308 .381 .413 .795
1935 NYY 140 629 553 118 160 38 8 8 74 17 61 39 .289 .361 .430 .791
1936 NYY 36 156 139 19 37 14 3 1 21 1 15 20 .266 .338 .432 .769
15 Yrs 1717 7425 6478 1144 1958 407 107 90 977 287 824 556 .302 .383 .440 .823
NYY (7 yrs) 910 4018 3539 626 1079 209 64 60 589 184 404 362 .305 .379 .451 .830
WSH (3 yrs) 160 750 641 123 195 49 8 5 82 29 105 31 .304 .403 .429 .832
PHI (2 yrs) 25 54 52 5 16 2 0 0 4 0 2 1 .308 .333 .346 .679
BOS (2 yrs) 240 1040 903 168 293 63 19 13 137 40 122 68 .324 .405 .480 .885
BRO (2 yrs) 33 68 60 13 17 4 0 0 14 1 7 5 .283 .358 .350 .708
CLE (2 yrs) 292 1285 1093 183 315 71 15 10 132 31 165 75 .288 .384 .408 .792
CHW (1 yr) 57 210 190 26 43 9 1 2 19 2 19 14 .226 .297 .316 .612
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2013.

December 25 – Happy Birthday Ricky Henderson

Ricky Henderson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Few have deserved the honor more. Just ask Ricky. Ricky will also tell you he was the best Christmas present Major League Baseball ever received. He was born in Chicago on Christmas Day in 1958. The all-time leader in stolen bases, runs scored, and walks, he was the Yankee left fielder for four and a half seasons, beginning in 1985. His career in pinstripes lasted a total of 596 games, during which he set both the single season (93) and all-time (326) Yankee marks for steals before returning to the Athletics during the 1989 season.

In all, Ricky played the game for 25 big-league seasons and wore nine different uniforms doing it. He ended up hitting .279 lifetime and garnered 1,406 stolen bases. His career stolen-base mark will be a tough one to surpass. Number two on the list is Lou Brock who stole 938. The closest active player is Juan Pierre, who played for the White Sox last season and now has 554 career steals. Boston’s Carl Crawford is currently next among active players with 427.

Ricky led the league in steals three different times while wearing the pinstripes. Coincidentally, the only other Yankee who did so was also born on Christmas Day as was this former Yankee third baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1985 NYY 143 654 547 146 172 28 5 24 72 80 99 65 .314 .419 .516 .934
1986 NYY 153 701 608 130 160 31 5 28 74 87 89 81 .263 .358 .469 .827
1987 NYY 95 440 358 78 104 17 3 17 37 41 80 52 .291 .423 .497 .920
1988 NYY 140 647 554 118 169 30 2 6 50 93 82 54 .305 .394 .399 .793
1989 NYY 65 293 235 41 58 13 1 3 22 25 56 29 .247 .392 .349 .741
25 Yrs 3081 13346 10961 2295 3055 510 66 297 1115 1406 2190 1694 .279 .401 .419 .820
OAK (14 yrs) 1704 7481 6140 1270 1768 289 41 167 648 867 1227 915 .288 .409 .430 .839
NYY (5 yrs) 596 2735 2302 513 663 119 16 78 255 326 406 281 .288 .395 .455 .850
SDP (3 yrs) 359 1432 1132 243 277 45 5 23 98 91 277 236 .245 .399 .354 .753
NYM (2 yrs) 152 650 534 106 159 31 0 12 44 42 107 102 .298 .416 .423 .839
BOS (1 yr) 72 222 179 40 40 6 1 5 16 8 38 47 .223 .369 .352 .721
LAD (1 yr) 30 84 72 7 15 1 0 2 5 3 11 16 .208 .321 .306 .627
ANA (1 yr) 32 144 115 21 21 3 0 2 7 16 26 23 .183 .343 .261 .604
SEA (1 yr) 92 395 324 58 77 13 2 4 30 31 63 55 .238 .362 .327 .689
TOR (1 yr) 44 203 163 37 35 3 1 4 12 22 35 19 .215 .356 .319 .675
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/26/2013.