Results tagged ‘ december 7 ’

December 7 – Happy Birthday Tino Martinez

Tino Martinez was a great Yankee. During his seven seasons in New York, this Tampa native who was born in 1967, drove in 739 runs, hit 192 of his 339 career home runs and won four World Series rings. He also happened to be my wife’s all-time favorite baseball player. So instead of spending the rest of this post describing the biggest highlights of Tino’s career in pinstripes, I’m going to tell you a story about how my wife met Tino Martinez. It happened in my Oldsmobile Minivan outside of Yankee Stadium, about ten years ago and to those of you with your minds in the gutter, it was not “that” type of meeting.

My wife and I had taken our kids to a Yankee Game. As we were leaving the Stadium parking garage I was trying to maneuver the van into a certain exit line so I could take a simple right-hand turn and get onto the Major Deegan Expressway heading north toward home. I had driven to Yankee games at least forty times in my life and had parked in that same garage most of those times. From experience I knew if I used any other exit, barricades would block me from taking a right turn and force me to go left which meant I’d have to spend the next two hours riding through the unfamiliar streets of the South Bronx to get back on the Deegan going in the right direction.

That’s when my wife uttered her famous phrase. “Why are we waiting in this long line? There’s no cars over at that exit why don’t we just go out there?” My immediate reaction was to ignore the question and simply hope she wouldn’t ask it again. No such luck. I don’t remember if it was the third or fourth time she repeated her inquiry that I patiently tried to explain that the reason there were no cars at the other exit was because you couldn’t take a right-hand turn from that location. I tried to point out that every driver in the fifty or so cars in front of us and the one hundred or so vehicles behind us knew that if you took a left instead of a right from this side of the parking garage you would spend the next five hours driving underneath elevated subway platforms and past six thousand auto body shops with pit bulls chained to razor-wire-topped chain link fences, as you cruised aimlessly through South Bronx looking for the one and only sign in the entire borough that directs you to the Deegan North.Her response? “That’s stupid. I’m sure you can take a right from that exit too. Just go that way. We are going to be stuck in this line forever. I’d go that way if I were driving.”So what did I do? I gave up my place in line and drove to the other exit and sure enough as we drove through the gate the familiar wooden blue NYPD barricades blocked me from taking the right I needed to make and forced me left.

Why did I listen to my wife? Forgive my chauvinism but I know there are many married male readers out there who follow the same rule I do while driving in heavy traffic. If there’s a choice between doing something you know is stupid or not doing it and then getting in an argument with your wife over it, you just follow her stupid advice. Why? Because in the long run, spending two hours lost in the Bronx was better than spending the rest of the ride home and at least the next five days living with a woman who is mad at you for not taking her bad advice.

So I’m now outside the Stadium garage and I’m being forced to head either the wrong way on the Deegan or head back up River Avenue toward the same Stadium we were trying to leave. Usually there was a cop on duty at that corner forcing cars away from the Stadium but for some reason, that day there was just an empty police car sitting there. So I took the left and then I think another left and perhaps another, and before you know it, I had gotten my van onto Ruppert Place which runs right alongside the Stadium itself. In front of me was the same ramp to the Deegan I normally took when I made the correct right hand turn out of the garage. The only thing blocking my path was a huge bus, sitting right there in the middle of the intersection with its passenger door open. We were so close to the bus that we could actually see through the reflective glass of the closed passenger windows.I was about to ask the question, “Isn’t that Tino Martinez in that window?” when I heard my wife screaming at the top of her lungs, “Teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeno Marteeeeeeeeeeeeeenez, over here, I love youuuuuu! Teeeeeeno! Teeeeno!”

She was actually standing on the front seat of our minivan and had somehow gotten the entire top three quarters of her body out of the passenger side window yelling as loudly as possible and waving her arms and hands frantically. I had never in my life seen a human being get so excited about seeing a baseball player and evidently, neither had Tino and the rest of the Yankees. My better half (or I should say three quarters of my better half) was making such a commotion that Constantino “Tino” Martinez actually opened his passenger window, laughing at my wife’s enthusiasm, and yelled hello and waved to her. As the bus began to move, me and the kids were able to successfully pull my wife’s contorted body out of the window and get her buckled back into her seat. As we made our way back up the New York State Thruway that evening and I listened to my wife and kids talk and laugh about our encounter with the Yankee player’s bus, I was glad I took that stupid left instead of waiting in line to make my usual right.

Today is also the birthday of this six-time Gold Glove winner and these two former Yankee outfielders who all played their best baseball before they put on the pinstripes.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1996 NYY 155 671 595 82 174 28 0 25 117 2 68 85 .292 .364 .466 .830
1997 NYY 158 685 594 96 176 31 2 44 141 3 75 75 .296 .371 .577 .948
1998 NYY 142 608 531 92 149 33 1 28 123 2 61 83 .281 .355 .505 .860
1999 NYY 159 665 589 95 155 27 2 28 105 3 69 86 .263 .341 .458 .800
2000 NYY 155 632 569 69 147 37 4 16 91 4 52 74 .258 .328 .422 .749
2001 NYY 154 635 589 89 165 24 2 34 113 1 42 89 .280 .329 .501 .830
16 Yrs 2023 8044 7111 1008 1925 365 21 339 1271 27 780 1069 .271 .344 .471 .815
NYY (7 yrs) 1054 4244 3770 566 1039 189 11 192 739 17 405 546 .276 .347 .484 .831
SEA (6 yrs) 543 2139 1896 250 502 106 6 88 312 3 198 309 .265 .334 .466 .801
STL (2 yrs) 288 1123 987 129 264 50 3 36 144 4 111 142 .267 .345 .434 .778
TBD (1 yr) 138 538 458 63 120 20 1 23 76 3 66 72 .262 .362 .461 .823
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/7/2013.

December 7 – Happy Birthday Eric Chavez

chavezEric Chavez turns 35-years-old today. Yesterday, his two year career in pinstripes came to an end, when he signed a one-year, three million dollar deal with the Diamondbacks. The Yankees paid Chavez a total of $2.4 million during the past two seasons to serve as A-Rod’s back-up. It proved to be a wise investment, as Rodriguez made several trips to the DL during that span. Chavez, a Los Angeles native, filled in brilliantly during most of those absences, providing a steady glove and a potent bat.

The Yankees first signed Chavez in February of 2010 and gave him a chance to make the club in spring training. He did so easily and was playing well early in the season, when he broke his foot running the bases. Injuries have hounded the six-time Gold Glove winner since 2007, during his final three seasons with the A’s. He mostly avoided getting hurt this past year with the Yankees, appearing in 113 games in 2012, hitting 16 home runs and  averaging .281. Like most of the Yankee lineup, Chavez’s bat went stone cold in the 2012 postseason. He was 0-16 in fall ball against the Orioles and Tigers. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why Yankee GM Brian Cashman didn’t make re-signing this guy a top priority during the offseason. I have to admit I was shocked when I read he had signed with Arizona, especially since just a few days before, the Yankees learned A-Rod would miss at least half of the 2013 regular season due to hip surgery.

2016 will be Chavez’s sixteenth season in the Majors. He will enter it with 248 big league home runs and a career OPS of .818. He shares his birthday with this great Yankee first baseman and these two former Yankee outfielders.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 NYY 58 175 160 16 42 7 1 2 26 0 14 34 .263 .320 .356 .676
2012 NYY 113 313 278 36 78 12 0 16 37 0 30 59 .281 .348 .496 .845
16 Yrs 1571 6147 5449 810 1460 315 23 257 894 48 628 1060 .268 .342 .476 .818
OAK (13 yrs) 1320 5405 4783 730 1276 282 20 230 787 47 565 922 .267 .343 .478 .821
NYY (2 yrs) 171 488 438 52 120 19 1 18 63 0 44 93 .274 .338 .445 .783
ARI (1 yr) 80 254 228 28 64 14 2 9 44 1 19 45 .281 .332 .478 .810
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/7/2013.

December 7 – Happy Birthday Coggins & Johnson

No, I am not wishing a Happy Birthday to a law firm that represents the Yankees. Before New York made it back to the World Series in 1976, George Steinbrenner was constantly prodding the Yankee front office to acquire and experiment with players that might help the Yankees get there. Usually, these were veterans who at one time or another had done something noteworthy in their careers. Two such players, both outfielders and both born on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, were Rich Coggins and Alex Johnson. Just two years before New York purchased him from the Expos, Coggins had batted .319 during his rookie season in Baltimore. Although that average plunged by close to seventy points the following year, the speedy Indianapolis native stole 26 bases for the Birds in 1974. He got into 51 games for New York in 1975 but batted just .224. It was evident he had lost the stroke and confidence he exhibited during his rookie season.

A bad stroke or lack of confidence were never problems for Alex Johnson. Born in Helena, Arkansas in 1930 and raised in Detroit, Johnson had been a .300-hitting outfielder on the early version of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine teams of 1968 and ’69. He had also won the AL batting title when he hit .329 for the 1970 Angels. Alex’s problems were his unfriendly personality and horrible defensive skills. The Yankees purchased his contract from the Rangers in August of 1974. He hit just .214 for New York the rest of that season and then just .261 as a part time DH in 1975. The Yankees let him go after that season.

The most famous Yankee to be born on this infamous date is this first baseman who won four rings during his stay in the Bronx and this six-time Gold Glove winner.

Yankee regular season stats for Alex Johnson:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1974 NYY 10 28 28 3 6 1 0 1 2 0 0 3 .214 .214 .357 .571
1975 NYY 52 128 119 15 31 5 1 1 15 2 7 21 .261 .297 .345 .641
13 Yrs 1322 4948 4623 550 1331 180 33 78 525 113 244 626 .288 .326 .392 .718
PHI (2 yrs) 140 396 371 45 110 16 4 12 46 5 21 86 .296 .339 .458 .797
STL (2 yrs) 106 280 261 27 55 9 3 3 18 7 14 44 .211 .258 .303 .561
TEX (2 yrs) 272 1149 1077 119 311 40 6 12 109 30 60 141 .289 .329 .370 .699
CAL (2 yrs) 221 920 856 104 265 34 6 16 107 22 50 102 .310 .353 .419 .772
CIN (2 yrs) 288 1206 1126 165 353 50 10 19 146 27 51 140 .313 .346 .426 .772
NYY (2 yrs) 62 156 147 18 37 6 1 2 17 2 7 24 .252 .282 .347 .629
CLE (1 yr) 108 384 356 31 85 10 1 8 37 6 22 40 .239 .283 .340 .623
DET (1 yr) 125 457 429 41 115 15 2 6 45 14 19 49 .268 .298 .354 .653
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/7/2013.
Yankee regular season stats for Rich Coggins:
Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1975 NYY 51 119 107 7 24 1 0 1 6 3 7 16 .224 .272 .262 .534
1976 NYY 7 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 .250 .250 .250 .500
5 Yrs 342 1191 1083 125 287 42 13 12 90 50 72 100 .265 .312 .361 .673
BAL (3 yrs) 239 924 839 112 237 36 12 11 74 43 58 61 .282 .331 .393 .724
NYY (2 yrs) 58 123 111 8 25 1 0 1 7 4 7 17 .225 .271 .261 .532
MON (1 yr) 13 40 37 1 10 3 1 0 4 0 1 7 .270 .289 .405 .695
CHW (1 yr) 32 104 96 4 15 2 0 0 5 3 6 15 .156 .206 .177 .383
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/7/2013.