Results tagged ‘ february 8 ’

February 8 – Happy Birthday Don Heffner

heffnerDon “Jeep” Heffner was Tony Lazzeri’s primary back-up at second base during the final years of “Poosh Em Up’s” Hall of Fame career in New York. The only Major League player ever to be born in Rouzerville, PA, Heffner made a decent big league debut with the Yankees in 1934, appearing in 72 games and averaging .261 for a Joe McCarthy-led team that won 94 games that year but still finished second to Mickey Cochrane’s powerful Detroit Tiger ball club.

That turned out to be Heffner’s best offensive season in pinstripes but he stuck around in the Bronx long enough to win championship rings in both 1936 and ’37. When an aging Lazzeri was let go by New York after the ’37 season, Hefner’s weak bat removed him from consideration for the vacant starting job. Instead, he was traded to the Browns for a better hitting second baseman named Bill Knickerbocker.

Heffner spent the next four seasons starting at second for St. Louis while Knickerbocker lost the battle for the Yankees’ starting second base job to rookie Joe Gordon. Heffner continued playing in the big leagues until 1943 and then got into coaching and managing. In 1966, he skippered the Cincinnati Reds for 83 games, his only big league managerial position.

He shares his birthday with this former Yankee pitcher and this one-time Yankee first baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1934 NYY 72 270 241 29 63 8 3 0 25 1 25 18 .261 .331 .320 .650
1935 NYY 10 40 36 3 11 3 1 0 8 0 4 1 .306 .375 .444 .819
1936 NYY 19 55 48 7 11 2 1 0 6 0 6 5 .229 .315 .313 .627
1937 NYY 60 221 201 23 50 6 5 0 21 1 19 19 .249 .314 .328 .642
11 Yrs 743 2847 2526 275 610 99 19 6 248 18 270 218 .241 .317 .303 .620
SLB (6 yrs) 524 2039 1803 196 434 73 9 6 179 13 193 162 .241 .317 .301 .618
NYY (4 yrs) 161 586 526 62 135 19 10 0 60 2 54 43 .257 .326 .331 .657
PHA (1 yr) 52 198 178 17 37 6 0 0 8 3 18 12 .208 .284 .242 .526
DET (1 yr) 6 24 19 0 4 1 0 0 1 0 5 1 .211 .375 .263 .638
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2014.

February 8 – Happy Birthday Bob Oliver

oliverToday’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant hit 27 home runs in just his second full big league season in 1970 and he also led the Royals that same year with 99 RBIs. After slumping the following season he was traded to the Angels in 1972. A versatile player, in ’73 he started 49 games at third for California, 47 in right field and 32 at first base. Toward the end of the 1974 regular season the Angels traded this native of Shreveport, Louisiana to the Orioles and during the subsequent Winter Meetings, Yankee GM Gabe Paul purchased his contract from Baltimore. The rumor circulating in the press at the time was that Paul was about to trade away Graig Nettles and he wanted Oliver to take over from “Puff” as the Yankee starting third baseman. Fortunately, it was only a rumor because although he was just 31 years old at the time, Oliver’s career was practically over. He hit just .158 during his 18 games in pinstripes and was released by New York at the 1975 All Star break. Nettles of course remained a Yankee and was an outstanding run producer and defensive force at the hot corner for two World Championship teams.

Oliver is the father of big league pitcher Darren Oliver. He shares his birthday with this 20-game-winning Yankee pitcher and this long-ago back-up Yankee second baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1975 NYY 18 39 38 3 5 1 0 0 1 0 1 9 .132 .154 .158 .312
8 Yrs 847 3123 2914 293 745 102 19 94 419 17 156 562 .256 .295 .400 .696
KCR (4 yrs) 422 1550 1442 168 367 46 13 49 200 9 79 300 .255 .296 .406 .702
CAL (3 yrs) 395 1512 1412 120 370 53 6 45 214 7 76 248 .262 .301 .404 .705
PIT (1 yr) 3 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
NYY (1 yr) 18 39 38 3 5 1 0 0 1 0 1 9 .132 .154 .158 .312
BAL (1 yr) 9 20 20 1 3 2 0 0 4 1 0 5 .150 .150 .250 .400
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2014.

February 8 – Happy Birthday Fritz Peterson

fritzpetersonFritz Peterson, who was born on this date in Chicago in 1942, was a lot of different people rolled into one pinstriped uniform. I guess first off, he was a very talented left-handed starting pitcher who won 20 games for the 1970 Yankees, won 109 games during his nine seasons in New York, pitched over 1,800 innings, threw eighteen shutouts and compiled an impressive 3.10 ERA for a string of Yankee teams that were not exactly known for their offensive or defensive prowess. He loved pitching in “the House that Ruth built” and I was surprised to discover that he had the lowest career Yankee Stadium ERA (2.52) of any pitcher on New York’s illustrious all-time roster.

Fritz was also one of the whackiest guys in the Yankee clubhouse. His first Yankee roommate, Jim Bouton once confessed to Peterson that he pitched better when he was really nervous about something. Before Bouton’s next start, Fritz walked up to him and told him that if New York didn’t win the game, Bouton’s infant son was going to die.

Peterson was super intelligent and after retiring from the game, he became a devout born again minister and sometimes insurance salesman. Regardless,in spite of all his accomplishments on the field and all of the wild and diversified things he did off of it, the first thing about Fritzie that comes to mind for Yankee fans like me who remember watching Peterson pitch will always be the wife swap he and fellow Yankee pitcher Mike Kekich made during the 1973 preseason. I’d never seen anything like it happen to a Yankee team before and I doubt very much I will ever see a similar exchange take place among Yankee teammates again.

Peterson shares his birthday with this one-time Yankee utility player and this long ago back-up second baseman.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1966 NYY 12 11 .522 3.31 34 32 1 11 2 0 215.0 196 89 79 15 40 96 1.098
1967 NYY 8 14 .364 3.47 36 30 1 6 1 0 181.1 179 88 70 11 43 102 1.224
1968 NYY 12 11 .522 2.63 36 27 3 6 2 0 212.1 187 72 62 13 29 115 1.017
1969 NYY 17 16 .515 2.55 37 37 0 16 4 0 272.0 228 95 77 15 43 150 0.996
1970 NYY 20 11 .645 2.90 39 37 0 8 2 0 260.1 247 102 84 24 40 127 1.102
1971 NYY 15 13 .536 3.05 37 35 2 16 4 1 274.0 269 106 93 25 42 139 1.135
1972 NYY 17 15 .531 3.24 35 35 0 12 3 0 250.1 270 98 90 17 44 100 1.254
1973 NYY 8 15 .348 3.95 31 31 0 6 0 0 184.1 207 93 81 18 49 59 1.389
1974 NYY 0 0 4.70 3 1 2 0 0 0 7.2 13 4 4 1 2 5 1.957
11 Yrs 133 131 .504 3.30 355 330 9 90 20 1 2218.1 2217 947 813 173 426 1015 1.191
NYY (9 yrs) 109 106 .507 3.10 288 265 9 81 18 1 1857.1 1796 747 640 139 332 893 1.146
CLE (3 yrs) 23 25 .479 4.34 63 63 0 9 2 0 346.0 400 193 167 34 87 118 1.408
TEX (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 3.60 4 2 0 0 0 0 15.0 21 7 6 0 7 4 1.867
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2014.