Results tagged ‘ first baseman ’

April 7 – Happy Birthday John Ganzel

25787_standardLong before the ballfields of Kalamazoo, Michigan produced Derek Jeter, the first Yankee to achieve 3,000 hits in pinstripes, they also produced Johnny Ganzel, the first starting first baseman in the history of the Yankee franchise, after it was relocated from Baltimore to New York. Known as “the first family of Michigan baseball” the Ganzel clan produced a bevy of players. There were five Ganzel brothers and every one of them played big league or minor league ball.

Ganzel had three prior years of experience in the National League, when he accepted Clark Griffith’s offer to play for New York’s new American League franchise in 1903. He had a strong season that year, averaging a solid .277 and finishing second on the team in RBIs with 71. He then slumped in 1904, causing Griffith to refuse the first baseman’s demand for a raise for the ’05 season. Ganzel then demanded a trade but Griffith waited until he had Hal Chase under contract before complying with his request and sending Ganzel to Detroit.

Ganzel would never get to play for Detroit. Instead he became the player manager for a minor league team in Grand Rapids before taking over the same role with the NL’s Cincinnati Reds in 1908. He shares his April 7th birthday with the first manager in Yankee franchise history,  this former Yankee pitcher and this one too.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1903 NYY 129 533 476 62 132 25 7 3 71 9 30 38 .277 .336 .378 .714
1904 NYY 130 502 465 50 121 16 10 6 48 13 24 41 .260 .309 .376 .686
7 Yrs 747 2957 2715 281 682 104 50 18 336 48 136 173 .251 .298 .346 .644
CIN (2 yrs) 257 1002 919 93 232 36 26 3 117 15 48 51 .252 .293 .358 .651
NYY (2 yrs) 259 1035 941 112 253 41 17 9 119 22 54 79 .269 .323 .377 .700
CHC (1 yr) 78 308 284 29 78 14 4 4 32 5 10 10 .275 .316 .394 .710
NYG (1 yr) 138 562 526 42 113 13 3 2 66 6 20 32 .215 .256 .262 .518
PIT (1 yr) 15 50 45 5 6 0 0 0 2 0 4 1 .133 .220 .133 .353
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2014.

April 6 – Happy Birthday Andy Phillips

Jason Giambi’s mediocre defensive talents at first base were a source of constant consternation for Joe Torre and the Yankee front office. When he first joined the club as a prized free agent in 2002, the Giambino’s offensive production was good enough to offset his weakness
in the field but over the years, as his hitting declined, his defensive deficiencies became more of a net negative. So beginning in 2004, the
Yankees began employing what I’ve come to refer to as the “Affordable Gloves for Giambi” initiative. These were first basemen who could field better than Jason and who were willing to play for what the Yankee’s then considered were “modest” salaries. In 2004, Giambi’s glove was Tony Clarke. Then in 2005, the Yankees handed the job to an aging Tino Martinez. In 2006, as Giambi’s contract was nearing its end, the team took a new approach by giving the role to a first base prospect in the Yankee’s Minor League organization. That turned out to be today’s Birthday Celebrant.

Andy Phillips had hit 80 home runs during his three previous seasons in New York’s farm system when he assumed the “Glove for Giambi” role in April of 2006. The Yankees had selected the Tuscaloosa, AL native in the seventh round of the 1999 draft out of the University of Alabama, so he was already 29-years-old when given the opportunity to become the Yankee’s regular first baseman. He turned out to be solid defensively but as a right handed hitter, his power was marginalized by Yankee Stadium. He hit just .240 that first season and his on-base percentage was a very-low .288.

He found himself back in the minors to start the 2007 season as the Yankees opened that year with former Gold Glove winner and World Series Game 4 ball-stealer, Doug Mientkiewicz at first. When Mientkiewicz got hurt in June of that year, Phillips was called up to replace him and he did that rather well. Andy hit .292 in 61 games that year plus he played flawless defense at first base, handling 408 chances without making an error. Despite the improved effort, the Yankee front office decided Phillips was not in their plans for the future and released him after the 2007 season. He was picked up by the Reds and even played a few games for the Mets in 2008 but was back in the minors the following year and playing in Japan, during the 2010 season.

Phillips shares his April 6th birthday with another Yankee prospect who was trying to work his way up New York’s farm team chain the same time as Andy. This Yankee pitching prospect, also born on April 6th tried to make the same climb three decades earlier.


Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2004 NYY 5 8 8 1 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 .250 .250 .625 .875
2005 NYY 27 41 40 7 6 4 0 1 4 0 1 13 .150 .171 .325 .496
2006 NYY 110 263 246 30 59 11 3 7 29 3 15 56 .240 .281 .394 .676
2007 NYY 61 207 185 27 54 7 1 2 25 0 12 26 .292 .338 .373 .711
5 Yrs 259 604 557 77 139 25 4 14 70 3 34 110 .250 .294 .384 .679
NYY (4 yrs) 203 519 479 65 121 22 4 11 60 3 28 96 .253 .294 .384 .678
CIN (1 yr) 52 80 73 11 17 3 0 3 10 0 6 14 .233 .300 .397 .697
NYM (1 yr) 4 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200 .200 .200 .400
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2014.

March 15 – Happy Birthday Charley Mullen

mullen2AThere was a two-season gap in between the time that Hal Chase, the Yankees’ first great first baseman left the team in 1912 and Wally Pipp, the franchise’s second great first baseman took over that position in 1915. Charley Mullen was one of the interim first sackers New York used to fill that gap.

This native of Seattle was 25 years old when Yankee manager Frank Chance began starting him during the 1914 season. He wasn’t a disaster. Mullen hit .260 that year, which was actually third best among the team’s starting lineup and he drove in 44 runs, which was also third best on the squad during that low-scoring deadfall era.

Just before the 1915 season began, the Yankee franchise was purchased by brewer Jacob Ruppert and his partner Tillinghast Huston.  The two men had been assured by AL President Ban Johnson that the Junior Circuit’s other team owners would help the Yankees become more competitive with their New York City neighbors, the Giants. The plan was to have the other clubs make some of their best players and prospects available to New York for acquisition. One of the first such acquisitions made by the new Yankee ownership was Pipp, a young hard-hitting Detroit Tiger prospect who would start at first for New York for the next decade until his famous headache opened the door for Lou Gehrig.

So what happened to Charley Mullen? He actually remained a Yankee for the next couple of seasons in a utility role before returning to the minors. He played his final season in 1919 with the Seattle Raniers of the Pacific Coast League. He remained in his hometown after he retired and died there in 1963 at the age of 74.

Mullen shares his birthday with this former Yankee outfielderthis one-time Yankee third baseman and this one too.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1914 NYY 93 380 323 33 84 8 0 0 44 11 33 55 .260 .332 .285 .617
1915 NYY 40 102 90 11 24 1 0 0 7 5 10 12 .267 .340 .278 .618
1916 NYY 59 162 146 11 39 9 1 0 18 7 9 13 .267 .310 .342 .652
5 Yrs 253 848 741 77 183 22 3 0 87 28 61 97 .247 .306 .285 .591
NYY (3 yrs) 192 644 559 55 147 18 1 0 69 23 52 80 .263 .328 .299 .627
CHW (2 yrs) 61 204 182 22 36 4 2 0 18 5 9 17 .198 .236 .242 .477
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.