Results tagged ‘ first baseman ’

January 28 – Happy Birthday Lyle Overbay

overbayttAlong with thousands of Yankee fans, I became a member of the “Lyle Overbay Fan Club” in 2013.  When Brian Cashman first signed this native of Centralia, Washington to a minor league contract after the Red Sox cut him during the final week of the 2013 spring training season, I admit I hardly noticed. I knew he had a good glove, but I thought his offensive skills had abandoned him. Though he had a nice stretch of decent years at the plate with both Milwaukee and Toronto earlier in his career, I felt there was no way he’d be able to effectively replace the run production of the now-injured Mark Teixeira and when the 2013 season began, both Cashman and Yankee skipper Joe Girardi fully agreed with me.

The plan was to give Overbay a shot at becoming the short-term answer at first base during the six weeks doctors figured Teixeira would need to recover from his wrist injury. When that six weeks turned into season-ending surgery for the Yankee slugger, Overbay had played well enough in the field and hit just good enough at the plate to permit New York’s front office to continue to delay a bigger more expensive solution to Teixeira’s absence.

The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months and before we knew it, September came around and Overbay was still starting at first for New York. Along the way, he delivered in enough clutch at bats to lead the Yankees in game-winning hits. He was never really spectacular just pretty much always steady and he stayed healthy. If a couple of Cashman’s other “affordable” preseason personnel moves like Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells or Kevin Youklis had followed suit, the Yankees would have made postseason play.

Just this past week, Overbay signed a minor league deal to play for the Brewers in 2014. The Yankees and Yankee fans probably won’t miss him much but I certainly won’t forget his noteworthy contribution to my favorite team during the 2013 regular season. He shares his January 28th birthday with this one-time Yankee announcer and this long ago Yankee second baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 NYY 142 486 445 43 107 24 1 14 59 2 36 111 .240 .295 .393 .688
13 Yrs 1466 5506 4844 621 1295 342 12 147 640 17 602 1048 .267 .348 .434 .782
ARI (5 yrs) 161 464 404 37 112 33 0 7 49 2 53 110 .277 .363 .411 .774
TOR (5 yrs) 723 2854 2507 337 672 180 8 83 336 9 317 516 .268 .350 .446 .796
MIL (2 yrs) 317 1290 1116 163 322 87 2 35 159 3 159 226 .289 .376 .464 .840
PIT (1 yr) 103 391 352 40 80 17 1 8 37 1 36 77 .227 .300 .349 .649
ATL (1 yr) 20 21 20 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 8 .100 .143 .150 .293
NYY (1 yr) 142 486 445 43 107 24 1 14 59 2 36 111 .240 .295 .393 .688
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/28/2014.

January 1 – Happy New Year & Happy Birthday Earl Torgeson

torgesonThis bespectacled first baseman was born in Snohomish, Washington in 1924. He was not the first Earl born there to end up playing Major League Baseball and become known as the “The Earl of Snohomish.” That honor belonged to the hall of fame outfielder Earl Averill.

The young Earl will never get to Cooperstown but he was a solid big league player during his 15-season career. The best of those seasons was 1950, when he led the National League with 120 runs scored, hitting .290 and driving in 87 runs for the Braves, while the franchise was still in Boston. Earl played the final 22 games of his 1,600-game Major League career with the 1961 Yankees. He was a utility infielder for that great Ralph Houk managed team but was released at the end of August of that season after hitting just .091 in 33 pinstriped at bats.  Instead of sending him to the unemployment line, the Yankees made Torgeson a coach.

Torgeson later got into politics back home in Snohomish. He died in Everett Washington in 1980, a victim of leukemia. Averill, the original Earl outlived Torgeson by almost three years but also passed away in the City of Everett.

Also born on New Years Day was this one-time Yankee fireballing phee-nom who graduated from Harvard, won a Bronze Star in WWII and walked away from the pinstripes for a career in banking.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1961 NYY 22 26 18 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 8 3 .111 .385 .111 .496
15 Yrs 1668 6046 4969 848 1318 215 46 149 740 133 980 653 .265 .385 .417 .802
BSN (6 yrs) 720 3001 2476 428 657 116 19 82 377 80 478 294 .265 .385 .427 .812
CHW (5 yrs) 397 984 788 143 201 26 5 28 131 22 183 141 .255 .392 .407 .800
PHI (3 yrs) 293 1204 1019 150 277 52 17 17 135 16 160 129 .272 .370 .406 .776
DET (3 yrs) 236 831 668 124 181 21 5 22 97 15 151 86 .271 .400 .416 .817
NYY (1 yr) 22 26 18 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 8 3 .111 .385 .111 .496
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/1/2014.

December 17 – Happy Birthday Kent Hadley

hadleyIIIt was a deal that changed Yankee franchise history. Two weeks before Christmas in 1959 the Yankees sent Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Norm Siebern and Marvelous Marv Throneberry to Kansas City for Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri and today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant. All three of the players New York received in that deal had started for Kansas City during the 1959 season, but only Maris would start once they got to the Bronx. In fact, the Rajah’s unbelievable success during his first two years in the Big Apple, which included two straight AL MVP Awards and baseball’s single season home run record completely obscured Kent Hadleys short time in pinstripes.

After a great collegiate career at USC, the native of Pocatello, Idaho had been signed by the Tigers and spent the next two years playing in Detroit’s farm system. In November of 1957, he was one of thirteen players involved in a swap between Detroit and the A’s. Two years later, he looked like he was becoming a solid big league hitter, popping ten home runs for KC and growing more confident with each at bat. That all ended with the move to New York. With an All Star named Moose Skowren playing first base in front of him, Hadley got just 70 at bats in 1960 and was left off the Yankees’ postseason roster. Still, he hit four home runs that year and during an afternoon in late June, gave Bronx Bomber fans a hint of what might have been if there was room for his left handed bat in that incredible Yankee lineup. New York was playing Detroit in MoTown and Casey Stengel gave Hadley a rare start at first. Batting sixth behind Yogi Berra, the kid hit two bombs off Tiger right-hander Paul Foytack. leading New York to a 7-3 victory.

Released by the Yanks after the 1960 season, he played a year in the White Sox farm system before becoming one of the early US-born baseball playing pioneers to go to Japan. During the next six years he hit 131 home runs for the Nankai Hawks and became a fan favorite.

When his playing days were over, Hadley returned to Pocatello, where he started a successful insurance business. He passed away there in 2005 at the age of 70. He shares his birthday with this former Yankee outfielder,  this former Yankee starting pitcher and this other one too.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1960 NYY 55 70 64 8 13 2 0 4 11 0 6 19 .203 .271 .422 .693
3 Yrs 171 399 363 49 88 13 1 14 50 1 30 97 .242 .300 .399 .699
KCA (2 yrs) 116 329 299 41 75 11 1 10 39 1 24 78 .251 .306 .395 .700
NYY (1 yr) 55 70 64 8 13 2 0 4 11 0 6 19 .203 .271 .422 .693
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/16/2013.