Results tagged ‘ joe pepitone ’

October 9 – Happy Birthday Joe Pepitone

Joseph Anthony Pepitone was born on October 9, 1940 in Brooklyn. He came up to the Yankees in 1962 and took over the starting first baseman’s job from one of my favorite players in Pinstripes, Bill Moose Skowron. We long-time Yankee FAN-atics will always consider the November 1962 trade that sent Skowron to the Dodgers for pitcher Stan Williams as the first crack in the crumbling of the original Yankee dynasty.

Pepitone may have had better baseball skills than the Moose but he lacked the unselfishness and professional discipline of his Yankee predecessor. Unlike Skowron, who was extremely self-critical, “Pepi” tended to blame his failures on the field on everyone else but himself. He thought he could work hard during the game and play hard at all other times. As the Yankees continued to lose their veteran players to age and injuries, Pepitone’s lack of maturity and good judgment prevented him from filling that growing vacuum in Yankee team leadership.

Still, in 1966 when my beloved Bombers finished in last place in the American League and Mickey Mantle was officially converted from an “injured superstar” into an “aging has-been,” Joe Pepitone’s 31 home run season gave us Yankee fans hope. His graciousness in switching starting positions with the Mick one season later to help prolong Mantle’s career added luster to Pepitone’s Yankee-fan friendly image. By 1969, however, Pepitone’s diminishing batting average and power numbers along with his continuing off-the-field antics had all worn thin on the fans and few complained when Joe was traded to the Astros for a guy named Curt Blefary. In 1975, Pepitone wrote his autobiography with Barry Stainback. It was called “Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud.” I recommend it to any student of Yankee history and any fan of Pepitone.

Today is also the birthday of another former Yankee infielder named Joe and this up and coming Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1962 NYY 63 141 138 14 33 3 2 7 17 1 3 21 .239 .255 .442 .697
1963 NYY 157 615 580 79 157 16 3 27 89 3 23 63 .271 .304 .448 .752
1964 NYY 160 647 613 71 154 12 3 28 100 2 24 63 .251 .281 .418 .698
1965 NYY 143 580 531 51 131 18 3 18 62 4 43 59 .247 .305 .394 .699
1966 NYY 152 621 585 85 149 21 4 31 83 4 29 58 .255 .290 .463 .753
1967 NYY 133 544 501 45 126 18 3 13 64 1 34 62 .251 .301 .377 .678
1968 NYY 108 421 380 41 93 9 3 15 56 8 37 45 .245 .311 .403 .714
1969 NYY 135 546 513 49 124 16 3 27 70 8 30 42 .242 .284 .442 .726
12 Yrs 1397 5475 5097 606 1315 158 35 219 721 41 302 526 .258 .301 .432 .733
NYY (8 yrs) 1051 4115 3841 435 967 113 24 166 541 31 223 413 .252 .294 .423 .718
CHC (4 yrs) 268 1049 966 127 274 36 6 39 144 5 60 84 .284 .328 .454 .782
ATL (1 yr) 3 12 11 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 .364 .417 .364 .780
HOU (1 yr) 75 299 279 44 70 9 5 14 35 5 18 28 .251 .298 .470 .767
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/9/2013.

May 24 – A Tree grew in Brooklyn and so did some great Yankees

With the exception of starting pitcher, catching is baseball’s most physically demanding position. That’s true today and it was true when the Yankees, then known as the Highlanders, played their first game in the Big Apple during the first decade of the twentieth century. Even back then, most teams carried backup catchers on their roster. The only member of the Yankee’s all-time roster to celebrate his birthday on this date was Fred Jacklitsch, a Brooklyn-born back-up catcher who played close to 500 games in the big leagues but only one of them in a New York uniform and that was during the 1905 season. Jacklitsch may have been the only Yankee born on May 24th but he’s one of several to have been born in Brooklyn. Here’s my list of the five most famous Brooklyn natives to have ever worn the pinstripes:

1 – Phil Rizzuto
2 – Waite Hoyt
3 – Wee Willie Keeler
4 – Joe Torre
5 – Joe Pepitone