Results tagged ‘ july 18 ’

June 18 – Happy Birthday Felix Heredia

The only member of the Yankee all-time player roster to be born on June 18 (1975) is their former reliever, Felix Heredia. The Yankees claimed the southpaw  off waivers during the 2003 season and he pitched real well out of  their bullpen for the remainder of that year, making 12 appearances during which he allowed just two earned runs in fifteen total innings. That effort represented an ERA of just 1.20 prompting New York to sign him to a new two-year contract. But during his second season in pinstripes, Heredia struggled with control problems and his Yankee ERA ballooned by over five times causing Joe Torre to eventually lose faith in him. The Yankees traded him to the Mets after the 2005 season in a deal that returned Mike Stanton to the Yankee bullpen. Heredia retired after the 2005 season with a 28-19 record for his ten years in the big leagues and 6 career saves. During that decade he pitched for six other teams in addition to the Yankees.

The only other member of the Yankee baseball family to be born on this same date is this announcer, who’s most famous call had nothing to do with Yankee baseball.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2003 NYY 0 1 .000 1.20 12 0 4 0 0 0 15.0 13 5 2 1 5 4 1.200
2004 NYY 1 1 .500 6.28 47 0 9 0 0 0 38.2 44 28 27 5 20 25 1.655
10 Yrs 28 19 .596 4.42 511 2 128 0 0 6 458.1 448 259 225 45 232 351 1.484
CHC (4 yrs) 15 6 .714 5.01 221 0 54 0 0 3 163.1 166 102 91 20 80 146 1.506
FLA (3 yrs) 6 7 .462 4.72 118 2 27 0 0 2 114.1 112 68 60 5 72 102 1.609
NYY (2 yrs) 1 2 .333 4.86 59 0 13 0 0 0 53.2 57 33 29 6 25 29 1.528
NYM (1 yr) 0 0 0.00 3 0 1 0 0 0 2.2 1 0 0 0 1 2 0.750
CIN (1 yr) 5 2 .714 3.00 57 0 18 0 0 1 72.0 61 27 24 9 28 41 1.236
TOR (1 yr) 1 2 .333 3.61 53 0 15 0 0 0 52.1 51 29 21 5 26 31 1.471
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/18/2013.

July 18 – Happy Birthday Ramiro Pena

penaAfter the Yanks spent close to $350 million during the 2008 offseason to sign Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett, putting their Mexican League find, Ramiro Pena on the Opening Day roster as the team’s utility infielder was probably a money-saving move on the part of the team’s front office. It worked out pretty well. The 23-year-old native of the Mexican city of Monterrey was paid the MLB minimum salary of $400,000 and responded with decent fill-in defensive efforts at short and third plus produced an impressive .287 batting average.  Pena did spend July and August of his first big league season back in the minors after the Yankees acquired Eric Hinske in late June of 2009, but he returned to New York in September and hit his first big league home run. Though he didn’t see action in that year’s postseason, Pena more than earned the World Series ring he received when the Yankees topped the Phillies in the ’09 World Series.

That effort earned him a return trip to the Bronx the following year and though his average dropped sixty points, his defense improved and so did his RBI production. What really killed Pena’s career as a Yankee was the emergency appendectomy he was forced to undergo in July of 2011, right after he had again been recalled to the Bronx to fill in for an injured Eric Chavez. Major League utility players who get hurt when the starters they are supposed to replace are also hurt are simply asking for trouble. Sure enough, Pena appeared in just three games for New York during the entire 2012 season and was released at the end of that year.

The Atlanta Braves signed him as a free agent in December and he was establishing himself as Atlanta’s super sub during the first half of the 2013 season until the injury jinx bit him again. Pena underwent shoulder surgery this month and will miss the remainder of the year.

Pena shares his birthday with this former Yankee manager, this former starting piitcher and this long-ago pinch-hitter.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2009 NYY 69 121 115 17 33 6 1 1 10 4 5 20 .287 .317 .383 .699
2010 NYY 85 167 154 18 35 1 1 0 18 7 6 27 .227 .258 .247 .504
2011 NYY 23 46 40 5 4 0 0 1 4 0 2 11 .100 .159 .175 .334
2012 NYY 3 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500
5 Yrs 230 445 410 54 100 12 3 5 44 11 21 76 .244 .281 .324 .606
NYY (4 yrs) 180 338 313 40 73 7 2 2 32 11 13 58 .233 .266 .288 .553
ATL (1 yr) 50 107 97 14 27 5 1 3 12 0 8 18 .278 .330 .443 .773
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/17/2013.

July 18 – Happy Birthday Johnny Hopp

Back in the late forties and early fifties, Yankee GM George Weiss would scour the rosters of the 15 other big league teams looking for what the New York media liked to call “pennant insurance.” With the platoon master, Casey Stengel calling the shots on the field in the Bronx, Weiss knew that providing the Ol’ Perfessor with one good extra bat or pitching arm was the recipe for a few extra late-season wins and quite possibly another trip to the Fall Classic. In August of 1949, Weiss had grabbed the “Big Cat,” Johnny Mize from the cross town Giants for $40,000 dollars. The primary reason the former NL batting champion was available in the first place was because Giant manager Leo Durocher was not very fond of him. When Weiss gave Mize to Stengel, Casey used him masterfully as a pinch hitter and part-time first baseman for the next five Yankee seasons.

A year after getting Mize, Weiss spent another 40,000 Yankee dollars to get Johnny Hopp from the Pirates. Hopp had been a teammate of Mize’s when both played and starred for the Cardinals early in their careers. Though he didn’t have lots of power, Hopp was a great defensive first baseman, a better-than-average center fielder and a solid batsman who turned pitches into line drives with great regularity. In fact, when Weiss swung the deal to put him in pinstripes, Hopp was hitting .340. The national baseball press howled that the mysterious Weiss was somehow using the financial might of the Yankees to form a cabal of MLB owners willing to sell New York any player needed to fill a gap in the team’s roster. In actuality, no NL team in the pennant race at the time of the Hopp transaction wanted or needed a first baseman who could not hit for power. But Stengel welcomed him with open arms into his toolbox, which was more commonly referred to as the Yankee dugout.

During the final month of the 1950 regular season, Hopp appeared in 19 games for New York and hit .333 with a .486 on base percentage. His timely hitting helped the Yankees hold off a very good Detroit Tiger team to win that year’s pennant by just three games. In 1951, Hopp’s age (35 at the time) began to catch up with him as injuries limited his play and had a negative impact on his batting average. The Hastings, Nebraska native was given his outright release the following year and he finished his big league career as a member of the Tigers. He retired with a .296 lifetime batting average and four World Series rings, two each with the Cardinals and Yankees.

Hopp shares his July 18th birthday with this former Yankee Managerthis one-time Yankee starting pitcher and this Yankee utility infielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1950 NYY 19 35 27 9 9 2 1 1 8 0 8 1 .333 .486 .593 1.078
1951 NYY 46 73 63 10 13 1 0 2 4 2 9 11 .206 .306 .317 .623
1952 NYY 15 28 25 4 4 0 0 0 2 2 2 3 .160 .250 .160 .410
14 Yrs 1393 4805 4260 698 1262 216 74 46 458 128 464 378 .296 .368 .414 .782
STL (7 yrs) 669 2401 2129 355 619 116 41 24 244 69 227 218 .291 .362 .418 .779
PIT (3 yrs) 331 1208 1081 170 335 53 22 14 117 21 120 71 .310 .379 .438 .818
NYY (3 yrs) 80 136 115 23 26 3 1 3 14 4 19 15 .226 .341 .348 .689
BSN (2 yrs) 263 993 875 145 272 43 10 5 80 34 92 64 .311 .381 .400 .781
BRO (1 yr) 8 14 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000
DET (1 yr) 42 53 46 5 10 1 0 0 3 0 6 7 .217 .308 .239 .547
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.

July 18 – Happy Birthday Rudy May

Rudy May was a Yankee twice during his sixteen-season career. The first time was from June 15, 1974, when the southpaw pitcher was purchased by New York from the Angels until June 15, 1976, when he was traded in a ten-player blockbuster deal with the Orioles. The Yankees sent May, Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan to Baltimore and got Doyle Alexander, Scott Holtzman, Elrod Hendricks, Grant Jackson and somebody named Jimmy Freeman from the birds. During his first tenure in pinstripes, Rudy had gone 26-19 including a 14-12 season in 1975. He had enough mojo back then to get the honor of starting the first-ever game in the newly renovated Yankee Stadium, in 1976 (The Yankees won the game but Rudy pitched just two innings).

Rudy pitched well for the Orioles, winning 29 games for them during the next season and a half and then he was traded to the Expos, where he again performed very effectively and became a free agent after the 1979 season. That’s when the Yankees brought him back to the Bronx a second time and he rewarded them for that decision with a 15-5 season and the AL ERA title (2.46). Dick Howser used May as both a starter and reliever that season and Rudy thrived in the dual role. But then two things happened that helped derail May’s career. George Steinbrenner dumped Howser after the Yankees were knocked out of the playoffs in 1980. From that point on, it appeared as if George had totalitarian control of all front-office and even some dugout-based decisions. Then the disastrous 1981 strike severely damaged owner-player and team-fan relationships. In December of 1981, the Yankees had actually completed a trade with the Royals that would have sent May to Kansas City for their veteran outfielder, Hal McRae but both players had clauses in their contracts that required them to approve such deals and neither did. An efficient and professional front office would have asked for the player’s approval before making such a deal. May never again felt comfortable or pitched effectively in pinstripes. He left the Yankees and big league baseball after the 1983 season. May was born on this date in 1944, in Coffeyville, Kansas. His career regular season stats as a Yankee pitcher are shown below.

This Yankee Manager who won four World Series rings with New York, this Yankee utility infielder and this one-time Yankee pinch-hitter also celebrate birthdays today.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1974 NYY 8 4 .667 2.28 17 15 1 8 2 0 114.1 75 36 29 5 48 90 1.076
1975 NYY 14 12 .538 3.06 32 31 0 13 1 0 212.0 179 87 72 9 99 145 1.311
1976 NYY 4 3 .571 3.57 11 11 0 2 1 0 68.0 49 32 27 5 28 38 1.132
1980 NYY 15 5 .750 2.46 41 17 13 3 1 3 175.1 144 56 48 14 39 133 1.044
1981 NYY 6 11 .353 4.14 27 22 1 4 0 1 147.2 137 71 68 10 41 79 1.205
1982 NYY 6 6 .500 2.89 41 6 22 0 0 3 106.0 109 43 34 4 14 85 1.160
1983 NYY 1 5 .167 6.87 15 0 4 0 0 0 18.1 22 15 14 1 12 16 1.855
16 Yrs 152 156 .494 3.46 535 360 73 87 24 12 2622.0 2314 1150 1007 199 958 1760 1.248
CAL (7 yrs) 51 76 .402 3.67 230 170 22 35 12 5 1138.2 971 520 464 96 484 844 1.278
NYY (7 yrs) 54 46 .540 3.12 184 102 41 30 5 7 841.2 715 340 292 48 281 586 1.183
MON (2 yrs) 18 13 .581 3.26 60 30 9 6 2 0 237.2 229 103 86 19 73 154 1.271
BAL (2 yrs) 29 21 .580 3.68 61 58 1 16 5 0 404.0 399 187 165 36 120 176 1.285
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.

July 18 – Happy Birthday Joe Torre

I was one of those Yankee fans who screamed the loudest when the recently departed George Steinbrenner pegged this guy to replace Buck Showalter as Yankee manager after the 1995 playoff loss to Seattle. We had good reason to be skeptics. Up until then, Torre had managed the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, losing an average of 90 games per year and compiling a dreadful .472 winning percentage. It seemed as if the Yankees had turned the corner with Showalter and when he got fired, one year after the miserable players strike, I was about ready to stop watching baseball.

Boy was I wrong. 1996 turned out to be one of the, if not the greatest years of my life as a Yankee fan and Joe Torre’s managerial skills were a huge part of the reason why. Not only was he adept at Steinbrenner diplomacy, he was also a great communicator with his players and it seemed every move he made from the dugout was the right one.

Joe’s tenure with the Yankees was a wonderful time in the team’s history (although my euphoria has been significantly dampened with the steroids usage disclosures involving several Yankees who played for Torre) and Yankee fans will always admire and be grateful for the calm, professional way he handled the immense pressure and responsibilities that came with the job.

Here’s a look at the regular season career Yankee won-loss records of the top five winning managers in pinstripe history:

Manager – World Championships Wins Losses Pct.
Joe McCarthy - 7 1460 867 .627
Joe Torre - 4 1173 767 .605
Casey Stengel - 7 1149 696 .623
Miller Huggins – 3 1067 719 .597
Ralph Houk - 2 944 806 .539

Joe shares a birthday with this Yankee pitcher, who started the first game ever in the newly renovated Yankee Stadium in April of 1976. This former Yankee pinch-hitter was also born on July 18th as was this much more recent NY utility infielder.

Here’s Torre’s season-by-season record as Yankee skipper and his lifetime totals by teams he managed during his career:

Rk Year Age Tm Lg G W L W-L% Finish
16 1996 55 New York Yankees AL 162 92 70 .568 1 WS Champs
17 1997 56 New York Yankees AL 162 96 66 .593 2
18 1998 57 New York Yankees AL 162 114 48 .704 1 WS Champs
19 1999 58 New York Yankees AL 162 98 64 .605 1 WS Champs
20 2000 59 New York Yankees AL 161 87 74 .540 1 WS Champs
21 2001 60 New York Yankees AL 161 95 65 .594 1 AL Pennant
22 2002 61 New York Yankees AL 161 103 58 .640 1
23 2003 62 New York Yankees AL 163 101 61 .623 1 AL Pennant
24 2004 63 New York Yankees AL 162 101 61 .623 1
25 2005 64 New York Yankees AL 162 95 67 .586 1
26 2006 65 New York Yankees AL 162 97 65 .599 1
27 2007 66 New York Yankees AL 162 94 68 .580 2
New York Mets 5 years 709 286 420 .405 5.3
Atlanta Braves 3 years 486 257 229 .529 2.0
St. Louis Cardinals 6 years 706 351 354 .498 3.5
New York Yankees 12 years 1942 1173 767 .605 1.2 6 Pennants and 4 World Series Titles
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 years 486 259 227 .533 2.0
29 years 4329 2326 1997 .538 2.6 6 Pennants and 4 World Series Titles
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.