Results tagged ‘ july 20 ’

July 20 – Happy Birthday Mike Witt

wittAfter nine and one half seasons with the Angels, Witt came to New York in 1990 in the horrible Yankee trade that took Dave Winfield out of pinstripes. George Steinbrenner’s disgraceful efforts to use a brain-damaged con-man named Howie Spira to dig up dirt on his star outfielder had poisoned Winfield’s relationship with the Yankee front office. In trading for Witt, the Yankees were hoping to put the whole sad situation behind them while at the same time acquiring a veteran right-hander with one of the league’s best curve balls for their very weak starting rotation. Witt had won 109 games for the Angels but had gone 9-15 in ’89 and was 0-3 at the time of the trade. I realized Winfield was no spring chicken back then, but I clearly remember thinking at the time that the Yankees were getting the short end of that deal and I was right.

Witt won just eight more games during the next three plus seasons for New York. He spent most of that time including all of 1992 on the injured reserve list. Winfield went on to give the Angels two decent seasons of production and still had enough in the tank to drive in 108 runs for the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays and help them win a World Championship. Witt retired in 1993 after collecting $7.5 million Yankee dollars to appear in just 27 games. In 1997, he became the pitching coach of a California High School’s baseball program.

Witt shares his birthday with the first catcher in franchise history to start in that position for five straight seasons.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1990 NYY 5 6 .455 4.47 16 16 0 2 1 0 96.2 87 53 48 8 34 60 1.252
1991 NYY 0 1 .000 10.13 2 2 0 0 0 0 5.1 8 7 6 1 1 0 1.688
1993 NYY 3 2 .600 5.27 9 9 0 0 0 0 41.0 39 26 24 7 22 30 1.488
12 Yrs 117 116 .502 3.83 341 299 22 72 11 6 2108.1 2066 1012 898 183 713 1373 1.318
CAL (10 yrs) 109 107 .505 3.76 314 272 22 70 10 6 1965.1 1932 926 820 167 656 1283 1.317
NYY (3 yrs) 8 9 .471 4.91 27 27 0 2 1 0 143.0 134 86 78 16 57 90 1.336
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/20/2013.

July 20 – Happy Birthday Red Kleinow

When Hall of Famer Bill Dickey began his sixth consecutive season as the Yankees’ starting catcher in 1934 he broke the 25-year-old record for most consecutive years starting for New York at that position, which was set by today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant. John Peter Kleinow, better known as Red, was born in Milwaukee on this date in 1877. He played baseball in college and then the minor leagues before signing with the Highlanders in 1904. During his first season in New York, he was the team’s back-up backstop to Deacon McGuire. He took over as starter the following year and maintained that status through the 1909 season.

Never a good hitter, Kleinow was instead considered to be an excellent defensive catcher. His lifetime percentage for throwing out base runners attempting to steal was an impressive 44%. But it was a pitch that got over Kleinow’s head in his rookie season that cost New York a shot at the franchise’s first pennant in 1904. Trailing Boston by a game and a half with just two to play, New York’s 41-game winner, Jack Chesbro was pitching against the first place team in the eighth inning of a 2-2 tie game. Chesbro threw one of the dirtiest baseballs in the game and in the later innings, when the sun was low in the sky and shadows covered the Hilltopper Park pitching mound, it was next to impossible for a hitter or catcher to pick up the flight of a “Happy Jack” doctored baseball. With a runner on third, Chesbro let loose a spitball that the hitter never saw. Unfortunately, neither did Kleinow. As the ball sailed over the catcher’s head, the runner on third scampered safely home and Boston won the game and clinched the pennant.

In 1910, Red became a Red Sox when Boston purchased his contract from New York. But by then, the wear and tear on Kleinow’s legs from all those years of catching had caught up with him and he was out of the big leagues after 1911. His batting average during his seven years with New York was only .219 and he drove in an average of just 17 runs per season. He must have been a defensive wizard!

Red shares his July 20th birthday with this pitcher the Yankees acquired in a trade for Dave Winfield. Today is also the 44th anniversary of Man’s first steps on the Moon which also means it is my oldest brother’s birthday. Happy birthday Big J.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1904 NYY 68 230 209 12 43 8 4 0 16 4 15 37 .206 .259 .282 .541
1905 NYY 88 278 253 23 56 6 3 1 24 7 20 34 .221 .284 .281 .564
1906 NYY 96 306 268 30 59 9 3 0 31 8 24 28 .220 .287 .276 .563
1907 NYY 90 301 269 30 71 6 4 0 26 5 24 25 .264 .327 .316 .643
1908 NYY 96 312 279 16 47 3 2 1 13 5 22 31 .168 .237 .204 .441
1909 NYY 78 241 206 24 47 11 4 0 15 7 25 31 .228 .315 .320 .635
1910 NYY 6 13 12 2 5 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 .417 .462 .417 .878
8 Yrs 584 1875 1665 146 354 45 20 3 135 42 153 213 .213 .282 .269 .551
NYY (7 yrs) 522 1681 1496 137 328 43 20 2 127 38 131 186 .219 .286 .279 .564
BOS (2 yrs) 58 186 161 9 25 1 0 1 8 4 22 26 .155 .257 .180 .437
PHI (1 yr) 4 8 8 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .125 .125 .250 .375
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/20/2013.