Results tagged ‘ march 15 ’

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.

March 15 – Happy Birthday Kevin Youklis

youklisIf you love the Yankees, you hate, or at the very least dislike the Red Sox. But if you love the Yankees, you also find it easy to root for guys who at one time used to be Red Sox but now have landed in the Bronx and wear the pinstripes. If somebody told me in the late 1980s that I’d one day be praying Wade Boggs would drive in a runner from third or that Roger Clemens would strike out the sides, I’d have thought they were looney. Same goes for Johnny Damon fifteen years later. And more recently, it was Kevin Youklis.

When he was with Boston, I hated seeing “The Greek God of Walks” stride up to the plate in a close Red Sox/Yankee game. I knew at the very least he’d get into that completely weird batting stance of his and put together a very good at bat, forcing whatever Yankee pitcher happened to to be on the mound at the time to throw at least a dozen pitches. It seemed as if more often than not, those Youklis at bats would end up with him driving in a huge run or he would at least get on base and put himself in position to score that run. I did not like this guy at all and then in December of 2013, he signed as a free agent with the Yankees, forcing me to root for him too.

The problem with the signing was that it had been about four years since big Kevin had a good season. During his last two plus years in Boston, injuries and Bobby Valentine disrupted his game and he hit just .236 after getting traded to the White Sox in June of 2012. The only reason the Yankees came calling last winter and agreed to pay him $12 million was because A-Rod’s hip went bad. At the time of his signing, New York was hoping they’d only need him to start at the hot corner till Rodriguez recovered and returned at mid-year. With sluggers like Teixeira and Granderson still in the powerful Yankee lineup, they could even afford to absorb the mediocre bat Youklis had swung the previous few years. Joe Girardi just needed him to provide decent defense at third, use that great eye of his to earn frequent “walks” to first base and most importantly, stay healthy.

After his first regular season month in Pinstripes, Youklis was on the DL. By the middle of June both his season and his Yankee career were over, forcing Yankee fans to once again look forward to getting A-Rod back on the field sooner rather than later. In 2014, Youklis is playing in Japan.

He shares his birthday with this former Yankee outfielder, this long-ago first baseman and this one-time Yankee third baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2013 NYY 28 118 105 12 23 7 0 2 8 0 8 31 .219 .305 .343 .648
10 Yrs 1061 4436 3749 653 1053 254 18 150 618 26 539 828 .281 .382 .478 .861
BOS (9 yrs) 953 3974 3352 594 961 239 17 133 564 26 494 728 .287 .388 .487 .875
NYY (1 yr) 28 118 105 12 23 7 0 2 8 0 8 31 .219 .305 .343 .648
CHW (1 yr) 80 344 292 47 69 8 1 15 46 0 37 69 .236 .346 .425 .771
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

March 15 – Happy Birthday Bobby Bonds

bonds.jpgBobby Bonds came to the Yankees in a blockbuster trade that sent Yankee fan favorite, Bobby Murcer to the Giants in 1974. After a strong 1975 season in Pinstripes, Bobby was traded to the Angels for Ed Fiqueroa and Mickey Rivers. Bond’s most memorable contribution to baseball was his son Barry. Bonds died of Lung Cancer in August 2003.

I was 20-years-old when the Bonds for Murcer trade was made and can remember it as if it were yesterday. As a lifelong Yankee fan who had watched the Bomber dynasty crumble in the latter half of the sixties, Murcer was my favorite player at that time. He didn’t have superstar skills but he was the best player on some of the worst Yankee teams in the franchise’s hallowed history.

I started watching baseball in 1960 as a six-year-old and back then, Yankee fans took for granted that every October we’d be able to watch our Bronx Bombers play in the World Series. And that was the case right up until 1965. Then, within a matter of just a few years, instead of rooting for guys like Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford, Howard and Skowron to win a pennant, I found myself actually getting some satisfaction when players with names like Tepedino, Repoz, Whitaker, Amaro and Kenney could win just enough to keep my team out of the AL basement.

Murcer, Mel Stottlemyre, and a new kid named Munson were pretty much the only bright spots for us Yankee fans during that bleak period and then “The Boss” showed up in the Bronx. After putting together and heading a group of investors that purchased the team from CBS in January of 1973, George Steinbrenner began looking to make huge changes to the roster almost immediately, convinced he could deal his team back into the World Series.

He therefore was ready to jump at the opportunity to acquire Bonds from the SF Giants for Murcer. Baseball pundits at the time thought a lot more of Bonds’ skills than Murcer’s and they were right. Bonds was a genuine five-tool player who always seemed just on the verge of super stardom. Murcer on the other hand, earned his keep by playing hard every second he was on the field. Plus Bobby loved being a Yankee and always used to say that the saddest day of his life was the day the Yankees swapped him for Bonds.

As it turned out, Steinbrenner was right about this one but not because Bonds ended up leading New York back to the Fall Classic. Instead, after just one pretty good year in pinstripes, the Yanks swapped him for Fiqueroa and Rivers who immediately became two critical cogs in the team’s drive to the 1976 World Series.

This former Yankee third baseman, this much more recent Yankee third baseman and this long-ago first baseman also celebrate their birthday on March 15th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1975 NYY 145 626 529 93 143 26 3 32 85 30 89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888
14 Yrs 1849 8090 7043 1258 1886 302 66 332 1024 461 914 1757 .268 .353 .471 .824
SFG (7 yrs) 1014 4610 4047 765 1106 188 42 186 552 263 500 1016 .273 .356 .478 .834
CAL (2 yrs) 257 1106 970 151 256 33 12 47 169 71 115 231 .264 .340 .468 .808
STL (1 yr) 86 270 231 37 47 5 3 5 24 15 33 74 .203 .305 .316 .621
TEX (1 yr) 130 555 475 85 126 15 4 29 82 37 69 110 .265 .356 .497 .853
CHC (1 yr) 45 190 163 26 35 7 1 6 19 5 24 44 .215 .323 .380 .703
CLE (1 yr) 146 631 538 93 148 24 1 25 85 34 74 135 .275 .367 .463 .830
NYY (1 yr) 145 626 529 93 143 26 3 32 85 30 89 137 .270 .375 .512 .888
CHW (1 yr) 26 102 90 8 25 4 0 2 8 6 10 10 .278 .347 .389 .735
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

March 15 – Happy Birthday Mike Pagliarulo

Pagliarillo-front.JPGOnly three Yankee third basemen have hit more than thirty home runs in a season. Graig Nettles did it twice and A-Rod has done it in each of the seven seasons he’s been in New York. Today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant, however, is the only third baseman who came up through the Yankee minor league organization to have hit more than 30 round trippers in one year. That happened in 1987, when the player they called “Pags” hit 32 home runs and drove in 87, both of which would end up being career highs for the native of Medford, MA.

The Yankees drafted Pagliarulo out of the University of Miami, in 1981. He made the parent club in 1984 and replaced Toby Harrah as New York’s starting third baseman. Pags was a better than average fielder with good power but he struck out too much and could never get his batting average out of the .230’s. He was a hard-nosed type of player who always seemed to be wearing a dirty uniform. I remember he once got hit in the face by a pitch that smashed both his nose and lip into bloody messes. The next day he was back in the lineup wearing bandages all over his face. Both Billy Martin and Lou Piniella loved the guy but by 1989, both were gone and Pagliarulo’s average had slipped below .200. The Yankees shipped him to San Diego for starting pitcher, Walt Terrell. When he became a free agent after the 1990 season, he signed with the Twins and became Minnesota’s starting third baseman. He hit a career high .279, his first year in Minneapolis and helped the Twins win the 1991 World Series.

Pags played 11 big league seasons in all, retiring in 1995 with 134 career home runs, all but thirty of which were hit while he wore the Yankee pinstripes. He also played one year in Japan and after retiring, started a scouting service that helped Major League teams evaluate Japanese baseball talent. That company played a role in the Yankee signings of both Hideki Matsui and Kei Igawa.

This former Yankee outfielderthis more current Yankee third baseman and this long-ago first baseman were also born on March 15th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1984 NYY 67 219 201 24 48 15 3 7 34 0 15 46 .239 .288 .448 .735
1985 NYY 138 435 380 55 91 16 2 19 62 0 45 86 .239 .324 .442 .766
1986 NYY 149 565 504 71 120 24 3 28 71 4 54 120 .238 .316 .464 .780
1987 NYY 150 582 522 76 122 26 3 32 87 1 53 111 .234 .305 .479 .784
1988 NYY 125 490 444 46 96 20 1 15 67 1 37 104 .216 .276 .367 .643
1989 NYY 74 244 223 19 44 10 0 4 16 1 19 43 .197 .266 .296 .562
11 Yrs 1246 4317 3901 462 942 206 18 134 505 18 343 785 .241 .306 .407 .712
NYY (6 yrs) 703 2535 2274 291 521 111 12 105 337 7 223 510 .229 .300 .427 .727
MIN (3 yrs) 246 780 723 79 197 40 4 9 68 8 40 106 .272 .317 .376 .693
SDP (2 yrs) 178 614 546 41 130 30 2 10 52 3 57 105 .238 .313 .355 .668
TEX (1 yr) 86 262 241 27 56 16 0 4 27 0 15 49 .232 .277 .349 .625
BAL (1 yr) 33 126 117 24 38 9 0 6 21 0 8 15 .325 .373 .556 .929
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

March 12 – Happy Birthday Raul Mondesi

On the afternoon of July 27, 2003, the Yankees were in Boston trying to win the rubber game of a three-game series against the Red Sox. All was going well for Joe Torre’s pinstriped minions up until the home half of the seventh inning. Yankee starter, Jeff Weaver was shutting out the Red Sox up to that point and New York had scored three runs off of Boston starter, Derek Lowe. But the seventh inning stretch proved to be the turning point that afternoon in Beantown. With one out, Weaver walked and then hit the next two Boston batters. Torre brought in Chris Hammond to relieve Weaver. Hammond immediately gave up back-to-back bombs to Jason Varitek and Johnny Damon and suddenly the Yankees were losing 4-3. The lead would expand to 6-3 before Boston made the final out of that inning and you would have to believe that Joe Torre, as calm as he always looked, must have been stewing.

In the top of the eighth, with a man on first and nobody out, Torre sent up Todd Zeile to pinch hit for Robin Ventura. Red Sox manager, Grady Little countered by bringing in right hander, Mike Timlin to pitch to Zeile. Torre countered Little’s move by calling Zeile back to the bench and sending left-hand-hitting Karim Garcia to the plate. When Garcia struck out looking, Torre called on switch-hitter Ruben Sierra to pinch hit for the right-hand-hitting Raul Mondesi, who had started in right-field for New York that day. That move failed as well and the Yankees lost that game and that series to the Red Sox. As it turned out, they also lost Mondesi.

Claiming Torre had disrespected him, the disgruntled Dominican immediately left the dugout after being removed from the game, got dressed and drove back to New York City. The real problem with that was that while Mondesi was motoring to the Big Apple, the rest of the Yankee team was flying to California to play a series against the Angels. After spending the night in New York, Mondesi flew to Anaheim to rejoin his team in time for the first game, at which point he found out his team wasn’t his team any more. He had been traded to the Diamondbacks.

According to Mondesi, it wasn’t the fact that Torre pinch hit for him that was disrespectful. Instead, the outfielder was insulted because Torre did not personally deliver the message that Sierra was taking his place. And once Mondesi was traded, he was more than willing to share his dislike for Torre and the Yankees with the world. He claimed Torre discriminated against Dominicans and always showed favoritism to home-grown Yankees. That was not the first time a player had accused Torre of playing favorites and discriminating against players from the Carribean. Seven seasons earlier, another Latino outfielder made the same charges and was also traded by New York as a result. Ironically, that player’s name was Ruben Sierra.

In any event, Mondesi faded fast after that trade, going from the Diamondbacks to the Pirates, to the Angels and then the Braves in a desperate and unsuccessful struggle to keep his big league career going. The 1994 NL Rookie of the Year ended that career with 271 home runs and a .273 lifetime average. He played a total of 169 games with New York during the 2002 and ’03 seasons, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 92 during that span. In my humble opinion, the word “respect” has become one of the most misused and misunderstood words in our society.

Like Mondesi, this other former NL Rookie of the Year outfielder, this former NL All Star, this one-time Yankee center-fielder and this former Yankee backup first baseman each also had a March 12th birthday.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2002 31 NYY AL 71 302 270 39 65 18 0 11 43 6 28 46 .241 .315 .430 .744
2003 32 NYY AL 98 403 361 56 93 23 3 16 49 17 38 66 .258 .330 .471 .801
13 Yrs 1525 6369 5814 909 1589 319 49 271 860 229 475 1130 .273 .331 .485 .815
LAD (7 yrs) 916 3765 3487 543 1004 190 37 163 518 140 230 663 .288 .334 .504 .838
TOR (3 yrs) 320 1414 1259 217 316 64 7 66 196 61 136 258 .251 .328 .470 .798
NYY (2 yrs) 169 705 631 95 158 41 3 27 92 23 66 112 .250 .323 .453 .777
ARI (1 yr) 45 183 162 27 49 8 1 8 22 5 18 31 .302 .372 .512 .884
PIT (1 yr) 26 110 99 8 28 8 0 2 14 0 11 27 .283 .355 .424 .779
ATL (1 yr) 41 155 142 17 30 7 1 4 17 0 12 35 .211 .271 .359 .630
ANA (1 yr) 8 37 34 2 4 1 0 1 1 0 2 4 .118 .189 .235 .424
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/7/2014.