Results tagged ‘ march 20 ’

March 20 – Happy Birthday Paul Mirabella

After the 1978 season, the New York front office decided the Yankee bullpen wasn’t big enough for both Goose Gossage and Sparky Lyle so they traded “The Count” to Texas in a nine player deal. The key acquisition for New York was supposed to be outfielder Juan Beniquez, but he lasted just one season in the Bronx. The real gem in that deal for the Yankees was a young pitcher named Dave Righetti. Paul Mirabella, today’s birthday celebrant quietly accompanied “Ragu” and Beniquez to New York as part of that transaction.

A word of advice to those of you who have children you hope one day will win baseball scholarships to college or get drafted by an MLB team. If they are right-handed groom them to be catchers and if they throw with their left-hands teach them how to pitch. Why? If you study the history of Major League Baseball  you will find a large number of catchers in every era who were able to put together lengthy big league careers even though they can’t hit worth a lick. You’ll also discover that there’s always room on a big league roster for a pitcher who can throw from the left side.

Mirabella is a classic example. He had come up with Texas in 1978.  After going 0-4 in pinstripes during the 1979 season, he was sent to Toronto with Chris Chambliss in the deal that brought Rick Cerone to New York. He remained in the big leagues for the next eleven seasons even though his ERA as a reliever was 4.45, his record was 19-29 and he saved an average of just one game per season during his 13 years in the Majors. How? Because at least once every season since Major League Baseball was introduced to our culture, the manager of every big league team that has ever played has told the owner or general manager of that team that he needs a left hander who can come into a game and get a left-handed hitter on the opposing team out. That’s why and how Mirabella’s career lasted for thirteen seasons on six different teams.

He was born in Belleville, NJ in 1954. In the above baseball card, Mirabella does bear a slight resemblance to comedy actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, no? He also shares his March 20th birthday with the first pitcher in the history of the Yankee franchise to win 20 games in a season and the first one to lose 20 games in a season.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1979 NYY 0 4 .000 8.79 10 1 0 0 0 0 14.1 16 15 14 3 10 4 1.814
13 Yrs 19 29 .396 4.45 298 33 86 3 1 13 499.2 526 284 247 43 239 258 1.531
MIL (4 yrs) 8 5 .615 3.63 124 2 39 0 0 6 163.2 158 78 66 13 71 81 1.399
SEA (3 yrs) 2 5 .286 4.19 70 1 21 0 0 3 88.0 96 50 41 7 39 55 1.534
TEX (2 yrs) 4 3 .571 5.15 50 4 22 0 0 4 78.2 76 46 45 6 39 52 1.462
TOR (2 yrs) 5 12 .294 4.64 41 23 3 3 1 0 145.1 171 89 75 13 73 62 1.679
NYY (1 yr) 0 4 .000 8.79 10 1 0 0 0 0 14.1 16 15 14 3 10 4 1.814
BAL (1 yr) 0 0 5.59 3 2 1 0 0 0 9.2 9 6 6 1 7 4 1.655
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2014.

March 20 – Happy Birthday Joe McGinnity

McGinnity.jpgHe was the first pitcher in the history of the Yankee franchise to win 20 games in a season. He was also the first pitcher in the history of the Yankee franchise to lose 20 games in a season. His name was Joe McGinnity. He had worked in an iron foundry until he was 27-years-old and then started pitching in the minor leagues in 1898. Known as “The Iron Man” because of his pre-baseball career, McGinnity made his big league debut with the 1899 Baltimore Orioles, a team that was then a member of the National League and managed by John McGraw. Joe led the league with 28 wins in his rookie season, which also happened to be the last season the Orioles were part of the NL. In 1900, the ownership of that team merged their club with the Brooklyn franchise and McGinnity pitched the 1900 season for the Brooklyn Superbas. He again won 28 games and again led the NL in wins but his heart was evidently in Baltimore. In 1901, the new American League had formed and awarded a franchise to Baltimore. That team adopted the Orioles name and John McGraw was named their Manager. McGinnity jumped from Brooklyn to Baltimore and went 26-20 for the new AL franchise. The following year, the Orioles had a horrible season, finishing with a record of 50-88. McGinnity did OK himself, going 13-10, but the Orioles had the worst attendance of the eight teams in the league. That contributed to the League decision to move the team to New York in 1903 where they would play first as the Highlanders and eventually, the Yankees.

When Clark Griffith was named manager of the Highlanders, McGraw was out of a job. The Orioles released McGinnity and he signed with the New York Giants, finishing 8-8 in 1902. The following season, McGraw was hired as Manager of the Giants, where he was reunited with McGinnity and a young Giant pitcher named Christy Matthewson. Those three M’s would help turn the Giants into one of the most successful franchises in baseball. McGinnity and Matthewson both won 30 games in 1903 and McGraw’s team went from last place in the NL to second. In 1904, the pitching duo again each won 30 and the Giants captured the NL Pennant. McGinnity pitched in the Polo Grounds until 1908 and finished his big league career with a lifetime record of 246-142. He didn’t stop pitching though. He became a Minor Leaguer again and won 207 more games before he retired for good at the age of 54, in 1925. He was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1946.

Iron Man McGinnity shares his March 20th birthday with this one-time Yankee reliever.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1901 BLA 26 20 .565 3.56 48 43 4 39 1 1 382.0 412 219 151 7 96 75 1.330
1902 BLA 13 10 .565 3.44 25 23 2 19 0 0 198.2 219 100 76 3 46 39 1.334
10 Yrs 246 142 .634 2.66 465 381 73 314 32 24 3441.1 3276 1436 1016 52 812 1068 1.188
NYG (7 yrs) 151 88 .632 2.38 300 237 53 186 26 21 2151.1 1937 774 568 34 464 787 1.116
BLA (2 yrs) 39 30 .565 3.52 73 66 6 58 1 1 580.2 631 319 227 10 142 114 1.331
BLN (1 yr) 28 16 .636 2.68 48 41 7 38 4 2 366.1 358 164 109 3 93 74 1.231
BRO (1 yr) 28 8 .778 2.94 44 37 7 32 1 0 343.0 350 179 112 5 113 93 1.350
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2014.