Results tagged ‘ november 29 ’

November 29 – Happy Birthday Mariano Rivera

rivera

The best closer ever. Those really are the only four words you need to describe “Mo’s” career with the Yankees. In my fifty-plus years of being an avid Major League baseball fan, I’ve seen nobody end games as successfully as this guy did for the past nineteen seasons. And the amazing thing is that he did it with one pitch, a cut fastball. Yankee fans watched Rivera’s cutter break a remarkable number of big league bats over the years. The pitch had such late and significant movement that it was almost impossible for even the most skilled big league hitters to get the meaty part of their bat on the ball. I heard Jim Kaat try to explain it years ago during one Yankee broadcast by telling viewers that Mariano had very long fingers, which helped him get more spin on the cutter than most other pitchers who threw it. Add in his flawless mechanics which enabled him to precisely replicate his elegant delivery pitch after pitch and you have the formula for closing perfection that danced to the tune of “Enter Sandman.”

When I think of Mariano I will remember his postseason brilliance which included 42 saves, an 8-1 record  and an ERA of 0.70. I will remember him setting the MLB career saves record during the 2011 season. I will remember how he returned from an ACL tear at the age of 43 and went on to save 44 games during the final year of his Hall of Fame career. But most of all, I will remember how secure every Yankee lead seemed to be at the end of the eighth inning for almost two straight decades and how comforting it was as a Yankee fan to see that bullpen door swing open and see number 42 trot in to that elevated circular spot in the middle of the infield from where he performed his magic.

Thank you Mariano Rivera. Yankee fans will never ever forget just how magnificent you were.

This former Yankee outfielder, this former Yankee DH and this one-time Yankee phee-nom share Rivera’s November 29th birthday.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1995 NYY 5 3 .625 5.51 19 10 2 0 0 0 67.0 71 43 41 11 30 51 1.507
1996 NYY 8 3 .727 2.09 61 0 14 0 0 5 107.2 73 25 25 1 34 130 0.994
1997 NYY 6 4 .600 1.88 66 0 56 0 0 43 71.2 65 17 15 5 20 68 1.186
1998 NYY 3 0 1.000 1.91 54 0 49 0 0 36 61.1 48 13 13 3 17 36 1.060
1999 NYY 4 3 .571 1.83 66 0 63 0 0 45 69.0 43 15 14 2 18 52 0.884
2000 NYY 7 4 .636 2.85 66 0 61 0 0 36 75.2 58 26 24 4 25 58 1.097
2001 NYY 4 6 .400 2.34 71 0 66 0 0 50 80.2 61 24 21 5 12 83 0.905
2002 NYY 1 4 .200 2.74 45 0 37 0 0 28 46.0 35 16 14 3 11 41 1.000
2003 NYY 5 2 .714 1.66 64 0 57 0 0 40 70.2 61 15 13 3 10 63 1.005
2004 NYY 4 2 .667 1.94 74 0 69 0 0 53 78.2 65 17 17 3 20 66 1.081
2005 NYY 7 4 .636 1.38 71 0 67 0 0 43 78.1 50 18 12 2 18 80 0.868
2006 NYY 5 5 .500 1.80 63 0 59 0 0 34 75.0 61 16 15 3 11 55 0.960
2007 NYY 3 4 .429 3.15 67 0 59 0 0 30 71.1 68 25 25 4 12 74 1.121
2008 NYY 6 5 .545 1.40 64 0 60 0 0 39 70.2 41 11 11 4 6 77 0.665
2009 NYY 3 3 .500 1.76 66 0 55 0 0 44 66.1 48 14 13 7 12 72 0.905
2010 NYY 3 3 .500 1.80 61 0 55 0 0 33 60.0 39 14 12 2 11 45 0.833
2011 NYY 1 2 .333 1.91 64 0 54 0 0 44 61.1 47 13 13 3 8 60 0.897
2012 NYY 1 1 .500 2.16 9 0 9 0 0 5 8.1 6 2 2 0 2 8 0.960
2013 NYY 6 2 .750 2.11 64 0 60 0 0 44 64.0 58 16 15 6 9 54 1.047
19 Yrs 82 60 .577 2.21 1115 10 952 0 0 652 1283.2 998 340 315 71 286 1173 1.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2013.

November 29 – Happy Birthday Otto Velez

Dick Williams had just won his second straight World Series as Oakland A’s manager in 1973, when he abruptly quit the job, angered over Charley Finley’s embarrassing attempt to get Mike Andrews kicked off the team’s World Series roster after the second baseman had made two errors in Game 2. George Steinbrenner immediately signed Williams to become the Yankees’ new field boss but Finley screamed foul and demanded New York give him their organization’s best pitching and hitting prospects as compensation for stealing his team’s disgruntled skipper. Those prospects respectively were southpaw Scott MacGregor and today’s Puerto Rican born Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant, outfielder Otto Velez.

Steinbrenner refused to do so and Velez was returned to the roster of the Yankees Triple A farm team back then, the Syracuse Chiefs. Velez had belted 29 home runs and driven in 98 for Syracuse the season before and he had also walked 130 times, so the Yankees were justified in not giving him up. He would fail to make a memorable impression in three straight cup of coffee call ups to the Bronx in 1973, ’74 and ’75, but by 1976, Billy Martin had become Yankee manager and he put Velez on his team’s season-opening roster. Velez responded with a .266 batting average in 49 games that year and an impressive .410 on base percentage. He became a favorite of the fiery Martin, which explains why the Yankee manager fought fiercely to keep Velez’s name off the unprotected list for the 1976 American League expansion draft. He lost that argument and a few weeks later the Yankees lost Velez, when “Otto the Swatto” became the 53rd player selected in that draft and was headed to Toronto.

Velez would spend the next six years playing first base, the outfield, and doing some DH-ing for the Blue Jays. His best year was probably 1980, when he reached the 20-homer mark for the only time in his 11-year big-league career. His final season in the Majors was spent in Cleveland in 1983. He than played in Mexico. He hit 78 home runs during his career, with a lifetime batting average of .251.

Velez shares his birthday with the Sand Man, the Hit Man and this former Yankee outfielder from the early fifties.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1973 NYY 23 92 77 9 15 4 0 2 7 0 15 24 .195 .326 .325 .651
1974 NYY 27 84 67 9 14 1 1 2 10 0 15 24 .209 .345 .343 .689
1975 NYY 6 10 8 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 .250 .400 .250 .650
1976 NYY 49 117 94 11 25 6 0 2 10 0 23 26 .266 .410 .394 .804
11 Yrs 637 2174 1802 244 452 87 11 78 272 6 336 414 .251 .369 .441 .810
TOR (6 yrs) 522 1843 1531 214 394 76 10 72 243 6 278 334 .257 .372 .461 .834
NYY (4 yrs) 105 303 246 29 56 11 1 6 28 0 55 74 .228 .366 .354 .720
CLE (1 yr) 10 28 25 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 6 .080 .179 .080 .259
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2013.

November 29 – Happy Birthday Irv Noren

Irv Noren was the fourth Yankee outfielder for five seasons beginning in 1952 and he won three World Series rings in that role during his stay in the Bronx. The Yankees got Noren from the Senators during the 1952 season, giving up top prospect Jackie Jensen and pitcher Spec Shea as part of that deal. Born on this date in 1924, the Jamestown, NY native’s best season in pinstripes was, ironically, the only season the team did not win the AL pennant with Noren on the roster. That was 1954, when Irv hit .319 and drove in 66 runs and was named to the AL All Star team, while backing up starters Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer and Gene Woodling in the Yankee outfield. During the winter of 1957, the Yankees included Noren in a huge trade with Kansas City that brought Art Ditmar, Bobby Shantz and Clete Boyer to New York. Noren played sparingly for four more seasons for four different teams before retiring. He played his entire career handicapped by chronically sore knees.

Also born on this same date is a former Yankee DH nicknamed “Hit Man”  the best closer in baseball history and this former Yankee phee-nom.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1952 NYY 93 306 272 36 64 13 2 5 21 4 26 34 .235 .316 .353 .669
1953 NYY 109 392 345 55 92 12 6 6 46 3 42 39 .267 .350 .388 .738
1954 NYY 125 480 426 70 136 21 6 12 66 4 43 38 .319 .377 .481 .859
1955 NYY 132 422 371 49 94 19 1 8 59 5 43 33 .253 .331 .375 .706
1956 NYY 29 49 37 4 8 1 0 0 6 0 12 7 .216 .408 .243 .651
11 Yrs 1093 3505 3119 443 857 157 35 65 453 34 335 350 .275 .348 .410 .758
NYY (5 yrs) 488 1649 1451 214 394 66 15 31 198 16 166 151 .272 .348 .402 .750
WSH (3 yrs) 279 1233 1100 166 314 63 16 22 186 16 124 115 .285 .359 .432 .791
STL (3 yrs) 142 239 216 27 59 14 2 5 32 0 17 29 .273 .335 .426 .761
CHC (2 yrs) 77 186 167 27 51 6 2 4 20 2 16 28 .305 .376 .437 .813
KCA (1 yr) 81 172 160 8 34 8 0 2 16 0 11 19 .213 .267 .300 .567
LAD (1 yr) 26 26 25 1 5 0 0 1 1 0 1 8 .200 .231 .320 .551
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2013.

November 29 – Happy Birthday Mike Easler

I faintly remember being confused about the trade. Just before Opening Day of the 1986 baseball season, the Yankees and Red Sox exchanged DH’s. New York sent Don Baylor to Boston for Mike Easler. Later on, I learned that Baylor had demanded to be traded because Lou Piniella, the Yankee Skipper at the time had announced he intended to platoon him with Ken Griffey during the ’86 season. As is the case still today, trades between the arch-rival franchises were not frequent occurrences. In fact the Easler for Baylor deal was the first trade between the two teams since New York got Sparky Lyle from Boston in exchange for Danny Cater fourteen seasons earlier. I could only hope that this deal would end up being as one-sided in favor of the Yankees as that one was. it wasn’t.

In 1984, Easler had belted 27 home runs for Boston, driven in 91 and averaged .313. Even though all those numbers decreased the following year, there was a lot to like about Easler in pinstripes. He was a bonafide three-hundred hitter who’s nickname was “Hit Man.” He was a left-handed hitter with good pop in his bat which I hoped meant perhaps 25-to-30 home runs per season aided by Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch. Easler would be joining a Yankee lineup that included superstars Don Mattingly, Ricky Henderson and Dave Winfield. There would be lots of protection surrounding him in the batting order which also meant less pressure to produce in every at bat. I fully expected that Yankee team to win their Division.

They came close, winning 90 games but Boston, with plenty of help from Baylor (31 HRs and 94 RBIs) won 95 and ended up in the World Series. Easler did hit .302 for New York but he managed just 14 home runs and 78 RBIs. But offense was not the problem for the 1986 Yankees. Instead, starting pitching was their achilles heel. It was a case of Ron Guidry and Joe Niekro being too old and Doug Drabek and Bob Tewksbury not being old enough. The Yankees traded Easler to the Phillies for pitcher Charles Hudson that December and then got him back in another trade the following June. He played his final 65 big league games in Pinstripes during that 1987 season and then gave Japanese ball a try. During his 14 season career in the Majors, Easler hit .293.

The Hit Man shares his November 29th birthday with this former Yankee outfielder , the greatest Closer who ever played the game and this one-time Yankee phee-nom.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1986 NYY 146 546 490 64 148 26 2 14 78 3 49 87 .302 .362 .449 .811
1987 NYY 65 184 167 13 47 6 0 4 21 1 14 32 .281 .337 .389 .726
14 Yrs 1151 4061 3677 465 1078 189 25 118 522 20 321 696 .293 .349 .454 .804
PIT (6 yrs) 549 1829 1660 216 501 92 13 56 244 14 137 273 .302 .354 .474 .828
HOU (3 yrs) 26 29 27 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 .037 .103 .037 .140
NYY (2 yrs) 211 730 657 77 195 32 2 18 99 4 63 119 .297 .356 .434 .790
BOS (2 yrs) 311 1297 1169 158 337 60 9 43 165 1 111 263 .288 .351 .465 .816
CAL (1 yr) 21 59 54 6 13 1 1 0 4 1 2 11 .241 .259 .296 .555
PHI (1 yr) 33 117 110 7 31 4 0 1 10 0 6 20 .282 .316 .345 .662
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/28/2013.