Results tagged ‘ october 29 ’

October 27 – Happy Birthday Martin Prado

Bt54BlfCMAAxoPGWhen I first heard that the Yankees had acquired veteran Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks at the July 31st trading deadline of the 2014 season, I smiled. My aging in-laws in Florida have been huge Braves’ fans for years and the Venezuelan-born Prado had been one of their favorite players during his first seven big-league seasons, all spent with Atlanta. Since we watched plenty of Braves’ baseball whenever my wife’s parents were visiting, I could see why they liked the guy. His entire game was solid, not flashy but dependably solid.

That’s the reason why it was Prado the Diamondbacks accepted in a 2013 preseason trade that sent the multi-talented Justin Upton to Atlanta. After a year and a half with his new team, Arizona decided it did not want to pay his $11 million salary for the next two seasons so they sent Prado to the Bronx for minor league slugger, Pete O’Brien, a Yankee catching prospect who had already hit 33 home runs for two different New York farm teams during the 2014 minor league season.

The reason I liked Prado in a Yankee uniform was his versatility and style of play. He can play second, third or the outfield plus he’s a good fit offensively anywhere you need to put him in the lineup. His intangibles are solid as well. The guy hustles all the time and all indications are he’s a great teammate.

Sure enough, during the 37 games he wore the pinstripes last year, he played second, third and all three outfield positions and belted 7 home runs which is a pace that translates into a 30-homer full season. The only downside was the fact that he ended the year on the DL. I don’t expect this guy to be a 30-homer hitter for New York but we desperately need players who can stay healthy for full seasons.

With the December, 2014 signing of Chase Headley, the Yankees made it clear that they intended to make Prado their everyday second baseman in 2015. If he stays healthy, he won’t make Yankee fans forget Robbie Cano but he will win over New York fans big time..

Prado shares his October 29th birthday with this former Yankee outfielderthis other former Yankee outfielder and this former Yankee shortstop.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2014 NYY 37 137 133 18 42 9 0 7 16 1 3 23 .316 .336 .541 .877
9 Yrs 981 4036 3691 487 1075 230 22 78 426 36 270 441 .291 .340 .429 .769
ATL (7 yrs) 683 2799 2546 355 752 168 16 52 286 30 197 308 .295 .345 .435 .780
ARI (2 yrs) 261 1100 1012 114 281 53 6 19 124 5 70 110 .278 .326 .398 .725
NYY (1 yr) 37 137 133 18 42 9 0 7 16 1 3 23 .316 .336 .541 .877
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/18/2014.

October 29 – Happy Birthday Karim Garcia

When I saw that today was Karim Garcia’s birthday it brought back memories of the Yankee’s classic 2003 ALCS series against Boston. I watched and enjoyed every single inning of all seven games in that series and I will never forget the Game Three confrontations that all began when the great but sometimes too emotional Pedro Martinez hit Garcia in the back with one of his fastballs. That started a chain reaction of reactions that included the threatening hand signal communication between Martinez and Posada, Garcia’s hard slide into second, Manny Ramirez ducking away from a Roger Clemens pitch that was nowhere near him followed by a bench clearing scuffle during which Pedro pulled his famous matador move on the bull-rushing “Popye” Zimmer, who had forgotten for a moment that he was 72-years old. Then later on, Garcia and Jeff Nelson got into a surreal fight with a Red Sox groundskeeper in the Yankee bullpen. What tends to be forgotten about that series was how competitive it was. Four of the last five games were decided by a single run and the seventh contest was one of the most dramatic extra inning affairs in big league history, ending with Aaron Boone’s majestic blast off of Tim Wakefield.

Garcia made that postseason roster by hitting .305 for Joe Torre in 52 games of action during the regular season. Torre had made Garcia his starting right-fielder for the remainder of that season, replacing Raul Mondesi, who was traded to Arizona just before the 2003 trading deadline. During the Yankees 2004 spring training, Garcia again paired up with a Yankee teammate in a tussle with a non-baseball player. This time his tag-team partner was Shane Spencer and their opponent was a pizza delivery guy. Shortly after that incident, Garcia was released by the Yankees and he signed with the Mets. He finished his decade-long big league career in 2004 with 66 lifetime home runs and a .241 batting average.

This Yankee outfielder, who came to New York in a 1989 trade for Al Leiter, also celebrates his birthday on today’s date. This former Yankee shortstop also shares Garcia’s birthday.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2002 NYY 2 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .200 .200 .400
2003 NYY 52 161 151 17 46 5 0 6 21 0 9 32 .305 .342 .457 .799
10 Yrs 488 1561 1463 180 352 44 13 66 212 10 81 330 .241 .279 .424 .703
LAD (3 yrs) 29 67 60 6 9 0 0 1 8 0 6 19 .150 .224 .200 .424
CLE (3 yrs) 95 356 335 45 91 12 0 26 75 0 14 73 .272 .301 .540 .841
NYY (2 yrs) 54 166 156 18 47 5 0 6 21 0 9 33 .301 .337 .449 .786
BAL (2 yrs) 31 89 82 9 14 0 0 3 11 0 4 21 .171 .202 .280 .483
DET (2 yrs) 104 327 305 39 72 10 3 14 32 2 20 71 .236 .282 .426 .708
ARI (1 yr) 113 354 333 39 74 10 8 9 43 5 18 78 .222 .260 .381 .641
NYM (1 yr) 62 202 192 24 45 7 2 7 22 3 10 35 .234 .272 .401 .673
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2013.

October 29 – Happy Birthday Frank Baker

The 1970 Yankees had surprised everyone including me by finishing in second place in the AL East with the impressive total of 93 wins. That unexpected success put a lot of pressure on manager Ralph Houk to not only prove his team was that good but to also come up with a plan for making up the 15 games that had separated the second place Bronx Bombers from their division foes, the 1970 World Champion Baltimore Orioles.

The New York skipper was telling the press that the Yankee bullpen was one of the league’s best, thanks to the righty/lefty duo of veterans Jack Aker and Lindy McDaniel. He felt Mel Stottlemyre, Fritz Peterson and Stan Bahnsen were as good as any team’s first three starting pitchers. He touted Bobby Murcer, Roy White and 1970 AL Rookie of the Year Thurman Munson as the foundation of an efficient run-producing lineup. His goals that spring were to find a fourth starting pitcher and a corner infielder with some home run power. He also expected today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant to replace Gene Michael as the Yankees’ starting shortstop.

It wouldn’t be the first time the franchise was counting on a “Frank Baker” to help the team compete for an AL Pennant. Over a half century earlier, the Yankees had purchased the contract of Hall of Famer Frank “Home Run” Baker from the Philadelphia A’s. By the time that Frank Baker retired after the 1922 season, he had helped the Yankees make it to the franchise’s first two Fall Classics.

The “Frank Baker” Houk was introducing was a sleek fielding shortstop who had spent the previous four seasons playing that position brilliantly for the Yankee’s  Syracuse Chiefs. But I had the same question everyone else had about Baker. Could the guy hit?

The shortstop he was replacing was Gene Michael. Nicknamed “Stick,” Michael was a mediocre switch hitter who would average just .229 lifetime, but he had somehow managed to hit a career high .272 during the 1969 season. That blip caused the Yankees to keep Michael at short instead of Baker for the 1970 season. When Stick reverted to form by averaging just .214 the following year, Houk was determined to move forward with the switch. Baker had been a career .250 hitter at the minor league level and had hit at that same level during a 1970 call-up from Syracuse. I remember clearly thinking that he would not make a huge impact offensively for the Yankees in 1971 and I was correct. In fact, he was so unimpressive in that year’s spring training season that Houk kept Michael as the team’s starting shortstop. Baker ended up seeing action in just 43 games that year and his batting average was a putrid .139. He found himself back in Syracuse the following year and was then traded to the Orioles in 1973. Meanwhile, Gene Michael kept starting at short for New York until 1974, finally losing the job to Jim Mason.

Baker shares his birthday with this former Yankee outfielder and with this one as well.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1970 NYY 35 133 117 6 27 4 1 0 11 1 14 26 .231 .323 .282 .605
1971 NYY 43 98 79 9 11 2 0 0 2 3 16 22 .139 .281 .165 .446
4 Yrs 146 334 288 28 55 8 3 1 24 4 40 60 .191 .292 .250 .542
NYY (2 yrs) 78 231 196 15 38 6 1 0 13 4 30 48 .194 .306 .235 .540
BAL (2 yrs) 68 103 92 13 17 2 2 1 11 0 10 12 .185 .262 .283 .545
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2013.