Results tagged ‘ outfielder ’

March 21 – Happy Birthday Bill Lamar

If Marvin Miller or Scott “the snake oil salesman” Boras had been around in the 1920′s, I might have a lot more to tell you about today’s Pinstripe Baseball Birthday Celebrant. Unfortunately, however, for guys like William Harmong Lamar, ballplayers did all of their own labor-lawyer-ing and contract negotiations for many many years and Lamar simply wasn’t very good at it.

As the only member of the all-time Yankee roster to be born on this date, Lamar did not get the opportunity to play much baseball in the Big Apple. Born in Maryland, near Washington DC, he became a high school baseball star who in 1916, signed a contract to play for the Baltimore Orioles in the International League. By the following year, the US had entered WWI and the military draft began in May of that year. The Yankees were probably looking for bodies to replace players lost to the army when they purchased the contracts of Lamar and two of his Oriole teammates toward the end of the 1917 season. Lamar’s first appearance in a big league and Yankee game was on September 19th of that season. He played a total of 11 games that year and just 28 the next before he himself was drafted.

From the research I did on his career, it appears as if Lamar was a very fast runner but not much of a hitter or defensive outfielder during his days with the Yankees. Neither of his two Yankee Managers, Wild Bill Donovan or  Miller Huggins played him much during the 1917 and ’18 seasons and the kid averaged less than .230 in the Yankee action he did experience. That explains why Huggins did not invite Lamar to the Yankees’ 1919 spring training camp but he showed up anyway. Not wanting to disrespect a returning soldier, Huggins let him stay and brought him north with the team, but only for a short while. On June 10, 1919, Huggins ended Lamar’s Yankee career by putting him on waivers. The Red Sox picked him up immediately and he managed to hit .291 for Boston during the second half of the 1919 season. He was then traded for an International League outfielder and it would take Lamar another five years before he actually got a regular job as a big leaguer. That was in 1924, when he joined Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s as a 27-year-old left-fielder.

Lamar hit .330 in 1924 and then an even more robust .356 in 1925 with 202 hits. It looked as if his train had finally arrived at the station. But Lamar had also developed a propensity to party. In fact, his nickname was “Good Time Bill.”  His batting average and his playing time dropped in ’26 and even though he was hitting .299 at the time, Lamar was put on waivers by the A’s in early August of the 1927 season. accompanied by rumors that he had a difficult time complying with Connie Mack’s team rules. The Senators immediately picked up his contract but that’s when Lamar started getting a bit too cute. The Washington newspapers had played up the fact that the newest Senator would be starting in the outfield in an upcoming series against the Yankees. He decided to try and leverage the anticipation of Washington fans for his arrival into a bonus for reporting  from the famously tight-fisted Senators’ owner Clark Griffith. How’d that little ploy turn out for “Good Time Bill?” He lost the balance of his salary for 1927  and he never again played in a big league came.

Much of the information used for this post came from an article about Lamar, written by Bill Nowlin, as part of the SABR Baseball Biography Project. You can find that article online, here.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1917 NYY 11 42 41 2 10 0 0 0 3 1 0 2 .244 .244 .244 .488
1918 NYY 28 119 110 12 25 3 0 0 2 2 6 2 .227 .267 .255 .522
1919 NYY 11 18 16 1 3 1 0 0 0 1 2 1 .188 .278 .250 .528
9 Yrs 550 2203 2040 303 633 114 23 19 246 25 86 78 .310 .339 .417 .755
PHA (4 yrs) 425 1818 1678 263 539 101 22 19 223 18 73 63 .321 .350 .442 .792
NYY (3 yrs) 50 179 167 15 38 4 0 0 5 4 8 5 .228 .263 .251 .514
BRO (2 yrs) 27 47 47 7 13 4 0 0 4 0 0 1 .277 .277 .362 .638
BOS (1 yr) 48 159 148 18 43 5 1 0 14 3 5 9 .291 .314 .338 .652
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2014.

March 11 – Happy Birthday Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu gave the Yankees two and a half seasons of solid play as their starting right fielder. He averaged .295 while in pinstripes, stole more than 20 bases a season, was never hurt and he both scored and drove in over 100 runs in each of his two full years in New York. I was expecting him to be a better defensive outfielder than he showed as a Yankee but when you look at his overall performance, he did absolutely fine. Unfortunately, fine was just not good enough for a Yankee team that slowly but surely forgot how to win in October.

I liked Abreu’s game but I liked the game of the guy he replaced in right field for New York, even more. That would be Gary Sheffield, who was in my opinion one of the most intimidating hitters in the big leagues. Opposing pitchers respected Abreu but they feared Sheffield. So when the Yankees let Abreu walk after the 2008 season, I was not too upset. He signed with the Angels and had a typical very good Abreu year in 2009 before slumping significantly in 2010. Bobby was born in Venezuela on March 11, 1974.

This very flaky former Yankee pitcher and this long-ago outfielder were also born on March 11th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 NYY 58 248 209 37 69 16 0 7 42 10 33 52 .330 .419 .507 .926
2007 NYY 158 699 605 123 171 40 5 16 101 25 84 115 .283 .369 .445 .814
2008 NYY 156 684 609 100 180 39 4 20 100 22 73 109 .296 .371 .471 .843
17 Yrs 2347 9926 8347 1441 2437 565 59 287 1349 399 1456 1819 .292 .396 .477 .873
PHI (9 yrs) 1353 5885 4857 891 1474 348 42 195 814 254 947 1078 .303 .416 .513 .928
LAA (4 yrs) 456 1946 1662 239 443 103 5 43 246 75 261 363 .267 .364 .412 .776
NYY (3 yrs) 372 1631 1423 260 420 95 9 43 243 57 190 276 .295 .378 .465 .843
HOU (2 yrs) 74 234 210 23 52 11 2 3 27 7 23 51 .248 .325 .362 .687
LAD (1 yr) 92 230 195 28 48 8 1 3 19 6 35 51 .246 .361 .344 .704
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/4/2014.

March 9 – Happy Birthday Myril Hoag

hoagWhen outfielder Myril Hoag began his Yankee career, he competed for playing time with the likes of Babe Ruth and Earle Combs. By the time he completed it seven years later, he was playing behind names like DiMaggio, Selkirk and Henrich. Thus went the pinstriped career of one of the most effective fourth outfielders in franchise history, good enough to back up those who were better.

Born in California, Hoag began his pro career in the Pacific Coast League and made his Yankee and big league debut in 1931. His best season in the Bronx was 1937, when he appeared in 103 games, had 109 hits and averaged .301. Hoag also put together a solid World Series against the Giants in 1937, starting all five games and batting an even .300.

After the 1938 World Series, New York traded Hoag and back-up catcher Joe Glenn to the St. Louis Browns for pitcher Orel Hildebrand and outfielder Buster Mills. He finally got his chance to be a starting outfielder with his new ball club and took advantage of it, by averaging .295 and making the AL All Star team. That ’39 season proved to be his best. The Browns traded him to the White Sox and after his second season with Chicago, Hoag joined the Army. He was given a medical discharge a year later and ended up playing for Cleveland during the second half of the ’44 season and averaging .285 for the Tribe.

That would be Hoag’s last hurrah as a big leaguer, though he’d continue to play in the minors well into his forties, finally hanging his spikes up for good after the 1951 season. He was only 63 when he passed away in 1971, a victim of an emphysema-induced heart attack.

Hoag shares his March 9th birthday with this Yankee who hit one of the most famous home runs in franchise history,  this former AL MVP, this recent Yankee reliever and one of the great base-stealers in MLB history.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1931 NYY 44 29 28 6 4 2 0 0 3 0 1 8 .143 .172 .214 .387
1932 NYY 46 61 54 18 20 5 0 1 7 1 7 13 .370 .443 .519 .961
1934 NYY 97 275 251 45 67 8 2 3 34 1 21 21 .267 .324 .351 .674
1935 NYY 48 124 110 13 28 4 1 1 13 4 12 19 .255 .328 .336 .664
1936 NYY 45 169 156 23 47 9 4 3 34 3 7 16 .301 .343 .468 .811
1937 NYY 106 404 362 48 109 19 8 3 46 4 33 33 .301 .364 .423 .787
1938 NYY 85 298 267 28 74 14 3 0 48 4 25 31 .277 .344 .352 .696
13 Yrs 1020 3462 3147 384 854 141 33 28 401 59 252 298 .271 .328 .364 .692
NYY (7 yrs) 471 1360 1228 181 349 61 18 11 185 17 106 141 .284 .345 .390 .735
SLB (3 yrs) 206 724 674 78 192 34 4 13 101 11 37 65 .285 .323 .405 .728
CHW (3 yrs) 236 927 840 82 207 32 5 3 85 24 73 51 .246 .307 .307 .615
CLE (2 yrs) 107 451 405 43 106 14 6 1 30 7 36 41 .262 .325 .333 .658
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/4/2014.

March 7 – Happy Birthday Jimmie Hall

hall.jpgLong-time Yankee fans like me can remember the days prior to the onslaught of steroid use by MLB players, when hitting thirty home runs in the big leagues was considered something really special. If a rookie did it, the feat was considered near majestic. That’s why when today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant came up to the Twins during the 1963 season and set an American League record by belting 33 home runs in his first year, it was pretty special. He broke a record that had been set by none other than the great Ted Williams, who had hit 31 during his rookie season of 1939. That 1963 Twins team had one of the best homer-hitting starting outfields in baseball history. Harmon Killebrew was the left fielder and he led all of baseball with 45 circuit blasts. Bob Allison played center and he had 35. The entire 1963 Minnesota lineup had some power, leading the league with 225 home runs, 37 more than the second place Yankees hit that season.

Hall played four years in the Twin Cities, made two AL All Star teams and helped Minnesota win the 1965 AL Pennant. After his average dipped by fifty points in 1966, the Twins traded him to California with big Don Mincher for a very good starting pitcher named Dean Chance. Hall would never again be the hitter he was but I still member getting sort of excited when the Yankees picked him up during the 1969 season. Why? That year’s struggling Yankee team had Bill Robinson starting in the outfield even though he was averaging in the one-seventies. I was hoping Hall’s left-handed swing would be rejuvenated by Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch. It wasn’t. Hall was traded to the Cubs right before the end of the 1969 season. 1970 was his last year in the bigs. He retired with 121 career home runs over eight seasons. He was born on March 7, 1938 in Mount Holly, NC and shares his birthday with this one-time Yankee reliever.

If you put together an all-time lineup of players who played for both the Yankees and Twins, it might look like the following:

1B Doug Mientkiewicz

2B Chuck Knoblauch

3B Graig Nettles

SS Roy Smalley

C Butch Wynegar

OF Dave Winfield

OF Jimmie Hall

OF Cesar Tovar

DH Gary Ward

P Jim Kaat

CL Ron Davis

Mgr Billy Martin

Jimmie Hall’s Yankee and career stats:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1969 NYY 80 233 212 21 50 8 5 3 26 8 19 34 .236 .296 .363 .659
8 Yrs 963 3167 2848 387 724 100 24 121 391 38 287 529 .254 .321 .434 .755
MIN (4 yrs) 573 2102 1885 282 507 73 16 98 288 23 191 358 .269 .334 .481 .815
CHC (2 yrs) 39 61 56 3 8 2 0 0 2 0 5 17 .143 .213 .179 .392
CLE (2 yrs) 57 133 121 5 22 4 0 1 8 2 12 22 .182 .256 .240 .495
CAL (2 yrs) 175 589 527 69 127 11 3 17 63 5 58 84 .241 .315 .370 .685
ATL (1 yr) 39 49 47 7 10 2 0 2 4 0 2 14 .213 .245 .383 .628
NYY (1 yr) 80 233 212 21 50 8 5 3 26 8 19 34 .236 .296 .363 .659
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/31/2014.

March 4 – Happy Birthday Lefty O’Doul

Francis Joseph O’Doul began his pro baseball career as a southpaw pitcher with the New York Yankees in 1919. He failed to win or lose a game in three partial seasons with New York and then hurt his left arm, pitching for the Red Sox in 1923. He spent the next five years in the minors converting himself into an every day player. He resurfaced with the New York Giants in 1928, hitting .319 as a 31-year old second-time rookie. Unfortunately, O’Doul’s defensive skills in the outfield did not match his hitting prowess and New York traded him to Philadelphia after that season. What a mistake that turned out to be for the Giants. All O’Doul did for the Phillies in 1929 was win the NL batting title with an incredible .398 average and a league-leading 254 hits. He belted 32 home runs, drove in 122 and scored 152 times himself and finished second in that year’s MVP voting to the immortal Rogers Hornsby. O’Doul had another great year in 1930, averaging .383 but the Phillies finished 40 games out of first place. Lefty’s defense was still dreadful however, and the Phillies needed pitching so they dealt O’Doul to Brooklyn for a couple of hurlers, a replacement outfielder and some much needed cash. During O’Douls three years with Brooklyn, he averaged .340 and won his second NL batting title with a .368 average in 1932. During the 33 season, he was traded back to the Giants and got the opportunity to play in the only World Series of his career.  By then he was 36-years old and losing his hitting skills. He retired the following year and went back to his native San Francisco to manage the Seals, in the Pacific Coast League.

Lefty died in 1969. He shares a birthday with this other star from the 1920s and ’30s who like O’Doul, was known by his nickname and made brief appearances as a Yankee, early in his career.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1919 NYY 19 17 16 2 4 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 .250 .294 .250 .544
1920 NYY 13 13 12 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 .167 .231 .250 .481
1922 NYY 8 9 9 0 3 1 0 0 4 0 0 2 .333 .333 .444 .778
11 Yrs 970 3658 3264 624 1140 175 41 113 542 36 333 122 .349 .413 .532 .945
NYG (3 yrs) 275 848 760 125 239 32 8 26 127 12 77 32 .314 .380 .480 .860
BRO (3 yrs) 325 1394 1266 219 431 69 20 33 186 18 113 42 .340 .399 .505 .904
NYY (3 yrs) 40 39 37 4 9 2 0 0 6 1 2 5 .243 .282 .297 .579
PHI (2 yrs) 294 1338 1166 274 456 72 13 54 219 5 139 40 .391 .460 .614 1.074
BOS (1 yr) 36 39 35 2 5 0 0 0 4 0 2 3 .143 .189 .143 .332
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/21/2014.

February 25 – Happy Birthday Roy Weatherly

58091-942FrToday’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was the fourth outfielder on Joe McCarthy’s last pinstriped World Championship team, the 1943 New York Yankees. Roy Weatherly was a short and speedy native of Warren, Texas, who had made his big league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1936 and had worked his way into the Tribe’s starting center-fielder’s job by 1940. A good contact hitter with a bit of power, he had his best big league season that year, when he averaged .303 with 12 home runs and 59 RBIs. He was considered to be a solid defensive outfielder.

The Yankees got Weatherly in December of the 1942 season along with infielder Oscar Grimes in a trade that sent spare outfielder Roy Cullenbine and a decent-hitting backup catcher named Buddy Rosar to Cleveland. Some Yankee historians felt the deal was triggered by McCarthy’s anger at Rosar for leaving the Yankee ball club without permission during the ’42 regular season to take a civil service exam for a policeman’s job in Buffalo, NY. All four players involved in this trade were married and had children, which meant none of them were in danger of being drafted to serve in WWII, which was raging in both Europe and the Pacific at the time.

Both Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Henrich were lost to military service following the ’43 season, leaving the Yanks with a starting outfield of Charlie Keller, a former pitcher named Johnny Lindell and 28-year-old rookie, Bud Metheny. Weatherly, who hit from the left side of the plate, saw action in 77 games that season, as McCarthy platooned him with the right-hand hitting Lindell in center field.

He had a solid year for the Yankees, helping them get to their second straight World Series against the Cardinals that fall, but he only got one at bat in New York’s five-game victory over the defending champions. He then volunteered to serve his country in April of 1944 and spent the next two years in the US Army. When he was discharged in 1946, he tried to re-start his Yankee career but could not win a permanent spot on a Yankees outfield depth chart that had been replenished with returning soldier/athletes.

Instead of hanging up his cleats, Weatherly returned to minor league ball and continued playing into his forties. In 1950, his perseverance paid off when the NY Giants brought him up to be their team’s fourth outfielder that season, at the age of 35.

Weatherly passed away in 1991 back in his native Texas, at the age of 75. He shares his birthday with this former great Yankee outfielderthis one-time Yankee first baseman and this former Yankee skipper.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1943 NYY 77 307 280 37 74 8 3 7 28 4 18 9 .264 .311 .389 .700
1946 NYY 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
10 Yrs 811 3007 2781 415 794 152 44 43 290 42 180 170 .286 .331 .418 .749
CLE (7 yrs) 680 2616 2430 368 701 141 38 36 251 38 149 151 .288 .331 .422 .753
NYY (2 yrs) 79 309 282 37 75 8 3 7 28 4 18 9 .266 .312 .390 .702
NYG (1 yr) 52 82 69 10 18 3 3 0 11 0 13 10 .261 .378 .391 .769
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 23 – Happy Birthday Rondell White

I personally remember three instances when Yankee television broadcast crews actively promoted the acquisition of a player on a competing team. The first was Scott Brosius. It seemed as if whenever New York played the A’s during the 1997 season, somebody in the New York booth would make it a point of commenting how Brosius, then Oakland’s starting third baseman, would be a perfect fit on the Yankee team. The next time I remember it happening was that same season when the Royals were in town and somebody in the booth talking about how Kansas City ‘s switch-hitting DH, Chili Davis would be a great addition to the Yankee lineup. The last time I remember the booth chatting about who would be a great addition for the Yankees, the subject was a Chicago Cub and former Expo outfielder, Rondell White.

I’m sure there have been several other instances when somebody with a Yankee microphone made statements about acquiring players from other teams but either I wasn’t listening or the conversation centered on a superstar that every team coveted at the time. Brosius, Davis and White were all considered good solid players in their day but not superstars. That’s why it is so easy for me to remember thinking the booth chatter about each was odd. It almost seemed as if somebody in New York’s front office asked the game announcers to talk about each player as a way of making the team’s interest in them public but I couldn’t think of any real good reasons why they would want to do so.

In any event, the announcers were spot on about Brosius. The Yankees got him in a trade for Kenny Rogers after the ’97 season. The TV guys were also right about Davis. After a year of bad health, he became a key cog as the full-time DH of New York’s 1999 World Championship team. Unfortunately, their good feelings about Rondell White as a Yankee proved to be unfounded. The Milledgeville, GA native was signed as a free agent after the 2001 season and the hope was that he would fill the huge outfield hole left by the retiring Paul O’Neill. That didn’t happen. His batting average, slugging percentage and on base percentage fell of the cliff as soon as he put on the pinstripes and after just one season in the Yankee outfield, he was traded off to the Padres. White played well just about everywhere else, ending a fifteen year big league career in 2007 with a .284 lifetime batting average and 198 home runs. He was born on February 23, 1972.

This great Yankee catcher and this one-time Yankee outfielder also celebrate birthdays on today’s date.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP
2002 NYY 126 494 455 59 109 21 0 14 62 1 25 86 .240 .288
15 Yrs 1474 5852 5357 756 1519 296 34 198 768 94 360 925 .284 .336
MON (8 yrs) 742 3021 2756 420 808 165 23 101 384 88 200 494 .293 .348
MIN (2 yrs) 137 474 446 40 102 21 1 11 58 1 17 73 .229 .266
CHC (2 yrs) 114 431 390 50 121 21 1 19 57 1 31 68 .310 .374
DET (2 yrs) 218 898 822 125 238 45 5 31 120 2 56 125 .290 .342
KCR (1 yr) 22 85 75 13 26 6 1 4 21 0 6 8 .347 .400
SDP (1 yr) 115 449 413 49 115 17 3 18 66 1 25 71 .278 .330
NYY (1 yr) 126 494 455 59 109 21 0 14 62 1 25 86 .240 .288
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2014.

February 15 – Happy Birthday Ross Moschitto plus All-Time Italian-American Yankee Team

Moschitto“Ross Moschitto” is the name most often mentioned by lukewarm Yankee fans who are my age, when they are trying to convince someone else how big a Yankee fan they are. I’m not sure why but that’s just the way it is. They don’t mention Frank Tepedino or Steve Whitaker or Roger Repoz. Its always Moschitto. He has to be the most famous non-famous Yankee in pinstripe history.

In 1965, Major League baseball started its free agent draft along with the rule that any player in the Majors or Minor leagues could be drafted if that player’s name was not on a Major League club’s 40-man expanded roster at the time the draft was conducted. For years, the Yankees had dominated their league by signing up all the best amateur prospects and developing their talent in New York’s well financed and well managed minor league farm system. No other team could steal a prospect from another franchise and since the Yankees had the most money they consistently had the most prospects.The draft and the 40-man roster rule changed that forever and Ross Moschitto paid the price for those changes.

He had signed with New York in 1964 and was assigned to their lowest level minor league team, in Johnson City, TN. When Ross hit 20 home runs in just 71 games that year, he popped onto the radar of every big league franchise. Instead of practicing their usual prospect patience, the Yankees put Moschitto on their big league roster the following April, when he was far from ready. So instead of getting a chance to play every day, Ross spent the the 1965 season sitting on a big league bench, pinch running for Mickey Mantle if the aging slugger got on base in his last at bat or taking his spot in the outfield if the Mick made an out. He got just 27 big league at bats that year and when he was sent back to the Minors the following season, he had lost his stroke for good. Today’s Pinstripe Birthday Blog celebrant was born in Fresno, CA in 1945.

Moschitto was an Italian American but not good enough to make my All-Time Yankee team of Italian Americans. Here’s my all-time Pinstriped Paisans:

1B – Jason Giambi
2B – Tony Lazzeri
3B – Mike Pagliarulo (or Frank Crosetti who started one season at third for NY)
SS – Phil Rizzuto
C – Yogi Berra
OF – Joe DiMaggio
OF - Joe Pepitone
OF -Francesco Pezzolo (better known as Ping Bodie, the first Italian American player in the Majors)
SP – Mike Mussina
RP – Dave Righetti

This Yankee catcher and this one-time Yankee starting pitcher were both also was born on February 15.
Here’s Moschitto’s career stats:
Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1965 NYY 96 28 27 12 5 0 0 1 3 0 0 12 .185 .179 .296 .475
1967 NYY 14 11 9 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .111 .200 .111 .311
2 Yrs 110 39 36 13 6 0 0 1 3 0 1 14 .167 .184 .250 .434
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/24/2014.

January 31 – Happy Birthday George Burns

28BurnsToday is the birthday of the player who got the first base hit in the original Yankee Stadium. His name was George Burns and he spent a large part of his life answering the question, “Which George Burns are you?” Back during the WWI era of MLB history there were two pretty good players using the same name as well as an up and coming Vaudeville performer who would later marry Gracie Allen and star with her in a popular TV show in the 1950′s.

The National League George Burns played most of his career with the Giants as an outfielder and averaged a very impressive .287 during his 15-years in the Senior Circuit. Then there was the American League George Burns, who averaged an even more robust .307 during his 16-year career in the Junior Circuit, which included brief appearances in a Yankee uniform at the very end of his playing career, during both the 1928 and ’29 seasons.

The NL George Burns was a very good defensive outfielder. The AL George Burns was a horrible defensive player but because he hit from the left side and handled a bat real well, he never had a problem finding a team that wanted him. To help keep the two straight, sportswriters back in the day would refer to the AL George Burns by his nickname, “Tioga George.” He had lived in Tioga, Pennsylvania for quite a while.

He put together some great seasons for the A’s, the Red Sox and the Indians, actually winning the AL MVP Award with Cleveland in 1925, when he set career highs in batting average (.356) and RBIs (112) while leading the league in both base hits (216) and doubles (64). On April 18, 1923, his single off of New York’s Bob Shawkey was the first official regular season hit recorded in the House that Ruth built. A few pitches later, Burns became the first runner ever thrown out attempting to steal a base in the new ballpark.

In September of 1928, Burns had been put on waivers by the Tribe and Miller Huggins told Yankee exec Ed Barrow to pick him up. The Yankee skipper wanted Burns on his bench for those times that called for a skilled left handed hitter. Burns, however, wasn’t sure he wanted to come to the Bronx and he refused to report until he had a chance to talk to Huggins to make sure it was not just an end-of-the-year and then you’re gone sort of deal. When Huggins assured him there’d be a spot for him on the team in 1929 as well, Burns made the move put on the pinstripes.

He was then used exclusively as a pinch-hitter and though he did start the ’29 season on the Yankee roster as Huggins had promised, he was sold back to the A’s that June. That suited Burns just fine because by then he made his home in Philly. He retired following that season and became a coach and manager in the Pacific Coast League following his playing career.

Burns shares his birthday with this one-time Yankee prospectthis former Yankee reliever and this one-time Yankee shortstop.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1928 NYY 4 4 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000
1929 NYY 9 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000 .000
16 Yrs 1866 7240 6573 901 2018 444 72 72 952 154 363 433 .307 .354 .429 .783
CLE (7 yrs) 757 2882 2611 402 853 230 20 22 432 62 157 144 .327 .375 .455 .830
PHA (4 yrs) 307 1175 1084 130 344 59 18 16 145 28 50 53 .317 .359 .449 .809
DET (4 yrs) 496 1952 1756 206 467 76 24 15 220 47 91 170 .266 .313 .362 .675
BOS (2 yrs) 293 1218 1109 162 352 79 10 19 155 17 65 61 .317 .364 .458 .822
NYY (2 yrs) 13 13 13 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 .154 .154 .154 .308
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/1/2014.

January 19 – Happy Birthday Fernando Seguignol

seguignolIn one of the best deals in Yankee history, New York acquired closer John Wetteland from the Expos at the start of the 1995 regular season. At the time, Wetteland was considered one of the very best closers in the game and the only reason he became available was the precarious financial condition of the Montreal franchise. The transaction cost George Steinbrenner lots of Yankee bucks and an intriguing giant-sized switch-hitting prospect from Panama with a name that was impossible to say and even harder to spell.

Fernando Seguignol (pronounced SEG ee nol) was a 6’5″ outfielder who tipped the scales at close to 260 pounds. The Yankees had signed him as an amateur free agent in 1993 and after a rough first year in the rookie league, he had put up some decent numbers in his sophomore season with the Yankees’ Oneonta, NY single A affiliate. The Expos were hoping he’d develop as a power hitter and though it took a bit longer than expected, that’s exactly what happened. When he hit 31 home runs during the 1998 minor league season, he got a four-year shot to break into the Expos’s starting outfield but never made it.

He then spent the 2002 season playing in Japan. That’s when he returned to the States and re-signed with the Yankees. He very nearly won the International League triple crown in 2003. That earned him a September call-up, during which he got his one and only Yankee hit, a single off of Baltimore’s Rodrigo Lopez.

When that season ended he was 28 years old and not a part of the Yankees immediate outfield plans so he decided to go back to the Land of the Rising Sun. It turned out to be a good decision. Seguignol became a star slugger there, hitting 121 home runs during the next four seasons. He retired in 2010.

Seguignol shares his birthday with this former Yankee pitcher and this long-ago Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2003 NYY 5 8 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .143 .250 .143 .393
5 Yrs 178 402 366 42 91 23 0 17 40 0 20 114 .249 .303 .451 .754
MON (4 yrs) 173 394 359 42 90 23 0 17 40 0 19 111 .251 .305 .457 .761
NYY (1 yr) 5 8 7 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .143 .250 .143 .393
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/19/2014.