Results tagged ‘ pitcher ’

March 23 – Happy Birthday Dellin Betances

Today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant is the only one of the “Three Killer B’s” who originally received lots of media attention during the Yankees’ 2011 spring training season, to actually begin paying dividends for the parent club. His name is Dellin Betances, and he was born on March 23, 1988, in the Washington Heights section of New York City. He grew up a Yankee fan and the Bronx Bombers selected him in the eighth round of the 2006 draft and then gave him a million dollar contract to dissuade him from accepting a college scholarship to pitch for Vanderbilt University.

An imposing figure on the mound, Betances is 6’8″ tall and throws a fastball that clocks just a shade under 100 mph. His path to the big leagues was obstructed by elbow surgery in 2009. He did appear in his first two big league games for New York during the 2011 season but after he failed to make Joe Girardi’s Yankee staff in either 2012 or 2013, I for one thought his promise was more hype than anything else. It now looks as if I may have been dead wrong and I certainly hope I was. Betances had a terrific 2014 spring training season and has continued his close-to-dominating relief performances through the first two weeks of the regular season. He is the third member of the All-Time Yankee roster to be born on March 23rd, joining this former first baseman and this one-time catcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 NYY 0 0 6.75 2 1 0 0 0 0 2.2 1 2 2 0 6 2 2.625
2013 NYY 0 0 10.80 6 0 3 0 0 0 5.0 9 6 6 1 2 10 2.200
2014 NYY 0 0 0.00 5 0 2 0 0 0 4.1 1 0 0 0 2 8 0.692
3 Yrs 0 0 6.00 13 1 5 0 0 0 12.0 11 8 8 1 10 20 1.750
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2014.

March 22 – Happy Birthday Cory Lidle

Lidle’s Yankee career began with promise, quickly grew muddled in controversy and ended in shocking tragedy. He came to New York in the Bobby Abreu trade from Philly during the 2006 season. He won his first Yankee start against Toronto and then beat Boston for his second win and I remember at that point liking what I was seeing from this right-hander. He ended up going 4-3 in his nine Yankee starts that year but then got shelled by Detroit in the ALDS-clinching Game 4 loss to Detroit. He was then quoted as saying the Tigers were more ready to play that postseason series than the Yankees, which did not sit well with Yankee fans or his Yankee teammates. It also brought back memories of the derogatory comments Lidle had made about his Philadelphia teammates after getting traded to New York and caused me to conclude that this guy maybe had a screw loose. But then he flew that plane into a New York City apartment building and suddenly those controversial comments meant nothing at all. Lidle was 34 years old when that crash took place and he left behind a wife and young son.

This former Yankee relief pitcher and bullpen coachthis one-time Yankee home-run machine and this one-time Yankee catcher were also born on March 22.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2006 NYY 4 3 .571 5.16 10 9 0 0 0 0 45.1 49 26 26 11 19 32 1.500
9 Yrs 82 72 .532 4.57 277 199 26 11 5 2 1322.2 1400 738 671 159 356 838 1.328
PHI (3 yrs) 26 20 .565 4.50 62 62 0 3 2 0 372.1 396 207 186 40 96 252 1.321
TBD (2 yrs) 5 6 .455 5.13 36 12 6 0 0 0 101.2 122 65 58 13 31 66 1.505
OAK (2 yrs) 21 16 .568 3.74 60 59 0 3 2 0 380.0 361 174 158 40 86 229 1.176
NYM (1 yr) 7 2 .778 3.53 54 2 20 0 0 2 81.2 86 38 32 7 20 54 1.298
CIN (1 yr) 7 10 .412 5.32 24 24 0 3 1 0 149.0 170 95 88 24 44 93 1.436
NYY (1 yr) 4 3 .571 5.16 10 9 0 0 0 0 45.1 49 26 26 11 19 32 1.500
TOR (1 yr) 12 15 .444 5.75 31 31 0 2 0 0 192.2 216 133 123 24 60 112 1.433
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2014.

March 18 – Happy Birthday Brian Fisher

I remember thinking when I first watched him pitch that Brian Fisher would be a good Yankee starter for a number of years. That was back in 1986 and the Yankees had missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons at that point, mostly because they lacked good starting pitching. Ron Guidry had just turned 35 years old and his best days were behind him. Dennis Rasmussen had come from nowhere to lead that ’86 Yankee staff with 18 wins but I thought the team’s future rested on the arms of young studs like Fisher, Doug Drabek and Bob Tewksbury. George Steinbrenner didn’t agree with me. After the 86 season, when Fisher went 9-6 out of the Yankee bullpen, this big right hander and Drabek were sent to the Pirates for veteran starter Rick Rhoden and Tewksbury was dealt to the Cubs for Steve Trout. Of the three, Fisher had the best year in 1987, going 11-9 for Pittsburgh but both Tewksbury and especially Drabek went on to even better big league careers. Fisher was out of baseball by 1992. He’s one of only two Yankee players to be born in Hawaii. Can you name the other? It was a utility infielder named Lenny Sakata.

Lot’s of very good pitchers but not so many great position players have worn the uniforms of both the Yankees and Pirates during their big league careers. Here’s my all-time lineup of Yankee/Pirates:

1b Dale Long
2b Willie Randolph
3b Tim Foli
ss Gene Michael
c Russell Martin
of Matty Alou
of Omar Moreno
of Xavier Nady
dh Mike Easler
sp Jack Chesbro
sp Waite Hoyt
sp Doug Drabek
sp John Candelaria
p Rick Rhoden
p Doc Medich
p Dock Ellis
p AJ Burnett
cl Goose Gossage
cl Luis Arroyo
mgr Casey Stengel

Here are Brian Fishers’ Yankee and career stats:

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1985 NYY 4 4 .500 2.38 55 0 23 0 0 14 98.1 77 32 26 4 29 85 1.078
1986 NYY 9 5 .643 4.93 62 0 26 0 0 6 96.2 105 61 53 14 37 67 1.469
7 Yrs 36 34 .514 4.39 222 65 61 7 4 23 640.0 638 341 312 70 252 370 1.391
PIT (3 yrs) 19 22 .463 4.72 79 51 7 7 4 2 348.2 367 194 183 42 139 191 1.451
NYY (2 yrs) 13 9 .591 3.65 117 0 49 0 0 20 195.0 182 93 79 18 66 152 1.272
SEA (1 yr) 4 3 .571 4.53 22 14 2 0 0 1 91.1 80 49 46 9 47 26 1.391
HOU (1 yr) 0 0 7.20 4 0 3 0 0 0 5.0 9 5 4 1 0 1 1.800
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2014.

March 16 – Happy Birthday Charles Hudson

Its been over 25 years since the transaction took place and it wasn’t until I did research for today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant that I finally completely understood why the Yankees traded their very solid designated hitter, Mike “the Hit Man” Easler, for the very shaky Philadelphia starting pitcher, Charles Hudson in December of 1985. I knew that Easler had demanded to be traded when he was told that Yankee manager Lou Piniella intended to platoon him at DH with Ken Griffey during the ’86 season. What I was not aware of was that the Yankees were contractually obligated to doing so within three months of the demand or Easler would have become a free agent.

So that’s why a very emphatic George Steinbrenner ordered the Yankees to send Easler, who had hit .302 for New York in 1985, to the Phillies for Hudson, who had had put together a very mediocre 32-42 record during his four years pitching in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Hudson was also a switch-hitter, which was a pretty rare attribute for a pitcher. His problem was however, he couldn’t hit very well from either side of the plate.

At first, it looked like “the Boss” was a prophet, as Hudson got off to a fast start with New York, winning his first six decisions during the 1987 season. Even though the right-handed native of Ennis, TX cooled off after that and spent some time pitching out of the Yankee bullpen, he still finished his first year in pinstripes with an 11-7 record that included two shutouts and an efficient 3.61 ERA. That win total put him in third place behind Rick Rhoden (16) and Tommy John (13) for most victories by a Yankee pitcher that year.

Unfortunately for Hudson, that would prove to be his best season in New York. In 1988, he again split his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen to finish 6-6, while his ERA jumped to 4.49. In spite of that performance, the Yankees resigned him for the ’89 season. Then just before spring training camp broke, he was dealt to the Tigers for the veteran infielder, Tom Brookens, who was a complete bust during his one season in pinstripes.

Hudson floundered in Detroit during the 1989 season and his career ended that August, after he smashed his car into a Motor City telephone pole, and destroyed his right knee. It was at that low point that Hudson admitted to having a drinking problem, which he worked hard to eliminate.

Hudson shares his March 16th birthday with “the Grandy-Man.”

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1987 NYY 11 7 .611 3.61 35 16 7 6 2 0 154.2 137 63 62 19 57 100 1.254
1988 NYY 6 6 .500 4.49 28 12 10 1 0 2 106.1 93 53 53 9 36 58 1.213
7 Yrs 50 60 .455 4.14 208 140 30 14 3 2 1007.2 997 518 463 110 361 580 1.348
PHI (4 yrs) 32 42 .432 3.98 127 105 9 7 1 0 680.0 692 353 301 68 237 399 1.366
NYY (2 yrs) 17 13 .567 3.97 63 28 17 7 2 2 261.0 230 116 115 28 93 158 1.238
DET (1 yr) 1 5 .167 6.35 18 7 4 0 0 0 66.2 75 49 47 14 31 23 1.590
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2014.

March 14 – Happy Birthday Kevin Brown

I do remember getting pretty excited when New York acquired this veteran right-hander from the Dodgers after their 2003 World Series defeat to the Marlins. They had to give up Jeff Weaver to get him but Weaver had been unimpressive in pinstripes. New York also had to pay Brown’s salary of $15 million per year but the Yankees had the cash.

Brown’s initial season as a Yankee was filled with disappointments. First, his chronically sore back prevented him from pitching well over an extended string of starts. Next, a frustrated Brown injured his hand punching a concrete wall, angering his teammates. Finally, Brown pitched terribly in the seventh and deciding game of the disastrous 2004 ALCS against the Red Sox, sealing his reputation as a disappointment with Yankee fans. He then went 4-7 in 2005 and retired with a career record of 211-144.

This one-time Yankee catcher was also born on March 14th.
Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2004 NYY 10 6 .625 4.09 22 22 0 0 0 0 132.0 132 65 60 14 35 83 1.265
2005 NYY 4 7 .364 6.50 13 13 0 0 0 0 73.1 107 57 53 5 19 50 1.718
19 Yrs 211 144 .594 3.28 486 476 1 72 17 0 3256.1 3079 1357 1185 208 901 2397 1.222
TEX (8 yrs) 78 64 .549 3.81 187 186 1 40 6 0 1278.2 1322 629 541 85 428 742 1.369
LAD (5 yrs) 58 32 .644 2.83 137 129 0 11 2 0 872.2 737 319 274 68 223 784 1.100
NYY (2 yrs) 14 13 .519 4.95 35 35 0 0 0 0 205.1 239 122 113 19 54 133 1.427
FLA (2 yrs) 33 19 .635 2.30 65 65 0 11 5 0 470.1 401 137 120 18 99 364 1.063
SDP (1 yr) 18 7 .720 2.38 36 35 0 7 3 0 257.0 225 77 68 8 49 257 1.066
BAL (1 yr) 10 9 .526 3.60 26 26 0 3 1 0 172.1 155 73 69 10 48 117 1.178
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/7/2014.

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.

March 1 – Happy Birthday Ron Klimkowski

In 1970, I remember giving a trio of young Yankee pitchers the nickname “The Three K’s.” They were Steve Kline, Mike Kekich and Ron Klimkowski. Klimkowski was a Jersey City native who was born on March 1, 1944. He grew up a passionate Yankee fan but was signed by the Red Sox out of college. He realized his boyhood dream of becoming a Yankee when he was sent to New York as part of the 1967 trade that sent Ellie Howard to Beantown. After a brief call-up to the Bronx in 1969, the right hander became a permanent part of the Yankee staff the following season. Pitching mainly out of the bullpen with an occasional start, he won 6 of 13 decisions including a complete-game three hit shutout of Detroit and posted a 2.68 ERA in 98 innings of work.

Both Kline and Kekich were first-year starters on that same staff and both matched Klimkowski’s total of six wins. I considered Kline the most talented of the three. He won 28 games in pinstripes over the next two seasons with an ERA well under three runs per game, but pitched too many innings in the process. His arm and career faded quickly and he was out of the big leagues by 1975. Kekich also became a two-time double digit winner for New York, winning ten games in both 1971 and ’72. That’s when he swapped wives with teammate Fritz Peterson, pretty much ruining his career in the process.

After the 1970 season, New York sent Klimkowski to Oakland in their trade for Felipe Alou. The A’s released him after his 2-2, 2-save performance in 1971 and he rejoined the Yankees. When he could not recover from a 1973 spring-training knee injury, he was forced to retire. Klimkowski died in November of 2009 of heart failure at the young age of 55, after seeing his beloved Yankees win their 27th World Series.

Some Klimkowski uniform trivia: Klimkowski was assigned uniform number 51 during his 1969 rookie season. In 1970, he was given number 24. He then got traded to Oakland for Felipe Alou who also wore number 24 for the Yankees. When the A’s released Klimkowski and the Yankees re-signed him for a spell, he wore uniform number 22.

In the last three days, we’ve had two Pinstripe Birthday Celebrants who were born in Jersey City (Klimkowski & Willie Banks). Over the years, more Yankees have lived in New Jersey than any other state, especially during baseball season. Oddly, there have not been that many Bronx Bombers born in the Garden State. Here’s my top five list of Jersey-born Yankees:

1. Derek Jeter – Pequannock

2. Billy Johnson – Montclair

3. Jim Bouton – Newark

4. Rick Cerone – Newark

5. Elliott Maddox – East Orange

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1969 NYY 0 0 0.64 3 1 2 0 0 0 14.0 6 1 1 0 5 3 0.786
1970 NYY 6 7 .462 2.65 45 3 10 1 1 1 98.1 80 36 29 7 33 40 1.149
1972 NYY 0 3 .000 4.02 16 2 3 0 0 1 31.1 32 15 14 3 15 11 1.500
4 Yrs 8 12 .400 2.90 90 6 26 1 1 4 189.0 155 71 61 13 76 79 1.222
NYY (3 yrs) 6 10 .375 2.76 64 6 15 1 1 2 143.2 118 52 44 10 53 54 1.190
OAK (1 yr) 2 2 .500 3.38 26 0 11 0 0 2 45.1 37 19 17 3 23 25 1.324
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 26 – Happy Birthday Rip Collins

rcollins.jpg1920 was an historic year for the New York Yankee franchise. Major League baseball was in the throes of scandal over the alleged involvement of several Chicago White Sox players in a concerted effort to lose the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati. Fans all over the country were turning away from the game in disgust. That wasn’t the case in the Big Apple thanks to the Yankees’ acquisition of Babe Ruth from Boston in January of 1920. In his first season as a Yankee, Ruth stunned the nation by hitting the then unbelievable total of 54 home runs. That would be like someone hitting 180 home runs during the 2010 season, without the help of any pharmaceuticals.

New York set a franchise record by winning 95 games that year and although Ruth was clearly the driving force behind that success, New York had also assembled an outstanding pitching staff. Three veterans on that staff, Carl Mays, Bob Shawkey and Jack Quinn combined to win 64 games that season. The fourth starter was a young, whiskey drinking rookie from Texas named Rip Collins. He was a former Texas Aggie football player who was as tough as they come and he put together a fourteen-victory season during his first year in pinstripes. The following year, Ruth hit 59 bombs and the Yankees won the first AL Pennant in their illustrious history. Collins went 11-5 in his sophomore season and although he had a tendency to walk too many hitters, it looked as if he was in the infant stages of what promised to be a long and successful career with New York. But Yankee manager Miller Huggins had different ideas. From the moment Ruth came to New York, Huggins found it impossible to control this slugging wild man off the field. The manager knew he couldn’t trade Ruth so he did the next best thing. He started getting rid of the Yankee teammates that Ruth enjoyed partying with. Young Rip Collins was one such teammate. In December of 1921, the pitcher was part of a seven player swap with the Red Sox. He went 14-7 during his one season in Beantown but the same control issues that he had experienced as a Yankee followed him to Boston as he led the AL in bases-on-balls. Collins then spent the next five years in Detroit pitching for the Tigers. He then pitched in Canada in 1928 and then signed with the Browns, where he finished his big league career in 1931. Lifetime, Collins was 108-82. After he left baseball he began a career in law enforcement which included a job as a Texas Ranger. He died in Texas in May of 1968 at the age of 72.

Other Yankees born on February 26th include this most famous third string catcher in the team’s history and this former first base prospect.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1920 NYY 14 8 .636 3.22 36 18 12 10 2 1 187.1 171 83 67 6 79 66 1.335
1921 NYY 11 5 .688 5.44 28 16 4 7 2 0 137.1 158 103 83 6 78 64 1.718
11 Yrs 108 82 .568 3.99 311 219 49 84 15 5 1712.1 1795 926 760 73 674 569 1.442
DET (5 yrs) 44 40 .524 3.94 137 102 14 34 6 1 743.0 787 415 325 25 240 214 1.382
SLB (3 yrs) 25 18 .581 4.09 78 54 17 18 2 3 434.0 460 224 197 32 174 156 1.461
NYY (2 yrs) 25 13 .658 4.16 64 34 16 17 4 1 324.2 329 186 150 12 157 130 1.497
BOS (1 yr) 14 11 .560 3.76 32 29 2 15 3 0 210.2 219 101 88 4 103 69 1.528
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2014.

February 18 – Happy Birthday George Mogridge

mogridgeMr. Mogridge was a tall and thin southpaw, who threw a decent spitball in his day. He made Yankee franchise history on April 24, 1917 when he threw the first no-hitter in the team’s history. It would take more than 66 years before another Yankee pitcher, Dave Righetti threw another one during the regular season.

A native of Rochester, NY, Mogridge made his big league debut with the White Sox in 1911 but he was not yet ready to stick. He returned to the minors in 1912 and it would take three more years for him to get back to the big dance and this time it was as a Yankee. His first Yankee skipper was Wild Bill Donovan who used Mogridge mostly as a starter in both 1916 and ’17. When Miller Huggins took over the team the following year, he used this lanky left-hander a lot in a closing role as well as a starter. The result was a 16-win season with a 2.18 ERA and 7 saves.

After another solid year in 1919, Mogridge’s performance slipped badly in 1920 and that December the Yanks traded him to the Senators. He quickly evolved into one of Washington’s most reliable starters, putting together back-to-back 18-win seasons during his first two years there and becoming one of the heroes of the Senators’ 1924 World Series victory. In that Fall Classic against the Giants, he started and won Game 4 and then pitched brilliantly out of the bullpen in Game 7, which Washington won in extra innings in a contest still considered to be one of the greatest in Series history.

Age began to catch up with Mogridge in 1925 and he was traded to the Browns that June. The Yankees actually re-aquired him in a trade with St. Louis the following February, but immediately put the by then, 36-year-old pitcher on waivers and he was claimed by the Braves. He pitched a couple more years for Boston, retiring after the 1927 season and returning to his native Rochester. He died in that city in 1962, at the age of 73.

Mogridge shares his birthday with this Hall of Fame Yankee second baseman, this former Yankee catcher and this former Yankee closer.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1915 NYY 2 3 .400 1.76 6 5 1 3 1 0 41.0 33 11 8 0 11 11 1.073
1916 NYY 6 12 .333 2.31 30 21 5 10 2 0 194.2 174 71 50 3 45 66 1.125
1917 NYY 9 11 .450 2.98 29 25 4 15 1 0 196.1 185 82 65 5 39 46 1.141
1918 NYY 16 13 .552 2.18 45 19 23 13 1 7 239.1 232 78 58 6 43 62 1.149
1919 NYY 10 9 .526 2.77 35 18 9 13 3 0 169.0 159 68 52 6 46 58 1.213
1920 NYY 5 9 .357 4.31 26 15 6 7 0 1 125.1 146 83 60 4 36 35 1.452
15 Yrs 132 133 .498 3.23 398 261 101 138 20 20 2265.2 2352 1003 812 77 565 678 1.287
NYY (6 yrs) 48 57 .457 2.73 171 103 48 61 8 8 965.2 929 393 293 24 220 278 1.190
WSH (5 yrs) 68 55 .553 3.38 145 136 6 72 12 1 1016.2 1104 453 382 38 273 284 1.354
BSN (2 yrs) 12 14 .462 4.30 59 11 40 2 0 8 190.2 221 105 91 10 51 72 1.427
CHW (2 yrs) 3 6 .333 4.19 21 9 7 2 0 3 77.1 81 42 36 3 16 36 1.254
SLB (1 yr) 1 1 .500 5.87 2 2 0 1 0 0 15.1 17 10 10 2 5 8 1.435
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/27/2014.

February 6 – Happy Birthday Bob Wickman

WickmanI was a fan of Bob Wickman, even if I couldn’t remember his name. Both my sons were avid Yankee rooters growing up and we used to spend many a summer evening sitting in front of our family room television, watching Bronx Bomber games together during the early 1990′s. Whenever a Yankee pitcher began struggling, I’d say to my boys, “They ought to bring in Wickham.” Both Matt and Mike would scream in unison, “Its Wick-MAN Dad, not Wick-HAM!”

This right-handed native of Green Bay, WI was originally a second round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox in 1990. Two years later, the Yankees acquired him, Melido Perez and another minor league pitcher named Domingo Jean in exchange for second baseman, Steve Sax. New York GM Gene Michael was desperate for pitching at the time and he was hoping Perez would become a solid long-time member of the Yankees’ starting rotation. But “the Stick” also liked Wickman a lot as a prospect and was thinking he’d be ready to contribute some wins at the Major League level two years down the road. It happened a lot faster than that.

One guy who didn’t like the deal was Yankee owner George Steinbrenner. He lambasted his GM publicly for getting too little in return for Sax, who had been New York’s only .300 hitter the season before. But it was Michael  who was proven right, when Perez developed into the Yankees best starter during that 1992 season while Sax’s batting average was plunging to .234 in the Windy City. Making the trade an even bigger-time win for the Bronx Bombers was Wickman’s surprisingly good 6-1 record after being called up that August and inserted into manager Buck Showalter’s starting rotation.

Wickman had lost part of the index finger of his pitching hand in a childhood farming accident. He credited that partially missing digit as the reason his sinker ball sank so dramatically. He really had that pitch working during his second year in pinstripes, as he went 14-4 over 41 games, including 19 starts. Showalter than converted him into a full-time reliever and he became a workhorse for New York in that role over the next three seasons, appearing in 174 games during that span.

There were times during his years with the Yankees that he struggled with his control and had stretches during which he surrendered a rash of home-runs but for the most part Wickman pitched effectively in the pinstripes. That’s why I can clearly remember being disappointed in late August of 1996, when I first heard the news that the Yanks had traded him and outfielder Gerald Williams to the Brewers for utility man Pat Listach and reliever Graeme Lloyd. Wickman had been a big reason why the Yankees found themselves heading for the AL East crown that season and he was well-liked by his New York teammates. The deal prevented him from pitching in the 1996 World Series but he did receive a World Series ring for his contribution.

By 1998, he had worked himself into the closer’s role with the Brewers. He went on to accumulate over 250 saves during the final nine seasons of his pitching career, including a league-leading 45 with the Indians in 2005.

Wickman shares his birthday with this Yankee God and this former Yankee back-up first baseman.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1992 NYY 6 1 .857 4.11 8 8 0 0 0 0 50.1 51 25 23 2 20 21 1.411
1993 NYY 14 4 .778 4.63 41 19 9 1 1 4 140.0 156 82 72 13 69 70 1.607
1994 NYY 5 4 .556 3.09 53 0 19 0 0 6 70.0 54 26 24 3 27 56 1.157
1995 NYY 2 4 .333 4.05 63 1 14 0 0 1 80.0 77 38 36 6 33 51 1.375
1996 NYY 4 1 .800 4.67 58 0 14 0 0 0 79.0 94 41 41 7 34 61 1.620
15 Yrs 63 61 .508 3.57 835 28 511 1 1 267 1059.0 1051 469 420 80 432 785 1.400
CLE (6 yrs) 8 16 .333 3.23 255 0 215 0 0 139 248.1 249 98 89 21 78 197 1.317
NYY (5 yrs) 31 14 .689 4.21 223 28 56 1 1 11 419.1 432 212 196 31 183 259 1.467
MIL (5 yrs) 21 25 .457 3.20 272 0 174 0 0 79 315.0 292 128 112 23 148 267 1.397
ATL (2 yrs) 3 5 .375 2.84 77 0 65 0 0 38 69.2 72 29 22 5 22 60 1.349
ARI (1 yr) 0 1 .000 1.35 8 0 1 0 0 0 6.2 6 2 1 0 1 2 1.050
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2014.