Results tagged ‘ pitcher ’

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.

January 25 – Happy Birthday Roy Sherid

sheridWhen Wilcy Moore’s sore right arm wasn’t feeling better by the end of the team’s 1929 spring training camp, Miller Huggins was asked who he would use in place of his ace relief pitcher. Moore had just helped the Yankees win two consecutive World Championships and was considered to be the best finisher in the game back then.The Yankee manager didn’t hesitate with his response. He told the reporters he’d use Yankee rookie Roy Sherid and then explained why; “Sherid is fast and he knows how to keep his fastball low, right down where they can’t get at it. I like the way he uses his head in working on batters, particularly his judgement of when to mix his slow ball with his speed. He looks like the right man to send into those late innings when things are tight and important.”

Those were certainly words of high praise, especially since they were coming from the mouth of the Yankee’s legendary manager. At the time, Sherid was just 22 years old and had pitched two seasons of minor league ball for the Yankees Newark farm club. He was a tall, well-built right hander who hailed from Norristown, PA.

As it turned out, Moore’s sore arm, Sherid’s development as his replacement, and all other matters of Yankee baseball would turn out to be the least of Huggins problems during that 1929 season. The diminutive skipper was felled by an eye infection and bad case of the flu that September and during a Yankee road trip, he was admitted to a St Louis hospital for treatment. Shockingly, he died a few days later at the age of 50. The A’s ended up steam-rolling the Yankees in the AL Pennant race that season, Sherid ended up going 6-6 that first year and Moore ended up getting sent back to the minors.

In 1930, new Yankee skipper Bob Shawkey used Sherid plenty as both a starter and reliever. He finished that year with a 12-13 record and an unimpressive ERA. The following season, Joe McCarthy began his Hall of Fame run as Yankee manager and the change in field bosses at first seemed to be just what Sherid needed. He won five of his first six decisions pitching for “Marse Joe” plus earned two saves. Unfortunately the magic didn’t last. During the next month and a half, Sherid got shelled and dropped four straight decisions. He spent the second half of the season pitching for Montreal in the International League and never again threw another pitch in the  big leagues. He passed away in 1982 at the age of 75.

Sherid shares his birthday with this long-ago Yankee starting catcherthis one-time Yankee reliever and this WWII era Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1929 NYY 6 6 .500 3.61 33 15 14 9 0 1 154.2 165 81 62 6 55 51 1.422
1930 NYY 12 13 .480 5.23 37 21 11 8 0 4 184.0 214 122 107 13 87 59 1.636
1931 NYY 5 5 .500 5.69 17 8 4 3 0 2 74.1 94 52 47 4 24 39 1.587
3 Yrs 23 24 .489 4.71 87 44 29 20 0 7 413.0 473 255 216 23 166 149 1.547
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/25/2014.

January 18 – Happy Birthday Michael Pineda

m.pinedaUPDATE-2014: Phase 2 is now over and its becoming even harder to believe that the trade that brought Pineda to the Yankees two years ago was considered a blockbuster. None of the players involved spent a majority of the season on their parent club’s active 25-man roster in 2013 and Pineda, once again, didn’t see an inning of regular season action for the Yankees. In fact, he only made 10 starts in the minors last season, finishing with a 2-1 record and a 3.32 ERA. as he continued his rehab from shoulder surgery. Despite his continued inaction, there’s a lot of talk among Yankee brass this offseason that they are expecting Pineda to grab a spot on in the rotation this spring. I hope so but I won’t believe it until I see him standing on the mound in the Bronx with the ball in his hand after the National Anthem ends. So how could the original trade now look better for the Yanks than it does for the Mariners? Not only was Montero sent back to the minors by Seattle early last season because he seemed to completely forget how to hit, he was also named as one of the “Biogenesis Boys” and suspended for 50 games for violating the league’s PED policy.

UPDATE-2013: Phase 1 of the Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda trade aftermath is over and the Mariners have taken the advantage. The two players they got in the deal, Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi at least both played for the Mariners last year, albeit not as well as Seattle hoped either would. Noesi had eighteen starts for his new team, going 2-12 with an ERA in the five’s and getting demoted to Tacoma for most of the second half of the season. Montero averaged .260 for Seattle in his official rookie season, with 15 home runs, 62 RBIs and an .OPS of just .685. Seattle’s Safeco Field has proven to be a tough park for home run hitters and the Mariners have decided to move the fences in for the 2013 season. I have no doubt Montero’s power production would have been significantly better if he spent his full rookie campaign in the comfortable confines of Yankee Stadium, especially with the way this kid showed Yankee fans he could punch opposite field drives over that short right field wall in the Bronx during his September 2011 debut. The real problem with Montero is that it looks like he may not have the ability to become a decent big league catcher, defensively. The Mariners were not happy with his game management skills or his arm and he spent most of his first regular season in the northwest DH-ing.

Meanwhile, Pineda never made it out of the Yankees’ 2012 spring training camp. First he reported overweight and then he had nothing but trouble trying to get his highly touted fastball to travel even 90 miles per hour. It was almost with relief that the Yankees announced he had a physical problem with his throwing shoulder and sure enough, doctors discovered a torn labrum muscle, which required season-ending surgery. The key concern I now have about Pineda is his maturity level. He turns just 24-years-old today. Has he figured out how to take care of his huge 6 foot 7 inch body and especially that golden right arm or will he just let nature take its course? Unfortunately, a warning signal occurred this past August when police arrested Pineda in the wee hours of the morning for driving recklessly and at high speeds. He was charged with DUI. Where was he at the time? In Tampa, where he was supposed to be working out and rehabbing his shoulder. Meanwhile, not quite a week after Pineda was sidelined, Jose Campos, the well-regarded minor league pitcher the Yanks acquired with Pineda, also went on the DL of his Class A minor league team with an arm injury that pretty much ended his season.

Let’s hope Phase 2 of the Pineda/Montero swap delivers better results for the Yankees. Here’s what I wrote for Pineda’s Birthday post last year:

When President Franklin Roosevelt died, his wife Eleanor met with his just sworn in successor and asked him how he was doing. Harry Truman, referring to the intense pressure he felt at being thrust unexpectedly into the world’s most important job during a time of world war, told the former first lady it was as if the sun and the moon and all the planets and stars had just fallen on him.

I’m hoping Michael Pineda doesn’t feel like old “Give em Hell Harry” did on that fateful day. A few days ago, he was the bright young pitching star of the struggling Seattle Mariners, coming off a very decent rookie season. Then suddenly, he found himself thrust into the number two spot of the New York Yankee starting rotation and the expectations on his right arm increased a thousand fold. If he finishes the 2012 regular season with the same record (9-10) that he put up for Seattle in 2011, he might very well get booed out of Yankee Stadium.

All indications are that this youngster is the real deal. “Nasty” seems to be the adjective used most when players who’ve had to hit against him, describe this native Dominican’s stuff. I can’t help remembering Derek Jeter using the same adjective in an interview a few years ago to describe the stuff of another just-acquired-Yankee pitcher named AJ Burnett.

I got my fingers crossed for Pineda (and the young minor league pitcher named Jose Campos who the Yankees also picked up in the same trade.) I was really pretty pumped about seeing Jesus Montero get a full season of at bats in pinstripes but now that is not going to happen. Instead, I can’t wait to see Pineda get that first start in April.

The only other Yankee I could find who was born on this date was also the last Yankee to wear number 5 before Joe DiMaggio.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2011 SEA 9 10 .474 3.74 28 28 0 0 0 0 171.0 133 76 71 18 55 173 1.099
1 Yr 9 10 .474 3.74 28 28 0 0 0 0 171.0 133 76 71 18 55 173 1.099
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2014.

January 4 – Happy Birthday Tom Gorman

tom.gormanHearing the name of today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant always confuses me. I think of Tom Gorman the long-time MLB umpire. I also get all anagrammic and think of Tom Morgan, another Yankee reliever from the 1950′s. Then there’s Tom Gorman, the tennis player, Tom Gorman the Mets’ pitcher from the 1980′s and even Gorman Thomas, who used to hit lots of homers for the Milwaukee Brewers a generation ago. See what I mean?

This Tom Gorman was the bespectacled right-hander who was called up to the Yankees for the first time in 1952, when the other New York pitcher with the same letters in his last name, Tom Morgan, was called into military service. Gorman was the only MLB ball player ever to come from Valley Stream, NY, a village bordering the New York City borough of Queens, that was also the hometown of Steve Buscemi, the lead character in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire series. Gorman was signed by the Yankees in 1946 and spent five and a half seasons in the organization’s farm system, so he was already 27-years-old when he finally got called to the Bronx.

For his first-ever big league appearance, Casey Stengel brought him into a game against the Indians in the seventh inning to protect a 3-2 lead. He blew the save on a force play but stayed in the game for two innings and got the win when the Yankees rallied. Two days later, Stengel gave Gorman his first start against the White Sox and he gave up three runs over seven innings and got the win.

He ended up appearing in 12 games during his first half-season as a Yankee, split evenly between starts and relief appearances. His 6-2 record earned him a spot on New York’s postseason roster and it was during the third game of the 1952 World Series, that he threw a pitch that could have made him one of the biggest “Goats” in Yankee postseason history.

Eddie Lopat had kept the Yankees in Game 3 against Brooklyn into the ninth inning with less than his best stuff. But after the crafty southpaw surrendered one-out back-to-back singles to Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, Stengel called in his rookie right-hander, Gorman to keep New York’s deficit at one run.

The two speedy Dodgers immediately executed a double steal but Gorman was able to retire Roy Campanella on an infield pop-up. That brought Brooklyn’s Andy Pafko to the plate. With two strikes against the veteran outfielder, Gorman threw a pitch inside that seemed to cross up Yogi Berra, glancing of his gloved hand, ricocheting off his shin guard and getting passed the Yankee catcher. Both Reese and Robinson scored on the miscue, which was officially ruled a passed ball. The three-run lead proved insurmountable and Brooklyn took a two-games to one advantage into game 4.

There were two reasons why that pitch did not end up branding Gorman a perennial Goat in Yankee lore. The first was that Berra swore it was his fault. When asked after the game by reporters if the Gorman had crossed him up on the pitch, Yogi adamantly denied it and told the reporters to blame him and not the first-year pitcher, so that’s how it was written up. Since the Yanks rebounded to beat Brooklyn in that Fall Classic, the play also turned out to be a lot less costly and notable than it would have been if the Dodgers had been able to hang on and win that Series. A year later, Gorman told the Yankee media that he had in fact crossed Berra up on that pitch and described the Yankee catcher’s insistence on taking blame for the incident as “one of the nicest things anyone had ever done for him.”

Tom Gorman remained an effective member of the Yankee bullpen corps for the next two seasons, until he was sold to Kansas City in March of 1955. He pitched well for the A’s as both a reliever and a starter for the next four years before age caught up to him in 1959. He died back in his hometown of Valley Stream in 1992, at the age of 67.

He shares his birthday with this former Yankee front office whizz,  this former Yankee outfielder and this one-time Yankee starting pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1952 NYY 6 2 .750 4.60 12 6 3 1 1 1 60.2 63 34 31 8 22 31 1.401
1953 NYY 4 5 .444 3.39 40 1 15 0 0 6 77.0 65 32 29 5 32 38 1.260
1954 NYY 0 0 2.21 23 0 11 0 0 2 36.2 30 14 9 1 14 31 1.200
8 Yrs 36 36 .500 3.77 289 33 132 5 2 42 689.1 659 332 289 77 239 321 1.303
KCA (5 yrs) 26 29 .473 3.84 214 26 103 4 1 33 515.0 501 252 220 63 171 221 1.305
NYY (3 yrs) 10 7 .588 3.56 75 7 29 1 1 9 174.1 158 80 69 14 68 100 1.296
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/4/2014.