Results tagged ‘ relief pitcher ’

November 11 – Happy Birthday Danny Rios

There have only been four players in the history of Major League Baseball to have been born in Spain. One of them is today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant. Rios came into this world in Madrid on this date in 1972. He and his parents moved to the US two years later. He played baseball for the University of Miami and was signed by the Yankees in 1993. He was groomed from the beginning as a closer by the Yankee organization and had some really strong seasons in that role for New York’s Greensboro, Tampa and Norwich farm teams. By 1997 he was pitching in Columbus and got his call up to the parent club in May of that season.

Unfortunately for Rios, he got shelled by the Red Sox in his first Major League appearance, giving up three home runs and five earned runs during his one and two-thirds inning pitched. That debut performance got him sent back to Columbus and he didn’t throw another pitch in a big league game until September of that season. This time, in his first and only game in the original Yankee Stadium, Rios got shelled again, giving up five hits in two-thirds of an inning against the Orioles. Having seen enough, the Yankees released him after the 1997 season. He signed with the Royals the following year, appeared in five games for Kansas City in 1998 and then left the big leagues for good.

He landed on his feet in the Korean Baseball Organization, becoming the first non-Korean ever to win 20 games in that league in 2007. That performance earned him a huge contract to pitch in Japan the following year. According to his “Bullpen” profile section at Baseball-Reference.com, Rios tested positive for steroids while pitching in Japan and was suspended.

Another nondescript Yankee pitcher named Ownie Carroll was also born on this date.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1997 NYY 0 0 19.29 2 0 0 0 0 0 2.1 9 5 5 3 2 1 4.714
2 Yrs 0 1 .000 9.31 7 0 1 0 0 0 9.2 18 14 10 4 8 7 2.690
KCR (1 yr) 0 1 .000 6.14 5 0 1 0 0 0 7.1 9 9 5 1 6 6 2.045
NYY (1 yr) 0 0 19.29 2 0 0 0 0 0 2.1 9 5 5 3 2 1 4.714
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2013.

November 7 – Happy Birthday Jim Kaat

The “Scooter” will always be my all-time favorite Yankee announcer but not because he was a particularly good analyst or play-by-play guy. Quite the opposite, he was petty bad at both. But Rizzuto helped me enjoy Yankee broadcasts regardless if the team won or lost and he wore and flashed his unabashed lack of objectivity on behalf of the Bronx Bombers like a badge of honor.

 As much as I enjoyed Rizzuto, I appreciated Jim Kaat. His award-winning commentary taught me things I didn’t know about the game of baseball and how it is played at the highest of levels. He did a great job of explaining technical things to his non-technical audience, like why a curve ball curves, what pitchers have to be prepared for in a suicide squeeze situation, and how the best fielding catchers play the spin of the ball on foul pops.

Unlike Rizzuto, who played his ball before my time during the forties and early fifties, “Kitty” played his rookie season just one year before I became an avid fan of Major League baseball. I loved to listen to him talk about his personal experiences with ballplayers he played with and against, especially during the sixties. Back before you could watch every Yankee game on TV or bring up Major League Baseball’s Web site on the Internet, the only things I knew about players like Bob Allison, Zoilio Versailles, Don Mossi, or Leon Wagner were printed on the backs of the baseball cards that I collected as a kid.  Kaat’s vivid memories of the players I grew up watching gave life to the faces on those cards for me.

In addition to announcing for the Yankees for a dozen seasons, Kaat pitched in Pinstripes for parts of both the 1979 and 1980 seasons. He ended his 25-year playing career three seasons later, with 283 career victories. Jim Kaat belongs in the Hall-of-Fame.

Also celebrating a birthday today is this former Ole Miss quarterback and this one-time knuckle-balling starting pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1979 NYY 2 3 .400 3.86 40 1 13 0 0 2 58.1 64 29 25 4 14 23 1.337
1980 NYY 0 1 .000 7.20 4 0 3 0 0 0 5.0 8 5 4 0 4 1 2.400
25 Yrs 283 237 .544 3.45 898 625 102 180 31 18 4530.1 4620 2038 1738 395 1083 2461 1.259
MIN (15 yrs) 190 159 .544 3.34 484 433 20 133 23 6 3014.1 2982 1343 1118 279 729 1851 1.231
PHI (4 yrs) 27 30 .474 4.23 102 87 6 11 2 0 536.2 611 266 252 51 109 188 1.342
STL (4 yrs) 19 16 .543 3.82 176 17 59 6 1 10 292.1 327 145 124 19 83 98 1.403
CHW (3 yrs) 45 28 .616 3.10 92 87 1 30 5 0 623.2 628 250 215 42 144 300 1.238
NYY (2 yrs) 2 4 .333 4.12 44 1 16 0 0 2 63.1 72 34 29 4 18 24 1.421
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/7/2013.

November 5 – Happy Birthday Sonny Dixon

dixonJohn Craig “Sonny” Dixon was already a good enough pitcher at the age of sixteen to be signed to a contract by the Washington Senators just before the 1941 season started. At that young of an age you would expect him to struggle during his first couple of seasons of pro ball and he did. But instead of being allowed to mature on a minor league mound, this big right-hander from Charlotte, North Carolina was called into the Navy and spent the next three years of his life battling the Japanese in the Pacific. He was still only 21 years of age when he returned from Service and put together an impressive 19-11 season for the Senators’ Class B affiliate in his hometown of Charlotte, in 1946.

You’d think that performance would have been good enough to put Dixon on a fast track to the parent club, especially since Washington was a pretty bad ball club back then. The post WWII Senators never found themselves in a Pennant race so one would have expected them to give their top minor league pitching prospects plenty of chances to pitch at the big league level. Dixon, however, would end up spending another six full seasons in Washington’s farm system, finally making his big league debut in 1953. He posted a 5-8 first year record in 20 appearances that included 6 starts. He went 6-9 in his sophomore season during which he was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics.

In 1956, Yankee GM George Weiss was on the prowl for relief pitchers who could shore up Casey Stengel’s bullpen for the second half stretch drive. In May of that season, he sent 37-year-old Johnny Sain and 39-year-old Enos Slaughter to the A’s in exchange for Dixon. The Yanks then kept their new pitcher down in Richmond until the very end of the season, when he was called up so that Stengel could rest his best arms for the postseason. Dixon made three appearances in ten days, losing his only Yankee decision during his final performance in pinstripes. His final pitch as a Yankee turned out to also be his final pitch as a big leaguer.

Dixon spent the next five seasons pitching back in the minors before returning to Charlotte where he worked as a convenience store manager. He passed away at the age of 87 in 2011. Folks might wonder how a guy who lived the life of a Major League ballplayer could feel happy and satisfied working the rest of his life in a convenience store in his home town. Sonny Dixon signed a professional baseball contract as a 16-year-old and fought in WWII while still a teenager. Perhaps Old Sonny felt he had enough excitement just in those five years to last him a lifetime.

Dixon shares his birthday with this former outfielder who helped end one memorable Yankee postseason and win another.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1956 NYY 0 1 .000 2.08 3 0 2 0 0 1 4.1 5 3 1 0 5 1 2.308
4 Yrs 11 18 .379 4.17 102 12 52 4 0 9 263.0 296 141 122 25 75 90 1.411
WSH (2 yrs) 6 10 .375 3.61 59 6 26 3 0 4 149.2 149 72 60 16 43 47 1.283
KCA (2 yrs) 5 7 .417 5.04 40 6 24 1 0 4 109.0 142 66 61 9 27 42 1.550
NYY (1 yr) 0 1 .000 2.08 3 0 2 0 0 1 4.1 5 3 1 0 5 1 2.308
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/5/2013.

November 3 – Happy Birthday Armando Benitez

Armando Benitez provided several memorable moments in Yankee history, but none of them took place during the short time the fire-balling right hander wore a Yankee uniform. It was Benitez who gave up the famous Derek Jeter - Jeffrey Maier home run during the 1996 ALCS that helped the Yankees beat Baltimore for the AL Pennant that year. Then two seasons later, after Bernie Williams hit a huge three-run late-inning home run off of him, Benitez not only hit the next batter, Tino Martinez, he then openly challenged the Yankee dugout to a fight, setting off one of the most memorable brawls in pinstripe history. Then when Benitez joined the Mets in 1999, he eventually took over the closer role from John Franco. During his three full seasons in that role, Benitez saved 117 games while Mariano Rivera was saving 114 for the Yankees. The “who had the better closer” argument became one of many dramatic sub-titles to the 2000 Subway World Series.

So as a Yankee fan, I have lots of Armando Benitez memories but I almost forgot he actually pitched in pinstripes for nine games during the 2003 season. The Yankees had got him from the Mets for three minor league prospects hoping he would be the eighth inning setup guy for Rivera. When he faltered in that role, the Yankees traded him to Seattle for former Yankee set-up specialist, Jeff Nelson. Through 2008, the last season he saw action in the Major Leagues, Benitez compiled a career total of 289 saves.

Armando was born on November 3, 1972, in the Dominican Republic. He shares his birthday with this former Yankee starting pitcher who never seemed to get a chance to pitch,  this former Yankee reliever who got way too many opportunities to do so and this former Yankee manager.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2003 NYY 1 1 .500 1.93 9 0 2 0 0 0 9.1 8 4 2 0 6 10 1.500
15 Yrs 40 47 .460 3.13 762 0 527 0 0 289 779.0 545 296 271 95 403 946 1.217
NYM (5 yrs) 18 14 .563 2.70 333 0 266 0 0 160 347.0 225 111 104 39 168 456 1.133
BAL (5 yrs) 11 16 .407 3.62 207 0 107 0 0 37 213.2 149 91 86 27 129 283 1.301
SFG (3 yrs) 6 8 .429 4.10 90 0 77 0 0 45 85.2 81 41 39 14 46 72 1.482
FLA (2 yrs) 4 7 .364 2.72 100 0 66 0 0 47 102.2 68 39 31 11 41 101 1.062
SEA (1 yr) 0 0 3.14 15 0 7 0 0 0 14.1 10 5 5 1 11 15 1.465
NYY (1 yr) 1 1 .500 1.93 9 0 2 0 0 0 9.1 8 4 2 0 6 10 1.500
TOR (1 yr) 0 1 .000 5.68 8 0 2 0 0 0 6.1 4 5 4 3 2 9 0.947
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/3/2013.

October 24 – Happy Birthday Chris Bootcheck

bootcheckIt was on my birthday this year, June 14th, that I settled down to watch a Yankee game. It was a Friday night, and the Yanks were on a west coast road trip. The surprising Bronx Bombers had been in second place when that trip had started, just a game and a half behind the even more surprising Red Sox. Their first stop had been in Seattle, where they took three out of four from the hapless Mariners. But then they went to Oakland and dropped three straight to the A’s. It was the results of that series that brought my doubts about the patched together Yankee lineup back to the surface. Since their night games started late on the east coast whenever the Yanks played alongside the Pacific, I had not watched any of the contests that had been played on that trip thus far. Even though I had celebrated my birthday with a couple of bourbons, I was determined to stay awake long enough see if that night’s starting pitcher, Andy Pettitte was back in the smooth-pitching groove he had been in at the beginning of the year.

Remember, Pettitte had started the 2013 season with three straight wins and an ERA of 2.01. Then his back began stiffening up on him and the Yankee offense went into a slump and Andy lost three of his next four decisions before finally going on the DL in the middle of May. That night he would be making his second start since returning from the DL. He had won the third game of the Mariners’ series and I was anxious to see if he really was back in the groove. I had my doubts after watching him give up three hits and a run in the opening inning but then he got the next six hitters out and David Adams two run single in the top of the fourth gave New York its first and only lead. The Halos evened the score in the bottom half of the inning, took the lead in the sixth and then scored their fourth and final run off Pettitte in the seventh.

That was it for the Yankees’ veteran left-hander. He had struggled the whole game giving up 11 hits but he had also battled his way through plenty of jams. He left the game with his team down by two. That’s when it became very clear to me just how short the Yankees’ minor league pitching talent was. I remember that when whichever Yankee announcer announced “Chris Bootcheck will be making his Yankee debut to start the eighth inning” my initial reaction was “Chris who check?”

This very tall right hander, wearing uniform number 34 then appears on my big screen throwing warm-up pitches. At first, I jogged my memory, trying to remember if this was one of those “three B’s” Brian Cashman had been so crazy about a few years earlier but then one of the guys in the Yankee booth said he was 34 years old and was making a homecoming of sorts. He had been a number 1 pick of the Angels in the 2000 draft and had pitched for them as a reliever from 2005 through 2008.

The Yankees had signed Bootcheck during the 2013 spring training season and sent him to Scranton/Wilkes Barre, where he had been turned back into a starter and had become the RailRiders’s best pitcher. In a strange move, indicative of just how stretched the Yankee pitching staff had become, New York had sent Adam Warren to Scranton after he had pitched six scoreless innings of relief against the A’s on that same road trip. They knew Warren wouldn’t be able to pitch again for a while so they sent him down and brought Bootcheck up.

I watched Bootcheck walk the first Angel he faced in the bottom of the eighth and since by then it had to be well past midnight and no longer my birthday, I turned off the TV and went to bad a year older and wiser enough to know that it would take a miracle for this 2013 Yankee team to reach the postseason if they had to depend on their pitching to get them there. No disrespect to Bootcheck but if he was the best pitcher they had on their top farm club, I knew my favorite team did not have the pitching talent it would need to reach the 2013 postseason.

Bootcheck is a native of LaPorte, Indiana, who was born on this date in 1978. He finished the 2013 season in Scranton, going 10-7 with a 3.69 ERA. He was one of 24 different Yankee pitchers to appear in a game for New York during the 2013 regular season. He shares a birthday with this former Yankee outfielder and this one too.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2013 NYY 0 0 9.00 1 0 1 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 1 0 2 1 4.000
7 Yrs 3 7 .300 6.55 91 3 33 0 0 1 148.1 180 112 108 19 66 106 1.658
LAA (5 yrs) 3 7 .300 6.04 77 3 29 0 0 1 132.2 162 93 89 18 55 92 1.636
PIT (1 yr) 0 0 11.05 13 0 3 0 0 0 14.2 16 18 18 1 9 13 1.705
NYY (1 yr) 0 0 9.00 1 0 1 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 1 0 2 1 4.000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2013.

October 16 – Happy Birthday Don Hood

October 16th is a not a great day for notable Yankee birthdays. Neither was 1979 a great year for Yankee baseball. The two-time defending World Champions lost their team captain, the great Thurman Munson in August of that season and missed the postseason for the first time in four years. Munson’s death was not the only reason that Yankee team faltered. In June of that same season, Yankee DH Cliff Johnson got into a brawl with ace closer, Goose Gossage in the Yankee locker room showers. Gossage broke his thumb in the altercation and was out for the rest of the season. Without him, a dominating Yankee bullpen became very ordinary.

The Yankee front-office punished Johnson by quickly trading him to the Indians for today’s birthday celebrant. Don Hood, born on October 16, 1949 in Florence, SC, went 3-1 out of the Yankee bullpen during the remainder of that season. By 1980, he was pitching for the Cardinals.

Another October 16th birthday celebrant with Yankee connections is this former big league catcher who did color and play-by-play for Yankee games for a couple of seasons at the turn of this new century.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1979 NYY 3 1 .750 3.07 27 6 9 0 0 1 67.1 62 24 23 3 30 22 1.366
10 Yrs 34 35 .493 3.79 297 72 84 6 1 6 848.1 840 412 357 57 364 374 1.419
CLE (5 yrs) 17 22 .436 4.17 152 49 25 4 0 2 494.2 491 255 229 38 238 225 1.474
KCR (2 yrs) 6 3 .667 2.99 57 3 32 0 0 1 114.1 119 51 38 12 36 48 1.356
BAL (2 yrs) 4 3 .571 3.61 28 6 14 1 1 2 89.2 78 43 36 2 26 44 1.160
STL (1 yr) 4 6 .400 3.39 33 8 4 1 0 0 82.1 90 39 31 2 34 35 1.506
NYY (1 yr) 3 1 .750 3.07 27 6 9 0 0 1 67.1 62 24 23 3 30 22 1.366
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/16/2013.

September 26 – Happy Birthday Bobby Shantz

One of three pitchers to have played for the Yankees and won the MVP award, southpaw Bobby Shantz was a 24-game winner for the 1952 Philadelphia A’s who thought his career was over the following season when he blew out his left elbow. He suffered through four more pain-filled seasons with the A’s, pitching when he could and gradually regaining arm strength. By the time he was sent to the Yankees as part of a ten-player 1957 pre-season swap, Shantz was ready to resume his career as a starter.

It just so happened that Yankee ace, Whitey Ford, developed his own sore arm in 1957 so when Shantz started that season going 9-1 for New York, he became the toast of the Big Apple. He finished that year with an 11-5 record and led the league with a 2.45 ERA. The diminuitive 5 foot 6 inch Shantz stayed in Pinstripes for the next four seasons, gradually becoming Casey Stengel’s best reliever.

Yankee Universe’s memory of this little southpaw would be a lot brighter if the infield at old Forbes Field had been groomed more professionally. The Yankees had quickly fallen behind in the seventh game of the 1960 World Series, when Bob Turley and Bill Stafford gave up four early runs to the Pirates.  Stengel then put Shantz in the game in the third inning. He pitched shutout ball until Bill Virdon’s eighth inning grounder to short caromed off a stone that shouldn’t have been there, causing it to take a crazy hop into Tony Kubek’s Adam’s apple and turn a sure double play into a rally starting infield single. If Kubek makes that play Shantz’s pitching performance would reside right up there in the pantheon of outstanding moments in Yankee history. Instead, we got a real-life reenactment of David using a stone to kill Goliath and Mazeroski’s bronze statue stands outside of Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

Its also too bad Virdon didn’t hit that ball to Shantz, instead. Bobby was a seven-time Gold Glove winner during his career. Bobby was born on September 26, 1925, in Pottsown, PA. Happy 86th birthday Bobby.

Stengel and his pitching coach, Jim Turner perfected the role of spot starter during their Yankee tenures. They used Johnny Sain, Shantz, Duke Maas, Bob Turley and Jim Coates to near perfection in that dual role and each of them helped New York make it to at least one World Series. By the way, Spud Chandler and Roger Clemens were the other two pitchers who won MVP Awards and also played for the Yankees. Chandler was the only one of the three to win the award as a Yankee.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1957 NYY 11 5 .688 2.45 30 21 6 9 1 5 173.0 157 58 47 15 40 72 1.139
1958 NYY 7 6 .538 3.36 33 13 7 3 0 0 126.0 127 52 47 8 35 80 1.286
1959 NYY 7 3 .700 2.38 33 4 14 2 2 3 94.2 64 33 25 4 33 66 1.025
1960 NYY 5 4 .556 2.79 42 0 21 0 0 11 67.2 57 24 21 5 24 54 1.197
16 Yrs 119 99 .546 3.38 537 171 192 78 15 48 1935.2 1795 817 726 151 643 1072 1.260
KCA (8 yrs) 69 65 .515 3.80 220 124 55 61 11 11 1166.2 1132 535 492 95 424 566 1.334
NYY (4 yrs) 30 18 .625 2.73 138 38 48 14 3 19 461.1 405 167 140 32 132 272 1.164
STL (3 yrs) 12 10 .545 2.51 99 0 61 0 0 15 154.1 114 56 43 15 44 129 1.024
PIT (1 yr) 6 3 .667 3.32 43 6 16 2 1 2 89.1 91 38 33 5 26 61 1.310
PHI (1 yr) 1 1 .500 2.25 14 0 3 0 0 0 32.0 23 10 8 1 6 18 0.906
CHC (1 yr) 0 1 .000 5.56 20 0 9 0 0 1 11.1 15 7 7 2 6 12 1.853
HOU (1 yr) 1 1 .500 1.31 3 3 0 1 0 0 20.2 15 4 3 1 5 14 0.968
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/26/2013.

September 25 – Happy Birthday David Weathers

weathersDavid Weathers made his big league debut in 1991 as a 20-year-old Toronto Blue Jay right-hander. The native of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee started out as a reliever, switched to starting when he was traded to the Marlins in 1993 and then went back to the bullpen permanently after he pitched poorly in his first four starts with the Yankees three seasons later.

In fact, he pitched pretty horribly for New York during both of the regular seasons he wore the pinstripes but he stepped up big time during the 1996 postseason. He got wins in both the ALDS and ALCS that year and pitched a total of eight innings of scoreless ball between the two. Joe Torre then used Weathers in Games 1, 4 and 6 of that year’s World Series against the Braves and he gave up only a single run. Given the fact that Yankee owner George Steinbrenner had publicly criticized the reliever after his poor start in the regular season that year, there’s no doubt Weathers’ fall ball heroics were the only reason he remained in the Yankees’ bullpen plans for 1997. Unfortunately, he got off to an even worse start that year and this time Steinbrenner got his wish. Weathers was traded to the Indians in early June of 1997 for outfielder Chad Curtis.

After leaving the Bronx, Weathers just kept pitching and pitching and pitching, going from Cleveland to Cincinnati, to Milwaukee, to the Cubs, back to New York with the Mets, and then return trips to the Reds and Marlins. In all he pitched in over 900 games before his career ended in 2009 and in 2007, his stick-to-it-ness paid off when he was made the Reds closer and saved 33 games.

Weathers was born on the very same day as this Hall-of-Fame Yankee shortstop, this former Yankee reliever/pitching coach and also with Robinson Cano’s predecessor as Yankee starting second baseman.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1996 NYY 0 2 .000 9.35 11 4 1 0 0 0 17.1 23 19 18 1 14 13 2.135
1997 NYY 0 1 .000 10.00 10 0 3 0 0 0 9.0 15 10 10 1 7 4 2.444
19 Yrs 73 88 .453 4.25 964 69 304 0 0 75 1376.1 1432 711 650 133 604 976 1.479
CIN (6 yrs) 22 27 .449 3.97 341 9 157 0 0 61 398.2 388 188 176 39 164 283 1.385
FLA (5 yrs) 17 22 .436 5.16 105 55 11 0 0 0 359.0 425 227 206 33 159 216 1.627
MIL (5 yrs) 18 17 .514 3.53 237 0 71 0 0 7 298.2 282 129 117 30 120 223 1.346
NYM (3 yrs) 12 12 .500 3.22 180 0 42 0 0 7 198.2 197 82 71 17 91 161 1.450
NYY (2 yrs) 0 3 .000 9.57 21 4 4 0 0 0 26.1 38 29 28 2 21 17 2.241
TOR (2 yrs) 1 0 1.000 5.50 17 0 4 0 0 0 18.0 20 12 11 2 19 16 2.167
CLE (1 yr) 1 2 .333 7.56 9 1 2 0 0 0 16.2 23 14 14 2 8 14 1.860
CHC (1 yr) 1 1 .500 3.18 28 0 4 0 0 0 28.1 28 10 10 3 9 20 1.306
HOU (1 yr) 1 4 .200 4.78 26 0 9 0 0 0 32.0 31 20 17 5 13 26 1.375
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/25/2013.

September 8 – Happy Birthday Larry McCall

The only member of the New York Yankee all-time roster to celebrate a birthday on September 8th is this Asheville, NC native who won 29 games over two seasons for the Yankee’s Triple A teams in the late seventies. McCall could not replicate that success at the big league level, appearing  in only a total of seven games in pinstripes over the course of the 1977 and 78 seasons. He won his only Yankee decision during the 1978 regular season. I guess you could say that without that victory, the Yankees would not have tied Boston for that season’s Eastern Division Pennant. Without that tie, Bucky Dent’s home run never would have happened. So thank you Larry.

After the 1978 postseason, McCall was included as part of the package the Yankees traded to Texas to obtain Dave Righetti. By 1980, McCall was out of the big leagues for good and began a long career as a Minor League pitching coach in the Orioles’ organization. In 2006, he served as Baltimore’s big league bullpen coach.

So how many Yankees have their been on the team’s all-time roster who have a last name that begins with the moniker prefix “Mc?” Including McCall, I counted 39. Four of them are in the Hall of Fame but two of those four, John McGraw and Joe “Iron Man” McGinnity played or managed for the franchise before it was relocated to the Big Apple from Baltimore in 1903. Another “Mc” enshrined in Cooperstown was named Bill McKechnie, a utility second baseman on the 1913 Yankee team who would go onto become a two-time World Series winning manager. The fourth was of course the legendary Yankee manager, Joe McCarthy. Gil McDougald was the best McYankee player of all time. He is the all-time leader in Yankee McHomers with 112.  Others you might remember include pitchers Sam McDowell, Mike McCormick, “Black Jack” McDowell and the wily reliever, Lindy McDaniel. Who was the biggest Yanke McDud? Remember Rich McKinney? He’s the third baseman the Yankees got for 1968 AL Rookie of the Year pitcher, Stan Bahnsen in a 1972 trade with the White Sox. McKinney would hit just .215 during his one year with New York while Bahnsen was winning 21 games for Chicago that same season. There have been four Yankee “McDonalds,” including Darnell, who played some games in the outfield for the 2012 Yankees. The most recent McYankee was Casey McGeHee.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1977 NYY 0 1 .000 7.50 2 0 0 0 0 0 6.0 12 7 5 1 1 0 2.167
1978 NYY 1 1 .500 5.63 5 1 3 0 0 0 16.0 20 10 10 2 6 7 1.625
3 Yrs 2 2 .500 5.04 9 2 4 0 0 0 30.1 39 19 17 3 10 10 1.615
NYY (2 yrs) 1 2 .333 6.14 7 1 3 0 0 0 22.0 32 17 15 3 7 7 1.773
TEX (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 2.16 2 1 1 0 0 0 8.1 7 2 2 0 3 3 1.200
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/17/2013.

August 28 – Happy Birthday Jay Witasick

WitasickThe great Yankee bullpen of the late 1990′s had been disrupted by the departure of right-hander Jeff Nelson after the 2000 season. Brian Cashman had spent the first three weeks of June in 2001 trying to put the finishing touches on a trade with the Expos for Ugueth Urbina but the deal fell apart at the last second.

I remember salivating over the possible addition of Ugie when rumors of the proposed deal became public. Naturally, I was disappointed when  my favorite team ended up with Jay Witasick in their bullpen instead.

At the time of his acquisition, Witasick had already been pitching in the big leagues for five seasons with three different teams. He also had never posted an ERA below 5.64 in any of them. But then suddenly, during the first half of the 2001 season, he was getting everybody out for the San Diego Padres. His fastball was suddenly faster, his control sharper and his ERA was a microscopic 1.86. Cashman was willing to ignore Witasick’s half decade of big league history and sent Yankee infield prospect D’Angelo Jimenez to San Diego in exchange for the six-foot-four-inch, right-handed native of Baltimore.

The newest Yankee then got shelled in his first appearance against Baltimore but settled down and pitched decent ball for New York through August. Then he got hot during the final month of the 2001 season, turning in ten consecutive appearances without surrendering an earned run, earning him a spot on Joe Torre’s postseason roster. That proved to be a bad decision.

He did not pitch well in his only ALDS appearance against Seattle. He pitched even worse in his only ALCS appearance against the Angels and then turned in one of the worst World Series pitching performances in the history of the Yankee franchise.

After Andy Pettitte gave up four runs during the first two innings of Game Six against Arizona, Torre replaced him with Witasick in the top of the third with two Diamondbacks on base. Witasick permitted those two runners to score and then proceeded to give up nine more runs of his own, making his World Series ERA 54.00. You know what’s even more remarkable? Naturally, George Steinbrenner had this guy jettisoned from New York after that Series and he ended up back in the World Series the very next season with San Francisco. How did he do? In two appearances for the Giants in that Fall Classic, he retired just one batter and posted a second consecutive World Series ERA of 54.00.

Witasick shares his birthday with this Yankee second baseman from the 1920′sthis former Cy Young Award winner, this outfielder known for his sweet swing and this one-time Yankee pitcher who also gave up Bucky Dent’s home run.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2001 NYY 3 0 1.000 4.69 32 0 8 0 0 0 40.1 47 27 21 5 18 53 1.612
12 Yrs 32 41 .438 4.64 405 56 101 3 1 5 731.1 775 429 377 97 364 645 1.557
OAK (6 yrs) 5 5 .500 5.26 91 3 25 0 0 1 116.1 127 78 68 22 73 115 1.719
SDP (4 yrs) 11 12 .478 3.96 132 11 43 0 0 4 206.2 199 108 91 26 101 206 1.452
KCR (2 yrs) 12 20 .375 5.71 54 42 4 3 1 0 247.2 300 173 157 38 121 169 1.700
TBD (1 yr) 0 0 6.61 20 0 5 0 0 0 16.1 17 13 12 1 18 8 2.143
COL (1 yr) 0 4 .000 2.52 32 0 7 0 0 0 35.2 27 11 10 2 12 40 1.093
SFG (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 2.37 44 0 9 0 0 0 68.1 58 19 18 3 21 54 1.156
NYY (1 yr) 3 0 1.000 4.69 32 0 8 0 0 0 40.1 47 27 21 5 18 53 1.612
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/28/2013.