Results tagged ‘ second baseman ’

February 9 – Happy Birthday Sir Robert Eenhoorn

fd603New York’s second round draft choice in 1990, Sir Robert Eenhoorn was the first Yankee to hail from the Netherlands and the first Yankee to be knighted. When he joined the Yankee organization, GM Gene Michael was hoping he’d one day become the parent club’s starting shortstop. A superb fielder, Eenhoorn’s hitting skills were good enough to keep him advancing up New York’s farm system ladder until he got to the Bronx. His biggest obstacle to prime time however, was another young Yankee shortstop prospect by the name of Derek Jeter.

Over a three year-period beginning in 1994, he got to wear pinstripes for a total of 20 games and 32 at bats before he was released and picked up by the Angels. By 1998 he had returned to his native country and played on the Netherlands National team eventually becoming its manager. In 2003, Eenhoorn’s young son was killed by a rare form of cancer. Former Mets’ manager, Davey Johnson took control of the Dutch National Team while Eenhoorn and his family recovered from the tragedy.

Over the next several years Eenhoorn dedicated his professional live to developing the game of baseball in Europe. He started a European baseball academy that was modeled after similar schools in the US. In 2011 he was knighted by the Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix after the National Team he assembled as General Manager, won the 2011 World Cup. His next goal is to have Major League regular season baseball games played in Europe. He also hope to get MLB teams to sponsor farm clubs in his native country.

He shares his birthday with this one time Yankee catcher, this great former Yankee third baseman and with this not-so-great-one too.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1994 NYY 3 4 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .750 1.250
1995 NYY 5 15 14 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 1 3 .143 .200 .214 .414
1996 NYY 12 19 14 2 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 3 .071 .167 .071 .238
4 Yrs 37 74 67 7 16 3 0 1 10 0 3 10 .239 .260 .328 .589
NYY (3 yrs) 20 38 32 4 5 2 0 0 4 0 3 6 .156 .216 .219 .435
ANA (2 yrs) 17 36 35 3 11 1 0 1 6 0 0 4 .314 .306 .429 .734
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2014.

February 8 – Happy Birthday Don Heffner

heffnerDon “Jeep” Heffner was Tony Lazzeri’s primary back-up at second base during the final years of “Poosh Em Up’s” Hall of Fame career in New York. The only Major League player ever to be born in Rouzerville, PA, Heffner made a decent big league debut with the Yankees in 1934, appearing in 72 games and averaging .261 for a Joe McCarthy-led team that won 94 games that year but still finished second to Mickey Cochrane’s powerful Detroit Tiger ball club.

That turned out to be Heffner’s best offensive season in pinstripes but he stuck around in the Bronx long enough to win championship rings in both 1936 and ’37. When an aging Lazzeri was let go by New York after the ’37 season, Hefner’s weak bat removed him from consideration for the vacant starting job. Instead, he was traded to the Browns for a better hitting second baseman named Bill Knickerbocker.

Heffner spent the next four seasons starting at second for St. Louis while Knickerbocker lost the battle for the Yankees’ starting second base job to rookie Joe Gordon. Heffner continued playing in the big leagues until 1943 and then got into coaching and managing. In 1966, he skippered the Cincinnati Reds for 83 games, his only big league managerial position.

He shares his birthday with this former Yankee pitcher and this one-time Yankee first baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1934 NYY 72 270 241 29 63 8 3 0 25 1 25 18 .261 .331 .320 .650
1935 NYY 10 40 36 3 11 3 1 0 8 0 4 1 .306 .375 .444 .819
1936 NYY 19 55 48 7 11 2 1 0 6 0 6 5 .229 .315 .313 .627
1937 NYY 60 221 201 23 50 6 5 0 21 1 19 19 .249 .314 .328 .642
11 Yrs 743 2847 2526 275 610 99 19 6 248 18 270 218 .241 .317 .303 .620
SLB (6 yrs) 524 2039 1803 196 434 73 9 6 179 13 193 162 .241 .317 .301 .618
NYY (4 yrs) 161 586 526 62 135 19 10 0 60 2 54 43 .257 .326 .331 .657
PHA (1 yr) 52 198 178 17 37 6 0 0 8 3 18 12 .208 .284 .242 .526
DET (1 yr) 6 24 19 0 4 1 0 0 1 0 5 1 .211 .375 .263 .638
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/18/2014.

January 24 – Happy Birthday Earle Gardner

earle_gardnerThough they were also referred to as the Americans, their Highlanders’ nickname fit them well because they played their home games in a place called Hilltop Park, which was located on one of the highest points on Manhattan island. The team landed there in 1903 when Ban Johnson’s upstart American League relocated its Baltimore Oriole franchise to the Big Apple. It was a forced move that caused tons of bad blood and hostility. As a result, just about the entire Orioles roster either refused to make the move or were not offered the opportunity to do so. This forced the Highlanders to throw a team together in a helter skelter fashion, that included boozers, brawlers, gamblers and a few talented ball players thrown in for good measure. Co-owned by one of New York City’s biggest gambling barons and a retired corrupt cop, the club played as erratically as the hit-or-miss evolution of the team’s roster suggested it would. They finished 4th, 2nd, 6th, 2nd, 5th, last, 5th, 2nd, 6th and last during their first decade in their new home. They battled helplessly for the attention of city’s baseball fans and baseball press in those early years with John McGraw’s mighty Giants. Things really didn’t get better for the team and its fans until the franchise was purchased by a couple of very wealthy colonels named Rupert and Huston in 1915.

Earle Gardner joined the team in 1908. He was a five foot eleven inch, 160 pound second baseman from Sparta, IL, who during three previous seasons in the minors had developed a reputation with his fancy glove work. He was also a decent hitter, averaging right around .300 in three different classes of farm league ball. It took him two-and-a-half seasons to claim the starting second-baseman’s job and he was only able to hold onto it for just a year-and-a-half. He hit .263 in 1911, his only full season as a starter and then he gave way to Hack Simmons in 1912.

Just 28 years-old at the time he lost his starting position, Gardner returned to minor league ball and never again played in a big league game. He ended up with a .263 lifetime average during his five seasons in New York. He continued playing in the minors until 1918. He died in 1943 at the age of 59.

Gardner shares his birthday with this former Yankee relief pitcher and this one too.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1908 NYY 20 80 75 7 16 2 0 0 4 0 1 6 .213 .234 .240 .474 54
1909 NYY 22 89 85 12 28 4 0 0 15 4 3 8 .329 .352 .376 .729 129
1910 NYY 86 303 271 36 66 4 2 1 24 9 21 22 .244 .303 .284 .587 79
1911 NYY 102 395 357 36 94 13 2 0 39 14 20 27 .263 .312 .311 .622 70
1912 NYY 43 170 160 14 45 3 1 0 26 11 5 8 .281 .303 .313 .616 72
5 Yrs 273 1037 948 105 249 26 5 1 108 38 50 71 .263 .305 .304 .609 76
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2014.