Results tagged ‘ september 5 ’

September 5 – Happy Birthday Al Orth

OrthWatching CC Sabathia pitch during most of the 2013 season has not always been fun. I’m a huge fan of the Yankee ace but it looks as if the elbow surgery he underwent last year or maybe the pounds he took off during the offseason has had a negative impact on the velocity of his fastball. As a result, he’s learning how to pitch without a 95 mph heater in his arsenal and at times during the process, he’s been forced to learn some hard-hit lessons.

I wish I could have Sabathia talk to today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant, Al Orth, who in addition to being known as “Smiling Al” was also called “the Curveless Wonder” during his long-ago big league pitching career that began with the Phillies in 1895. Orth was considered to be one of the “softest throwing” pitchers in baseball history.

Hitters who faced the brawny right-hander did not worry about striking out. Orth fanned just two hitters per game during his 15-season career. Instead, opposing batsman fought impatience and attention deficit disorder as they watched and waited for Orth’s soft-tossed but well-aimed offerings to finally get close enough to the plate to swing at them.

The native of Sedalia, Missouri jumped to the newly formed American League in 1902 and pitched two-plus seasons for the Washington Senators before getting traded to the Yankees during the 1904 season, who were then still known as the Highlanders. In New York, he was united with “Happy” Jack Chesbro and introduced to Chesbro’s signature pitch, the spitball.

Experimenting with the juiced baseball, Orth found immediate success. He went 11-6 during his first partial season with the club and by 1906, he was throwing the wet one well enough to lead the AL in wins with 27. But Father Time and about nine-hundred innings of work the previous three seasons caught up to the veteran hurler. He turned 34-years-old in 1907 and when he lost 21 games that year, he became the first pitcher in history to lead the league in wins one season and in losses the next. When he lost 13 of his 15 decisions in ’08, the Yankees didn’t want him pitching any more but they did still want him on the team. Why?

In addition to being pretty good on the mound, Al Orth was one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball history. When he retired in 1909, he had a lifetime batting average of .273 and 184 career RBI’s. So in addition to having him talk to CC, if Orth was still around today, I might have him chat with Vernon Wells and Chris Stewart too. When he finally did quit playing, Orth became a big league umpire for a while. He died in 1948 at the age of 76.

Orth shares his birthday with this WWII-era Yankee first baseman and this more recent Yankee reliever.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1904 NYY 11 6 .647 2.68 20 18 2 11 2 0 137.2 122 47 41 0 19 47 1.024
1905 NYY 18 16 .529 2.86 40 37 3 26 6 0 305.1 273 122 97 8 61 121 1.094
1906 NYY 27 17 .614 2.34 45 39 5 36 3 0 338.2 317 115 88 2 66 133 1.131
1907 NYY 14 21 .400 2.61 36 33 3 21 2 0 248.2 244 134 72 2 53 78 1.194
1908 NYY 2 13 .133 3.42 21 17 3 8 1 0 139.1 134 62 53 4 30 22 1.177
1909 NYY 0 0 12.00 1 1 0 0 0 0 3.0 6 4 4 0 1 1 2.333
15 Yrs 204 189 .519 3.37 440 394 44 324 31 6 3354.2 3564 1704 1256 75 661 948 1.259
PHI (7 yrs) 100 72 .581 3.49 193 173 20 149 14 4 1504.2 1687 816 584 31 314 359 1.330
NYY (6 yrs) 72 73 .497 2.72 163 145 16 102 14 0 1172.2 1096 484 355 16 230 402 1.131
WSH (3 yrs) 32 44 .421 4.21 84 76 8 73 3 2 677.1 781 404 317 28 117 187 1.326
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2013.

September 5 – Happy Birthday Buddy Hassett

After spending six seasons in the National League with the Dodgers and Braves, the Yankees acquired Hassett to play first base in 1942, replacing the light-hitting Johnny Sturm. The New York City native who was born September 5, 1911, did OK in Pinstripes, hitting .284 and scoring 80 runs for a Yankee team that won 103 regular season games and captured the AL Pennant. After hitting .333 in a losing effort against the Cardinals in that season’s World Series, Hassett never appeared in another big league ball game.

He was called into military service the following year and the Yankees went out and got Nick Etten to play first base during the ’43 season. By the time Hassett returned from the Navy he was one of over 500 big league and more than 4,000 minor league players coming back from the armed services to reclaim or try to win a limited number of big league roster spots. Though Hassett had been one of a small group of players in history to have compiled at least 375 plate appearances during each season of his major league career before joining the service, he failed to make a post- WWII big league roster (even though the commissioner had expanded those rosters from 25 to 30 players to accommodate returning players.)

September 5 is also the birthday of Bill Mazeroski. My first vivid memory of being a Yankee fan was running all the way home from school as a first grader on an October afternoon in 1960 so I could watch the end of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series. I got in front of our family’s black & white Sylvania just in time to see Yogi Berra staring up at the top of the ivy-covered left field wall at Pittsburgh’s old Forbes Field, watching Mazeroski’s series-winning home run fly over it. So I won’t be wishing the former Pirate second baseman a happy birthday, ever.

Another Yankee born on September 5th is this former Yankee reliever and this long ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1942 NYY 132 581 538 80 153 16 6 5 48 5 32 16 .284 .325 .364 .689
7 Yrs 929 3807 3517 469 1026 130 40 12 343 53 209 116 .292 .333 .362 .695
BSN (3 yrs) 389 1572 1453 190 409 43 11 3 120 27 90 45 .281 .324 .332 .656
BRO (3 yrs) 408 1654 1526 199 464 71 23 4 175 21 87 55 .304 .346 .389 .734
NYY (1 yr) 132 581 538 80 153 16 6 5 48 5 32 16 .284 .325 .364 .689
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2013.

September 5 – Happy Birthday Randy Choate

A decade after he first broke into the Majors as a Yankee reliever, this southpaw became the workhorse in the Tampa Bay bullpen in 2010, leading the league with his 85 appearances that year and setting his career high for victories out of the bullpen in a season with 4. Choate then joined the exodus of Rays who opted for free agency after the 2010 season and signed a two-year $2.5 million deal with the Marlins. He has pitched well for them in 2011 but this year’s very poor Florida starting rotation has not handed him too many leads to hold.

The former Florida State Gator’s best season as a Yankee was his second one in 2001. That year, he had a 3-1 record in 37 appearances and a 3.35 ERA. He failed to come close to that success during his next two seasons in the Bronx and was subsequently sent to Montreal in the 2003 trade that brought Javier Vazquez to the Yankees a first time. Before he had a chance to play for the Expos, Choate was traded to Arizona, where he spent the next five seasons bouncing back and forth between Tucson and the parent club. Randy was born in San Antonio, TX in 1975.

Other Yankees who share this birthday are this former Yankee first baseman and this long-ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
2000 NYY 0 1 .000 4.76 22 0 6 0 0 0 17.0 14 10 9 3 8 12 1.294
2001 NYY 3 1 .750 3.35 37 0 13 0 0 0 48.1 34 21 18 0 27 35 1.262
2002 NYY 0 0 6.04 18 0 11 0 0 0 22.1 18 18 15 1 15 17 1.478
2003 NYY 0 0 7.36 5 0 2 0 0 0 3.2 7 3 3 0 1 0 2.182
13 Yrs 13 12 .520 3.89 530 0 90 0 0 6 339.2 291 166 147 16 157 290 1.319
ARI (4 yrs) 2 5 .286 4.89 114 0 20 0 0 0 73.2 84 42 40 1 36 65 1.629
NYY (4 yrs) 3 2 .600 4.43 82 0 32 0 0 0 91.1 73 52 45 4 51 64 1.358
TBR (2 yrs) 5 3 .625 3.89 146 0 21 0 0 5 81.0 69 38 35 7 28 68 1.198
MIA (2 yrs) 1 1 .500 2.16 98 0 10 0 0 1 50.0 29 18 12 3 22 58 1.020
STL (1 yr) 2 1 .667 2.67 54 0 7 0 0 0 30.1 23 9 9 0 11 24 1.121
LAD (1 yr) 0 0 4.05 36 0 0 0 0 0 13.1 13 7 6 1 9 11 1.650
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/5/2013.