Results tagged ‘ starting pitcher ’

September 30 – Happy Birthday Johnny Allen

Born in Lenoir, NC in 1904, this hot-tempered right-hander had a knack for long winning streaks until he injured his arm in 1938 and never fully recovered. As a young man, Allen worked as a bellhop. When a guest in his hotel complained he couldn’t get any heat in is room,  Allen was sent to check out the complaint. The occupant of the room turned out to be the great Yankee scout Paul Krichell. Allen told the cold talent evaluator he was a pitcher and after he got the heating problem solved, a grateful Krichell arranged a Yankee tryout for him.

He pitched some excellent baseball for New York in the early thirties. As a 27 year old rookie, he went 17-4 for the 1932 Yankees. After winning 50 games during his four seasons in Pinstripes and fighting with the Yankee front-office about money, Allen was traded to Cleveland, where he promptly won 20 games in 1936 and went 15-1 the year after. At one point over three seasons, Johnny won 27 of 29 decisions with the Indians. It was a good thing too, because he was a sore loser, known to go after both umpires and teammates when he came up on the short end of a close or disputed decision.

After Allen hurt his arm, he was traded to the Browns and then spent some time with Brooklyn, winning 8 of 9 decisions as a Dodger. He ended his career with the Giants in 1944. This made him one of a very few pitchers who pitched for the Big Apple’s three original Major League franchises. He compiled a 142-75 record, lifetime. He was just 54 years of age when he suffered a heart attack and died.

Allen shares his birthday with this one-time Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1932 NYY 17 4 .810 3.70 33 21 6 13 3 4 192.0 162 86 79 10 76 109 1.240
1933 NYY 15 7 .682 4.39 25 24 1 10 1 1 184.2 171 96 90 9 87 119 1.397
1934 NYY 5 2 .714 2.89 13 10 2 4 0 0 71.2 62 30 23 3 32 54 1.312
1935 NYY 13 6 .684 3.61 23 23 0 12 2 0 167.0 149 76 67 11 58 113 1.240
13 Yrs 142 75 .654 3.75 352 241 68 109 17 18 1950.1 1849 924 813 103 738 1070 1.326
CLE (5 yrs) 67 34 .663 3.65 150 121 25 60 9 6 929.2 905 427 377 36 342 505 1.341
NYY (4 yrs) 50 19 .725 3.79 94 78 9 39 6 5 615.1 544 288 259 33 253 395 1.295
BRO (3 yrs) 18 7 .720 3.21 55 20 15 6 1 4 213.1 186 92 76 20 76 86 1.228
NYG (2 yrs) 5 10 .333 3.74 33 13 13 2 1 2 125.0 125 64 52 10 38 57 1.304
SLB (1 yr) 2 5 .286 6.58 20 9 6 2 0 1 67.0 89 53 49 4 29 27 1.761
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/30/2013.

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 22 – Happy Birthday Urban Shocker

This Cleveland, Ohio native started his big league pitching career as a Yankee in 1916 and pitched well enough to go 12-8 with a 2.62 ERA over the course of his first two seasons. At Manager Miller Huggins’ urging, New York than included the right-hander in a package of players they sent to the Browns in January of 1918 for second baseman Del Pratt and Hall of Fame hurler, Eddie Plank. At the time the deal was made Plank was at the end of his career and he never pitched a game for the Yankees. Pratt gave New York three decent seasons but it was Shocker who proved to be the gem in that transaction. He became a four-time twenty game winner for the Browns that included a league-leading 27 victories in 1921. He also became a thorn in Huggins side as a Yankee killer who was particularly effective against the great Babe Ruth. Seven years after he left New York, again at Huggins urging, the Yankees got him back and Urban finished his big league career in pinstripes. What no one knew at the time of his return except Shocker and a few of his close friends was that the pitcher was slowly dying of heart disease. So when he won 49 games during his three-plus season return tour of duty in the Big Apple, it was in fact a super-human effort, that included a 19-11 record in 1926 and an 18-6 record for the Murderer’s Row team of 1927.

He was too weak to make it to the Yankees 1928 spring training and when he did rejoin the club, he collapsed while pitching batting practice in Chicago. By September of that same year, Shocker was dead at the age of just 38 years old. His lifetime record was 187 and 117 and his record in pinstripes, 61-37. But that 18-6 effort when his heart was literally turning to stone during the 1927 season will forever remain one of the most remarkable achievements by a pitcher in baseball history.

Shocker wasn’t the only Yankee born on this date to enjoy consecutive twenty-win seasons as a big league pitcher. In fact, this Hall of Famer had two separate three-season streaks of twenty or more wins and enjoyed a total of seven during his 13-year career. You can find out who he is by clicking here. This former Yankee catcher was also born on September 22nd.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1916 NYY 4 3 .571 2.62 12 9 3 4 1 0 82.1 67 25 24 2 32 43 1.202
1917 NYY 8 5 .615 2.61 26 13 6 7 0 1 145.0 124 59 42 5 46 68 1.172
1925 NYY 12 12 .500 3.65 41 30 7 15 2 2 244.1 278 108 99 17 58 74 1.375
1926 NYY 19 11 .633 3.38 41 32 7 18 0 2 258.1 272 113 97 16 71 59 1.328
1927 NYY 18 6 .750 2.84 31 27 1 13 2 0 200.0 207 86 63 8 41 35 1.240
1928 NYY 0 0 0.00 1 0 1 0 0 0 2.0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1.500
13 Yrs 187 117 .615 3.17 412 317 72 200 28 25 2681.2 2709 1131 945 130 657 983 1.255
SLB (7 yrs) 126 80 .612 3.19 260 206 47 143 23 20 1749.2 1758 740 620 82 409 704 1.239
NYY (6 yrs) 61 37 .622 3.14 152 111 25 57 5 5 932.0 951 391 325 48 248 279 1.286
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/22/2013.

September 15 – Happy Birthday Slow Joe Doyle

joe doyleOnly eleven pitchers have started their big league careers with two consecutive shutouts in their first two starts since the 20th century began and today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant is one of them. His real name was Judd Doyle but he became universally known as “Slow Joe” because when he was on the mound it took him forever to throw a pitch. When he finally got around to it, the results appeared to be pretty good, especially at the beginning stages of his Yankee career.

He made his impressive big league debut in late August of 1906 and finished his one-month-long first season in New York with a 2-1 record. The best year of his career was his second, when he became a member of the team’s starting rotation and went 11-11 with a solid 2.65 ERA. He continued to show flashes of brilliance on the mound. Jack Chesbro even called Doyle “…one of the greatest pitchers there is!”  That probably explains why the Yankees never hired “Happy Jack” as a scout when his playing days were over.

Like Chesbro, Doyle’s best pitch was a spit ball but the only way Slow Joe would have ever had a shot at matching his more famous teammate’s record-breaking 41 wins in a season would be if that season was about 400 games long. That’s because Doyle liked to rest about ten days before each start, which would drive his first New York manager, Clark Griffith crazy.

He lost his spot in the rotation in 1908 and then got it back the following year. But when he got off to a slow start during the 1910 season, New York sold the right-handed native of Clay Center, Kansas to Cincinnati.

Doyle shares his birthday with this Hall of Fame pitcher and this former Yankee third baseman.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1906 NYY 2 1 .667 2.38 9 6 3 3 2 0 45.1 34 15 12 1 13 28 1.037
1907 NYY 11 11 .500 2.65 29 23 5 15 1 1 193.2 169 86 57 2 67 94 1.219
1908 NYY 1 1 .500 2.63 12 4 5 2 1 0 48.0 42 24 14 1 14 20 1.167
1909 NYY 8 6 .571 2.58 17 15 2 8 3 0 125.2 103 49 36 3 37 57 1.114
1910 NYY 0 2 .000 8.03 3 2 1 1 0 0 12.1 19 13 11 0 5 6 1.946
5 Yrs 22 21 .512 2.85 75 50 21 29 7 1 436.1 383 206 138 7 147 209 1.215
NYY (5 yrs) 22 21 .512 2.75 70 50 16 29 7 1 425.0 367 187 130 7 136 205 1.184
CIN (1 yr) 0 0 6.35 5 0 5 0 0 0 11.1 16 19 8 0 11 4 2.382
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2013.

September 14 – Happy Birthday Stan Williams

Stan Williams was the first Yankee player I can remember disliking. The guy did absolutely nothing to deserve my animosity except get traded to the Yankees for one of my favorite Bronx Bombers, Bill “Moose” Skowron. The deal took place after the 1962 World Series and even though I was just eight years old at the time I remember wondering why after winning their second straight championship the Yankees would break up the infield that helped get them those two rings. Part of the answer of course was that New York had a young and extremely talented first baseman named Joe Pepitone sitting on the bench and even though the Moose was just 32 years old, he had suffered for years from a chronic bad back.

The other reason the Yankees made the deal was to add some much needed depth to their starting rotation. In 1962 only Whitey Ford, Ralph Terry and Bill Stafford pitched in that rotation the entire season. At the time, Williams was a prized 26-year-old right-hander who had won 44 games over the previous three seasons for LA. At 6’5″ tall and 230 pounds, the guy they called “Big Daddy” posed an intimidating figure on a pitching mound. The Yankee front office was certain Williams would be a big winner for years in the Bronx and give young Yankee pitching prospects like Jim Bouton and Al Downing time to mature into big league starters. Well that didn’t happen.

Williams achilles heel when he was with the Dodgers was his lack of control and he seemed to have an even more difficult time throwing strikes when he put on the pinstripes. Even though he had a good spring training in 1963 and an impressive five hit victory in his regular season debut, Williams was consistently erratic for New York, walking hitters at an alarming rate. In one three game stretch of starts he didn’t make it past the third inning.

Instead of being able to bring Bouton and Downing along cautiously, Williams’ wildness and an injury to Stafford forced Houk to depend heavily on both their young arms. The 24-year-old Bouton had a gem of a season going 21-7 while the 22-year-old Downing was almost as impressive going 13-5. That’s why New York was able to make it to their fifth straight World Series despite the fact that Williams finished the year with a disappointing 9-8 record.

Williams did not even make Houk’s World Series starting rotation against his old team, the Dodgers. In one of the most dominating cumulative pitching performances in World Series history, Los Angeles swept New York in four games. Houk did give Williams the ball after Whitey Ford fell behind Sandy Koufax, 5-0 in Game 1. Big Stan came in and delivered three solid innings of scoreless, one-hit relief, striking out five of the ten batters he faced without giving up a single base-on-balls. That would prove to be Williams’ finest moment in pinstripes. In the mean time, Skowron took advantage of the Series matchup to feed the Yankee front office some crow by hitting .385 and homering against his old teammates. In 1964 Williams hurt his arm and finished his second and final Yankee season with a horrible 1-5 record. The Yankees sold him to Cleveland just before the start of the 1965 regular season.

He would spend much of his first three seasons with the Indians pitching his arm back into shape in their Minor League system.  In the process he turned himself into a very effective starter/reliever winning 29 games while saving 36 more over a three-year period. That included a superb 10-1, 15-save, 1.99 ERA season for the Twins in 1970. He retired after the 1975 season with a lifetime record of 109-94 and 43 career saves.

As it turned out, the Yankees traded Skowron at just the right time and Pepitone was physically ready to take over first base when he did. But whenever I think of Williams or see his name, I’m reminded of the first Yankee deal I did not like and the moment in history when the Yankee dynasty began showing the first signs of cracking.

Williams shares his September 14th birthday with this former Yankee infielder and Hall of Fame announcer.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1963 NYY 9 8 .529 3.21 29 21 5 6 1 0 146.0 137 59 52 7 57 98 1.329
1964 NYY 1 5 .167 3.84 21 10 5 1 0 0 82.0 76 39 35 7 38 54 1.390
14 Yrs 109 94 .537 3.48 482 208 139 42 11 43 1764.1 1527 785 682 160 748 1305 1.289
LAD (5 yrs) 57 46 .553 3.83 181 129 24 24 7 2 872.0 760 424 371 85 429 657 1.364
CLE (4 yrs) 25 29 .463 3.12 124 47 46 11 3 22 456.0 388 180 158 46 145 362 1.169
MIN (2 yrs) 14 6 .700 2.87 114 1 54 0 0 19 191.1 148 78 61 15 76 123 1.171
NYY (2 yrs) 10 13 .435 3.43 50 31 10 7 1 0 228.0 213 98 87 14 95 152 1.351
STL (1 yr) 3 0 1.000 1.42 10 0 4 0 0 0 12.2 13 2 2 0 2 8 1.184
BOS (1 yr) 0 0 6.23 3 0 1 0 0 0 4.1 5 3 3 0 1 3 1.385
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/19/2013.

September 12 – Happy Birthday Spud Chandler

This Commerce, Georgia native, who was born in 1907, didn’t throw his first pitch in a Major League baseball game until he was almost thirty years old. Some may think it was the name his parents gave him that delayed his arrival in the big leagues. Imagine you were the person in the Yankee front office who was responsible for notifying the team’s minor league players  that they were being called up to the parent club. Someone hands you a message that reads “Call Spurgeon Chandler and tell him to report immediately.” You’d probably start laughing so hard you wouldn’t be able to pick up the phone.

The truth is, however, that Spud was one of those rare future Major League baseball players who attended college during the years of the Great Depression. After he graduated from the University of Georgia, where he was also a star football player, it took Spud five more seasons to work his way up to the Bronx. Even then, an assortment of nagging injuries cut down on his starts during the first half of his ten-year career in Pinstripes.

That all changed in 1942, when Chandler went 16-5 and then in 1943 he had one the greatest seasons of any Yankee right-hander before or since. Spud went 20-4 that year with a microscopic 1.64 ERA and won the AL MVP Award, leading the Yankees to their third straight AL Pennant. He went on to pitch two complete game victories over the Cardinals in that year’s Fall Classic, giving up just one earned run in the process.

Spud made just five starts during the next two seasons but it was service in WWII and not injuries or school that prevented him from playing full seasons. When he returned from service in 1946 he put together his second twenty-victory season. By 1947, however, he was approaching forty years of age and his body could not do it anymore. Chandler retired with a regular season career record of 109-43. Who knows? He’d probably be in Cooperstown today if he’d skipped college and didn’t serve his country in a war.

This late great Yankee outfielder shares Chandler’s September 12th birthday.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1937 NYY 7 4 .636 2.84 12 10 0 6 2 0 82.1 79 31 26 8 20 31 1.202
1938 NYY 14 5 .737 4.03 23 23 0 14 2 0 172.0 183 86 77 7 47 36 1.337
1939 NYY 3 0 1.000 2.84 11 0 5 0 0 0 19.0 26 7 6 0 9 4 1.842
1940 NYY 8 7 .533 4.60 27 24 2 6 1 0 172.0 184 100 88 12 60 56 1.419
1941 NYY 10 4 .714 3.19 28 20 5 11 4 4 163.2 146 68 58 5 60 60 1.259
1942 NYY 16 5 .762 2.38 24 24 0 17 3 0 200.2 176 64 53 13 74 74 1.246
1943 NYY 20 4 .833 1.64 30 30 0 20 5 0 253.0 197 62 46 5 54 134 0.992
1944 NYY 0 0 4.50 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 6 3 3 1 1 1 1.167
1945 NYY 2 1 .667 4.65 4 4 0 2 1 0 31.0 30 16 16 2 7 12 1.194
1946 NYY 20 8 .714 2.10 34 32 2 20 6 2 257.1 200 71 60 7 90 138 1.127
1947 NYY 9 5 .643 2.46 17 16 0 13 2 0 128.0 100 41 35 4 41 68 1.102
11 Yrs 109 43 .717 2.84 211 184 14 109 26 6 1485.0 1327 549 468 64 463 614 1.205
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2013.

September 11 – Happy Birthday Bill Hogg

BillHoggNew York had been in the thick of the 1904 AL Pennant race right up until a fluttering knuckleball from 41-game winner Jack Chesbro got past catcher Red Kleinow permitting the winning run to score during the team’s next-to-the-last game of that season. Hopes were high that the team’s starting rotation, led by Chesbro, Al Orth and Red Powell would lead the Highlanders to the league crown in ’05. Joining that trio for the new season would be a young right-hander named William “Buffalo Bill” Hogg.

Hogg was born in Michigan in 1881 but grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. New York signed him after he won a total of 33 games for two different minor league clubs in 1904. At six feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, he was considered a “big” guy for his time and developed a reputation for being mean and nasty on the mound.

He pitched decently for New York during his 1905 rookie season but with Chesbro winning 23 fewer games, the Highlanders fell to sixth place. He had his best season in ’06 posting a career high 14 victories as New York improved to a second-place finish. After one more winning season in ’07, Hogg had an illness filled final year in New York and was released. He was trying to regain his health and pitch his way back to the big leagues when he died suddenly,while on a winter barnstorming tour in New Orleans. The cause of death was Brights Disease. Hogg was just 28-years-old at the time.

Hogg shares his birthday with this former Yankee catcher and this one-time Yankee prospect.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1905 NYY 9 13 .409 3.20 39 22 13 9 3 1 205.0 178 104 73 1 101 125 1.361
1906 NYY 14 13 .519 2.93 28 25 3 15 3 0 206.0 171 77 67 5 72 107 1.180
1907 NYY 10 8 .556 3.08 25 21 2 13 0 0 166.2 173 84 57 3 83 64 1.536
1908 NYY 4 16 .200 3.01 24 21 3 6 0 0 152.1 155 89 51 4 63 72 1.431
4 Yrs 37 50 .425 3.06 116 89 21 43 6 1 730.0 677 354 248 13 319 368 1.364
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2013.

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 4 – Happy Birthday Doyle Alexander

Doyle Alexander would never win a Mr Cogeniality contest.  He had two tours of duty as a Yankee starter and made few friends in either. His first stay in the Bronx did however, reap significant dividends for both team and player.  It began during the 1976 season, when Doyle was part of a ten-player deal between New York and Baltimore. He went 10-5 after putting on the pinstripes that year, playing a huge role in helping New York capture the 1976 AL Pennant. He then got hammered in his only postseason start against the Reds in the ’76 World Series and I believe it was that shaky appearance and the fact that nobody in the Yankee organization was a big fan of Alexander’s prickly personality, that permitted the Texas Rangers to swoop in and sign the big right-hander to a free agent deal.

By 1982, this native of Cordova, Alabama was pitching for San Francisco and the Yankees traded for him a second time. Alexander was not so great during his encore appearance in pinstripes. In fact, when Steinbrenner insulted the pitcher by telling reporters he got hit so hard the Yankee infielders were afraid to play behind him, wise-guy Graig Nettles rubbed a bit more salt in the wound by adding that he would even avoid sitting in the bleachers when Alexander was on the mound. He won just one of nine decisions during his repeat stay in the Bronx and New York released him early on in the 1983 season. He went on to become a 17-game winner for the Blue Jays in each of the next two seasons. Born on this date in 1950, Alexander retired after the 1989 season with a Big League record of 194-174.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1976 NYY 10 5 .667 3.29 19 19 0 5 2 0 136.2 114 54 50 9 39 41 1.120
1982 NYY 1 7 .125 6.08 16 11 3 0 0 0 66.2 81 52 45 14 14 26 1.425
1983 NYY 0 2 .000 6.35 8 5 2 0 0 0 28.1 31 21 20 6 7 17 1.341
19 Yrs 194 174 .527 3.76 561 464 56 98 18 3 3367.2 3376 1541 1406 324 978 1528 1.293
BAL (5 yrs) 35 37 .486 3.41 137 64 43 19 4 3 593.0 559 260 225 41 196 215 1.273
TOR (4 yrs) 46 26 .639 3.56 106 103 2 25 3 0 750.0 752 315 297 81 172 392 1.232
ATL (3 yrs) 25 27 .481 4.09 68 68 0 12 1 0 466.2 477 235 212 50 118 252 1.275
TEX (3 yrs) 31 28 .525 3.89 88 80 6 19 2 0 541.1 533 252 234 45 222 213 1.395
NYY (3 yrs) 11 14 .440 4.47 43 35 5 5 2 0 231.2 226 127 115 29 60 84 1.235
DET (3 yrs) 29 29 .500 3.91 78 78 0 13 5 0 540.1 568 256 235 61 148 265 1.325
SFG (1 yr) 11 7 .611 2.89 24 24 0 1 1 0 152.1 156 51 49 11 44 77 1.313
LAD (1 yr) 6 6 .500 3.80 17 12 0 4 0 0 92.1 105 45 39 6 18 30 1.332
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/4/2013.

August 30 – Happy Birthday Roger Erickson

ericksonOpening Day of the 1982 season marked the official beginning of the second fall of the Yankee Dynasty. At that point, George Steinbrenner’s team had played in five of the previous six postseasons and split their four World Series appearances. But fall ball would become a memory for the franchise as the ’82 regular season commenced. It would be fourteen seasons before the Yanks made it back to the playoffs and fifteen years before they once again were participants (and victors) in a Fall Classic.

The 1981 strike and the Yankees’ loss to the Dodgers in that year’s Series seemed to push the Boss a bit over the edge. He became even more directly involved in the team’s personnel decisions. Convinced that his Bronx Bombers needed to convert to a small ball offense, he began drafting and trading for pieces that he thought fit that scheme. He also seemed intent on seeking revenge on Yankee players who had disappointed him. In the process, he created a hodge-podge roster that floundered in the AL East.

One of the players he was pissed at was Yankee starting catcher Rick Cerone. The Boss and the receiver had gotten into a highly publicized locker-room argument after Cerone’s base-running blunder cost the Yankees a game during the 1981 ALDS. Enflaming that situation was Steinbrenner’s anger over the fact that Cerone had taken him to salary arbitration before that ’81 season and won. So when the catcher had a horrible ALCS and World Series, the Yankee owner had the excuse he needed to go out and get another starting catcher. That turned out to be Butch Wynegar, who after a strong first couple of years behind the plate in Minnesota, had evolved into a very ordinary big league receiver.

In late May of the 1982 season, the Yankees made the deal to bring the Twins’ catcher and today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant to New York. Like Wynegar, Roger Erickson had gotten his big league career off to an excellent start in Minnesota with a 14-win rookie season in 1978 and like his battery mate, it had been pretty much downhill for him ever since. A tall slender right hander and a native of Springfield, Illinois, Erickson’s father Don had pitched one game for the Phillies and his Uncle and two cousins had all pitched for a time in the minors.

He got off to a horrible start as a Yankee losing his first four decisions, but then rebounded during the month of July to win four consecutive starts. That’s when he hurt his right shoulder and was pretty much shelved for the rest of the season. In the mean time, that 1982 Yankee team went through three managers and finished in fifth place in the AL East.

The following spring, a healthy Erickson was looking forward to getting back into New York’s starting rotation but instead was told he’d start the 1983 season pitching for Columbus. The bitterly disappointed pitcher told the team he would retire if he was sent back to the minors. The Yankees tried to assure him he was part of their future and in a classic retort, the pitcher told them he didn’t want to be part of their future because “Its frustrating enough being part of your present.” That just about sums up what it must have felt like for plenty of the players who came and went from the Bronx during that fourteen year period of post-seasonless play. A team owned by a ship-builder that ironically seemed to be operating without a rudder.

Eventually, Erickson did accept the demotion and then got called back up that September. Three months later, he was traded to the Royals with Steve Balboni for two guys you probably never heard of. Erickson never threw another pitch in the big leagues.

He shares his birthday with this former Yankee third baseman and this former Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1982 NYY 4 5 .444 4.46 16 11 1 0 0 1 70.2 86 36 35 5 17 37 1.458
1983 NYY 0 1 .000 4.32 5 0 2 0 0 0 16.2 13 8 8 1 8 7 1.260
6 Yrs 35 53 .398 4.13 135 117 5 24 0 1 799.1 868 419 367 68 251 365 1.400
MIN (5 yrs) 31 47 .397 4.10 114 106 2 24 0 0 712.0 769 375 324 62 226 321 1.397
NYY (2 yrs) 4 6 .400 4.43 21 11 3 0 0 1 87.1 99 44 43 6 25 44 1.420
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2013.