Results tagged ‘ third baseman ’

April 5 – Happy Birthday Wid Conroy

conroy.jpegToday’s birthday celebrant was the first starting third baseman in Yankee franchise history. His name was William Edward Conroy but he was better known to everyone as Wid. He was born In Philadelphia on April 5, 1877. After the 1902 season, he jumped from the National League’s pennant winning Pittsburgh Pirates to the new AL franchise in the Big Apple which was then known as the Highlanders. On Opening Day of the 1903 season, he batted sixth in the Highlander’s first ever lineup. During his six seasons playing for New York, Conroy was one of the teams better offensive players. He had decent power, leading New York in home runs with 4 during the 1906 season. He was also a good base runner and gifted base stealer. In fact, old Wid is still tied for sixth place on the Yankee franchise’s all-time list of stolen bases with 186. In 1909, the Yankees sold Conroy to the Senators, where he finished his playing career in 1911.

Conroy was New York’s starting third baseman for three of his six seasons on the team, playing mostly in the outfield the rest of the time. Here’s the list of top five Yankee third baseman by the number of years they started at the hot corner for New York:

1. Graig Nettles – 11 seasons
2. Alex Rodriguez – 10 seasons (including 2012)
3. Joe Dugan – 7 seasons
3. Red Rolfe – 7 seasons
3. Clete Boyer – 7 seasons

Other Yankees born on this date include this former reliever and this 1960 AL Rookie of the Year.

These are Wid Conroy’s career stats and seasonal stats as a Yankee:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1903 NYY 126 548 503 74 137 23 12 1 45 33 32 36 .272 .322 .372 .694
1904 NYY 140 556 489 58 119 18 12 1 52 30 43 57 .243 .314 .335 .649
1905 NYY 101 424 385 55 105 19 11 2 25 25 32 47 .273 .329 .395 .723
1906 NYY 148 632 567 67 139 17 10 4 54 32 47 67 .245 .303 .332 .635
1907 NYY 140 572 530 58 124 12 11 3 51 41 30 45 .234 .279 .315 .594
1908 NYY 141 568 531 44 126 22 3 1 39 23 14 54 .237 .258 .296 .554
11 Yrs 1374 5592 5061 605 1257 176 82 22 452 262 345 481 .248 .301 .329 .629
NYY (6 yrs) 796 3300 3005 356 750 111 59 12 266 184 198 306 .250 .299 .338 .637
WSH (3 yrs) 348 1328 1188 120 289 35 11 4 75 47 87 92 .243 .298 .301 .600
PIT (1 yr) 99 404 365 55 89 10 6 1 47 10 24 41 .244 .299 .312 .612
MLA (1 yr) 131 560 503 74 129 20 6 5 64 21 36 42 .256 .316 .350 .666
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/14/2014.

March 5 – Happy Birthday Don Savage

savageDon Savage was a depression-era New Jersey schoolboy athlete who could have played football for a number of major colleges but chose baseball instead. Unfortunately, he suffered two serious knee injuries during his high school playing days and those injuries would haunt him and eventually shorten his big league career.

The Yankees signed him in 1938 and groomed him mostly as a third baseman. He spent the next four seasons following another future Yankee third sacker named Billy Johnson through New York’s farm system. That ascent suddenly got abruptly stalled during the winter of 1941 when Savage, feeling unusually tired all the time, went to the doctor to find out what was wrong with him. He was diagnosed with diabetes and would spend the rest of his life trying to keep the disease under control.

The one and only advantage of the diagnosis was that it made Savage permanently ineligible for military service. That meant, once he felt  well enough to resume his career, the Yankees could count on him being available for the remainder of the war years. He got the OK from his doctors to play for the New Jersey Bears in 1943 and put together a good enough season there to get invited to the Yankees’ 1944 spring training camp. With most of the Yankee veterans and top prospects in military service by then, New York manager Joe McCarthy had plenty of time to pay attention to the team’s new arrivals. He liked Savage enough to bring him north and start him at third base on Opening Day, replacing Johnson who had an outstanding rookie season in 1943 but had then been called into the service.

After getting off to a hot start, Savage’s fragile knees failed him and he began missing games and valuable at bats. The injuries also disrupted his fielding work and before he knew it, he was spending most of his time sitting in the Yankee dugout, watching another Yankee wartime third baseman, Oscar Grimes take his position away.

Savage ended up playing just 71 games during his rookie season and averaging .261. His offensive numbers were decent enough, especially considering his injuries, but it was his mediocre defensive play at the hot corner that eventually caused McCarthy to give up on him.

Savage got to play in 34 games for New York in his second season but after averaging just .224, his big league playing days were over. He ended up working as an elevator mechanic back in his New Jersey hometown and then tragically losing his two-decade battle with diabetes at the age of 42, on Christmas Day in 1961.

Savage shares his birthday with this one-time Yankee outfielder and this former Yankee relief pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1944 NYY 71 262 239 31 63 7 5 4 24 1 20 41 .264 .323 .385 .708
1945 NYY 34 61 58 5 13 1 0 0 3 1 3 14 .224 .262 .241 .504
2 Yrs 105 323 297 36 76 8 5 4 27 2 23 55 .256 .312 .357 .668
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/31/2014.

February 24 – Happy Birthday Mike Lowell

lowellbow.jpgI remember being upset when the Yankees traded third base prospect Mike Lowell to the Marlins, after New York picked up Scott Brosius in 1998. I had been following Lowell’s progress at Columbus at the time and he looked like the real deal. Brosius of course went on to have a super 1998 season and postseason and worked his butt off during his four years in pinstripes.

But Mike Lowell turned out to be a very good ballplayer and a class act in the clubhouse. And he would come back and haunt his former franchise for dealing him. He spent seven solid seasons with the Marlins and in 2003, he led them to the World Series where the Fish pulled off an upset 4-games-to-2 victory against the Yankees. That regular season, Lowell set career highs with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs.

Then in November of 2005, Red Sox GM Brian Epstein pulled off a stunning trade with Florida, getting both Lowell and starting pitcher Josh Beckett for a package of four prospects that included both Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. That deal brought the one-time Yankee prospect back to the AL East Division. During the next five seasons, Lowell appeared in 76 Red Sox-Yankee games and hit .314 in those contests including 12 home runs and 56 RBIs. Even worse, in 2007, he set new career highs in RBIs (120) and batting average (.324) and led Boston to an AL East Division title. He then averaged .352, smashed 18 hits and drove in 15 runs in the Red Sox’ 14-game ’07 postseason, which culminated with a second ring and a World Series MVP award for Lowell.

That ’07 playoff run would turn out to be the high point of Lowell’s career in Beantown. During the next three seasons, he was afflicted with an A-Rod like hip injury that would eventually force him into retirement after the 2010 season.

Its interesting to think about what would have happened if New York started Lowell at third in 1998. Would they have gone for A-Rod when they did if they had a young and productive Lowell at third? Would that mean Soriano might still be a Yankee today? I of course get to ask these questions while Cashman earns his salary by answering them.

Lowell shares his birthday with this former Yankee utility outfielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1998 NYY 8 15 15 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .267 .267 .267 .533
13 Yrs 1601 6500 5813 771 1619 394 7 223 952 30 548 817 .279 .342 .464 .805
FLA (7 yrs) 981 4005 3554 477 965 241 3 143 578 21 354 528 .272 .339 .462 .801
BOS (5 yrs) 612 2480 2244 293 650 153 4 80 374 9 194 288 .290 .346 .468 .814
NYY (1 yr) 8 15 15 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .267 .267 .267 .533
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/1/2014.