Results tagged ‘ third baseman ’

October 18 – Happy Birthday Andy Carey

Casey Stengel wanted to groom Andy Carey to replace Phil Rizzuto as the Yankees starting shortstop and he wanted Carey to become a spray hitter like “the Scooter.” The only problems with the “Ol Perfessor’s” plan were that Carey had always been a hitter who liked to pull the ball and he desperately wanted to play third base for New York. The Yankees had given Carey a $60,000 contract to sign with them after his senior year in high school. Andy’s Dad had a law practice in California and the plan had been for the son to go to law school and then join the father’s firm. But the sixty grand and Andy’s dream to start at the hot corner in Yankee Stadium forced a change in those plans. So from 1952, the year he made his debut in the big leagues, until 1960 when he was traded to Kansas City for outfielder Bob Cerv, Andy and Stengel were constantly battling each other over Carey’s role with the team. As a result, Carey never got the chance to become the great Yankee player he felt he could have become without Stengel’s interference. He may have been right but in trying to overrule a managing legend who ended up winning seven World Championships, Carey was fighting a losing battle. Carey’s best season in pinstripes was 1954, when he hit .302 and drove in a career-high 65 runs. His most famous moment in pinstripes was probably a play he didn’t make at third base. In the second inning of Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson hit a hot shot at Carey that veered off his glove toward shortstop Gil McDougald, who’s throw to first just nipped Robinson. Ironically, Carey was considered an outstanding defensive infielder. He also did one thing as well as any Yankee in history with the possible exception of Babe Ruth. Andy could eat. He was the only Yankee who would actually spend more than his entire day’s worth of meal allowance on a single meal. Born October 18, 1931 in Oakland, CA, he retired from baseball after the 1962 season.

Andy shares his October 18th birthday with this former Yankee reliever and this one-time Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1952 NYY 16 45 40 6 6 0 0 0 1 0 3 10 .150 .209 .150 .359
1953 NYY 51 91 81 14 26 5 0 4 8 2 9 12 .321 .389 .531 .920
1954 NYY 122 471 411 60 124 14 6 8 65 5 43 38 .302 .373 .423 .797
1955 NYY 135 570 510 73 131 19 11 7 47 3 44 51 .257 .313 .378 .692
1956 NYY 132 481 422 54 100 18 2 7 50 9 45 53 .237 .310 .339 .649
1957 NYY 85 274 247 30 63 6 5 6 33 2 15 42 .255 .309 .393 .701
1958 NYY 102 366 315 39 90 19 4 12 45 1 34 43 .286 .363 .486 .849
1959 NYY 41 109 101 11 26 1 0 3 9 1 7 17 .257 .306 .356 .662
1960 NYY 4 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
11 Yrs 938 3221 2850 371 741 119 38 64 350 23 268 389 .260 .327 .396 .722
NYY (9 yrs) 688 2410 2130 288 567 82 28 47 259 23 200 267 .266 .332 .397 .729
KCA (2 yrs) 141 519 466 50 110 20 6 15 64 0 41 75 .236 .300 .401 .701
LAD (1 yr) 53 130 111 12 26 5 1 2 13 0 16 23 .234 .333 .351 .685
CHW (1 yr) 56 162 143 21 38 12 3 0 14 0 11 24 .266 .323 .392 .714
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/18/2013.

September 11 – Happy Birthday Brandon Laird

Brandon Laird was born on September 11, 1987. He grew up in Cypress, CA and was drafted right out of high school in the 27th round by the Cleveland Indians in 2005 but decided not to sign. Instead he played ball at Cypress Community College and two years later, when the 27th round of the 2007 MLB draft rolled around again, the Yankees picked him. He has spent the past five years working his way up New York’s farm system, starting with their Tampa Rookie League affiliate and landing with Triple A Scranton during the second half of the 2010 season.

The kid plays third base and has shown he has decent power in the Minors. He hit 23 home runs for Charleston in 2008, 23 more with Trenton the following season and last year, he hit 16 for Scranton. He had an excellent 2011 spring training for Joe Girardi and in the process also made a positive impression on Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long. The Yankees brought Laird up last year in June for a mid season look-see. In his first big league game, he pinch-hit for Derek Jeter during a Yankee blow-out of Oakland and walked in his first at bat. Two innings later he came up again and singled in a run to get his first big league hit and RBI in his first official at bat in the Majors.

He was sent back down to Scranton at the end of July last year and never got another opportunity to play in pinstripes. He hit 15 home runs and drove in 77 in Triple A during the 2012 season but couldn’t get his average out of the .250’s. The Yankees put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Astros on September 1, 2012. Houston currently has him on their big league roster and he just recently hit his first big league home run as an Astro. Laird’s biggest obstacle to a career with the Yankees was A-Rod. There’s no way the kid could have supplanted the superstar at that position in the near future, especially since there are so many years left on A-Rod’s huge contract.

Laird’s older brother Gerald is a catcher with ten years of big league experience who currently plays for the Tigers. In December of 2009, the Laird brothers were involved in a bizarre fight during an NBA game between the Celtics and Suns at US Airways Arena in Phoenix.

Laird shares his September 11th birthday with this former Yankee catcher and this long-ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 NYY 11 25 21 3 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 4 .190 .292 .190 .482
3 Yrs 45 114 104 10 22 4 0 4 13 0 7 30 .212 .274 .365 .640
HOU (2 yrs) 34 89 83 7 18 4 0 4 12 0 4 26 .217 .270 .410 .679
NYY (1 yr) 11 25 21 3 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 4 .190 .292 .190 .482
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2013.

August 20 – Happy Birthday Graig Nettles

The Dodgers and the Yankees clashed in the 1978 World Series. If you’re a longtime Yankee fan, older than forty, you simply don’t forget Graig Nettles defensive performance in Game 3.

The Dodgers had jumped ahead of New York two games to none and only “Puff” and his well worn fielders glove prevented them from making it three straight wins. He made four great plays in that game. In the third inning, with New York ahead 2-1 and Bill Russell on first base with two outs, Nettles made a diving stop of Reggie Smith’s smash down the third base line and threw Smith out at first. In the fifth, with the tying run on second, Nettles again victimized Smith by knocking down his screaming line drive, preventing the run from scoring and holding the Dodger outfielder to an infield single. The very next hitter, Dodger first baseman, Steve Garvey then scorched another one at Nettles who backhanded it on his knees and forced the runner at second to end the inning. Yet again in the visitors’ half of the sixth, the Dodgers loaded the bases and with two outs, LA second baseman Davey Lopes sent another hard grounder in Nettles’ direction. After another great stop, he made another great throw, forcing the runner at second and ending another Dodger threat. As he ran toward the dugout, the Yankee Stadium crowd gave him a standing ovation. Nettles won Gold Gloves in 1977 and ’78.

Born in San Diego on this date in 1944, he was the AL Home Run Champion in 1976 and when he retired after the 1988 season he had 390 career home runs. 319 of those blasts were the most home runs ever by an AL third baseman. Great glove, plenty of power, a quick irreverent wit and that Game 3 performance sum up my memories of the Yankee’s All-Time great third baseman.

Nettles shares his August 20th birthday with this long-ago Yankee who ended up in San Quentin and  this one-time top Yankee pitching prospect.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1973 NYY 160 641 552 65 129 18 0 22 81 0 78 76 .234 .334 .386 .720
1974 NYY 155 638 566 74 139 21 1 22 75 1 59 75 .246 .316 .403 .718
1975 NYY 157 647 581 71 155 24 4 21 91 1 51 88 .267 .322 .430 .753
1976 NYY 158 657 583 88 148 29 2 32 93 11 62 94 .254 .327 .475 .802
1977 NYY 158 664 589 99 150 23 4 37 107 2 68 79 .255 .333 .496 .829
1978 NYY 159 662 587 81 162 23 2 27 93 1 59 69 .276 .343 .460 .803
1979 NYY 145 588 521 71 132 15 1 20 73 1 59 53 .253 .325 .401 .726
1980 NYY 89 369 324 52 79 14 0 16 45 0 42 42 .244 .331 .435 .766
1981 NYY 103 402 349 46 85 7 1 15 46 0 47 49 .244 .333 .398 .731
1982 NYY 122 461 405 47 94 11 2 18 55 1 51 49 .232 .317 .402 .719
1983 NYY 129 519 462 56 123 17 3 20 75 0 51 65 .266 .341 .446 .787
22 Yrs 2700 10228 8986 1193 2225 328 28 390 1314 32 1088 1209 .248 .329 .421 .750
NYY (11 yrs) 1535 6248 5519 750 1396 202 20 250 834 18 627 739 .253 .329 .433 .762
MIN (3 yrs) 121 348 304 40 68 12 3 12 34 1 39 67 .224 .314 .401 .715
SDP (3 yrs) 387 1380 1189 158 282 43 2 51 181 0 171 176 .237 .333 .405 .739
CLE (3 yrs) 465 1947 1704 224 426 59 2 71 218 12 220 183 .250 .338 .412 .750
ATL (1 yr) 112 201 177 16 37 8 1 5 33 1 22 25 .209 .294 .350 .644
MON (1 yr) 80 104 93 5 16 4 0 1 14 0 9 19 .172 .240 .247 .488
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/20/2013.

July 14 – Happy Birthday Robin Ventura

When most baseball fans hear the name Robin Ventura, they visualize the 1993 incident during which Nolan Ryan held him in a headlock and threw punches at his head. It is easy to forget the fact that Ventura was one of the best all-around third basemen in baseball during his sixteen-year big league career that included a season and a half tenure wearing the pinstripes in 2002 and ’03. He won a total of six Gold Gloves, hit 294 career home runs and the only two third basemen who had more 90 RBI seasons than Ventura (8) were Hall of Famers, Mike Schmidt (11) and Eddie Matthews (10).

The Yankees signed him as a free agent in 2002 to take over the starting hot corner position after Scott Brosius retired. He was to be the interim guy at third while the Yankees were developing Drew Henson in their farm system. Ventura did a very good job that first season in the Bronx, belting 27 home runs, driving in 93 and making the AL All Star team. But by then he was 35 years old and when his offensive production began to slip in 2003 the Yankees decided to make a move. That move did not involve Henson, who was floundering in Columbus at the time, striking out with regularity and making tons of errors in the field. Instead, New York acquired Aaron Boone from the Reds and on the same day sent Ventura to the Dodgers for pitcher Scott Proctor and outfielder Bubba Crosby.

Boone of course became part of Yankee postseason history with his walk-off grand salami against the Red Sox in the 2003 ALCS. Ventura stuck around in Los Angeles for one more year and then retired. He was born on this date in 1967, in Santa Maria, CA. He shares his July 14th birthday with this original Yankee “Fireman” and this long-ago starting pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2002 NYY 141 562 465 68 115 17 0 27 93 3 90 101 .247 .368 .458 .826
2003 NYY 89 326 283 31 71 13 0 9 42 0 40 62 .251 .344 .392 .736
16 Yrs 2079 8271 7064 1006 1885 338 14 294 1182 24 1075 1179 .267 .362 .444 .806
CHW (10 yrs) 1254 5310 4542 658 1244 219 12 171 741 15 668 659 .274 .365 .440 .805
NYM (3 yrs) 444 1771 1513 219 394 81 1 77 265 6 237 301 .260 .360 .468 .828
LAD (2 yrs) 151 302 261 30 61 8 1 10 41 0 40 56 .234 .334 .387 .721
NYY (2 yrs) 230 888 748 99 186 30 0 36 135 3 130 163 .249 .359 .433 .792
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.

June 15 – Happy Birthday Wade Boggs

I’ve been a Yankee fan for fifty one years and I’ve seen a lot of unexpected things happen with and to my favorite team during those five decades. But if somebody told me in the late 1980s that Wade Boggs, the Red Sox hitting machine and five-time AL batting champion would one day be a Yankee, I would have called that person crazy. After all, from 1983 through 1989 Boggs had hit a phenomenal .352 for Boston and averaged 110 runs scored and 211 hits per season. He was a certain Hall-of-Famer, an outstanding defensive third baseman and although he had some notorious extra marital exploits off the field, nobody was more focused or more driven on a baseball field than Boggs. Plus the Yankees and Red Sox were bitter rivals and the Boston and New York players genuinely disliked each other. The thought of Boggs in a Yankee uniform was literally beyond the realm of my imagination. But in 1992, Boggs hit just .259 in the final year of his Red Sox contract. That was the first time in the eleven seasons he’d been in the big leagues that he failed to hit .300. The fall-off was just enough to dissuade the Red Sox front office from going all-out to re-sign their All Star third baseman. The angry Boggs signed with the Yankees instead.

He played the next five seasons in pinstripes and averaged .313 during that span. He teamed with Don Mattingly to give the Yankees veteran leadership and outstanding defense at both corners of their infield. In 1996, he was instrumental in helping the Yankees reach and win the World Series. The image of Boggs, sitting behind a New York City cop riding a police horse around the field of Yankee Stadium after the sixth and final game of that Series has become a visual hallmark in Yankee franchise history. I hated Boggs when he was a Red Sox but once he put on the pinstripes, I quickly learned to love the guy. He retired in 1999 with 3010 hits and a .328 lifetime batting average. Five years later he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Most Yankee fans think this recently retired pitcher, who shares Boggs’ June 15th birthday, also belongs in Cooperstown. Also born on this date is this Yankee utility infielder and this former Yankee first baseman.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1993 NYY 143 644 560 83 169 26 1 2 59 0 74 49 .302 .378 .363 .740
1994 NYY 97 434 366 61 125 19 1 11 55 2 61 29 .342 .433 .489 .922
1995 NYY 126 541 460 76 149 22 4 5 63 1 74 50 .324 .412 .422 .834
1996 NYY 132 574 501 80 156 29 2 2 41 1 67 32 .311 .389 .389 .778
1997 NYY 104 407 353 55 103 23 1 4 28 0 48 38 .292 .373 .397 .769
18 Yrs 2440 10740 9180 1513 3010 578 61 118 1014 24 1412 745 .328 .415 .443 .858
BOS (11 yrs) 1625 7323 6213 1067 2098 422 47 85 687 16 1004 470 .338 .428 .462 .890
NYY (5 yrs) 602 2600 2240 355 702 119 9 24 246 4 324 198 .313 .396 .407 .803
TBD (2 yrs) 213 817 727 91 210 37 5 9 81 4 84 77 .289 .360 .391 .750
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/15/2013.

May 12 – Happy Birthday Joe Dugan

duganThey called him “Jumping Joe” but not because of any great leaping ability. According to Joe Dugan’s New York Times obituary, the third baseman had a propensity for jumping his team when he played for the Philadelphia A’s during the earliest years of his career. Whenever the boos from hometown fans struck a nerve, Dugan would simply leave the ballclub and A’s Manager Connie Mack would have to beg him to come back.

On January 10, 1922, Dugan became one of a select few Major League players to be part of three different big league teams in one day. He woke up that morning still an A and then got traded to the Senators, but before he went to bed, Washington had traded him to the Red Sox.

His stay in Beantown didn’t last long either and his departure from Boston caused a Major League rule change. By the 1922 season, Dugan had established himself as one of the better all-around third baseman in the big leagues. He was a defensive wizard and his hitting skills were improving every year. Red Sox owner Harry Frazee was becoming famous for selling his players for the money he needed to produce his Broadway shows. Frazee also spent most of his time and his money in the Big Apple and over the years, he made so many bad trades with the Yankees that Boston fans began to wonder which team he was working for. The ’22 Yankees were locked in a fierce pennant race with the Browns. Miller Huggins needed a third baseman who could spell the aging Frank “Home Run” Baker at the hot corner during the dog days of August. Frazee swapped New York Dugan and an outfielder named Elmer Smith for two of the Yankee’s utility infielders, a spare outfielder, a seldom used pitcher and $50,000 cash.

Dugan proved to be just the spark the Yankees needed to beat out the Browns for the Pennant. His late season acquisition got the rest of the AL teams thinking about the fact that there was nothing stopping a rich team like the Yankees from buying their way to a pennant wenever they were in a close race so they voted to move up the league trading deadline to mid June.

Dugan loved being a Yankee and he became a key cog in the team’s evolution to greatness. He scored 111 runs for New York during the 1923 regular season and then helped lead the team to its first-ever World Series victory that year against the Giants. He had an even better year in 1924, averaging .302 from his second spot in the batting order and continuing to win accolades for his glove work at third. In addition to playing hard on the field, Jumping Joe played hard off it as well. He was one of Babe Ruth’s favorite partying companions with an appetite for booze, gambling and girls that was only surpassed by those of the Big Bam. In Hugh Montville’s biography of Ruth, a story is told of the time Dugan asked the Sultan of Swat for a loan outside the Yankees’ hotel one evening. The Babe reached in his pocket and handed Dugan a bill which the third baseman quickly put in his own pocket. When he went to pay for dinner later that evening, he pulled out the bill Ruth had given him and only then realized it was a $500 bill! Dugan would later become one of the Bambino’s pallbearers at Ruth’s Yankee Stadium funeral in August of 1948. It was a sweltering summer night and Dugan whispered to his old teammate, pitcher Wait Hoyt, that he would give anything for a cold beer. Hoyt responded, “So would the Babe.”

Dugan’s offensive numbers and playing time started declining in 1925 but that glove made him an integral component of the great 1927 Yankee team that many still consider to be the best ever assembled. He stayed with New York for seven seasons, batting .286 lifetime in pinstripes, appearing in five World series and winning three rings. The Yankee released him after the 1928 season and he signed on with the Braves. His last big league game was in 1931 and he passed away in 1982 at the age of 85.

This Hall of Fame Yankee catcher, this war-time starting pitcher and this famous older brother share Dugan’s May 12th birth date.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1922 NYY 60 281 252 44 72 9 1 3 25 1 13 21 .286 .331 .365 .696
1923 NYY 146 684 644 111 182 30 7 7 67 4 25 41 .283 .311 .384 .695
1924 NYY 148 669 610 105 184 31 7 3 56 1 31 33 .302 .341 .390 .731
1925 NYY 102 440 404 50 118 19 4 0 31 2 19 20 .292 .330 .359 .689
1926 NYY 123 483 434 39 125 19 5 1 61 2 25 16 .288 .328 .362 .690
1927 NYY 112 429 387 44 104 24 3 2 43 1 27 37 .269 .321 .362 .683
1928 NYY 94 339 312 33 86 15 0 6 34 1 16 15 .276 .317 .381 .699
14 Yrs 1447 5880 5410 665 1516 277 46 42 568 37 250 419 .280 .317 .372 .689
NYY (7 yrs) 785 3325 3043 426 871 147 27 22 317 12 156 183 .286 .326 .374 .700
PHA (5 yrs) 510 2038 1884 179 505 98 16 17 198 23 77 197 .268 .304 .364 .668
BSN (1 yr) 60 139 125 14 38 10 0 0 15 0 8 8 .304 .346 .384 .730
BOS (1 yr) 84 361 341 45 98 22 3 3 38 2 9 28 .287 .308 .396 .704
DET (1 yr) 8 17 17 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .235 .235 .235 .471
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/12/2013.

April 24 – Happy Birthday Mike Blowers

blowers.jpegMike Pagliarullo had worn out his welcome as the Yankees’ starting third baseman by the end of the 1980’s. Although everybody loved Pags’ desire and hustle, his batting average had declined every year he wore the pinstripes. When it fell to .197 in 1989, the Yankees shipped him to the Padres and used Tom Brookens, Randy Velarde and today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant to fill the hole the trade had left at the hot corner. Blowers had been a prospect in the Expos’ organization. The Yankees sent pitcher John Candalaria to Montreal for the young infielder in August of 1989 and Yankee Manager, Bucky Dent played him at third in thirteen September games that season. The following year, Stump Merrill gave the kid a bonafide shot at winning the job but in 42 starts at the position, Blowers hit just .188. The following year, New York traded him to the Mariners. Though he was born in Germany, Blowers had been raised in the State of Washington, played baseball for the University of Washington and getting sent back home turned out to be a great move for his career. He became the Mariners starting third baseman in 1993 and hit .280 with 15 home runs. In 1995, his 23 home runs and 96 RBIs helped Seattle make the playoffs where they beat Buck Showalter’s New York Yankees in that year’s ALDS. His stats in Seattle were good enough to get him a $2.3 million contract from the Dodgers in 1996. He did not play well in Tinseltown and ended up finishing his career back with the Mariners. He eventually became a member of the Mariners’ TV broadcasting crew.

Also born on this date is this Yankee relief pitcher who played in pinstripes during the late sixties, this Yankee outfielder, and this Yankee starting pitcher from the roaring 1920s.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1989 NYY 13 41 38 2 10 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 13 .263 .317 .263 .580
1990 NYY 48 157 144 16 27 4 0 5 21 1 0 12 50 .188 .255 .319 .574
1991 NYY 15 40 35 3 7 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 3 .200 .282 .286 .568
11 Yrs 761 2585 2300 290 591 116 8 78 365 7 8 248 610 .257 .329 .416 .745
SEA (6 yrs) 464 1534 1357 182 366 69 4 55 231 5 8 153 351 .270 .343 .448 .791
NYY (3 yrs) 76 238 217 21 44 4 0 6 25 1 0 19 66 .203 .270 .304 .574
OAK (1 yr) 129 455 409 56 97 24 2 11 71 1 0 39 116 .237 .302 .386 .689
LAD (1 yr) 92 358 317 31 84 19 2 6 38 0 0 37 77 .265 .341 .394 .735

March 15 – Happy Birthday Mike Pagliarulo

Pagliarillo-front.JPGOnly three Yankee third basemen have hit more than thirty home runs in a season. Graig Nettles did it twice and A-Rod has done it in each of the seven seasons he’s been in New York. Today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant, however, is the only third baseman who came up through the Yankee minor league organization to have hit more than 30 round trippers in one year. That happened in 1987, when the player they called “Pags” hit 32 home runs and drove in 87, both of which would end up being career highs for the native of Medford, MA.

The Yankees drafted Pagliarulo out of the University of Miami, in 1981. He made the parent club in 1984 and replaced Toby Harrah as New York’s starting third baseman. Pags was a better than average fielder with good power but he struck out too much and could never get his batting average out of the .230’s. He was a hard-nosed type of player who always seemed to be wearing a dirty uniform. I remember he once got hit in the face by a pitch that smashed both his nose and lip into bloody messes. The next day he was back in the lineup wearing bandages all over his face. Both Billy Martin and Lou Piniella loved the guy but by 1989, both were gone and Pagliarulo’s average had slipped below .200. The Yankees shipped him to San Diego for starting pitcher, Walt Terrell. When he became a free agent after the 1990 season, he signed with the Twins and became Minnesota’s starting third baseman. He hit a career high .279, his first year in Minneapolis and helped the Twins win the 1991 World Series.

Pags played 11 big league seasons in all, retiring in 1995 with 134 career home runs, all but thirty of which were hit while he wore the Yankee pinstripes. He also played one year in Japan and after retiring, started a scouting service that helped Major League teams evaluate Japanese baseball talent. That company played a role in the Yankee signings of both Hideki Matsui and Kei Igawa.

This former Yankee outfielderthis more current Yankee third baseman and this long-ago first baseman were also born on March 15th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1984 NYY 67 219 201 24 48 15 3 7 34 0 15 46 .239 .288 .448 .735
1985 NYY 138 435 380 55 91 16 2 19 62 0 45 86 .239 .324 .442 .766
1986 NYY 149 565 504 71 120 24 3 28 71 4 54 120 .238 .316 .464 .780
1987 NYY 150 582 522 76 122 26 3 32 87 1 53 111 .234 .305 .479 .784
1988 NYY 125 490 444 46 96 20 1 15 67 1 37 104 .216 .276 .367 .643
1989 NYY 74 244 223 19 44 10 0 4 16 1 19 43 .197 .266 .296 .562
11 Yrs 1246 4317 3901 462 942 206 18 134 505 18 343 785 .241 .306 .407 .712
NYY (6 yrs) 703 2535 2274 291 521 111 12 105 337 7 223 510 .229 .300 .427 .727
MIN (3 yrs) 246 780 723 79 197 40 4 9 68 8 40 106 .272 .317 .376 .693
SDP (2 yrs) 178 614 546 41 130 30 2 10 52 3 57 105 .238 .313 .355 .668
TEX (1 yr) 86 262 241 27 56 16 0 4 27 0 15 49 .232 .277 .349 .625
BAL (1 yr) 33 126 117 24 38 9 0 6 21 0 8 15 .325 .373 .556 .929
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2014.

February 13 – Happy Birthday Drew Henson

Drew Henson first became part of the Yankee organization in the third round of the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft. Even though the high school football star quarterback had already announced he would attend and play football at Michigan, the Yankees drafted him in the third round that year, gave him $2 million and hoped for the best. Henson spent the next two football seasons mostly sitting on the Wolverine bench watching starter Tom Brady throw all the passes. He got his chance to replace Brady his junior year. As the team’s starting QB in 2000, Henson led Michigan to a Big Ten title and a victory over Auburn in that season’s Citrus Bowl. He threw 18 touchdown passes that year and just 4 interceptions. He had proved he could lead a big-time college football team successfully, but he would forsake his senior year in Ann Arbor to prove he could play big league baseball as well.

While he had spent his last three falls playing football, Henson was spending his summers advancing up the rungs of the Yankees’ Minor League farm system. Problem was, his play was really not good enough to climb those rungs. His biggest problem seemed to be pitch selection at the plate. He struck out way too much and hardly ever walked. He had OK power but not enough to make up for all those whiffs. That’s probably the biggest reason why New York included Henson in the four-player package of prospects they used to acquire starting pitcher Denny Neagle from the Reds right around the 2000 All Star break. He did no better during his 18-game career in the Reds’ farm system and ended up back in pinstripes when New York reacquired Drew in exchange for Willy Mo Pena during the final weeks of the 2001 spring training season.

New York’s front office got him back because they were convinced if Henson concentrated only on baseball he would become the Yankees’ next starting third baseman. That explains why the team gave him a six-year, $17 million contract upon his return from the Reds. Henson accomplished two things on the baseball field during the next year and a half. He got his first Major League at bats in pinstripes, going 1-9, and after collecting about ten million Yankee dollars, he convinced himself that he would be better off trying to become an NFL quarterback and not the Yankees’ next third baseman.

Another Yankee born on today’s date was once accused of throwing baseball games by his own Manager. You won’t believe what happened next. Find out here. This long-ago Highlander outfielder and this one-time Yankee shortstop were also born on February 13th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2002 NYY 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
2003 NYY 5 8 8 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .125 .125 .125 .250
2 Yrs 8 9 9 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .111 .111 .111 .222
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/26/2014.

February 9 – Happy Birthday Clete Boyer

My first memory of Clete Boyer was of him playing third base for the great New York Yankee team of 1961. I can still see him in his number 6 pinstriped jersey, making a diving stop on a hard hit ground ball down the line and jumping to his feet to throw a bullet to Moose Skowren with his powerful right arm to nip an opposing runner at first base. Just one season before, Casey Stengel had almost destroyed Boyer’s confidence by pinch-hitting Dale Long for him in the second inning of the very first game of the 1960 World Series. Ralph Houk had replaced Stengel in 1961 and assured Boyer he would be New York’s every day third baseman. Clete was constantly among league leaders in assists, chances and double plays but he would watch Brooks Robinson win the AL Gold Glove for third baseman year in and year out. Boyer had to leave the league to win his first and only Gold Glove for Atlanta, in 1969.

Clete was not a great hitter but his offensive numbers with New York would have been better if he did not occupy the eighth spot in the Yankee lineup. With the pitcher hitting behind him, Boyer saw very few strikes and was too aggressive at the plate to work the count effectively. As a result, he usually hit in the .240s and struck out close to 100 times a year during his Yankee career. But he also had enough power to hit 95 home runs during his eight seasons in New York.

Boyer was the Yankees’ regular third baseman for seven seasons, winning five pennants and two World Series during that time. He was one of the few veterans on the team not to experience a drastic decline in his offensive numbers during the debacle seasons of 1965 and ’66. Still, he was purged during the mid-sixties house-cleaning that saw New York trade one veteran after another in return for mediocre players who would never succeed with the Yankees. In Boyer’s case, he was swapped for a young outfielder from the Braves named Bill Robinson who hit just .206 during three dreadful seasons in pinstripes. Meanwhile, Boyer had a career year his first season in Atlanta, with 26 home runs and 96 RBIs in 1967. Clete remained with the Braves until he retired as a player after the 1971 season.

Born in Cassville, MO, in 1937, Clete was one of 14 Boyer children. His older brothers, Cloyd, a pitcher and Ken, a third baseman and one-time NL MVP with St Louis, also played in the big leagues. Clete died in 2007. He shares his February 9th birthday with another third baseman who played on the great 1927 Yankee team, this one-time Yankee second base prospect and this one-time Yankee catching prospect.

Since we’re celebrating the birthday of two Yankee third baseman, I thought I’d share my picks for the top five third baseman in Yankee history. Here they are. What do you think?

Number 1 – Alex Rodriguez – Passed Nettles in both home runs and RBIs as a Yankee in 2010 even though he’s played 500 fewer games.
Number 2 – Graig Nettles – Won two rings, two Gold Gloves, hit most home runs, and played most games as Yankee third baseman.
Number 3 – Red Rolfe – A .289 lifetime hitter with five rings and a great glove.
Number 4 – Clete Boyer
Number 5 – Wade Boggs – Won two rings, two Gold Gloves and averaged .313 in pinstripes.

Boyers Stats:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1959 NYY 47 124 114 4 20 2 0 0 3 1 6 23 .175 .215 .193 .408
1960 NYY 124 431 393 54 95 20 1 14 46 2 23 85 .242 .285 .405 .690
1961 NYY 148 579 504 61 113 19 5 11 55 1 63 83 .224 .308 .347 .656
1962 NYY 158 633 566 85 154 24 1 18 68 3 51 106 .272 .331 .413 .745
1963 NYY 152 596 557 59 140 20 3 12 54 4 33 91 .251 .295 .363 .657
1964 NYY 147 554 510 43 111 10 5 8 52 6 36 93 .218 .269 .304 .573
1965 NYY 148 562 514 69 129 23 6 18 58 4 39 79 .251 .304 .424 .728
1966 NYY 144 558 500 59 120 22 4 14 57 6 46 48 .240 .303 .384 .687
16 Yrs 1725 6368 5780 645 1396 200 33 162 654 41 470 931 .242 .299 .372 .670
NYY (8 yrs) 1068 4037 3658 434 882 140 25 95 393 27 297 608 .241 .298 .371 .669
ATL (5 yrs) 533 2105 1914 193 467 56 7 66 251 13 159 282 .244 .303 .384 .687
KCA (3 yrs) 124 226 208 18 47 4 1 1 10 1 14 41 .226 .278 .269 .547
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/22/2014.