Results tagged ‘ utility infielder ’

April 4 – Happy Birthday John Hummel

200px-John_Hummel.jpgThey called today’s birthday celebrant “Silent John” because he never argued with umpires. Back during the first two decades of the twentieth century, when Hummel became one of baseball’s best known utility players for the old Brooklyn Superbas, not arguing with the umps was almost equivalent to playing the game without your uniform on. The flexible Hummel played a lot of first base, second, shortstop and outfield for Brooklyn, during his 11 seasons with that team. The Superbas released Hummel after the 1915 season and he spent the next two years playing minor league ball. During the 1918 season, an injury bug and WWI forced the Yankees and their first-year Manager, Miller Huggins, to raid the minor leagues for talent. They found Hummel and put him in Yankee pinstripes. He appeared in just 22 games that year, which turned out to be the final 22 games of his big league career. He is the only Yankee to be born on April 4 but he is not the only Yankee to have been born in The Keystone State. Here is my list of the top five Yankees to be born in Pennsylvania:

1. Reggie Jackson – Abington, PA
2. Sparky Lyle – DuBois, PA
3. Mike Mussina – Williamsport, PA
4. Herb Pennock – Kennett Square, PA
5. Bob Shawkey – Sigel, PA

There are also a bunch of good players named “John” on the all-time Yankee roster. My top five list of Pinstripe John’s would include: Johnny Damon, John Wetteland, Johnny Blanchard, Johnny Lindell and of course, two-time Yankee 20-game-winner, Tommy John. There was also the only Yankee player named “John” to make it into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. That would be the Big Cat, Johnny Mize.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP OPS
1918 NYY 22 75 61 9 18 1 2 0 4 5 11 8 .295 .411 .788
12 Yrs 1161 4376 3906 421 991 128 84 29 394 119 346 475 .254 .316 .668
BRO (11 yrs) 1139 4301 3845 412 973 127 82 29 390 114 335 467 .253 .315 .666
NYY (1 yr) 22 75 61 9 18 1 2 0 4 5 11 8 .295 .411 .788
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/16/2014.

February 14 – Happy Birthday Larry Milbourne

milbournerThe deal that made Larry Milbourne a Yankee for the first time became part of Yankee trivia history. In November of 1980, the Seattle Mariners traded Milbourne and a player to be named later to New York for catcher Brad Gulden. The following May, the Mariners completed the trade by sending Gulden back to the Yankees as the “player to be named later” part of the trade. This made Gulden the only player in franchise history ever to be traded for himself.

Milbourne would go on to have his best big league season during his 1981 Yankee debut. He played sparingly but well as a pinch-hitter and back-up infielder during the first half of that season, which was split in two by a players’ strike. In the second half, he took over as New York’s starting shortstop after Bucky Dent tore a ligament in his hand at the end of August. The League’s embarrassingly bad decision to award team’s with the best pre-strike records a postseason spot gave the Yankee players little motivation to give a damn during the second half, but Milbourne impressed everyone with his grit and hustle as he filled in for Dent.

He then hit a combined .363 in New York’s ALDS and ALCS victories that postseason and though his bat cooled off a bit against the Dodgers in the Series, Yankee fans like me were very grateful for his better-than-expected performance. Milbourne also loved playing for New York and told reporters he was so happy wearing the pinstripes, he’d prefer staying with the Yanks and backing up Dent and Willie Randolph to starting for any other team. But after getting off to a horrible start in 1982, he was traded to the Twins in May of that year in the deal that brought Butch Wynegar to New York. The Yanks brought him back to New York the following year but traded him back to the Mariners after he hit just .200 in 31 games. His final big league season was 1984.

Nicknamed “the Devil,” Milbourne was born on Valentine’s Day in 1951 in Port Norris, NJ. He shares a birthday with this Hall-of-Fame Yankee announcer,  this former Yankee relief pitcher and this one-time Yankee pitching prospect.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1981 NYY 61 177 163 24 51 7 2 1 12 2 9 14 .313 .351 .399 .749
1982 NYY 14 28 27 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 .148 .179 .185 .364
1983 NYY 31 76 70 5 14 4 0 0 2 1 5 10 .200 .263 .257 .520
11 Yrs 989 2671 2448 290 623 71 24 11 184 41 133 176 .254 .293 .317 .609
SEA (5 yrs) 487 1420 1301 148 329 40 13 7 115 20 65 75 .253 .287 .320 .607
NYY (3 yrs) 106 281 260 31 69 12 2 1 14 3 15 28 .265 .309 .338 .648
HOU (3 yrs) 244 472 432 70 106 7 3 1 25 13 30 38 .245 .297 .282 .579
MIN (1 yr) 29 106 98 9 23 1 1 0 1 1 7 8 .235 .283 .265 .548
PHI (1 yr) 41 73 66 3 16 0 1 0 4 2 4 7 .242 .282 .273 .554
CLE (1 yr) 82 319 291 29 80 11 4 2 25 2 12 20 .275 .301 .361 .662
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/23/2014.

January 26 – Happy Birthday Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle’s big break took place on September 29, 1978 during the bottom half of the eighth inning of an afternoon game between the Yankees and Cleveland Indians, at Yankee Stadium. It was a critical game for New York. Bob Lemon’s team had come from eight and-a-half games behind Boston in late August to catch and pass the Red Sox in the AL East standings. But Boston was hanging tough. When they took the field against the Indians that day, the Yankees were on a four-game winning streak but still only had a one-game lead over the resilient Red Sox.

The game against Cleveland had turned into a pitchers’ duel between the Yankees Jim Beattie and the one-time Ranger phee–nom, David Clyde. The Yankees were behind 1-0 when Lemon sent up Cliff Johnson to bat for Bucky Dent to lead off the inning, and Johnson worked a walk off Clyde. The Yankee skipper then sent Fred Stanley into run for Johnson and he had Mickey Rivers sacrifice “Chicken” to second. That brought up Willie Randolph and it brought Cleveland manager Jeff Torborg out of the dugout to make a pitching change. He brought in the tall right-hander, Jim Kern to face the Yankee second baseman.

Randolph hit a slow roller down the third base line toward Buddy Bell, who, at the time, was well on his way to becoming the premier defensive third baseman in the American League. Knowing Bell had a strong arm and hoping Stanley could get to third on Bell’s throw to first, Randolph most certainly attempted to turn a higher gear on his sprint to first. He did beat Bell’s throw but in the process he pulled the hamstring in his left leg. As Randolph limped his way toward the Yankee dugout for treatment, he passed Brian Doyle, who Lemon had sent in to run for him. But Doyle’s walk that day did not stop at first base. Instead, it took him to a special place in Yankee lore.

Doyle would end up playing just 93 regular season games during his three-year Yankee career, but this Glasgow, KY native’s 1978 World Series performance was one of the best and most unexpected in pinstripe history. Filling in for the injured Randolph, Doyle batted .438 in the six game victory over the Dodgers. This guy never averaged higher than .192 during a regular season with New York. If you’re not old enough to remember Doyle, think about a player with abilities similar to Ramiro Pena. Him hitting .438 in the biggest baseball show on earth would be like if Pena had taken over for the injured Derek Jeter in the 2012 ALCS and led the Yankees to the World Series with his hitting. In other words, Doyle’s performance was shocking, especially since it took place in the national spotlight of the World Series.

Brian is the brother of former big league infielder, Denny Doyle. Together, they and a third brother, Brian’s twin named Blake, run the very successful Doyle Baseball Camp program. Graduates of the program include, Gary Sheffield, J.D. Drew, Brian Roberts and Tim Wakefield.

Doyle shares his January 26th birthday with this former Yankee pitcher.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1978 NYY 39 54 52 6 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .192 .192 .192 .385
1979 NYY 20 36 32 2 4 2 0 0 5 0 3 1 .125 .200 .188 .388
1980 NYY 34 81 75 8 13 1 0 1 5 1 6 7 .173 .235 .227 .461
4 Yrs 110 214 199 18 32 3 0 1 13 1 10 13 .161 .201 .191 .392
NYY (3 yrs) 93 171 159 16 27 3 0 1 10 1 9 11 .170 .214 .208 .422
OAK (1 yr) 17 43 40 2 5 0 0 0 3 0 1 2 .125 .146 .125 .271
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2014.