Results tagged ‘ utility infielder ’

December 13 – Happy Birthday Dale Berra

Today’s pinstripe birthday celebrant was part of an exclusive club. He was the second player in Major League history to play for a team being managed by his father. The year was 1985 and Yogi Berra started that season as Yankee skipper. The previous December, New York had traded outfielder Steve Kemp and shortstop Tim Foli to the Pirates in return for a young power hitting prospect named Jay Buhner, a seldom used pitcher named Alfonso Pulido and Yogi’s youngest son, infielder Dale Berra.

Dale had been a good enough player in high school to be selected by the Pirates with the twentieth overall pick in the 1975 Major League Draft. He bounced up and down between the Minor Leagues and Pittsburgh’s big league roster for five seasons before sticking as the parent club’s starting shortstop in 1982. He wasn’t a great hitter, averaging just .238 during his tenure in the Steel City. By 1984 his weak bat and a rumored cocaine habit convinced the Pirates to give up on him.

Berra immediately thrived playing for his Dad, hitting in the high .300s during the first two weeks of the 1985 season. Unfortunately, the rest of the Yankees did not follow suit and when the team’s early-season record fell to 6-10, Steinbrenner fired Yogi, replaced him with Billy Martin, who used Bobby Meacham as the team’s shortstop for the rest of that season. The younger Berra remained in pinstripes until the 1986 All Star break when he became the second member of his family to receive his walking papers from Steinbrenner. In an embarassing prelude to that season, Berra and a bunch of ex Pirates had been suspended for their use of cocaine during the early eighties. His problem with drugs evidently continued because he was also picked up in a 1989 drug raid in his home state of New Jersey and eventually indicted.

The first MLB player to play for a club managed by his Dad was Connie Mack’s son Earle, in 1937. Others that followed Berra were Cal and Billy Ripken, Brian McRae and Moises Alou.

Another former Yankee born on today’s date led the 1970 Yankees with 29 saves. This former Yankee pitcher and this one-time Yankee third baseman also share Berra’s birthday.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1985 NYY 48 118 109 8 25 5 1 1 8 1 7 20 .229 .276 .321 .597
1986 NYY 42 121 108 10 25 7 0 2 13 0 9 14 .231 .294 .352 .646
11 Yrs 853 2853 2553 236 603 109 9 49 278 32 210 422 .236 .294 .344 .638
PIT (8 yrs) 744 2560 2291 215 545 94 8 46 255 31 186 376 .238 .295 .346 .641
NYY (2 yrs) 90 239 217 18 50 12 1 3 21 1 16 34 .230 .285 .336 .622
HOU (1 yr) 19 54 45 3 8 3 0 0 2 0 8 12 .178 .296 .244 .541
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/15/2013.

December 12 – Happy Birthday Pedro Gonzalez

The most noteworthy thing about Pedro was that he was one of the first of what would grow into a long and strong list of Major League players to be born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. Gonzalez played just about every positon on a ball field except pitcher or catcher and he was considered a bright prospect in the Yankee farm system in the early sixties. After two-plus decent seasons in Richmond, New York brought him up in 1964 and Yogi Berra used him in eighty games that year, as a backup in both the outfield and infield. He performed impressively enough to make the 1964 World Series roster and actually got a plate appearance in that Fall Classic against St Louis. Early during the following season, Pedro was traded to the Indians for a first baseman named Ray Barker. Gonzalez became Cleveland’s starting second baseman that year but despite a good glove, he did not have enough of a big league bat to keep that position or, as it turned out, to stick in the big leagues.

Pedro shares his December 12th birthday with this former Yankee closer,  this former Yankee shortstop and this one-time Yankee reliever.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1963 NYY 14 28 26 3 5 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 .192 .192 .231 .423
1964 NYY 80 123 112 18 31 8 1 0 5 3 7 22 .277 .331 .366 .697
1965 NYY 7 6 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .400 .400 .600 1.000
5 Yrs 407 1171 1084 99 264 39 6 8 70 22 52 176 .244 .282 .313 .594
CLE (3 yrs) 306 1014 941 78 226 29 5 8 64 19 45 147 .240 .278 .307 .585
NYY (3 yrs) 101 157 143 21 38 10 1 0 6 3 7 29 .266 .309 .350 .659
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/12/2013.

September 10 – Happy Birthday Nick Green

Robbie Cano has been a remarkably durable player since taking over as the New York Yankees’ starting second baseman during the 2005 season. His one serious injury occurred in his sophomore season when he developed a tear in his hamstring in June of that season and was forced onto the DL. The Yankees had Miguel Cairo to replace Cano as starter and also called up today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant from their Columbus Clippers triple A team to back up Cano.

Green got his first start in pinstripes against the Mets in early July and after walking in his first official plate appearance as a Yankee to open the third inning of that contest, he came up again later in the same inning and hit a two run home run in his first official at bat for his new team. He would end up finishing the regular season with New York, hitting .240 in 46 games, which included 19 appearances at second base, 17 at third and ten more spelling Derek Jeter at shortstop. Joe Torre did not put him on the Yankees postseason roster and though he wanted to remain a Yankee, he would not accept a return assignment to Columbus and Yankee GM Brian Cashman let him walk. He resurfaced in Boston three seasons later, where he became the Red Sox’ staring shortstop that year. But he hit just .236 in that role and was again released. Green is still trying to get steady work in the big leagues. He now plays in the Marlins’ organization.

He shares his September 10th birthday with an outfielder and a pitcher who both enjoyed much more noteworthy big league careers than Green did.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 NYY 46 82 75 8 18 5 0 2 4 1 5 29 .240 .296 .387 .683
8 Yrs 418 1220 1078 147 254 58 5 17 103 6 80 286 .236 .303 .346 .649
TBD (2 yrs) 128 420 357 57 79 15 2 5 29 3 39 97 .221 .315 .317 .631
MIA (2 yrs) 25 89 78 5 17 5 0 1 7 0 3 20 .218 .276 .321 .596
LAD (1 yr) 5 9 8 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 .125 .222 .125 .347
SEA (1 yr) 6 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000
NYY (1 yr) 46 82 75 8 18 5 0 2 4 1 5 29 .240 .296 .387 .683
ATL (1 yr) 95 290 264 40 72 15 3 3 26 1 12 63 .273 .312 .386 .698
TOR (1 yr) 9 14 13 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 .154 .214 .154 .368
BOS (1 yr) 104 309 276 35 65 18 0 6 35 1 20 69 .236 .303 .366 .669
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/18/2013.