Results tagged ‘ wayne tolleson ’
At the 1986 All Star break, just about everyone playing for and following that year’s Yankee team thought the club’s top acquisition priority was starting pitching. That’s why everyone was a bit surprised by the deal New York swung with the White Sox. The Yankees sent Chicago their starting catcher at the time, Ron Hassey and the organization’s top minor league shortstop, a guy named Carlos Martinez. In return, New York got power-hitting DH Ron Kittle, a new starting catcher in Joel Skinner and a scrappy middle infielder named Wayne Tolleson.
At the time of the deal, Tolleson, a native of Spartanburg, SC and an all-league star in baseball and football at Western Carolina was 30 years old. He had debuted in the big leagues in 1981 with Texas and became the Rangers starting shortstop in 1983. He was only five feet nine inches tall and weighed just 160 pounds, which helps explain why he would hit just 9 home runs during his decade in the big leagues. A switch hitter, he made up for his lack of pop with constant hustle, good speed and solid defense.
Yankee skipper, Lou Piniella made Tolleson his starting shortstop during the second half of the 1986 season, replacing Bobby Meacham. Tolleson put together a solid first half-season in pinstripes, averaging .284 and committing just five errors. That 1986 Yankee team finished with 90 wins but missed the postseason. Piniella stuck with Tolleson at short but his bat went ice cold and he hit just .221 during his first full season as a Yankee. That 1987 team again failed to reach the postseason and the New York front office decided Tolleson was no longer the answer at short. They went out and got Rafael Santana from the Mets and Tolleson his final three seasons in the Bronx as the Yankees top utility infielder.
There were a lot of Yankees born on this date which is best remembered as the anniversary of John Kennedy’s tragic assassination in 1963. They include 200-game winner Lew Burdette, who was originally a Yankee before moving onto the Braves and forming one of the best one-two pitching tandems in baseball during the 1950s with Warren Spahn. Today is also Lee Guetterman’s birthday. This 6’8″ former reliever led the horrible 1990 Yankee pitching staff with 11 victories pitching out of Stump Merrill’s bullpen. Remember Wayne Tolleson? He was the Rangers’ starting shortstop for three years during the early eighties and then succeeded Bobby Meacham at that same position for New York in 1986. But if baseball procrastinators are correct, it is a future Yankee who will become the birthday celebrant most recognized on this date. Austin Romine, who was born on this date in 1988, is supposedly the second best minor league catching prospect in all of baseball, but standing in his way is Jesus Montero, the guy many experts believe is the best catching prospect. Both men hope to replace Jeorge Posada as the next great Yankee starting catcher. It should be an interesting competition during the next couple of seasons.
Still another Yankee born on this date hit .600 for New York during the 1998 World Series sweep of the Padres.