Results tagged ‘ yankee ’

February 16 – Happy Birthday Barry Foote

Over the five decades I’ve been a Yankee fan, there have been a lot of back-up catchers come and go on the Yankee roster. Today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant held that position for New York back during the strike shortened season of 1981. But Barry Foote wasn’t always a back-up. In fact, when he came up to the big leagues in 1974, he was good enough to beat out future Hall-of-Famer, Gary Carter for Montreal’s starting catcher’s position. That season he hit 11 home runs, drove in 60, averaged .262 plus displayed a strong arm and great defensive ability behind home plate. He was named to the Topp’s All-Rookie team. The following year, however, Foote pretty much stopped hitting and his putrid .194 batting average in 1975, opened the door for Carter to begin his legendary career as one of the best backstops of his era.

Foote remained with Montreal as “The Kid’s” backup until 1977, when he was dealt to the Phillies. He got one more chance at a starting job in 1979, after Philadelphia traded him to the Cubs. He put together a strong debut season in Chicago, hitting a career high 16 home runs and averaging a respectable .256. Then in ’80, he lost his starting job to Tim Blackwell. The following April, the Yankees traded for Barry.

Rick Cerone had become New York’s starting catcher in 1980 and the veteran, Johnny Oates had been his backup that first year. The Yankees had signed Oates to another one-year contract just three weeks before they traded for Foote but it was Barry who became Cerone’s primary backup in that whacky strike-shortened 1981 split season. Foote hit just .208 his first year in pinstripes, appearing in 40 games and producing six home runs. He also got the opportunity to appear in his one and only World Series that fall against the Dodgers. He failed to get a hit in his only at-bat. He remained with the Yankees in 1982 and retired as a player after that season. The Yankees then hired Foote to manage in their Minor League system.

He shares his February 16th birthday with this former Yankee pitcher.

Here’s a list of the New York’s starting catchers with their primary back-ups since I started following the Yankees in 1960

1960-66 Starter: Elston Howard – BackUp: Yogi Berra, Johnny Blanchard
1967-69 Starter: Jake Gibbs – BackUp: Frank Fernandez
1980-82, 87 Starter: Rick Cerone – BackUps: Johnny Oates, Barry Foote, Joel Skinner
1983-86 Starter: Butch Wynegar – BackUps: Cerone, Ron Hassey
1988-89 Starter: Don Slaught – BackUps: Skinner, Bob Geren
1990 Starter: Geren – BackUp: Cerone
1991-92 Starter: Matt Nokes – BackUp: Geren, Mike Stanley
1993-95 Starter: Mike Stanley – BackUp: Nokes, Jim Leyritz
1996-97 Starter: Joe Girardi – BackUp: Leyritz, Jorge Posada
1997-07, 09-10 Starter: Jorge Posada – BackUps: Girardi, Chris Turner, Todd Greene, Chris Widger, John Flaherty, Kelly Sinnett, Jose Molina, Francisco Cervelli
2008 Starter: Molina – BackUp: – Chad Moeller, Ivan Rodriguez
2011-12 Starter: Russell Martin – BackUp: Cervelli, Chris Stewart
2013 Starter: Stewart, Austin Romine,  Cervelli
Barry Foote’s Yankee seasonal and lifetime career stats:
Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1981 NYY 40 137 125 12 26 4 0 6 10 0 8 21 .208 .256 .384 .640
1982 NYY 17 50 48 4 7 5 0 0 2 0 1 11 .146 .160 .250 .410
10 Yrs 687 2300 2127 191 489 103 10 57 230 10 136 287 .230 .277 .368 .645
MON (5 yrs) 369 1309 1212 105 283 54 9 27 126 4 73 164 .233 .277 .360 .637
CHC (3 yrs) 204 711 653 63 157 39 1 22 85 6 50 74 .240 .298 .404 .702
PHI (2 yrs) 57 93 89 7 16 1 0 2 7 0 4 17 .180 .215 .258 .473
NYY (2 yrs) 57 187 173 16 33 9 0 6 12 0 9 32 .191 .230 .347 .576
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/26/2014.

January 29 – Happy Birthday Mike Aldrete

aldreteBob Watson was a very talented Yankee GM who hated working for George Steinbrenner. But before the Boss’s constant undercutting and criticism sent his blood pressure through the roof, forcing him to quit, the guy known as “Bull” made some outstanding moves for New York. Take the 1996 Yankee roster as an example. It was the beleaguered Yankee GM who engineered the trade that brought Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson to the Bronx from Seattle. It was Watson who got Joe Girardi in a deal with the Cubs. Watson’s the guy who signed Mariano Duncan as a free agent that year and it was Duncan who led New York in batting average during the 1996 regular season. Watson got Cecil Fielder from Detroit and he also picked up Charlie Hayes, David Weathers and the indomitable infielder, Luis Sojo. If you followed the Yankees during that 1996 season and you look at the names of the players mentioned above, you realize just how much Watson’s general managing contributed to that year’s World Chamionship. Oh, and I almost forgot, in June of 1996 Watson also acquired today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant.

At the time, the Yankees were looking for another left-handed bat to add to their bench. Watson zeroed in on Mike Aldrete, a ten-year big-league veteran who was then playing for the Angels as a fourth outfielder and hitting just .150. But he was a career .260-ish hitter, who could play the corner outfield positions and first base. Aldrete had come up with the Giants in 1986. His best year offensively was his sophomore season, when he hit .325 and started in the Giants’ outfield. The Yankees would be his seventh and last big league team.

New York manager, Joe Torre used Aldrete efficiently, getting him into 32 games during the second half of the ’96 season during which he got 77 at bats. Though he hit just .250 in pinstripes, he created some timely offense for the Bronx Bombers. In late June he had a key hit and RBI to help beat the second place Orioles. On July 1st, his home run off Roger Clemens was the winning run against Boston and four days later he drove in four runs to lead the Yankees to a rout of the Brewers. Tendinitis in Aldrete’s wrist benched him for pretty much the complete month of August but he was reactivated in September and played well enough to make the Yankees postseason roster as a left-handed pinch-hitter. He went hitless in his two pinch-hitting appearances in the World Series against the Braves, but he did win his first and only ring.

The Yankees released him after the Series and his big league career was over. Watson lasted as Yankee GM until February of 1978, when he resigned and recommended his assistant GM, Brian Cashman, as his replacement. Before doing so, he advised Cashman not to take the job.

Aldrete shares his birthday with this former Yankee second baseman and and this former Yankee set-up man.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1996 NYY 32 77 68 11 17 5 0 3 12 0 9 15 .250 .338 .456 .794
10 Yrs 930 2498 2147 277 565 104 9 41 271 19 314 381 .263 .356 .377 .733
SFG (3 yrs) 349 1111 962 121 274 51 5 14 126 13 132 149 .285 .370 .392 .762
OAK (3 yrs) 231 640 558 81 145 26 1 18 72 3 73 103 .260 .344 .407 .751
CAL (2 yrs) 49 71 64 6 12 1 0 3 11 0 5 12 .188 .239 .344 .583
MON (2 yrs) 172 359 297 34 69 15 2 2 30 2 56 61 .232 .355 .316 .671
SDP (1 yr) 12 18 15 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 4 .000 .167 .000 .167
CLE (1 yr) 85 222 183 22 48 6 1 1 19 1 36 37 .262 .380 .322 .702
NYY (1 yr) 32 77 68 11 17 5 0 3 12 0 9 15 .250 .338 .456 .794
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/29/2014.