November 23 in Yankee History

  • The Yankees signed free-agent second baseman Steve Sax from the reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers to a three-year contract on November 23, 1988. Perhaps this fateful decision cost the Yanks a bench coach in 2004, as the effect of the signing had the Yanks and Dodgers swapping second basemen, with former Pinstriped Captain Willie Randolph signing with L.A. Sax provided a decent singles stick (including a record 171 one-base hits in ’89) and poor defense in the Bronx over three years, but he netted good players in trade. Randolph kicked in six home runs and 135 rbi’s with the Dodgers, the A’s, and the Mets in a waning career that lasted through 1992, but the relationship he established in Flushing may have facilitated his ascension to their managerial slot a few years ago, leaving the Yankee bench coach position to take the job. After a year of Joe Girardi and one of Lee Mazzilli sitting next to Joe Torre, Don Mattingly took the spot next. Randolph was fired in Flushing in 2008, was bench coach in Milwaukee in 2009-2010 and will serve there in Baltimore in 2011, and Joe and Donnie moved on to the L.A. Dodgers in 2008. Mattingly gets his chance tio manage in 2011. Continue reading
  • November 22 in Yankee History

  • Mickey Mantle edged Ted Williams in the voting, 233 to 209, for the American League Most Valuable Player Award on November 22, 1957. The vote was controversial, as Mantle came in second in the league in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, with Williams finishing first in all four, and Ted edged him in homers too (second, to Mantle’s third). Mickey did score more runs; he got more hits, walks, stolen bases, and total bases too. And two Chicago writers placed the Splinter an unbelievable ninth and 10th on their ballots. But I think The Mick earned his second of three MVP’s because he led his club to the pennant; Ted’s Sox were not a factor, 16 games back in third place. Continue reading
  • November 20 in Yankee History

  • I know I’m not alone when I say that my love for the Yankees was born while watching Mickey Mantle play, even when both he and the team fell on hard times at the end of his career. And this feeling was nurtured through another very tough time in recent Yankee history by the respect and devotion I gave to the deserving Don Mattingly during his playing career, one that unfortunately ended just a bit too soon for him to win a Championship of his own. So November 20 is a great day for me. On this day back in 1962, The Mick was named American League Most Valuable Player for the third time. And on November 20, 1985, recent Yankee Batting and then Bench Coach Donnie Baseball received that year’s AL MVP Award. Congratulations, Donnie and Mick. It couldn’t have happened to two better guys. Mattingly, by the way, will sadly sit on the bench for the Dodgers in 2010, working with Joe Torre, as he did in 2008-2009. Continue reading
  • November 19 in Yankee History

  • Righthander Stan Bahnsen won the American League Rookie of the Year Award on November 19, 1968, in a down time for the Yankees franchise. The “Bahnsen Burner” posted a 17-12 mark that year with a minuscule 2.05 era. It was particularly gratifying to a fanbase accustomed to a winning ballclub that had finished 10th out of 10 two years earlier. It was what New York was hoping for ever since Bahnsen was a late-season callup back in 1966. Stan had shown some promise, as he struck out the side in Fenway Park. Continue reading
  • November 18 in Yankee History

  • On the waiver wire it read like an afterthought, as the announcement of a “player to be named later” would. But little did the Yankees know when they picked up Scott Brosius from Oakland on November 18, 1997, as the player the Yanks received for already departed Kenny Rogers that they were getting themselves the 1998 World Series Most Valuable Player. Continue reading
  • November 17 in Yankee History

  • Following three fifth-place finishes and one seventh in the AL East in five years, you could be forgiven for figuring the Yankees were not a team from which two expansion clubs would be looking for talent when the League stocked the new franchises in Miami and Colorado on November 17, 1992. But you’d be wrong. First, the Yanks had already decided to leave 1990 first round pick Carl Everett unprotected. But the Florida Marlins, after using their first (second overall) pick on Toronto’s Nigel Wilson, took Yankee third baseman Charlie Hayes next. Florida then took Everett with the 27th pick of the day. Not to be outdone in carving the Yankee pie, the Colorado Rockies took catcher Brad Ausmus 54th. Few realized that the Yanks had struck late-round magic when they nabbed the catcher in the 48th round of the amateur draft in 1987, but we know it today, as Brad has made himself quite a career as a sought-after receiver and manager in baseball more than two decades later. But he has not played for the Yanks. Continue reading
  • November 16 in Yankee History

  • It’s a twisted road that has been taken since the Yankees traded prospect Wily Mo Pena and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Michael Coleman and young third baseman Drew Henson, and it hasn’t been as painful as it could have been. This comes to mind because it was on November 16, 2000, that the Reds first got Coleman, from the Red Sox along with infielder Donnie Sadler for third baseman Chris Stynes. Four months later Coleman would hit two long homers to help crush the Bombers in a spring game in Sarasota, Florida, and the Yanks would take the bait. But Coleman disappointed in New York, eventually leaving as a free agent, and Henson struggled in the minors. Pena showed some power with the Reds, but was reportedly an uninspired defender. But in early 2006 he suddenly landed in Boston, via a trade for starter Bronson “Brandon” Arroyo. Pena played in Washington in 2008. Wily Mo did not give the Sox a heck of a lot, so it’s all good. Continue reading
  • November 15 in Yankee History

  • After retiring and then un-retiring during the offseason, Roger Clemens came back to win his seventh Cy Young Award — and first in the NL — for the Astros in 2004, and he led the NL in era in ’05. Some of the “numbers” aficionados quibbled when the Rocket won his sixth AL Cy Young Award as a Yankee on November 15, 2001, complaining about his middle of the pack earned run average. But if you consider that the sport’s greatness is rooted in men excelling every once in a while in a game that is really mostly about failure, you realize that he was a lock based on the 20-1 mark he achieved to start the season, breaking an almost 100-year-old record. It was the kind of achievement the awards were made for. Continue reading
  • November 14 in Yankee History

  • The Yankees traded three minor leaguers to the Texas Rangers on November 14, 1979, for Eric Soderholm. The third baseman would hit .287 in 1980, but with only 11 homers and 35 rbi’s. The first-round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins in 1968, Soderholm would miss the 1981 season due to injury, and then retire. Continue reading