January 28 in Yankee History

  • The American League was formally organized on January 28, 1901, as the Baltimore Orioles, the Philadelphia Athletics, and the Boston Somersets joined the Washington Nationals, the Cleveland Blues, the Detroit Tigers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Chicago White Stockings. Franchises in Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Buffalo, in the plans for the fledging league since it was first proposed a year earlier, were folded, and Ban Johnson was in control. The Orioles would fail after playing two seasons in Baltimore, and be relocated to New York as the Highlanders for the 1903 season. Continue reading
  • January 27 in Yankee History

  • It briefly seemed like a great addition after the The Yanks signed righthanded pitcher Juan Acevedo to a one-year minor league contract on January 27, 2003. Acevedo would travel north from Tampa as part of the Yankee pen, and he actually garnered six early saves with Mariano Rivera making a rare trip to the Disabled List. But the American League solved Juan’s fastball, he was hammered in a series of outings, and the Yanks would be forced to release him that June. He posted an 0-3 record in 25 appearances. Continue reading
  • January 26 in Yankee History

  • Yankee fans had been driven to distraction waiting for months to see if lefty starter Andy Pettitte would retire or come back to pitch for the team in 2009, until he signed a one-year deal on January 26, 2009. And it’s a good thing, too. Not only did the crafty southpaw put together a 14-8 season, but he won four more games without a loss in the postseason, getting the win in the clinching games of the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series. Andy had a great year with the 2010 Yankees, but was hurt late, then retired, but unretired for 2012, an injury-filled year. He did retire following an 11-11, 2013 campaign. Continue reading
  • January 24 in Yankee History

  • On January 14, 2019, the Yankees signed free agent righthander Adam Ottavino. Possessor of a killer slider, Adam would win six, lose five, and save two with an era of around 2 for the Yankees in 73 games, which did seem to take their toll at season’s end. After five games with the Cardinals in 2010, and full seasons with the Rockies from 2012 through 2018, Ottavino’s current overall record entering thee 2020 season stands at 23-25 with 19 saves. Continue reading
  • January 23 in Yankee History

  • The Yanks last pulled off a big trade on January 23 way back in 1904, when they shipped pitchers “Long” Tom Hughes and Bill Wolfe to Washington for Al Orth. It can be assumed that Al didn’t have much of a breaking ball, as he was nicknamed “The Curveless Wonder.” Al changed speeds off his fastball (Greg Maddux‘s style comes to mind) and though he only amassed 72 wins and 73 losses with the 1904 through 1909 Yanks, those numbers were negatively affected by his 16-34 on two bad teams in ’07 and ’08. In 1906, he led the American League with 27 wins, 36 complete games, and 339 innings pitched. Hughes had been a 7-11 bust in New York in 1903 after they had sent Jesse Tannehill to Boston for him, but the change of scenery to Washington did not help, as he compiled an 83-125 mark with the Senators by the end of the 1913 season. Wolfe only pitched one game in the bigs, which he lost for the 1902 Phillies. Continue reading
  • January 22 in Yankee History

  • On January 22, 1997, baseball officially lost its most faithful and worthy practitioner, when Don Mattingly retired. He said it best himself: “I never felt I was as talented as some other players, but I was willing to try some things other players weren’t willing to do. I played from the heart.” Yankee fans everywhere welcomed him back as hitting coach in 2004. He filled that same role through 2006, served as Joe Torre‘s bench coach in 2007, and sadly headed to Los Angeles with Torre for the 2008 season after being passed over in favor of Joe Girardi as the new Yankee manager. Continue reading
  • January 21 in Yankee History

  • As a Yankee fan, I have often expressed pique at what I consider to be Hall of Fame snubs. I feel Don Mattingly was on top of his games long enough to merit entrance. Thurman Munson‘s career was tragically cut short, but the Rookie of the Year Award, All Star appearances, MVP, and two rings should entitle him more than some in the Hall. And in my opinion, Roger Maris‘s incredible feat in 1961 qualifies him for the honor all by itself. The argument for the enshrinement of a home run king who held the season record longer than Babe Ruth is stronger than ever in this sad baseball era. But those three really are minor irritations when you compare them to what happened on January 21, 1971, when Yogi Berra was denied entry in his first year of eligibility. In recent years, Kirby Puckett has made it, and Ozzie Smith and Willie Stargell were voted in on their first tries. How is it possible that the three-time American League Most Valuable Player Yankee catcher wasn’t? Continue reading
  • January 20 in Yankee History

  • The Yankees picked up a valuable player at a key time when they traded outfielders Elliott Maddox and Rick Bladt to Baltimore for center fielder Paul Blair on January 20, 1977. Effective in center after replacing Bobby Murcer until he tore his knee up in Shea Stadium’s outfield, Maddox hit four homers with 71 rbi’s, and 15 stolen bases in New York from 1974-1976; Bladt had hit one tater with 11 rbi’s and six stolen bases in spot duty with the Yanks in 1975. The latter never played in the bigs again, and Maddox only hit two homers with nine rbi’s and two stolen bases in 49 games for the O’s in 1977. Not a lot of production for Blair to replace. A smooth fielder who could track a long fly with the best of them, Paul had been judged to be on the downside after having had trouble overcoming an ugly beaning with the O’s, but his timely offense was huge for two Yankee World Series-winning teams. He hit six homers with 38 rbi’s and four stolen bases in ’77-’78 (plus two games in ’79, and 12 in a brief ’80 return), but he added six postseason hits in 23 at bats as the Yanks won the ALCS and World Series two years running. And the Blair file holds one more surprise. He was initially drafted by the New York Mets (in 1962) before the Orioles drafted him from New York’s NL representative that same year. Continue reading
  • January 19 in Yankee History

  • One of the highlights about January from a baseball fan perspective is that it is the month during which great players are often honored by being named to the Hall of Fame. And on January 19, one of those honorees was New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, joined on the dais in 1972 by the legendary Sandy Koufax and by 300-game winner Early Wynn. Yogi played for the Yanks from 1946 through 1963 (we won’t mention the handful of at bats for the Mets in 1965). He smacked 358 home runs, drove in 1,430 runs, and even stole 30 bases, and won three American League Most Valuable Player Awards. Continue reading