November 28 in Yankee History

  • The Yankees learned early in their successful years that the key to continued success was retooling. So, after winning their second Championship in 1927, they recognized that need, and released righty Bob Shawkey and lefty Dutch Ruether on November 28, 1927. Shawkey had anchored the staff for 13 years, winning 168 games during his stay, and Ruether chipped in with another 15 wins since his arrival the season before. Continue reading
  • November 26 in Yankee History

  • After smashing 165 homers during his first nine years in the bigs with the Yanks, Moose Skowron was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Stan Williams on November 26, 1962. Williams was a more valuable member of the pitching staff in New York in the next two years than his 10-13 win-loss mark might lead one to believe. Skowron’s output, on the other hand, fell to four homers, 19 rbi’s, and a .203 ba on the left coast in 1963. Then in something of a win/win for faithful Yankee fans, Moose would recover to have four decent years with the White Sox, once he was no longer playing for the rival Dodgers. Continue reading
  • November 25 in Yankee History

  • We lead off the way we usually end this day, for the most obvious of reasons. The most famous (of six) Yankees to be born on November 25 is the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio (1914). Hitter of 361 lifetime home runs (all as a righty batter) in a home ballpark with a virtually unreachable left center field wall, he won three MVP Awards and two batting titles, while driving home 1,537 runs. He led the league in rbi’s twice, in homers twice, slugging percentage twice, and total bases three times. He played 13 seasons around World War II, and wore the honor of being the “greatest living ballplayer” with dignity for almost 50 years before his death in 1999. Continue reading
  • November 24 in Yankee History

  • It was a move just too painfully characteristic of the Yankees in the eighties. On November 24, 1986, the Bombers shipped pitchers Brian Fisher, Logan Easley, and (most awfully) Doug Drabek to Pittsburgh for Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante, and Pat Clements. Although Guante was a serviceable reliever over the next two seasons (8-8, 12 saves), the trade must be judged by looking at the principals: the veteran Rhoden and the young arm of Drabek. The former went 28-22 in the Bronx over the next two years and was out of baseball in three. Drabek, on the other hand, would win 148 games in the National League over the next decade or so; he fashioned a 22-6 Cy Young Award-winning season in Pittsburgh in 1990. Continue reading
  • 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