January 31 in Yankee History

  • January 31 is a big Hall of Fame day. First, there are several fairly prominent members who were born this day (see below). And Yankees inducted into the Hall this day include Joe Sewell, who was voted in in 1977, along with a few others. A shortstop with the Indians for a decade, Sewell was pounced upon by the Yanks when the Tribe released him. Although his Hall years were really his Cleveland ones, Joe came through with 19 homers, 186 rbi’s, and three stolen bases for the Bombers from 1931-1933. Continue reading
  • January 30 in Yankee History

  • Lefty Gomez, Eddie Lopat, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, all great Yankee lefty starters where they’re needed most: in the House That Ruth Built, with its short porch in right. But leading the way was Herb Pennock. Business Manager Ed Barrow knew what he was doing when he procured Herb from the Red Sox on January 30, 1923, just a few months before Yankee Stadium was to open. Barrow shipped infielder Norm McMillan, pitcher George Murray, and outfielder Camp Skinner to Boston for Herb, along with $50,000. Murray would post a 9-20 mark in Beantown, and McMillan and Skinner combined for 43 rbi’s, all but one from McMillan, who also chipped in with 13 stolen bases. Pennock would notch 162 wins in the next 11 seasons, appearing in four World Series with the Yanks (3-1), during which he posted a 5-0 record. And he saved two October Classic games, earning the last one in the Babe Ruth “Called Shot” game in Wrigley in 1932. Continue reading
  • January 29 in Yankee History

  • Two Yankee transactions from years ago that did not work out occurred on January 29. In 1943, the Bombers shipped second baseman Jerry Priddy and minor-league hurler Milo Candini to Washington for righthander Bill Zuber. Although Zuber posted an 8-4 mark in 1943, his four-year totals (18-23, two saves) dipped, but were not bad when compared with Priddy. He averaged more games with the Senators over three seasons than he had with the Yanks in 1941-1942, because his offensive numbers were comparably low. But Candini’s 24-21 record with eight saves in six seasons with Washington tilted the trade well into the Senators’ favor. Continue reading
  • 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 right-handed 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

  • Often castigated for their high-spending ways, GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees made a canny and cost-effective move on January 24, 2003, when they signed Jon Lieber to a two-year contract with a club option for a third year. Coming off arm surgery, Lieber spent his first year in the Bronx recovering, rehabbing from the surgery and building arm strength. But he was a rotation cog in 2004, posting a 14-8 record, which culminated in his 3-1 victory over Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox in Game Two of the ALCS. He pitched well in Game Six as well, but took the loss, as the Yanks fell to Boston in seven. Lieber pitched for the Phillies in 2005 through 2007, and with the Cubs for an injury-riddled 2008. 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