February 16 in Yankee History

  • Pulling off the blockbuster that the Red Sox attempted but failed to complete two months earlier, the Yankees nabbed All Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez on February 16, 2004, from the Rangers. In return, New York sent Texas Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The Rangers also paid part of A-Rod’s mammoth contract, and Alex agreed to slide to third in deference to Yankee Captain and shortstop Derek Jeter. Alex has had some up-and-down times since, with steroid use revelations and a significant hip injury leading into the 2009 season, but he turned it all around with a dominant postseason offensive performance as the Yanks won the World Series. And Alex surprised the baseball world with a solid 2015 return season. Continue reading
  • February 14 in Yankee History

  • “How about that?” Mel Allen, the “Voice of the Yankees” from 1939 through 1964, and the voice of This Week in Baseball, would have zoomed past 100 a few years ago on this day, Valentine’s Day. Mel entered this world on February 14, 1913, but I can still hear him calling another Ballantine Blast to this day. Continue reading
  • February 13 in Yankee History

  • On February 13, 1986, catcher Ron Hassey was traded back to the Yankees from the White Sox two months after making the exact opposite trip. Yankee players who were traded for or with Ron in his back-and-forth-and-back odyssey between the nation’s number one and two cities include pitcher Neil Allen, catcher Scott Bradley, power hitter Ron Kittle, infielder Wayne Tolleson, and catcher Joel Skinner. Hassey contributed 19 taters, 71 rbi’s, and one steal to the Yankee cause in 1985 and 1986. Continue reading
  • February 11 in Yankee History

  • Bobby Murcer‘s away-from-the-Yanks odyssey took a second step on February 11, 1977, when he was traded from the Giants to the Cubs for Bill Madlock. Finally on June 26, 1979, he would return to the Bronx as the Yanks sent pitcher Paul Semall and cash to the Cubs. Bobby hit 34 homers with 181 rbi’s and 21 stolen bases with the Giants in 1975-1976, and followed with 43, 175, and 32 with the Cubs. It was a crushing blow to Yankee fans when Bobby succumbed to his illness in 2008. Continue reading
  • February 10 in Yankee History

  • What would we do with a Yankee pitcher who turned in a 303-150 win-loss record? We would wax on into the night about the strength and drive of his fastball, the elegance of his big nose-to-toes slow-breaking curve, and wink at the cunning of his well-timed and devastating change. No, the Yankees have had no such phenom toeing the mound in the Bronx. But when considering Yankee birthdays for February 10, we come across a couple of guys who starred for two separate Pinstriped Dynasties, and their numbers, when grouped, are astounding. Lefty hurler Herb Pennock (1894) arrived on the Yankee scene on January 30, 1923, traded by the Red Sox to New York for Camp Skinner, Norm McMillan, George Murray, and cash just in time for the opening of the Yankee Cathedral in the Bronx. Herb dominated for years, and won five starts without a loss in World Series play. He also collected two WS saves along the way, the last in the Babe Ruth “Called Shot” game in Wrigley in 1932. Pennock had a classic start in the 1927 Series against the Pirates, when he retired the first 22 batters and ended with a three-hitter. Continue reading
  • February 9 in Yankee History

  • February 9 is the birthday of slick-fielding third baseman Clete Boyer (1937). After eight stellar seasons in the Bronx, Clete was traded in 1966 to the Braves for Bill Robinson, a badly failed Yankee attempt (one of many) to find a star to replace Mickey Mantle in center. Clete responded with his finest offensive year (26 homers, 96 rbi’s). And in 1969 Clete fell “victim” to the buxom Morganna, who walked on the field and kissed him. Clete had blasted 95 homers with 393 rbi’s and 27 stolen bases with the Yanks from 1959-1966. He was acquired from Kansas City in 1957 along with Art Ditmar, Bobby Shantz, Jack McMahan, Curt Roberts, and Wayne Belardi for Irv Noren, Milt Graff, Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Rip Coleman, Jack Urban, and Billy Hunter. Unfortunately, Clete died during the 2007 baseball season. Continue reading
  • February 8 in Yankee History

  • February 8 was a bad Yankee day in the back-to-back years, 1983 and 1984. During the latter, the Yanks front office goofed. The number one player in the last year’s draft was Tim Belcher. He had become available once he refused to sign with the Twins, so the Yanks signed him, but it came to pass after they had submitted their list of protected players. The A’s, due compensation once the Orioles had signed their Type A free agent Tom Underwood, swooped in and grabbed Belcher before the Bombers could rectify the situation. Continue reading
  • February 7 in Yankee History

  • Baseball players make millions of dollars today, while the guys who came before, relatively speaking, made a pittance. But the road from there to here was a journey of a lot of steps. Joe DiMaggio, who would for more than 30 years after retiring be known as “the greatest living ballplayer,” established a new plateau for major-league players on February 7, 1949, when he signed a $100,000 contract with the Yankees to play the upcoming season. It was the first ever six-digit contract in the League. Continue reading