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.
  • On February 13, 2013, the Yankees placed third baseman Alex Rodriguez on the 60-day disabled list. With Alex recovering from January 2013 left hip surgery, news about him would groow exponentially until he finally played some ball at the end of that season.
  • The Yankees added righthander J.R. Graham and lefty James Reeves to their list of nonroster invitees on February 13, 2017.
  • The Yankees signed free agent catcher Algeni Mateo to a minor league contract on February 13, 2014.
  • It was certainly a minor move, but seeing as the player involved did pitch in 15 games for the eventual World Champs, we’ll report here that the Yankees signed veteran righty Brett Tomko to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training on February 13, 2009. Tomko would win one of three decisions as a spot starter, and was incensed when the Yanks released him midseason. He pitched well then for Oakland, going 3-1 down the stretch, including a 3-0 win over the Yanks in a five-inning start in August.
  • In February 13 news affecting former and future Pinstriped players, Jose Canseco, who would later have an extended cup of coffee as a Yankee DH, repeatedly rammed his wife’s car in 1992. And in 1968, the Giants sent backstop Tom Haller to the Dodgers for infielders Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver. If you don’t recognize a Yankee name in that swap, take heart. Oliver would have just one at bat for the Yanks the following year, without a hit, but he is better remembered as the guy the Yanks got for Charley Smith in 1968. You’re lucky if that name rings no bells, as Smith was the ineffective third baseman the Bombers received in an earlier horrible trade that cost them historic slugger Roger Maris.
  • And also on February 13, 1968, shortstop Ron Hansen was sent by the White Sox to the Senators in a six-player transaction, two years before he would play in the Bronx. Hansen would record six taters and 34 rbi’s when he played for the Yanks. We’ll award Japanese hurler Hideo Nomo honorary mention in this category in honor of his free-agent signing and minor-league work with the Yanks in 2005. Nomo was signed by the Dodgers out of the Japanese Leagues on February 13, 1995.
  • The Yankees signed lefthander Ron Villone to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training on February 13, 2007. He would eventually make the big league club in a bullpen bereft of southpaws, and appear in 37 games to no record, with a 4.25 era.
  • A weird sidelight to the aforementioned Hansen trade was that one of the guys the Sox got for him was Les (Buster) Narum. Narum pitched ineffectively over five seasons (14-27), but earlier he had been traded even up for a young untested outfielder who would have some fine years with the A’s and particularly with the Yankees: Lou Piniella, who has managed the Cincinnati Reds, the Seattle Mariners, and recently the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and who led the hapless (still, at the time) Chicago Cubs back to the playoffs in 2007 and 2008.
  • On February 13, 1974, the Hall of Fame received a new member, as James “Cool Papa” Bell was honored by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues.
  • The National Negro Baseball League was organized on February 13, 1920.
  • The Athletics changed the name of Shibe Park to Connie Mack Stadium on February 13, 1953.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • There are two Yankee players on the February 13 death list, an outfielder and a player who appeared in just two major league games, each with a different position with a different team. Outfielder Shags Horan‘s (1969) lone year in the bigs was with the 1924 Yanks. He played 22 games, had 31 at bats, and knocked in seven runs with no home runs. Fred Holmes (1956) played just one game at first base and one as a catcher. He debuted with the 1903 Highlanders at first in a game where he had no at bats but one walk; he went 1-for-3 and scored one run in a 1904 contest catching for the Cubs.
  • Among players lost to the baseball family on February 13 are righthander Vive Landaman (1927), who won 36 games, lost 60 and saved two for the Beaneaters and the Doves from 1906-1909; and White Sox pitcher Paul Edmondson, who died in a car accident at the age of 27 on this day in 1970. Edmondson went 1-6 in 14 games in 1969. And righthander Nelson Briles (2005) posted most of his 129-117 record with 12 saves from 1965-1978 with the Cardinals and the Pirates; and third baseman/second baseman Bobby Adams (1997) hit 37 home runs and drove in 303 runs for the 1946-1955 Reds, the 1957-1959 Cubs, and two other clubs. But the biggest name on this list now is that of lefthanded outfielder and first baseman Tito Francona (2018), father of player and manager Terry Francona (also nicknamed “Tito,” as was his father). The elder Francona played from 1956 through 1970, three years with Cleveland, three with the Braves, and two each with the Orioles, the Cardinals, and the A’s. Tito homered 125 times, and drove in 656 runs.
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    Players Born This Day

  • There are 10 different Yankee players born on February 13, and another with a historical tie to the franchise, but it’s clear which player has to be the one with which we begin this report. First baseman Hal Chase (1883), known as Prince Hal, was a superb but inconsistent glove man during the 15-year career he began by playing in New York from 1905-1913. He smacked 20 homers, drove in 444 runs, and stole 248 bases for the Highlanders, but he often operated under suspicion as a guy not averse to making a buck by throwing a game or two. His reputation followed him after his June 1913 trade to the Chicago White Sox for Rollie Zeider and Babe Borton, then the Buffalo Buffeds of the Federal League, the Cincinnati Reds, and finally the Giants in 1919. When the Black Sox scandal broke, it combined with suspicions in the Giants camp to end Hal’s career, though nothing was ever proven against him. Hal had managed the Yanks in 1910 and 1911.
  • The only other guy with significant Yankee experience really is Hal’s teammate from 1911-1912, lefty-hitting outfielder Guy Zinn (1887). Guy hit six homers and drove in 56 tallies while stealing 17 bases for the Highlanders during that time. After the Braves purchased him in December 1912, Zinn joined Chase in the Federal League, in Zinn’s case playing for the Baltimore Terrapins.
  • The other seven guys have considerably less Yankee experience, starting with third baseman Eddie Foster (1887), who knocked in one run and stole two bases while debuting with the 1910 team, and then went on to play with the Browns and the Red Sox. Righty Dan Tipple‘s (1890) three games with the 1915 squad were his only big-league appearances; he posted a 1-1 mark.
  • The first 51 games of shortstop Jim Brideweser‘s (1927) career came with the 1951-1953 Bombers; he notched five rbi’s before playing a year in Baltimore, two split between the White Sox and the Tigers, and then another with the O’s. Jim Brenneman (1941) played only three major-league games, all with the 1965 Yanks after signing with them as a free agent in 1961.
  • And the two names that will be most familiar to today’s fans are Todd Williams (1971) and Drew Henson (1980). Williams notched a 1-0 record in 15 appearances out of the 2001 Yankee pen after being a Dodger in 1995, a Red in 1998, and a Mariner in 1999; he is in the Baltimore pen at last report. Henson’s sad big-league baseball saga that came to an end in 2004 consisted of one hit in nine at bats during eight games in 2002 and 2003. He was drafted by the Pinstripers in 1998, was shipped with Jackson Melian to the Reds for Denny Neagle in 2000, and was reacquired, along with outfielder Michael Coleman, for Wily Mo Pena the following year.
  • Retooling their club in a way the fanbase is not used to, the Yanks brought in another February 13 birthdayer when they traded swingman David Phelps and utility player Martin Prado to the Marlins for soon to be 25-year-old starter Nathan Eovaldi (1990) in late 2014. Earlier traded from the Dodgers to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez, the young righty had posted a 15-35 mark in four years pitching in LA and Miami, but his win/loss numbers flipped in a stellar 2015 season in the Bronx. Going 14-3 in 27 starts before being shut down with an arm problem in September, Nate struck out 121 while walking 49. Eovaldi, who was drafted by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2008 draft, struggled with consistency in 2016, was used in relief a few times, and then had serious arm surgery that ended his season with a 9-8 mark. Nate came home to roost once the Red Sox traded for him in July 2018, going 3-3 down the stretch while pitching well, then beating the Yanks in a game in the ALDS. He was released, but re-signed, by the Red Sox prior to the ’19 season.
  • The Bronx will be abuzz in 2019 as to whether the promise first baseman Luke Voit (1991) showed down the stretch in 2018 once the Yankees traded relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve for him and international bonus money in late July will come true down the road. Drafted by the Royals in 2009, then by the Cardinals in 2013, Luke was acquired because uber-prospect Greg Bird was having an awful season in New York. Both remain in the mix for first base in 2019, but Voit, who blasted 14 home runs and drove in 33 runs in 39 games once he arrived, is in the driver’s seat.
  • In other birthdays, seeing as the Baltimore Orioles franchise that played in that city in 1901 and 1902 became the Highlanders (and later the Yankees) once they folded and moved to New York in 1903, lefthander Crazy Schmit (1866), who went 0-2 in four games for that ’01 club, could have been counted with the Yankee birthdays. And others: Sal Bando (1944); Donnie Moore (1954) who tragically committed suicide a few years after failing as the closer for the Angels in the playoffs; Jerry Browne (1966); Matt Mieske (1968); Kevin Stocker (1970); Howie Clark (1974), who responded poorly to an Alex Rodriguez yell in 2007; Brian Rose (1976); Scott Dohmann (1978); Mike Nickeas (1983); Brett Hayes (1984); Logan Ondrusek (1985); Ryan Perry (1987); Curtis Partch (1987); Henry Urrutia (1987); Ryan Buchter (1987); Ryan Goins (1988); Beau Taylor (1990); and [yet another] Jose Fernandez (1993). This Jose posted no record in 13 games for Toronto in 2018 after they signed him in 2012; he was taken off waivers by the Tigers following the ’18 season.