February 2 is a great Baseball Hall of Fame day, and by logical extension it’s a great day in Yankee history too. To start with, Babe Ruth was inducted into the very first class this day in 1936, along with Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson, and Walter Johnson. (Some accounts report this event as having taken place on January 29 too.)
And Yankee pitching greats from both sides of the plate were voted into the Hall on February 2 also, with righty Waite Hoyt (in 1969) and Lefty Gomez (in 1972). Hoyt went 157-98 with 28 saves for the Bombers; Gomez 189-101.
Also the Yankee Manager under whom the World Championship magic began received the honor on February 2 when Miller Huggins (12 seasons, six pennants, three titles) was tabbed posthumously in 1964. And rounding out the Yankee perspective, two Hall of Fame hurlers with other clubs (Stan Coveleski, 215-142, mostly with Cleveland; and Burleigh Grimes, 270-212, much of it with the Brooklyn Dodgers) finished their careers in the Bronx too. Coveleski was voted in with Hoyt in 1969; Grimes joined Huggins, White Sox hurler Red Faber, Giants righty Tim Keefe, Washington outfielder Heinie Manush, and John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays in being honored in 1964.
Finally in 1972, Ross Youngs and former AL President William Harridge were honored with Gomez; and in 1976, Umpire Cal Hubbard and players Roger Connor and Fred Lindstrom joined the ranks. Hubbard thus became the first man to be inducted into both the NFL and MLB Halls of Fame.
TV Game Show What’s My Line? premiered on February 2, 1950, with the Scooter, Phil Rizzuto, as the first mystery guest.
Six-time All Star and longtime Yankee broadcaster Bill White was named National League President on February 2, 1989.
On February 2, 1998, Yankee GM Bob Watson announced his resignation. Bob had replaced Stick Michael in November 1995, and would be replaced with current GM Brian Cashman.
Mickey Mantle underwent his second operation of the 1953 postseason when a cyst was removed from behind his right knee on February 2, 1954.
Although the former would struggle with injuries for much of the upcoming season, the Yanks did well in signing Orlando “el duque” Hernandez and Ramiro “el brujo” Mendoza to one-year deals on February 2, 2002. The Duke would win eight of 13 decisions with one save, while Mendoza would win eight, lose four, and save four games in 2002.
The Yankees designated Jordan Parraz for assignment on February 2, 2011.
Unfortunately it was the realists in the fanbase who were correct when a divided Yankee following greeted the club’s signing of free agent outfielder Randy Winn on February 2, 2010 with skepticism. Winn totaled one home run with eight rbi’s over 29 games before being released.
A few years ago fans were in an uproar over the unfortunate and apparently unprecedented behavior of young Yankee outfielder Ruben Rivera, who had his contract voided once he was caught stealing and selling memorabilia from teammate Derek Jeter‘s locker. But the Yankees’ sale of the contract of young shortstop Leo “The Lip” Durocher to the Reds on February 2, 1930, was reportedly prompted by very similar actions. Suspected of pilfering money and jewelry from the lockers of his teammates, rumor has it that Durocher was caught and beaten by Babe Ruth once the Bambino discovered Durocher with money the Babe had marked.
In February 2 player moves that affected former and future Yankee players, Darren Bragg signed with the Rockies and free agent righty Juan Acevedo, who actually closed briefly before imploding in the Bronx in 2003, was inked by the Brewers, both on this day in 2000. Also, Yankee draftee Damaso Garcia and Luis Leal were traded by the Blue Jays to the Braves for pitcher Craig McMurtry on February 2, 1987. Honorable mention goes to the February 2, 1999 trade of outfielders Greg Vaughn and Mark Sweeney by the Padres to the Reds for Reggie Sanders, Damian Jackson, and Josh Harris, as Vaughn would later be traded to the Bombers, though the trade was called off when Greg failed the New York physical.
The first player with the Yankees on his resume to have died on February 2 is lefthanded first baseman Dave Bergman (2015), who debuted in the Bronx playing 12 games in 1975 and 1977; he went 1-for-21 at the plate, and drove in one run. Completing his service from 1978 through 1992 with Detroit, Houston, and San Francisco, Dave finished up having hit 54 home runs with 289 rbi’s.
One of four players of note to pass this day was second baseman Jack Crooks (1918), who hit 21 long balls with 313 rbi’s in the 19th Century playing for the Colts, the Browns, and the Senators from 1889-1898. Portsided first baseman Dick Burrus (1972) homered 11 times good for 211 rbi’s with the 1919-1920 A’s and the 1925-1928 Braves; switch-hitting outfielder Jack Rothrock (1980) cleared 28 fences and knocked in 327 runs playing with the 1925-1932 Red Sox and four other clubs through 1937; and righthander Andy Hansen (2002) won 23 games, lost 30, and saved 16 with the Giants from 1944-1950 and the A’s from 1951-1953.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Although he has paltry baseball credentials, George Halas (1895) is certainly the most famous of seven Yankee players born on February 2. The legendary football coach and owner played his only major league baseball season with the Yankees in 1919, patrolling the outfield. He had two hits in 22 at bats during 12 games, with no homers or rbi’s.
After a year in California and two with the Pirates, Pat Clements (1962) joined the Yankees in the horrible Doug Drabek trade in 1986, and he pitched to a 3-3 mark with seven saves in 1987-1988 in the Bronx. Pat followed his November 1988 trade (with Jack Clark) to San Diego for Lance McCullers, Jimmy Jones, and Stan Jefferson with three-plus seasons with the Padres, and finished up his career with Baltimore in 1992.
The Yanks had reason to expect better based on his five seasons with the Expos, two with the Reds, two with the Mets, and two with Toronto, but what the Bombers got from Dale Murray (1950) from 1983-1985 was poor, as he struggled to a 3-6 record with one save in the Bronx before being shipped to Texas to finish the 1985 season, and his career. New York acquired Murray and Tom Dodd in a December 1982 trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for Dave Collins, Fred McGriff, Mike Morgan, and cash.
Although Wes Ferrell (1908) posted a 193-128 record in the bigs, he only went 2-2 with the Bombers in 1938 and 1939; and lefty hitter Ray Demmitt (1884) hit four homers with 30 rbi’s and 16 stolen bases in his 1909 major league debut with the Highlanders, before playing with the Browns, the Tigers, and the White Sox. And lastly, outfielder Jack Reed (1933) played for the Yankees only, as he hit one dinger with six rbi’s and seven steals in 129 at bats during 222 games for the club from 1961-1963.
A case could have been made for including Scott Erickson (1968) on the Yankee February 2 birthday list once he spent time with the team trying out for the 2004 emergency starter slot, but he becomes a must mention following the 2006 season based on his Pinstriped appearances out of the pen. Although Erickson posted a 142-136 record over 17 seasons pitching primarily for the Twins and the Orioles, he was released by the Yanks with a 7.94 era in 11 games.
Other birthdays: Cubs starter Orval Overall (1881), who went 108-71 from 1905-1913; Hall of Fame second baseman and Manager Red Schoendienst (1923); Don Buford (1937); third baseman Max Alvis (1938), who hit 111 taters from 1962-1970 for the Indians (with one year in Milwaukee); Warren Brusstar (1952); John Tudor (1954); Manny Sarmiento (1956); Pat Tabler (1958), who was drafted by the Yankees in the 1st round (16th pick) of the 1976 amateur draft, and was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Caudill and Jay Howell; Buddy Biancalana (1960); Melvin Mora (1972); Jared Fernandez (1972); Mark DeRosa (1975); Adam Everett (1977); Jason Vargas (1983); Ronny Cedeno (1983); Chin-Lung Hu (1984); Scott Maine (1985); Travis Snyder (1988); Brad Peacock (1988); Logan Darnell (1989); Daniel Winkler (1990); Matt Boyd (1991); and Adrian Houser (1993).
Players Born This Day