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.
Yankee fans hear it all the time, and the good ones become deaf to it, as enthusiasts of other teams point to New York’s payroll. No matter, it was on this day in 2001 that current Bomber shortstop and team Captain Derek Jeter signed his 10 year $19-million deal. The Yanks had the best player in the games on their roster, and they saw no reason to risk his leaving for other clubs.
The Yankees signed free agent righthander Jonathan Loaisiga to a minor league contract on February 9, 2016.
On February 9, 2015, the Yankees signed veteran free agent righthander Kyle Davies to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
In a player move that was to annoy Yankee fans throughout that season, and perhaps to come, the Red Sox signed free agent ex-Yankee righthander Alfredo Aceves on February 9, 2011.
Player moves and news affecting former and future Yankee players that occurred on February 9 include Darryl Strawberry‘s guilty plea to the charge of tax evasion in 1995; the one-year deal that Don Baylor inked with the A’s in 1988; the Dodgers’ swap of hurler Dazzy Vance (with infielder Gordon Slade) to the Cards for Ownie Carroll (and Jake Flowers) in 1933; and the naming by Washington Nationals owner Clark Griffith of shortstop Bucky Harris to be player/manager in 1924. Lastly, former Yankee first baseman Jack Fournier was acquired by the Cardinals from the Angels for Art Griggs, Grover Hartley, Claud Thomas, and Jim McAuley on February 9, 1920.
Negro Leagues player Oscar Charleston was named to the Hall of Fame on February 9, 1976, five years to the day after Satchell Paige had become the first African American player on which that honor was bestowed. Satch was at one time a member of the New York Black Yankees, and had two memorable appearances in the “House That Ruth Built” before he joined a major league team. Pitching for the Pittsburgh Crawfords on September 9, 1934, Paige dueled the Philadelphia Stars’ Slim Jones to a 1-1 stalemate, called after 9 innings due to darkness. Paige whiffed 12, and Jones, 9, before 30,000 fans. And on August 2, 1942, Satch teamed with Hilton Smith to pitch a one-hit shutout over the New York Cubans in a 9-0 Kansas City Monarchs win.
On February 9, 1942, the Phillies sought to change their luck by shortening their nickname (held since 1890) to “Phils.” Following the ensuing franchise-worst 42-109, 1942 season, 62 games out of first place, they tried “Blue Jays” for two years, then reverted to “Phillies” in 1945, a name they have stuck with ever since. And in 2008, they won a World Championship with that name.
It was a big blow to fans of a certain age when outfielder Hank Bauer died on February 9, 2007. Hank hit 158 long balls and knocked in 654 with the Yanks from 1948 through 1959, then added six dingers and 49 rbi’s with the 1960-1961 A’s. He managed the 1966 Baltimore Orioles to the World Championship, in a big upset over the L.A. Dodgers.
Four nonYankee ballplayers of note have passed away on February 9. Shortstop Jackie Hayes (1983) hit 20 home runs with 493 rbi’s from 1927-1940, most of the time with the White Sox and the Senators. Southpaw Larry French (1987) won 197 games with 171 losses and 17 saves from 1929-1942, more often than not wearing the unis of the Pirates and the Cubs during that time. Righthander Buster Brown (1914) posted a 51-103-4 mark mostly with the Cardinals, the Phillies, the Doves, and the Braves from 1905-1913; and fellow righty Ray Starr (1963) won 37 games, lost 35, and saved four in 1932-193 and from 1941-1945 pitching most of the time with the Reds and the Pirates.
Players Who Have Died This Day
The premier Yankee February 9 birthday (detailed above) is that of Clete Boyer (1937). It is also the birthday of switch-hitting catcher Dioner Navarro (1984), who makes the list based on his 3-for-7 hitting mark in five games for the 2004 Bombers. Signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in August 2000, Navarro was traded with Brad Halsey, Javier Vazquez, and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson in January 2005. Navarro was released by the Dodgers midseason in 2011, and was subsequently signed by Cincinnati. Dioner played for the Cubs in 2013, signed with Toronto afterward, and had a good 2014 season with the Jays, particularly vs. the Yankees.
Next, we’ll mention backup infielder Robert Eenhorn (1968). He played 20 games for the Yanks in ’94-’96, collecting two rbi’s during that time, and he was last seen playing for the championship team in the 2000 European Cup. Robert was drafted by the Bombers in the second round of the 1990 amateur draft, and was in turn selected off waivers in 1996 by the California Angels, for whom he played that year and the next.
Third baseman Julie Wera (1902) played his only 43 games in the bigs for the Yanks, 38 of them in 1927, the rest in 1929. He contributed a homer and 10 rbi’s in 54 at bats. And lastly, although he never played for the Yanks, righty Doug Linton (1965), who pitched for several teams including the Blue Jays and the Mets, signed as a free agent with the Yankees in January 1998, and was released during Spring Training of that year.
Other February 9 baseball birthdays include the Hall of Fame entrepreneur and baseball exec Bill Veeck (1914), perhaps most famous for using midget Eddie Gaedel to (successfully) get on base via a walk; infielder Heinie Zimmerman (1881), who in 1912 posted the following Triple Crown stats: .372 BA (#1 NL), 14 HR’s (#1 Majors), 103 RBI’s (#1 NL), 207 Hits (#1 NL), 41 Doubles (#1 NL), .571 Slg. Avg. (#1 NL); righty Roy Mahaffey (1903), who posted a 67-49 record from 1926-1936, primarily with the Philadelphia A’s; Boston righthander Tex Hughson (1916) who notched 96 victories with only 54 losses hurling only for the Red Sox from 1941-1949; lefty-hitting outfielder Vic Wertz (1925), with 266 taters and 1,178 rbi’s from 1947-1963, mostly with the Tigers and the Indians; Eddie Solomon (1951); Mets center fielder Mookie Wilson (1956); Pat Underwood (1957); Pete O’Brien (1958); John Kruk (1961); Todd Pratt (1967), a 2007 Spring Training invitee with the Yankees; Vladimir Guerrero (1976), the 2004 AL MVP; Josh Judy (1986); Akinori Iwamura (1979); Daniel Muno (1989); Jake Smolinski (1989); Randall Delgado (1990); and Henry Rodriguez (1990).
Players Born This Day