January 10 in Yankee History

  • Perhaps if the Yankee teams of 1989-1991 had a lot more pitching, and therefore had some postseason success (or failure even), January 10, 1992, wouldn’t feel like such a great day. But the team did not do well in those years despite the treacherous signing of ex-Dodger Steve Sax to replace Willie Randolph at second base. It was not only the wrong thing to do, the team continued to struggle. So Yankee fans were doubly blessed when on that 1992 day the White Sox shipped three hurlers who would win games in the Bronx to the pitching-starved club for the flaky Sax with his deteriorating infielding skills. Melido Perez eventually went 33-39 over four seasons but stabilized a shaky staff; Domingo Jean filled in with a 1-1 record, and Bob Wickman posted a sterling 31-14 mark with 11 saves until his trade for 1996 World Series hero Graehme Lloyd.
  • The naysayers were proved wrong, at least until his last Yankee appearance in the 2003 World Series, when they predicted that the signing of David Wells on January 10, 2002, would be a bust. In two seasons, the aging, out-of-shape party boy would go 34-14, the same mark he had posted in the Bronx in 1997 and 1998. “Boomer” gave rival Boston a 15-7 mark in 2005, but struggled with injuries in 2006 until he was shipped to San Diego.
  • The Yanks actually applied to play their opening home series of the 1983 season in at-the-time baseball-starved Denver (before the area had its own team) because it was feared that some offseason renovations to Yankee Stadium would not be complete in time. But on January 10, 1983, a New York State Supreme Court Justice barred the team from playing that series anywhere but New York. The renovations were completed in time, and the team played their home opener in the Bronx, a 13-2 thrashing at the hands of Detroit on April 12.
  • On January 10, 2015, the Yankees signed free agent outfielder Robert Hernandez to a minor league contract.
  • On January 10, 2014, the Yankees said both good-bye and hello to players, designating outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment; then signing free agent lefthander Matt Thornton.
  • Given the absent offense from the position during the entire 2013 season, it becomes obvious that the Yankee free agent signing of veteran catcher Bobby Wilson on January 10, 2013, was all about defense and handling pitchers, and all about providing that in the minor leagues.
  • Fans were intrigued when the Yankees signed veteran Houston outfielder Jason Lane to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Spring Training on January 10, 2008, but although he spent months with them in AAA, he never made the big-league club.
  • The Cubs signed ex-Minnesota Twin infielder (and future Yankee backup) Ron Coomer to a free-agent deal on January 10, 2001.
  • When major league baseball had representatives of the American and National Leagues (Jimmie Foxx and Chuck Klein, respectively) try out the new baseballs to be used in the 1938 season on January 10, they invited a player from the International League too. It was Charlie “King Kong” Keller, who would star in the big leagues with the Yanks from 1939-1949.
  • More than 14 seasons of Yankee infield play was involved in a three-way deal on January 10, 1922. The Red Sox sent Roger Peckinpaugh to Washington; Philadelphia (the Athletics) sent Joe Dugan to Boston; while the Senators dispatched outfielder Bing Miller and pitcher Juan Acosta to Philly. Peckinpaugh had been the shortstop for the Yanks for the last eight seasons, and Dugan would play the hot corner in New York for six years once the Red Sox sent him south six months later.
  • Luis Aparicio, Harmon Killebrew, and Don Drysdale became Hall of Fame honorees on January 10, 1984. On the same day back in 1945, no new members were voted, though eventual winner Frank Chance, who had managed the Yanks in 1913-1914, was one of three who came close.
  • In a trade so bad that I can’t leave it out of this history, it was on January 10, 1991, that the Orioles got Glenn Davis from the Astros for outfielder Steve Finley and pitchers Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling.
    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Two Yankee righthanders, each named Frank and each responsible for five New York victories, died on January 10, 1987. Frank Makosky‘s 5-2, 1937 season was his only one in the bigs, while Frank Hiller debuted in the Bronx to a 5-6 mark from 1946-1949. He won 30 and lost 32 in his career, and spent two of the four more years with the Cubs. And second baseman Pedro (Speedy) Gonzalez (2021) debuted with the 1963-1965 Yankees, hitting no home runs with six rbi’s in 101 games, many of them as a late-inning defensive replacement and baserunner. Giving the lie to his nckname, he stole three bases in New York, but was caught five times. After playing with the 1963-1965 Indians in 306 games, he homered eight times and drove in 64 runs. In Cleveland, “Speedy” stole 19 bases, and was caught 15 times.
  • Former National League President Chub Feeney died of a heart attack on January 10, 1994. Three righthanded pitchers and two infielders comprise the list of noteworthy nonYankee players to die January 10. Phil Marchildon (1997) pitched only for the A’s from 1940-1950, to a 68-75-2 mark; shortstop Bones Ely (1952) hit 24 home runs and drove in 656 runs playing mostly with the Pirates and the Browns from 1884-1902; and second baseman Hughie Critz (1980) cleared 38 fences good for 531 rbi’s with the 1924-1930 Reds and the 1930-1935 Giants. Righty Johnny Hetki (2019) compiled his 18-26 record with 13 saves pitching for the 1945-1950 Milwaukee Braves, the 1952 Browns, and the 1953-1954 Pirates. And fellow righty Ed Sprague (2020) won 17, lost 23, and saved nine games from 1968 through 1976. He pitched in Milwaukee from 1973-1976, in Cincinnati in 1971-1973, and in Kansas City from 1968-1969, with one other stop.
    Players Born This Day

  • Slick-fielding second baseman Del Pratt (1888) is the first among equals when it comes to Yankee players born on January 10. New Manager Miller Huggins received a lot of heat for including starter Urban Shocker in a package (pitcher Nick Cullop, catcher Les Nunamaker, third sacker Fritz Maisel, and infielder Joe Gedeon) to the Browns for Pratt and hurler Eddie Plank, but Huggins stuck to his guns. Although 300-game winner Plank would retire, Pratt added 10 homers, 208 rbi’s, and 46 stolen bases to his solid glove work for the team from 1918-1920, when he became one of the chips sent to Boston in a swap for future Hall of Famer Waite Hoyt.
  • Richard Dotson (1959) wasn’t the star he had been in Chicago for the 1988-1989 Yanks, for whom he went 14-14. But on the other hand, the club hardly overspent, shipping Dan Pasqua, Mark Salas, and Steve Rosenberg to the White Sox for Dotson and Scott Nielsen. The Yanks released Dotson in June 1989.
  • And Bob Brower (1960), acquired from the Texas Rangers for failed shortstop hope Bobby Meacham in 1988, hit two homers, drove in three runs, and stole three bases for the 1989 Bombers to finish his time in the bigs after three years playing for Texas.
  • Other birthdays include two Hall of Famers: old-time manager Harry Wright (1835); and slugging Giants first baseman Willie McCovey (1938). And here are a few more of interest: righthander Bill Swift (1908), who posted a 95-82 mark mostly with the Pirates from 1932-1943; Cincinnati righty Jim O’Toole (1937), with a 98-84 record from 1958-1967; fellow righthander Chuck Dobson (1944), who went 74-69 for the A’s in Kansas City and Oakland from 1966-1975; Jim Lindeman (1962); Adam Kennedy (1976); Rich Bauer (1977); Matt Roney (1980); Ervin Santana (1983); Hunter Jones (1984); Samuel Gervacio (1985); Ryan Dennick (1987); Alberto Rosario (1987); Paolo Espino (1987); Rafael Dolis (1988); Jason Gurka (1988); Ariel Miranda (1989); Drew Steckenrider (1991); Ryon Healy (1992); Rico Garcia (1994); Jose Castillo (1996); and Nick Sandlin (1997).