Presaging the acquisition of Babe Ruth five years later, the purchase of the Yankees by the ownership that would make them a winner would be decided with a handshake on December 31, 1914, but it wasn’t until January 11, 1915, that it became official. The baseball world was in total upheaval. The Federal League was in the middle of its two years of existence. Upstart American League teams were stealing players from stronger established NL clubs. Perhaps the biggest change of all, however, occurred when, with AL honcho Ban Johnson‘s encouragement, Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L’Hommedieu purchased the New York Yankees from Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $460,000. Wild Bill Donovan was installed as manager but three years later, he was replaced by Miller Huggins. A dynasty was about to be born, and the Leagues would never be the same.
On January 11, 1983, George Steinbrenner hired Billy Martin for his third stint as manager of the Yankees in eight years. Billy would lead the club to a 91-71 season, but that was only good enough for third, as the Baltimore Orioles marched to a 98-win season and the World Championship.
On that same 1983 day, the Yanks drafted Canseco, Ozzie Canseco, that is. His twin, Jose Canseco, had been selected by the A’s in the 15th round six months earlier, and the Yanks tried Ozzie in the fourth round in January. They would release him in 1986. Jose’s twin would eventually make the bigs, but he hit no home runs and drove in four runs in 24 games for the A’s and the Cardinals.
Hoping to remove the issue as a distraction, and get on with the approaching season, the Yankees placed third baseman Alex Rodriguez on the restricted list on January 11, 2014.
When the Indians released left fielder Thomas Neal on January 11, 2013, the Yankees would soon show some interest. And the club said its final goodbye to another backup outfielder when they released Chris Dickerson.
In January 11 player moves affecting former or future Yankee players, Ivan DeJesus was included in the Dodgers’ swap of Bill Buckner to the Cubs for Rick Monday in 1977; and the Cardinals sent Alex Johnson to the Reds for Dick Simpson in 1968.
On January 11, 1973, major league baseball owners decided to allow the American League to implement the Designated Hitter Rule on a three-year experimental basis. The rule’s fourth decade in the AL began in April 2003.
The only January 11 Hall of Fame honorees were Tony Perez and Carlton Fisk in 2000.
It was a good day for the American League on January 11, 1968, when Ewing Kauffman became the new owner of the Kansas City Royals. They were an awesome organization — and team — in the 70s and 80s, and a (not expected) millennial resurgence would do AL baseball a world of good.
With his patriotic anthem being sung at ballparks throughout the baseball season, we’ll include the birthday of Francis Scott Key on January 11, 1843, in this history.
Although he never played in Pinstripes, we acknowledge the January 11, 2000 death of 1978 Champion Yankees Manager and ace Cleveland pitcher (207-128 from 1946 to 1958) Bob Lemon. Bob lost a son shortly after the big win in New York and his last two decades were not the happiest. Wally Pipp (1965), who lost his first base job to Lou Gehrig, and who hit 80 Yankee homers with 826 rbi’s, died on January 11. A portsider, Pipp accumulated 90 home runs overall, from a one-year stop with the Tigers before playing in New York and a 1926-1928 stint with the Reds afterward. The third Yankee to fall this day, righthander Fred Talbot (2013) is arguably more famous for being a foil for Yankee and Seattle Pilots teammate Jim Bouton in his famous baseball tell-all, Ball Four. Fred, who pitched to a 14-24 mark in the Bronx from 1966 through 1969, posted overall numbers of 38-56-1 pitching from 1963 to 1970 for the KC A’s, the White Sox, and the Pilots, in addition to the Yanks.
The most notable player with no Yankee connection to have died on January 11 is quite recent: Hall of Fame outfielder (he played 100 games at first base) Monte Irvin (2016), who played with the Giants from 1949 through 1956 before finishing off the latter season with the Cubs. Monte reached 99 fences and drove in 443 runs. Aside from Lemon and Irvin, the only noteworthy nonYankee player to have died this day is Cardinals and Cubs (mostly) hurler Tex Carleton (1977), who went 100-76-9 from 1932-1940. And former major leaguer Walt Goldsby committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 14, 1914.
Players Who Have Died This Day
There are only three Yankee January 11 birthdays, and not one of them spent a great deal of time with the team. Following a five-year stint with the White Sox and one season with the Phils, righty reliever Don Pall (1962) was signed to a free-agent contract on January 16, 1994. But he was released that July after having compiled a 1-2 mark and a 3.60 era in 26 games.
Lefty-hitting third sacker Loren Babe (1928) had a cup of coffee with the Yanks to start his career in 1952-1953, playing in 17 games before being acquired by the Philadelphia Athletics and playing almost the entire latter season with them. While in New York, he hit two homers, knocked in six runs, and stole one base. He returned to New York in a nine-player swap that sent Vic Power to Philly in December 1953, but Babe would never play in the bigs again.
Compared to the first two mentions, the stay of the newest member of the pinstriped January 11 birthday club is even shorter, as Rico Noel (1989), who didn’t even hit well during a long stay in the minors, was brought up to the team late in the 2015 season solely to serve as a pinch runner. And Ricky did a good job in that, stealing five while being caught twice in 15 games where he amassed all of two at bats. The good news is that Noel did get a hit in one of those; the bad is that he was released in the following November, and signed with the Dodgers later that month.
Honorable Yankee mention goes to Cleveland infielder Roy Hughes (1911), who was traded to the Yankees by the St. Louis Browns for Joe Gallagher in 1939, but who was in turn sent to the Phillies the same day for Al Hollingsworth; and to Ben Rivera (1968), who had a great year for Philly in the early 90s, lost a lot of years to injury, and then gamely tried to crack the Yankee pen in Tampa a few years ago.
The list of other birthdays starts with two Hall of Fame outfielders, Max Carey (1890), who played much of his 1910-1929 career with the Pirates; and Elmer Flick (1876), a player from 1898-1910, largely in Philly and Cleveland. Three old-time starters with records worthy of mention: Schoolboy Rowe (1910), 158-101 mostly with the Tigers; Washington’s Alvin Crowder (1899), who went 167-115; and Silver King (1868), who notched 203 victories before the turn of the 20th Century, top off the rest of the January 11 group. Then there’s Don Mossi (1929); Jim McAndrew (1944); Dan Norman (1955); Lloyd McClendon (1959); Washington Manager Manny Acta (1969); Jermaine Allensworth (1972); Alex Delgado (1971); Warren Morris (1974); Cody McKay (1974); Greg Aquino (1978); Danny Salazar (1990); and J.P. Crawford (1995).
Players Born This Day