January 27 in Yankee History

  • It briefly seemed like a great addition after the The Yanks signed righthanded pitcher Juan Acevedo to a one-year minor league contract on January 27, 2003. Acevedo would travel north from Tampa as part of the Yankee pen, and he actually garnered six early saves with Mariano Rivera making a rare trip to the Disabled List. But the American League solved Juan’s fastball, he was hammered in a series of outings, and the Yanks would be forced to release him that June. He posted an 0-3 record in 25 appearances.
  • The Boys Are Back in Town! That Rock ‘n’ Roll anthem was blasted from the Yankee Stadium speakers numerous times the last few seasons, as it is routinely used just before the first game of a homestand, welcoming the players “back to town.” Thin Lizzy is responsible for the song, and their drummer, Brian Downey, was born on January 27, 1951.
  • The managerial careers of Casey Stengel and Joe Torre have at least one thing in common. Joe’s winning percentage as manager when he arrived on the Yankees scene was .471, Casey’s was worse at .432. It was so bad that on January 27, 1944, the new ownership group of the Boston Braves fired him. Stengel then piloted three clubs in the minors, the last Oakland in the Pacific Coast League, under General Manager George Weiss. As GM in New York in 1949, Weiss would hire Casey to manage the Yanks, and Casey’s career on the bench took the same turnaround that Torre’s would, almost 50 years later.
  • Infielder Ronald Torreyes, who, following some roster machinations, would end up as the primary Yankee backup in that area during the coming season, was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on January 27, 2016.
  • The departure of free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki from the Yankee roster became assured when the Marlins signed him on January 27, 2015.
  • On January 27, 2014, the Yankees signed free agent shortstop Ricardo Ferreira to a minor league contract.
  • It was a minor bookkeeping move, really, when the Yankees designated southpaw Chase Wright for assignment on January 27, 2009. Chase had gotten a couple of starts with the big club a couple of years earlier, but he went out with a bang when the Red Sox reached him for three home runs in one inning in a game in Fenway Park.
  • The Yankees signed their second veteran of the Boston bullpen, free agent righthander Manny Delcarmen, on January 27, 2012, although neither he nor Hideki Okajima would stick and make the Yankee roster.
  • Two former Yankee draft picks who had been let go appeared on the waiver wire January 27, 2010 when righthanders Steven Jackson and Anthony Claggett were assigned to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • When it was announced on January 27, 1956 that the New York Yankees of the NFL would be switching their home football games from the Polo Grounds to Yankee Stadium, speculation was rife in New York the baseball Giants would be making the same move.
  • Another bad trade was made on January 27, this time by Philly in 1982, as they sent Larry Bowa and minor leaguer Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs for the underperforming Ivan DeJesus. Ivan would play seven games for the Yanks in 1986, and Bowa served as the third base coach in the Bronx from 2005 to 2007, though he’s headed to L.A. with Joe Torre for 2008.
  • Former Angel, Yankee, and White Sox lefty Jim Abbott signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers today in 1999. He went 2-8 in the year that followed.
  • On January 27, 1953, the White Sox sent a group of players to the A’s for two-time batting champ Ferris Fain and infielder Robert Wilson. Outfielder Ed McGhee was packaged along with two guys who would eventually play in Pinstripes: first baseman Eddie Robinson and shortstop Joe DeMaestri. Robinson would blast 24 homers for the Yanks in 1954-1956, while DeMaestri knocked in four runs as he ended his time in the bigs in the Bronx in 1960 and 1961, mostly as a defensive replacement.
  • Other January 26 news items affecting former or future Yankee ballplayers include the Red Sox trade of Jose Canseco to Oakland for John Wasdin in 1997. And catcher Lou Criger‘s trade from Boston to the Browns in 1909 didn’t take place on January 26, but it was the day he telegraphed his ex-teammates expressing his dismay. His next stop would be to the 1910 Highlanders, for whom he played 27 games, knocking in four tallies.
  • Original Cleveland Indians and eventual Yankee hurler Luis Tiant was honored by the Boston writers as the Red Sox most valuable pitcher for the fifth year running on January 27, 1977.
  • The four players voted into the Hall of Fame on this day in 1963 all entered courtesy of the Veterans’ Committee. And veterans they all were: Sam Rice hit 34 homers and knocked in 1,078 runs with the Senators from 1915-1934; Lefthander Eppa Rixey posted a 266-251 record with the Phillies and the Reds from 1912-1933; outfielder Elmer Fick hit 48 taters with 756 rbi’s in an illness-shortened career from 1898-1910 for the Phillies and the Reds; and John Clarkson posted a 328-178 record from 1882-1894, pitching for the Worcester Ruby Legs (one year), the Chicago White Stockings (four), the Boston Beaneaters (three), and the Cleveland Spiders (three).
    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Righthander Monte Pearson (1978) deserves first mention among the three Yankee players to have died on January 27, as he threw to a stellar 61-27 mark with two saves in New York from 1936-1940; he won 100 games with only 61 losses with four saves in the bigs from 1932-1941. Lefthanded first baseman Dale Long (1991) ended his career by hitting seven home runs with 27 rbi’s with New York from 1960-1963, capping a 13-year big-leagues stay in which he cleared 132 fences, good for 467 rbi’s. Righty reliever Bob Kammeyer (2003) recorded no wins, losses, or saves in eight games for the 1978-1979 Yankees, his only team. Though a negative one, he holds a mark that cannot be bettered (or worsened), just equaled. In his one game with the ’79 Yanks, he allowed eight runs while failing to record an out, an era of “infinity.”
  • Worthy of mention among ballplayers who did not play for the Yanks but who died on January 27 are two outfielders, three righthanded pitchers, and one who threw from the left side. Joe Vosmik (1962) hit 65 home runs good for 874 rbi’s from 1930-1944, mostly with Cleveland; while fellow outfielder Chuck Hinton (2013) cleared 113 fences and drove in 443 runs playing mostly for Cleveland and Washington from 1961 through 1971. Senators righthander Jim Shaw (also 1962) went 84-98 with 17 saves from 1913-1921; and Sarge Connally (1978), 49-60-31 with the 1921-1929 White Sox and the 1931-1934 Indians. Portsider Bob Steele (1962, again!) won 16, lost 38, and saved three games pitching for the Cardinals, the Pirates, and the Giants from 1916-1919; and righty Charlie Williams (2015), who debuted with the Mets in 1971, but played the rest of his time through 1978 with the Giants, to an overall 23-22 mark with four saves. He appeared in 268 games, 33 of them starts.
    Players Born This Day

  • Lefty-hitting outfielder Al Wickland (1888) started with the Cincinnati Reds in 1913, played in the Federal League for two years, and for the Braves in Boston in 1918, before finishing his career with 46 at bats in 26 games for the 1919 Yankees. The first of three Yankees who share January 27 as a birthday, Al had one rbi in New York.
  • Right-hander Milt Gaston (1896) went 5-3 with one save in debuting with the 1924 Bronx Bombers before being traded with Joe Bush and Joe Giard to the St. Louis Browns for Urban Shocker in December 1924. He pitched three years for the Browns, one for the Senators, and three each with the Red Sox and then the White Sox in an 11-year major league stay.
  • Even at 100-plus years ago, the Yankee player most recently born on January 27 is lefthander Fred Heimach (1901). He posted a fine 13-9 record with four saves in the Bronx in 1928 and 1929 after toiling with the A’s in Philly for more than six years, and Red Sox for a few months. He followed his Yankee stint with a four-year career-ending tour with the Dodgers in Brooklyn.
  • The first realization of Kansas City shortstop Angel Berroa (1978) for Yankee fans was a bitter pill, as he [unfairly] edged out Yankee Hideki Matsui for the 2003 American League Rookie of the Year Award. But Berroa signed with the Yanks for the 2009 season, played extensively in Spring Training, and went 3-for-22 in 21 games for the eventual world champs until he was released on July 7. He then signed with the Mets.
  • Other birthdays: John Lowenstein (1947), who smacked 116 home runs, amassed 441 rbi’s, and collected 128 stolen bases from 1970 through 1985, mostly for the Orioles and the Indians; Tom Trebelhorn (1948); Rusty Meacham (1968); Eric Wedge, (1968); Phil Plantier (1969); Ken Huckaby (1971), not only famous for the horrific collision he had with Derek Jeter in the first week of the 2003 season as a Toronto Blue Jay, but who actually spent four months in the Yankee organization in 1998; Jason Conti (1975); Pete LaForest (1978); Mike Zagurski (1983); Gavin Floyd (1983); Yohan Flande (1986); Tim Beckham (1990); and Julio Teheran (1991).