Two Yankee transactions from years ago that did not work out occurred on January 29. In 1943, the Bombers shipped second baseman Jerry Priddy and minor-league hurler Milo Candini to Washington for righthander Bill Zuber. Although Zuber posted an 8-4 mark in 1943, his four-year totals (18-23, two saves) dipped, but were not bad when compared with Priddy. He averaged more games with the Senators over three seasons than he had with the Yanks in 1941-1942, because his offensive numbers were comparably low. But Candini’s 24-21 record with eight saves in six seasons with Washington tilted the trade well into the Senators’ favor.
On January 29, 1930, the Yanks grabbed former home-run champ and lifetime .319 hitter Ken Williams from the Red Sox for the waiver price, but he retired before ever playing a game in the Bronx.
The Yankees signed pitcher Mike Thurman to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training on January 29, 2002. Waiting in the wings in Columbus, injuries eventually got Thurman his chance, and he made 10 appearances for the Yanks. He won one of his two starts 10-6, a game in which the Yanks jumped on the White Sox with a six-run first, keyed by Nick Johnson‘s home run.
The results of the premier Hall of Fame vote were announced this day in 1936 with the naming of the Hall’s five original members: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson, though the date of their actual induction is often given as February 2. Branch Rickey and Lloyd Waner, known as “Little Poison” to older brother Paul Waner‘s “Big Poison,” were voted in on this day in 1967. Rickey actually hit .182 for the 1907 Yankees while playing outfield, catcher, and first base, but even I’ll acknowledge that he earned his way into the Hall by managing the Cardinals, and serving as an exec with the Dodgers. Also, old-timers Billy Hamilton and Max Carey joined that elite club on January 29, 1961.
John William Cox purchased Yankee Stadium on January 29, 1955, and left it to Rice University in Texas in 1963. The city used the right of eminent domain to claim the Stadium later that year.
Some sources give January 29, 1900 as day the American League was first organized, from its origins in the Western League, a minor league. Teams were to be in Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore would come on board as play began in the initial 1901 season, replacing the folded Buffalo, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis franchises. Baltimore would last just two years, being relocated in New York as the Highlanders, beginning play in the 1903 season. St. Louis would replace Milwaukee in 1902, and be replaced by the current Baltimore Orioles in 1954.
The Yankees were one of three teams (along with the Cubs and Phillies) fined $500 each for signing high school players by Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler on January 29, 1948.
Another recent ex-Yankee made an appearance on the major league transactions stage on January 29, 2010, when the Florida Marlins signed free agent righty reliver Jose Veras.
January 29 player moves that affected former and/or future Yankee players include the Orioles signing Lee Smith to a free agent contract in 1994; Wade Boggs avoiding arbitration by inking a three-year deal with the Red Sox in 1987; and the Pirates trading future Yank outfielder Matty Alou with pitcher George Brunet to the Cardinals for ageless outfielder and pinch hitter Vic Davalillo and hurler Nelson Briles in 1971. Those same two clubs collaborated back in 1949 as well, as Pittsburgh purchased the services of Murry Dickson from St. Louis. Also qualifying is the Red Sox trade of Ken Ryan with two players to the Phillies for Heathcliff Slocumb plus two in 1996. Ryan would never pitch with the parent club in New York, but he did spend some time in the organization once they signed him out of the Independent Atlantic League a few years back.
Perhaps one of the first blows in the long downward spiral of future Yankee Darryl Strawberry‘s life and career came on January 29, 1987, when his wife Lisa filed for divorce.
It would be only right today to acknowledge the death of actor Alan Ladd on January 29, 1964, in honor of, you guessed it, SHANE! The player I have in mind, of course, is former Yankee prospect and outfielder Shane Spencer, who has never again matched the prowess he showed in the Bronx in September 1998. It was a memorable 30-day streak. Ladd, of course, starred in the classic Western film, Shane.
On January 29, 1958, Dodger catcher Roy Campanella suffered a broken neck and permanent paralysis in his legs after a car accident.
Wayne Garland, one of baseball’s first million-dollar free agents, was released by the Cleveland Indians on January 29, 1982.
Players Who Have Died This Day
First baseman Burt Hart (1921), who drove in 23 runs with no homers in 58 games for the 1901 Baltimore Orioles (moved to New York as the Highlanders two years later) is the only player to have played for what would be the AL club based in the Bronx to have died on January 29. But Billy Martin‘s friend and long-time pitching coach Art Fowler (2007) deserves inclusion here as well, although he earned his 54 wins, 51 losses, and 32 saves as a player with the Reds and Angels from 1954-1964.
Finally, Lee Meadows (1963), who compiled a 188-180 record with seven saves from 1915-1929, mostly with NL franchises in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, is easily the better of two righthanders who top the list of noteworthy nonYankee players to have died on Januray 29. Ed Murphy (1935) won 25 games, lost 25, and saved one with the 1898 Phillies and the 1901-1903 Cardinals. First baseman Del Gainer (1947) hit 14 home runs and drove in 185 runs from 1909-1922 mostly with the Tigers and the Red Sox; middle infielder Hod Ford (1977) hit 16 long balls good for 494 rbi’s with the Braves and the Reds from 1919-1931; and lefty-hitting outfielder Homer Summa (1966) cleared 18 fences and knocked in 361 runs from 1920-1930, playing most of the time with Cleveland.
Players Born This Day
Of the five Yankee birthdays we celebrate on January 29, three will be remembered by fans of the team in the last several decades. Steve Sax (1960) signed as a free agent with the Yankees on November 23, 1988, and was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Melido Perez, Bob Wickman, and Domingo Jean on January 10, 1992. Sax played second base in the Bronx from 1989 through 1991, amassing 19 homers, 161 rbi’s, and 117 stolen bases in that time. He actually suffered less from the “yips” in the Bronx than he had in his career-beginning 1981-1988 stint with the Dodgers, although he was not the defender his predecessor in New York, Willie Randolph, had been.
Outfielder Mike Aldrete (1961), mostly a lefty DH and pinch-hitter for the Yanks in 32 games in 1996, was acquired from the California Angels on June 12, 1996, for Rich Monteleone. Aldrete ended his 11 years in the bigs in New York, collecting three homers and 12 rbi’s in 68 at bats after spending multiple years playing for the Giants, the Expos, the A’s, and the Angels.
Righty reliever John Habyan (1964) went 11-9 in his Yankee career from 1990 to 1993. He was received from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Stan Jefferson on July 20, 1989, and was traded as part of a three-team transaction to the Kansas City Royals on July 30, 1993. The Bombers got lefty Paul Assenmacher from the Chicago Cubs, and the Royals sent Karl Rhodes to the Cubs.
There are two guys today’s fan will not recognize. Second sacker Hack Simmons (1885) contributed 41 rbi’s and 19 stolen bases to the 1912 club after one season with the Tigers and before two seasons with the Baltimore Federal League franchise. Outfielder Frank Delahanty (1883) also finished up with two years in the Federal League, first with the Buffalo Bisons and then with the Pittsburgh Rebels. He sandwiched his three years (1905-1906 and 1908) in New York around a season in Cleveland. He hit two dingers with 53 rbi’s for the Yanks, and swiped 20 stolen bases in New York too.
Also worthy of mention is switch-hitting shortstop Sergio Ferrer (1951), who hit no long balls, but knocked in three runs and stole seven bases with the 1974-1975 Phillies and the 1978-1979 Mets. Ferrer was with the Yanks from March 1977, when they traded Kerry Dineen to the Phillies for him, until December 1977, when he fetched Roy Staiger from the Mets in a trade. In the same category is catcher Julio Mosquera (1972), who signed free agent contracts and accepted invites to Spring Training with the Yanks in 1999 and 2000. Mosquera played 31 games in Toronto in 1996-1997 and Milwaukee in 2005, and he garnered two rbi’s during that time.
Also birthdaying: player and later Manager Bill Rigney (1918); Giants righthander Bobby Bolin (1939), who won 88, lost 75 and saved 50 games from 1961-1973; Morgan Burkhart (1972); former Pirates and Giants starter Jason Schmidt (1973), signed with the Dodgers since the 2007 season; Brian Edmondson (1973); Miguel Ojeda (1975); Lance Niekro (1975); Jair Jurrjens (1986), a key prospect sent to Atlanta in the recent trade that garnered the Tigers Edgar Renteria; Alex Avila (1987); and Hank Conger (1988).