Lefty Gomez, Eddie Lopat, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, all great Yankee lefty starters where they’re needed most: in the House That Ruth Built, with its short porch in right. But leading the way was Herb Pennock. Business Manager Ed Barrow knew what he was doing when he procured Herb from the Red Sox on January 30, 1923, just a few months before Yankee Stadium was to open. Barrow shipped infielder Norm McMillan, pitcher George Murray, and outfielder Camp Skinner to Boston for Herb, along with $50,000. Murray would post a 9-20 mark in Beantown, and McMillan and Skinner combined for 43 rbi’s, all but one from McMillan, who also chipped in with 13 stolen bases. Pennock would notch 162 wins in the next 11 seasons, appearing in four World Series with the Yanks (3-1), during which he posted a 5-0 record. And he saved two October Classic games, earning the last one in the Babe Ruth “Called Shot” game in Wrigley in 1932.
But the January 30 Herb Pennock reports don’t end with that 1923 trade. The lefthander had pitched in Philly for the A’s, and he was serving as general manager of the Phillies in that city when he passed away on the same day in 1948. But it was in the City of Brotherly Love that his career showed a dark side as well. The year before, Herb stood out as the Dodger opponent who was most virulently opposed to playing that team once Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and joined them. Pennock threatened to pull his team when the Dodgers came to Philly, a threat he did not follow through on. But Robinson suffered perhaps the worst verbal abuse and taunting that first trying year when his team played in Philadelphia.
On January 30, 1978, Baseball Executive Larry MacPhail and pitcher Addie Joss were inducted to the Hall of Fame. MacPhail led the Yankee team that defeated his old Dodger mates in the 1947 World Series, the year that Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn club. And Joss posted a 160-97 record in Cleveland from 1902-1910 for the team that would become the Indians. In 1902, they were called the Bronchos, changing after that season to the Cleveland Naps for the rest of Joss’s stay.
In January 30 player moves affecting former or future Yankee players, Ricky Ledee signed a free-agent contract with the Phillies in 2002, and the Mets released slugger Dave Kingman on the same day in 1984.
One imagines the decision of Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick to restrict All Star Game voting to players and coaches, rather than the fans, on January 30, 1958, was driven by the same kinds of abuses we see today, with players having bad years earning a niche based on reputation, and with enthusiasts in some cities “stuffing” the ballot box for their teams’ players. The online and ballot box fan voting we have today is even more susceptible to these kinds of occurrences.
Already mentioned above, Hall of Famer Herb Pennock (1948), the first of two Yankees to have died on January 30, coincidentally passed away on the 25th anniversary of the day the Yanks traded for him. Pennock pitched from 1912 to 1934, compiling a 240-162 record with 33 saves overall. Second baseman Aaron Ward (1961) debuted with the 1917 Yankees and garnered 45 home runs with 390 rbi’s in New York through the 1926 season. One additional year each in Chicago and Cleveland improved those numbers to 50/446.
Also worthy of note are three nonYankee pitchers who have died today. Righty Billy Rhines (1922) won 114 and lost 103 in Cincinnati from 1890-1899; fellow righthander Marino Pieretti (1981) posted a 30-38-8 mark mostly with the Senators and the White Sox from 1945-1950; and southpaw Max Lanier (2007) recorded most of his 108-82 record with 17 saves from 1938-1952 with the Cardinals.
Players Who Have Died This Day
There are two Yankee players born January 30, and another who played in the bigs and who was Yankee property at one time. Hipolito Pena (1964) outdistances his competition in terms of Yankee longevity with ease, even though he appeared in only 16 games (no starts) with the 1988 club. He posted a 1-1 mark after having played 1986 and 1987 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, from whom he was acquired for Orestes Destrade in March 1988. Pena retired with an overall record of 1-7 with two saves.
Outfielder Dave Stegman (1954) appeared in two games with the 1982 team in a seven-year career that began with a three-year stint with the Tigers and ended up in Chicago playing for the White Sox in 1983 and 1984. The Yanks got Stegman from the Padres in 1981 for minor leaguer Byron Ballard, and let him become a free agent the following November.
And lefty hitter Dave Moates, who hit three home runs, knocked in 27 runs, and stole 15 bases from 1974-1976 with the Texas Rangers, was purchased from that organization by the Bombers in May 1977, but he never made it back to the majors.
Other birthdays: Mickey Harris (1917); Walt Dropo (1923); Sandy Amoros (1930), who made a game-saving, World Series-saving catch on a drive hit by Yogi Berra in the 1955 Fall Classic, the only one in which the Brooklyn Dodgers prevailed over the Yanks; Charlie Neal (1931), one of the few guys to have played for the Dodgers in both Brooklyn and L.A., and also for the Mets; Braves owner Ted Turner (1939), who actually managed one game until he was told not to by mlb; former Mets manager and Orioles, Braves, etc., second baseman Davey Johnson (1943); Joel Davis (1965); John Patterson (1978); former Tampa Bay infielder Jorge Cantu (1982); Jeremy Hermida (1984); Mark Rogers (1986); Nick Evans (1986); Jordan Pacheco (1986); Luis Garcia (1987); Tyler Moore (1987); Keith Butler (1989); and C.J. Riefenhauser (1990).
Players Born This Day