If you are a Yankee fan and one not averse to celebrating more than one day a year as your “day,” take January 9 as one of them. It was on that day in 1903 that Frank Farrell and Bill Devery, with the urging and support of AL Founder Ban Johnson, bought the defunct Baltimore American League franchise for $18,000 and moved it to New York.
After initial enthusiasm among fans when the team acquired veteran reliever Luis Vizcaino, along with young righties Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson and shortstop Alberto Gonzalez, from Arizona for aging lefty Randy Johnson and cash on January 9, 2007, it has recently become clear that clearing their rotation of the aging Unit is the best thing to come from that transaction, as now none of the parties remain in the Yankee fold.
It looked to be a key pickup for the 1997 team when the Yankees signed free agent outfielder Mark Whiten to a contract on January 9, 1997. But just when he was fitting in, he was arrested for assaulting a woman in Milwaukee. The fact that the charges were filed four days after the birth of his and his wife’s second child made it a public relations nightmare, and ended his stay in New York. He hit five home runs, drove in 24 runs and stole four bases in 69 games. Chad Curtis, acquired from Cleveland the month before for David Weathers, received the bulk of the vacated playing time.
And January 9 figures in another former Yankee player involved in an assault charge, though at least when Joe Pepitone was cited in 1992, it was 23 years after he played in the Bronx and almost 20 since he had retired. The hotheaded Pepitone was in a fight in New York State after he reportedly reacted when he was referred to as a “has been.”
The Yankees signed free agent left fielder Preston Mattingly, son of Don Mattingly, on January 9, 2012.
January 9 player moves affecting former and future Yankee players include the Oakland trade of Todd Stottlemyre to the Cardinals in 1996 for four players, including reliever Jay Witasik; the Cardinals signing infielder Mike Gallego to a contract on that same ’96 day; and the Brooklyn swap of Casey Stengel and infielder George Cutshaw to the Pirates for pitchers Burleigh Grimes and Al Marmaux, and infielder Chuck Ward in 1918. Nine years later, Grimes would be traded again, moving to the Giants in a three-way involving the Phillies too; and on January 9, 1974, Roy Smalley, Jr., was the first selection in the amateur draft, becoming a Texas Ranger.
Similarly, Leo Durocher, who broke in as a shortstop with the Yankees, joined the Dodgers as third base coach on this day in 1961. This category expanded one more item recently, as 2006 backup catcher Kelly Stinnett signed a free-agent contract with the Reds on January 9, 2001.
January 9 has also been a very busy Hall of Fame day, with Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt being the most recent honoree, in 1995; Jim Palmer and Joe Morgan in 1990; Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski in 1989; and outfielders Al Kaline and Duke Snider back in 1980.
Former Yankee Pascual Perez was a member of the Atlanta Braves when he was busted for cocaine possession in the Dominican Republic on January 9, 1984.
Little apparently has come of the revelation on January 9, 2002, that Bud Selig had borrowed money from Twins owner Carl Pohlad in 1995 and still was in his debt when the two agreed that Carl’s Twins should be one of two teams contracted.
Pete Rose‘s official lifetime ban from Hall of Fame election was handed down on January 9, 1991.
A few years back we delighted to the inclusion of a song named Let’s Get the Umpire’s Goat in a Cooperstown display of early baseball music. The first baseball song to make the popular charts was the 1892 recording of “Slide, Kelly, Slide” by George Gaskin, which hit the big time on January 9 of that year.
Four Yankee players have passed on on January 9, including All Star and exclusive Yankee hurler Spud Chandler (1990), who threw to a 109-43 mark from 1937-1947, and was the 1943 AL MVP. Shortstop Lyn Lary (1973) debuted in the Bronx with 21 homers and 227 rbi’s from 1929-1934, numbers he would up to 38/556 playing for the Browns and Indians by 1940. Center fielder Skeeter Shelton‘s (1954) 10 games for the 1915 team represented his entire big-league career. A smooth fielder one assumes, because Skelton garnered one hit in 40 at bats; he drove in none, but scored once. Finally, another guy who played just for the Yanks, outfielder Hinkey Haines (1979) had four hits with three rbi’s in 25 at bats playing 28 games for the 1923 Yankees.
Alan Wiggins, a speedy infielder for the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres, died of apparent complications brought on by AIDS at the age of 32 on January 9, 1991. In addition to Wiggins there are two pitchers (one a thrower from each side), two first basemen (with one playing from each side), a second sacker, and three outfielders on the list of noteworthy nonYankee player deaths. Harry McIntire (1949) posted the majority of his 71-117-7 record from 1905-1913 with the Dodgers and the Cubs; and southpaw Ray Collins (1970) won 84 games, lost 62, and saved four with the Red Sox only from 1909-1915. Righthanded first sacker Perry Werden (1934) hit 26 home runs and drove in 439 runs playing between 1884 and 1897 for seven different teams, two seasons with the Browns; Bill Terry (1989) cleared 154 fences good for 1,078 rbi’s in four brief years (1923-1926) for the Giants; and second baseman Johnny Temple (1994) homered 22 times and knocked in 395 runs playing eight years with the Reds, and brief stops from 1960-1964 with five other teams. Portsided outfielder Stan Spence (1983) hit 965 roundtrippers and drove in 575 runs mostly with the Red Sox and the Senators from 1940-1949. Both Elmer Flick (1971) and Walton Cruise (1975) were righthanded players who batted lefty: From 1898-1910 Flick hit 48 homers with 756 rbi’s mostly with Phillies and the Indians; and Cruise cleared 30 fences and pushed across 272 runs with the 1914-1919 Cardinals and 1919-1924 Braves.
Players Who Have Died This Day
The most accomplished of the nine January 9 birthdaying Yankee players in team lore is Ralph Terry (1936), who posted a 78-59 mark with 14 saves with the Bombers during both his debut in 1956-1957 and his return from 1959-1964. He also pitched for the KC A’s (twice), the Indians, and the Mets. Terry was the victim of the Bill Mazeroski home run that defeated the Yanks in the 1960 Series, but he recovered to win Game Seven in 1962, 1-0 over the Giants. A 1954 Yankees amateur free agent selection, Terry was traded with Woodie Held, Billy Martin, and Bob Martyn to the Kansas City Athletics for Ryne Duren, Jim Pisoni, and Harry Simpson in June 1957. In May 1959, New York sent Johnny Kucks, Tom Sturdivant, and Jerry Lumpe to K.C. for Terry and Hector Lopez. Then Terry and Bud Daley were sent to Cleveland in September 1964 for Pedro Ramos.
While neither is perhaps worthy of first mention among the gang born this day, the similarities in the careers of Otis Nixon (1959) and Stan Javier (1964) make them an intriguing pair. Both had their major league playing debuts in the Bronx, with Nixon playing 13 games in 1983 and Javier seven games in 1984; and neither ever played in Pinstripes again. Both played the outfield. And both made eight more stops before their careers ended, with Stan playing twice in Oakland, and Otis playing twice in Atlanta. Javier played 18 years, Nixon only 17; but the biggest difference, perhaps, is in the quality of player for whom they were traded. Rickey Henderson came from the A’s for a gang of players including Javier; Nixon was part of a package for Toby Harrah from Cleveland.
Shortstop Ivan de Jesus‘s (1953) experience in the Bronx was similar: He played for several teams (seven) and only played a few (seven) games for the Yankees, in 1986, but in his case it was toward the end of his career. The Bombers inked him to a free agent deal in May 1986 and released him six weeks later.
Barney Wolfe (1876) won six while losing 12 for the 1903-1904 team and finished up with a couple of years in Washington. Wolfe, who was traded with Tom Hughes to the Washington Senators for Al Orth in July 1904, posted an overall record of 21-37 with one save.
Most recently, Domingo Jean (1969), who only pitched for the Yanks in the bigs and spent a lot of time in the organization, had a 1-1 record in 10 games for the 1993 club; he started six of those games. He arrived in a great Yankee trade with the White Sox, with Steve Sax going to Chicago for Jean, Melido Perez, and Bob Wickman in January 1992. The following November, he was packaged with Andy Stankiewicz to the Houston Astros for Xavier Hernandez.
Charlie Stanceu‘s (1916) time in New York framed World War II, as he pitched to a 3-3 mark in 1941 and 1946 and finished his career during the latter year with the Phillies once they plucked him off waivers in May.
And lefty Frank Barnes (1900) and shortstop Ray French (1895) each appeared in exactly two games with the Bombers. Barnes ended his time in the bigs with the Yanks by going 0-1 in 1930 after pitching four games in Detroit the year earlier; French, on the other hand, started with the Yanks in 1920, where he scored two runs despite going hitless in both games before playing a year in Brooklyn and one with the White Sox.
Other birthdays: T.J. Matthews (1970); Jay Powell (1972); Ken Cloude (1975); and Kiko Calero (1975). Also birthdaying this day is Arizona righthander Tony Pena (1982), but this Pena is not related to the Yankee first base coach of the same name. The Yankee coach (and former catcher and manager)’s son, also named Tony Pena, has played for the Braves, and was born March 23, 1981. Since the 2008 season several players have made the list: Brandon Boggs (1983); Freddy Dolsi (1983); Dustin Richardson (1984); and Gabriel Moya (1995).
Players Born This Day