March 22 in Yankee History

  • The lead March 22 story for Yankee fans is the 1972 trade of Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero to the Red Sox for Al “Sparky” Lyle. Not only would Sparky post a 57-40 record with 141 saves in six years for the Yanks, he played on three World Series teams (two wins) and won an American League Cy Young Award. Lyle was a famous prankster, and the Stadium actually used to play Pomp and Circumstance (think High School Graduation) when he came to the mound in search of a save. The manager of the Somerset (N.J.) Patriots in the independent Atlantic League for years, Lyle still has an association with the team. Cater, meanwhile, notched 14 homers and 83 rbi’s in three years for the Red Sox, resulting in a far from even swap.
  • Steinbrenner son in law Joseph A. Molloy was elected New York Yankee general partner on March 22, 1992. Mr. Molloy’s power in the organization grew until his divorce in 1997 from Jessica Steinbrenner. Jessica’s second husband Felix Jose now has some responsibilities on the Yankees. George Steinbrenner‘s death has thrust Hal and Hank Steinbrenner back into the franchise’s leadership.
  • And speaking of Yankee management, March 22 is a day that all Yankee fans should express a bit of gratitude toward Vernon Stouffer. This was the day in 1972 that this owner of the Cleveland Indians sold the team to Nick Mileti after turning down an offer from George Steinbrenner. George then went hunting for another baseball team to buy, and the rest is history.
  • The New York Highlanders (soon to be Yankees) started selling their first-ever game tickets on March 22, 1903.
  • In a March 22, 1991, Sotheby’s auction of baseball memorabilia, a 1909-1910 Honus Wagner tobacco card sold for $451,000. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card netted $49,500.
  • On March 22, 2019, the Yankees optioned outfielder Clint Frazier to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Also, third baseman Mandy Alvarez was assigned to the Yankees.
  • Catcher Eduardo Navas was assigned to the Yankees on March 22, 2018.
  • Continuing to apportion players to future slots, the Yankees optioned center fielder Slade Heathcott to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on March 22, 2016.
  • On March 22, 2014, the Yankees assigned catcher Roybell Herrera to their minors.
  • On March 22, 2013, righthander Craig Heyer, lefthander Fred Lewis and catcher Jeff Farnham were assigned to the Yankees.
  • On March 22, 2012, the Yankees signed free agent outfielder Hector Martinez, on the same day that shortstops Carmen Angelini and Jose Toussen, and first baseman Addison Maruszak were assigned to the club.
  • Three Yankee spring training invitees were moved on March 22, 2010, as infielders Eduardo Nunez and Reegie Corona were optioned to AAA Scranton, while right fielder and rule-5 draftee Jamie Hoffmann was returned to the Albuquerque Isotopes. Nunez would spend some time in the Bronx in 2010 and continued to do so until his eventual trade to Minnesota. At one point he seemed to be in line to replace Derek Jeter.
  • Fans reacted with a little hope for some pop in the lineup, and with a resigned shrug, to two March 22, 2008 transactions. First, the Yankees added infielder Morgan Ensberg to the 40-man roster in a move that did not pay off. They made roster room for Ensberg by placing righthander Carl Pavano on the 60-day disabled list.
  • One year later on March 22, 2009, the Yankees would acquire catcher Chris Stewart from the Chicago White Sox for future considerations. Stewart had signed with the Yanks in 2008 and played in one game in pinstripes that year, then signed with Chicago, but would not play for the Yanks again after this day’s transaction until 2012, when he was acquired from the Giants and played often in the next two years.
  • Brooklyn Dodger rookie Pete Reiser homered in his first at bat on March 22, 1939, in a spring game vs. the Cardinals after striking out three times in his initial game against the Yankees the day before. He followed that blast against St. Louis with another nine consecutive hits before striking out three times yet again, this time against Oral Hildebrand of the Yanks, on March 28.
  • Joe Oliver, who would later serve as Yankee backup catcher for a year, tore a ligament in his thumb making a tag at home for the Reds on March 22, 1997. A second March 22 connection to personnel at one time with the Yankees is the decision by AL President Lee MacPhail to suspend Baltimore Manager Earl Weaver for three days on this day in 1981 for removing his team from the field and forfeiting a game to Kansas City.
    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • American League founder Ban Johnson died this day in 1931. Although he had no direct connection to the club, Yankee fans owe a debt of gratitude to Johnson and his spirited battle to get an AL team into New York. Although he never played for the Yankees, we need to shoehorn righthanded thrower (he batted lefty) Dallas Green (2017) in here, because he managed the pinstripers for roughly three fourths of the 1989 season, before being replaced by Bucky Dent, who would be replaced during the 1990 season. The Green/Dent ’89 Yankees finished in fifth place with a 74-87 mark. Green managed the Phillies from 1979-1981, winning the World Series with them in the middle year; he also managed the Mets from 1993-1996 to an overall managing mark of 454-478. As a pitcher from 1960-1967, Dallas pitched to a 20-22 record with four saves, most of it with Philly. Just one of four noteworthy players, all pitchers, to have died on March 22, played as a Yankee, Gordon Rhodes (1960), who threw to a 7-9 record in 41 games (17 starts) for New York from 1929-1932, followed with three-plus years with the Red Sox and one with the Athletics for an overall mark of 43-74 with five saves.
  • Yesterday’s report listed a lot of injuries and one death. March 22, 1993, is the day that the Florida boating accident that cost the lives of Cleveland Indians Steve Olin and Tim Crews (though Crews’s death was recorded on March 23), and serious injury to Bobby Ojeda, occurred. Ojeda would finish his career with the Yanks. Crews and Olin, by the way, were the first active major leaguers to die since beloved Yankee Captain Thurman Munson in 1979. Also lost this day was Claude Hendrix (1944), who pitched from 1911-1920 for the Pirates, the Whalers, and the Cubs. He won 144, lost 116, and saved 17 games; and Willard Schmidt (2007), who won 31 games, lost 29, and saved two with the 1952-1957 Cardinals and the 1958-1959 Reds.
    Players Born This Day

  • Yankee birthdays start sadly with Cory Lidle (1972), who died in a burning airplane crash weeks after the Yanks’ 2006 season came to a close. Lidle posted a 4-3 record in 10 games (nine starts) with the Yanks once he was acquired with Bobby Abreu for lefty reliever Matt Smith and three minor leaguers in July 2006. Lidle’s nine-year big-league record ended with an 82-72 mark.
  • The birthday list also features Glenallen Hill (1965), who hit 16 homers and 29 rbi’s in 40 games in 2000, and who served as the first NL DH in interleague play. New York acquired him from the Cubs in July 2000 for Ben Ford and Oswaldo Mairena, and traded him the following March to the Angels for minor leaguer Darren Blakely.
  • Rich Monteleone (1963), who recently served as bullpen coach in the Bronx, is next on my list. He was traded to the Yankees by Anaheim along with Claudell Washington for Luis Polonia before the 1990 season. Monteleone went 17-9 in Pinstripes in 1990-1992 before becoming a free agent in ’93. New York inked him again in February 1996, then returned him to the Angels that June for Mike Aldrete.
  • The Yankee March 22 birthday list had a brief entry in 2013 due to the three games in which righthander Brett Marshall (1989) pitched in that year, to no record. A sixth-round Yankee selection in the 2008 amateur draft, Brett both walked and struck out seven batters in pinstripes, allowing six runs in 12 innings. He has subsequently been claimed off waivers, first by the Cubs, next by the Reds, and then the Rockies and Rays.
  • Also born this day was catcher Scott Bradley (1960), who had a finger broken in a home plate collision in his first game start. A lefty hitter and third-round 1981 amateur free agent, Scott debuted with the Yanks in 1984 and 1985, managing three rbi’s in that time. New York shipped him with Neil Allen, minor leaguer Glen Braxton, and cash to the Chicago White Sox for Ron Hassey, Matt Winters, and minor leaguers Chris Alvarez and Eric Schmidt in February 1986. And righty Norm Branch‘s (1915) only major-league service was with the 1941 and 1942 Yankees, for whom he posted a 5-2 mark with four saves.
  • New Yorker Ike Davis (1987), whose most significant big league play took place with the Mets across town, was able to latch onto the Yankees and play eight games with them in 2016 in light of the injury problems of first baseman Mark Teixeira, who would retire at the end of the season. Ike, who collected one rbi in the Bronx, has blasted 81 home runs and driven in 291 teammates since 2010, most of it in Flushing.
  • Before covering other baseball player birthdays, broadcaster and both Yankee and Mickey Mantle fan Bob Costas was born on March 22, 1952. Also: infielder Billy Goodman (1926), who spent most of his 1947-1962 career with the Red Sox; Gene Oliver (1935); Dick Ellsworth (1940); Eric Rasmussen (1952); Matt Sinatro (1960); Sean Berry (1965); Ramon Marinez (1968); Jason Phillips (1974); Jeremy Griffiths (1978); Juan Uribe (1979); Mike Morse (1982); Joe Smith (1984); Justin Masterson (1985); Dexter Fowler (1986); Andrew Susac (1990); Edwin Diaz (1994); Daniel Robertson (1994); and Drew Anderson (1994).