I know I’m not alone when I say that my love for the Yankees was born while watching Mickey Mantle play, even when both he and the team fell on hard times at the end of his career. And this feeling was nurtured through another very tough time in recent Yankee history by the respect and devotion I gave to the deserving Don Mattingly during his playing career, one that unfortunately ended just a bit too soon for him to win a Championship of his own. So November 20 is a great day for me. On this day back in 1962, The Mick was named American League Most Valuable Player for the third time. And on November 20, 1985, recent Yankee Batting and then Bench Coach Donnie Baseball received that year’s AL MVP Award. Congratulations, Donnie and Mick. It couldn’t have happened to two better guys. Mattingly, by the way, after managing the Dodgers for a few years, moved on to the Marlins for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
On November 20, 2015, the Yankees selected the contract of righthander Rookie Davis from the AA Trenton Thunder; and selected the contracts of outfielder Ben Gamel and righty Johnny Barbato from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
It was a good trade for both teams when the Yankees shipped 1992 lower-round draft choice Mike Dejean to the Rockies for catcher Joe Girardi on November 20, 1995. On the Yanks’ end, Joe would hit the game-winning triple in the Championship-deciding Game Six in the World Series 11 months later, and he tutored the raw Jorge Posada until the latter could take the number-one catching job. In 2004, Girardi took the seat next to that of Manager Joe Torre on the Yankee bench, and he managed the Marlins in Florida in 2006. He was a broadcaster of Yankee games on YES in 2007. Girardi is the current Yankee manager, and garnered the Yanks 27th Championship in 2009.
There is a statistical anomaly in numbers achieved by one-time Yankee player Billy Martin, all tied in with the fact that he was traded on November 20 in back-to-back years. Once he was traded by Detroit to Cleveland on that day in 1958, he played 73 games for the Indians in 1959, garnering nine home runs and 24 rbi’s in that season. Kansas City had traded him to Detroit exactly one year before after they (the A’s) had gotten him from the Yankees during the 1957 campaign. He managed the same number of home runs (9) with three more rbi’s (27) for the A’s in ’57 as he did with the Indians in ’59, and he did it while playing the exact same amount of games (73).
Speaking of Billy Martin, he won the 1980 AL Manager of the Year Award for his work with the A’s on November 20 as well.
On November 20, 2014, the Yankees released third baseman Zelous Wheeler; and signed free agent third baseman Jonathan Galvez to a minor league contract, and invited him to spring training. The club also selected the contracts of righthander Danny Burawa, first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin, and center fielder Mason Williams from the AA Trenton Thunder; and the contract of righty Branden Pinder from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On November 20, 2013, the Yankees sent second baseman Corban Joseph outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. They also traded righthander Ben Paullus to the Padres for infielder Dean Anna. The club then selected the contracts of catcher Gary Sanchez; outfielder Slade Heathcott; and righthanders Bryan Mitchell and Shane Greene, all from the Trenton Thunder; and righty Jose Campos from the Charleston RiverDogs.
Taking care of various business on November 20, 2012, the Yankees claimed righthanded pitcher Mickey Storey off waivers from the Houston Astros, and also signed free agent righty Hiroki Kuroda. Then the club selected the contract of Manny Banuelos and Francisco Rondon from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; selected the contract of Ramon Flores and Nik Turley from the AA Trenton Thunder; and selected the contract of Jose Ramirez from the Tampa Yankees.
The Yankees signed the following draftees as free agents on November 20, 2010: third baseman Jhoan Gomez; right-handed pitchers Eduardo Rivera, Juan Matos, and Leonel Vinas; shortstop Freddy Noguera; outfielders Breland Brown, Jose Polanco, and Miguel Mojica; first baseman Yheraldy Medo; and catcher Julio Pina.
The Yankees purchased the contract of righthanders Anthony Claggett and Christian Garcia and lefty Michael Dunn from AA Trenton on November 20, 2008. They also purchased the contract of righty Steven Jackson from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Mr. Claggett suffered through some trying times in “the show” in 2009, but southpaw Dunn seems to be getting a good long look. Misters Garcia and Jackson continue to figure in the team’s plans as well.
The Yankees purchased the contracts of catcher Francisco Cervelli and righty Steven White from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre on November 20, 2007, and also bought the contract of righthander Jeff Marquez from AA Trenton that day as well.
The Yanks purchased the contract of lefthander Chase Wright from Single-A Tampa, purchased that of righty Jeff Kennard from AA Trenton, and also bought the contract of outfielder Bronson Sardinha from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre on November 20, 2006.
A lot of bookkeeping was carried out by the Yankees on November 20, 2009. First the team outrighted Shelley Duncan to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Then the club called up Hector Noesi from the Tampa Yankees; and also called up Romulo Sanchez, Austin Jackson, Reegie Corona, Ivan Nova, Kevin Russo, and Eduardo Nunez from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
A team of touring American All Stars defeated a Japanese team in the Land of the Rising Sun on November 20, 1934, despite the fact that 17-year-old Eiji Sawamura held them to one hit. At one point the youngster struck out Charlie Gehringer, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig in succession. But the one hit was a long ball off the bat of the Yanks’ Iron Horse, and the visitors won the game, 1-0.
On that same day, Boston catcher Moe Berg earned some of the renown that would eventually lead to some spying work for the U.S., when he shot movie film of the tops of some Tokyo houses in a clandestine manner.
Aside from the fact that Yankee nos. 7 and 23 won awards on this day, November 20 is the date six other MVP Awards were won, two in the National League and four in the AL. Ex-Yank Rickey Henderson edged Cecil Fielder of the Tigers in 1990. Robin Yount of the Brewers edged two-time Yankee (but Texas Ranger at the time) Ruben Sierra for the 1989 prize; Jeff Burroughs of those same Rangers rode his league-leading 118 rbi’s to the 1974 award; and Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki became the second player in history to pull down both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP when he notched the latter on November 20, 2001. National League winners this day were power hitter Hank Sauer of the Cubs in 1952; and the Giants’ Willie McCovey, who got by Tom Seaver of the Mets on the same day in 1969.
But Tom Seaver has had good days on November 20 too, as the Mets seem to have a thing with that date, phenomenal young pitching, and the Rookie of the Year Award. Tom Terrific took the NL ROTY on November 20, 1967; and Doc Gooden became the youngest player ever to win it when the honor was bestowed on him on November 20, 1984.
Subway Series (2000) Yankee hero Jose Vizcaino signed a free-agent contract with the Astros on November 20, 2000.
Second baseman Paddy Baumann (1969) is the only Yankee player to have died on November 20. He ended his career by playing 204 games with the 1915-1917 teams, collecting three home runs with 61 rbi’s on 156 hits in 566 at bats. Add in his 1911-1914 debut with Detroit and the career numbers become four and 101.
The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 20 is a long one. It includes a righthanded pitcher, a southpaw, a catcher/first basemen, two outfielders, a second baseman, and lefty-hitting first baseman/outfielder Dick Sisler (1998), who homered 55 times and knocked in 360 runs from 1946-1953 playing four years each with the Phillies and the Cardinals. Portsided outfielder Roy Thomas (1959) hit seven home runs and collected 299 rbi’s playing mostly with the Phillies from 1899-1911; and lefty hitter and outfielder/first baseman Frank Brower (1960) cleared 30 fences good for 205 rbi’s from 1922-1934 with the Senators and the Indians. Righthander John Harkins (1940) won 51, lost 83, and saved none mostly for the Trolley Dodgers from 1884-1888; and southpaw Dick Littlefield (1997) posted a 33-54-9 record with the Pirates, the Browns, and others from 1950-1958. Finally, catcher/first baseman Jack O’Brien (1910) went yard 11 times and knocked in 308 runs from 1882-1890 mostly with the A’s; and second baseman Fresco Thompson (1968) hit 13 long balls and drove in 249 runs with the Phillies and the Giants from 1925-1934.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Of the seven guys who played for the Yankees and who were born on November 20, we’ll lead off with Hall of Fame pitcher, player/manager and manager Clark Griffith (1869). He posted a 32-34 record with three saves for the Highlanders from 1903 through 1907, and as the Yankees’ first manager in New York, he led the team from 1903 through 1908 to a 419-370 mark. He and the Highlanders achieved two second-place finishes, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, and an eighth. But Griffith spent by far the most time with the Washington Senators, serving as a manager and owner.
Lefty-hitting outfielder Jay Johnstone‘s (1945) 59 games in the Bronx in 1978 and 1979, on the other hand, easily outnumber the total games played by the five who will follow. Jay hit two homers and knocked in 13 runs for the Yanks after he arrived with Bobby Brown from the Phillies in a June 1978 trade for Rawly Eastwick. The Yanks sent Jay to the San Diego Padres for Dave Wehrmeister in June 1979. Johnstone would later serve as a broadcaster with the Yanks for a short time.
Lefty hitter Andy Coakley (1882) went 0-for-1 in two games for the 1911 team to cap the nine-year career he had fashioned in Philly, Cincinnati, and Chicago. Righty Rugger Ardizoia (1919) gave up two runs in two innings in his only major-league game, which he pitched for the 1947 Bombers. Infielder Alex Arias (1967) walked once and struck out twice in seven at bats during six games for the 2002 club once he signed on as a free agent that June.
Lefty-batting catcher Lou Berberet (1929) managed five rbi’s in 10 games at the beginning of a seven-year major-league stint with two years with the Yankees (1954-1955). They traded him with Whitey Herzog, Herb Plews, Dick Tettelbach, and Bob Wiesler to the Washington Senators for Mickey McDermott and Bobby Kline in February 1956.
And failed lefty specialist Gabe White (1971) went 2-1 in 12 games for the Yanks in 2003 in his ninth year in the bigs, most of which he spent with Cincinnati after he debuted in Montreal. He went 0-1 in 24 games with New York in 2004 before the Yanks let him loose.
Other birthdays include Baseball Commissioner and member of the Hall of Fame Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866); Rick Monday (1945); Brandon Kolb (1973); J.D. Drew (1975); Sam Fuld (1981); Brock Peterson (1983); Jo-Jo Reyes (1984); Chuckie Fick (1985); Greg Holland (1985); Alex Guerrero (1986); Jeff Locke (1987); Cody Allen (1988); and Amed Rosario (1995).
Players Born This Day