November 22 in Yankee History

  • Mickey Mantle edged Ted Williams in the voting, 233 to 209, for the American League Most Valuable Player Award on November 22, 1957. The vote was controversial, as Mantle came in second in the league in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, with Williams finishing first in all four, and Ted edged him in homers too (second, to Mantle’s third). Mickey did score more runs; he got more hits, walks, stolen bases, and total bases too. And two Chicago writers placed the Splinter an unbelievable ninth and 10th on their ballots. But I think The Mick earned his second of three MVP’s because he led his club to the pennant; Ted’s Sox were not a factor, 16 games back in third place.
  • The Yankees signed southpaw Tommy John as a reentry free agent on November 22, 1978. The man with the famous surgery named for him would win 43 games for the Bombers in the next two years.
  • Lefthanded outfielder Oscar Gamble was a key performer for the 1976 Yanks after they traded pitcher Pat Dobson (see below) to the Indians for him on November 22, 1975. Oscar is also a big hit every year at Old Timers’ Games, as is his picture with the biggest Afro hair style you ever saw.
  • Randy Velarde, who had knocked in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning of the fifth game of the 1995 ALDS vs. Seattle, before Ken Griffey. Jr., and Edgar Martinez rained on the Yankee parade, signed a three-year free-agent contact with the Anaheim Angels one month later on November 22, 1995. Velarde despaired of getting a job as a starter with the Yanks and jumped.
  • Aside from the Mantle MVP win over Williams in 1957, Frank Robinson won the NL version as a Cincinnati Red in 1961; and Johnny Bench did the same on this November day in 1972, his second award in three years.
  • The Players Association fired executive director Kenneth Moffett and replaced him with Donald Fehr on November 22, 1983.
  • The behind-the-scenes story to the free-agent contract Will Clark signed to play first base with the Texas Rangers on November 22, 1993, is that in so doing he undercut the bargaining position of his ex-college teammate, Rafael Palmeiro.
  • ALCS 1976 Yankee hero Chris Chambliss won the Amercan League Rookie of the Year Award as an Indian on November 22, 1971. Pat Listach, the first of three other winners of that prize that day who would later join the Yanks (though he never played a game for them), won the AL Award as a Milwaukee Brewer in 1992. White Sox player Ron Kittle won the AL prize on November 22, 1983, on the strength of his .254 ba, 35 homers, and 100 rbi’s. But after his later trade to the Yanks, the only record-setting results from his rookie year that he brought to the Bronx was his league-leading tendency to strike out, leading to a total of 150 whiffs that year.
  • Steve Sax, who would man second base in the Bronx later in his career, won the NL Rookie of the Year Award on this day in 1982. Other AL November 22 winners: Seattle’s Alvin Davis in 1984; Lou Whitaker of the Tigers in 1978; Twins second sacker Rod Carew in 1967; Baltimore’s Curt Blefary in 1965; and Harry Byrd of the A’s in 1952. The two other National League winners were Johnny Bench of the Reds in 1968; and Montreal’s Andre Dawson on November 22, 1977.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Righthanded starter Pat Dobson, who threw to a 122-129-19 record in 11 seasons, almost all of them in the AL, passed away on November 22, 2006. Pat, who went 39-37 for the Yanks from 1973-1975, was acquired from Atlanta for Frank Tepedino, Wayne Nordhagen, and two players to be named. Eerily, his subsequent trade from New York to Cleveland (see above) took place on November 22, 1975, the reverse anniversary of his future death. Pat did most of his pitching with the Tigers and Yanks (three years each) and the Orioles and Indians (two). Lefty-hitting outfielder Roy Carlyle (1956) ended his career playing 35 games for the 1926 Yankees. He cleared no fences but drove in 11 runs on 20-for-52 hitting, and totaled nine long balls and 76 rbi’s playing with Washington in 1925, with the Red Sox in 1925-1926, and his stop with the Yankees. Righthander Dick Carroll (1945), the last of the three Yanks to succumb this day, pitched just two games (one start) in the bigs, both with the 1909 Highlanders, to no record.
  • The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 22 includes two righthanded pitchers, both of whom batted lefty, and a second baseman/outfielder. Erv Brame (1949) won 52 games, lost 37, and saved one from 1928-1932 throwing only for the Pirates; while Joe Bowman (1990) posted a 77-96-11 mark pitching mostly with the Pirates (five years), and the Phillies and the Red Sox (two years each) from 1932-1945. Second baseman/outfielder Danny Murphy (1955) hit 44 home runs and drove in 702 runs from 1900-1901 with the Giants, 1902-1913 with the A’s, and 1914-1915 with the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League.
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    Players Born This Day

  • Many of the nine Yankees born November 22 are well-known even today, unlike the seven born two days earlier. While failing to emerge into the stardom for which some felt he was destined, lefty outfielder Ricky Ledee (1973) smacked 17 Yankee homers and drove in 83 runs from his 1998 debut until his 2000 trade to Cleveland for David Justice. Ricky had an excellent 1998 World Series against the Padres, and has been a very serviceable platoon outfielder in the National League the last few years. A 16th round 1990 Yankee amateur draft pick, Ledee was joined by Zach Day and Jake Westbrook in going to the Indians in the trade for Justice.
  • The highlight of portsided reliever Lee Guetterman‘s (1958) stay in the Bronx was the 13 saves in 1989; he both began and ended his career in Seattle, and amassed a 21-19 Yankee record with 21 saves from 1988 through 1992. Lee arrived in New York with Clay Parker and Wade Taylor in a December 1987 trade from Seattle for Steve Trout and Henry Cotto. The Yanks shipped him to the crosstown Mets for Tim Burke in June 1992.
  • Switch-hitting infielder Wayne Tolleson (1955) ended his time in the bigs with two homers, 16 stolen bases, and 54 rbi’s for the Yanks from 1986 through 1990 after five years in Texas and part of one season with the White Sox. Tolly was acquired with Ron Kittle and Joel Skinner from the White Sox in July 1986 for Bill Lindsey, Ron Hassey, and Carlos Martinez.
  • Third baseman Rich McKinney (1946) was not only famously ineffective at the hot corner in 1972, making eight errors while hitting one homer with seven rbi’s in 33 games, he also cost the Yanks pitcher Stan Bahnsen in the December 1971 trade that brought him to the Bronx. One year later, the Yankees shipped McKinney and Rob Gardner to the Oakland Athletics for Matty Alou.
  • Four of the five remaining players born this day played [or have played] only a handful of games with the Bombers, with lefty-hitting outfielder Harry Rice (1901) being the exception with seven homers and 74 rbi’s in 1930. Rice arrived with Ownie Carroll and Yats Wuestling in a May 1930 trade from the Tigers for Waite Hoyt and Mark Koenig, and he was selected off waivers by the Senators from New York in 1931.
  • Lew Burdette (1926) probably topped his great career (203-144 from 1951-1967) when he led the Braves with whom he spent much of his career to a World Series victory in seven games over the Yanks in 1957, but he got his start in the Bronx, posting no record in two appearances in 1950. A 1947 Bombers draft choice, Lew was traded to the Boston Braves in August 1951 for Johnny Sain and cash.
  • Pi Schwert‘s (1892) 12 games for the 1914-1915 Yanks was his only major league experience, during which time he managed six rbi’s; and lefty Wade Blasingame (1943) went 0-1 in 12 games for the ’72 club in his big-league finale after three seasons in Milwaukee and two in Atlanta with the Braves, and six years with the Astros. The Yanks got Blasingame from the Astros in June 1972, and sent him to the St. Louis Cardinals the following March.
  • A new member of the Yankee November 22 birthday club arrived in late 2011, with backup catcher Austin Romine (1988) joining the bigs. A defensive specialist whom the Yanks hope will learn to hit, the Yanks got Austin in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft. He had three hits in 19 at bats while playing in nine games in 2011. Austin’s 2012 season was lost to a back injury, bad timing as he may have gotten some more major league play in light of the trade of prospect Jesus Montero. Mostly due to the loss of Francisco Cervelli to injury and then suspension, Romine spent virtually the entire 2012 season as Chris Stewart‘s backup, with decent defense and disappointing offensive numbers, although he did show an improvement in September. He hit one home run, drove in 10 runs, and batted .207 in 60 games, and played in AAA in 2014 and 2015 except for seven games and one game, respectively, in the Bronx. Romine had a bounce back season in the Bronx in 2016, serving as backup catcher all year, collecting four long balls and 26 rbi’s playing behind Brian McCann, then later phenom Gary Sanchez. His 2017 season was similar, with two home runs and 21 rbi’s in 80 games.
  • Other birthdays: Greg Luzinski (1950); Lyman Bostock (1950), who died young and tragically; Jay Payton (1972); Joe Nathan (1974); Jonny Gomes (1980); Oscar Villarreal (1981); Yusmeiro Petit (1984); Adam Ottavino (1985); Chris Dominguez (1988); Drew Pomeranz (1988); Justin Nicolino (1991); and Jayson Aquino (1992).