November 24 in Yankee History

  • It was a move just too painfully characteristic of the Yankees in the eighties. On November 24, 1986, the Bombers shipped pitchers Brian Fisher, Logan Easley, and (most awfully) Doug Drabek to Pittsburgh for Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante, and Pat Clements. Although Guante was a serviceable reliever over the next two seasons (8-8, 12 saves), the trade must be judged by looking at the principals: the veteran Rhoden and the young arm of Drabek. The former went 28-22 in the Bronx over the next two years and was out of baseball in three. Drabek, on the other hand, would win 148 games in the National League over the next decade or so; he fashioned a 22-6 Cy Young Award-winning season in Pittsburgh in 1990.
  • The most significant player move in the November 24, 1972, trade that brought Matty Alou to the Bronx was neither Matty’s acquisition nor the departure of lefty thrower Rob Gardner, who had been 9-5 during three seasons in New York, but the separation of flop third base candidate Rich McInney from the Yankees. Alou would get two homers and 28 rbi’s in 123 games in the Yankee outfield alongside brother Felipe Alou in 1973. On the other hand, McKinney, who not only batted anemically in Pinstripes, but was an error in the field just waiting to happen, would neither be missed nor forgotten.
  • On November 24, 2015, the Yankees signed free agent righthander Daniel Marten to a minor league contract.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays released infielder Cole Figueroa, who had played in 16 games with them in the just concluded 2014 season, on November 24, 2014. The Yanks would sign him, and he would get two hits and score twice in two games with the major league club in 2015.
  • The Yankees signed free agent third baseman Yamaico Navarro to a minor league contract on November 19, 2013.
  • Of the two Most Valuable Player Awards distributed on November 24, the first was to St. Louis Cardinal third baseman Ken Boyer in 1964. Joe Morgan of the Reds won the other in 1976, his second straight.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals are also represented in a list of November 24 Rookie of the Year Awards, as righty reliever Todd Worrell copped the NL prize in 1986. Baltimore’s Cal Ripken, Jr., received the AL Award in 1982; and Earl Williams, who split his time afield between catcher and first base for the Braves, took the NL honor on this same day in 1971.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Righthander Ivy Andrews (1970), one of two Yankee players who have died on November 24, is unique to the extent that his 1931-1938 career was both begun and ended with a one-plus-year stop with New York. During those times he pitched 41 games (10 starts) to an 8-6-2 record. Stops with the Red Sox, the Browns, and the Indians in between ballooned those numbers to 50-59-8. Lefty-hitting second baseman/infielder Spencer Adams (1970) had three hits good for one rbi in 25 at bats during 28 games with the 1926 Yankees. Stops in Pittsburgh in 1923, in Washington in 1925, and with the 1927 St. Louis Browns increased the rbi number 38.
  • Hall of Fame hurler Warren Spahn passed away on November 24, 2003. With an overall record of 363-245-29, Spahn turned in some eye-popping stats in a remarkably consistent career. The southpaw starter led the NL in era three times; in strike outs, innings pitched, and shutouts four times; in wins eight times; and in complete games nine times. The latter two marks included a run of five straight leads in wins (’57-’61) and seven straight in times finishing the games that he started (’57-’63). After 20 seasons with the Braves, he pitched briefly with Braves, the Mets, and the Giants at the end. The list of other noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 20 includes two righthanded pitchers, two catchers, two outfielders, and a utility player, but lefty hitter Mayo Smith (1977), who knocked in 11 runs for the 1945 Philly A’s, more famously served as a manger for 10 years, highlighted by a four-year stay with the Tigers that peaked with the 1968 World Championship. Switch-hitting outfielder Jim Russell (1987) hit 67 home runs and drove in 428 runs playing six years with the Pirates, and two each with the Braves and the Dodgers from 1942-1951; and switch-hitting righthanded pitcher Frank Owen (1942) posted an 82-67-2 mark mostly with the White Sox from 1901-1909. Backstop John Henry (1941) hit two long balls and knocked in 171 runs from 1910-1918 mostly with the Senators; and lefty hitter Carl Sawatski (1991) cleared 58 fences good for 213 rbi’s playing four years with the Cardinals, three with the Cubs, and two each with the Braves and the Phillies from 1948-1963. Switch-hitting utility player Jimmy Stewart (2012), who threw righthanded, hit eight home runs and drove in 112 runs from 1963-1973 playing mostly with the Cubs and the Reds. And newest to the group is lefty hitting, righty throwing hurler Boo (Dave) Ferriss (2016), who pitched only for the Red Sox, from 1945 through 1950; he posted a 65-30 mark with eight saves, appearing in 144 games, 103 of them as a starter.
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    Players Born This Day

  • Randy Velarde (1962) is the more famous among today’s fans of the four Yankees born on November 24. He smashed 43 homers and knocked in 204 rbi’s playing all around the Yankee infield (and a little bit in the outfield) as he debuted in the Bronx in 1987 and played there through 1995; he returned for a few games in the 2001 stretch run as well. A 1985 White Sox amateur free agent selection, Randy was acquired with Pete Filson in a January 1987 trade from the Palehose to the Yankees for Scott Nielsen and minor-leaguer Mike Soper. After leaving New York as a free agent after the 1995 season, he was traded back here by the Texas Rangers for Randy Flores and minor-leaguer Rosman Garcia in August 2001.
  • Righthander Bob Friend (1930) is perhaps better known by baseball historians than Velarde, though few recall his days in Pinstripes, for which I wouldn’t blame them one bit. Who wants to recall the dreadful 1966 10th-place (out of 10) Yankee season, which Friend contributed to with his 1-4 record in 12 games (eight starts)? The Yankees sent Pete Mikkelsen and cash to Pittsburgh for Friend in December 1965, and dumped him in Flushing with the fledgling New York Mets the following June. A talented starter for much of his career, Friend’s 197-230 career mark is mostly a function of having toiled for a generally poor Pittsburgh team from 1951-1965.
  • Righty Fred Beene (1942) went 7-3 with five saves for the Bombers during the 1972-1974 campaigns after three seasons with the Orioles. Beene was acquired in a trade from Baltimore for minor leaguer Dale Spier in January 1972. Fred was moved to Cleveland in what turned out to a great trade for the Yankees in April 1974. The Bombers shipped Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline, and Fritz Peterson to the Indians for Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, and Cecil Upshaw.
  • Traded to the Yankees by the Padres for a righty pitcher at a time the club was short on infielders, shortstop Dean Anna (1986) did have a big moment with a home run in one of his 12 games with the 2014 Yankees — his only big leagues play — until he was released, although he finished with just a .136 batting average, three rbi’s, and the one long ball. Dean got into one game with the Cardinals in 2015.
  • Other birthdays: New York Giants outfielder from 1911-1925 George Burns (1889); Boston and Detroit shortstop from ’25-’40 Billy Rogell (1904); Hall of Fame outfielder Joe Medwick (1911), who played for the Dodgers, the Giants, and the Cardinals from 1932 through 1948; former Philly Manager Danny Ozark (1923); Jim Northrup (1939); Steve Yeager (1948); Ben McDonald (1967); Al Martin (1967); Cal Eldred (1967); Dave Hansen (1968); Jason Jacome (1970); Damian Moss (1976); Mike Edwards (1976); Horacio Ramirez (1979); Jeff Salazar (1980); Jose Lopez (1983); Joel Guzman (1984); Chris Herrmann (1987); Jarrod Parker (1988); Kendry Flores (1991); Jeimer Candelario (1993); and Francis Martes (1995).