November 3 in Yankee History

  • The bold move the Yanks pulled off on November 3, 1992, might stand as a cautionary tale for fans, such as myself, who don’t want to trade any young Yankee talent away today. I was stunned when I heard the Yanks had traded star outfielder Roberto Kelly, and in shock that it wasn’t at least in exchange for the always-in-short-supply commodity: pitching. That the arriving Paul O’Neill had been largely a platoon player added salt to my wounds. But Paul’s incredible performance in the Bronx, where he combined a strong right field arm, and 185 homers with 858 rbi’s over the following eight years, with a passion for the game unmatched in my lifetime, healed those wounds many times over.
  • It’s all in your perspective. Yankee fans can rejoice that second baseman Joe Gordon outpointed Ted Williams, 270-249, in the 1942 AL MVP vote, despite the Splendid Splinter’s Triple Crown-winning season, on November 3, 1942. It tweaks a Boston fanbase that felt plenty put out already, at least until 2004.
  • But the same fans will grumble that Lou Gehrig came in fifth in the AL MVP vote on November 3, 1934, when he posted a 49-homer, 165-rbi, .363-ba Triple Crown season. Mickey Cochrane, the winner of the award for the Tigers, had significantly lower numbers: two homers, 76 rbi’s, a .320 ba. It can be attributed, I suppose, to the fact that the Yanks finished second to the Tigers, seven games back. Likewise, the Red Sox were nine games behind the first-place Yanks in 1942.
  • The rumor is that Andy Pettitte was tipping his pitches when the Diamondbacks smashed the Yankees in 2001 World Series Game Six on November 3, 15-2. Randy Johnson got the win, and Danny Bautista knocked in five. Worse still, Jay Witasik relieved Pettitte in the bottom of the third by surrendering what would have been eight straight hits except that he managed to strike out Tony Womack in the middle of the streak.
  • Neither move came as a surprise when righthander Ivan Nova and first baseman Mark Teixeira elected free agency on November 3, 2016. The former had been traded to Pittsburgh for low-level prospects at the trade deadline, and would re-sign with them shortly; while Teixeira had announced his retirement two months earlier.
  • It was one of those identifiable days on the baseball calendar on November 3, 2012, and two pinstripers who would end up back in the Bronx chose to be free agents, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and righthander Hiroki Kuroda. Similarly, another veteran who would play for the 2013 Yanks, Cleveland DH Travis Hafner, also elected free agency; and righthander Freddy Garcia and right fielder Nick Swisher, becoming ex-Yankees, chose to be free agents.
  • Although his brief service as a pinch runner down the stretch of the 2014 season was valuable, when the Yankees sent outfielder Antoan Richardson outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on November 13, 2014, the writing was on the wall: He would not be a Yankee much longer.
  • At the time, it remained to be seen if it was a significant transaction when the Yankees signed right-handed free agent Sergio Mitre to a one-year deal with a team option for 2010 on November 3, 2008. Sergio showed some signs that he had recovered from shoulder injuries and could be the Yankee fifth starter in 2009, but not enough, and the team traded for Chad Gaudin to fill that role.
  • Neither November 3, 2010 move would lead to continued service with the club: The Yankees activated lefty reliever Damaso Marte and right-handed reliever Alfredo Aceves from the 60-day disabled list that day.
  • The Yankees’ tour of Japan that began on November 3, 1954, drew a crowd of 64,000 to its first game. Third baseman Andy Carey drilled 13 taters and Elston Howard hit .468 on the 25-game tour.
  • Having lost the job in New York twice, Lou Piniella proved his managing mettle after being hired to guide the 1990 Cincinnati Reds on November 3, 1989. Piniella also managed the Mariners, and he guided the Cubs to the 2007 and 2008 playoffs (with the best record in the NL in the latter).
  • In recent years, November 3 has been a popular day for awarding Rookie of the Year honors, as Ben Grieve of the A’s won in 1998; and Nomar Garciaparra won in unanimous fashion for the Red Sox in 1997. On the other hand, Jeff Bagwell began a long painful career watch for Red Sox fans as he won the prize in Houston in 1991 after the Boston club had traded him there for Larry Andersen the September before; and Mark McGwire also won the Award unanimously on November 3, 1987.
  • A couple of decades ago, it was the Cy Young Awards that dominated November 3. Rollie Fingers and Pete Vukovitch of the Brewers won the AL Award in back-to-back seasons in 1981 and 1982, respectively; Bob Gibson easily outpointed Gaylord Perry for the NL prize in 1970; Boston’s Jim Lonborg prevailed in the AL in 1967; Sandy Koufax was a unanimous winner in the NL on November 3, 1965; and Pittsburgh’s Vern Law overcame Warren Spahn for the 1960 prize by an 8-4 vote on this day as well.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Righthander Ray Fisher (1982) is the only Yankee player to have died on November 3. He debuted in New York by pitching 219 games (166 starts) from 1910-1917, and went 76-88-5. After tossing for the Reds from 1919 and 1920, his career numbers became 100-94-7.
  • Think Full House when compiling the list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 3, as it includes three righthanded pitchers and two shortstops. Elmer Smith (1945) won 75, lost 58, and saved none from 1886 through 1898 pitching mostly with the Red Stockings and the Reds; Frank Smith (1952) posted a 139-111-6 mark pitching six years with the White Sox and two each with the Red Sox, Reds, and Terrapins from 1904-1915; and Jack Russell (1990) won 85, lost 141, and saved 38 games pitching eight, four, and two years, respectively, for the Red Sox, the Senators, and the Cubs from 1926-1940. The two shortstops are Heinie Sand (1958), who hit all 18 of his long balls and drove in 251 runs from 1923-1928 with the Phillies; and Vern Stephens (1968), who collected 247 roundtrippers and drove in 1,174 from 1941-1955 playing eight years with the Browns, five with the Red Sox, and two each with the White Sox and the Orioles.
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    Players Born This Day

  • Although he never played in Pinstripes, Manager Johnny Keane (1911) wore them as he piloted the club after leading the Cardinals in defeating them in the 1964 World Series. It didn’t work out for Keane in the Bronx, with the Yanks falling to sixth in 1965 and stumbling to a 4-16 record in 1966 before Johnny was replaced.
  • Although lefty thrower Kenny Holtzman (1945) managed a 12-10 mark pitching in the Bronx, he is more remembered for the late-’70s deal that set the Orioles up, as the Yanks sent Rudy May, Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor, and Rick Dempsey south for Holtzman, Doyle Alexander, Elrod Hendricks, and Grant Jackson. Ken’s ticket out of the Bronx involved a more felicitous transaction for New York, as Ron Davis was pried out of the Cubs for him in June 1978. Holtzman is also alleged to be the player who led the volatile Mickey Rivers astray by introducing him to the racetrack. Holtzman was very frustrated that he was rarely used when he pitched for the Yankees.
  • Yankee fans were delighted that Armando Benitez‘s (1972) stay in the Bronx in 2003 was brief. Jason Anderson and two other young righties were sent to the Mets for Armando in July 2003. Although Benitez went 1-1 with no saves for the Yankees, the August swap of the big righty to Seattle for Jeff Nelson was not the brilliant coup originally expected either.
  • Righty Walter Clarkson (1878) went 14-10 with one save as he debuted with the 1904-1907 Highlanders, before pitching a year and a half with Cleveland. The New Yorkers traded Clarkson to the Cleveland Naps for Earl Moore in May 1907. John Clarkson, Walter’s brother, was a Hall of Fame hurler for the Cubs and Braves in the 1880′s and 1890′s.
  • After unfortunately providing considerably more quantity than quality in 2004, Paul Quantrill‘s (1968) option was not picked up in 2005, limiting his time in New York after a 7-3, 86-game, one-save ’04 campaign. He did not redeem himself in the Bronx in ’05 before being sent away. Snatched away by the Dodgers in the 1989 minor league draft, righty Mike Christopher (1963), a 1985 Yankee amateur draft pick, went 5-1 with one save from 1991-1996 in L.A., Cleveland, and Detroit.
  • Matt Lawton (1971) stroked most of his 138 career home runs and 630 rbi’s with Minnesota, but he did struggle through a tough 2005 stretch run with the Yanks once they picked him up for outfield help. He kicked in with two homers and four rbi’s in the Bronx, but one of the taters was a huge game-winner in a big must-win game.
  • Other birthdays: Hall of Famer Bob Feller (1918), who won 266 games for the Indians over 21 seasons; Dwight “Dewey” Evans (1951); Larry Herndon (1953); Bob Welch (1956); Brandon Dickson (1984); Jonathan Herrera (1984); Alex Wilson (1986); Kyle Seager (1987); Ryan Tepera (1987); Carlos Moncrief (1988); and Madison Younginer (1990).