November 30 in Yankee History

  • Twelve home runs and 204 rbi’s over seven seasons are the kinds of numbers that get passed off as mediocre in this report all the time. And even though this player’s three managerial stretches with the Yanks all netted positive results (34-22 prestrike in 1981; 14-12 post-strike; and 44-42 in 1982), they hardly merited many boldface declarations either. But few would dispute, despite those ordinary numbers, that the acquisition of Gene “Stick” Michael from the Dodgers on November 30, 1967, was one of the Yankee moves of the last third of the last century that had the most far-reaching positive effects. It was bad news to all of Yankee land, and baseball, when Stick passed away in 2017.
  • Yankee lefthander Dave Righetti rode his 8-4, 2.06-era 1981 season to that year’s American League Rookie of the Year Award, granted to Rags on November 30. He posted a 74-61 record with 224 saves in the Bronx from 1979 through 1990, led the league in saves in 1986, won two AL Rolaids Relief Awards, came in fourth in the 1986 Cy Young voting and 10th in the MVP tally, and led the American League in strike outs per nine innings in 1982.
  • The only other November 30 Rookie of the Year recipient was Billy Williams of the Cubs in 1961.
  • On November 30, 2016, the Yankees signed free agent southpaw Joe Mantiply to a minor league contract and invited him to Spring Training.
  • On November 30, 2015, the Yankees signed free agent shortstop Pete Kozma to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. The club also signed free agent righthanded pitcher Diego Moreno to a minor league contract; he was invited to spring training as well.
  • The Yankees signed free agent righty Mike “Moose” Mussina to a six-year contract on November 30, 2000. If fans were unconvinced of his postseason value to the club after the 2001 1-0 win-or-go-home victory over Barry Zito and the A’s in Game Three of the 2001 ALDS, his relief appearance in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox should convince them. After an upsetting Japan trip got his 2004 campaign off to a rough start, he did manage to right himself in time for the 2004 playoffs. He performed well in the 2005 ALDS as well, and even pitched well enough to win in the Game Five series-deciding loss. But his failure to hold a 3-1 fourth-inning lead over the Tigers in Game Two of the 2006 ALDS turned the series in Detroit’s favor. The 11-10 mark in 2007 got him past the 250-win mark, but it was not a good season on balance, all the more reason to be delighted with the 20-win season in 2008, the only one in his long career.
  • A mixed bag of roster news on November 30, 2012, as the Yankees designated recently selected free agent righthander Mickey Storey and infielder Jayson Nix for assignment, though the latter would eventually be re-signed. Free agent first baseman Dan Johnson, most recently with the White Sox, who would be signed by the Yanks but not make the team, elected free agency, as did Yankee righty reliever Cory Wade, who would take his game elsewhere. And good news/bad news: Mariano Rivera signed for 2013, his final season, and catcher Russell Martin sadly made it official by signing a free agent contract with Pittsburgh. The Yanks would need another catcher. (Spoiler alert: They would not find one.)
  • The Yankees signed free agent Kelly Stinnett to a one-year contract to be their backup catcher on November 30, 2005. The fact that Stinnett was released in favor of Sal Fasano before the season was over speaks volumes. Kelly stroked one Yankee home run, drove in nine runs, and hit to a .228 batting average. He has hit 64 home runs with 225 rbi’s over 13 seasons.
  • Among the November 30 transactions that have affected past and future Yankees, there is the 1961 trade of Don Larsen and Billy Pierce from the White Sox to the Giants for Eddie Fisher, Dom Zanni, Verle Tiefenthaler, and Bob Farley; the White Sox (again) trade of outfielder Ken Berry to the Angels for outfielder Jay Johnstone in 1970; the Minnesota Twins swap of shortstop Leo Cardenas to those same Angels for relief pitcher Dave LaRoche in 1971; and the move of Oscar Gamble to Cleveland for Del Unser in 1972. Finally, recent Yankee starter Randy Johnson signed a four-year free-agent contract with the Diamondbacks on November 30, 1998, his last stop before the Bronx.
  • On November 30, 1948, as the door to the major leagues was being cracked open for African Americans and other players of color, the Negro National League was disbanded.
  • On another November 30 baseball, race-related matter, Jackie Robinson pilloried the New York Yankee management on a local TV show for not having brought up any black players to the parent club on this day in 1952. Yankee GM George Weiss defended the Yankees against the allegations.
  • Player/Manager Lou Boudreau of the Cleveland Indians won the AL Most Valuable Player Award on November 30, 1948.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Following up on yesterday, when we honored eight players with Pinstripes on their resumes who died, we acknowledge that lefthander Slim Love (1942) is the only Yankee player to have died on November 30. The bulk of his career was the 91 games (39 starts) he pitched with the 1916-1918 Yankees to a 21-17-2 record. One year with the Senators beforehand and two with Detroit after increase that mark to 28-21-4.
  • The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 30 includes a lefty-hitting, righthanded pitcher and a catcher, but it’s dominated by three righthanded outfielders, two of whom hit from the left side. Righty-fielding, -throwing, and -fielding Wally Berger (1988) homered 242 times and knocked in 898 runs from 1930-1940 playing six years with the Braves, three with the Reds, and two with the Bees; Alex Metzler (1973) hit nine home runs and collected 207 rbi’s playing mostly with the White Sox from 1925-1930; and John Shea (1956) cleared 77 fences good for 707 rbi’s from 1928-1933 with the Tigers and the Senators. Jack Scott (1959) won 103, lost 109, and saved 19 games mostly for the Giants and the Braves from 1916-1929; and catcher Frank Bowerman (1948) hit 13 long balls and drove in 392 runs from 1898-1909 playing multiple seasons with the Orioles, the Pirates, the Giants, and the Doves.
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    Players Born This Day

  • Three of the eight Yankees born on November 30 played in the frustrating eighties, and one during the even worse late sixties; so even though the 1934-1935 teams that Jimmie DeShong (1909) pitched for failed to win it all, the five titles in the decade clearly place him on two Yankee clubs better than most of those the other birthdaying Yanks played on. DeShong went 10-8 in the Bronx after one year with the A’s in Philly and before four campaigns with Washington. DeShong was traded with Jesse Hill to the Washington Senators for Bump Hadley and Roy Johnson in January 1936.
  • Tall, lanky lefty reliever Steve Hamilton (1935), famed for tossing a slow looping pitch which he called “the Folly Floater,” had a taste of some good teams in his early years in the Bronx, and posted a fine 34-17 mark with 33 saves from 1963-1970. He joined the Bombers via an April 1963 trade by the Washington Senators for Jim Coates. He was a waiver loss to the Chicago White Sox in September 1970.
  • Bob Tewksbury (1960) debuted to a 10-9 record with the 1986-1987 Yankees in a career in which he posted a 110-102 mark with the Cubs, the Rangers, the Padres, the Twins, but mostly five years with the Cardinals. A 19th-round Yankee amateur draft pick in June 1981, Tewksbury was traded away when young pitching was in short supply in New York. More tragic still, however, he was sent to the Cubs in July 1987 along with Rich Scheid and Dean Wilkins for a totally ineffective Steve Trout, one of many bad eighties trades sending away young talent for veteran players.
  • Third baseman Barry Evans (1956) ended his play in the bigs by notching two rbi’s in 17 games for the 1982 squad after four seasons with the Padres. He was purchased from San Diego in February 1982. Righty Steve Shields (1958) went 5-5 for the 1988 team in the middle of a five-year career that included stops in Atlanta, Kansas City, Seattle, and Minnesota. The Yanks signed Shields as a free agent in November 1987, and shipped him to the Minnesota Twins for Balvino Galvez in March 1989.
  • Finally, catcher Tacks Latimer (1877) had one hit in four at bats in his only game for the 1901 Baltimore Orioles, which is the franchise that would relocate to New York as the Highlanders in 1903. His 26 other big-league games were played with the Giants, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Brooklyn, with no homers and seven rbi’s. And honorable mention goes to recent Yankee bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan (1954), although he never played for the Yanks.
  • The best thing that can be said about first baseman/outfielder Craig Wilson ‘s (1976) 2006 stint in Pinstripes is that he was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh for pitcher Shawn Chacon who, after a great 2005 in the Bronx, totally tanked the year after. Wilson hit just .212 in 40 games for the Yanks, during which he hit four home runs good for eight rbi’s. He has almost 100 career home runs with close to 300 rbi’s after six years in the game, almost all of it with the Pirates.
  • There isn’t a lot good to say about the brief 2005 21-game stop in the Bronx by outfielder Matt Lawton (1971), who managed two home runs and four rbi’s here, although one of the long balls won a big game down the stretch. He had a fine time playing in Minnesota, for whom he debuted from 1995-2001, but is out of the game now with a steroids-use mark on his record. He played 11 games with Seattle in 2006 after his Bronx stop, and has hit 138 home runs with 631 runs driven in in his big-league career.
  • Other birthdays: Firpo Marberry (1898); Craig Swan (1950); Juan Berenguer (1954); Dave Engle (1956); Bo Jackson (1962); Mark Lewis (1969); Ray Durham (1971); Shane Victorino (1980); Rich Harden (1981); Luis Valbuena (1985); Chase Anderson (1987); Mikie Mahtook (1989); and Kyle Crick (1992).