November 5 in Yankee History

  • When Derek Jeter became the full-time starter at shortstop for the Yankees in 1996, he became the first Pinstriped rookie to do so since Tom Tresh did it in 1962. And Jeter was selected unanimously as the American League 1996 Rookie of the Year on November 5, 1996.
  • Hall of Fame Baseball Exec Lee MacPhail served as farm director and director of player personnel with the Yankees from 1949 through 1958, later returned to the club as general manager, and also served as AL President from 1964 through 1973, but on November 5, 1958, he became GM of the Baltimore Orioles.
  • The big news in Yankee land after a disappointing postseason-less 2008 season was that the superb Mike Mussina had finally won 20 games in a season. But under the radar, perhaps, was the fact that Moose won the gold glove for the AL pitcher position coming off that year on November 5, 2008 as well.
  • Burleigh Grimes was hired to replace the fired Casey Stengel as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers on November 5, 1936, while Casey would land with the Boston Bees (Braves) as their field boss from 1938-1943. But Grimes only lasted two years, and nothing Casey did with the Dodgers or the Bees foresaw the kind of run he would have with the Yanks from 1949-1960, with 10 pennant winners and seven World Championships.
  • Initiating an interesting but not at all enjoyable (or successful) offseason search for a catcher, the Yankees claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from San Francisco Giants on November 5, 2012.
  • Because the lefty Fred Glade, whom the Yanks acquired from the St. Louis Browns on November 5, 1907, went only 0-4 in five games before leaving the game, it wasn’t a good trade for the Bombers. The Browns got second baseman Jimmy Williams (four homers, 75 rbi’s, 13 stolen bases in 1908 and 1909) and outfielder Danny Hoffman (three homers, 85 rbi’s, 43 stolen bases from 1908 through 1911). In addition to Glade, the Yanks received outfielder Charlie Hemphill (one homer, 90 rbi’s, 80 stolen bases over four seasons in New York) and second baseman Harry Niles, who was sent to Boston before the 1908 season ended. Still not a great trade for New York, but consider this: Niles’s first-inning lead-off walk against Cy Young on June 30, 1908, prevented Young’s no-hitter over the Yanks from being a Perfect Game. Talk about your silver lining.
  • We’ll include here that several-year San Fran right fielder Randy Winn filed for free agency on November 5, 2009 because in several months he would sign with the Yankees. Randy would not succeed in the Bronx, however.
  • Thirty-One-Game-winning Detroit Tiger Denny McLain won the 1968 AL MVP Award on November 5, 1968. Terry Pendleton of the Braves was named the NL MVP on the same date in 1991.
  • Jim Palmer outpointed Detroit rookie sensation and free spirit Mark “The Bird” Fidrych for the 1976 AL Cy Young Award on November 5. And in 2002, eventual Yankee starter Randy Johnson was so honored for the fifth time (with four straight), with the NL Cy Young, also on the fifth of November. All of baseball, I’m sure, mourned the passing of the one and only Fidrych in 2009.
  • Bud Selig announced the move of the Milwaukee Brewers from the American League to the National League on November 5, 1997.
  • Though few perhaps remember it in the flush of a Boston winning the AL East in 2007 before coming in second to the Yankees eight straight seasons and then slipping behind Toronto into third in 2006, the main AL East competition for the Yankees after Joe Torre‘s arrival was actually the Baltimore Orioles. One could point to November 5, 1997, as the last vestige we’ve seen of that rivalry. On that date, Davey Johnson resigned as manager of the Orioles just days before he was named the 1997 American League Manager of the Year. Barring a few good stretches, the O’s have been out of the pennant picture ever since.
  • For years, tours of Japan by major league baseball stars were entirely one-sided affairs, but no more. A team of Japanese stars squeaked by a team of American players 2-1 on November 5, 1988. It was the first game in a series barely won by the Americans three games to two, with two ties.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Rod Scurry, who pitched for the Pirates, Yankees, and Mariners, passed away at the age of 36 on November 5, 1992. Scurry went 2-2-3 pitching 36 games (0 starts) in New York 1n 1985-1986. In a 1980-1988 career spent largely with the Pirates, Scurry posted a 19-32-39 mark. The only other player who makes the list of Yankee players to have died on November 5 is first baseman Bill Mellor (1940), who earns that distinction by having played all 10 of his big-league games with the 1902 Orioles club that would be relocated to New York as the Highlanders in 1903. Bill stroked 13 hits in 36 official tries, and drove in five runs.
  • The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 5 includes two righthanded pitchers, a catcher, a first baseman, and three lefty-hitting outfielders. Charlie Root (1970)’s 201-160-40 record from 1923-1941, almost all of it with the Cubs, would be good enough to lead this list, even if he wasn’t also so famous for being the guy against which Babe Ruth hit his alleged “called shot” in the 1932 World Series; and Sam Jones (1971) pitched to a 102-101-9 mark from 1951-1964 featuring three-year stints with the Cardinals and the Giants, and two-year stops with the Indians and the Cubs. Catcher Gene Desautels (1994) cleared three fences and drove in 187 runs from 1930-1946 playing mostly with the Tigers, the Red Sox, and the Indians; and first baseman George Stovall (1951) hit most of his 15 long balls and knocked in 564 runs with Cleveland. Finally, the three outfielders who hit from the port side are George Treadway (1928), who hit 12 roundtrippers and knocked in 224 runs from 1893-1896 playing more often than not with the Bridegrooms; Dave Robertson (1970), who cleared 47 fences good for 364 rbi’s from 1912-1922 playing most of his games with the Giants and the Cubs; and Willard Marshall (2000), who hit 130 long balls and drove in 604 runs playing in 1942, and from 1946-1955, five of the years in New York with the Giants.
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    Players Born This Day

  • With no established stars filling the rolls of Yankee players born November 5 until a year ago, center fielder Johnny Damon (1973) moved right to the head of the class once he signed a contract to put on the Pinstripes. Damon’s 24 home runs (with 80 rbi’s) in 2006 eclipsed his next highest number by four, though he slipped to 12/63 through an injury-marred 2007. He also played more often at DH or in left field as he would in 2008, to improved 17/71 offensive production. Having played six years with Kansas City and a one-year stop in Oakland before his five seasons with Boston pre-2006, Damon eclipsed 200 (207) long balls and fell for short of 1,000 rbi’s in a solid 2009 season. In addition, his two-bases-stolen-in-one-play in Game 4 of the 2009 World Series will not soon be forgotten. Damon had a so-so season with the Tigers in 2010, and a better one with Tampa Bay in 2011.
  • Before Mr. Damon came along, backup catcher Roxy Walters (1892) was the only one of four Yankees who celebrated their birthday as November 5 who spent much time playing in the Bronx. He chipped in with 49 rbi’s during his 1915-1918 stay with the Bombers before playing five years in Boston and two in Cleveland. Walters was traded with Ray Caldwell, Frank Gilhooley, Slim Love, and cash to the Red Sox in December 1918 for Ernie Shore and Duffy Lewis.
  • Righthander Sonny Dixon (1924) finished up his years in the bigs by going 0-1 with one save for the 1956 Yanks after throwing two years in Washington, one in Philly, and one in Kansas City. The Yankees got Dixon from the Kansas City Athletics for Johnny Sain and Enos Slaughter in May 1955.
  • Catcher Bobby Ramos (1955) got only one hit in 11 at bats during four games for the 1982 club, but it was a home run that knocked in one of his two rbi’s. He played five years with Montreal, both before and after his time in the Bronx. The Yanks sent Brad Gulden to Montreal for Ramos in April 1982, and sold Bobby back to the Expos the following November.
  • And finally, infielder Otis Johnson (1883) hit three home runs with 36 rbi’s in 71 games for the 1911 Highlanders, his only year in the major leagues.
  • Other birthdays: Richie Scheinblum (1942), who didn’t play in New York even though he was born here; Lloyd Moseby (1959); Craig McMurtry (1959); Javier Lopez (1970); Jose Santiago (1974); Merkin Valdez (1981); Bryan LaHair (1982); Juan Morillo (1983); Ramon Cabrera (1989); Josh Lucas (1990); and Jon Gray (1991).