November 7 in Yankee History

  • The Yanks engineered a great deal on November 7, 1997, a judgment we can make before we even know who the infamous “Player to Be Named Later” (PTBNL) was, although the plot just took another twist in the 2006 ALDS. Kenny Rogers made three starts for the Yanks in the 1996 playoffs and put the team in an early hole all three times. Jimmy Leyritz‘s homer off Mark Wohlers rescued the Yanks in Game Four of the World Series, but Kenny had to go. But not only was he sent to Oakland for a PTBNL, that no-name would become eventual 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius. Brosius wore no. 7 with the A’s, so the later-arriving Jason Giambi was forced to settle for 16; its parts add up to seven, as does his 25 in New York. The connection is that both Scott’s and Jason’s fathers were big fans of Mickey Mantle. Brosius’s stingy defense, classy demeanor, and ability to provide clutch offense was huge, and it culminated with the game-tying home run he hit in the bottom of the ninth of Game Five of the 2001 World Series. But the postscript, of course, is that Rogers had a part in sending the Yanks home in 2006.
  • Elston Howard of the Yankees became the first black ever voted Most Valuable Player when he topped Al Kaline of the Tigers for the American League prize on November 7, 1963, 248-148.
  • But Yankee fans were a lot less accepting of the AL Cy Young/MVP voting results announced on November 7, 1978. Despite Ron Guidry‘s incredible 25-3 season that netted him the former, Boston’s Jim Rice outpointed him in the MVP vote, 353-291. Rice did have a great year, leading the AL in hits, triples, home runs, rbi’s, and slugging percentage, but was there an anti-Yankee/pro-Boston bias along with the anti-pitchers bias (because they have the Cy Young Award to compete for, and because starters play only one in five games or so)?
  • Orlando Cepeda was the first unanimous NL MVP on November 7, 1967.
  • The awesome game-changing reliever Bruce Sutter, who finally and belatedly has made it to the Hall of Fame, won the NL Cy Young Award on November 7, 1979. Sutter won 72-66 over at-the-time Houston Astro knuckleballer Joe Niekro, who would later pitch for the Yanks. Joe passed away just two years ago, and he is on the November 7 birthday list (see below).
  • Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal is the most recent of four November 7 Rookie of the Year Award winners, as he went home with the NL version on that day in 2000. Sandy Alomar, Jr., of the Indians won the AL prize on November 7, 1990, one year after Baltimore’s Gregg Olson had prevailed in the same league, and Phillies pitcher Jack Sanford won the NL Award on November 7, 1957.
  • November 7, 2011 was one of the first days to file for free agency, and among players from other teams who filed who would sign with the Yanks were lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano and righty starter Freddy Garcia, although only Garcia would be healthy enough to pitch. Yankees who filed but would remain with the club were big-time brand names: closer Mariano Rivera and shortstop Derek Jeter. Finally, 2010 Yankees who filed and who did not play in the Bronx in 2011 were DH Hideki Matsui, outfielder Marcus Thames, and left-handed starter Andy Pettitte, who would retire.
  • The American All Star team that visited Japan in 1988 won its first game (of three) on November 7, walloping their hosts in a 16-8 victory.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Boston Braves righthander Johnny Sain (2006), who spent four-plus years pitching for the Yankees at the end of his career, died on November 7, 2006. Of Sain’s lifetime 139-116-51 record, 33-20-1 of it came pitching for the Yanks. It was an unfortunate 1951 trade that brought Johnny to the Yankees, as they sent eventual World Series stalwart (against the Yanks, no less) Lew Burdette and cash to the Braves to get Sain for that year’s stretch run. Sain is the lone Yankee player to have died on November 7.
  • The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 31 includes two lefthanded outfielders, two shortstops, and a guy who caught and played outfield, with two righthanders added most recently. Portsided Mike Tiernan (1918) played for the Giants only from 1887-1899, and hit 106 home runs good for 851 rbi’s; and Sam Thompson (1922) blasted 127 long balls and drove in 1,299 runs from 1885-1898 and in 1906, playing more often than not with the Phillies and the Wolverines. The shortstops are Chick Galloway (1969), who cleared 17 fences and knocked in 407 runs playing almost totally with the A’s between 1919 and 1928; and Buddy Kerr (2006), whose 31 long balls and 333 rbi’s from 1943-1949 were achieved with the Giants and the Braves. Finally, catcher/outfielder Fred Carroll (1904) collected 27 roundtrippers and 366 runs driven in from 1884-1891 almsot all of it with the Alleghenies. Righty Allen Ripley (2014) pitched to a 23-27 mark with one save from 1978 through 1982, with most of his work done with the Red Sox and the Giants. One of the best pitchers of his generation, Roy Halladay (2017) gave the Yankees and others fits in his 1998-2009 debut years in Toronto, and continued through 2013 with the Phillies, for whom he threw a no hitter in the 2010 NLDS over Cincinnati; he also pitched a perfect game against the Marlins that year. A Cy Young Award winner in both leagues, “Doc” Halladay won 203 major league games, lost 105, and saved one.
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    Players Born This Day

  • We begin our look at the eight Yankees born on November 7 with Russ Springer (1968), who pitched in 14 games to no record for the 1992 club and who was traded to California with first baseman J.T. Snow and pitcher Jerry Nielsen to get lefty Jim Abbott. Springer was a seventh-round Yankees free-agent selection in the June 1989 amateur draft. Russ pitched in the bigs, and was with St. Louis in 2007-2008, and briefly with Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Cincinnati through the 2010 season. His career mark is 36-45 with nine saves.
  • Speaking of the courageous Abbott in Pinstripes invariably introduces the subject of no-hitters, leading us to Joe Niekro (1944), who pitched 11 years for Houston and went 14-15 in the Bronx from 1985 through 1987. Joe, who came within one hit of both tossing a no-hitter at the Yanks, and later throwing one for them, was acquired from Houston in September 1985 for Jim Deshaies and two minor leaguers. The Yankees traded Niekro to the Minnesota Twins for Mark Salas in June 1987. Joe died suddenly on October 27, 2006, due to a brain aneurysm.
  • Catcher Jake Gibbs (1938), a $105,000 bonus baby out of the University of Mississippi, played only for the Yanks, garnering 25 homers and 146 rbi’s from 1962-1971, once he was selected in the 1960 free agent amateur draft.
  • Jim Kaat (1938), whose 25 years of pitching was a major league record and who earned 16 consecutive Gold Gloves, accumulated 283 career wins, but Kaat only managed a 2-4 mark for the 1979-1980 Bombers. Kitty was purchased from the Phillies in May 1979, and he was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals in April 1980. A veteran and knowledgeable broadcaster, Kaat retired from the YES network team after the 2006 season.
  • Lefty first baseman Bob Hale (1933) hit one homer with one rbi in 11 games for the ’61 team to finish a career that spanned five years in Baltimore and almost two in Cleveland. Hale was purchased from the Indians in July 1961. Catcher Herb Crompton‘s (1911) 12 rbi’s in the Bronx during 36 games in 1945 represented his entire big-league experience except for two games with the 1937 Senators. And finally, righthander Tommy Thompson (1889) went 0-2 in seven games, two of them starts, for the 1912 Highlanders, his only big league play.
  • A trade deadline deal in 2017 increased the Yankee November 7 birthday list by one, with the acquisition of righthander Sonny Gray (1989), who went 4-7 in 11 games, all starts, down the stretch; he lost a game to Cleveland in the ALDS, and had a no decision in a game in which he pitched well, one won by the Yankees, in the ALCS vs Houston. Sonny, who pitched to a 44-36 mark in Oakland from 2013 until he was traded, was a first round selection by the A’s in 2011. His acquisition was costly, as New York sent three big-time prospects to Oakland for him: righthander James Kaprielian, infielder Jorge Mateo, and outfielder Dustin Fowler. Gray, not a free agent until 2020, disappointed in the rotation again in 2018, though his 11-9 record doesn’t sound bad; the almost 5-era was, and he was kept off the postseason roster. A trade out of town feels imminent.
  • Other birthdays: Buck Martinez (1948); Todd Ritchie (1971); Glendon Rusch (1974); Kris Benson (1974); Juan Salas (1978); Juan Brito (1979); Esmerling Vasquez (1983); Mitch Harris (1985); Dariel Alvarez (1988); and Danny Santana (1990).