February 23 in Yankee History

  • On February 23, 1954, the Yanks sold righty Vic Raschi to the Cards. Vic’s career winning percentage of .667 rises over .700 if his eight years in Pinstripes are isolated, and he played on six Yankee World Series teams, all winners, with four over the Dodgers, one the Giants, and the other the Phillies. Continue reading

February 22 in Yankee History

  • Opening their Spring Training season at George M. Steinbrenner Field a surprising one day earlier than they had in 2018, the Yankees hosted the Blue Jays on February 22, 2020. Their pitching was good, starting with six up, six down by J.A. Happ, but the bats showed up barely, and late. Rosell Herrera‘s third-inning single stood by itself until a two-out double in the seventh, and first baseman Chris Gittens‘s lead off home run in the bottom of the ninth. Toronto, who strangely brought almost their entire Opening Day lineup on the road for this first exhibition, plated the winning run in a 2-1 victory on a double steal in a four-steal seventh inning against southpaw Luis Avilan. It was just 55 degrees in Tampa; feel sorry for me? Continue reading

February 21 in Yankee History

  • Much is made of the Yankees’ current penchant for trading younger prospects for older players, particularly in light of the way they appear to be turning those tables of late. But you can find examples of the Yankees acquiring senior players throughout their history. On February 21, 1904, the Highlanders (as they were called at the time) purchased 40-year-old catcher Deacon McGuire from the Detroit Tigers. McGuire would drive in 67 runs and steal eight bases in New York over the next four years. Continue reading

February 20 in Yankee History

  • Once the Yanks beat the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series after having returned to the Classic the year before vs. Cincinnati following a 15-year absence, Billy Martin was almost as untouchable as Joe Torre proved to be in 2000. But the Bombers slipped to fourth place in 1978, and rallied to win that Series under Bob Lemon after Billy was replaced. Martin returned in 1979 but a fourth-place finish doomed him, and Billy was fired again. On February 20, 1980, Billy was signed to manage his hometown Oakland A’s. Under Martin, they finished second in 1980, then first and second in the two halves of the split 1981 strike-interrupted season. But the Yankees would crush them in the first round of that season’s playoffs. Continue reading

February 19 in Yankee History

  • The Yankees paused to reload on February 19, 1957, shipping former Boston lefty can’t-miss prospect Mickey McDermott (he missed), along with hurlers Tom Morgan, Gary Coleman, and Jack Urban, outfielder Irv Noren, and infielders Billy Hunter and Milt Graff to the Kansas City Athletics for a package of players of their own. K.C. had a major-league team (now in Oakland) that at the time the Bombers mined regularly for young talent. The returning supporting cast was pitcher Jack McMahan and infielders Curt Roberts and Wayne Belardi, but the marquee names were righthander Art Ditmar, third sacker Clete Boyer, and lefty Bobby Shantz, who (here’s a twist) batted righty. Between them, Ditmar and Shantz gave the Yankees a four-year total of 77 wins with 50 losses, and 30 big saves. And Boyer contributed 95 homers, 397 rbi’s, and 27 stolen bases along with eight years of solid defense at the hot corner. Continue reading

February 18 in Yankee History

  • On February 18, 1998, the Yanks avoided arbitration with Bernie Williams by signing him to an $8.5 million contract, his last one-year deal. Ten months later they would barely avoid losing him to the Red Sox with an $87.5 million, seven-year deal. The one news item yet to occur in Bernie’s playing career was the day he would make his de facto retirement official. Continue reading

February 17 in Yankee History

  • Righthander Jack Morris had just won a record arbitration amount four days earlier, but it was eclipsed when Yankee first sacker Don Mattingly was awarded $1,975,000 to play the 1987 season with the Yankees on February 17 of that year. With 30 homers, 115 rbi’s, and a .327 batting average, he would prove more than worth the expense. Continue reading

February 16 in Yankee History

  • Pulling off the blockbuster that the Red Sox attempted but failed to complete two months earlier, the Yankees nabbed All Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez on February 16, 2004, from the Rangers. In return, New York sent Texas Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. The Rangers also paid part of A-Rod’s mammoth contract, and Alex agreed to slide to third in deference to Yankee Captain and shortstop Derek Jeter. Alex has had some up-and-down times since, with steroid use revelations and a significant hip injury leading into the 2009 season, but he turned it all around with a dominant postseason offensive performance as the Yanks won the World Series. And Alex surprised the baseball world with a solid 2015 return season. Continue reading

February 14 in Yankee History

  • “How about that?” Mel Allen, the “Voice of the Yankees” from 1939 through 1964, and the voice of This Week in Baseball, would have zoomed past 100 a few years ago on this day, Valentine’s Day. Mel entered this world on February 14, 1913, but I can still hear him calling another Ballantine Blast to this day. Continue reading