February 11 in Yankee History

  • Bobby Murcer‘s away-from-the-Yanks odyssey took a second step on February 11, 1977, when he was traded from the Giants to the Cubs for Bill Madlock. Finally on June 26, 1979, he would return to the Bronx as the Yanks sent pitcher Paul Semall and cash to the Cubs. Bobby hit 34 homers with 181 rbi’s and 21 stolen bases with the Giants in 1975-1976, and followed with 43, 175, and 32 with the Cubs. It was a crushing blow to Yankee fans when Bobby succumbed to his illness in 2008.
  • Two February 11, 2021, transactions peripherally attached to the Yankees were the Rockies’ signing of former Yankee and free agent first baseman Greg Bird to a minor league contract; and that of former Pinstriped lefthander Jacob Lindgren with the White Sox; both players were invited to Spring Training by their respective clubs, and neither made their squads.
  • On February 11, 2016, the Yankees sent center fielder Lane Adams outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
  • Lots of moves on February 11, 2011, as second baseman Ronnie Belliard; right fielder Daniel Brewer; lefthander Manny Banuelos; center fielder Austin Krum; third baseman Bradley Suttle; first baseman Jorge Vazquez; right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchell, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Warner Madrigal, Eric Wordekemper, Adam Warren, and David Phelps; and catchers Kyle Higashioka, Jose Gil, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine were assigned to the Yankees. In addition, the Yanks signed two free agents: righty Luis Ayala and third baseman Eric Chavez.
  • February 11 player moves that affected former and future Yankees include Scott Sanderson signing with the Angels in 1993; the Giants’ swap of Burleigh Grimes to Pittsburgh for Vic Aldridge in 1928; and the Cardinals sending first baseman Jack Fournier to the Brooklyn Robins for catcher Hy Myers in 1923.
  • Major league baseball was christened in the Bronx in 1923 with the opening of Yankee Stadium, the House That Ruth Built. But the International League tried to place a team in the storied borough eight years earlier. However, New York Giants President Harry N. Hempstead blocked it when he objected to it on February 11, 1915. It’s interesting that the only objection came from the National League New York team. There is no record that the Yankees reacted at all.
  • The first contract amount decided by the newly instituted arbitration procedure, agreed to in collective bargaining, was the decision on February 11, 1974, by Harry H. Platt that Twins pitcher Dick Woodson would be awarded a salary of $29,000 for the coming season, rather than the $23,000 the Minnesota club had offered. Sounds like chump change these days.
  • The Pirates, preparing to open PNC Park in 2001, destroyed Three Rivers Stadium by implosion on February 11 of that year.
  • Worthy of mention also is the completion of the swap of shortstops between the Padres and Cardinals on February 11, 1982. Amazingly, public reaction at the time was mixed to the trade of good hitter Garry Templeton to San Diego for defensive whiz Ozzie Smith, a deal that all acknowledge now was a steal for St. Louis.

Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Just one Yankee player has died on February 11, but the stay of shortstop Frank Crosetti (2002), who coached in the Bronx for decades longer than his 1932-1948 playing days, extends longer than several other guys. “”Crow” did all his playing for the Yanks, with 98 career home runs good for 649 rbi’s.
  • Also worthy of mention is Hall of Fame outfielder Kiki Cuyler (1950), who spanked most of his 128 taters with 1,056 rbi’s from 1921 through 1938 with the Pirates and the Cubs; and righty reliever Mike Fornieles (1998), who won 63, lost 64, and saved 55 with the Red Sox and Whire Sox from 1952-1963. And three more pitchers, two righthanded and one left, end the list. Bill McGee (1987) won 46, lost 41, and saved six games for the 1935-1941 Cardinals and the 1941-1942 Giants; while southpaw Johnny Miljus (1976) went 29-26-5 from 1915-1929 with the Rebels, the Dodgers, the Pirates, and the Indians. And Wynn Hawkins (2021) pitched just for Cleveland from 1960-1962, with a 12-13 record with one save. He started 30 of the 48 games in which he appeared.

Players Born This Day

  • I first heard of Scott Pose (1967), one of only two Yankee players born February 11, while reading the Fort Lauderdale and Miami papers while attending Yankee Spring Training in 1993 (which was held on Florida’s Atlantic Coast in Lauderdale at the time). The Florida Marlins were having their first training camp after joining the league, and the attempts to fill the pieces of a starting eight and a mound staff included a spirited battle for the centerfield job. Pose lost his do-or-die competition with Chuck Carr, but Scott did make his major-league debut that year in Miami. The lefty-hitting reserve got into 54 games with the 1997 Yankees once they signed him as a free agent on November 27, 1996. He knocked in five runs and stole three bases during his 87 at bats, and afterward he played with the K.C. Royals in 1999 and 2000.
  • Former Yankee pitching coach (twice) Sammy Ellis (1941) was also born on February 11. Seen by many Yankee fans as just another Billy Martin crony, Sammy was actually much in demand in the role of pitching coach over the years, including stints with the Mariners, the White Sox, the Red Sox, the Orioles, and the Reds. Ellis had a successful career as a player with the Angels and White Sox, but enjoyed his best years in Cincinnati, where he posted a 22-10 mark in 1965.
  • Also earning mention on the Yankee list is switch-hitting first sacker Todd Benzinger (1963), who collected 66 dingers with 376 rbi’s from 1987-1995, mostly with the Red Sox, the Reds, and the Giants. Once the Giants released Benzinger in May 1995, the Yanks signed him to get a look/see, but they released him two weeks later.
  • Originally drafted by Boston in 2005, southpaw reliever Cesar Cabral (1989) would not make the bigs until 2013, after the Yanks had purchased his contract from Kansas City in 2011. And he was effective down the stretch in minimal play, striking out six in 3.7 innings in eight games. With Boone Logan gone in 2014, Cesar missed a great chance, however, and he was DFA’d after appearing in four games early in that season. He was signed by Baltimore as a free agent before the 2015 and ’16 seasons, and posted no record in two games for the Orioles in ’15.
  • Acquired just 12 days before this specific day’s history is scheduled to update, lefthander Matt Gage (1993) was picked up once Houston released him. Drafted by the Giants in 2014, Matt signed as a free agent with six successive clubs, until he took a loss in 11 outings with the 2022 Blue Jays, and no record in five more games with Houston in 2023, though he sported a minuscule era with both clubs. He should be fighting for a roster spot in Tampa in a week or so.
  • Other birthdays start not with a Yankee, but with a guy who toiled all six of his years in the bigs for New York rival the Boston Red Sox. The 20-28 record with two saves this righthander garnered from 1940 through 1945 do not stand out as much as the name he toiled under in distinctly Yankee-unfriendly territory: “Yank” Terry (1911). Also, lefthander Ray Collins (1887), who posted his 84-62 record from 1909-1915 entirely with the Red Sox; Ollie Brown (1944); Ben Ogilvie (1949); Tom Veryzer (1953); John Patterson (1967); Bryan Eversgerd (1969); Kevin King (1969); Brian Daubach (1972); Trey Beamon (1974); Brent Butler (1978); Matt Lindstrom (1980); J.R. Towles (1984); Brian Matusz (1987); Shane Peterson (1988); Luis Santos (1991); Dansby Swanson (1994); Gregory Soto (1995); Graham Ashcraft (1998); and Joey Weimar (1999).