Beware the Ides of March. March 15 was not a good day for Roman leader Julius Caesar, caused me no end of trouble once many years ago, but it hasn’t been a bad day for baseball, or for players. The Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first pro baseball team on this day in 1869.
On March 15, 2018, left fielder Zack Zehner was assigned to the Yankees.
On March 15, 2017, the Yankees optioned righties Giovanny Gallegos and Johnny Barbato, and lefthander Dietrich Enns to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The club also optioned third baseman Miguel Andujar to the AA Trenton Thunder.
On March 15, 2014, the Yankees assigned three infielders and three pitchers to their minor league camp: first baseman Kyle Roller, shortstop Dan Fiorito, and third baseman Zach Wilson; and righthanders Graham Stoneburner, Charley Short, and Joel De La Cruz.
Yankee fans look back fondly to the career of “Pags,” Mike Pagliarulo, born March 15, 1960. Although he started with the Yanks, and certainly put up his best numbers with them from 1984-1989 (105 home runs, 345 rbi’s), the shining moment of his career was a game-winning, come-from-behind, 10th-inning homer off Mike Timlin for the Twins in Game Three of the 1991 ALCS. He was picked by the Yanks in the sixth round of the 1981 amateur draft, and was shipped with Don Schulze to the Padres for Freddie Toliver and Walt Terrell in 1989. And there are three other Yankee birthdays further down in the column.
In the only March 15 player move affecting former or future Yankees, Doc Medich was one of four pitchers along with Tony Armas and Mitchell Page sent by the Pirates to the A’s in 1977 for Phil Garner, Tommy Helms, and Chris Batton. Medich posted a 49-40 record in Pinstripes from 1972-1975. And in the same category, the A’s traded Vida Blue to the Giants for seven players and cash on March 15, 1978, a transaction that would not have taken place had Commissioner Bowie Kuhn not overruled the Yankees’ purchase of Blue in 1976.
Having been officially dispatched to the AA Trenton two days earlier, second baseman Corban Joseph and outfielder Zoilo Almonte were assigned to the Yankees on March 15, 2013, the same day the team signed free agent outfielder Brennan Boesch. It was incidentally the same 2013 day second baseman Dean Anna, who tried to earn a spot in the Bronx in 2014 (he succeeded, briefly), was assigned to the San Diego Padres.
Two young Yankee righthanders with promising futures were optioned to the Yankee minors on March 15, 2010, Hector Noesi to Tampa and Ivan Nova to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
On March 15, 2009, the Yankees reassigned catchers Kyle Anson and Jesus Montero, righthander Mark Melancon, and second baseman Kevin Russo to minor league camp. They also optioned righty Christian Garcia to AA Trenton, and righthander Ian Kennedy to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre the same day.
Another pitcher who would receive some significant major-league mound time in the coming season, Tyler Clippard, was reassigned to minor league camp on March 15, 2007.
Cy Young retired from baseball with 511 wins on March 15, 1912.
The Dodgers signed free-agent pitcher Juan Marichal, who played most of his career with the rival Giants, to a contract on March 15, 1975, but the crafty vet, an eventual Hall of Fame honoree, would retire after two ineffective outings with a career mark of 243-142, 52 shutouts, and a 2.89 era.
Experts from the American League certified that Cleveland’s new ballpark, Jacob’s Field, was properly lit on March 15, 1994.
No Yankee players have died on March 15.
Thankfully, not many nonYankee players have died on March 15 either. Switch-hitting, righty-throwing outfielder Dave Philley hit 84 home runs good for 729 rbi’s from 1941-1962, mostly with the White Sox, the A’s, the Phillies, and the Orioles. Middle infielder Bill Sissell (1949) played five years with the White Sox (1928-1932) and appeared with four other clubs, and hit 29 home runs with 423 rbi’s. Lefty-hitting, righty-throwing Otis Stockdale (1933) did most of his pitching from 1893-1896 with the Senators, to a 15-31-1 record. And, in an instance that hits close to New York baseball lovers, third baseman Ed Charles (2018) hit 86 home runs with 421 rbi’s in his career, playing with the A’s from 1962 through 1967, and with the Mets from 1967 to 1969.
Players Who Have Died This Day
What was not mentioned above, where the Yankee exploits of birthdaying Mike Pagliarulo (1960) were covered, is that he is the only March 15 Yankee birthday who started with this organization.
The others: Although Bobby Bonds‘s (1946) one year in New York is perhaps remembered more for the players involved in the trades that brought him here and sent him away (to New York from the Giants for Bobby Murcer; to California from the Yanks for Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa), he did put up 30/30 (32 home runs, 30 steals) in 1975 for the Bombers.
Wayne Granger (1944) played for several clubs, mostly in Cinncy and St. Louis, but he did pitch in seven games for the 1973 Yanks (0-1). The New Yorkers sent Ken Crosby and cash to the Cardinals for Granger in August 1973.
And Charlie Mullen (1889) drove in 69 runs and stole 23 bases in finishing his big-league career with the 1914-1916 Bombers, after playing for the White Sox in 1910 and 1911.
Righthander Ros Ryan (1898) fashioned a fine 52-47 record with 19 saves from 1919-1933, mostly with the Giants. But he did serve a hitch on the Yanks, pitching to no record in three games with the 1928 club.
Third sacker Don Lang (1915) smacked all five of his homers with 42 rbi’s and two steals in 1938 with the Reds and in 1940 with the Cardinals, but he makes the Yankee list because Cincinnati sent Lang and cash to New York for Monte Pearson in December 1940. Don never cracked the Yankee roster.
And finally, there is righthander Steven Jackson (1982) whom the Yanks received as one of the pieces when they sent Randy Johnson to Arizona in 2007. After working in the Yankee minors the next two years, Jackson was taken by the Pirates in May 2009, and has pitched to a 2-4 record through 2010 with their parent club.
Did that last graph say “finally”? No longer, as longtime Yankee enemy with the Red Sox Kevin Youkilis was signed to play third base, or perhaps first, in the Bronx in 2013. Playing with Boston from 2004 through 2012, and a few months with the White Sox in that latter year, Kevin had hit 148 home runs with 610 rbi’s entering the new season. Due to injury early and often, Kevin had very little impact on that Yankee team.
With the offseason following the bizarro 2020 season, the list got a new member with the acquisition of switch-hitting outfielder Greg Allen (1993) from the Padres for minor leaguer James Reeves. In 220 games with Cleveland (and one with San Diego) since 2017, Greg had hit eight home runs and driven in 57 runs. Allen, a sixth-round choice by the Indians in 2014, made perhaps a bigger contribution than expected, as in 15 games in 2021, half of his 10 hits were for extra bases, and he scored nine runs. Further, the nominal corner outfielder played center in four games, and he was successful in all five steal attempts. But Greg became the victim of a numbers game at season’s end when the Yanks needed to add young players to an already full unit. He was promptly selected off waivers by Pittsburgh. Greg had two home runs, with eight rbi’s and eight stolen bases. playing 46 games with the ’22 Pirates.
The list of non-Yankee March 15 birthdays of note begs the question: Is Harold Baines (1959) a Hall lock? The 384 home runs and 1,628 rbi’s are good numbers, and the 2,866 hits are close to a magic number. On the other hand, since playing 159 games in the field in 1985, Harold was almost exclusively a DH, holding that “limited” position longer than most guys play at all. (Since this was written, Baines has indeed made the Hall, a controversial pick.) And Arlie Latham (1860) moved to coaching and other pursuits in 1889 after 20 years in the game, but John McGraw put the 50-year-old coach at second base in a 19-3 romp over St. Louis on August 11, 1909. Latham went hitless but the highlight of his three other appearances that year came seven days later when he stole a base against the Phillies. He is the oldest player ever to steal a base in a major league game. Also, Bob Locker (1938), 57-39 with the White Sox, the Seattle Pilots, the Brewers, the A’s, and the Cubs from 1957-1975; Jim Kern (1949); Kim Batiste (1960); Robert Fick (1974); Vladimir Nunez (1975); Freddie Bynum (1980); Juan Oviedo (1982); John Jay (1985); Steve Ames (1988); Keith Hessler (1989), Nick Ahmed (1990); Richie Shaffer (1991); Max Stassi (1991); Trayce Thompson (1991); Michael Fullmer (1993); Mike Brosseau (1994); Norge Ruíz (1994); and Sean Poppen (1994).
Players Born This Day