March 18 in Yankee History

  • Peter Ueberroth perhaps failed to deliver as Commissioner of Baseball, despite the fact that there were some high hopes after his stirring success with the LA Olympics. But he ranks above Bud Selig, in my opinion, simply because he had the wisdom to reinstate Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays into baseball’s good graces on March 18, 1985. Bowie Kuhn had banned them both for making a living by accepting casino money to serve in public relations. Can you imagine having two ex-players the stature of Mays and Mantle and presuming to tell them they could have no connection to the game? Incredible.
  • New Yankee Isiah Kiner-Falefa tripled and he and Gleyber Torres scored in the first inning of a Spring Training game in Bradenton against Pittsburgh on March 18, 2022, but the Pirates would recover to pull out a 4-3 victory. The final Yankee run was scored on a home run by catcher Rodolfo Duran in the ninth inning.
  • RHP Bailey Dees assigned to New York Yankees.
  • On March 18, 2022, the Yankees traded Luke Voit to the San Diego Padres for minor leaguer Justin Lange.
  • On March 18, 2018, the Yankees optioned third baseman Miguel Andujar to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, disappointing some fans, but not for long.
  • On March 18, 2017, lefthander Josh Rogers was assigned to the Yankees.
  • The Yankees signed free agent second baseman Chris Godinez to a minor league contract on March 18, 2016.
  • On March 18, 2014, the Yankees optioned left fielder Ramon Flores to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
  • On March 18, 1991, Jim Abbott, born without a right hand, hit a 400-foot triple in an exhibition game against the Giants in Scottsdale, Arizona. Two years later, Jim would serve a two-year hitch on the Yankee Stadium mound.
  • In the only other March 18 news affecting former or future Yankees, the Mets shipped Jesse Orosco to the Cardinals for Joe McEwing in 2000. Orosco would appear in 15 games in the 2003 Yankee southpaw-deprived bullpen, to no record.
  • In a move most Yankee fans were convinced would only have temporary implications, the team optioned righthander Dellin Betances to the AA Trenton Thunder on March 18, 2011. Now I call him “Marshall Dellin,” and wish him good fortune in the Mets bullpen.
  • In March of 1903, the American League’s two-year-old Baltimore Orioles franchise relocated to New York, renaming themselves the Highlanders. It would be 50 years later before another major-league franchise shifted from city to city. On March 16, 1953, the National League Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee, while retaining the “Braves” part of their name.
  • On March 18, 1989, a group led by former President George W. Bush purchased the Texas Rangers.
  • Bernard Malamud, author of the book The Natural, died on March 18, 1986.

Players Who Have Died This Day

  • The only Yankee player to have died on March 18 is southpaw Elmer Bliss (1962), who pitched but one game for the 1903 Highlanders, and won it, even though he did not start it. Bliss played one Highlanders game in 1904 as well, manning a position in the outfield; he was hitless in four at bats.
  • A batting guru to many, hitting instructor Charlie Lau died on this day in 1984. Lau hit 16 long balls good for 140 rbi’s as a player from 1956-1967, with seven of the years coming with the Orioles. The next most noteworthy player to have died on March 18 is lefty Gene Bearden (2004), who pitched to a 45-38 mark with one save from 1947-1953. It was during his career-beginning four-year stint with Cleveland that he beat the Red Sox in 1948 in the only other American League one-game playoff to decide the pennant outside of Yankees/Boston in 1978. Second baseman Hobe Ferris (1938) played seven (1901-1907) of his nine years with the Boston Americans; he hit 40 long balls with 550 rbi’s. Heinie Meine (1968) pitched to a 69-50 mark with three saves with the 1922 Browns and the 1929-1934 Pirates; lefty Percy Jones (1979), who batted righty, posted most of his 53-57 mark with six saves from 1920-1928 with the Cubs. Finally, lefty-hitting first baseman Buck Jordan (1993) reached 17 fences good for 281 runs from 1927-1938, much of it with the Braves.

Players Born This Day

  • Yankees born today include righty reliever Brian Fisher (1962), who went 4-4 and 9-5, respectively, in 1985 and 1986; he kicked in with 20 saves as well. The Bombers got Brian from the Atlanta Braves in December 1984 for Rick Cerone. And then on November 26, 1986, he was part of an ill-advised package that pried Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante, and Pat Clements from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fisher’s effective relief and the loss of Logan Easley might have been enough to call this deal a loser; but it becomes a disaster when you consider that the Pirates also “stole” soon-to-be NL Cy Young Award Winner Doug Drabek in the deal too.
  • Technically, Johnny Cooney (1901), who spent the last 10 games of his 24-year big-league career in 1944 playing for the Yanks, is the second of only two Yanks born this day. Johnny smacked one hit, scored one run, and knocked in one tally in eight at bats. Worthy of note, though, is outfielder Chappie Snodgrass (1870), who managed a hit and an rbi with the 1901 Baltimore Orioles, the team that would relocate to New York and become the Yankees two seasons later.
  • Also born this day: 1978 Yankee first-round draft pick Matt Winters (1960), whose only big-league service came with the 1989 Kansas City Royals (two hits in nine at bats). The Yanks released him in 1985, but he returned in a February 1986 trade with the White Sox where the new Yankees were Winters, minor leaguers Chris Alvarez and Eric Schmidt, and catcher Ron Hassey; the Chicago club received Neil Allen, Scott Bradley, minor leaguer Glen Braxton, and cash. Also in this group (with the team, but not in any games) are righthanders Ken Edenfield (1967) and Chi-Chi Olivo (1928). Received by the Yankees from the Cal Angels in June 1996 in a conditional deal, Edenfield posted no record in seven games for the 1995-1996 Angels in his only big-league play. Olivo went 7-6 with 12 saves for the Braves (in Milwaukee and Atlanta) in 1961 and from 1964-1966.
  • Catcher Raul Chavez (1973) joined the latter list by virtue of accepting the Yanks’ nonroster invite to Spring Training in 2007. He remained with the team in the minors afterward. Chavez played nine years in the bigs from 1996 through 2006, five of them with Houston. The Pirates drafted him when the Yanks released him after the 2007 season. After a year in Pittsburgh, and one in Toronto, he finished with seven career home runs with 65 rbi’s.
  • Other birthdays include Al Benton (1911), who went 98-88 from 1934-1952 (minus three war years), mostly for the Tigers; Elbie Fletcher and Eddie Lake (both 1916); Hal White (1919); Pat Jarvis (1941); Dwayne Murphy (1955); Geronimo Berroa (1965); Tomo Ohka (1976); Corky Miller (1976); Scott Podsednick (1976); Fernando Rodney (1977); Termel Sledge (1977); Chad Cordero (1982); Andy Sonnanstine (1983); Craig Tatum (1983); David Freitas (1989); Leury Garcia (1991); J.T. Realmuto (1991); Trey Mancini (1992); Jesen Therrien (1993); Darren McCaughan (1996); and Emmanuel Clase (1998).