March 19 in Yankee History

  • With Phil Nevin lost for the season with a dislocated shoulder, Padres general manager Kevin Towers was looking for outfielder help, and the Yanks were looking to unload a lot of unproductive salary. Part One of Brian Cashman‘s three-part plan (neither Raul Mondesi nor Sterling Hitchcock would finish the season in the Bronx either) dovetailed with Towers’s outfield shortage as Rondell White was shipped from New York to San Diego in exchange for outfielder Bubba Trammell and lefthander Mark Phillips on March 19, 2003.
  • Home runs from Josh Donaldson and David Freitas in the third inning of a Spring Training game vs the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., on March 19, 2022, gave the visitors a quick 3-0 lead, but Baltimore rallied and the two teams played to a 3-3 tie.
  • On March 19, 2021, the Yankees optioned pitchers Albert Abreu and Brooks Kriske; second baseman Thairo Estrada; and first baseman Mike Ford to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
  • And on that same 2003 day, the Bombers optioned infielder Erick Almonte to AAA Columbus and reassigned him to their minor-league camp. Almonte would soon be released.
  • Gradually paring their roster to get to 25 heading North, the Yankees optioned outfielder Ben Gamel to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on March 19, 2016.
  • Roster trimming continued on March 19, 2015, as the Yankees optioned center fielder Mason Williams to the AA Trenton Thunder; and righthander Danny Burawa, outfielder Tyler Austin, and southpaw Jose De Paula to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
  • On March 19, 2014, infielder Casey Stevenson was assigned to the Yankees’ minor league camp.
  • Taking care of some more paperwork, third baseman Mike Folli and shortstops Jose Pirela and Walter Ibarra were assigned to the Yankees on March 19, 2010. In addition the club optioned righthander Romulo Sanchez to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. With 26 games already under his belt with the Pirates, Sanchez would have a two-game cup of coffee with the 2010 Yankees.
  • In another mid-March routine move, the Bombers reassigned outfielder Colin Curtis and catcher Austin Romine to Minor League camp on March 19, 2009.
  • A couple of trades involving catcher Joel Skinner played a big part in my Yankee fan career. In the second, on March 19, 1989, with Dave Winfield sidelined due to back surgery, Joel was sent to the Indians for Mel Hall. Mel wasn’t the best Yankee teammate, and is reputed to have taunted the young Bernie Williams mercilessly, but he hit two big walk-off homers that I witnessed in the Stadium in the 14-year “dead time” Yankee fans experienced after the 1981 World Series. (One was a huge three-run, bottom-of-the-ninth, come-from-behind, walk-off shot to beat the Red Sox on Memorial Day.) The other trade involving Skinner marked his arrival on the Yankee scene in 1986, with DH Ron Kittle and shortstop Wayne Tolleson. As a fan, I just could not handle Kittle as a Yankee.
  • A three-team trade on March 19, 1974 sent Gaylord Perry to Cleveland to pitch with his brother Jim Perry. The Tigers got catcher Gerry Moses and the Yanks pitcher Ed Farmer and outfielder Walt “No Neck” Williams.
  • Actor Gary Cooper took home his second Academy Award for Acting on March 19, 1953, for playing the part of the sheriff in High Noon. Ten years earlier, he was only nominated and did not win for his portrayal of Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees.
  • Three former or future Yankees played a huge part in the historic bashing that the Kansas City Blues gave the Washington Senators on March 19, 1940, a 22-5 humiliation. Frenchy Bordagay, a utility player who would play for the Yanks in 1941, got the scoring started with a first-inning home run. All three hits notched by middle infielder Jack Saltzgaver, who had played in the Bronx from 1932-1937, went for three bases, to the tune of five rbi’s. Meanwhile, Johnny Lindell allowed but three hits in three frames for the Blues. Although Lindell would largely serve as a regular outfielder for the Yanks from 1941-1950, at this time of his career he was a pitcher too. Lindell would fashion a 2-1 record with a save in 23 games for the Yanks in 1942.
  • The Padres signed former Yankee outfielder Rickey Henderson to a contract on March 19, 2001. And the Indians lost slugger Ken Harrelson for six months on March 19, 1970, when he broke his ankle sliding into second base. Although Harrelson never played for the Yanks, he would broadcast games for them for a time.
  • Although I was angered by the incredible naivete and short-sightedness of the folks at ESPN for naming Michael Jordan over Babe Ruth as Athlete of the Twentieth Century, I have nothing but respect for Mr. Jordan’s spirited attempt to play big-league baseball. Stymied by the 1994 strike, he had already given up his quest when he returned to basketball on March 19, 1995.
  • The K.C. Royals announced that they were putting two-sport star Bo Jackson on waivers on March 19, 1991.
  • Boston has been around since colonial times, but it was incorporated as a city on March 19, 1822. Their American League team won a World Series 81 years later. After four more Championships over the next 15 years, they had an 86-year Championship drought that finally came to an end in 2004.
    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Both Yankee players who have died on March 19 played infield, and shortstop Joe Buzas (2003) did all his play for the 1945 Yanks. Although he played 12 games in the field, he batted in 30 contests, and drove in six runs during 65 at bats. Career-wise, Zinn Beck (1981) played third base mostly, but he took the hot corner in just one of 11 games ending his time in the bigs with the 1918 Yankees. He appeared at short five times, and notched one rbi in eight at bats. He had struck three home runs and 72 rbi’s with the 1913-1916 Cardinals.
  • One of four notable non-Yankee players to have died this day played that same third base/shortstop combination. Tom Burns (1902) played the twin positions from 1880-1892, mostly with the Chicago White Stockings, garnering 39 home runs and 683 rbi’s along the way. Bill Hutchison (1926) and Bert Gallia (1976) made their way as pitchers, each from the right side. Throwing more often than not for the Colts in 1884 and from 1889-1897, Hutchison won 183, lost 163, and saved four games. In a nine-year big-leagues stay throwing for the Senators for six years and the Browns more than two, Gallia went 66-68 with 10 saves. Tom Lovett (1928) won 88 games, lost 59, and saved one from 1885-1894, most of the time playing for the A’s.
    Players Born This Day

  • There are only two Yankee players who were born on March 19. Second baseman/shortstop Fritz Brickell (1935) was signed by the Yanks as a 1953 amateur free agent, played with them in 1958-1959, and was traded to the Angels for Duke Maas in 1961. Fritz came to bat 39 times in 20 games for the Bombers, and hit one home run with four rbi’s.
  • Clyde Engel (1884) played outfield only with the Yanks in his 1909-1910 major-league debut, but during four years with the Red Sox, two with the Buffalo Bisons of the Federal League, and one with Cleveland, he played in the infield as much as out. The Yanks sent Engel to the Red Sox for Harry Wolter in May 1910. Clyde hit three homers with 71 rbi’s for the Yanks; he stole 19 bases for them.
  • Technically, however, you can add Hall of Fame alum “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity (1871) to the Yankee list. Although he played most of his career with the other New York team, the Giants, Joe posted a 39-30 mark with one save with the 1901-1902 Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that would shift to New York in 1903 as the Highlanders. McGinnity jumped from the Brooklyn Superbas to Baltimore in 1901, and then did the same to the Giants in 1902. Aside from his career 246-142 win-loss record, “Iron Man” threw more than 400 innings for the Giants in one season.
  • March 19 birthdays include Philly Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn (1927), who played 12 years in the City of Brotherly Love, two with the Cubs, and finished up with the horrid 1962 New York Mets, for whom he hit .306. Second baseman Bill Wambsganss‘s (1894) claim to fame is that during his 1914-1926 career, mostly with Cleveland, he turned the first-ever unassisted triple play, a feat more rare than pitching a Perfect Game. Tigers outfielder Gee Walker (1908) blasted 124 homers with 997 rbi’s from 1931-1945. Of more recent vintage are Ivan Calderon (1962); A’s starter Mike Norris (also 1962), about whom I’ll have more to say tomorrow; Jason LaRue (1974); Rocky Coppinger (1974); David Ross (1977); Jose Castillo (1981); Landon Powell (1982); Matt Downs (1984); Clayton Kershaw (1988); Tommy Nance (1991); and Darien Núñez (1993).