March 25 in Yankee History

  • When after the 2003 season Aaron Boone blew out his knee playing basketball, leaving the Yankees without any promising options at third base, their first move was to make a February 4 trade with the Rangers for Mike Lamb. Lamb was prepared to fight for the third-base job with free agent Tyler Houston, but twelve days later, the Yanks swooped in and claimed the prize the Red Sox had failed to get, pulling off a deal with Texas that brought Alex Rodriguez to New York for Alfonso Soriano. Before the trade, the Yanks had made sure that Rodriguez was amenable to a shift from short to third, thereby eliminating their need for Lamb. On March 25, 2004, Lamb found himself on the move again after the Yanks traded him, sending him to the Astros for minor league righthander Juan DeLeon.
  • On March 25, 2023, center fielder Madison Santos; right fielder Anthony Garcia; shortstop Brenny Escanio; and righthander Shane Gray were assigned to the Yankees.
  • On March 25, 2017, the Yankees released lefthander Jonathon Niese, and first baseman Mike Ford was assigned to the Yankees.
  • On March 25, 2016, righthander Alex Smith was assigned to the Yankees.
  • Ex-University of Penn grad and Phillies center fielder Doug Glanville lost a spirited battle for 25th spot on the Yankees roster when they released him on March 25, 2005.
  • In a news item that would spur nothing but yawns today, quite a sensation was stirred on March 25, 1937, when it was revealed that Quaker Oats was paying Babe Ruth $25,000 per year to appear in their ads.
  • After having done surprisingly well (it would turn out) filling their rotation with free agent veterans Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, and less so briefly with Carlos Silva, the Yankees signed free agent righthander Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal on March 25, 2011. With the first two additions working out so well, Kevin would opt out once he wasn’t called up to the major-league club.
  • On March 25, 1920, a pitch thrown by Brooklyn’s Jeff Pfeffer hit Yankee shortstop Chick Fewster behind the ear. Out for 10 minutes, Chick was taken to the hospital with a skull fracture, and he would not recover enough to play until midseason.
  • On March 25, 2014, the Yankees optioned catchers J.R. Murphy and Austin Romine to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
  • Our first in-person look at the hard-throwing free agent bullpenner Felix Rodriguez came in Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater against the Phillies (for whom Felix pitched in 2004) on March 25, 2005. Unfortunately, the first impression, while not a good one, was an accurate barometer. Rodriguez fell behind the first four batters after relieving Carl Pavano and then Tom Gordon with a 4-2 lead in the seventh. A walk, flyout, and single set the table and Pat Burrell cleared it with a three-run bomb, keying the Phils’ 6-5 win. F-Rod’s lack of command ruined his 2005 season in Pinstripes, ensuring he would not be retained.
  • All Star outfielders who would later serve in that capacity for the Yankees traveled in different directions in a big trade between the Indians and the Braves on March 25, 1997. Right fielder David Justice was sent to Cleveland with center fielder Marquis Grissom, while lefty reliever Alan Embree made the opposite trip with center fielder Kenny Lofton. Justice was a big Yankee performer during the 2001 season that culminated in the Subway Series victory over the Mets; Lofton’s 2004 season in Pinstripes was less successful.
  • In another bit of March 25 news affecting a ballplayer who would soon serve in the Yankees outfield, Babe Ruth allowed just one hit in four innings to Brooklyn in 1917, but a series of Red Sox relievers that followed him gave it up, and the Robins won, 11-2, becoming “Hot Springs Champs.”
  • On March 25 (one source gives March 23, and we mentioned it there too), 1959, Bill White, who would make a dandy pairing with Phil Rizzuto as Yankee broadcasters after his playing career, was traded by the Giants to the Cardinals. The trade had to be less jarring to Bill than his next move. With the Cardinals, he roomed with future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for years, and he wondered, once he was traded to the Phillies (in 1966) how it would be hitting against his friend. Parting was such sweet sorrow indeed, as the first time they faced one another Bob hit Bill with the first pitch.
  • On March 25, 2001, a dove made the mistake of flying into the flight path of one of Randy Johnson‘s fastballs, and disintegrated in the collision. Johnson subsequently pitched the 2005-2006 seasons in the Bronx.
  • Once Red Sox catcher Sam White ruined the trade that had Boston sending him to Cleveland on March 25, 1960, by retiring, Commissioner Ford Frick stepped in and voided the deal. White would make abortive comeback attempts with the Braves in 1961 and the Phillies in 1962, but he played but 62 games after his ’59 season with the Sox.
  • On March 25, 2012, righthanded pitcher Philip Wetherell and ambidextrous hurler Pat Venditte were assigned to the Yankees.
  • On March 25, 2010, the Yankees optioned first baseman Juan Miranda, righthanders Mark Melancon and Jonathan Albaladejo, infielder Kevin Russo, and outfielder Greg Golson to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The team also released veteran righthander Chad Gaudin, although Chad would find his way back to the Bronx later that year.

Players Who Have Died This Day

  • Backup catcher and pinch hitter extraordinaire on several of the best Yankee teams ever, Johnny Blanchard (2009) was signed by New York as a free agent in 1951, and debuted in the Bronx in 1955 after two years of military service. He played through the 1965 season exclusively for the Yanks except for 62 games for Kansas City and the Braves that final year. Johnny hit 67 home runs good for 200 rbi’s, all but 3/13 for the Yanks. Jack of all trades ballplayer Harry Arndt, a Yankee to the extent that he played for the 1902 Baltimore Orioles franchise that would become the New York Highlanders in 1903, passed away on March 25, 1921. Jack hit two homers with 28 rbi’s for Baltimore that year, playing 62 of the 68 games in the outfield. He finished 1902 with Detroit, and played from 1905-1907 in St. Louis with the Cardinals, eventually accumulating six homers and 99 rbi’s overall. A man who was on four straight Championship teams and only played for the Yanks, lefty hitting/righty throwing third baseman Dr. Bobby Brown (2021) hit 22 home runs and knocked in 237 runs playing in New York from 1946-1952 and in 1954. President of the American League fom 1984-1994, Bobby missed the 1953 season serving in the Korean War.
  • Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins, who played for many years for the Athletics and the White Sox, passed away on March 25, 1951. A lefty hitter, Collins hit 47 long balls and drove in 1,300 runs from 1906-1930. Also a ballplayer of note who died this day, outfielder Homer Smoot (1928) reached 15 fences good for 269 rbi’s from 1902-1906, almost all of it with the St. Louis Cardinals. Next, there are two righthanders on the list. Dan Daub (1951) won 45 games, lost 52, and saved none hurling for the 1892 Reds and the 1893-1897 Bridegrooms. And Bob Lee (2020) posted a 25-23 mark with 63 saves from 1964 through 1968, hurling three years for the California Angels, part of two with Cincinnati, and finishing up in Brooklyn. And brand-new here are are two more righties and lefthanded first baseman/right fielder Joe Cunningham (2021), who played with the 1954-1961 Cardinals, the 1962-1964 White Sox, and the 1964-1966 Senators, teams for which he hit 64 home runs with 436 rbi’s. Lefty hitting righthander Tom Hilgendorf (2021) tossed in 184 games, six of them starts, for the Cardinals in 1969-1970, the Indians in 1972-1974, and with the 1975 Phillies. He won 19, lost 14, and saved 14. Righty Randy Tate (2021) threw all 26 of his games (23 starts) with the 1975 Mets to a 5-13 record.

Players Born This Day

  • Former Yankee prospect Brett Jodie, who was born on March 25, 1977, got one 2001 Yankee start, going two innings and allowing six earned runs, (a 27.0 era). Brett was drafted in 1998, and was traded with minor leaguer Darren Blakely to the San Diego Padres for Sterling Hitchcock in July 2001. Similarly Adrian Hernandez (1975), known as “el duquecita” because he had a kick (and looks) much like the great el duque Hernandez, went 0-4 in eight games for the 2001 and 2002 Yankees; he started four of the games.
  • Back with the Yanks in ’06 after serving a year and a half as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, Lee Mazzilli (1955) is more famous in Yankee circles for several-year stints coaching first base in the Bronx and for managing for New York (in the minors) than for the six homers, 17 rbi’s, and two steals he accrued in the Bronx during 37 games as an outfielder in 1982. He arrived in New York that August in a trade that sent playoff hero Bucky Dent to Texas, and Lee was shipped to the Pirates that December for Tim Burke and minor leaguers Don Aubin, John Holland, and Jose Rivera.
  • Cleveland shortstop Woodie Held (1932) got his start with the Yankees with no hits in four at bats in 1954 and 1957, but he scored two runs. The Yankees traded Held with Billy Martin, Bob Martyn, and Ralph Terry to the Kansas City Athletics for Ryne Duren, Jim Pisoni, and Harry Simpson in June 1957.
  • Initially, the January 2016 Yankee purchase of Kirby Yates (1987) from Cleveland was a boon in the Bronx, as the 2005 amateur free agent signer (by the Red Sox) pitched some big innings out of the pen in the 2016 season’s first half, but he tailed off and was demoted later in the year. Yates had subsequently signed in 2009 with Tampa Bay, for whom he posted a 1-2 mark with one save in 57 games (no starts) in 2014 and 2015. Kirby went 2-1 with a 5-plus era in 41 games for the Yanks, and was selected off waivers by the Angels in October 2016. Following one game in Anaheim, Yates went 9-8 with 13 saves with the Padres in 2017 and 2018, but he became a star in 2019, leading the NL in saves with 41. He added two saves in just six games in 2020, and was signed with AL East rival Toronto for 2021, but never pitched there. He had no record or saves with a 5+ era in six games for Atlanta in 2022 once he signed there as a free agent, but his 2023 there was superb: 7-2 with five saves in 61 games (no starts).
  • Other birthdays: speedy Clyde Milan (1887), another career shortstop, who reached the fences 17 times with 617 rbi’s and 495 steals for Washington from 1907-1922; Dutch Leonard (1909), who pitched 21 years for the Dodgers, Senators, Phillies, and Cubs to a 191-181 record, from 1933-1953; Tom Glavine (1966); and the following four guys, all born the same year on March 25: long-time Detroit and Cleveland third baseman Travis Fryman (1969); former Blue Jays starter Paul Menhart (1969); one-time San Diego starter Scott Sanders (1969); and Seattle catcher Dan Wilson (1969). Also, Miguel Mejia (1975); and Neal Cotts (1980). Cotts, by the way, was invited to 2011 Spring Training with the Yanks but failed to pass the physical. Hyun-jin-ryu (1987); Erisbel Arruebarrena (1990); Mike Zunino (1991); Phil Maton (1993); Tucker Davidson (1996); Scott Hurst (1996); and Pete Crow-Armstrong (2002) are the most recent significant additions.