The oft-suspended Yankee Steve Howe got a reprieve on November 12, 1992, when arbitrator George Nicolau ruled his latest suspension from major league baseball was too severe. The Bombers promptly re-signed him. Howe died in a one-car accident in May 2006.
Billy Martin was named Manager of the Year for his work piloting the Oakland A’s in that capacity during the recently completed season on November 12, 1981.
Though not a star, eventual Yankee record-setting Manager Casey Stengel had a very busy career as an outfielder. Stengel was traded along with shortstop Dave Bancroft and outfielder Billy Cunningham from the Giants to the Braves for pitcher Joe Oeschger and outfielder Billy Southworth on November 12, 1923.
Although it’s something of a cliche to say so, both teams really did benefit when the Yankees traded catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pirates for lefthanded reliever Justin Wilson on November 12, 2014. Following a fine 2015 season in pinstripes, he would be traded for Chad Green and Luis Cessa. And on the same day, the Yankees also signed free agent Jose De Paula.
On November 12, 2013, the Yankees signed free agent third baseman Zelous Wheeler to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. Wheeler had a strong winter season in Latin America, and a few moments subbing for the 2014 Yankees.
The failure by the Yankees just a few days earlier to pick up the option of lefthander Damaso Marte proved to be the suspected maneuver to retain him at less money when the club re-signed him to a three-year contract with a club option for 2012 on November 12, 2008. A reliever who contributed very little in the 2009 regular season due to ineffectiveness, and in 2010 due to injury, but who starred in the postseason drive for Championship No. 27 in 2009, won’t be ready to throw in 2011 before June at the earliest, just a few months before this contract expires.
In another injury-dominated report on a one-time star Yankees hurler, the team activated righthander Chien-Ming Wang from the 60-day disabled list on November 11, 2009. Untendered in the months that followed, Wang signed with Washington, with whom he hoped to rehab, but he was unable to pitch at all in 2010. Most Yankee fans wish the Taiwanese starter nothing but a healthy and effective future.
The Yankees acquired righty reliever Chris Britton from Baltimore for righty starter Jaret Wright on November 12, 2006. The oft-injured Wright was not missed, but Britton’s effect on the 2007-8 seasons was minuscule, as he spent most of it at AAA ball.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis was named chairman, commissioner in effect, of baseball on November 12, 1920. An attempt to replace Ban Johnson as head of the American League in the same meetings did not succeed, however.
Dom DiMaggio, the youngest of the three brothers, was purchased by the Red Sox from San Francisco of the PCL for $40,000 on November 12, 1939.
When New York Yankee Bob Turley won the Cy Young Award over Warren Spahn on November 12, 1958, he won the award by one vote over the 1957 recipient. Roger Clemens became the second unanimous choice for the Award, after Denny McLain, on November 12, 1986. Tom Seaver won the prize for the third time on the same day in 1975, and Steve Stone of the Orioles won the AL version on November 12, 1980.
November 12 hasn’t been the kindest day to former Yankee second baseman Alfonso Soriano. He lost the Rookie of the Year vote on that day in 2001 to Ichiro Suzuki (who was considered a rookie because he did not play for the New York Yankees, I guess). Soriano then came in the third in the AL MVP voting on the same day in 2002. At the time Oakland (later Baltimore and then Houston) shortstop Miguel Tejada topped the list with 365 points and Alex Rodriguez, then the Texas shortstop but the third baseman, then DH, for the Yanks afterward, followed with 254 points. Soriano’s third-place total was a respectable 234 points.
Other November 12 MVPs are all AL Award winners: Seattle Mariner Ken Griffey, Jr., in 1997; Bobby Shantz (who would pitch for the Yanks from 1957 through 1960) of the Philly A’s in 1952; second baseman Nellie Fox of the White Sox in 1959; and Minnesota’s Harmon Killebrew in 1969.
Don Zimmer, who would serve as Joe Torre‘s Yankee bench coach from 1996 through 2003, became the manager of the Texas Rangers on November 12, 1980.
The MLB All Star team traveling in Japan after the 1988 World Series had another tough day in a tight game on November 12, losing 5-4 in the sixth of seven games.
One of two Yankee players to have died on November 12 is a great one, a Hall of Famer whose number is retired and hangs proudly in Monument Park. Catcher Bill Dickey (1993) not only hit 202 home runs and drove in 1,209 runs in his 17-year career. He did yeoman defensive work and handled a pitching staff that led his teams to eight World Championships. On the other end of the experience spectrum is lefthander George Shears (1978), whose only big-league experience came during four appearances (no starts) for the 1912 Highlanders, to a 0-0-0 record.
The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 31 includes a righthanded pitcher, and two second basemen. Righty Fred Hutchinson (1864), who batted lefty, spent his entire 10-year career between 1939 and 1953 with the Tigers. He won 95 games, lost 71, and saved seven. Joe Quinn (1940) hit 29 home runs and drove in 794 runs playing five years with the Browns, four with the Beaneaters, three with the Maroons, three with the Orioles, and two with the Reds from 1884-1901; and Cass Michaels (1982) cleared 53 fences good for 501 rbi’s playing nine years with the White Sox, three with the Senators, and two with the A’s from 1943-1954.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Before describing the three birthdaying players who actually played for the Yankees, a few words about shortstop Greg Gagne (1961), who smacked 111 homers with 604 rbi’s from 1983-1997, mostly in Minnesota. Gagne never played for the Pinstripers but he was a fifth-round Yankee draft choice in the 1979 amateur draft. Gagne was traded by New York with Paul Boris and Ron Davis to the Minnesota Twins for Roy Smalley in April 1982.
Of the three November 12 birthdayers who actually played for New York, one was recent and popular, one obscure, and one quite controversial. The unfortunate truth about Homer Bush‘s (1972) injury-affected career is that he will probably always be more known for the trades in which he was involved than for his play. First the Yankees sent $3 million, outfield prospect Ruben Rivera and minor league pitcher Rafael Medina to San Diego in April 1997 for second baseman Bush, two minor league outfielders and the rights to negotiate with Hideki Irabu. And then in February 1999, Homer, a speedy baserunner and a huge hit with the fans in New York, was packaged with David Wells and Graeme Lloyd and sent to Toronto for Roger Clemens. Homer smacked one homer with eight rbi’s and six stolen bases in the Bronx in 1997-1998. He returned as a free agent infielder in 2004, appearing in niine games with just seven at bats. He added two runs scored and one stolen base to his Yankee totals.
The obscure Yank is righty Don Johnson (1926), who pitched to a 5-3 record with the 1947 and 1950 Yanks, before tossing 1.5 years with the Browns and two with the Senators. Johnson was packaged to St. Louis with Jim Delsing, Duane Pillette, Snuffy Stirnweiss, and cash for Tom Ferrick, Joe Ostrowski, Leo Thomas, and Sid Schacht in June 1950.
And the death of Cleveland’s Ray Chapman after being hit by a rising submarine ball thrown by Yankee Carl Mays (1891) in 1920 was just one of many reasons that righthander was controversial. Although a very effective starter in Boston from 1915 through 1919, Mays was moved to the Yankees largely because management suspected that he was not always giving his best effort. But his 79-39 record in Pinstripes from 1919 to 1923 was superb, even if those rumors followed him there. The same rumors resurfaced during the five years he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, once they purchased him in December 1923. The Yanks had gotten Mays from the Red Sox for Allan Russell, Bob McGraw, and cash in July 1919.
Other birthdays: Bruce Bochte (1950); Jeff Reed (1962); Gary Thurman (1964); Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa (1968); Aaron Heilman (1978); Charlie Morton (1983); Cesar Jimenez (1984); Mike Leake (1987); Adrian Nieto (1989); Marcell Ozuna (1990); Matt Strahm (1991); Ben Taylor (1992); Zach Reks (1993); Alex Faedo (1995); and Ryan Kreidler (1997).
Players Born This Day