On November 16, 2015, the Yankees signed free agent righthander Spencer Mahoney to a minor league contract.
It’s a twisted road that has been taken since the Yankees traded prospect Wily Mo Pena and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Michael Coleman and young third baseman Drew Henson, and it hasn’t been as painful as it could have been. This comes to mind because it was on November 16, 2000, that the Reds first got Coleman, from the Red Sox along with infielder Donnie Sadler for third baseman Chris Stynes. Four months later Coleman would hit two long homers to help crush the Bombers in a spring game in Sarasota, Florida, and the Yanks would take the bait. But Coleman disappointed in New York, eventually leaving as a free agent, and Henson struggled in the minors. Pena showed some power with the Reds, but was reportedly an uninspired defender. But in early 2006 he suddenly landed in Boston, via a trade for starter Bronson “Brandon” Arroyo. Pena played in Washington in 2008. Wily Mo did not give the Sox a heck of a lot, so it’s all good.
Coming out of Spring Training, the Yankees’ free agent signing of minor league righthander Scott Patterson on November 16, 2007, looked to be a great move, as he excelled in many roles in the pen that whole March, 2008. But he was not brought north, a snub that seemed to have a dispiriting effect, and he would pitch in just one game in New York before moving to San Diego midseason.
Bobby Bonds was narrowly defeated in the NL MVP voting on November 16, 2000, by teammate Jeff Kent. Three of the four November 16 MVP Awards handed out before that one fell exactly 11 years apart. Pittsburgh Pirate Roberto Clemente edged out Sandy Koufax in winning the NL version on November 16, 1966; Rod Carew followed with the AL MVP as a Minnesota Twin on the same day in 1977, after leading the league in runs, hits, triples, and batting; and Oakland A “Bash Brother” Jose Canseco won the Award on November 16, 1988. Finally, Pittsburgh Pirate Dick Groat beat teammate Don Hoak to the 1960 NL MVP on November 16 as well.
Speaking of Canseco’s 1988 MVP, he was the first player to win it unanimously since Reggie Jackson, who was not yet the “straw that stirs the drink” in New York when he did it. Jackson had won his for that same Oakland team in 1973.
The career of pitcher Cory Lidle, who would tragically die in a fiery plane crash into a building on Manhattan’s East Side in October 2006, took another step toward his brief Yankee stint when he was traded from Oakland to Toronto on November 16, 2002. Subsequent stops in Cincinnati and Philadelphia preceded the late 2006 trade that brought him to the Bronx.
Pedro Martinez became only the third pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues when he won it for the Red Sox on November 16, 1999. He was preceded in this achievement by Gaylord Perry and Randy Johnson, two guys who would eventually toe the mound in the Bronx.
It was November 16, 2001, that a Minnesota judge issued an injunction forcing the Twins to play their full home schedule in the Homer Dome, thus disrupting the plan of Minnesota owner Carl Pohlad and Commissioner Bud Selig to contract the team out of existence.
In another chapter of the weird general manager career of Steve Phillips with the Mets, on November 16, 1998, he was reinstated from his leave of absence and fans discovered that the sexual harassment suit against him had been settled. But Steve would have to continue getting counseling. A run to the World Series in 2000 was his career highlight; bad personnel decisions in 2001 and 2002 would cost him his job. Curiously, failure in that spot convinced ESPN that he is an expert on player evaluation and player moves. On the other hand, similar behavior cropped up, and he no longer works at the cable sports giant either.
Portsided outfielder Hugh High (1962) is the only Yankee player to have died on November 16. After having played 1913-1914 with Detroit, High ended his career by playing 345 games with New York from 1915-1918. The three home runs he hit was the career total, but the 100 rbi’s he garnered on 295 hits in 1,179 at bats would make his overall total 123, including his play with the Tigers.
The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 16 is pitcher-heavy, with two righthanded hurlers, a lefty, and infielder Floyd Baker (2004), who hit lefty, played third base most, and who hit one home run with 196 rbi’s from 1943-1955 with the White Sox (six years), and the Browns, the Cubs, and the Red Sox (two years each). Southpaw Jim Brewer (1987) won 69, lost 65, and saved 132 games with the Cubs, the Dodgers, and the Angels from 1960-1976; switch-hitting Russ Meyer (1997) posted most of his 94-73-5 mark pitching with the Phillies, the Cubs, and the Dodgers from 1946-1959; and Sandy Consuegra (2005) won 51, lost 32, and saved 26 for the Senators, the White Sox, and the Orioles from 1950-1957.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Yankee birthdayers on November 16 are Dwight Gooden (1964); and Rollie Zeider (1883), although catcher Harry Chiti (1932) spent time with the club as well. After a meteoric rise to fame and success with the Mets, Gooden’s career was almost lost due to drug abuse and other personal behavior problems. But the 24-14 mark he managed with the Yanks in 1996, 1997, and briefly in 2000 gave both “Doc” and the Yanks a much-needed boost. His 1996 no-hitter in the Bronx was inspiring, and the Bombers probably would not have made it to the World Series that year had Gooden not filled in so well during David Cone‘s aneurysm surgery and recovery. A 1982 Mets first round (fifth pick) draft choice, Gooden signed free agent contracts with the Yankees in 1996 and again in 2000.
Infielder Zeider notched 12 rbi’s in 50 games for the 1913 Yankees after having set an AL rookie stolen-base record (49) that would last for 76 years until John Cangelosi, another White Sox player, broke it in 1986. Zeider’s other claim to fame he shares with Dutch Zwilling — aside from the fact that their last names that begin with “Z.” They are the only two men in the Twentieth Century to play in three different major leagues in the same city. They both played in Chicago for the White Sox of the American League, the Cubs of the National League, and the Chi-Feds of the Federal League. Zeider was traded with Babe Borton to the Yanks from the White Sox in June 1913 for Hal Chase. He jumped from New York to the Chi-Feds before the following season.
Harry Chiti hit 41 taters with 179 rbi’s over 12 years, most of it with the Cubs and the Kansas City A’s. He arrived in New York before the 1957 season from the Cubs in an unknown transaction, and was taken by the Athletics from the Yankees in the 1957 rule-V draft. Later in his career, Harry would be traded on his birthday in 1961, being sent by the Orioles with Ray Barker and minor leaguer Art Kay to the Indians for Johnny Temple.
Other birthdays: Paul Foytack (1930); Don Hahn (1948); Tim Scott (1966); Chris Haney (1968); Pete Rose, Jr. (1969); Mark Corey (1974); Julio Lugo (1975); Fernando Cabrera (1981); Tim Wood (1982); Jordan Walden (1987); Brandon Cumpton (1988); Juan Centeno (1989); Phillips Valdez (1991); Cheslor Cuthbert (1992); Reggie McClain (1992); Will Craig (1994); Victor Gonzalez (1995); and Sebastian Rivero (1998).
Players Born This Day