Joe, Vince, and Dom DiMaggio played together for the first time on November 6, 1938, as they comprised the outfield in an all-star game for charity on the West Coast. Joe had started with the Yankees in 1936, Vince with the Boston Braves the year after, and Dom would make his major-league debut with the Red Sox in 1940.
November 6 was a day when two Yankee (or ex-Yankee) pitchers were released. Sad Sam Jones, who had pitched for five years in the Bronx after starting in Boston, tossed for Washington and the White Sox too. The Chicago club released him on this day in 1935. With over 400 career decisions, Sam finished with 12 more wins than losses. His count with the Yanks was plus-11 (67-56), so he won just one more than he lost during his other 17 years.
A month earlier few Yankee fans would have cared, but knowing what we know now, it is a very good thing that when the Yankees declined the option on lefty reliever Damaso Marte on November 6, 2008, it was just a case of payroll adjusting. Marte would re-sign shortly, get hurt pitching in the WBC and have almost no effect on the 2009 pennant-winning season. But he got healthy eventually and came up huge in Championship No. 27, which the team unfortunately had to relinquish a year later. Marte has undergone the knife and won’t be seen pitching again until perhaps June 2011, just months before his current Yankee tour is scheduled to end.
On November 6, 2017, the Yankees selected the contracts of righthander Nick Rumbelow and outfielder Jake Cave from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
In two minor waiver moves on November 6, 2012, the Yankees claimed lefty Josh Spence from San Diego, and righty David Herndon from Toronto.
Moves around baseball on November 6, 2009, would eventually affect the 2010 Yankee roster. The Tigers outrighted outfielder/DH Marcus Thames to the Toledo Mud Hens, leading to his eventual free agency, a status both first baseman/DH Nick Johnson and outfielder Austin Kearns filed for the same day. Johnson would be a bust as a Yankee signing, with a season lost to injury; and Kearns would not join the Yanks until a September trade, and then underwhelm. But Thames surprised most by making the Opening Day pinstriped roster and contributing with some big hits and homers in part-time duty all year.
The Yankees gave up on the Andy Messersmith experiment on November 6, 1978, as they gave him his release after a season in which he posted an 0-3 mark in six games, five of them starts. The Dodgers, for whom he had pitched for three years, gave him another shot, but his 2-4 mark in ’79 was the end of his career. More famous for challenging the Reserve Clause than for what he did on the mound, Andy’s ’78 season with the Yanks was ruined when he was injured covering first base in a game during the last week of Spring Training.
Chicago Cub fireballer Kerry Wood won the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year Award on November 6, and Todd Hollandsworth became the fifth consecutive Dodger to garner the NL Award when he got it on that same day in 1996. Players who have won the Rookie of the Year Award on November 6 have an impact on Yankee personnel too. For instance, if Kaz Sasaki rightly won the 2000 AL Award on that day, Hideki Matsui appears to have qualified in 2003 (though briefly a 2009 Yankee, KC Royal Angel Berroa won it). And David Justice of the Braves and Chuck Knoblauch of the Twins won the NL and AL Rookie Award, respectively, on this day. Justice was honored in 1990, Knoblauch in 1991. They would of course both play significant years with the Yanks later in their careers.
The only absolute dead heat in Cy Young Award voting happened when Denny McLain and Mike Cuellar tied for the AL prize on November 6, 1969. The following year, Cuellar came in fourth as Jim Perry of the Twins edged out Dave McNally, “Sudden” Sam McDowell, and Mike for the 1970 AL prize. Oakland’s Barry Zito outpointed the rest of the American League field for the Cy Young on this day in 2002. And L.A. Dodger Mike Marshall became the first relief pitcher to win the Award when he threw 208 innings during 106 appearances and won the NL prize on November 6, 1974.
Ten years later, reliever Willie (Guillermo) Hernandez won the 1984 AL MVP Award on November 6, becoming the second reliever (after Rollie Fingers) to win that prize and the Cy Young in the same season.
The 1988 American All-Star team sent to Japan experienced another tough battle on November 6, as the locals embellished their victory in the series’ first game the day before with a hard-fought 6-6 tie.
Perhaps the club’s first player with superstar status based on a record 41-win season, righthander Jack Chesbro (1931) is one of two Yankee players who have died on November 6. In 269 games (227 starts) with the 1903-1909 Highlanders, Chesbro won 128, lost 93, and saved two. A four-year stint with Pirates previously and a short stop with the Red Sox afterward leveled Jack’s numbers at 198-132-5. Lefty-hitting third baseman and outfielder Roy Hartzell (1961) ended his two-stop career by playing in 699 games for the 1911-1916 Yankees. He netted seven home runs and 266 rbi’s on 617 hits in 2,055 at bats. Adding in the numbers from his 1906-1910 stint with the Browns gives him 12 homers and 397 runs driven in.
The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 31 used to include just two pitchers, one thrower each from the two sides, but two more ex-Met hurlers have joined. Southpaw Clarence Mitchell (1963) won 125, lost 139, and saved nine games from 1911 through 1932 pitching six years with the Phillies, five with the Dodgers, three each with the Cardianls and the Giants, and one with the Tigers. A righty thrower who hit from the left side, Al Mattern (1958) won 36 games, lost 58, and saved four from 1908-1912, tossing mostly for the Doves. An original Met, 1962 was the only season righthander Ray Daviault (2020) threw in the bigs, all in Flushing. He pitched in 36 games (three starts) to a 1-5 record with no saves. Southpaw Les Rohr (2020) pitched only for the Mets as well, from 1967 through 1969, posting a 2-3 record with no saves in six games, four of them starts.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Nine Yankees share November 6 as their birthday. Chad Curtis (1968) was a serviceable left fielder and a World Series hero in 1999, as he hit two homers in one game, one a walk-off. He chipped in with 27 homers and 130 rbi’s in 2.5 years in the Bronx. Both teams were looking to unload the principals when the Cleveland Indians sent Curtis to New York for David Weathers in June 1997. An interesting sidelight to the trade of Curtis to the Rangers in December 1999 is that New York got righties Brandon Knight and Sam Marsonek in return. Both made their major league debuts with the Yankees, Knight in 2001, and Marsonek in July 2004.
My recollection of John Candelaria (1953), “The Candy Man,” was that he was a devastating lefty with some injury problems, so I was surprised he only amassed a 16-10 mark with the Bombers in 1988-1989. He pitched 12 years for the Pirates. The Yanks signed John as a free agent in January 1988, and traded him to the Expos for Mike Blowers in August 1989.
Third baseman Leo Hernandez (1959) ended his big-league career by playing 22 games with the 1986 Yankees, garnering one homer and four rbi’s, after playing the hot corner in Baltimore from 1982 through 1984. The Yanks swapped Rich Bordi and Rex Hudler for Hernandez and Gary Roenicke of the Orioles in December 1985.
Carlos Almanzar (1973) only went 0-1 in 10 games for the 2001 Yanks, but the loss derived from a crushing, game-winning (losing, actually, for our purposes), walk-off home run he surrendered to Mike Piazza in an ESPN Sunday night game vs. the Mets on June 17 of that year. The Yanks got Almanzar from the Padres for David Lee in March 2001 and granted Carlos free agency that October. Although Almanzar posted just a 13-13 mark from 1997-2003, the 2005 season may have been his breakthrough, as he went 7-3 in Texas. DH Bubba Trammell‘s (1971) time with the 2003 Yanks once they signed him to a free agent deal was clouded by a lot of bench time and a difficulty with handling that role, but he did drive in five runs in 55 games.
New to the Yankees in 2011, although he has yet to play for the big-league club, is outfielder Justin Maxwell (1983), an athlete with a superb body that looked made for the game in March in Spring Training, but whether or not he’ll hit in the bigs remains to be seen. Justin came to the Yankees having hit nine home runs with 26 rbi’s in 122 games with the Washington Nationals from 2007 through 2010. Lost through free agency when he did not make the 2012 squad, Maxwell had a more than decent year playing for Houston that year and in 2013, earning a trade to Kansas City for their first stretch run in decades. He spent the 2015 season with the Giants.
A newer addition to the pinstriped wing of the mlb birthday club is righthander Caleb Cotham (1987), who posted one win and no losses in 12 games with the ’15 club, all in relief. Caleb was drafted by the Yankees in the fifth round in 2009, and signed later that year. Cotham and three others were traded to the Reds for Aroldis Chapman in December 2015, and he pitched to an 0-3 mark in 23 games with Cincinnati in 2016. Seattle signed him as a free agent in February 2017, but he has apparently resigned from pitching. He served as the Phillies’ pitching coach in 2021.
A solid addition to the Yankee family, southpaw starter James Paxton (1988), had a very good year for the team in 2019, and one dominant start in the postseason. A first-round choice by Toronto in 2009, then a fourth-round pick by Seattle in 2010, James was acquired in a trade of minor leaguers Dom Thompson-Williams and Erik Swanson, and prospect Justus Sheffield in November 2018. Paxton went 41-26 for the Mariners from 2013 through 2018, and posted a 15-6 mark for the 2019 Yankees, including having won 10 straight down the stretch. But an off-season injury, and then another in-season one in 2020, in which he went 1-1 in five starts, ended his Yankee career. He signed with Seattle for 2021, but was injured again in his only appearance, and his time in the bigs may be over. All 137 of his major league games have been starts.
In the “once a Yankee, but never played for them” category is righty Don Wengert (1969), who signed as a free agent with the Yanks in July 1999, but he was released one month later. Don went 14-32 from 1995 through 2001, mostly with Oakland. And despite a 31-29 mark with the Angels from 1984 through 1986, righthander Ron Romanick (1960) never appeared in Pinstripes once the Yanks got him, with Alan Mills, from California in December 1986 for Butch Wynegar.
Other birthdays: Legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson (1887), who won more than 400 games for the Washington ballclub from 1907 through 1927; Deivi Cruz (1972); Justin Speier (1973); Adam LaRoche (1979); Ricky Romero (1984); Cory Rasmus (1987); Alex Blandino (1992); Alejandro Kirk (1998); and Matthew Liberatore (1999).
Players Born This Day