Sunday, December 28, 2008

This Week in Yankees History (12/28-1/3)

December 28th - January 3rd

December 28th

1947 - Former Yankees reserve INF Aurelio Rodriguez (19801-81) was born. (1947-2000) On August 4, 1980, he was purchased by the Yankees from the Padres. Aurelio would play in 77 games for the Yankees, hitting .283. On November 17, 1981, he was traded by the Yankees to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later. The Blue Jays would send Mike Lebo (minors) on December 9, 1981 to the Yankees to complete the trade. In 2000, he passed away from injuries after being struck by car that had jumped onto the sidewalk in Detroit.

1992 - Former Yankees hurler and long-time NL post-season rival Sal “The Barber” Maglie (1957-58) passed away. (1917-1992) Sal was purchased by the Yankees from the Dodgers for $25,000 cash and 2 minor league players in September of 1957. Sal went 2-0 with 4 saves for the Yankees. In 1958, he faded going 1-1 in 7 games, before being sold to the Cardinals. Sal had pitched for the Yankees, Dodgers and the Giants during the 1950’s.

1995 - The White Sox traded veteran OF Tim Raines to the Yankees in exchange for future considerations. The Yankees would send Blaise Kozeniewski (minors) on
February 6, 1996 to the White Sox to complete the trade.

2001 - Outgoing New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announces the Yankees and Mets have reached a tentative agreement with the city to build a pair of $800 million, retractable-roof stadiums. Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg, who is concerned if the city can afford what is believed to be the largest private-public venture history, will have final word on the $1.6 billion cost of the proposed new ballparks agreements. Neither of the new stadiums would be built with retractable-roofs, due to projected construction costs.

2005 - Yankees LF Hideki Matsui has decided not to play for
Japan at next year's World Baseball Classic games, so he can concentrate his efforts on winning a World Series with the Yankees.

2005 - Free agent veteran reserve INF Miguel Cairo and the Yankees reached an agreement on a $1 million, one-year contract.

2007 - Former Yankees player Jim Leyritz is arrested in
Florida. He had crashed his car into another vehicle, killing the occupant. He was charged with DUI manslaughter. Leyritz was also driving with a suspended license.

December 29th

1885 - Former Yankees OF Frank “Pudgie” Delahanty (1905-06, 1908) was born. On August 22, 1905, he was purchased by the Highlanders from the Birmingham (Southern Association). He hit .230 in 101 games for the Yankees. On May 16, 1907, Frank was traded by the Highlanders along with Walter Clarkson to the Cleveland Naps for Earl Moore. On July 9, 1908, he was signed as a free agent with the Highlanders. Frank would hit .256 in 37 games for the rest of the 1908 AL season.

1893 - Former Yankees reserve C Salvatore “Joe” Smith (1913) was born. Joe appeared in only 14 games during the 1913
AL season, hitting just .156.

1911 - Former Yankees reserve INF Billy Knickerbocker (1938-40) was born. On
February 15, 1938, Billy was traded by the Browns to the Yankees for INF Don Heffner and $10,000. Billy took over Don Heffner’s role as Yankees reserve INF. On December 31, 1940, Billy was traded by the Yankees to the White Sox for C Ken Silvestri.

1928 - The Yankees waived veteran 3B Joe Dugan to the Braves.

1933 - Yankees Owner Jacob Ruppert refuses to release All Star OF Slugger Babe Ruth from his MLB player contract, thus preventing him from becoming the manager of the Reds. Babe Ruth will never receive another chance to manage a MLB team.

1952 - Former Yankees reserve INF Dennis Werth (1979-1981) was born. Dennis was drafted by the Yankees in the 19th round of the 1974 MLB amateur player draft. He hit .222 in 76 games with the Yankees. His best Yankees season was in 1980, hitting .308 in 39 games. On
March 24, 1982, Dennis was traded by the Yankees to the Royals for minor league player Scott Behan.

1972 - Former Yankees reliever Jim Brower (2007) was born. Jim appeared in only 3 games in 2007 with no record, before returning to Scranton (AAA).

1974 - Former Yankees 1B/DH Richie Sexton (2007) was born. His stay with the Yankees was short-lived however; after 22 games in 2007, in which he went to bat only 25 times, Richie was released on August 15th. He had hit .250 with 1 HR and 6 RBI’s in the

1975 - Former Yankees P Jarret Wright (2005-06) was born. On
December 28, 2004, he was signed as a free agent with the Yankees. He went 16-12 in 43 games with the Yankees. On November 12, 2006, he was traded by the Yankees along with cash to the Orioles for P Chris Britton.

1977 - Melissa Ludtke, a female Sports Illustrated sports writer, files suit against MLB, the Yankees and NYC officials for denying her access to the Yankee Stadium locker rooms to interview players during the 1977 World Series.

2004 - Former Yankees reserve C Gus Niarhos (1946, 1948-1950) passed away (1920-2004). He was attending
Auburn University on scholarship, when a scout for the Yankees signed him. After World War II broke out, he served in the U.S. Navy. Gus spent his 1st 3+ years in the MLB with the Yankees. Yogi Berra was the up-and-coming catcher, and in 1948 Gus platoon at catcher with him while Yogi also played in the outfield. He appeared in 1 game in the 1949 World Series against the Dodgers, which the Yankees won. The White Sox picked him off waivers from the Yankees in 1950. Looking back at his start with the Yankees he said, “That was a tough organization, if you were a catcher. They had Bill Dickey. Then Yogi came up. From '49 on, it was just forget about being a catcher with the Yankees." – Gus Niarhos.

December 30th

1927 - The Yankees released two veteran players: INF Ray Morehardt and P Joe Giard, they have retired from MLB.

1930 - Former Yankees minor league INF Milt Graff was born. Milt was traded by the Yankees in February of 1957 in the Bobby Shantz trade with the A’s. He was unable to break into the crowded Yankee INF. Milt was originally signed by the Pirates in 1949. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 1955 MLB minor league player draft.

1940 - The Yankees swapped starter Monte Pearson (1936-1940) to the Reds for INF Dan Lang and $20,000 cash. Lang will never play for the Yankees at the MLB level.

1995 - Free agent starter Kenny Rogers is signed by the Yankees to a 4-year contract. The Gambler went 18-15 in 62 games for the Yankees. On
November 7, 1997, he was traded by the Yankees along with cash to the A’s for a player to be named later. The A’s would send INF Scott Brosius to the Yankees to complete the trade in November.

2002 - Citing that this will probably be his last MLB career season, 40-year old All Star starter Roger Clemens agrees to a $10.1 million, 1-year deal with the Yankees. The 19-season MLB veteran, who has won the Cy Young Award 6 times, is 7 victories shy of 300 MLB career wins mark.

- The Yankees resigned free agent P Christian Parker.

December 31st

1914 - AL President Ban Johnson's efforts to strengthen the Yankees succeed when he arranges the purchase of the team by Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Houston for $460,000 from current owners Bill Devery and Frank Farrell. After Detroit owner Frank Navin refuses to let manager Hugh Jennings go, the new Yankee owners will name longtime Tiger hurler William “Wild Bill” Donovan to managing the team. Under the new owner regime, the Yankees will make the most important trade in franchise history, when they purchased Babe Ruth from the Red Sox in December of 1919.

1919 - Former Yankees P Tommy Byrne (1943, 1946-1951, 1954-57) was born (1919-2007). Before the 1940
AL Season, Tommy was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent. Tommy went 73-50 in 249 games in 10 seasons with the Yankees. He won 15 games each during the1949 and 1950 AL seasons. Tom was named to the 1950 AL All Star team. On June 15, 1951, he was traded by the Yankees along with $25,000 to the Browns for veteran P Stubby Overmire. Tommy was re-obtained by the Yankees in September of 1954 from Seattle (PCL). In 1955, he won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award by going 16-5. He would pitch 2 more seasons for the Yankees, before retiring in 1957. He later became the Mayor and Owner of the Wake Forrest, NC Country Club. Tommy passed away on December 20, 2007.

1924 - Former Yankees P Ted Gray (1955) was born. On
June 30, 1955, Ted was signed as a free agent with the Yankees. He will appear in only 1 game with no decisions before being released in July of 1955 by the Yankees.

1940 - The Yankees send P Bump Hadley to the Giants for the waiver price. Also they traded reserve INF Bill Knickerbocker to the White Sox for C Ken Silvestri. The military will claim Ken Silvestri for the next 4 years.

1971 - Former Yankees P Esteban Loaiza (2004) was born. On
July 31, 2004, he was traded by the White Sox to the Yankees for starter Jose Contreras and cash. He appeared in 10 games for the Yankees posting a 1-2 record, before leaving the team for free agency in the winter of 2004.

1974 - Free agent starter James “Catfish” Hunter, who posted a 25-12 record with the A’s, signs with the Yankees ending an unprecedented bidding war, when he inks a 5-year, $3.75 million dollar contract. This is triple the salary of any other MLB player. His Yankees pitching career record was 63-53. He won 23 games in 1975 and 17 games in 1976 for the Yankees. He will retire at the age of 33 in 1979, after a 15-year MLB career. He will win election to the
HOF in 1987.

1980 - Former Yankees P and Manager (1930) Robert “Sailor Bob” Shawkey (1915-1927) passed away (1890-1980). Bob Shawkey finished his Yankee pitching career with a record of 168-131, a 4-time 20 game winner after being obtained from the A’s for $85,000 in 1915. Bob will manage the Yankees in 1930 to 86-68 record before being replaced by veteran NL manager Joe McCarthy.

1990 - The Yankees purchased starter Scott Sanderson from the A’s. He would go 16-10 in 1991 and 12-11 in 1992, before leaving the team for free agency.

2004 - After the Devil Rays decline his 2005 $8 million contract option, free agent 1B/DH Tino
Martinez, who had hit .262, 23 HRs with 76 RBIs for the Tampa, signs a 1-year, $3 million contract to rejoin the Yankees. Martinez played in New York from 1996 through 2001, he was replaced by free agent 1B Jason Giambi. This time, he is acquired as insurance in the event Giambi's fragile health due to steroid use continues to fail.

January 1st

1874 - Former Yankees P Ned Garvin (1904) was born. Ned appeared in 2 games with a 0-1 record in September of 1904.

1881 - Former Yankees OF Rudy Bell (1907) was born. He appeared in only 17 games in 1907, hitting just .212.

1910 - Former Yankees P Charles Devens (1932-34) was born. Charlie went 5-3 in 16 games for the Yankees. He had been a college star baseball player, before signing with the Yankees.

1923 - Former Yankees HOF OF William “Wee Willie” Keeler dies in Brooklyn, NY, at age of 50. In 19 MLB seasons, Keller hit .341, amassed 2,932 hits. He won consecutive batting titles in 1897-98. He played for the Yankees from 1903-09. He hit over .300, three times for the Yankees, including .343 in 1904. Willie was elected to the HOF in 1939.

1924 - Former Yankees 1B and MLB Coach Earl Torgeson (1961) was born. On June 17, 1961, Earl was signed as a free agent with the Yankees, after being released by the White Sox. He hit .111 in 22 games before becoming a MLB coach on September 2, 1961.

1942 - Former Yankees minor league INF Bill Bethea was born. Bill was obtained from the Twins on waivers in 1965, but he never played for the Yankees at the MLB level.

1955 - Former Yankees minor league P LaMarr Hoyt was born. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 5th round of the 1973 MLB amateur player draft. Hoyt never played for the Yankees at the MLB level. On April 5, 1977, he was traded by the Yankees along with P Bob Polinsky, OF/DH Oscar Gamble, and $200,000 cash to the White Sox for shortstop Bucky Dent.

1974 - Former Yankees GM Lee MacPhail takes over as AL President, succeeding Joe Cronin, who retires. MacPhail will serve in this role until 1984. He will join his father, Larry MacPhail, as a member of the Hall of Fame in 1998.

2006 - Former Yankees reliever Paul Linbald (1978) passed away. He appeared in 7 games with no decisions after being purchased from the Rangers. The Yankees will send him to the Mariners after the 1978
AL season.

January 2nd

1963 - Former Yankees P David Cone (1995-2000) was born. On July 28, 1995, Dave was traded by the Blue Jays to the Yankees for P Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon. Dave went 64-40 as a Yankees starter. He was 2-0 in 4 World Series with the Yankees.

1973 - Rumors appeared nationwide in the sports media that the Yankees were being purchased from CBS Inc., by a Cleveland group of investors.

1977 - Former Yankees P Scott Proctor (2004-2007) was born. On July 31, 2003, Scott was traded by the Dodgers along with OF Bubba Crosby to the Yankees for veteran INF Robin Ventura. Scott went 11-10 with 1 save in 190 games with the Yankees, before being traded back to the Dodgers on July 31, 2007, for INF Wilson Betemit.

1991 - The Yankees signed free agent starter Mike Witt. Mike was obtained from the Angels for All Star OF Dave Winfield in May of 1990. He posted a 5-6 record in 16 games. He would only appear in 2 games in 1991, posting a 0-1 record due to injuries. He would miss the 1992 AL season due to injuries, in 1993; Mike appeared in 9 games with Yankees, posting a 3-2 record.

2003 - Former Yankees OF Art Metheny (1943-46) passed away. Art hit .247 in 376 games for the Yankees.

2008 - Former Yankees reliever Gerry Staley (1955-56) passed away. On September 14, 1955, Gerry was selected off waivers by the Yankees from the Reds. He appeared in only 3 games with no record for the Yankees. On May 28, 1956, he was selected off waivers by the White Sox from the Yankees. He would be one of the key members of the 1959 AL Champions White Sox bullpen.

January 3rd

1891 - Former Yankees INF John Dowd (1912) was born. John appeared in only 10 games in 1912 for the Yankees, hitting just .194.

1912 - Former Yankees OF Stanley “Frenchy” Bordagaray (1941) was born. On January 27, 1940, he was sent by the Reds to the Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on August 5,1939. The Reds sent players to be named later and $40,000 to the Yankees for 1B Vince DiMaggio. The Reds would send OF Frenchy Bordagaray and Nino Bongiovanni on January 27, 1940 to the Yankees to complete the trade. He hit .260 in 36 games for the Yankees in 1941. On March 23, 1942, Frenchy was purchased by the Dodgers from the Yankees.

1920 - The secret deal made on December 26, 1919 to sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $125,000 (twice the amount ever paid previously for a player) is announced publicly. Red Sox owner Harry Frazee also secures a $350,000 loan from the Yankees as part of the deal.

1923 - The Yankees pluck 2 rookies from the Red Sox in two separate deals, P George Pipgras and OF Harvey Hendrick. Yankees received P George Pipgras in exchange for backup C Al DeVormer. George Pipgras would win 93 games as a starter for the Yankees. Harvey Hendrick would be a reserve OF for the Yankees.

1965 - Former Yankees INF and MLB Coach Louis Sojo (1996-99, 2001, 2003) was born. On August 22, 1996, Louie was selected off waivers by the Yankees from the Mariners. He would prove to a valuable reserve INF for the Yankees. His best Yankees season was in 1997, when he hit .307 in 77 games. After leaving the Yankees thru free agency, he returned to the team on August 7, 2000. He was traded by the Pirates for minor league P Chris Spurling. After retiring as an active player in 2003, he was minor league manager in the Yankees farm system, later a MLB coach for the Yankees.

1973 - A group of investors, headed by Cleveland, Ohio shipbuilder George Steinbrenner, purchases the Yankees from CBS, Inc. for $10 million. Mike Burke and Gabe Paul are among the limited partners in the group acquiring the Yankees. Gabe Paul would replace Mike Burke as President of the Yankees.

1974 - After the Yankees was denied by the MLB Commissioner’s office, the signing of former A’s Manager Richard Williams as their new manager for the 1974 AL season. The Yankees signed former minor league OF Bill Virdon as their new manager. Although the former Pirates skipper will manage for 2 years in New York, he will never win a game at Yankee Stadium because the Yankees will play home games at Shea Stadium due to renovations of their stadium. Bill was originally signed by the Yankees but was traded to the Cardinals in the Enos Slaughter trade in 1954. Bill went 142-123 as Yankees Manager before being replaced by Billy Martin during the 1975 AL season.

1977 - The Yankees newly signed free agent starter A.J. Burnett was born.

1997 - Yankees signed free agent P Willie Banks. Willie had been a #1 draft pick of the Twins and a former New Jersey All State High School pitcher. He will go 4-1 in 14 games, before being traded on June 3, 1998, by the Yankees to the Diamondbacks for minor league players Scott Brow and Joe Lisio.

- The Yankees signed free agent P Todd Williams. Todd will appear in 15 games with the Yankees with a 1-0 record in 2001.

2001 - The Yankees traded reliever Jay Tessmer and minor league player Seth Taylor to the Rockies for P David Lee.

2003 - Former Yankees P Joe “Professor” Ostrowski (1950-52) passed away (1916-2003) On June 15,1950, Joe was traded by the Browns along with pitchers Tom Ferrick, Sid Schacht and 3B Leo Thomas to the Yankees for OF Jim Delsing, Pitchers Don Johnson, Duane Pillette, INF George “ Snuffy” Stirnweiss, and $50,000. Joe went 9-7 in 75 games with 10 saves for the Yankees.

2003 - The Yankees released P Brandon Knight. On December 13,1999, Brandon was traded by the Rangers along with P Sam Marsonek to the Yankees for OF/DH Chad Curtis. In two seasons with the Yankees, Brandon appeared in only 11 games with no record.

2005 - MLB Commissioner Bud Selig approves the potential trade of the Diamondbacks NL All Star starter Randy Johnson to the Yankees in exchange for pitchers Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey, minor league C Dioner Navarro, and $9 million dollars.

2006 - The Yankees signed former Red Sox CF Johnny Damon as a free agent.

2006 - The Yankees resigned free agent AL All Star CF Bernie Williams.

2007 - The Yankees signed free agent P Ben Kozlowski. Ben will not appear with the Yankees at the MLB level.

(As always I'd like to thank Fw57Clipper51 for his great contribution.)