This Week in Yankees History
December 19th - December 25th
1915 - Former Yankees PH/INF Nicholas “Mickey” Witek (1949) was born. Mickey Witek was the 1939 Most Valuable Player for the Newark Bears (International League). He was brought up to the majors with the New York Giants. He spent the 1943-1946 MLB seasons in the U.S. Coast Guard. He appeared in one game for the 1949 New York Yankees, as a pinch hitter.
1930 - Former Yankees reserve OF Gordon Windhorn (1959) was born. On March 14, 1957, Gordon Windhorn was traded by the Boston Red Sox along with P Eli Grba to the New York Yankees for OF Bill Renna. In 1958 with the Denver Bears in the American Association (AAA), Gordon won the league’s batting crown. Gordon was selected as the 1959 James P. Dawson Award for being the best Yankees rookie in the 1959 spring training camp. Gordon appeared in only seven games for the Yankees in 1959. On April 5,1960, Gordon was traded by the Yankees along with minor league player Dick Sanders to the Dodgers for P Fred Kipp.
1934 - The New York Yankees send five players to San Francisco Seals (PCL) as part of the payment for OF Joe DiMaggio. He will play another season in the Pacific Coast League with the Seals. Joe will report to the Yankees at the end of 1935.
1943 - Former Yankees OF/DH Walt "No Neck" Williams (1974-1975) was born. Walt hit .113 and 281 for the New York Yankees. After the 1975 AL season, the Yankees released Walt. He went to Japan to play baseball. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner helped Walt get a contact with a Japanese team.
1944 - Former Yankees P Rob Gardner (1970-1972) was born. Rob Gardner went 9-5 in two tours with the New York Yankees between trades to the Oakland A's. He was traded for both of the Alou brothers. His best Yankees season was in 1972, when he went 8-5 in 14 starts for the Yankees.
1962 - Former Yankees P Clay Parker (1989-1990) was born. On December 22, 1987, Clay was traded by the Seattle Mariners along with hurlers Lee Guetterman and Wade Taylor to the New York Yankees for starter Steve Trout and OF Henry Cotto. Clay went 5-6 in 32 games for the Yankees. On June 4,1990, Clay was traded by the Yankees along with P Lance McCullers to the Detroit Tigers for OF/DH/C Matt Nokes.
1970 - Former Yankees minor league C Tom Wilson was born. On June 4, 1990, Tom was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the 1990 MLB amateur player draft. Tom never played for the Yankees at the MLB level. On April 6, 1996, he was traded by the New York Yankees to the Cleveland Indians for two minor league players: Marc Marini and Ryan Martindale. In 1997 and 1999, he rejoined the New York Yankees organization; he played at Columbus (AAA).
1974 - The race to sign MLB free agent All Star hurler Catfish Hunter begins in the law offices of Cherry, Cherry & Flythe in Ahoskie, North Carolina. New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox representatives are the 1st arrivals.
1978 - Former Yankee reserve INF Andy Cannizaro (2006) was born. The New York Yankees drafted him in the 7th round of the 2001 MLB amateur player draft. They assigned him to the Staten Island Yankees, where he batted .283, but only stole 5 bases in 8 tries and grounded into 15 double plays, the most in the New York-Penn League. Moving up to the Tampa Yankees, he hit .249 and followed with a .276 year for the Trenton Thunder. In 2004, Cannizaro repeated at Trenton and improved to .314. He split 2005 minor league season between the Thunder (.248) and the Columbus Clippers (.253). The next year, he had a .276 BA with 32 doubles for the Clippers. Andy made his MLB debut with the Yankees, going 2 for 8 (.250) with a HR and 5 runs as a pinch-hitter and pinch runner. In the fall of 2007, the Yankees granted him free agency. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays.
1991 - New York Yankees reliever Steve Howe is arrested in Montana on a charge of possession of cocaine. Howe has been suspended from baseball 5 times for drug and alcohol problems.
2003 - Former Yankees minor league OF Carmen Mauro passed away. In a 10-player trade, the New York Yankees send 1B Vic Power, infielders Jimmy Finigan and Don Bollweg, OF Bill Renna, C Jim Robertson, and P John Gray to the Philadelphia A's. While the A’s send veteran 1B Eddie Robinson, 3B Loren Babe, P Harry Byrd, and outfielders Tom Hamilton and Carmen Mauro to the Yankees. Carmen Mauro never appeared with the Yankees at the MLB level. He would spend the next five seasons in the minor leagues. He would retire from professional baseball in 1958.
2008 - Former Yankees P Dock Ellis (1976-1977) passed away. On December 11, 1975, Dock Ellis was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates along with P Ken Brett and minor league 2B Willie Randolph to the New York Yankees for P George “Doc” Medich. Dock went 17-8 with the 1976 Yankees. In 1977, he was 1-1. On April 27,1977, Dock was traded by the Yankees along with OF Larry Murray and reserve INF Marty Perez to the Oakland A’s for starter Mike Torrez.
1876 - Former Yankees 2B James “Buttons” Williams (1903-1907) was born. Before the 1901 AL Season, James Williams jumped from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Baltimore Orioles (pre-Highlanders). He appeared in 940 games with the Yankees hitting .277. On November 5,1907, he was traded by the Highlanders along with Hobe Ferris and Danny Hoffman to the St. Louis Browns for P Fred Glade, OF Charlie Hemphill and INF Harry Niles.
1881 - Former Yankees C and Hall Of Fame Baseball executive Wesley “Branch” Rickey (1907) was born. On February 28, 1907, catcher Branch Rickey was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the New York Highlanders for INF Joe Yeager. Branch playing with a bad shoulder appeared in 52 games hitting just .182 for the Yankees. In 1967, he was elected to Baseball Hall Of Fame as a baseball executive. He was the creator of the minor league farm system in the 1930’s, the signing Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 to break the MLB color player barrier.
1885 - Former Yankees 2B Charles “Paddy” Baumann (1915-1917) was born. After being obtained from the Detroit Tigers, Paddy hit.276 in 204 games for the Yankees.
1888 - Former Yankees 1B Fred Merkle (1925-1926) was born. On June 17, 1925, Fred Merkle was purchased by the New York Yankees from Rochester (International) for $6,000. Fred was at the end of his MLB career when he joined the Yankees. He appeared in only eight games for the Yankees, hitting .333.
1899 - Former Yankees P and AL Umpire George Pipgras (1923-1924, 1927-1933) was born. On January 3, 1923, George Pipgras was traded by the Boston Red Sox along with OF Harvey Hendrick to the New York Yankees for C Al DeVormer and cash. George went 93-64 in 247 games for the Yankees. He appeared in three World Series (1927-1928,1932) for the Yankees, posting a 3-0 record. On May 12,1933, George was purchased by the Boston Red Sox from the Yankees for $100,000. He was a minor league umpire in the New York-Penn League in 1936-1937 and the Eastern League in 1938. George Pipgras was then an American League umpire from 1939 to 1946. Afterwards he was a MLB scout and instructed umpires.
1903 - In an unpopular trade in Boston, the Pilgrims send Long Tom Hughes to the New York Highlanders for lefty P Jesse Tannehill. Hughes, 20-7 winner for the American League champs, had jumped to the AL from the NL Chicago team in 1902. Hughes will come up short in the Bronx. He will be shipped to the Washington Senators in July, while Tannehill will win 20 for the Pilgrims (aka the Red Sox).
1921 - The New York Yankees raided the Boston Red Sox again, and come away with P Bullet Joe Bush, Shortstop Everett Scott, and P Sad Sam Jones in exchange for Shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh (who goes on to Washington Senators), pitchers Jack Quinn, Rip Collins, and Bill Piercy, and $50,000.
1928 - The New York Yankees released reserve INF Mike Gazella (1923, 1926-1928). Mike had appeared in 162 games for the Yankees, hitting .241. He appeared in one game of the 1926 World Series with no hits.
1940 - Former Yankees P Thad Tillotson (1967-1968) was born. Thad went 4-9 for the Yankees in 50 games after being obtained from the Dodgers for veteran INF Richard “Ducky” Schofield.
1946 - With the trade for veteran C Al Lopez, the Cleveland Indians send young C Sherm Lollar and 2B Ray Mack to the New York Yankees for minor league pitchers Gene Bearden, Al Gettel, and OF Hal Peck. Peck never played for the Yankees after they acquired him in June. Sherman Lollar will play just 33 games in two-years with Yankees having Yogi Berra and Ralph Houk ahead of him. Meanwhile 2B Ray Mack is swapped after appearing in one game during the 1947 AL season. Gene Bearden, as a rookie knuckle-ball pitcher in 1948, will win 20 games and the lead the American League in ERA. It will be his best season as a MLB pitcher.
1949 - Former Yankees OF/DH Oscar Gamble (1976, 1979-1984) was born. On November 22, 1975, Oscar Gamble was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the New York Yankees for veteran starter Pat Dobson. Oscar hit will hit only .232 in 1976. On April 5, 1977, Oscar was traded by the Yankees along with minor league hurlers Bob Polinsky, La Marr Hoyt, and $200,000 to the Chicago White Sox for INF Bucky Dent. On August 1, 1979, Oscar was traded by the Texas Rangers along with players to be named later and Amos Lewis (minors) to the Yankees for players to be named later and OF Mickey Rivers. The Rangers would send hurlers Ray Fontenot and Gene Nelson on October 8, 1979 to the Yankees to complete the trade. The Yankees will send minor league pitchers Bob Polinsky, Neal Mersch, and Mark Softy on October 8,1979 to the Rangers to complete the trade. Oscar would hit well for the Yankees, until injuries finally slowed him down. In seven seasons with the Yankees, Oscar Gamble appeared in 540 games for the Yankees with 87 HRs, 276 RBI’s with a .259 BA. In two World Series with the Yankees, Oscar would hit .285. He will finish his MLB career with the Chicago White Sox in 1985.
1966 - The New York Yankees acquired veteran shortstop Richard Howser from the Cleveland Indians for minor leaguer P Gil Downs and cash. Howser was at the end of his fine MLB career because of back problems. Later he would become the Yankees 3B MLB Coach after retiring as an active player. He would later manage the Yankees in 1980 and the Kansas City Royals before dying of cancer in 1985.
1973 - In siding with the Oakland A's, American League President Joe Cronin rules that the New York Yankees cannot sign the A’s former manager Richard Williams. The Yankees had announced a deal with the former Oakland skipper two days earlier, he was replacing former Yankees Manager Ralph Houk who had resigned as Yankees manager at the end of the 1973 AL season. The Yankees will end up signing former MLB manager Bill Vidron as their manager for the 1974 AL season. Bill had originally signed with the New York Yankees, but was traded away in 1954 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Enos Slaughter trade. He was a National League All Star CF for the Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates during his MLB playing career. Ralph Houk will sign with the Detroit Tigers as their manager for the 1974 AL season.
1974 - The New York Yankees released veteran All Star starter Sam Mc Dowell. After being purchased from the San Francisco Giants in 1973, Sam went 6-10 in 34 games for the Yankees. Sam was battling drinking problems that eventually ended his MLB career. He would retire from MLB in 1975, after finishing out his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 2-1 in 14 games. He originally came up to the majors with the Cleveland Indians.
1986 - The New York Yankees released veteran hurler Bob Shirley. The team will resign him in January of 1987. Bob will post a 14-20 record in 165 games with 5 saves as a Yankee.
1988 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent veteran C Jamie Quirk. He will appear in only 13 games, hitting only .083 before being released by the Yankees.
1989 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent veteran C Rick Cerone. He will appear in 49 games as reserve catcher, hitting .302.
1993 -The New York Yankees signed free agent OF/DH Luis Polonia (1989-1990, 1994-1995, 2000). Luis Polonia would be a reserve OF and occasional DH for the Yankees during his three tours with the team. He will appear in 276 games with 6 HRs, 88 RBI’s with a .296 BA.
1996 - The New York Yankees granted MLB free agency to the following players: P Billy Brewer, P Scott Kamieniecki and INF Luis Sojo.
2002 - The Japan's most heralded player, 28-year-old OF slugger Hideki Matsui (.334, 50 HRs, 107 RBIs), reaches a preliminary agreement with the New York Yankees on a $21 million, three-year contract. "Godzilla" the three-time Most Valuable Player of Japan's Central League, had rejected the Yomiuri Giant's $33 million, four-year offer opting to play for the Yankees. He will play for the Yankees 2003-2009. Matsui appeared in 916 games, hitting 140 HR’s and 597 RBI’s with a Yankee career BA of .290. In 2003-2004, he was named to the AL All Star team. In 2005, he hit .305 for the Yankees. He was named the 2009 MLB World series MVP for hitting .615 (8 for 13) with 3 HRs and 8 RBI’s against the Philadelphia Phillies. Overall in two World Series, Matsui finished with a .389 BA, with 4 HR’s and 12 RBI’s. In 6 ALDS, he hit .261 with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI’s. In 3 ALCS, Matsui hit .333 (10 for 81) with 2 HR’s and 17 RBI’s. After the 2009 World Series, Matsui left the New York Yankees to sign a MLB free agent contract of 6.5 million dollars with the Angels.
2003 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent INF Homer Bush. He will appear in four games with no hits for the 2004 Yankees, unable to comeback from his leg injuries.
2004 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent starter Carl Pavano. Carla posted a 9-8 record in 26 games during his injury riddled four-year stay with the Yankees (2005-2008).
2004 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent veteran INF Tony Womack. Tony will hit only .249 in 108 games for the 2005 Yankees. On December 8,2005, Tony was traded by the Yankees along with cash to the Cincinnati Reds for 2 minor league players Benjamin Himes (minors) and Kevin Howard.
2007 - Former Yankees P Tommy Byrne (1943, 1946-1951, 1954-1957) passed away (1919-2007). Before the 1940 AL season, the New York Yankees signed him as an MLB amateur free agent. Tommy went 73-50 in 249 games in 10 seasons with the Yankees. He won 15 games each during the 1949 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 St. Louis Browns for veteran P Stubby Overmire. Tommy was re-obtained by the Yankees in September of 1954 from Seattle Rayners (PCL). In 1955, he won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award by going 16-5 for the Yankees. He would pitch two more seasons for the team, before retiring in 1957. He would become the Mayor and Owner of the Wake Forrest, NC Country Club.
1927 - The New York Yankees signed veteran MLB starter Stan Coveleski after his release by the Washington Senators. Stan will go 5-1 in 12 games for the 1928 Yankees. He was elected to Baseball’s Hall Of Fame in 1969. He finished his MLB career with a 215-142 pitching record.
1934 - The New York Yankees sell reserve OF Sammy Byrd to the Cincinnati Reds. Sammy Byrd was known as Babe Ruth’s legs as a late inning defensive replacement for the Babe. He played in 565 games for the Yankees, hitting .281 with 27 HRs and 155 RBI’s.
1947 - Former Yankees OF Elliot Maddox (1974-1976) was born. On March 23, 1974, Elliot Maddox was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Texas Rangers. Elliot played well for the Yankees in OF, replacing Bobby Mercer as the Yankees CF during the 1974 AL season with Mercer moving to RF. He hit .303 and .307 for the Yankees in 1974-1975 AL seasons. During the 1975 AL season, he injured his leg on the outfield turf at Shea Stadium. With the arrival of Billy Martin as Yankees manager in 1975, Elliot's days as a Yankee player were numbered. On January 20,1977, he was traded by the Yankees along with reserve OF Rick Bladt to the Baltimore Orioles for veteran golden glove OF Paul Blair. 1948- Former Yankees DH/OF Dave Kingman (1977) was born. Dave Kingman appeared in eight games for the New York Yankees hitting .250 before leaving for MLB free agency signing with the Chicago Cubs. 1972 - Former Yankees reliever La Troy Hawkins (2008) was born. La Troy Hawkins went 1-1 in 11 games before being sent on July 30, 2008 by the Yankees along with cash to the Houston Astros for minor league player Matthew Cusick.
1973 - American League President Joe Cronin rules that former Yankees Manager Ralph Houk is free from all contractual obligations with the New York Yankees. He is free to sign with any MLB team. He will sign with the Detroit Tigers.
1977 - Former Yankees reserve INF D'Angelo Jimenez (1999) was born. The New York Yankees signed D’Angelo Jimenez, as an MLB amateur free agent in 1994. On June 23,2001, he was traded by the Yankees to the San Diego Padres for reliever Jay Witasick.
1977 - Yankees minor league P Buddy Carlyle was born. On December 23, 2003, Buddy Carlyle was signed as a MLB free agent with the New York Yankees. Buddy spent the 2004 baseball season with the Columbus Clippers (International League). On October 15 2004, the Yankees granted Buddy free agency. On December 2, 2010, Buddy was signed as a MLB free agent with the Yankees.
1980 - Former Yankees P Royce Ring (20110) was born. On January 5, 2010, Royce Ring signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. Royce appeared in 5 games with the Yankees with no record. On November 5, 2010, the Yankees granted Royce free agency.
1987 - The New York Yankees released veterans OF/1B/DH Mike Easler and OF/DH Ron Kittle. Also they signed veteran starter Tommy John as a MLB free agent.
1995 - After considering an attractive offer from the AL East rival Baltimore Orioles, free agent starter David Cone re-signs with the New York Yankees for a three-year deal worth $18 million.
1995 - The New York Yankees sold veteran hurler Rick Honeycutt to the St. Louis Cardinals. Rick went 0-0 in three games with the Yankees after being purchased from the Oakland A’s on September 25, 1995.
1997 - The New York Yankees signed free agent P Darren Holmes. He would post a 0-3 record in 34 games with 2 saves for the 1998 Yankees. On March 30,1999, he as traded by the Yankees with cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks for P Ben Ford and Izzy Molina.
1998 - The New York Yankees grant OF/DH Daryl Strawberry MLB free agency. Daryl had hit .247 with 24 HRs with 57 RBIs. He will re-sign with the Yankees in April of 1999.
2002 - The New York Yankees grant OF Spence Spencer and P Christian Parker MLB free agency. Christian Parker will resign with the team on December 30th.
2003 - The New York Yankees grant OF Karim Garcia and OF/DH Dave Dellucci, MLB free agency.
2005 - Former Yankees reserve C (1976-1977) and long time Orioles MLB Coach and player Elrod Hendricks passes away (1940-2005). On June 15, 1976, Elrod was traded by the Baltimore Orioles along with P Doyle Alexander, OF Jimmy Freeman, P Ken Holtzman and P Grant Jackson to the New York Yankees for C Rick Dempsey, Pitchers Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan. Elrod appeared in 34 games with the Yankees as a reserve catcher, hitting just .234. On October 20, 1977, Elrod was granted free agency by the Yankees, he signed with the Orioles.
2005 - The New York Yankees grant reliever Wayne Franklin MLB free agency. On April 4, 2005, Wayne was signed as a free agent with the Yankees. He posted a 0-1 record in 13 games for the 2005 Yankees.
1938 - Former Yankees OF/1B/DH Matty Alou (1973) was born. On November 24, 1972, Matty Alou was traded by the Oakland A’s to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later and P Rob Gardner. The Yankees would send INF Rich McKinney on December 1,1972 to the A’s to complete the trade. Matty was a major disappointment for the Yankees, hitting .296 but with only 2 HRs and 28 RBIs in 123 games. On September 6, 1973, Matty was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals from the Yankees.
1940 - Former Yankees reserve C Elrod Hendricks (1976-1977) was born.
1953 - Former Yankees P Tommy Underwood (1980-1981) was born (1953-2010). On November 1, 1979, Tom Underwood was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays along with C Rick Cerone and OF Ted Wilborn to the Yankees for 1B Chris Chambliss, INF Damaso Garcia, and P Paul Mirabella. Tom would go 13-9 in 1980 for the Yankees, before slipping to 1-4 in 1981, before being traded on May 20,1981 by the Yankees along with veteran 1B/DH Jim Spencer to the Oakland A’s for 1B Dave Revering, Mike Patterson, and Chuck Dougherty (minors). His brother Pat also played in MLB. Tom Underwood passed away on November 22, 2010.
1968 - Former Yankees reserve C Benny Bengough (1923-1930) passed away (1898-1968). Benny Bengough hit .253 in 317 games for the Yankees as a reserve catcher. He finished up his MLB career with the St. Louis Browns in 1931-1932. After his playing days in the majors were over, Benny Bengough played in the minors and also managed in the New York Yankees farm system. He managed the Washington Generals in 1934-1935. Then he moved up to the Joplin Miners in 1936-1937. He was a coach for the Newark Bears (International League) in 1938-1939. Bengough was a MLB coach for the Washington Senators from 1940 to 1943, the Boston Braves in 1944-1945 and for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1946-1958.
1976 - Former Yankee minor league OF Jason Lane was born. On January 15, 2008, Jason Lane was signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. He spent most of the 2008 baseball season with the Scranton AAA team until his release by the Yankees on August 18, 2008.
1982 - Versatile OF/DH/1B Lee Mazzilli is traded for the third time this year. The New York Yankees send him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Tim Burke and three minor league players: Don Aubin, John Holland and Jose Rivera.
1986 - The New York Yankees released veteran reliever Mike Armstrong. He will resign with team in January of 1987.
1987 - The New York Yankees send troubled starter Steve Trout and OF Henry Cotto to the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Lee Guetterman, Clay Parker and minor leaguer P Wade Taylor.
1988 - The New York Yankees signed P Richard Noles as an MLB free agent. Noles will not pitch for the Yankees at the MLB level.
1989 - The New York Yankees signed INF Damaso Garcia as a MLB free agent. He will spend the 1990 season with the Columbus Clippers (AAA).
1993 - The New York Yankees signed DH/1B Sam Horn as a MLB free agent. He will spend most of his time playing with the Columbus Clippers (IL) in 1994.
1999 - The Montreal Expos obtained P Hideki Irabu from the New York Yankees in exchange for P Jake Westbrook and two players to be named. Pitcher Christian Parker will be one of those players named. The Expos will later send P Ted Lilly to the Yankees on March 17, 2000 to complete the trade.
2005 - The New York Yankees agreed to terms with veteran AL All Star OF Bernie Williams on a one-year contract.
2006 - The New York Yankees signed former Cuban national team baseball player 1B Juan Miranda as an MLB amateur free agent. In three seasons with the Yankees, Juan appeared in 46 games hitting .253 with 4 HRs with 14 RBI’s. On November 18, 2010, Juan was traded by the New York Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league player Scott Allen.
2009 - The New York Yankees acquire P Javier Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves in a five-player deal that sees CF Melky Cabrera and two minor leaguers head for Atlanta while P Boone Logan joins Vazquez in the Bronx. Vazquez pitched for the Yankees in 2004.
1882 - Former Yankees reserve OF George Whiteman (1913) was born. George Whiteman appeared in only 11 games for the 1913 Yankees, hitting .344.
1889 - Former Yankees INF/OF Fritz Maisel (1913-1917) was born. Fritz Maisel appeared in 502 games with the Yankees hitting .243, while stealing 183 bases. On January 22, 1918, Fritz was traded by the Yankees along with P Nick Cullop, 2B Joe Gedeon, P Les Nunamaker, P Urban Shocker and $15,000 to the St. Louis Browns for P Eddie Plank and 2B Del Pratt.
1898 - Former Yankees reserve OF Henry “Hinky” Haines (1923) was born. Henry Haines appeared in 28 games for the 1923 Yankees, hitting only .160. He appeared in two games of the 1923 World Series with no hits.
1928 - Former Yankees minor league P Mike Blyzka was born. The right-hander was part of the 18-player trade between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees after the 1954 AL season that saw Bob Turley and Don Larsen go to the Bronx Bombers. Mike was to make the trip also but the Yankees dropped him off with the Denver Bears (AAA) in the American Association. Blyzka never quite made it to Yankee Stadium, pitching for the AAA Denver Bears again in 1956. He finished out his professional baseball career with the Minneapolis Millers (AAA) and the Springfield Giants in 1957. In 1953-1954, he pitched with the St. Louis Browns and Baltimore Orioles; Mike posted a 3-11 record in 70 games.
1929 - Former Yankees P AL “Bozo” Cicotte (1957) was born (1929-1982). In 1948, the New York Yankees signed Al Cicotte as an MLB amateur free agent. He went 2-2 in 20 games with 2 saves for the Yankees in 1957. On May 14,1958, he was purchased by the Washington Senators from the Yankees. Al was the great-nephew of Hall Of Fame starter Eddie Cicotte.
1958 - Former Yankees P Tim Leary (1990-1992) was born. Tim Leary was a former #1 draft pick by the New York Mets in 1979. On December 12,1989, he was traded by the Cincinnati Reds along with OF Van Snider to the Yankees for OF/1B Hal Morris and P Rodney Imes (minors). Tim went 9-19 in 31 games in 1990, then 4-10 in 28 games in 1991. He went 5-6 in 18 games before being traded by the Yankees on August 22,1992, along with cash to the Seattle Mariners for minor league player Sean Twitty.
1969 - The New York Yankees signed OF/1B Otto Velez as an amateur MLB free agent. Otto will play for the Yankees from 1973-1976, appearing in 65 games hitting .255 with 6 HRs and 28 RBI’s. On November 5,1976, Otto was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Yankees as the 53rd pick in the 1976 American League expansion player draft.
1977 - Former Yankees P Shawn Chacon (2005-2006) was born. On July 28, 2005, Shawn was traded by the Colorado Rockies to the New York Yankees for Eduardo Sierra (minors) and Ramon Ramirez. Shawn went 12-6 in 31 games for the Yankees. On July 31,2006, Shawn was traded by the Yankees to the Pittsburgh Pirates for INF/OF Craig Wilson.
1981 - The New York Yankees signed free agent OF/1B Dave Collins for a reported $750,000 a year for at least three seasons. Collins, who stole 79 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in 1979, he will end up being a bust in pinstripes, he will be traded after one season to the Toronto Blue Jays.
1987 - The New York Yankees signed closer Dave Righetti as a MLB free agent.
1994 -The New York Yankees grant starter Jim Abbott and INF Randy Velarde MLB free agency. Randy Velarde will sign a three-year deal with the California Angels.
1996 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent P Dave Eiland. He will spend the 1997 season with the Columbus Clippers (AAA).
2004 - Former Yankees reserve C (1980-1981) and MLB Manager Johnny Oates passes away. In 1980-1981, John Oates appeared in 49 games, hitting .189 as a reserve catcher for the Yankees. Oates quickly became a manager in the New York Yankees minor league organization, managing with the Nashville Sounds (AA) and with the Columbus Clippers (AAA) in 1982 and 1983. He was a MLB coach for the Chicago Cubs from 1984 to 1987. He then managed the Rochester Red Wings for a year in the Baltimore Orioles organization in 1988 before moving up to become an Orioles MLB coach from 1989-1991. Oates was named manager of the Orioles in May of 1991, and from 1991-2001 managed the Orioles and then the Texas Rangers. Seven of his eleven teams played over .500-baseball, while he managed them.
2005 - Former Boston Red Sox AL All Star CF free agent Johnny Damon signs a four-year contract with the New York Yankees. Johnny has appeared in 576 games for the Yankees, hitting .285 with 77 HRs and 296 RBI’s. He hit .364 for the Yankees in the 2009 World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the winter of 2009, Johnny will leave the Yankees and sign with the Detroit Tigers for the 2010 AL season.
1978 - Former Yankees 1B George Mc Quinn (1947-1948) passed away (1910-1978). First baseman George McQuinn began his professional career in the New York Yankees farm system, but Lou Gehrig blocked him at 1B. Before the 1936 MLB season started, George was purchased by the Cincinnati Reds. However, he struggled with the Reds, he was soon returned to the New York Yankees organization. After the 1937 American League season, George was drafted by the St. Louis Browns in the MLB Rule 5 player draft. He spent the next eight years as the team's regular first baseman. In 1947, George Mc Quinn hit .304 with 80 RBIs after being signed by New York Yankees; after his released by the Philadelphia A’s. In 1948, he slipped to .248 BA, but still recorded a .421 slugging percentage. He retired from MLB after the 1948 AL season. He would manage in the minors and later became a MLB scout.
1986 - MLB free agent OF Gary Ward signs with the New York Yankees. Gary Ward will hit .255 for the Yankees in 145 games, before being released by the team.
1996 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent starter David ”Boomer” Wells. David will go 34-14 in 62 games for the Yankees. On February 18,1999, David was traded by the Yankees along with INF Homer Bush and P Graeme Lloyd to the Toronto Blue Jays for AL All Star starter Roger Clemens.
2002 - In a deal which prompts a Boston Red Sox official to call the New York Yankees an "evil empire", Cuban defector Jose Contreras agree to terms on a four-year contract with Yankees. Contreras, who was considered the top pitcher on Cuba's national team, was declared a MLB free agent after gaining residency in Nicaragua.
December 25th- Merry Christmas to all!!!
1881 - Former Yankees reserve C Joseph McCarthy (1905) was born. In September of 1905, catcher Joe McCarthy was purchased by the New York Highlanders from Poughkeepsie (Hudson River). Joe appeared in only one game with the team with no hits.
1899 - Former Yankees reserve INF Gene Robertson (1928-1929) was born. Gene Robertson hit .295 in 173 games for the Yankees. In the 1928 World Series, Gene hit .125 with 2 RBI’s. On September 17,1929, Gene was purchased by the Boston Braves from the Yankees.
1908 - Former Yankees AL All Star OF (1930-1936) and MLB Manager (Phillies 1945-1948) Ben Chapman was born. Ben Chapman was a .305 Lifetime hitter for the New York Yankees. He was a member of the AL All Star teams from 1933-1935. On June 14, 1936, Ben was traded by the Yankees to the Washington Senators for OF Jake Powell. Ben was the Philadelphia Phillies Manager, who gave Brooklyn Dodgers Jackie Robinson problems in 1947, Ben was a racist, was one of the reasons that the New York Yankees traded him during the 1936 American League season.
1919 - Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee makes a secret agreement to sell OF /P Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000 (one-fourth cash, plus $25,000 a year at 6 percent) plus guaranteeing a $300,000 loan with Fenway Park as collateral. The transaction will be announced publicly one week later.
1953 - Former Yankees minor league P Richard Anderson was born. Rick Anderson was the 1979 International League Pitcher of the Year. With the Yankees' Columbus Clippers farm club that season, he was 13-3 with a 1.63 ERA and 21 saves. He was unable to break into the Yankees bullpen with Rich Gossage and others around. After being traded to the Seattle Mariners, he was 6-0 with the Spokane Indians (PCL) in 1980. However, he developed arm problems and was released by the club in 1982. Anderson weighed over 400 pounds at the time of his death. He was found dead with an autograph request in his hand.
1958 - Former Yankees AL All Star LF Rickey Henderson (1985-1988) was born. On December 5, 1984, Rickey Henderson was traded by the Oakland A’s along with Bert Bradley and cash to the New York Yankees for OF Stan Javier, Pitchers Jay Howell, Jose Rijo, Eric Plunk, and Tim Birtsas. As a Yankee, Rickey appeared on the 1985-1988 AL All Star teams. His best Yankees season was in 1985, when he hit .314 with 24 HRs and 72 RBIs. On June 21,1989, Rickey was traded by the Yankees back to the Oakland A’s for P Greg Cadaret, P Eric Plunk, and OF/DH Luis Polonia.
1961 - Former Yankees INF Don Savage (1944-1945) passed away. Don Savage came out of Rutgers University and the minors to play third base for the New York Yankees in 1944-1945. He appeared in 105 games for the Yankees, hitting .256. Although he is listed as being at Rutgers in 1938-1943, he was also in the minor leagues during those years (except for 1942). He was with the Newark Bears AAA (International League) in 1943 before he came up to the Yankees. In 1944, he appeared in 60 games at third base for the Yankees, while Oscar Grimes was in 97 games at third. The following year Grimes appeared much more often and Savage less often at the position. Don Savage in 1945 was in 14 games at third and 2 games in the outfield, but had 34 total appearances, so he presumably did a lot of pinch-hitting for the team. Don went back to the Newark Bears in 1946. In 1949, he played for St. Jean Braves, an independent team in the Provincial League.
1976 - Former Yankees reserve C (1926) and long time Yankees Minor League Manager Bill Skiff passed away. Bill Skiff played in only six-games, hitting only .091 as a reserve catcher for the 1926 Yankees. He became a manager in the Yankees farm system: 1933-1937 Durham Bulls, 1948 Newark Bears, 1949 Kansas City Blues and 1950 Binghamton Triplets.
1989 - Billy Martin, an AL All-Star INF with the Yankees (1950-1957) and former MLB manager of the Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and the Oakland A’s, dies in a truck accident in Johnson City, NY, at the age of 61. Billy Martin, a five-time Yankees manager under Owner George Steinbrenner, was rumored to be a candidate to replace current Yankees skipper Lou Piniella. During his 18-year managerial career in the American League, Martin posted a 1253-1013 record, led his teams to five-AL Championship titles and guided the New York Yankees to the 1977 World Championship. He will be buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester, NY, in a plot near Babe Ruth. New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who had fired Billy Martin four times (he resigned the 5th time) purchases the burial plot for Martin. As a MLB player, INF Billy Martin came up with the New York Yankees in 1950, staying with the team until June 15, 1957, being traded to the Kansas City A’s. He would later play for the Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Braves, Cincinnati Reds and finishing up his MLB career with the Minnesota Twins in 1962. He would be come a MLB coach for the Twins, and then become a manager in their minor league system.
1994 - Former Yankees MLB scout Tony Robello (1955-1962) passed away. Tommy Robello played briefly for the Cincinnati Reds in 1933 and 1934, but gained greater fame during a long career in the minors. The slugger won five home run titles in the minors in six years. In 1937, he led East Texas League with 33, and the next season he retained his crown with 38. In 1939, he moved to the Pioneer League and paced the circuit with 58. He also led the league in 1940 with 22 and in 1942 with 20. He also led in RBI in 1937 (130), 1938 (146), and 1940 (179). He missed the 1943-1945 baseball seasons due to military service. Tommy Robello went into MLB scouting, first for the St. Louis Browns (1947-1953), then the St. Louis Cardinals (1954), New York Yankees (1955-1962), and finally the Cincinnati Reds (1965-1984). Tony Robello is widely credited with helping to scout and find many of the famous "Big Red Machine” players.
(As always I'd like to thank Fw57Clipper51 for his great contribution.)