Sunday, February 20, 2011

This Week in Yankees History (2/20-2/26)

This Week in Yankees History 

February 20th - February 26th

February 20th

1887 - Former Yankees P Carroll “Boardwalk” Brown (1914-1915) was born. After being acquired from the Philadelphia A’s, Boardwalk Brown went 3-6 for the Yankees before being released by the team.

1888 - Former Yankees INF Edward “Stubby” Magner (1911) was born. Stubby Magner would appear in only 13 games with the 1911 Yankees, hitting just .212.

1896 - Former Yankees reserve C Muddy Ruel (1917-1920) was born. Muddy Ruel was obtained from the St. Louis Browns in 1917. Muddy appeared in 170 games for the Yankees while hitting .251. On December 15,1920, he was traded by the New York Yankees along with Del Pratt, Hank Thormahlen and Sammy Vick to the Boston Red Sox for Harry Harper, Waite Hoyt, Mike McNally and Wally Schang. After his playing days, he was general manager of the Detroit Tigers, then assistant to the commissioner of baseball, and later manager of the 1947 St. Louis Browns. A scholar with a legal degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Ruel was legal counsel for Commissioner Chandler in 1946. He was admitted to argue cases in front of the Supreme Court.

1913 - Former Yankees OF/1B and MLB Coach Tommy “Old Reliable” Henrich (1937-1942, 1946-1950) was born (1913-2009). On April 19, 1937, Tommy Henrich was signed as a MLB amateur free agent with the New York Yankees. He played 11 seasons with Yankees finishing with a lifetime BA of .282. He appeared in four World Series, hitting .262 for the Yankees. He was named to the American League All Star teams in 1942, 1947-1950. After retiring as an active player, he became a Yankees MLB Coach. In 2009, Tommy Henrich passed away.

1947 - Former Yankees P Tom Buskey (1973-1974) was born (1947-1998). In 1969, the New York Yankees signed Tom Buskey as an MLB amateur free agent. Tom went 0-2 in 12 games for the Yankees before being traded to the Cleveland Indians in the Chris Chambliss trade in April of 1974. Tom died in auto accident in 1998.

1959 - Former Yankees P Bill Gullickson (1987) was born. On August 26, 1987, Bill Gullickson was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Yankees for P Dennis Rasmussen. He went 4-2 in 8 games for the Yankees before leaving for MLB free agency and signing to pitch in Japan.

1963 - Former Yankees reserve C Phil Lombardi (1986-1987) was born. The New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1981 MLB amateur player draft drafted Phil Lombardi. Phil hit .201 in 25 games for the Yankees. On December 11, 1987, he was traded by the New York Yankees along with P Steve Frey and OF Darren Reed to the New York Mets for Shortstop Rafael Santana and minor league player Victor Garcia.

1972 - Former Yankees OF/DH Shane Spencer (1998-2002) was born. OF Shane Spencer was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 28th round of the 1990 MLB amateur player draft. Spencer had a call-up in September of 1998 to remember, when he hit .373 with 10 HRs with 27 RBIs. In 2000, Shane was hitting .282 as the Yankees regular LF, when he injured his leg at Shea Stadium. He never regained his playing form after that season ending injury. He left the Yankees for MLB free agency. He had played professional baseball in Japan for several years after leaving the MLB in 2004. He is now a minor league coach.

1975 - Former Yankees reserve OF Donzell McDonald (2001) was born. Donzell McDonald was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 22nd round of the 1995 MLB amateur player draft. In 2001, he appeared in 5 games for the Yankees as a reserve outfielder hitting .333. At the end of the season the Yankees granted him free agency. He rejoined the New York Yankees organization in 2004, but he did not appear with the Yankees at MLB level, spending the season with the Columbus Clippers (AAA).

1976 – The New York Yankees sell veteran C/DH/1B Ed Herrmann to the California Angels. On April 1,1975, Ed Herrmann was traded by the Chicago White Sox to the Yankees for minor league players Fred Anyzeski, John Narron, Ken Bennett, Terry Quinn, and cash. Ed appeared in 80 games for the Yankees, hitting .255 with 6 HRs and 30 RBI’s.

1985 - New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner gives Yankees Manager Yogi Berra the dreaded vote of confidence. Steinbrenner says that Yogi Berra will remain Yankee skipper for the entire 1985 American League season, regardless of how badly the team might struggle. Yogi Berra will last only 16 games in 1985, before being fired by Steinbrenner. This will lead to a boycott of the Yankees by Yogi Berra that will last for 15 years.

1996 - The New York Yankees signed veteran starter Dwight “Doc” Gooden as a MLB free agent. Doc Gooden will post a 20-11 record in 49 games for the Yankees, before leaving the team for MLB free agency in 1997; signing with the Cleveland Indians.

2006 - Former New York Yankees broadcasting announcer Curt Gowdy (1949-1950) passed away (1913-2006). Curt Gowdy would leave the New York Yankees in 1951 to announce games for the Boston Red Sox until 1966. He had started his broadcasting career with the Yankees in 1949. Later he worked on NBC-TV’s “Game of the Week.”

February 21st

1919 - The New York Yankees purchased P John Quinn from Veron for P Joe Finneran, 1B Zinn Beck and other considerations. Jack spent two tours with the Yankees (1909-1912) and (1919-1921) going 83-67, before being sent to the Boston Red Sox.

1945 - Former Yankees reserve OF Tom Shopay (1967, 1969) was born. The New York Yankees in the 34th round of the 1965 MLB amateur player draft drafted Tom Shopay. He appeared in only 36 games for the Yankees, hitting just .189. On December 1, 1969, he was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles from the New York Yankees organization in the 1969 MLB Rule 5 player draft. Tom Shopay would play in the Orioles organization until 1977. He saw parts of 1971-1972, 1975-1977 American League seasons with the Orioles. His final MLB career totals were .201 BA with 3 HRs and 20 RBIs.

1947 - Former Yankees P Terry Ley (1971) was born. Terry Ley was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1967 MLB amateur player draft (Secondary Phase). He appeared in 6 games for the 1971 Yankees with no record. On December 2,1971, he was traded by the Yankees along with P Gary Jones to the Texas Rangers for veteran INF Bernie Allen.

1961 - Former Yankees C Joel Skinner (1986-1988) was born. On July 30, 1986, Joel Skinner was traded by the Chicago White Sox along with OF/1B/DH Ron Kittle and INF Wayne Tolleson to the Yankees for a player to be named later, C/1B/DH Ron Hassey and INF/OF Carlos Martinez. The Yankees would send minor league C Bill Lindsey on December 24,1986 to the White Sox to complete the trade. He was a good defensive catcher, but he had a weak bat. Joel would only hit .214 in 208 games for the Yankees. On March 19,1989, Joel was traded by the Yankees along with minor league OF Turner Ward to the Cleveland Indians for OF/DH Mel Hall. Joel was the son of former MLB player and Manager Bob Skinner. Later Joel Skinner was a MLB manager for the Cleveland Indians.

1982 - The New York Yankees signed OF Roberto Kelly as an MLB amateur free agent. He would play for the Yankees from 1987-1992 and again in 2000. On November 3, 1992, Roberto Kelly was traded by the New York Yankees to the Cincinnati Reds for minor league OF Joe DeBerry and OF Paul O'Neill. He had refused to move from CF to RF to make way for rookie OF Bernie Williams, so the Yankees traded him.

1985 - Former Yankees OF Oscar Azocar (1990) was born (1985-2010). Oscar Azocar was signed as a MLB free agent for the New York Yankees by scout Fred Ferreira on November 22, 1983. Originally, he was a pitcher in the minor leagues from 1984 to 1986. He went 14-5 with a 2.31 ERA. He began playing the outfield in 1987, hitting .359 for the Fort Lauderdale Yankees (A) that year. In 1990, Azocar played 94 games for the Columbus Clippers (AAA). He was called up to the majors. He made his MLB debut on July 17th, getting a pinch-hit single in his first at-bat against the Kansas City Royals. The following day, he homered, doubled, and singled against the Royals. Overall, he appeared in 65 games for the Yankees that summer and was used more than any other player in left field by the Yankees, who also played Mel Hall, Hensley Meulens, Claudell Washington, Deion Sanders, Dave Winfield and others at the position that year. He hit for a good average, but hardly drew any walks, which diminished his value as a player significantly, especially as he had little power. After the 1990 AL season, Oscar Azocar was traded by the Yankees to the San Diego Padres for OF Mike Humphreys. He passed away in June of 2010.

1991 - The New York Yankees signed veteran MLB reliever Steve Howe as a MLB free agent. Steve Howe would go 3-1 in 37 games with 3 saves for the 1991 Yankees.

2005 - The New York Yankees signed OF Mike Vento as MLB free agent. He would spend the 2005 baseball season at Columbus (AAA). The Yankees in the 40th round of the 1997 MLB amateur player draft had originally drafted Mike Vento. He appeared in only two games with no hits with the Yankees during the 2005 American League season.

2006 - Former Yankees P Mark Freeman (1959) passed away (1930-2006).In 1952, the New York Yankees signed Mark Freeman as an MLB amateur free agent. He began his professional career in 1952, pitching for the Binghamton Triplets, going 7-5 with a 4.10 ERA in 17 games (14 starts). In 1953, he was with the Triplets again; he posted a 6-7 mark with a 2.94 ERA in 28 games (10 starts). Next season he pitched for the Birmingham Barons in 1954, going 5-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 13 games (12 starts). He did not play professional baseball in 1955. From 1956-1958, Mark pitched for the Denver Bears (AAA), going 10-14 with a 4.87 ERA in 30 games (29 starts) in 1956. In 1957, he went 12-6 with a 3.46 ERA in 24 starts. Then in 1958, he went 13-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 33 games (32 starts). On April 8, 1959, he was traded by the New York Yankees to the Kansas City A’s for P Jack Urban. He made his MLB debut with the A’s on April 18th against the Cleveland Indians, pitching 3 innings of relief, allowing 4 hits and 2 earned runs. Also in 1959, Freeman spent 26 games (23 starts) with the Seattle Rainiers (AAA), going 13-9 with a 3.42 ERA. He would be sent back to the Yankees by the A’s on May 8, 1960. Mark would make one appearance for the 1960 Yankees, pitching 7 innings and allowing 2 earned runs. In total, he made four MLB appearances and posted a 5.06 ERA. On May 19, 1960, Mark Freeman was traded to the Chicago Cubs for P Art Ceccarelli. With the 1960 Cubs, he made 30 appearances, with 22 of them coming in relief. He went 3-3 with a 5.63 ERA. Earlier that season, Mark had made five appearances for the Yankees AAA team, the Richmond Virginians (International League) as well. He posted a 2-1 record with a 3.00 ERA for Richmond. In 8 minor league seasons, Mark went 68-57 with a 3.95 ERA in 176 games (148 starts).

2010 - The New York Yankees sign veteran Korean P Chan Ho Park to a one-year contract. Park pitched against the Yankees for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 World Series. He would post a 2-1 record in 27 games for the Yankees before being put on waivers by the team and finishing the 2010 MLB season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting a 2-2 record.

February 22nd

1903 - Former Yankees P Edward “Peck” Monroe (1917-1918) was born. Ed Monroe posted a 1-0 record in 10 games for the Yankees. He had one complete game and one save in his Yankees pitching career.

1919 - Former Yankees reserve 2B John Lucadello (1947) was born. On March 1, 1947, John Lucadello was selected off waivers by the New York Yankees from the St. Louis Browns organization. John only appeared in 12 games with the 1947 Yankees, hitting just .083. His brother Tony Lucadello was a long-time MLB scout, who had signed over 50 players including HOF players Mike Schmidt and Ferguson Jenkins both for the Philadelphia Phillies. He also signed Mike Marshall, Toby Harrah, Alex Johnson, and Jim Brosnan that made it to the majors, including his brother Johnny.

1920 - Former Yankees P Karl Drews (1946-1948) was born (1920-1963). Before the 1939 AL season, Karl Drews was signed by the New York Yankees as an MLB amateur free agent. Karl would spend 1939 baseball season with the Butler Yankees (D). The 19-year old right-hander would appear in 31 games, posting a 16-5 record with a 3.66 ERA. Karl would spend time in the Yankees minor league system until 1946, before getting a look at the MLB level, after a posting 19-9 record for the Newark Bears with a 2.70 ERA in 1945. For the 1946 season, Drew went 14-9 with the Kansas City Blues (AAA). In 1946, the Yankees would have him up for a late season look, where he got into only three games.

 Karl was back with the Yankees in 1947, posting a 6-6 record in 30 games. Karl made a couple of relief appearances against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1947 World Series. He would go 2-3 for the 1948 Yankees. His final Yankees pitching career record was 8-10 in 52 games. On August 9, 1948 he was purchased by the St. Louis Browns. He would go 7-14 for the Browns during the rest of the 1948-1949 AL seasons.

In 1950, Karl would find himself back in the minors with the Baltimore Orioles (AAA). Drews would post a 6-2 mark for the 1950 Orioles. In 1951, he would improve to 17 wins for the Orioles. He would find himself back in the majors after being traded by the Orioles to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1951. Acquired by the Phillies late that season, he handed the Brooklyn Dodgers a critical loss in the final week in their battle with the New York Giants for 1st place in National League. He then had his best MLB season in 1952, with 14 wins, including 5 shutouts, while posting an excellent 2.72 ERA. In 1954, Karl would finish his MLB career with the Cincinnati Reds, with a 44-53 record with a 4.76 ERA. Drews would spend the rest of his pro baseball career in the minor leagues, finishing up in 1960 at age 40 with the Mexico City Diablos Rojos in the Mexican League. Karl would spend 21 active seasons in pro baseball from 1939 through 1960. Statistics show that he appeared in 423 games, posting a 146-112 record, pitching 2,204 innings, giving up 2,100 base hits along with 1,050 walks for a career 4.25 ERA. In 1947, Karl's son, Ron had been born on the day he pitched in his 1st World Series game for the Yankees. Karl put away his Yankees cap from that game for him. In 1994, Ron Drews gave the Yankees cap to his son; Karl's grandson Matt, on the day Matt Drews was selected as the New York Yankees number 1 selection in the 1993 MLB amateur player draft. Matt never pitched for the Yankees at the MLB level. During the 1996 AL season, he was traded by the Yankees to the Detroit Tigers for veteran 1B/DH Cecil Fielder. After his professional baseball career was over, Karl, who was a Director for the Hollywood, Fla. Recreation Department, he was tragically killed on August 15, 1963, at age 43, when he was hit by an intoxicated driver after his car had stalled on a highway in Dania, Fla.

1929 - Former Yankees Closer Ryne Duren (1958-1961) was born (1929-2011). Before the start of the AL 1949 Season, Ryne Duren was signed by the St. Louis Browns, as an MLB amateur free agent. On September 21, 1956, Ryne was sent by the Baltimore Orioles to the Kansas City A’s to complete an earlier deal made on September 17, 1956. The Orioles sent a player to be named later and OF Jim Pisoni to the A’s for players to be named later. Ryne Duren was frightening to bat against because he only intermittently had control of his prodigious fastball. Thick "Coke bottle" glasses, a reputation for heavy drinking, and a tendency to throw warm-up pitches against the backstop only heightened batters' unease. New York Yankees veteran OF Hank Bauer told the Yankees front office management to “trade for him or ban him from the AL.” On June 15, 1957, Ryne Duren was traded by the Kansas City A’s along with outfielders Jim Pisoni and Harry “Suitcase” Simpson to the Yankees for OF/INF Woodie Held, INF Billy Martin, OF Bob Martyn and P Ralph Terry. In 1958, he led the American League in saves with 20, while posting a 6-4 record for the Yankees. Ryne appeared in two games in the 1958 World Series against the Milwaukee Braves, going 1-1 with 1 save with 14 K’s, while posting a 1.93 ERA. Ryne Duren was wild and fast, also he was an alcoholic. He made the AL All Star teams in 1958-1959. In 1959, despite a losing record of 3-6 with 14 saves, Ryne had an ERA of 1.88. Ryne Duren was a showman in those days the Yankees bullpen was a part of the short-porch RF and only a low chain link fence served as the boundary. When called upon by Yankees Manager Casey Stengel to relieve, he wouldn’t use the gate, but would rather hop that fence with one hand and begin a slow walk to the mound with his blue Yankees warm-up jacket covering his pitching arm; even in the hottest days. When he finally took the ball from Yankees Manager Casey Stengel and began his warm-ups, the 1st pitch was always a blazing fastball 20 feet over the catcher’s head. The 2nd warm-up pitch was a bit lower (but not slower) until on his 5th warm-up Ryne would finally find the plate.

By the start of the 1961 American League season, his best days as a Yankees closer were over, Luis Arroyo had replaced him in the bullpen as their closer. On May 8, 1961, he was traded by the Yankees along with P Johnny James and OF Lee Thomas to the Angels for veteran reliever Tex Clevenger and OF Bob Cerv. He would make the 1961 American League All Star team for the Angels. Ryne would play for the Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Senators before retiring from MLB. Following his MLB playing career, Ryne Duren spent many years involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and the recovery movement. He would later write a book on his fight with alcoholism during his 10 year MLB career, titled “The Comeback.” This was one of the reasons that Ryne Duren had stayed away from New York Yankees Old Timer’s Day events until the 1980’s. In 1983, Ryne Duren was presented with the Yankees Family Award for his conquering alcoholism, and for service as an alcohol abuse educator. In 2003, Ryne Duren and author Tom Sabellico wrote the book, "I Can See Clearly Now". Duren talks from the heart about life, baseball and alcohol. The foreword was written by former MLB pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant

1938 - Former Yankees P Steve Barber (1967-1968) was born (1938-2007). In July 4,1967, Steve Barber was traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the New York Yankees for players to be named later, 1B Ray “Buddy” Barker, and cash. The Yankees would send minor league players INF Chet Trail and OF Joe Brady to the Orioles in December of 1967 to complete the trade. Steve went 12-14 in 37 games for the Yankees before being drafted by the Seattle Pilots in the1968 American League player expansion draft. Steve was battling arm problems when he came to the Yankees, never recovering the form that made him a great starter for the Baltimore Orioles during the early 1960’s. Steve passed away in 2007.

1956 - Former Yankees reserve OF Joe Lefebvre (1980) was born. The New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1977 MLB amateur player draft drafted OF Joe Lefebvre. Joe batted .227 in 74 games as a reserve outfielder. On March 31, 1981, Joe was traded by the Yankees along with OF Ruppert Jones, pitchers Tim Lollar, and Chris Welsh to the San Diego Padres for OF Jerry Mumphrey and P John Pacella.

1973 - Former Yankees reserve INF Russ Johnson (2005) was born. Russ Johnson appeared in 22 games for the 2005 Yankees, with a .222 BA as a reserve INF. He spent most of the season playing at Columbus (AAA).

2000 - A Florida Department of Corrections report says New York Yankees OF/DH Darryl Strawberry tested positive for cocaine on January 19th.

2005 - San Diego Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman is selected as the recipient of this year's Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick Award. The 80-year old play-by-play man, who was the MVP of the 1950 World Series for the New York Yankees, has spent 41 years in the broadcasting booth working for the New York Yankees (1958-1967), California Angels and the San Diego Padres. He served as a Marine fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War.

February 23rd

1903 - Former Yankees OF Roy Johnson (1936-1937) was born. On January 17, 1936, Roy was traded by the Senators along with P Bump Hadley to the Yankees for P Jimmie DeShong and OF Jesse Hill. Roy appeared in 75 games for the Yankees, hitting .278 before being picked up by Boston Bees (aka the Braves).

1918 - Former Yankees reserve OF Ed “Truck” Kearse (1942) was born. Ed Kearse appeared in only 11 games for the 1942 Yankees, batting only .192.

1929 - Former Yankees MVP All Star C/OF (1955-1967) and MLB Coach Elston Howard (1968-1980) was born (1929-1980). Elston Howard played the outfield in the Negro Leagues for three years, switched to catcher in three seasons in the minors, and caught for 14 years for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. In 1955, he became the 1st black MLB player for the New York Yankees. He hit a HR in his 1st World Series at bat in 1955 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Howard tied the following World Series records: most hits, inning, 1960, (2); most long hits, 5 game series, 1961 (4); most passed balls, game, 1964 (2). He established American League catcher's records for PO (939) and TCA (1006) in 1964. In 1958, Howard won the Babe Ruth Award. Ellie was an AL All Star team member 9 times during his MLB career. In 1963, he won the American League Most Valuable Player award hitting .287 with 28 HRs and 85 RBIs. Howard won the AL Golden Glove Award for catchers in 1963-1964. During the 1967 AL season, Ellie was traded to Boston Red Sox. He helped the Red Sox pitching staff capture the AL flag. That season, he appeared in his last World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Ellie would stay with the Red Sox for one more season. Upon his retirement as a MLB player in September of 1968, he became the 1st black New York Yankees MLB coach. He held this position until his premature death in 1980 at age 51 from heart failure.

1954 - The St. Louis Cardinals purchased starter Vic “The Springfield Rifle” Raschi from the New York Yankees for $85,000.Yankees General Manager George Weiss did this deal to show other Yankee veterans what would happen to them, if they were going to stage a MLB contract holdout. Raschi did one before the start of 1953 American League season. He leaves the Yankees (1945-1953) with a career mark of 120-53 .706 WP, 3.47 ERA with 99 complete games with 24 shutouts. In the World Series, Vic went 5-3, .625 WP, 3 complete games with 1 shutout in 11 games for the Yankees. He would never be an effective starting pitcher in the MLB again splitting the 1954-1955 MLB seasons between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City A’s.

1969 - Former Yankees reserve C Bubbles Hargrave (1930) passed away. In 1930, the New York Yankees used Bubbles Hargrave as a backup catcher for Bill Dickey. Bubbles hit .278 on a New York Yankees team whose batting average was .309.

1972 - Former Yankees OF/DH Rondell White (2002) was born. The Yankees signed Rondell White as a MLB free agent. He was injured most of the 2002 American League season with the Yankees. He only hit .240 in 126 games. On March 19, 2003, Rondell White was traded by the Yankees to the San Diego Padres for OF Bubba Trammell, minor league player Mark Phillips and cash.

February 24th

1875 - Former Yankees C/1B Henry “Monte” Beville (1903-1904) was born. Henry Beville appeared in 91 games for the Yankees, hitting just .200. On August 3, 1904, he was loaned to the Detroit Tigers by the Highlanders. He never returned to the Highlanders.

1877 - Former Yankees INF James “Champ” Osteen (1904) was born. In January of 1904, the New York Highlanders purchased James Osteen from the Washington Senators. He appeared in only 28 games, hitting just .196.

1927 - Former Yankees reserve OF/3B Robert “Suitcase Bob” Seeds (1936) was born. On August 22, 1936, Bob Seeds was traded by the Montreal Royals (International League) to the New York Yankees for players to be named later. The Yankees would send minor league players Marv Duke and Norm Kies on November 30, 1936 to the Montreal Royals (International League) to complete the trade. Bob only appeared in 13 games for the Yankees, hitting .262. On June 24, 1938, Bob Seeds was purchased by the New York Giants from the Yankees.

1948 - The Chicago White Sox traded P Ed Lopat to the New York Yankees for C Aaron Robinson, pitchers Bill Wight and Fred Bradley. Eddie Lopat will star for 7 seasons in pinstripes, winning 21 games in 1951 and going 16-4 in 1953. Aaron Robinson would play for the White Sox for one season before being traded to the Detroit Tigers for P Billy Pierce. Eddie Lopat would be part of the Yankees starting rotation of Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi and later Whitey Ford that won 5th straight World Championships (1949-1953). After retiring as active MLB player, Ed managed in the Yankees minor league system. In 1960, he was Casey Stengel’s last MLB pitching coach. He would leave the Yankees in the winter of 1960 for the Kansas City A’s being a MLB coach, then a MLB Manager, working in the A’s front office as a General Manager until their move to Oakland. Later he worked in the front office with the Montreal Expos organization.

1974 - Former Yankees INF Mike Lowell (1998) was born. The New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 1995 MLB amateur player draft drafted Mike Lowell. Mike appeared in 8 games for the 1998 Yankees batting .267. With Scott Borias starting at 3B, Mike became expendable. On February 1, 1999, Mike Lowell was traded by the Yankees to the Florida Marlins for pitchers Mark J. Johnson, Ed Yarnall, and Todd Noel. He would go on to play 3B for the Florida Marlins and then he would play for the Boston Red Sox. Mike Lowell retired from MLB in October of 2010.

1976 - Former Yankees P Randy Keisler (2000-2001) was born. The New York Yankees in the 2nd round of the 1998 MLB amateur player draft drafted Randy Keisler. Randy went 2-2 in 14 games before being released by the Yankees. He criticized the Yankees management in the New York City media for their handling of young pitchers.

1976 - The New York Yankees signed former National League Batting Champion OF/DH Tommy Davis as a MLB free agent. Tommy Davis despite having a good spring camp, the Yankees at the end of the 1976 spring training camp will cut him.

February 25th

1929 - Former Yankees minor league player Sid Thrift was born. Syd Thrift was a former pitcher in the New York Yankees system, as he signed with them in 1949. He went 4-2 with a 3.67 ERA for the LaGrange Troupers and hit .306 with 4 HRs and 27 RBI. He had no decisions in 1950 for the Amsterdam Rugmakers. In 1953, Thrift had no decisions for the West Palm Beach Indians; he was 3-4, with a 4.43 ERA with the Leesburg Lakers, hitting .231 as their most-used 1st baseman (65 games there). After finishing as a player, he was involved in scouting and went into baseball management working with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City A’s, Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals organizations. He later became the General Manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-1988) and the Baltimore Orioles (2000-2002).

1940 - Former Yankees 1B/3B /OF Danny Cater (1970-1971) was born. As a Yankees player, Danny Carter hit .301 and .276, after coming from the Oakland A’s in the Al Downing trade. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox by the Yankees for P Sparky Lyle in March of 1972. Danny originally came up to MLB with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964.

1941 - The New York Yankees sell 1B Ellsworth “Babe” Dahlgren (1937-1940) to the Boston Braves for undisclosed amount of cash. On February 17, 1937, Babe Dahlgren was purchased by the Yankees from the Boston Red Sox. Babe replaced the ailing Lou Gehrig at 1B when his famous consecutive games played streak ended during the 1939 AL season at Detroit. He appeared in 4 games of the 1939 World Series for the Yankees, hitting .214 with 1 HR and 2 RBIs. Overall Babe Dahlgren appeared in 327 games for the Yankees, hitting .248 with 27 HRs with 163 RBIs.

1942 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent OF George “Tuck” Stainback after his release by the Detroit Tigers. He would last four years as a reserve outfielder for the Yankees. George would appear in 211 games for the Yankees, hitting .243. On April 26,1946, George was released by the Yankees. He would later become a MLB coach after retiring as an active player in 1946.

1944 - Former Yankees MLB Manager (1990-1991) and MLB Coach (1985) Stump Merrill was born. Stump Merrill was the catcher on the 1964 University of Maine team that won 3 games in the College World Series. He was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 23rd round of the 1965 MLB amateur draft, by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2nd Round (26th overall) of the January 1966 MLB amateur player draft, and finally the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2nd round in June, 1966. He was an assistant Coach for the University of Maine during the 1976 baseball season, and the school's trip to the College World Series. He was the MLB 1st base coach for the Yankees, when Yogi Berra was manager at the start of the 1985 AL season, but was replaced when Billy Martin took over the team from Berra. Merrill was a successful Yankees minor league manager (1978-1990), winning 5 league titles, and finishing with the best record in the league his 1st 5 years and 6 of his 1st 7 (with a 2nd place the other year). He replaced Bucky Dent as Yankees manager in 1990. He went 49-74 in 1990. Then he posted a 71-91 mark in 1991. In 1992, Buck Showalter replaced him as Yankees Manager. From 1993-2004, Stump was once again was a Yankees minor league manager. In 2009, he was elected to the International League Hall of Fame.

1956 - Former Yankees minor league P Kevin Hickey was born. On August 13, 1984, Kevin Hickey was sent by the Chicago White Sox to the New York Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on July 18, 1984. The White Sox sent players to be named later to the Yankees for INF Roy Smalley. Kevin never appears with the Yankees at the MLB level. On May 25, 1985, Kevin Hickey was released by the Yankees.

1963 - Former Yankees All Star OF Paul O’Neill (1993-2001) was born. On November 3, 1992, Paul O’Neill was traded by the Cincinnati Reds along with minor league OF Joe DeBerry to the New York Yankees for American League All Star OF Roberto Kelly. He was a member of the American League All Star team 4 times. He appeared in 4 World Series with the Yankees. His best Yankees season was in 1994, when he won the American League Batting Crown with a .354 BA.

1988 - The New York Yankees signed OF Jose Cruz as a MLB free agent Jose Cruz will appear in only 38 games for the 1988 Yankees, hitting .200 before being released on July 22, 1988 by the team.

1994 - The Veterans Committee elects former New York Yankees long-time shortstop Phil Rizzuto (1941-1942, 1946-1956) to Baseball’s Hall Of Fame. Phil won the 1950 American League Most Valuable Player award and the 1951 Babe Ruth Award. Long-time Boston Red Sox rival Hall Of Fame OF Ted Williams said that Phil Rizzuto could beat you with his glove or bat. That he was the key to the great New York Yankees American League championship teams.

2004 - The New York Yankees signed free agent P Nerio Rodriguez. He does not appear with the team at the MLB level. On June 15, 2004, he was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals by the Yankees as part of a conditional deal.

February 26th

1872 - Former Yankees reserve C Louis Criger (1910) was born. On December 16, 1909, Louis Criger was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the New York Highlanders for P Joe Lake and OF Ray Demmitt. He appeared in only 27 games for the 1910 Yankees, hitting just .188.

1896 - Former Yankees P Rip Collins (1920-1921) was born. Rip Collins went 25-13 in 64 games for the Yankees before being traded to Boston Red Sox in 1921.

1933 - Former Yankees reserve 1B/OF/C Johnny Blanchard (1955, 1959-1965) was born (1933-2009). Johnny Blanchard was a 3 sport All-City whiz at Central High School in Minneapolis, MN; he not only attracted the attention of MLB scouts as a 3rd baseman but also the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA who made him an offer.

In 1951, Blanchard was signed by New York Yankees scout Joe McDermott for $20,000 as an outfielder. While in the Yankees minor league system, he made the transition to catcher. "I had to work my fanny off," said Blanchard. "I was not talented like Yogi or Elston. I think I got all the mileage I could out of my ability." Blanchard served in the U.S. Military Service during the Korean Conflict in 1953-1954, but when he was released from active duty, he was back in spring training camp in 1955. After leading the Eastern League with 34 homers in 1955 playing for the Binghamton Triplets, he received a late season call-up to the Yankees. He returned for good in 1959, he stayed in the Bronx until he was sent to the Kansas City Athletics during the 1965 AL season. The lefty-swinging Yankee loved Fenway Park. Of his 1st 6 hits at Fenway Park, 5 were homers. On July 21, 1961, the Yankees trailed the Boston Red Sox 9-8 going into the top of the 9th when Blanchard, pinch-hitting for Clete Boyer, hit a grand slam off Boston right-hander Mike Fornieles giving the Bombers a 12-9 victory. The following day, the Yankees were again down 9-8, when Blanchard, pinch-hitting again for Boyer, homered off Gene Conley to tie the score as the Yanks went on to win. A couple of days later against the Chicago White Sox, he homered in consecutive at-bats against veteran Ray Herbert. His 4 HRs on 4 straight at-bats tied a MLB record. Blanchard hit 4 pinch-hit HRs during the regular season in 1961, plus 1 more during the 1961 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. During the Yankees' storied 1961 AL season; he stroked 21 HRs in only 243 at-bats and hit .305. Among the 1961 Yankees, only Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris had more HRs per at bat. He continued his clutch hitting in the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds with a 2-run pinch homer in game #3; another 2-run HR shot in the 5th and final game, a contest that he started. As a result, Blanchard is arguably one of the best-known 3rd-string catchers in MLB history. Overall, he appeared in the Fall Classic 5 consecutive years, from 1960-1964, he batted .345, slugged at .690 with 2 HRs. Following an exhibition game against the New York Mets, he was called into manager Johnny Keane's office and was given the news he had been traded to Kansas City. On May 3, 1965, John was traded by the Yankees along with P Rolland Sheldon to the A’s for C Doc Edwards. Johnny took the trade news very hard. He cried uncontrollably in the Yankees clubhouse. His teammate Mickey Mantle sat down next to Blanchard and attempted to cheer him up. "Don't take it so hard, John. Just think, in Kansas City you're going to get a chance to play." "Hell, I can't play Mick, that’s why I'm crying." After appearing in 52 games with the Kansas City A's, he was purchased by the Milwaukee Braves. He played the last 10 games of his MLB career with the Braves at the end of the 1965 NL season. In 1968, he tried to make a comeback with the Atlanta Braves in spring training, but he didn’t make the team. Overall he hit .239 with 67 home runs and 200 RBIs. Blanchard's heavy drinking made it difficult to cope with the real world after MLB baseball career. Aware that he had a problem, Johnny checked himself into the Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis for 34 days for alcohol treatment. He was then dry for over 25 years. On March 25, 2009, Johnny Blanchard passed away from a fatal heart attack.

1935 - The New York Yankees released longtime OF/P Babe Ruth (1920-1934), freeing him to sign a $20,000 contract with the Boston Braves of the National League. In 1934, Babe Ruth had endured one of his worst seasons with the Yankees-at least by his lofty standards-with a .288 BA with only 22 HRs and 84 RBIs.

1941 - Former Yankees minor league 1B George Kopacz was born. On February 28, 1973, 1B George Kopacz was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Yankees for minor league 1B Tony Solaita. George Kopacz never appears with the Yankees at the MLB level.

1968 - Former Yankees 1B J. T. Snow (1992) was born. The New York Yankees in the 5th round of the 1989 MLB amateur player draft drafted J. T. Snow. He appeared in only 7 games for the 1992 Yankees, batting just .143. He had won 1992 MVP award International League while playing for the Columbus Clippers (AAA). He refused the Yankees request to learn how to play the outfield, since AL All Star Don Mattingly was at 1B. This rejection by Snow to switch positions, resulted in him being put into a player trade package to the California Angels for starter Jim Abbott.

1971- Former Yankees reserve OF Matt Luke (1996) was born. The New York Yankees in the 8th round of the 1992 MLB amateur player draft drafted Matt Luke. He appeared in only 1 game with Yankees with no at bats before being picked up on waivers in 1997 by the Dodgers.

1977 - Former Yankees P Josh Towers (2009) was born. Josh Towers was picked up the New York Yankees during the 2009 AL season. He spent most the 2009 baseball season with Scranton (AAA). He appeared in 2 games for the 2009 Yankees with no record. After the 2009 World Series, Josh Towers became MLB free agent rather than accept an assignment to Scranton (AAA).

1985 - Former Yankees P George Uhle (1933-1934) passed away. On July 24, 1933, George Uhle was signed as a MLB free agent with the New York Yankees. He posted an 8-5 record in 22 games for the Yankees. On June 1, 1934, George was released by the New York Yankees.

1991 - Bill Veeck, the colorful MLB owner of the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox (twice) and the New York Yankees great 2B Tony Lazzeri are elected to the Baseball’s Hall Of Fame by the Veterans Committee. The American League All Star 2B Tony Lazzeri played for the New York Yankees from 1926-1937, finishing with a lifetime BA of .293 with 169 HRs and 1,154 RBIs in 1,659 games.

1991 - Former New York Yankees minor league manager Jimmy Zinn passed away. Jimmy Zinn managed the 1937-1938 El Paso Texans in the New York Yankees minor league system.

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

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