Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Week in Yankees History (2/26-3/3)

This Week in New York Yankees History 

February 26th - March 3rd

February 26th

1896 - Former Yankees P Harry “Rip” Collins (1920-1921) was born (1896-1968). On August 20, 1919, Harry “Rip” Collins was purchased by the New York Yankees from Dallas (Texas League). “Rip” Collins went 25-13 in 64 games for the New York Yankees before being traded to Boston Red Sox. On December 20,1921, Harry was traded by the New York Yankees along with INF Roger Peckinpaugh, P Jack Quinn, P Bill Piercy and $100,000 to the Boston Red Sox for Pitchers Bullet Joe Bush, Sad Sam Jones and INF Everett Scott. Rip would also pitch for the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns.

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 HRs 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 HRs. On July 21, 1961, the Yankees trailed the Boston Red Sox 9-8 going into the top of the 9th inning when Blanchard, pinch-hitting for Clete Boyer, hit a grand slam HR 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 Yankees 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 hitting .305. Among the 1961 Yankees, only Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris had more HRs per at bat. He continued his clutch hitting in the 1961 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds with a 2-run pinch HR in game #3; another 2-run HR shot in the 5th and final game of the 1961 World Series, a game 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 seasons, 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 long time Yankee 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 HRs and 200 RBIs. Blanchard's heavy drinking made it difficult to cope with the real world after his MLB baseball career was over. 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 New York 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 (1898-1985). 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 the 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 (1895-1991). Jimmy Zinn managed the 1937-1938 El Paso Texans in the New York Yankees minor league system.

February 27th

1896 - Former Yankees reserve catcher (1931) and MLB Coach (1932) Cy Perkins was born (1896-1963). Cy Perkins was a veteran catcher picked up by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia A’s. He batted .255 for the 1931 Yankees. He would become a Yankees MLB Coach on the 1932 World Championship team. Also Cy Perkins would become a long time MLB coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.

1907 - The New York Yankees acquired C Branch Rickey from the St. Louis Browns in exchange for INF Joe Yeager. Rickey was recovering from a shoulder injury that hampered his throwing arm. He will appear in 52 games, hitting just .182. After the season the Yankees will send him back to the Browns. As noted by baseball writer Lyle Spatz, Branch Rickey will not play on Sundays, while new C Fritz Buelow will. Rickey will go on to have a more successful MLB career as a MLB Baseball Executive than as a MLB player. He was the man responsible for creating MLB farm system concept with the St. Louis Cardinals and breaking the MLB player color barrier with Jackie Robinson with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He will be elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame as a baseball executive in 1967.

1912 - The New York Yankees announced that, they would begin to wear pinstriped uniforms for the 1912 American League season.

1935 - Former New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth signs a $20,000 MLB player contract with the Boston Braves. Ruth's new contract with the Braves also gives him a share of the team's profits. Released by the New York Yankees only one day earlier, Babe Ruth will serve the Braves as a player, coach, and team vice-president. In 1935, he will play just only 28 games for the Braves, before announcing his retirement on June 2nd at the age of 40. Ruth will hit the final 3 HRs of his MLB career on May 25,1935 against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field, giving him a final MLB HR career total of 714. His last HR will clear the RF grandstand at Forbes Field and will travel an estimated 600 feet.

1947 - Former Yankees P Ensign Cottrell (1915) passed away (1888-1947). On April 7,1915, Ensign Cottrell was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Boston Braves. He appeared in 7 games for the 1915 Yankees with a 0-1 record.

1948 - Newly elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame, are former MLB stars, New York Yankees starter Herb Pennock and Pittsburgh Pirates 3B Pie Traynor. Needing 91 votes for selection, Herb Pennock, who died a month before, gets 94 votes, as Pie Traynor gets 93 votes. Just missing in the Hall Of Fame voting are former Philadelphia A’s slugger Al Simmons, Detroit Tigers 2B Charlie Gehringer and New York Giants player/manager Bill Terry. Herb Pennock was the General Manager for the Philadelphia Phillies at the time of his death, a position he had held since 1944. He was helping the new Phillies ownership rebuilt the team. He had suffered a fatal heart attack.

1953 - Former Yankees C/DH/1B Ron Hassey (1985-1986) was born. On December 4, 1984, Ron Hassey was traded by the Chicago Cubs along with pitchers Porfi Altamirano, Rich Bordi and OF Henry Cotto to the Yankees for INF/OF Brian Dayett and P Ray Fontenot. In 1985, he hit .296 for the Yankees in 92 games. On December 12,1985, Ron was traded by the Yankees along with P Joe Cowley to the Chicago White Sox for minor league players Glen Braxton, Mike Soper and MLB starter Britt Burns. On February 13,1986, Ron was traded by the Chicago White Sox along with minor league players Chris Alvarez, Eric Schmidt and Matt Winters to the New York Yankees for Glen Braxton (minors), P Neil Allen, C Scott Bradley and cash. On July 30,1986 Ron was traded by the Yankees along with a player to be named later and INF/OF Carlos Martinez to the White Sox for OF/1B/DH Ron Kittle, C Joel Skinner and INF Wayne Tolleson. The Yankees would send minor league C Bill Lindsey on December 24,1986 to the White Sox to complete the trade. Ron hit .298 in 64 games for the 1986 Yankees.

1953 - Former Yankees P Barney Wolfe (1903-1904) passed away (1876-1953). Barney Wolfe appeared in 27 games with the Yankees, posting a 6-12 record in 27 games. On July 20,1904, Barney Wolfe was traded by the Yankees along with P Tom Hughes to the Washington Senators for veteran starter Al Orth.

1956 - The Piedmont League (Class B) disbands after 37 years in operation. The New York Yankees had a farm club in the league, the Norfolk Tars from 1935-1955. The Tars had been league champions from 1951-1954. The Norfolk Tars had won 7 league championships with 2 Tars teams finishing as runner-up to the league championship team.

1962 - Former Yankees P Greg Cadaret (1989-1992) was born. Greg Cadaret came to the New York Yankees from the Oakland A’s in the Rickey Henderson trade. He went 22-23 with 7 saves as a Yankees pitcher, before being sold to the Cincinnati Reds.

1969 - Former Yankees P Willie Banks (1997-1998) was born. The New York Yankees signed Willie Banks as a MLB free agent. He was a former New Jersey All State HS Pitching star (St. Anthony’s HS in Jersey City), who had been originally been signed by the Minnesota Twins. He went 4-1 in 14 games with the Yankees, before being traded to Arizona Diamondbacks during the 1998 American League season.

1985 - Veteran INF Toby Harrah, an original Texas Rangers member is traded by the New York Yankees back to the Texas Rangers for OF/DH Billy Sample and a player to be named later. Harrah was a major disappointment with the bat for the Yankees after coming to the team in a trade with the Cleveland Indians in 1984.

1988 - Former Yankees MLB Coach (1984-1985) and Minor League Manager Doug Homquist passed away (1941-1988). Doug Holmquist managed for the New York Yankees in their minor league system from 1978 to 1983. As the Yankees awarded World Series rings to their minor league managers as well, they gave Doug Holmquist one. While managing in the minors, he worked with future MLB players such as OF Willie McGee, INF Pat Tabler and 1B Steve Balboni.

February 28th

1947 - Former Yankees reserve INF Marty Perez (1977) was born. On March 14, 1977, Marty Perez was traded by the San Francisco Giants to the New York Yankees for OF Terry Whitfield. He appeared in 1 game with the team before being traded on April 27,1977 by the Yankees along with veteran P Dock Ellis and reserve OF Larry Murray to the Oakland A’s for starter Mike Torrez.

1959 - American League All Star CF Mickey Mantle of the Yankees ends his MLB player contract holdout after one day. Mantle agrees to a salary of $72,000 and a bonus of $2,000. He had been asking the Yankees for $85,000, after batting .304, hitting 42 HRs and 97 RBIs in 1958.

1970 - The New York Yankees acquired veteran INF Ron Hansen (1970-1971) from the Chicago White Sox. Ron was at the end of his MLB career battling with back problems. He batted .297 in 59 games in 1970, before fading in 1971 to .207 in 61 games, being released by the Yankees. Ron Hansen originally came up to the MLB with the Baltimore Orioles in 1960.

1982 - Former Yankees P Roy Sherid (1929-1931) passed away (1907-1982). Roy Sherid made a lot of appearances in his 3 seasons with the New York Yankees. He pitched in 87 games (44 as a starter) with 7 saves in relief, with 413 innings. His Yankees career pitching record was 23-24 on New York teams that were well over .500 (although none of the three won the American League pennant). Roy played for the Montreal Royals (International League) in 1928 and 1931. He was in 3 games for the 1932 Newark Bears (International League), who won 109 games.

1983 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent OF Rowland Office. He appear in 2 games for the 1983 Yankees with 2 at bats and no hits, he spent majority of the year with the Columbus Clippers (AAA). On November 9,1983, Rowland Office was released by the Yankees.

1983 - The New York Yankees signed veteran MLB free agent INF Bert Campaneris. Bert appeared in 60 games as a Yankee reserve INF, hitting .322 in his final MLB season. Bert played in the MLB for 19 seasons starting with the Kansas City/Oakland A’s, then the Texas Rangers and finishing with the New York Yankees. On November 7,1983, Bert was granted MLB free agency by the Yankees.

2003 - Former Yankees minor league OF Jim Fridley passed away (1924-2003). On December 1,1954, Jim Fridley was sent by the Baltimore Orioles to the New York Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on November 17,1954. The Baltimore Orioles sent players to be named later, INF Billy Hunter, P Don Larsen and P Bob Turley to the New York Yankees for players to be named later, P Harry Byrd, P Jim McDonald, INF Willy Miranda, Catchers Hal Smith and Gus Triandos and OF Gene Woodling. Jim never played for the Yankees at the MLB level. He would be sent by the Yankees to their AAA Denver Bears team (American Association). On May 30,1957, Jim was purchased by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the New York Yankees organization.

2009 - Former Yankees P Tom “Snake” Sturdivant (1955-1959) passed away (1930-2009). After attending Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, Tom Sturdivant signed with the New York Yankees in 1948. He began his professional baseball career that summer. Originally an infielder, he hit in the .240-.250 range through 1950 minor league season. Tom missed the 1951 baseball season due to military service. He returned to baseball in 1952. On advice of Yankees veteran starter Allie Reynolds, he was converted to a pitcher in the Texas League. He reached the majors with the 1955 Yankees, appearing in 2 World Series games that year, as Yankees lost to the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1956, he posted 16 wins for the Yankees. He pitched a complete game in Game 4 of the World Series against the Dodgers. In 1957, he won 16 games for the Yankees again. Tom led the American League pitchers with a .727 winning percentage.

Tom Sturdivant developed a sore arm during the 1958 AL season, losing his effectiveness of his sinkerball pitch, posting a 3-6 record in 15 games. On May 26,1959, Tom was traded by the Yankees along with P Johnny Kucks and INF Jerry Lumpe to the Kansas City A’s for INF/OF Hector Lopez and P Ralph Terry. At the time of his trade to the A’s, Tom had appeared in only 7 games with the 1959 Yankees posting a 0-2 record. His final Yankees pitching career totals were 36-25 in 115 games with 13 complete games, 4 shutouts and 5 saves. Tom appeared in 3 World Series (1955-1957) for the Yankees with a 1-0 record, 4.34 ERA in 6 games. He never again won 10 games in a MLB season. He later went on to play for the Boston Red Sox, 1961 expansion Washington Senators, Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers and finishing up his MLB career with Casey Stengel’s 1964 New York Mets, appearing in 16 games with no record. Following his professional baseball career, Tom Sturdivant was an executive for a trucking company in Oklahoma. Tom passed away in 2009.

February 29th - It only happens every 4 years

1924 - Former Yankees President/General Manager and MLB Player Al Rosen (1978-1979) was born. Al Rosen was a 3B with the Cleveland Indians from 1947-1956. He played in 1,044 games with a MLB lifetime .285 BA. He appeared in 2 World Series with the Indians (1948 and 1954). In 1953 he led the AL in HRs with 43, RBIs with 145, slugging percentage of .613, he finished 2nd in Batting with a .336. Al Rosen was named the 1953 American League Most Valuable Player. After retiring as active player after the 1956 AL season, Al joined the Indians front office staff. Al Rosen took over the New York Yankees President and General Manager duties after Gabe Paul left the Yankees in the winter of 1977 to return to the Cleveland Indians. His personnel moves including bringing in Bob Lemon as Manager during the 1978 American League East race, allowed the Yankees to catch the Boston Red Sox and win the AL flag. He made several personnel moves bringing in players like Gary Thomasson and Jay Johnstone to help the team, when injuries occurred to the regular players. Al Rosen served as President of the New York Yankees from 1978-1979. He was the General Manager of the Houston Astros from 1980-1985. Al Rosen held the same post with the San Francisco Giants from 1985-1992. 

1976 - Former Yankees reserve OF Terrance Long (2006) was born. Terrance Long was a former No. 1 1994 amateur draft pick of the New York Mets. On May 18, 2006, he was signed as a MLB free agent with the Yankees. He appeared in only 12 games for the Yankees, hitting just .167. On October 31, 2006, Terrance was granted MLB free agency by the Yankees.

1992 - The New York Yankees traded P Alan Mills to the Baltimore Orioles for players to be named later. The Orioles would send minor league players Francisco de la Rosa and Mark Carper to the Yankees to complete the trade. Neither player would appear with the Yankees at the MLB level.

2000 - After being suspended yesterday by MLB for 1 year for testing positive for the use cocaine, New York Yankees OF/DH Darryl Strawberry is invited to join the Newark Bears during his suspension. The New Jersey franchise, which is a member of the Atlantic League, which is independent from organized baseball, is located near Strawberry's Fort Lee, N.J. home.

March 1st

1944 - Former Yankees P Ron Klimkowski (1969-1970,1972) was born (1944-2009). Ron Klimkowski came to the New York Yankees during the 1967 American League season in the Elston Howard trade with the Boston Red Sox. He appeared in 48 games for the Yankees, going 6-8 with 1 save before being traded to the Oakland A’s for veteran OF/DH Felipe Alou. He would return to the Yankees in 1972, going 0-3 in 16 games with 1 save. Ron passed away in 2009.

1947 - New MLB managers in spring training camps are Billy Herman with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Muddy Ruel with the St. Louis Browns, Bucky Harris with the New York Yankees, and Johnny Neun with Cincinnati Reds. Johnny Neun had ended the 1946 American League season as manager of the New York Yankees, after both Managers Joe McCarthy and Bill Dickey had quit during the season.

1953 - Former Yankees reserve OF Larry Murray (1974-1976) was born. The New York Yankees in the 5th round of the 1971 MLB amateur player draft drafted outfielder Larry Murray. He appeared in 20 games for the Yankees, going 2 for 12, before being traded to the Oakland A’s in the Mike Torrez trade during the beginning of the 1977 AL season.

1969 - New York Yankees long time All Star OF/1B Mickey Mantle announces his retirement as a MLB player (1951-1968) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. at the Yankees spring training camp. He is the last of the New York Yankee stars from the dynasty teams of 1949-1964 to retire from MLB. Mantle, who had slumped to a .237 BA in 1968, finishes his 18-season MLB career with 536 HRs and a .298 career BA, numbers that would have certainly been higher if not for persistent knee injuries. The Yankees offer Mantle a MLB coaching position on Manager Ralph Houk’s staff.

1980 - Former Yankees reserve C Art Jorgens (1929-1930) passed away (1905-1980). On August 24, 1928, Art Jorgens was purchased by the New York Yankees from Oklahoma City (Western League). Art holds the all-time record for World Series games in which he was on the team’s roster without ever appearing in a game. He was on the post-season roster for the New York Yankees in 1932 and from 1936-1939. (23 games total), but he never appeared in a post-season game for them. He played his entire MLB career 11 seasons with the New York Yankees. He appeared in 307 games for the New York Yankees, finishing with a .238 BA. After his MLB baseball career was over, Art worked many years in the retail industry.

1993 - New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is reinstated as general partner of the team. MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent had banned Steinbrenner from day-to-day activities with the Yankees because of his relationship with convicted gambler Howard Spira.

1998 -The Yankees christen Legends Field their new $30 million 31-acre complex in Tampa, Fla. The field has the exact dimensions of Yankee Stadium. On hand to see Phil Rizzuto toss out the 1st ball are former Yankees Whitey Ford, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry and Chris Chambliss, who then watch the New York Yankees beat the AL Champions Cleveland Indians by the score of 5-2.

2003 - The New York Yankees signed C Francisco Cervelli as an MLB amateur free agent.

2004 - The New York Yankees released MLB veteran 3B Aaron Boone. He had injured his leg during the off-season playing basketball. The Yankees had obtained AL All Star INF Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers in a trade, so Aaron Boone became expendable.

March 2nd

1880- Former Yankees OF Danny Hoffman (1906-1907) was born (1880-1924). On April 29, 1906, Danny Hoffman was traded by the Philadelphia A’s to the New York Highlanders for OF/INF Dave Fultz. Danny appeared in 236 games for the Yankees, hitting .322. On November 5,1907, Danny was traded by the Yankees along with INF Hobe Ferris and 2B Jimmy Williams to the St. Louis Browns for P Fred Glade, OF Charlie Hemphill and 2B Harry Niles.

1917 - Former Yankees P James “Jim“ Konstanty (1954-1956) was born (1917-1976). On August 22, 1954, Jim Konstanty was selected off waivers by the New York Yankees from the Philadelphia Phillies. Jim helped out the Yankees bullpen in 1955, with 7 wins and 11 saves. He was a member of the 1950 “Whiz Kids” Phillies, who won the NL pennant. Jim started the 1st game of 1950 World Series against the Yankees Vic Raschi, losing 1-0, only giving up 5 hits in 8 innings. He was the 1950 National League Most Valuable Player, posting a 16-7 mark with 22 saves for the Philadelphia Phillies. His final Yankees pitching career totals were an 8-3 record in 62 games with 15 saves. On May 18,1956, Jim was released by the Yankees. The St. Louis Cardinals signed Jim, finishing the 1956 National League season with them.

1918 - Former Yankees reserve OF Frank Colman (1946-1947) was born (1918-1983). Frank Colman was a backup outfielder/1st baseman for 6 seasons in the major leagues in the 1940's. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1942-1945 NL seasons. On June 17,1946, Frank was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in 27 games with the Yankees, hitting just .163 with 3 HRs and 11 RBIs. When his major league days ended due to an injury, he played for Seattle Rainers (Pacific Coast League). Frank was a player-coach for Toronto Maple Leafs (International League) before returning to London as player-owner. Also he played for Newark Bears (International League) at one point in his career. Six seasons of his 13-year minor league career were with Toronto Maple Leafs. He is a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the London Sports Hall of Fame.

1921 - Former Yankees P Richard Starr (1947-1948) was born. In 1941, the New York Yankees signed Richard Starr as an MLB amateur free agent. He went 1-0 in 5 games before being traded on December 13,1948, by the Yankees along with P Red Embree, C Sherman Lollar, and $100,000 to the St. Louis Browns for C Roy Partee and P Fred Sanford.

1927 - Babe Ruth becomes the highest-paid player in MLB history when the New York Yankees announces that he will earn $70,000 per season for the next three seasons. Babe Ruth will sign the historic contract on March 4th.

1947 - Former Yankees minor league OF Jim Nettles was born. On January 24,1980, Jim Nettles was signed as a MLB free agent with the New York Yankees. He was the younger brother of Yankees 3B Graig Nettles. Jim spent the 1980 baseball season with the Columbus Clippers (AAA). Later he became a minor league manager.

1949 -The Yankees All Star CF Joe DiMaggio leaves the Yankees spring training camp in St. Petersburg to have an ailing right heel examined at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is told that no surgery is needed and he returns to Florida, but the heel will continue to bother him. The AL All Star Yankees CF is hitting just 7-for-31 in the Grapefruit League.

1956 - Former Yankees MLB Coach and player Fred Merkle (1925-1926) passed away (1888-1956). On June 17,1925, INF Fred Merkle was purchased by the New York Yankees from Rochester (International League) for $6,000. Fred joined the Yankees as a MLB Coach, briefly appeared as a player in 8 games hitting .333. He was star infielder for the New York Giants (1907-1915), later playing with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in 5 World Series as a NL player.

1964 - Former Yankees minor league P Tim Layana was born (1964-1999). The New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1986 MLB amateur player draft drafted Tim Layana. Tim never played for the Yankees at the MLB level. On December 4,1989, Tim was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds from the Yankees in the 1989 MLB Rule 5 player draft. While playing in the MLB, he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. In 1999, Tim died from injuries in an auto accident.

1998 - Larry Doby, the 1st black to play in the American League, is elected to the Hall of Fame along with former AL President Lee MacPhail. Also chosen by the Veterans Committee are Negro League P Bullet Joe Rogan and turn-of-the-century shortstop Gorgeous George Davis. Lee MacPhail had been the New York Yankees General Manager from 1969-1973, before becoming the American League President replacing the retiring Joe Cronin. He previously worked with the Baltimore Orioles organization.

2004 - The New York Yankees signed MLB free agent OF/1B/DH Travis Lee. He appeared in only 7 games for the Yankees in 2004, after injuring his shoulder during spring training, hitting just .105. After the 2004 AL season, the Yankees granted Travis Lee MLB free agency.

March 3rd

1872 - Future Yankee HOF INF/OF William “Wee Willie” Keeler (1903-1909) was born (1872-1923). Willie “Wee Willie” Keeler had a .295 lifetime BA as a New York Yankees player. From 1903-1906, he hit over .300 each MLB season: .318 (1903), .343 (1904), .302 (1905), .304 (1906), before fading to a .234 BA in 1907. A remarkable hitter, Willie Keeler will hit over .300 16 times in 19 MLB seasons, he hit over .400 once, .432 in 1897 with the Baltimore Orioles (NL). Willie will finish with a .341 BA over his MLB career, currently 14th in all time list. Willie played in the MLB from 1892-1910, starting out and finishing with the New York Giants. He played for the Giants, Brooklyn, Baltimore (NL) and the Yankees. Willie Keeler will be selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939 with 75.55% of the vote. He was coin the phrase “Hit’em where they ain’t.”

1886 - Former Yankees OF Les Channell (1910, 1914) was born. (1886-1954). On September 1,1909, Les Channell was drafted by the New York Highlanders from Fort Wayne (Central League) in the 1909 MLB Rule 5 player draft. Les appeared in 7 games for the New York Yankees. His lifetime major league batting average was .350 (7-for-20). Les played left field. His 1910 MLB debut was unfortunately shortened by his suffering a broken leg, when he slid into third base. Also Channell played for Denver in the Western League in 1912-1913 seasons, then with Buffalo in 1914-1917. While playing with Denver, Les led the Western League in HRs in 1913.

1908 - Former Yankees Minor League 1B Harry Davis was born. (1908-1997). On December 4, 1937, 1B Harry Davis was traded by the St. Louis Browns to the New York Yankees for hurler Vito Tamulis. Harry never appeared with the Yankees at the MLB level. He played in the MLB for the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns before joining the Yankees organization. In 1938, the Yankees sent him to their AAA team, the Kansas City Blues (American Association), where he hit .299. For the 1939 baseball season, Harry joined the St. Louis Cardinals organization. After retiring as an active player, Harry became a minor league manager for several MLB teams before retiring.

1918 - The New York Yankees purchased 1B George “Tigoa” Burns from the Detroit Tigers for cash, then traded him to the Philadelphia A’s for OF Ping Bodie. Burns had hit .226 for the 1917 Tigers. The Yankees already had Wally Pipp as their regular 1st baseman.

1919 - Former Yankees 1B/OF and Minor League Manager Steve “Bud” Souchock (1946, 1948) was born (1919-2002). Steve Souchock played semi-pro ball before being signed by the New York Yankees in 1939. He played for Greenburg, Easton, Akron, Norfolk Tars, and Binghamton Triplets, where he was Eastern League Most Valuable Player in 1942. Souchock played a bit of service ball before becoming a tank commander. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his combat efforts during the Battle of the Bulge. He missed 3 seasons of professional baseball due to the war, but within 6 months of his discharge, he made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees at age 27, hitting .302 as a rookie. He appeared in 71 games for the Yankees, hitting .245. On December 14,1948, Steve was traded by the New York Yankees to the Chicago White Sox for OF Jim Delsing. Most of his MLB career was spent with the Detroit Tigers, where he slugged .492 from 1951 to 1953. In each of those years, he had the 2nd-highest slugging percentage on the team. After his finishing his MLB playing career, Steve started managing in the minor leagues for the Detroit Tigers in 1955-1956. Then Steve Souchock managed in the minor leagues for the New York Yankees organization starting in 1957-1963, and then he scouted for the team from 1964-1974.

1956 - Former Yankees INF Dennis Sherrill (1978, 1980) was born. INF Dennis Sherrill was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (12th pick) of the 1974 MLB amateur player draft. Dennis only appeared in 5 games with the Yankees, hitting just .200. He was blocked at the Yankees starting shortstop position by AL All Star shortstop Bucky Dent.

1960 - Former Yankees P Chuck Cary (1989-1991) was born. On January 26, 1989, Chuck Cary was signed as a MLB free agent by the New York Yankees. Cary stayed with the Yankees from 1989 through 1991, but he was released by the team on October 28,1991, following elbow surgery in September. His Yankees career pitching record was 11-22 in 60 games.

1960 - Former Yankees P Neal Heaton (1993) was born. On February 2, 1993, Neal Heaton was signed as an MLB free agent by the New York Yankees. He posted a 1-0 record in 18 games, before being released by the team on July 27, 1993.

1968 - Former Yankees P Bobby Munoz (1993) was born. The New York Yankees in the 15th round of the 1988 MLB amateur player draft drafted Bobby Munoz. He went 3-3 in 38 games for the Yankees in 1993. On February 9,1994, Bobby was traded by the Yankees along with minor league INF Kevin Jordan and P Ryan Karp to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later and veteran starter Terry Mulholland. The Phillies would send Jeff Patterson on November 8,1994 to the Yankees to complete the trade.

1977 - Former Yankees P Frank “Stubby” Overmire (1951) passed away (1919-1977). After being obtained by the Yankees from the St. Louis Browns for P Tommy Byrne and $25,000. Stubby went 1-1 in 15 games for the 1951 Yankees. He did not appear in the 1951 World Series with the Yankees against the New York Giants. In 1952, the Yankees traded him back to the Browns, where he finished out his 10-season MLB career (1943-1942). He was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers and appeared in the 1945 World Series with them, with a 0-1 record in 1 game.

1980 - Former Yankees INF Jerry Priddy (1941-1942) passed away (1919-1980). In 1937, the New York Yankees signed Jerry Priddy as an MLB amateur free agent. Jerry appeared in 115 games for the Yankees, hitting just .246. On January 29,1943, Jerry was traded by the Yankees along with P Milo Candini to the Washington Senators for P Bill Zuber and cash. Jerry was expendable because the Yankees had AL All Star 2B Joe Gordon and future 2B Jerry Coleman in their minor league system. Priddy entered the U.S. Army in December 1943; he was discharged in January 1946. Jerry would later play for the St. Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers before retiring from MLB. Jerry Priddy's MLB career is discussed at length in the Bill James book “What never happen to the Hall of Fame,” originally published as” The Politics of Glory. “James' angle is that Jerry Priddy and Phil Rizzuto were both highly-touted Yankee minor leaguer infielders in the late 1930s, playing on the same teams in the New York Yankees farm system, but that their MLB careers went in completely separate directions. It was Priddy, who was the more naturally talented of the 2 players, but it was Phil Rizzuto who ended up in the Hall of Fame. Long after his MLB baseball career, Jerry Priddy was convicted of extortion and spent several months in prison.

1997 - The New York Yankees offer the San Diego Padres a choice of one from a list of players for the negotiating rights to Japanese P Hideki Irabu. The list includes P Brian Boehringer, P David Weathers, Chris Cumberland, INF Andy Fox and OF Matt Luke. The Yankees also offer one player from a list of 5 minor leaguers, plus $3 million. The Padres are talking to several other MLB teams beside the Yankees.

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

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