Monday, July 31, 2006
Yanks Trade Chacon
One day after making their big splash with the Bobby Abreu trade, the Yankees made one final move before Monday's non-waiver trade deadline.
Almost a year to the day after acquiring Shawn Chacon to bolster their starting rotation, New York sent the right-hander packing, trading him to the Pirates for Craig Wilson.
The move capped 24 hours in which the Yankees added Abreu to be their new right fielder and Lidle to be their new fifth starter, acquiring the pair from the Phillies for four Minor League prospects.
Wilson, 29, was hitting .267 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs in 85 games for Pittsburgh this season. Wilson played 43 games at first base and 30 in right field, and he will likely take away some playing time from Andy Phillips at first base. Wilson will also serve as the Yankees' third catcher.
Both Wilson and Phillips are right-handed hitters, but Wilson has a .307 average with a .923 OPS in 88 at-bats against left-handers, while Phillips is hitting .195 with a .481 OPS in 77 at-bats against southpaws this season.
Wilson and Phillips could wind up in a platoon at first base, though that decision will ultimately rest with Torre.
New York also optioned outfielder Aaron Guiel to Triple-A Columbus, opening a roster spot for Abreu. The Yankees will make one more roster move before Tuesday's game, with Bubba Crosby, Nick Green or T.J. Beam the likely candidates to be sent out.
Wilson, who has played his entire Major League career with the Pirates, said that as exciting as the move is for him, it is also bittersweet.
Chacon went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) for the Yankees last season, helping lead New York to an eighth consecutive American League East title. He started Game 4 of the AL Division Series, allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision.
This year, Chacon was penciled in as the Yankees' fourth starter, and he opened the season 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA in his first six starts. But after spending time on the disabled list with a left leg bruise, he was never able to rebound. His record fell to 4-3 while his ERA jumped to 6.71 by July 4, before being yanked from the rotation.
In six relief outings, Chacon is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA, making him 5-3 with a 7.00 ERA for the season. He had a memorable outing last Wednesday, escaping a no-out, bases-loaded jam against Texas without allowing a run. Three days later, Chacon allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay in what turned out to be his final appearance for the Yankees.
Abreu, Lidle and Wilson are all expected to be in uniform on Tuesday when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Blue Jays. Abreu will step in as the starting right fielder, while Lidle gets the start on Thursday in place of Sidney Ponson.
Neither Boston nor Toronto made any significant moves at the deadline, leaving New York as the most improved club in the AL East.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:42 PM
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Yanks Acquire Abreu
The Yankees solved two of their problems with one trade on Sunday, acquiring Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle from the Phillies for four Minor League prospects.
New York sent shortstop C.J. Henry, left-hander Matt Smith, catcher Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Carlos Monasterios to Philadelphia for Abreu, a two-time National League All-Star and 2005 Gold Glove winner.
Abreu is hitting .277 this season, but his on-base percentage is a robust .427, third in the NL. After averaging 25 homers per season from 2000-05, Abreu has just eight home runs this season, though he does have 65 RBIs.
Abreu will become the Yankees' everyday right fielder, moving Bernie Williams and Aaron Guiel to the bench. Melky Cabrera will likely remain the regular left fielder until Hideki Matsui returns from the disabled list next month, at which time the youngster should become a bench player.
Lidle went 8-7 with a 4.74 ERA in 21 starts for Philadelphia, posting 13 quality starts. In parts of nine seasons with six different teams, he has a career record of 78-69 with a 4.55 ERA.
Lidle will likely join the back end of the rotation in place of Sidney Ponson, who has started twice for New York since being signed on July 14. Lidle last pitched on Thursday for the Phillies, so he could start on Thursday in Ponson's place against Toronto.
Henry, the Yankees' first-round draft pick in 2005, was hitting .237 with two home runs, 33 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 76 games this season with Class A Charleston.
Smith has spent the 2006 season shuttling back and forth between New York and Triple-A Columbus, posting impressive numbers in both places. The left-hander, who did not allow a run in 12 appearances with the Yankees this season, is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 24 relief outings for the Clippers.
Sanchez hit .264 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 23 games for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, while Monasterios went 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA in seven games (three starts) for the GCL Yankees.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 6:26 PM
100 Things: 19-10
19: OK, may thelist will finish
18: NOW there is one more post
17: Another informercial is on
16: It is about skin
15: Skin is smooth
14: If not call the infomercial
13: I had a dream
12: I forgot what it was about
11: I want to go back to it
10: And I will
Posted by Steve Kenul at 6:57 AM
100 Things: 29-20
29: One more post after this
28: This list will not be finished
27: It will stop at #10
26: If you want this list continued, tough
25: I am too freaking tired to finish it
24: The sofabed is calling my name
21: Now let me go
Posted by Steve Kenul at 6:28 AM
100 Things: 39-30
39: The infomercials are over
38: I do not know whats on
37: I am getting very tired
35 Two more posts to go
33: I wish my cough was gone
32: I am rning out of ideas for top 100
31: Im thinking of a word
30: Not really
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:58 AM
100 Things: 49-40
49: I have to pee
48: Pretty bad
47: My cough let up a bit
46: But not much
45: My leg is shaking
44: I have two more hours of blogathon
43: I want to go to bed
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:27 AM
100 Things: 59-50
59: My cough is getting worse
58: I hurts my throat
57: Mt sinuses are bad
56: A new infomercial is on
55: Its about beds
54: Not tempurpedic
53: I hate coughing
52: I like to sneeze
51: I don't have to sneeze
50: We are getting closer to being done!
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:00 AM
100 Things: 69-60
69: I am getting delerious
68: I am getting tires
67: I have three hours of this left
66: I do not want a cigarette at this time
65: The sofaved is my friend
64: I must treat the sofabed nicely
63: Some stupid infomecial is on
62: Going from the sofabed to the wooden chair is wrong
61: I will not get online today
60: I am going back to my sofabed
Posted by Steve Kenul at 4:28 AM
100 Things: 79-70
79: The sofebed is ver comfortable
78: This Gary Trudeau guy is a liar
77: I want to go to bed
75: I need a fan to cool off
74: I need to be cold when I sleep
73: My wife doesn't like that
72: I love my wife
71: She loves me back
70: I am going to check on her
Posted by Steve Kenul at 3:54 AM
100 Things: 89-80
89: My stupid cough is back
88: I have smoked 29 cigarettes today
87: Yes, I am keeping track
86: I am about to take a nap
85: I have the alarm set, so don't be alarmed
84: I'm wearing boxers
83: I ate a bowl of generic fruity pebbles
82: I use 2% low fat milk
81: It was good
80: There is nothing on TV
Posted by Steve Kenul at 3:27 AM
100 Things: 100-90
100: I'm a guy
99: I like the Yankees
98: Can you tell?
97: I am a guy that likes the Yankees that is tired
96: I have a queen sized bed
95: It is very comfortable
94: I should be in it
93: But I am sittin on a wooden chair
92: I have a sofebed
91: I should be in it too
90: Again, I am on a wooden chair and my butt hurts
Posted by Steve Kenul at 2:56 AM
Pic of the Hour, Another One
I told you Jason Giambi doesn't use steroids...
Posted by Steve Kenul at 2:52 AM
Why people attend games, even though they say that it is boring...
Posted by Steve Kenul at 2:15 AM
1921 World Series: Yankees First Ever WS Win
YANKEES 1ST: Miller singled to center; Peckinpaugh out on a
sacrifice bunt (first to pitcher) [Miller to second]; Ruth
singled to center [Miller scored]; Meusel grounded into a double
play (third to second to first) [Ruth out at second]; 1 R, 2 H,
0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 1, Giants 0.
GIANTS 1ST: Burns grounded out (shortstop to first); Bancroft
grounded out (second to first); Frisch singled to center; Youngs
grounded out (pitcher to first); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees
1, Giants 0.
YANKEES 2ND: Pipp grounded out (second to first); Ward walked;
McNally grounded out (third to first) [Ward to second]; Schang
struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 1, Giants 0.
GIANTS 2ND: Kelly made an out to left; Meusel made an out to
right; Rawlings was hit by a pitch; Snyder grounded out (pitcher
to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 1, Giants 0.
YANKEES 3RD: Mays grounded out (second to first); Miller
grounded out (shortstop to first); Peckinpaugh struck out; 0 R,
0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 1, Giants 0.
GIANTS 3RD: Douglas made an out to left; Burns grounded out
(shortstop to first); Bancroft grounded out (second to first); 0
R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 1, Giants 0.
YANKEES 4TH: Ruth walked; Meusel popped to third; Pipp out on a
sacrifice bunt (third to first) [Ruth to second]; Ward grounded
out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 1,
GIANTS 4TH: Frisch singled to right; Frisch stole second; Youngs
out on a sacrifice bunt (pitcher to first) [Frisch to third];
Kelly struck out; Meusel grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R,
1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 1, Giants 0.
YANKEES 5TH: McNally doubled to left; Schang out on a sacrifice
bunt (pitcher to first) [McNally to third]; Mays struck out;
McNally stole home; Miller grounded out (third to first); 1 R, 1
H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 2, Giants 0.
GIANTS 5TH: Rawlings grounded out (shortstop to first); Snyder
grounded out (shortstop to first); Douglas grounded out (first
unassisted); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 2, Giants 0.
YANKEES 6TH: Peckinpaugh singled to shortstop; Snyder allowed a
passed ball [Peckinpaugh to second]; Ruth struck out; Meusel
grounded out (left to first) [Peckinpaugh scored]; Pipp walked;
Pipp was caught stealing second (catcher to second); 1 R, 1 H, 0
E, 0 LOB. Yankees 3, Giants 0.
GIANTS 6TH: Burns grounded out (pitcher to first); Bancroft
grounded out (first unassisted); Frisch tripled to left; Youngs
grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Yankees 3, Giants 0.
YANKEES 7TH: Ward struck out; McNally grounded out (second to
first); Schang walked; On a bunt Mays was credited with a single
when a runner was hit by the batted ball [Schang out at second
(second)]; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 3, Giants 0.
GIANTS 7TH: Kelly popped to second; Meusel grounded out (second
to first); Rawlings singled to right; Snyder forced Rawlings
(shortstop to second); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 3, Giants
YANKEES 8TH: Miller popped to shortstop; Peckinpaugh grounded
out (second to first); Ruth struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Yankees 3, Giants 0.
GIANTS 8TH: SMITH BATTED FOR DOUGLAS; Smith made an out to left;
Burns grounded out (shortstop to first); Bancroft made an out to
left; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 3, Giants 0.
YANKEES 9TH: BARNES REPLACED SMITH (PITCHING); Meusel popped to
second; Pipp grounded out (first unassisted); Ward singled to
right; McNally singled to left [Ward to third]; McNally stole
second; Schang struck out; 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Yankees 3,
GIANTS 9TH: Frisch singled to right; Youngs forced Frisch
(second to shortstop); Kelly grounded into a double play
(shortstop to second to first) [Youngs out at second]; 0 R, 1 H,
0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 3, Giants 0.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 1:49 AM
George Steinbrenner: Background
George Michael Steinbrenner III (born July 4, 1930), often known as "The Boss", is the principal owner of the New York Yankees. He is also a former owner in an interest in the New Jersey Nets and the New Jersey Devils. His outspokenness and role in driving up player salaries have made him one of baseball's more controversial figures, though his willingness to spend to build the club (and its postseason success since 1976) have earned him grudging respect from some baseball executives.
Steinbrenner was born in Rocky River, Ohio and grew up in Bay Village, Ohio both suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. He ran track and played football at Culver Military Academy in Indiana and ran track at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and graduated in 1952.
After two years in the United States Air Force, Steinbrenner coached high school basketball and football at Aquinas High School (Columbus, Ohio), semi-pro football (Pope's Inn) under Ohio State University All-American Victor Marino, and attended Ohio State University. On March 1, 1955, he was named an assistant football coach at Northwestern University, but was dismissed along with Wildcat head coach Lou Saban on December 13 of that year, three days after the arrival of new athletic director Stu Holcomb. Saban soon resurfaced at Purdue University and took Steinbrenner along. After marrying Joan Zieg on May 12, 1956, Steinbrenner spent one season with the Boilermakers before joining his father's struggling company, the American Shipbuilding Company, the following year.
In 1960, he bought the Cleveland Pipers of the National Industrial Basketball League. The team joined the American Basketball League the next year, with Steinbrenner making history by hiring John McLendon as the first African-American head coach in professional sports. The team went on to win a championship, then pulled off a public relations coup during the offseason by signing Ohio State All-American Jerry Lucas. The signing led to the National Basketball Association admitting the team as its 10th team on July 10, 1962. However, since he was unable to raise $250,000 and the American Basketball League was threatening to sue the NBA because of the shift, the deal collapsed on July 30.
The Pipers soon went bankrupt, with Steinbrenner returning to the relative anonymity of the American Shipbuilding Company, before eventually buying the company. During much of the next decade, Steinbrenner invested in Broadway plays and later gained a small piece of ownership with an NBA team, the Chicago Bulls.
In 1971, Steinbrenner offered $9 million to buy the Cleveland Indians, but after agreeing in principle with Indians owner Vernon Stouffer, saw the deal fall apart at the last minute. Indians General Manager Gabe Paul had played a major role in brokering the deal, and when the New York Yankees became available the following year, he helped Steinbrenner achieve his dream of owning a baseball club. In gratitude, Steinbrenner offered him the opportunity to direct baseball operations for the club.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 1:02 AM
Status Check, Graveyard Shift
Midnight has come and gone, but I am still here.
As the blogathong on this side of the world enters the night hours, one can only ponder how we manage to stay awake. I took a shower and feel much refreshed and can go on for at least three more hours. The other five will be hell.
I have run out of ideas to blog about and I really don't want to go back to featured players, that was getting too repetative. So any ideas will help out a lot.
My cigarette count has reached 25 and am starting with my wifes pack. Hop she doesn't mind.
Anyway, I better get back to brainstorming and get some ideas on paper so I can continue this run.
7 hours left!
Posted by Steve Kenul at 12:37 AM
Yankee Stadium: New Yankee Stadium
New Yankee Stadium is the working title for a new stadium for the New York Yankees, currently in development stages. It is planned to be built on the current site of Macombs Dam Park in the New York City borough of The Bronx, across the street from the current Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923.
Groundbreaking for the stadium is slated for 2006, with a 2009 opening (the same year as New Mets Ballpark)Design
The new stadium's design, by HOK Sport, The stadium would actually consist of two separate structures. The exterior would resemble Yankee Stadium, as it was when it opened in 1923, and the interior would be a modern ballpark, resembling the current Yankee Stadium, with increased modern amenities that have become a staple of every new ballpark since Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It would feature a replica of the copper frieze (constantly mistaken by fans and media as a façade), that lined the inner wall of Yankee Stadium's upper deck until 1973. This lining was torn down during the 1974–75 renovations. A replica of this frieze lines the portion of the original structure that was removed during those renovations, beyond the outfield wall. It is above the bleachers and faces River Avenue. The Yankees already use this frieze as a marketing tool on television and in print, and have allowed the sporting-goods chain Modell's to use it as well.
Between the perimeter wall and the stadium would be an area which the Yankees are calling a "great hall". It would feature more than one million square feet of retail space, a significant increase from the current amount of retail space.
The field's dimensions would be identical to those at Yankee Stadium and Legends Field. The new stadium would seat 50,000 fans, compared with 57,545 in Yankee Stadium. The new stadium's seating would be spaced outward, rather than upward, placing most fans much further away from the field. The Yankees have said that these upper deck seats would remain on par with current upper deck prices. Field-level seats would be near 30,000, compared with 20,000 in Yankee Stadium. There would be half as many bleacher seats as Yankee Stadium's 7,500. There would be 60 luxury boxes between the two decks, along with many field-level areas sectioned off for high-price corporate clients. The existing Yankee Stadium has 16 luxury boxes.
The famed Monument Park, which features the Yankees' retired numbers, four freestanding monuments and a few dozen plaques dedicated to some of the Yankees' great players and managers (and Yankee Stadium visitors) beyond the left-center field wall, would be relocated to the new stadium. Based on designs revealed in 2005, the new Monument Park will be in center field, along with a restaurant covered in black tinted glass, which would serve as the batter's eye.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 12:03 AM
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Yankee Stadium: FIeld Dimensions
Compiled from various photos, baseball annuals, and Green Cathedrals by Phil Lowry.
Left Field Line - 285 ft.
Straightaway LF, corner of main stand - 395 ft.
Straightaway LF, corner of bleachers - 460 ft.
Center Field - 490 ft.
Right Center - 429 ft.
Straightaway RF, bleacher gate - 350 ft.
Right Field Line - 295 ft.
Left Field Line - 301 ft.
Straightaway LF, corner of main stand - 402 ft. - left of bullpen
Straightaway LF, corner of bleachers - 415 ft. - right of bullpen
Deep Left Center - 457 ft.
Center Field - 461 ft.
Right Center - 407 ft.
Straightaway RF, corner of bleachers - 367 ft. - left of bullpen
Straightaway RF, near corner of main stand - 344 ft. - right of bullpen
Right Field Line - 296 ft.
Backstop - 82 ft.
Renovation of Yankee Stadium
Left Field Line - 312 ft.
Straightaway LF - 387 ft.
Deep Left Center - 430 ft.
Center Field - 417 ft.
Right Center - 385 ft.
Straightaway RF - 353 ft.
Right Field Line - 310 ft.
Altered to make Monument Park accessible to fans
Left Field Line - 312 ft.
Straightaway LF - 379 ft.
Deep Left Center - 411 ft.
Center Field - 410 ft.
Right Center - 385 ft.
Straightaway RF - 353 ft.
Right Field Line - 310 ft.
Altered to make Monument Park more accessible
Left Field Line - 318 ft.
Straightaway LF - 379 ft.
Deep Left Center - 399 ft.
Center Field - 408 ft.
Right Center - 385 ft.
Straightaway RF - 353 ft.
Right Field Line - 314 ft.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:32 PM
Yankee Stadium: Roll Call
After the first pitch is thrown at the top of the first inning, the "Bleacher Creatures" in Section 39, usually led by a man nicknamed Bald Vinny (a t-shirt designer and vendor who was featured in 2005 in the YES Network's reality television show "YES's Ultimate Road Trip"), begin chanting the names of every player in the defensive lineup (except the pitcher and catcher, with some rare exceptions), starting with the center fielder (ie: "JOH-nee DA-mon, clap, clap, clap clap clap"). They do not stop chanting the player's name until he acknowledges the Creatures (usually with a wave or a point), who then move on to the next player. Other names called out during roll call from time to time have included Yankee broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay. Sometimes, after a long rain delay, the Creatures start another Roll Call for kicks. Often when a player is replaced in the field, their replacement is also welcomed with a chant.
In 1999, when David Wells, who had pitched a perfect game for the the Yankees the season before, made his first appearance at the stadium since an offseason trade to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Creatures included David Wells in the roll call.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:01 PM
Yankee Stadium: Monument Park
The following personalities are honored with monuments or plaques in Monument Park, located behind the left-center field fence at Yankee Stadium, between the bullpens. Monuments, rather than plaques, are generally awarded only to the greatest of the great, and then only after their deaths. Many of these figures also had their uniform numbers retired. Such ceremonies often take place either at home openers or on Old Timers' Day. Figures are listed in the order in which their plaques were dedicated:
Miller Huggins, manager 1918-29, monument dedicated May 30, 1932. This monument was originally placed on the field of play, in front of the center-field flagpole. Huggins never wore a number on his uniform, and so no number is retired for him.
Jacob Ruppert, owner 1915-39, plaque dedicated April 19, 1940. This plaque was placed on the outfield wall, to the right of the flagpole.
Lou Gehrig, first baseman 1923-39, number 4 retired July 4, 1939, monument dedicated July 6, 1941. This monument was placed to the left of the Huggins monument. Gehrig was the first Major League Baseball player to have his uniform number retired.
Babe Ruth, right fielder 1920-34, number 3 retired June 13, 1948, monument dedicated April 19, 1949. This monument was placed to the right of the Huggins monument. The three monuments together were about 450 feet from home plate, but a ball would occasionally get back there. In the 1992 book The Gospel According to Casey, by Ira Berkow and Jim Kaplan, it is reported that Yankee manager Casey Stengel was watching his center fielder fumbling with the ball in the vicinity of the monuments, while the batter-runner circled the bases. Stengel yelled out, "Ruth, Gehrig, Huggins, somebody get that ball back to the infield!"
Ed Barrow, general manager 1921-46, plaque dedicated April 15, 1954. The plaque was placed on the wall, to the left of the flagpole.
Joe DiMaggio, center fielder 1936-51, number 5 retired April 18, 1952, plaque dedicated June 8, 1969, replaced by a monument April 25, 1999.
Mickey Mantle, center fielder 1951-68, number 7 retired and plaque dedicated June 8, 1969, replaced by a monument August 25, 1996. Mantle was awarded his plaque on Mickey Mantle Day, handed to him by DiMaggio. Mantle then handed DiMaggio his plaque, saying, "His oughta be just a little bit higher than mine." Instead, they were placed side-by-side on the wall. These were the last plaques to be placed in play. Following the 1974-75 renovation of Yankee Stadium, the monuments and plaques were moved to the new Monument Park.
Joe McCarthy, manager 1931-46, plaque dedicated April 29, 1976. Although the Yankees adopted uniform numbers in 1929, McCarthy never wore a number as Yankee manager, and so no number has been retired for him.
Casey Stengel, manager 1949-60, number 37 retired August 8, 1970, plaque dedicated July 30, 1976.
Thurman Munson, catcher 1969-79, number 15 retired August 2, 1979, plaque dedicated September 20, 1980.
Elston Howard, outfielder and catcher 1955-67, coach 1969-80, number 32 retired and plaque dedicated July 21, 1984.
Roger Maris, outfielder 1960-66, number 9 retired and plaque dedicated July 21, 1984, in the same ceremony as Howard's.
Phil Rizzuto, shortstop 1941-56 and broadcaster 1957-96, number 10 retired and plaque dedicated August 4, 1985.
Billy Martin, second baseman 1950-57, manager 1975-78, 1979, 1983, 1985 and 1988, number 1 retired and plaque dedicated August 10, 1986.
Lefty Gomez, pitcher 1930-42, plaque dedicated August 1, 1987. His number 11 has not been retired.
Whitey Ford, pitcher 1950-67, number 16 retired April 6, 1974, plaque dedicated August 1, 1987, in the same ceremony as Gomez's.
Bill Dickey, catcher 1928-46, manager 1946, coach 1949-60, number 8 retired April 18, 1972, plaque dedicated August 21, 1988.
Yogi Berra, catcher and outfielder 1946-63, manager 1964 and 1984-85, coach 1975-83, number 8 retired April 18, 1972, plaque dedicated August 21, 1988 -- in each case, in the same ceremony as Dickey's.
Allie Reynolds, pitcher 1947-54, plaque dedicated August 27, 1989. His number 22 has not been retired.
Don Mattingly, first baseman 1982-95, coach since 2004, number 23 retired and plaque dedicated August 31, 1997.
Mel Allen, broadcaster 1939-64 and 1976-89, plaque dedicated July 25, 1998.
Bob Sheppard, public address announcer since 1951, plaque dedicated May 7, 2000.
Reggie Jackson, right fielder 1977-81, number 44 retired August 14, 1993, plaque dedicated July 6, 2002.
Ron Guidry, pitcher 1975-88, coach 2006, number 49 retired and plaque dedicated August 23, 2003.
Red Ruffing, pitcher 1930-46, plaque dedicated July 10, 2004. His number 15 had already been retired for Munson.
Huggins, Gehrig, Ruth, Barrow, DiMaggio, Mantle, McCarthy, Stengel, Rizzuto, Gomez, Ford, Dickey, Berra, Jackson and Ruffing are also members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Allen received the Hall's Ford Frick Award, the broadcasters' equivalent of Hall of Fame election.
In addition, the Knights of Columbus donated plaques to the Yankees in honor of the masses delivered at Yankee Stadium by Pope Paul VI on October 4, 1965 and Pope John Paul II on October 2, 1979.
This led to a joke: "Who are the two former Cardinals who have plaques at Yankee Stadium?" It should be noted, however, that Huggins and Maris played for the St. Louis Cardinals, so there is a real answer to the joke's question. Joe Torre also played for (and managed) the Cardinals, and will likely receive a plaque shortly after his retirement, which would end the joke, unless Pope Benedict XVI or a successor visits the United States and delivers a Mass at Yankee Stadium or the planned successor ballpark, making it, "Who are the three former Cardinals..."
The Yankees dedicated a plaque to the victims and rescue workers of the 9/11 attacks on September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the attacks. Although usually referred to as a "monument," it is simply a plaque resting in a corner of Monument Park, rather than a plaque mounted on a granite slab as the "monuments" are.
Although Paul O'Neill (outfielder 1993-2001) has not been honored with the retirement of his number 21 or with the dedication of a Monument Park plaque, the number has not been reissued following his retirement.
Although Major League Baseball retired number 42 leaguewide for Jackie Robinson in 1997, the Yankees remain the only team not to list 42 along with their team's retired numbers. Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera is the only current player to wear the number as the number was grandfathered for all players wearing the number at the time, but all the other teams retired #42 while they had players wearing the number.
The monuments are located more than 450 feet from home plate. It is an achievement for a home run in the "new" Stadium to go into the monuments on the fly. Among those who have done so are Thurman Munson (in Game 3 of the 1978 American League Championship Series) and Alex Rodriguez (in August 2005).
Since the mid-1980s, the rear fence lining the walkway from the grandstand to the monuments -- the barrier that was the outfield fence from 1976 to 1984 -- has borne the Yankees' retired numbers. Under those numbers are small stands with short biographies of the players that were honored.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:31 PM
Yankee Stadium: Rules
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the authorities of Yankee Stadium enforced stricter (and more controversial) rules. As of 2006, the following rules are enforced at Yankee Stadium:
No video cameras
No large bags
No glass or plastic bottles or cans (As of April 21, 2006 plastic bottles containing water are permitted. )
The reason given for these strict rules is security, but they have proven unpopular. Security guards frisk and wand fans upon entering the stadium. They also occasionally request odd things of fans such as showing them that the fan's cell phone works, citing that the phone might be a bomb. Some fans are skeptical as to the real motivation behind these lengthy security measures (a restriction on cans and bottles, for example, forces people to buy beverages from the concession stands). Despite their unpopularity, attempts to get rid of these rules have not been successful. The Yankees outsource their security details to company, Burns Secuity. Additionaly, they have NYPD officers throughout the stadium.
Also, other baseball stadiums do not outlaw bags. Instead, other teams' security guards check inside fans bags to search for weapons—a practice that is common at other New York City locales, including concert venues, museums, and libraries. Many city fans have found this restriction particularly burdensome, since many travel to games using public transportation and cannot leave personal items in their cars. However, many local businesses have profited off of this, creating bag checks at their facilities for a nominal fee.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:01 PM
Yankee Stadium: Frieze and The Bat
One of its distinguishing features is the white frieze (constantly mistaken by fans and media as a facade) that hangs over the outfield bleacher billboards and scoreboard. A similar frieze, although copper green in color before being painted white in the 1960s, once hung from the roof over the upper deck before the renovation.
Also notable is the exhaust stack that stands outside the main entrance gate, constructed in the shape of a baseball bat. It is sponsored by Louisville Slugger, and is designed to look like a Babe Ruth model. "The Big Bat" is often used as a meeting place for people who will be sitting at games together but arriving separately.
While some elements of the Stadium are decidedly modern, its asymmetry, monuments in left-center field and exterior arches give fans a reminder of the Stadium during its most golden period. Even the blue YANKEE STADIUM letters over the main gate are longtime features; they're the same letters that first appeared there in white in the early 1960s.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:41 PM
Yankee Stadium: Other Events
Many boxing matches have been held at the Stadium, notably Joe Louis's first-round knockout of Max Schmeling on June 22, 1938. Heavyweight champions Jack Dempsey (after losing the title), Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, Ingemar Johansson and Muhammad Ali all had at least one fight there.
Billy Graham held large gatherings at the Stadium. The New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League used Yankee Stadium for home games in 1971 and then again in 1976.
On October 4, 1965, Pope Paul VI celebrated a Mass at Yankee Stadium during a visit to the United States in front of a crowd in excess of 80,000. This was the first Papal Mass ever delivered in North America. Fourteen years later, on October 2, 1979, Pope John Paul II also celebrated Mass there.
The first rock concert held at the stadium was on June 22, 1990 by Billy Joel. It was also the site of two dates of U2's ZOO TV tour in 1992. During one song, Bono paid tribute to the show's setting with the line "I dreamed I saw Joe DiMaggio/Dancing with Marilyn Monroe...". Pink Floyd also performed two sold out shows at this venue on their 1994 tour in support of The Division Bell album.
The Stadium was also the site of a memorial service on September 23, 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
However, the Stadium has been used almost exclusively for baseball since 2001, as most other concerts and events seek the more modern facilities of Madison Square Garden or Giants Stadium.
NHL executives had inquired about the possibility of using the field for a Heritage Classic type event with a New York Islanders vs New York Rangers ice hockey match during the 2006-07 NHL season. The NHL announced that there will not be such a game during the 2006-07 season, but planning for a possibility for 2007-08.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:05 PM
Yankee Stadium: NCAA Football
The 1930 and 1931 Army-Navy Games were played at Yankee Stadium. Army won both of them, by scores of 6-0 and 17-7.
Army played Notre Dame there 20 times from 1925 to 1946. In the 1928 game, Army led 6-0 at halftime, before Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne invoked the memory of his school's greatest football hero to that point, George Gipp, who had died in 1920. In a story he is now believed to have made up, Rockne told of meeting Gipp on his deathbed, and hearing the great player say, "Some day, when the team is up against it, and the breaks are beating the boys, tell 'em to go out there with everything they've got, and win just one for the Gipper." Notre Dame came back to win the game, 12-6.
Army and Notre Dame also played at Yankee Stadium in 1946, when Army was ranked number 1 in the nation and had won the last two National Championships, and Notre Dame was ranked number 2. One of several college football games to be known as "The Game of the Century" in the days leading up to it, the game ended in a 0-0 tie, and when both teams remained undefeated at the end of the season, Notre Dame was awarded the National Championship. The two schools would play each other at Yankee Stadium only once more, in 1969, by which point Army was no longer a major football power, and Notre Dame won, 45-0. In games played against each other at Yankee Stadium, Notre Dame won 14, Army won 4, and there were 3 ties.
Notre Dame played 24 games at Yankee Stadium, going 15-6-3. Army played 38, splitting them, 17-17-4. New York University played more games there than any other school, 96, using it as a secondary home field from 1923 to 1948, with a record of 52-40-4. Nearby Fordham University played 19 games there, going 13-5-1.
Eight college football games were played at Yankee Stadium on Thanksgiving Day, the first seven by NYU: Beating Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1931 and 1932, beating Fordham in 1936, losing to Oregon State in 1928, losing to Carnegie Tech in 1929, and losing to Fordham in 1934 and 1935. A game between Notre Dame and Syracuse University, scheduled for November 23, 1963, was postponed to Thanksgiving, November 28, due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Syracuse won, 27-15.
The Gotham Bowl was scheduled to premiere at Yankee Stadium in 1960, but was cancelled when no opponent could be found for Oregon State University. The 1961 game was moved to the Polo Grounds, and when just 6,166 people came to Yankee Stadium for the 1962 game, won by the University of Nebraska over the University of Miami, 36-24, the Gotham Bowl was never played again.
Starting in 1971, the Stadium hosted the Whitney M. Young Urban League Classic, a game between "historically black colleges," often featuring Grambling State University of Louisiana, coached by Eddie Robinson. The Classic helped to spread the fame of Grambling and other similar schools. The Classic was held at Shea Stadium during the 1974-75 renovation of Yankee Stadium, and was last played there in the 1987 season, the last time a football game was played there. Grambling lost to Central State University of Ohio, 37-21.
It has been held at Giants Stadium in New Jersey's Meadowlands Sports Complex ever since.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 8:35 PM
Yankee Stadium: Pro Football
The New York Giants football team played at Yankee Stadium from 1956 to 1973. They left the Polo Grounds, where they had played since their founding in 1925, and won the NFL Championship in their first season in the Stadium, defeating the Chicago Bears 47-7 on December 30, 1956. It is accepted by football historians that the chant, "Dee-FENSE!" was first used at Yankee Stadium that year to describe the Giant defense, led by linebacker Sam Huff. Other Giant Hall-of-Famers to play for them in Yankee Stadium include quarterbacks Charley Conerly and Y.A. Tittle, running back Frank Gifford, tackle Roosevelt Brown, defensive end Andy Robustelli and safety Emlen Tunnell.
During these years, the Giants were coached by Jim Lee Howell (1954-60) and Allie Sherman (1961-68). Howell's staff included offensive coordinator Vince Lombardi, who had played for Fordham University at Yankee Stadium, and defensive coordinator Tom Landry, who had been a Giant defensive back. The two men would become head coaches, and Lombardi's Green Bay Packers would face Landry's Dallas Cowboys in two NFL Championship Games in the late 1960s.
In addition to the 1956 game, which they won, the Giants hosted two other NFL Championship Games at Yankee Stadium, at a time when host sites were rotated between the league's Eastern and Western Division Champions. The Giants played the Baltimore Colts on December 28, 1958, and, in the first overtime game ever played in the NFL, lost, 23-17, in a game described by many observers as "the greatest game ever played." On December 30, 1962, the Giants lost to Lombardi's Packers, 16-7. Despite reaching the Championship Game six times in eight years between 1956 and 1963 (including the 1959 game in Baltimore, the 1961 game in Green Bay and the 1963 game in Chicago), the Giants only won the first of these, in 1956.
It was also at Yankee Stadium that one of the NFL's "greatest hits" took place. On November 20, 1960, the Giants hosted the Philadelphia Eagles, and just after catching a pass, Gifford was hit by Eagle linebacker Chuck Bednarik, knocking him out and causing him to fumble. The fumble was recovered by the Eagles, who went on to win the game and later the NFL Championship. This was the one season between 1958 and 1963 that the Giants did not win the Eastern Division. Gifford was so badly hurt that he missed the rest of the season and all of the 1961 season. The photograph of Bednarik, pumping his fist in celebration of the recovered fumble, standing over an unconscious Gifford, is one of football's best-known pictures.
By 1964, age and injuries began to catch up with the Giants, and they were largely uncompetitive for the remainder of their tenure in Yankee Stadium. Knowing the Stadium would close in the middle (for football) of the 1973 season, and that the stadium they had arranged to build in New Jersey (to be named Giants Stadium) would not open until 1976,the team secured temporary home fields for the remainder of 1973 and all of 1974 and 1975.
The Stadium was also home to several football teams known as the "New York Yankees," but none of these lasted for more than a few seasons.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 8:00 PM
Yankee Stadium: World Series History
Perhaps the best description of Yankee Stadium is as follows: "It's called the World Series, but it's usually played here." Since its opening in 1923, the World Series have been played at Yankee Stadium an astounding 37 times out of 82 World Series through 2005, with the Yankees winning 26 out of 37.
These are the World Series that were clinched at Yankee Stadium:
New York Yankees, in 1927, 1938, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1977, 1996 and 1999.
St. Louis Cardinals, in 1926 and 1942.
Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955, their only World Championship before moving to Los Angeles.
Milwaukee Braves, in 1957, through 2005 the only World Series won by a Milwaukee team.
Cincinnati Reds, in 1976.
Los Angeles Dodgers, in 1981.
Florida Marlins, in 2003.
The Yankees clinched World Series wins on the road at: The Polo Grounds in 1923, 1936 and 1937; Sportsman's Park in St. Louis in 1928 and 1943; Wrigley Field in Chicago in 1932; Crosley Field in Cincinnati in 1939 and 1961; Ebbets Field in Brooklyn in 1941, 1949, 1952 and 1956; Milwaukee County Stadium in 1958; Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1962; Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 1978; Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego in 1998; and Shea Stadium in New York in 2000.
The Yankees lost the World Series on the road in 1960, 1963, 1964 and 2001.
The Yankees also lost the 1921 and 1922 World Series to the N.Y. Giants, but at the time the Yankees played their homes games at the Polo Grounds -- the Giants' park.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 7:31 PM
Yankee Stadium History Part 1
Yankee Stadium is often referred to as "The House that Ruth Built", but it is usually referred to as "The Stadium". It was the first baseball park to be labeled a "Stadium" rather than a "Field," a "Park," or a "Grounds," and it conformed to the usage of the term in ancient Greece, where a stadium was a foot-race arena. Yankee Stadium's field was initially surrounded by a (misshapen) quarter-mile running track, which effectively also served as an early "warning track" for fielders, a feature now standard in all major league ballparks.
Yankee Stadium favors left-handed batters because of a shorter right-field fence, which was once called "Ruthville" and is now known as "the short porch", although the field has become much more symmetric over the years. In contrast, the park has been less favorable for right-handed batters. Under the original configuration, the outfield distances were 295 feet from home plate to left field, 460 ft to left center, and 490 ft to straightaway center. 
Left-center soon came to be called "Death Valley," in reference to the high number of balls hit to that area that would have cleared the wall easily in other parks but resulted in simple fly ball outs in Yankee Stadium. Although the fence has been moved in several times over the years to make it more hitter friendly, the park remains one of the most difficult for right-handed hitters, as evidenced by the fact that in 2005, Alex Rodriguez became the first right-handed Yankee hitter to hit 40 home runs in a season since 1937, when Joe DiMaggio belted 46. Rodriguez set a new team record for right-handed batters with 48. According to baseball historian Bill James, Joe DiMaggio lost more home runs due to his home park disadvantage than any player in history. Two lefthanders have done better: Roger Maris with 61 in 1961, and Babe Ruth on four occasions with a peak of 60 in 1927. Switch-hitting Mickey Mantle hit 54 in 1961.
A story that has become somewhat of an urban legend purports that the stadium's design was tailored to fit the left-handed power exhibited by Babe Ruth. However, a look at aerial photographs of the area shows that the stadium is built on a triangular plot of land originally owned by one of the Yankee owners, and that the stadium, like many other parks of that era and many newer "retro" parks, was fit into that plot. Additionally, an elevated train line still runs beyond the right field bleachers, and was present when the stadium was first built. Making the right field area larger would have necessitated eliminating seating and possibly building a high "Green Monster"-like wall.
A good depiction of the atmosphere of the pre-renovation stadium can be seen in the latter scenes of the 1959 Mervyn LeRoy film The FBI Story, which starred James Stewart. In these scenes, FBI agents tracked a suspected Soviet espionage courier. These scenes show the arrival of an elevated train at the station near the right field bleachers, football action and crowd scenes and reaction during a New York Giants game, groups of people waiting at a concession stand, and scenes outside the main stadium concourse.
The seats behind center field are painted black and not occupied during baseball games; known as a "batter's eye," this allows batters to track the ball as it is pitched, as the "black bleachers" section is directly in front of them. If fans were allowed to sit in this section, it would create an unfair pitcher's advantage, as it would make it virtually impossible for batters to track the ball if a substantial number of fans were wearing white shirts.
Perhaps the best known of all baseball stadiums, Yankee Stadium is the scene of such memorable events as Babe Ruth's then-record 60th home run in 1927; tearful farewell addresses by Lou Gehrig in 1939 and Babe Ruth in 1948; Don Larsen's perfect World Series game in 1956; Roger Maris's then-record 61st home run in 1961; Reggie Jackson's three home runs in a World Series game in 1977; and on-field celebrations of World Series championships. In addition, the 1939 and 1977 Major League Baseball All-Star Games were held there, as well as the second 1960 All-Star Game.
One hypothesis is that the "Bronx cheer" was so named because of its popularity among Yankees fans.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 7:03 PM
Our Pitching Sucks
The Yankees have been very happy with the consistency of their top three starting pitchers in recent weeks, but Saturday was not a day to celebrate that point as New York was soundly beaten, 19-6, by the Devil Rays.
Randy Johnson equaled his shortest start of the season, allowing nine runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings. The Big Unit, who averaged 115 pitches in his past two starts, allowed six hits and three walks without striking out a single batter.
New York dropped a game in the AL East standings, as Boston came back to defeat Los Angeles at Fenway Park. The Yankees now trail the first-place Red Sox by 1 1/2 games.
The 13-run loss is not the worst suffered by the Yankees this season, as New York dropped a 19-1 decision at Cleveland on July 4. The Yankees followed that game with a four-game winning streak.
Things actually started out well for the Yankees, as Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi ripped back-to-back homers against Jae Seo in the first inning, getting New York out to a quick 2-0 lead.
Johnson, who sat down the first five batters in the game, walked Jonny Gomes with two outs in the second. Damon Hollins followed with a fly ball to left-center, which Johnny Damon appeared to have tracked down. But the ball popped out of Damon's glove, putting runners at second and third. Dioner Navarro singled in a run and Tomas Perez doubled in two, giving Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead on three unearned runs.
Hollins did more damage in the third, crushing a three-run homer off Johnson to make it a 6-2 game. New York answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a Jorge Posada double, but that was as close as the game would get.
That's because the Rays drove Johnson from the game in the fourth, scoring three more runs against the Big Unit.
Shawn Chacon, who worked a magic act while getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam on Wednesday in Texas, couldn't repeat the task, hitting a batter, walking another and allowing a two-run single, as Tampa Bay took a commanding six-run lead.
The Devil Rays continued to pour it on, scoring a run in both the fifth and sixth before tagging Chacon, Mike Myers and T.J. Beam for six more runs to take a 18-5 lead.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 6:33 PM
Status Check, Hi
I cheated, okay, I admit it. I took a small 15 minute nap. Sue me.
Anyway, I found out that I jjust passed my 200th post with the last one, but I am not going to celebrate, no need.
My Sunday afternoon shows are about to start and I have grilled cheese on the stove.
Wait, today is Saturday. That's what happens when you take a week of from work, the days just blend together.
Yankees are getting their asses destroyed and I will have a recap once the game is over.
Wife and kid went out to the park and should be here in a few minutes.
Other than that, I am still alive, no hallucinations yet.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 6:29 PM
Cashman Not Done
With less than 48 hours until the trade deadline, Joe Torre knows that the team with which he is currently going to battle could very well be the one that he takes into the final two months of the season.
General manager Brian Cashman continues to work the phones, but the market remains a tough one. There are some big-name sluggers out there (with hefty price tags to match their salaries), but the pitching market is slim, making it difficult for the Yankees to find many sensible matches.
Milwaukee's trade of Carlos Lee to Texas may have set the stage for players such as Alfonso Soriano and Bobby Abreu to move over the weekend, but it appears doubtful that New York would be in the mix for either of them, as Washington and Philadelphia are asking for blue chip prospects such as Philip Hughes.
Torre and Cashman speak "a minimum of six or eight times" each day, as the GM has kept his manager in the loop with all trade discussions. Even as his team tries to fill holes left by injuries in the outfield and searches for a consistent fifth starter, Torre feels comfortable with the team he has right now.
With Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson and Chien-Ming Wang giving the Yankees consistency in the first three spots in the rotation, Torre believes that his team has the necessary pieces to get the job done as it is currently constructed.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:57 PM
Featured Player: Jim Leyritz
James Joseph Leyritz (born December 27, 1963 in Lakewood, Ohio) is a former catcher and infielder in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Yankees (1990-1996, 1999-2000), with whom he debuted on June 8, 1990. He also played for the Anaheim Angels (1997), Texas Rangers (1997), San Diego Padres (1998), Boston Red Sox (1999) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2000), pinch-hitting more extensively toward the end of his career. He batted and threw right-handed exclusively in the majors, but was known to switch-hit in the minor leagues. He was best known for his 3-run home run off Atlanta Braves closer Mark Wohlers in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series. That homer was significant, as the momentum shifted towards the Yankees from then on. "The King" is also known for hitting the last home run of the 20th Century in Game 4 of the 1999 World Series. He attended Turpin High School in Cincinnati, Ohio.Idiosyncrasies at the plate
Leyritz was known for using an awkward, unusual batting stance which involved keeping his front leg (left leg) straight and stiff while his back leg (right leg) behind him considerably bent at the knee. He did this while circling his bat around behind his head while waiting for the pitch. After each pitch that Jim did not put into play or strike out on, Leyritz would grab the bat by its center and twirl it at his hip almost like a baton. This style did not lead to a great deal of overall success.Playoff Reputation and Exploits
Despite being a mediocre hitter throughout his career, Leyritz was known for hitting numerous significant postseason home runs that either won, tied, or changed the momentum of any given series.
In Game 2 of the 1995 American League Division Series against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium, Leyritz hit an opposide field 2-run home run to right-center into the rain in the 15th inning to win that game 7-5 for the Yankees and provide them with an ample 2-0 series lead in the best-of-five series. The home run came off of Mariners pitcher Tim Belcher, who was famously involved in a profanity-laced and threatening incident with a cameraman covering him walking through the Yankee Stadium tunnel after giving up the home run. However this was a lead the Yankees would eventually squander by losing the following three games in Seattle's Kingdome, the final two of which were decided in highly dramatic fashion. (The Mariners won Game 5 6-5 with 2 runs in the bottom of the 11th inning.) As a result, this Leyritz home run is not as well known because it ultimately did not change the series outcome.
In Game 4 of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Leyritz hit a 3 run home run to left center in the 8th inning to tie the game at 6 and cap an improbable 6-0 Yankee comeback which did not begin until the 6th inning. This homerun came off Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers and led to the Yankees eventually winning the game 8-6 in 10 innings with future Hall of Famer Wade Boggs 2-out bases loaded RBI walk off pitcher Steve Avery providing the winning margin in the top of the 10th. After the Yankees lost the first two games of the series at home, and narrowly winning Game 3 in Atlanta, this game appeared to be going to the Braves, which would have given them a significant 3-1 series advantage. Instead, Leyritz homerun shifted the game's momentum and the Yankees won to tie the series 2-2. New York would win two more hotly-contested 1 run games to clinch the series over the heavily-favored Braves in six games. Leyritz's Game 4 home run remains the trademark of that series and of his career. It should also be noted in this series that Leyritz was the starting catcher in Game 5 of this series, a 1-0 pitcher's duel between Andy Pettitte and John Smoltz. While Leyritz did not contribute offensively or defensively in this game, he was calling the pitches for Pettitte's remarkable 8 1/3 innings shutout performance and guided Andy (as well as closer John Wetteland) through perilous 6th and 9th inning jams.
In 1998, Leyritz had since left the Yankees and caught on with the San Diego Padres, who made the playoffs that year as winners of the National League West. Leyritz hit a number of unlikely playoff home runs and clutch hits, the most dramatic of which was an opposite field home run to right off the foul pole in the top of the 9th inning in the Astrodome that tied Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Houston Astros. However, the Astros would later win the game in extra innings. Ironically, Leyritz's Padres would go up against his former team, the Yankees in the World Series. The Padres were swept in four games by a 114-win Yankee team widely considered to be one of the greatest teams of all-time, and Leyritz did not record a home run or RBI in any game.
In 1999, Leyritz had rejoined the Yankees and hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th inning of Game 4 of the World Series, another Yankees sweep, this time in a rematch with Atlanta. The homer made the score 4-1 to give the Yankees some extra breathing room going into the 9th inning. NBC commentator Bob Costas remarked incredulously about Leyritz after the home run "You could send this guy to a resort in the spring and summer, as long as he comes back for October." This was the home run known as the last of the 20th Century since it was the final Major League Baseball game of the 1999 postseason.Amphetamine use
On June 9, 2006, while doing an interview on the Opie and Anthony show on XM Satellite Radio, Leyritz admitted to using amphetamines during his rookie season in 1990. The statement came in the wake of an admission by pitcher Jason Grimsley that he used performance enhancing drugs throughout his career
Posted by Steve Kenul at 5:26 PM
Featured Player: Tommy John
Thomas Edward John Jr. (born May 22, 1943 in Terre Haute, Indiana) is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball whose 288 career victories rank as the 5th highest total among lefthanders in major league history. He is also notable for the revolutionary surgery, now named for him, which was performed on a damaged ligament in his pitching arm.Playing career
An outstanding basketball player at Gerstmeyer High School in Terre Haute, where he held the city single game scoring record, Tommy John was originally signed by the Cleveland Indians, getting his major league start in 1963. Of his 26-year major league career, he is best remembered for his seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1970s. He made appearances in the All-Star Game in 1968, 1978, 1979, and 1980. He played in all three Yankees vs. Dodgers World Series of his era (1977, 1978 and 1981), but was on the losing end of all three and never did win a championship.
In the middle of the 1974 season, John was cruising along with a 13-3 record as the Dodgers were en route to their first National League pennant in eight years, before he permanently damaged the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm, leading to a revolutionary surgical operation. This operation, now known as Tommy John surgery, replaced the ligament in the elbow of his pitching arm with a tendon from his right forearm. The surgery was performed by Dr. Frank Jobe on September 25, 1974, and although it seemed unlikely he would ever be able to pitch again, he spent the entire 1975 season in recovery and returned to the Dodgers in 1976. His 10-10 record that year was considered "miraculous" but John went on to pitch until 1989, winning 164 games after his surgery—one fewer game than all-time great Sandy Koufax won in his entire career. How many games John would have won had he been healthy in 1974 and 1975 is speculative but it is likely he easily would have surpassed 300. After Phil Niekro's retirement, John spent 1988 and 1989 as the oldest player in the major leagues. Today, many pitchers have Tommy John surgery during their careers.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 4:40 PM
Matsui, Sheffield Update
New York Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui is scheduled to have his injured left wrist re-examined Thursday in New York.
If the wrist shows enough progress, Matsui might be given a timetable for taking batting practice.
Matsui has been working out for the past week at the Yankees' Minor League complex in Florida.
After a scheduled off-day Friday, Matsui continued hitting off a tee and making soft throws Saturday. He also worked out in the outfield.
Matsui has experienced some soreness in his shoulders, but he said it's not a concern.
Matsui has been out since his breaking his left wrist while diving for a fly ball hit by Boston's Mark Loretta on May 11.
While the Yankees are reportedly still scouring the trade market for a big outfield bat, the man they're looking to replace has his sights set on reclaiming his spot.
Gary Sheffield was back in the Yankees clubhouse Friday after getting the cast on his left wrist removed Monday. While general manager Brian Cashman has said he has to operate as if the Yankees might not get his usual right fielder back this season, Sheffield is still aiming for a return on Sept. 1.
heffield has been running and lifting weights for the past few weeks and he will see Dr. Charles Malone on Monday to see if he can start swinging a bat. The original prognosis was that Sheffield would be out four to six weeks after getting the cast removed, making Sept. 1 likely the earliest possible time.
One concern is that the Minor League schedule ends in early September, meaning that rehab starts could be out of the question. Also, manager Joe Torre said Sheffield's violent swinging motion will require gaining more strength in the wrist than somebody else in the same position.
Sheffield, however, said the strength in his forearms and wrists have never been a problem and that he won't need rehab starts.
The Yankees have used a plethora of "role players," such as Aaron Guiel, Kevin Thompson and Bubba Crosby, since Sheffield went back on the designated list June 1. Sheffield said it was difficult for him to watch the team because the competitor inside made felt like he was letting the team down.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 4:09 PM
Featured Player: Oscar Gamble
Oscar Charles Gamble (born December 20, 1949 in Ramer, Alabama) is a former outfielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball. He played for 17 seasons, from 1969 to 1985, on 7 different teams: the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees on two separate occasions, as well as the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, and Texas Rangers.
A relatively small man, listed at 5 feet 11 inches tall and 165 pounds, Oscar hit 200 career home runs in just over 4,500 major league at bats, an impressive ratio for the era he played in. A deadly left-handed pull-hitter against right-handed pitching, Oscar's career peaked in 1977 with the White Sox, when he hit 31 Home runs and tallied 83 RBI. After an ill-fated, injury-plagued year in San Diego, he returned to the American League in 1979 to hit a career-best .358 batting average, slamming 19 home runs with the Yankees and Rangers. (His 274 at bats were not enough to qualify him for the American League batting title.)
Unlike some players who failed to cope with the New York media, Oscar thrived on it, and was always a favorite with sportswriters.
Gamble, whose hitting prowess was overshadowed by his famously-large afro hair, has the distinction of logging the last hit and RBI at Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium on October 1, 1970. His 10th inning single gave his Phillies the 2-1 win in the stadium's final game. Coincidentally, that feat was also overshadowed as unruly fans stormed the field during and after the game to claim bases, infield dirt, seats, and other various stadium items.
In 1976, Gamble helped the Yankees return to prominence as the "Bronx Bombers" won their first American League pennant in 12 seasons, hitting 17 Home runs and 57 RBI. Arguably, his left-handed power stroke was ideal for the renowned short right field fence at Yankee Stadium. He would later settle into a limited role with the team, as he once again aided the Yankees to an AL East division title in 1980 and a World Series appearance in 1981.
Notably, Gamble also finished with more career walks (610) than strikeouts (546).
Posted by Steve Kenul at 3:33 PM
Featured Player: Chili Davis
Charles Theodore "Chili" Davis (born January 17, 1960 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a former center fielder/designated hitter who played in Major League Baseball with the San Francisco Giants (1981-87), California Angels (1988-90, 1993-96), Minnesota Twins (1991-92), Kansas City Royals (1997) and New York Yankees (1998-99). He was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed.
In a 19-year career, Davis was a .274 hitter with 350 home runs and 1372 RBI in 2436 games.
Davis was an outfielder developed in the Giants minors system. In his first regular season in 1982, he hit .261 with 19 HR, 76 RBI and 24 stolen bases, and also led all National League outfielders in assists. In 1984 Davis finished third in NL batting average (.315), behind Tony Gwynn (.351) and Lee Lacy (.321). When he led the league in fielding errors in 1986, his nine errors tied the major league record for fewest errors by a category leader. After five seasons in San Francisco, including two All-Star appearances in 1984 and 1986, Davis signed with the Angels as a free agent before the 1988 season.
In his first two years with California, Davis hit 21 HR and 93 RBI (in 1988), and then 22 HR and 90 RBI (in 1989). In 1990, hampered by chronic back problems and defensive shortcomings, Davis moved from full-time outfield duty to a DH role. After signing with Minnesota the following year, Davis remained a DH and would do so for the rest of his career.
Davis contributed to the Twins with his switch-hitting ability, as the Twins' lineup already possessed right-handed batting Kirby Puckett and left-handed batting Kent Hrbek. Though he hit well from both sides of the plate, Davis performed better from the left side. In 1991 he led the Twins in home runs (29), RBI (93), doubles (34), walks (95), intentional walks (13), times on base (244), pitches seen (2,469), games played (153), slugging average (.507), on base percentage (.385), OPS (.892), home run frequency (18.4 at bat per HR), and most pitches seen per plate appearance (3.89). With these numbers, Davis helped Minnesota rise from a last-place finish the previous year to the AL West title. In the 1991 World Series, in which he hit two home runs, Davis and the Twins defeated the Atlanta Braves in seven games. Davis declined in production in 1992 (12 HR and 66 RBI), and as a free agent the following year returned to the Angels.
Davis provided four years of solid production for California, including 27 HR and a career-high 112 RBI in 1993. In 1994, he hit .311, with 26 HR and 84 RBI, and appeared in the All-Star game in the strike-shortened 1994 season. In 1995, he hit .318 with 20 HR and 86 RBI, and in 1996 hit .292, 28 HR and 96 RBI. In 1997 he was traded to Kansas City for starter Mark Gubicza. In his one year with the Royals, Davis hit .269 with 90 RBI and a career-high 30 HR.
Davis spent his final two seasons with the Yankees, winning his second and third World Series rings. He finished his career in 1999 hitting .269 with 19 HR and 78 RBI. In 2000, the Yankees used many different players to fill the DH role formerly occupied by Davis, including Shane Spencer, José Canseco, Glenallen Hill, Chuck Knoblauch, David Justice and Jim Leyritz.
At the time of his retirement at age 38, among switch-hitters, only Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray had more career home runs than Davis' 350.
He plays cricket for the Cayman Islands.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 3:01 PM
Featured Player: Jerry Coleman
Gerald Francis "Jerry" Coleman (born September 14, 1924) is a former Major League Baseball second baseman and, currently, a play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres.Playing career
Born in San Jose, California, Coleman spent his entire playing career with the New York Yankees. He played 6 years in their minor league system before reaching the big club in 1949. Coleman hit .275 in his first year and led all second basemen in fielding percentage en route to finishing 3rd in rookie of the year balloting.
Coleman avoided a sophomore jinx by earning a selection to the All-Star team in 1950. He then shined in the World Series with brilliant defense, earning him the BBWAA's Babe Ruth Award as the series' most valuable player.
"The Colonel", as he was nicknamed, was also a Marine aviator and left baseball briefly to serve in the Korean War, and before getting into the sport, served during World War II. He was involved in many flying missions, and received numerous honors and medals during his time in the military, and has been honored in recent years for his call to duty -- even more so following the events of September 11, 2001.
Coleman's career declined after injuring himself the following season, relegating him to a bench role. He was forced to retire after the 1957 season, but he left on a good note; hitting .364 in a World Series loss against the Milwaukee Braves.Broadcasting career
In 1960, Coleman became a broadcaster for the CBS Radio Network and in 1963 began a seven-year run calling New York Yankees' games on WCBS Radio and WPIX-TV. Coleman's WPIX call of ex-teammate Mickey Mantle's 500th career home run in 1967 was brief and from the heart:
Here's the payoff pitch... This is IT! There it goes! It's out of here!
In 1972 Coleman became lead radio announcer for the San Diego Padres, a position he has held every year since but 1980, when the Padres hired him to manage (predating a trend of broadcasters-turned-managers that started in the late 1990s). He also called national regular-season and postseason broadcasts for the CBS Radio Network from the mid-1970s to the 1990s.
Coleman is also famous for his pet phrases "Oh Doctor!", "You can hang a star on that baby!", "And the beat goes on", and "The natives are getting restless".
During an interview in the height of the steroids scandal in 2005, Coleman stated "if I'm emperor, the first time 50 games, the second time 100 games and the third strike you're out", referring to how baseball should suspend players for being caught taking steroids. After the 2005 World Series, Major League Baseball put a similar policy in effect.
He is known as the "Master of the Malaprop" for making sometimes embarrassing mistakes on the microphone , but he is nonetheless popular. In 2005, he was given the Ford C. Frick Award of the National Baseball Hall of Fame for broadcasting excellence."Colemanisms"
Among his malaprops:
"On the mound for the Padres is Randy Jones, the lefthander with the Karl Marx hairdo." (With his curly blond hair, Jones resembled the comedian Harpo Marx).
"There's a fly ball, deep to right field! Winfield is going back, back, back, he hits his head against the wall! It's rolling away!" (The ball rolled away, but Coleman made it sound like what was rolling away was Dave Winfield's head.)
"Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen."
"I've made a couple of mistakes I'd like to do over."
"Gaylord Perry and Willie McCovey should know each other like a book. They've been ex-teammates for years now."
"McCovey swings and misses, and it's fouled back."
"Hi folks, I'm Gerry Gross!" (Coleman is not the only broadcaster to mistakenly introduce himself with his partner's name.)
"If Pete Rose brings the Reds in first, they ought to bronze him and put him in cement."
"It's off the leg and into the left field of Doug Rader."
"It's a base hit on the error by Roberts."
"Right now Andy Larkin is pitching just like young Andy Larkin."
"Bob Davis has his hair differently this year, short with curls like Randy Jones wears. I think you call it a Frisbee."
At Royals Stadium, later renamed Kauffman Stadium, in Kansas City, Missouri: "The sky is so clear today you can see all the way to Missouri." (Broadcast partner John Rooney later told Coleman that he was in Missouri.)
"They throw Winfield out at second, but he's safe."
"They've taken the foot off Johnny Grubb. Uh, they've taken the shoe off Johnny Grubb."
"Grubb goes back, back... He's under the warning track and makes the play."
"Johnny Grubb slides into second with a standup double." (Several broadcasters have done this one.)
"Jesus Alou is in the on-deck circus." (He meant "on-deck circle.")
"Kent Abbott is in the on-deck circuit."
"There is someone warming up in the Giants' bullpen, but he's obscured by his number."
"All the Padres need is a fly ball in the air."
"Davis fouls out to third in fair territory."
"There's a shot up the alley. Oh, it's just foul." (He meant "a shot down the line.")
Upon hearing of Glenn Beckert's planned retirement: "Well, I hope before Glenn goes, he'll come up here so we can give him a big hug and a kiss, because that's the kind of guy he is."
"And it's a long drive down the line to center field."
"That's the fourth extra base hit for the Padres -- two doubles and a triple."
"Houston has its largest crowd of the night here this evening."
"Montreal leads Atlanta by three, 5-1."
"The first pitch to Tucker Ashford is grounded into left field. No, wait a minute. It's ball one. Low and outside."
On George Hendrick: "That's Hendrick's 19th home run. One more and he reaches double figures."
"Well, it looks like the All-Star balloting is about over, especially in the National and American Leagues."
"The Padres, after winning the first game of the doubleheader, are ahead here in the top of the fifth and hoping for a split."
"Eric Show will be 0 for 10 if that pop fly ever comes down."
"At the end of six innings of play, it's Montreal 5, Expos 3."
"Tony Taylor was one of the first acquisitions that the Phillies made when they reconstructed their team. They got him from Philadelphia." (Well, Taylor did return to the Phillies a few years after being traded away.)
"Mike Caldwell, the Padres' right-handed southpaw, will pitch tonight." ("Southpaw" is a term for lefthanders.)
"Those amateur umpires are certainly flexing their fangs tonight."
"The ex-left-hander Dave Roberts will be going for Houston."
"Hector Torrez, how can you communicate with Enzo Hernandez when he speaks Spanish and you speak Mexican?"
"I sure hope you're staying alive for the upcoming Dodgers series."
"National League umpires wear inside chest protesters." (He meant they wear their chest protectors inside their uniforms, as opposed to outside them like American League umpires did at the time."
"The Phillies beat the Cubs today in a doubleheader. That puts another keg in the Cubs' coffin." (He meant "another nail.")
"Reggie Smith of the Dodgers and Gary Matthews of the homers hit Braves in that game."
"And Kansas City is at Chicago tonight, or is it Chicago at Kansas City? Well, no matter as Kansas City leads in the eighth 4 to 4."
"Ron Guidry is not very big, maybe 140 pounds, but he has an arm like a lion." (He meant "a heart like a lion," though Guidry was an excellent pitcher.)
"The way he's swinging the bat, he won't get a hit until the 20th century." (He meant the 21st.)
"Pete Rose has three-thousand hits and 3,014 overall."
"If Rose's streak was still intact, with that single to left, the fans would be throwing babies out of the upper deck." (He meant "throwing stars.")
"There's two heads to every coin." (He meant "two sides.")
"Billy Almon has all of his in-laws and outlaws here this afternoon."
"Over the course of a season, a miscue will cost you more than a good play."
"He can be lethal death."
"Sometimes, big trees grow out of acorns. I think I heard that from a squirrel."
"Whenever you get an inflamed tendon, you've got a problem. OK, here's the next pitch to Gene Tendon." (He meant Gene Tenace.)
On a home run by Willie Stargell: "Last night's homer was Stargell's 399th career home run, leaving him one shy of 500."
"You didn't have to say it was gone. It was gone before it got outta here. It was going that fast."
"He may not be hurt as much as he really is."
"At the end, excitement maintained its hysteria."
"Tony Gwynn, the fat batter behind Finley, is waiting." (He meant "the next batter behind Steve Finley. Then again, Gwynn did put on a lot of weight during his playing career.)
"Larry Lintz steals second standing up. He slid, but he didn't have to."
"The Cards lead the Dodgers 4-2 after one inning and that one hasn't even started."
"The last time Pena faced the Padres, the Dodgers scratched for a run to tie the game and then went on to win 4-0."
"That home run ties it up, 1-0."
"Randy Moffitt is 6' 3". Last year he was 6' 6"." (Coleman probably meant to refer to his record, six wins and three losses, rather than to his height.)
"I challenge anyone, even with a radar machine, to hit that slider."
"What a great hitch to pit!"
"Trailing 5-1, the Padres added an insurance run in the eighth inning."
"The Padres are really swinging some hot hats tonight!"
"Gene Richards swings, the ball bounces foul and hits him in the head. No harm done."
"When you lose your hands, you can't play baseball."
"Ozzie Smith just made another play that I've never seen anyone else make before, and I've seen him make it more often than anyone else ever has."
"Sunday is Senior Citizens' Day. And if you want to become a senior citizen, just call the Padre ticket office."
"Rick Miller hit only one home run last year, and that's like hitting none."
"I've never seen a game like this. Every game this year has been like this."
On a home run by Dave Parker: "Parker's grand slam is the same as going 4 for 4, even though he went 1 for 4."
On coach Steve Boros: "Boros is not with the team today because he's attending his daughter's funeral. Oh, wait, it's her wedding."
"I like to use big words so people will think I know what I'm talking about."
"They should line 'em up and shoot 'em" - referring to the suspects of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 during a pre-season game.
Referring to a Cleveland Indians fan banging a loud drum during the game: "Well, he ought to go home and find somebody else to bang."
Posted by Steve Kenul at 2:44 PM
Featured Player: Jesse Barfield
Jesse Lee Barfield (born October 29, 1959 in Joliet, Illinois) is a former Major League Baseball right fielder who played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1981-89) and New York Yankees (1989-92). He batted and threw right-handed.
Barfield was better known for his powerful throwing arm, universally hailed as the strongest outfield arm of his time, and as one of the best in major league history. It was not only strong, but accurate as well. He led American League outfielders in assists three times (1985-87), a remarkable total, since few opposing runners dared to even challenge his skilled throws. Along with George Bell (LF) and Lloyd Moseby (CF), Barfield starred in what many analysts considered the best all-around outfield of the 1980s.
Selected by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 1977 amateur draft, Barfield debuted in the majors in 1981 and was a regular the following season. In 1985, he helped Toronto to reach the playoffs for first time. He also topped the 20 home runs six times, became the first Blue Jay to hit a pinch grand slam (1982), and the first to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in the same season (1985).
Despite the Blue Jays' failure to defend their division title from the previous year, Barfield enjoyed his best personal season in 1986. He collected career-highs in batting average (.289), RBI (108), runs (107), hits (170) and doubles (35). Beside this, he hit a career best 40 home runs, leading the major leagues and setting a team record. In addition, Barfield was awarded the Gold Glove Award and selected to the American League All-Star team.
Barfield was traded to the Yankees for pitcher Al Leiter on April 30 1989. He won his second Gold Glove in 1987, but his offensive numbers declined noticeably. He hit 25 home runs for New York in 1990, but never produced like the club had hoped. Injuries and general ineffectiveness forced his retirement in 1992, at age 32, after hitting just .137 in 30 games.
He joined the Houston Astros for spring training in 1996, but did not make the ballclub.
Barfield was a career .256 hitter with 241 home runs and 716 RBI in 1428 games.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 2:08 PM
Featured Player: Paul O'Neill
Paul Andrew O'Neill (born February 25, 1963 in Columbus, Ohio) is a former Major League Baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds (1985-1992) and New York Yankees (1993-2001).Youth and Cincinnati career
An Ohio native, O'Neill and his family were fans of the Reds. On a visit to the Reds' Crosley Field shortly before it closed, six-year-old Paul had his picture taken wearing a Reds batting helmet and holding a toy bat. Over his shoulder could be seen Roberto Clemente of the opposing Pittsburgh Pirates. Like Clemente, O'Neill would become a right fielder and wear uniform number 21.
O'Neill made his major-league debut on September 3, 1985, and singled in his first at-bat. In a 1989 game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium, O'Neill fielded a base hit, couldn't hold onto it, and kicked it, left-footed, back to the infield, to prevent baserunner Steve Jeltz from scoring. Jeltz scored on a wild pitch anyway, but the incident is remembered as one of the all-time baseball "bloopers," even though it turned out to be a good play.Career with New York Yankees
On November 3, 1992, the Reds traded O'Neill to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly. In 1994, with O'Neill winning the batting title, the Yankees led the East division by six and a half games when a strike ended the season. The next season, the Yankees made the playoffs, and did so in every season remaining in O'Neill's career.
O'Neill famously was his own worst critic, seemingly never satisfied with his own performance and known for his emotion on the field; when disappointed with his performance or angry with an umpire's decision he would attack water coolers or toss bats on the field. His tirades were both praised and criticized by the media and fans.
O'Neill is fondly remembered by Yankee fans as the "heart and soul" of the team's dynasty in the 1990s. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner also gave him the nickname "The Ultimate Warrior."
O'Neill was a member of five world championship teams: Cincinnati Reds in 1990 and the New York Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
In Game 5 of the 2001 World Series, O'Neill got possibly one of the most emotional sendoffs in baseball history. While standing in Right Field in the 9th inning with the Yankees down 2-0 Yankees fans chanted his name in rhythmically and in unison. When the inning ended, O'Neill was still being cheered and he tipped his cap. The Yankees won the game 3-2, but lost the series 4 games to 3. Since his retirement after the 2001 World Series, his number 21 has not been worn by any Yankee player.
Starting after his retired from baseball in 2001, O'Neill now serves as a Pre and Post Game Studio Analyst for the YES Network.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 1:38 PM
Status Check, Am I Here?
Its been five and a half hours since I started blogging and the three hours of sleep I had is starting to take a toll. I went through my pepsi and am currently on my seventh cigarette.
My son woke up and started playing with his toys and messing with the gerbils. STOP!!
The women's softball game that I was watching is over as the Philadelphia Crush defeated Akron 6-0, like I cared. It's boring and the announcers try to make it the most exciting sport there is. Blah!
The Contender is on ESPN on right now and I am not a boxing fan, so I switched over to Comedy Central to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It's an ok movie.
I finally found my zyrtec so now I can stop coughing my lungs out!
That's it for now, see you soon!
Posted by Steve Kenul at 1:03 PM
Featured Player: Jack Chesbro
John Dwight Chesbro (June 5, 1874 - November 6, 1931) was a Major League Baseball pitcher at the turn of the 20th century. He was nicknamed "Happy Jack".
Chesbro, a spitballer (spitballs were legal until 1920), broke into the majors in 1899 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched for the Pirates until 1902 and in his final year went an astonishing 28-6 with a 2.17 ERA.
In 1903 Chesbro moved to the newly formed New York Highlanders (soon to be New York Yankees) and pitched the franchise's first game. In 1904 he had one of the finest years in the history of pitching, starting 51 games and finishing 48 while posting a 1.82 ERA, struck out 239 batters, and 41 wins over 454.7 innings pitched. On the last day of the season, though, in a game against Boston, Chesbro threw a wild pitch in the top of the 9th inning, allowing the winning run to score from third base and causing the Highlanders to lose the pennant to Boston.
Chesbro retired in 1909, having accumulated a 198-132 career record and been part of two pennant-winning teams (in 1901 and 1902).
Chesbro was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
His 1904 record for games won in a modern-era season (41 wins) has stood for over a century. It is one of the oldest major records in baseball, or in any other sport. Like many of the pitching records set in baseball's first half century, his record is essentially unbreakable under current playing practices. Chesbro started 51 games in 1904 (plus 4 relief appearances) and pitched 48 complete games, getting a decision in 96% of them for a record of 41-12. Today, complete games are a rarity. The most recent pitcher to have as many as 40 starts in a season was Charlie Hough, in 1987.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 12:35 PM
Featured Player: Joe Girardi
Joseph Elliot Girardi (born October 14, 1964 in Peoria, Illinois) is a former catcher in Major League Baseball and the current manager of the Florida Marlins.
He played baseball at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering.
He began his playing career in 1989 with the Chicago Cubs, staying with them through 1992. He played with the Colorado Rockies next, serving them through 1995. He was traded in 1995 to the New York Yankees for pitcher Mike DeJean. Girardi is best known as the Yankees' regular catcher during that period, earning three World Series rings in 1996, 1998, and 1999. In 1999, Girardi also caught David Cone's perfect game.
In 2000, Girardi left the Yankees and returned to Chicago, where he was named to that year's All-Star team, his only All-Star appearance. He played with the Cubs again in 2001. In 2003, Girardi played for the St. Louis Cardinals. After a spring training stint with the Yankees in 2004, he retired and became a commentator for the YES Network, and hosted the kids-oriented Kids on Deck. In 2005, he became the Yankees' bench coach. He even managed a game during a Joe Torre suspension, which the Yankees lost against the last place Kansas City Royals. Girardi remained the host of Kids on Deck in 2005, having shot his shows before Spring Training.
After the 2005 regular season, Girardi was named the manager of the Florida Marlins, replacing departed manager Jack McKeon. His first notable action as manager was to prohibit facial hair, which is a policy similar to that instituted by George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 12:18 PM
Featured Player: Joe Pepitone
Joe Pepitone (born October 9, 1940 in Brooklyn, NY) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder for the New York Yankees (1962-1969), Houston Astros (1970), Chicago Cubs (1970 - 1973) and the Atlanta Braves (1973).
Pepitone was a member of the 1963, 1964 and 1965 American League All Star Team. He won the Gold Glove award for first basemen in 1965, 1966 and 1969.
A much-discussed legend was that while on his way to 1962 spring training in Florida, Pepitone spent his entire $25,000 signing bonus. He bought a Ford Thunderbird, a boat which he towed with the Thunderbird and a dog. He arrived at Yankees Spring Training with a new car, a new boat, a new dog and was wearing a new shark-skin suit.
In June of 1973, Pepitone went to the Yakult Atoms. While in Japan, he hit .163 with one home run and two RBIs in 14 games played.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:34 AM
Features Player: Robin Venture
Robin Mark Ventura (born July 14, 1967 in Santa Maria, California) is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Chicago White Sox. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. An outstanding performer on both offense and defense, he became only the fifth third baseman – joining Ken Boyer, Ron Santo, Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt – to hit at least 250 home runs and win at least five Gold Glove Awards. He ranks 14th in major league history with 1887 games at third base, and his six career Gold Gloves place him behind only Robinson (16) and Schmidt (10) at his position. Baseball statistician and historian Bill James, in the 2001 revision of his Historical Baseball Abstract, chose Ventura as the greatest third baseman of the 1990s.
Ventura was selected by the White Sox in the 1988 amateur draft and made his debut the following year. After spending ten seasons with the Sox (1989-1998), he played for the New York Mets (1999-2001) and New York Yankees (2002-03) before joining the Los Angeles Dodgers late in the 2003 season. A patient hitter with a smooth stroke, Ventura was capable of reaching the fences from left-center to the right-field line. Despite a declining batting average late in his career, he continued to contribute with solid glovework, lefthanded power and plenty of walks. As a fielder, Ventura was among the premier players at his position, leading the American League four times each in double plays and total chances, three times in putouts and twice in assists; he also led the National League in assists, total chances and fielding percentage once each. Few were better at charging and fielding bunts bare-handed.
At the conclusion of the 2004 National League Division Series, with the Dodgers eliminated from contention, Ventura announced his retirement from baseball. He finished his 16-year career with a .267 batting average, 294 home runs and 1182 RBI in 2079 games. Ventura also wore knee high socks much of his career, and many will remember him as the opposing player Nolan Ryan put in a head lock.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 11:03 AM
Featured Player: Whitey Ford
Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford (born October 21, 1928) was a Major League Baseball pitcher.
A native of New York City, Ford was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1947. He was given the nickname "Whitey" while in the minor leagues for his blond, almost white, hair.
is a member of
Hall of Fame
He began his Major League Baseball career on July 1, 1950, with the Yankees. In 1951 and 1952 he served in the Army during the Korean War. He rejoined the Yankees for the 1953 season, and the Yankee "Big Three" pitching staff became a "Big Four," as Ford joined Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi, and Eddie Lopat.
Eventually he went from the #4 pitcher on a great staff to the universally-acclaimed #1 pitcher of the Yankees, becoming known as the "Chairman of the Board" for his ability to remain calm and in command during high-pressure situations. He was also known as "Slick" for his craftiness on the mound, necessary because he did not have an overwhelming fastball, but being able to throw several other pitches very well gave him pinpoint control.
In 1955, he led the American League in complete games and games won; in 1956 in earned run average and winning percentage; in 1958, in earned run average; and in both 1961 and 1963, in games won and winning percentage. In 1961 he broke Babe Ruth's World Series record of 29 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings (the record would eventually reach 33 2/3), and won the World Series MVP as well as the Cy Young Award. He played his entire 16-year career as a Yankee, retiring in 1967.
He won 236 games, still a Yankee career record. Red Ruffing, the previous Yankee record-holder, still leads all Yankee right-handed pitchers, with 231 of his 273 career wins coming with the Yankees. Roger Clemens notched his 300th career victory as a Yankee, but pitched for the Yankees only five seasons with 77 wins.
Among pitchers with at least 300 career decisions, Ford ranks first with a winning percentage of .690. Among those with at least 200 decisions, only Pedro Martinez ranked ahead of him at the end of the 2005 season, at .701. Among starting pitchers whose careers began after the advent of the Live Ball Era in 1920, Whitey's 2.75 earned-run average is second to Martinez's 2.72. Hoyt Wilhelm, mainly a reliever during his career, leads all post-1920 pitchers in ERA at 2.52.
After his career ended, Ford admitted to occasionally cheating by doctoring baseballs. Among the various methods he used included having Yankee catcher Elston Howard pretend to lose balance while in his crouch and land on his right hand - with the ball in it - to cover the ball in mud. Ford would sometimes use the diamond in his wedding ring to gouge the ball, but he was eventually caught by an umpire and warned to stop. Howard then sharpened a buckle on his shinguard and used it to scuff the ball.
Ford wore number 19 in his rookie season. Following his return from the army in 1953, he wore number 16 for the remainder of his career. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1974 with his longtime pal and Yankee teammate Mickey Mantle. At that time, the Yankees retired his number 16. On August 2, 1987, the Yankees dedicated plaques for Monument Park at Yankee Stadium for Ford and another lefthanded pitcher who reached the Hall of Fame, Lefty Gomez. Ford's plaque calls him "One of the greatest pitchers ever to step on a mound."
In 1999, he ranked number 52 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
In 1997, and animated Ford was knocked unconscious by a barrage of pretzels at a baseball game after a controversial prize giveaway angered fans. Fortunately for him this was on an episode of The Simpsons, The Twisted World of Marge Simpson, and Mr. Ford was not actually harmed.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:39 AM
Status Check, Am I Alive?
Well, it's been two and a half hours since I woke up and started blogging. I have gone through two large mug fulls of my special espresso and have gone through three cigarettes so far.
I am now wide awake listening to my rock and watching ESPN on tv. The wife and kid are still asleep, I wish I could join them, but I have a commitment to keep up.
Still have 22 more hours to go!
Posted by Steve Kenul at 10:03 AM
Featured Player: Charlie Keller
For much of ten American League seasons, Keller formed with Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Henrich one of the finest outfields in New York Yankees history. A splendid all-round athlete at the University of Maryland, where he earned a degree in agricultural economics in 1937, Keller joined the Yankees in 1939 and quickly became the regular left fielder, with Henrich patrolling right field and DiMaggio at center.
Through of his career, Keller was a feared slugger and a competent fielder. In his rookie season he hit .334 with 11 home runs and 83 RBI in 111 games. He topped his splendid major league debut by crashing three homers and batting .438 as the Yankees swept four games from the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
In his sophomore season, Keller hit .286 with 21 home runs, 93 RBI, 18 doubles and 15 triples. His most productive season came in 1941, when he hit .298 and posted career-highs in home runs (33), RBI (122), doubles (24) and triples (15), becoming the second major leaguer since Ted Williams in 1939 to hit 30 HR-20 doubles-10 triples in a regular season. Besides Williams and Keller, only DiMaggio in 1948 and 1950, Mickey Mantle in 1955, and Jim Rice in 1977, had reached those levels in major league history.
After serving during 1944 and much of 1945 in the Merchant Marine, Keller returned as a regular with the Yankees. In the 1946 season, he collected 30 home runs, 29 doubles and 10 triples, joining DiMaggio as the only two bigleaguers with two 30-20-10 seasons.
Keller played part time from 1947-49 when he was troubled by a ruptured disc in his back. He was released by the Yankees before the 1950 season and signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers, serving mostly as a pinch-hitter. In 1952 he came back to New York for a final season.
In a 13-season career, Keller was a .286 hitter with 189 home runs and 760 RBI in 1170 games. A five-time All-Star selection, he collected a career .410 on base percentage and a .518 slugging average for a combined .928 OPS. In four World Series appearances, he batted .306 with five home runs 18 RBI in 19 games.
Following his retirement as a player, Keller founded Yankeeland Farm and had a successful career as a horse breeder – pacers and trotters – near his hometown of Middletown, Maryland. He named many of his horses after the franchises he played for: Fresh Yankee, Handsome Yankee, Yankee Slugger and Guy Yankee. He also benefited by owning syndicated shares of several stallions, which entitled him to free stud fees.
Charlie Keller died in Frederick, Maryland, at age of 73.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:40 AM