About William Tasker

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Rival Roundup – Baltimore Orioles

This is the first of four installments looking at the 2014 American League East rivals. After all, the New York Yankees will play close to half of their games this season against these four division rivals. As we look at each team, we have reached out to our friends in the ESPN SweetSpot Network. Throughout this look at the Orioles, we will hear from Jon Shepherd of Camden Depot. 

The Orioles and the Yankees finished with the exact same record in 2013. But both got there by different routes. The Orioles scored a lot more runs, allowed more runs and played better defense. The Yankees pitched better but lagged behind the Orioles both offensively and defensively. Despite the differences, the rivalry has really been exciting the last two years as the two teams battled for the division title in 2012 and played to a 9-9 tie during that season. The Yankees were one game better in 2013 with a 10-9 record against the Orioles.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Yanks versus the Rays – 3/9/2014

The Yankees play at 1:05 today at GMS Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays. It looks like a lot of regulars are on the field.

The lineups:

Rays:

Chris Archer – Starting pitcher

New York Yankees:

David Phelps gets the start.

Interesting with Solarte at third. The games is on the YES Network today. Enjoy!… Click here to read the rest

The best Yankees by uniform number

I really enjoyed an article on ESPN’s SweetSpot Network by Diane Firstman on uniform numbers. I have written about uniform numbers quite a bit over the years and have enjoyed those written by others–especially those numbers that are retired around the league. Firstman’s article made me think about Yankee uniform numbers and the idea popped into my head about taking a romp through the Yankees uniform numbers over the years to see who the best players for each uniform number were. Obviously, some will be easy, like Number 3. Others, like Number 18 will be a lot more difficult.

.I created some rules for my search. First, the player could have worn a number for one year and then became a Hall of Fame player with another number. I would use the second number and not the first. For example, Whitey Ford first wore Number 18 in 1950 and then Number 19 that same year before picking up Number 16 in 1953 and for the rest of his career.… Click here to read the rest

Teixeira, Roberts, Beltran key to World Series title

You expect biting analysis from this site. Obviously, that differs greatly from analysis that bites. For anyone who studies the game, the hope is for an “aha” moment. I had one this morning and I could not wait to share it with you. This is one of those dope statistics that is going to land me on all the lists of writer geeks of all time. Here it is: Data suggests Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts and Carlos Beltran all have to play significant time for the Yankees to win the World Series.

Whoo…that sounds good, doesn’t it? So what is the data that is going to shake the world? Every Yankee World Series champ in the Jeter-era featured at least three significant contributions from switch-hitters. Therefore, Teixeira, Roberts and Beltran all have to make significant contributions this season for the Yankees to win the World Series.

You are stunned, right? Brilliant, eh? If I do this right, now I have to throw a bunch of data at you to prove that I am a full-fledged Saberboy.… Click here to read the rest

The great batting race of 1984

Thirty years ago, the New York Yankees were a month away from starting a season that would be another in a long line of forgettable teams in the 1980s. They had finished in third place the year before, seven games behind the Orioles and Billy Martin was again replaced, this time by Yogi Berra. It was the famous year when the Detroit Tigers started the season 9-0 and then 19-2 and would run away and hide from the rest of the American League East. The Yankees best starter was a 45-year-old Phil Neikro. Graig Nettles, Don Baylor and Goose Gossage were gone. Ron Guidry and Shane Rawley had rough seasons after Marin fried them a bit in 1983. But despite the Yankees being toast by May of that season, it was also the year of one of the most exciting in-team batting races of all time.

Batting average was still a big deal back then. Though much less important today in the grand scheme of statistics, back in 1984, it was one of the most cherished titles in batting.… Click here to read the rest

Some Sunday news, links and notes

On this last Sunday with no baseball to watch, here are a few notes and some news about the Yankees:

Mark Feinsand has video of Michael Pineda throwing batting practice.

Feinsand also provides us a handy-dandy Spring Training television schedule you can print and put on your fridge.

Vidal Nuno will start the first Spring Training game against FSU on Tuesday. Nuno is one of many candidates for the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation. Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston is being touted as the starter for the Seminoles.

Pinstripe Alley has the scoop on a 17-year-old Colombian right-handed pitcher the Yankees just signed.

Scott Sizemore has been spotted at camp with Cano’s old uniform number (24).

Bald Vinny is quoting ticket prices on Twitter. He’s ready!

Elston Howard was born on this date in 1929.

Buster Olney really nails the BBWAA today on his piece (ESPN Insider account needed). The money quote (h/t Jason):

“The Hall of Fame already includes players who used performance-enhancing drugs, had police records, drank enough to be incapacitated in their jobs and openly cheated against rules on the books, and a former commissioner who worked diligently to keep the sport segregated.

Click here to read the rest

Faces of the Yankees

Several of my colleagues here have shared thoughts on Derek Jeter‘s retirement announcement. Coming on the heels of Mariano Rivera‘s and Andy Pettitte‘s last year and Jorge Posada‘s the year before, the Core Four will be no more. I guess I have sadness at the end of these players’ careers, but not overly so. They all fulfilled great careers, two of which will end with the Hall of Fame beckoning. What I am more sad about is the Yankees of 2015. I have struggled to put my thoughts to words for a couple of weeks. So I guess I will go with a stream of consciousness to get it out. The overwhelming feeling is that the 2015 team might be a team where fondness is more difficult to come by.

The great thing about the Core Four was that they were home grown. We who observed their careers got the entire experience. We saw them as prospects, then coming to Spring Training for the first time.… Click here to read the rest

The case for youth at second base

Back on February 6, Brad imagined a world where Brian Roberts suddenly stayed healthy and regained some of his old form and beat all current projections. The very entertaining and well written article surmised that such a scenario could net the New York Yankees a 2.3 WAR season from Roberts. Toward the end of the piece, the author talked himself out of such a thing happening. If such a season for Roberts is as long shot as it is, why not invite both Jose Pirela and Dean Anna to Spring Training and let them fight for the position?

Brian Cashman himself hinted at such a thing happening and stated that second base is open to a “cast of characters.” Let’s make a case for the younger guys. According to MLB Depth Charts, Pirela has a Spring Training invite but Anna does not. Anna should be there in camp to see what he can do.

As Brad pointed out in his piece, most projection systems (if not all) give Roberts no shot at being anything more than a 0.2 to 0.9 WAR player.… Click here to read the rest

Ralph Kiner and the 1955 pennant race

Most New York baseball fans think of Ralph Kiner in association with his 53 amazing years of broadcasting for the New York Mets. But eight years before he first sat behind the microphone for the Mets, he almost had an impact on another New York team. Ralph Kiner was a member of the 1955 Cleveland Indians that fought down to the wire with the Yankees in that year’s pennant race.

1955 was Kiner’s tenth and last season in Major League Baseball and it was his first legitimate opportunity to play with a team that could go all the way. Just the season before, the Indians had won 111 of its 154 games to win the pennant by eight games over a Yankees team that won 103 games. The Indians were swept in the 1954 World Series by the New York Giants in one of the biggest upsets of the century.

Despite Kiner’s prodigious career to that point, the Indians picked him up as the player to be named later in a deal that sent Toothpick Sam Jones to the Cubs from Cleveland the previous September.… Click here to read the rest