Happy Birthday, David Cone!

Today is David Cone‘s 51st birthday and in honor of this special day (and because I have a head cold and can’t concentrate) I’m reposting a piece I wrote last January for my friend Michael Clair’s annual blogathon which raises money for Doctors Without Borders. Michael is doing another blogathon in a few weeks and I am, once again, participating. It’s a very cool endeavor. Michael blogs every hour for 24 hours on day one and then the next day he schedules a bunch of posts from guest writers (some of the best baseball bloggers on the Internet and me).

For last year’s installment, I wrote a post about my biggest baseball regret: Missing David Cone’s perfect game. Can you believe that we will be celebrating the 15th (!!) anniversary of that game this summer? Time flies when you’re having fun and getting old.

Anyway, enjoy the piece and please, as always, feel free to write about your biggest baseball regret in the comments.…

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Revisiting The Curtis Granderson Trade 4 Years Later

C-Grand Presser

Remember this?

The Mets finalized their 4-year/$60 million deal with Curtis Granderson yesterday, making his move across town official and ending a 4-year run in pinstripes that was interesting to say the least.  Granderson went from underperforming trade bust who had to be benched to rebuild his swing in his first season to one of the premiere power hitters in baseball from 2011-2012 to an unlucky injury case in a contract year this past season.  He finished his short Yankee career with a .245/.335/.495 slash line, 115 HR, 345 R scored, 307 RBI, 2 All Star Game selections, and 1 Silver Slugger award in ’11.  He also leaves with no rings, joining the Yankees the year after their last title and being a part of 4 teams that failed to return to the World Series.

Yesterday marked the actual 4-year anniversary of the 3-team trade that brought C-Grand to the Yankees.  It was a trade that brought up the always pertinent “playing for the present or the future” question with respect to the Yankees’ plans.  …

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Happy 45th Birthday, Mike Mussina!

I’d like to wish Mike Mussina a very happy 45th birthday. Moose, who is on his first Hall Of Fame ballot this year, was one of my favorite Yankees. Not only did I enjoy watching him throw his knuckle curve but I always looked forward to his postgame interviews. He was dry, hilarious and just the best.

Here is one of my favorite Moose moments of all-time. It was May 31, 2006 and he was 26 outs into a complete game when Joe Torre began to climb the dugout stairs in Detroit. Moose was struggling to get the last out but as soon as he saw Torre making his move, he yelled out, “NO! STAY THERE!” Torre retreated with his hands up, then pitching coach Ron Guidry and the rest of the coaches laughed and then Moose closed out the game with a strikeout, securing the win and the complete game.

And here’s an example of how awesome he was in his postgame interviews:

Happy Birthday, Moose!…

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Mike Torrez and his unique Yankees history

Mike Torrez is now 66 years old. Where does the time go? He pitched eighteen years in the big leagues. He started his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. That is hard to believe and to remember. He won more of his career starts than he lost (185-160) and he was one of the first free agent hired guns when the Boston Red Sox signed him to a big contract in 1978. It was that deal that brought him to that fateful moment that would forever become one of the New York Yankees’ signature moments: The Bucky Dent home run. Dent hit his Fenway miracle off of Mike Torrez, and the Carl Yastrzemski reaction is almost as memorable as the euphoria that swept through the Yankees as Dent rounded the bases. That moment prolonged the Red Sox curse another sixteen years until it was finally broken in 2004.

Mike Torrez was not an especially great pitcher. He finished his career with a 98 ERA+.…

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Happy 52nd Birthday, Don Mattingly!

Don Mattingly is my favorite player of all time. He’s the reason my casual Yankee fandom became rabid Yankee fandom in the mid-1980′s.

So, today, I’d like to wish the Hitman, a very happy, 52nd (how is that possible??) birthday.

P.S. if anyone would like to get this poster for me, my birthday is at the end of August.

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Uniform number two through Yankee history

Derek Jeter

No one knows how much longer Derek Jeter will be wearing the pinstripes’ number two for the New York Yankees. But one thing we know for sure is that no one will ever wear that uniform for the Yankees again. A comment from Hawaiian Dave mentioned Jerry Kenney, another Yankee who wore number two for the Yankees back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That got me thinking about all those Yankees who wore number two before the Captain entered the scene. So what follows is a list of them all from 1929 until the Captain himself.

Most people are not aware that there were no uniform numbers for the Yankees before 1929. And once the Yankees did assign numbers, the starting lineup received the lower numbers. But those lineup positions were not set in stone. Only the first, third and fourth positions in the lineup stayed the same all season.

But that first game of the 1929 season did feature numbers one through eight in the lineup wearing those corresponding numbers.…

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Why A Wang Return Would Be Helpful

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The biggest non-Jeter’s ankle story of yesterday was the return of Chien-Ming Wang to the Yankees.  It wasn’t as an official team member, as Wang is still searching for a job offer after a brutal 2012 with the Nationals, but he was there to pitch for team scouts and coaches and hopefully do enough to get himself a contract offer.  The Yankees were connected to Wang recently and scouted him at the WBC, where he was reportedly throwing his sinker high 80s-low 90s and didn’t allow a run in 12 IP.  After the dreaded baserunning foot injury of ’08 and the awful follow-up performance in ’09, a return to the Yankee organization would be a nice little deal for Wang.

It also wouldn’t be bad for the Yankees, who are always in the market for pitching depth.  While Wang is certainly not a contender for a Major League rotation spot at this point in his career, or even a 40-man roster spot for that matter, he does represent the type of veteran arm the Yankees have liked to keep stashed in their Triple-A rotation for the last few years.  …

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When Don Mattingly played third base

Have you ever seen a left-handed throwing third baseman in the Major Leagues? I have not. And generations have not. Apparently in the early 1900s, Wee Willie Keeler, normally a left-handed throwing outfielder, played 44 games at third base, 19 games at second base and even played two games at shortstop. According to the Sabr Bio Project, nobody did it again until Don Mattingly played three games at third in 1986. The first thought that came to my mind was the four players (Tovar, Campinaris, Sheldon and Halter) that played all nine positions in a game.  But, nope, they were all right-handed throwers. The Sabr Bio Project mentioned earlier talks about Mattingly’s feat in passing as part of his larger biography. Here is the rest of the story.

The Yankees’ regular third baseman in 1986 was Mike Pagliarulo. “Pags” was a bit of a cult hero in New York because he had some home run pop in his bat and was kind of a blue-color kind of player.…

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Countdown To Spring Training: 4

We’re now in the homestretch and you can count the number of days until the official start of Spring Training on one hand. Hooray! And we’ve reached a pretty special number in Yankee history and it was worn by one of the most talked about...

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