Friday, January 30, 2009

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Several Individuals I'm Guessing You've Never Heard Of (#14)


To figure out who we are going to do for what number, for this countdown, we use YankeeNumbers.com. To switch it up a bit, I looked through the 88 players who donned the number 14 for the Yanks over the history of the franchise, and plucked out a few random guys with odd or old-timey sounding names and Baseball-Referenced them. The results are shown below.
  • Rugger Ardizoia -One of only six Italian natives to ever play in the Major leagues, he pitched in exactly one game for two innings on April 30th, 1947. He gave up two runs in a 15-5 loss.

  • Harry Bright - A true journeyman, Bright spent time on 14 different minor league teams in 5 different Major League organizations. He played every infield and outfield position along with catcher. As a Yankee, Harry had the honor of being struck out by Sandy Koufax in the 1963 World Series for a record 15th K in a WS game. Bright hung up his cleats in 1965 and went on to become a minor league manager and scout.

  • Monk Dubiel - Brother Dubiel made his major league debut with the Yankees at age of 26 in 1944. He threw 232 innings at a slightly better than league average ERA and went 13-13, which was easily the best season of his career. Each proceeding year he threw fewer and fewer innings until 1952, when he threw only 2/3 of an inning for the Cubs and was out of the league.

  • Lonny Frey - Linus Reinhard Frey, to be exact. Lonny actually spent 14 seasons in the majors and was a pretty solid offensive force for a second baseman. He was a Yankee for only 24 games at the end of 1947 and 1 game in 1948, during which he had a .410 on-base, but only a .250 slugging percentage.

  • Bump Hadley - Spent five years in Pinstripes (1936-1940), and collected World Series rings in each of his first four. He had a winning recordas a starting pitcher in each season as a Yankee, but never pitched more than 178 innings although he averaged 252 over his four seasons prior to coming to the Bronx. Next time someone complains about innings limits and pitch counts, mention Bump Hadley. They won't have any idea who you're talking about unless they are an 80 year-old die hard baseball fan with an incredible memory, but do it anyway.

  • Hank Johnson - Johnson made the big leagues at age 19 and was both a starter and releiver for the Yanks from 1925-1932. He defected to the Red Sox the following year and made stops in Philadelphia and Cincinatti before his career was cut short by chronic bursitis.

  • George Pipgras - After brief stints in the Majors in 1923 & '24, Pipgras's official rookie campaign came on the legendary 1927 Yankees. The following year he threw 300 1/3 innings and led the AL in wins. He also won Game 2 of the World Series in '28, helping the Yankees sweep the St. Louis Cardinals for their second title in a row. He game up through the Red Sox organization and finished his career with them as well. After his playing career, in additon to being a Major League umpire, he spent time as a scout for the Sawx as well.

  • Butch Wensloff - After throwing 223 1/3 innings to a 2.54 ERA in 1943 Wensloff was employed in a war-plant and served in the Army for three years. When he returned to the Majors again until 1947, he threw 51 regular season innings and tossed two scoreless frames in the World Series.
And last but not least...
  • Cuddles Marshall - Wondering why a grown man would want to be referred to as "Cuddles"? Well, his real name was Clarence Westly Marshall. C-Money tied the record for the best single-season ERA by a relief pitcher in 1948. He threw one inning, gave up three walks, but did not surrender a run. His Yankee career lasted three years, and in 132 1/3 innings, his ERA was 5.17.
Aren't you happy you got through this entire post?

[silence]

No one?

[silence]

Fuck... I should have done Lou Pinella.

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Moose Skowron (#14)

I was all ready to write up a post on William Joseph "Moose" Skowron, Jr., but then I found this:



Thanks for transcribing everything I was about to write and putting it into YouTube form, Heroes In Pinstripes! (The baseball camp?)

See if you can catch the factual error in the first 30 seconds. First one to point it out in the comments wins a brand new... um... actually... just, wins! Wooohoo!!!!!

Former Yankees #14 Headed To Mets

From MLBTR, the Mets signed Matt DeSalvo to a minor league deal.

A then 26 year-old DeSalvo was thrust into the spotlight after seemingly everyone on the Yankees came down with hamstringitis in 2007. He lacked a truly dominant pitch and was said to "hide the ball well" with his delivery. Other scraptastic descriptors were applied in attempts to explain how a kid who never broke 90 with his fastball was getting guys out at the Major League level, for a little while anyway.

In his first two starts with the Yanks, Matty D went 13 2/3 IP, gave up 3 runs and picked up a win. League eventually caught up to him and that would be his last win in Pinstripes. This sums up his time with Yankees almost perfectly:


He was granted free agency in December 2007, and signed with the Braves, where he started in AAA in Richmond. He went 2-10 there, with a 4.91ERA, but struck out almost one batter per inning. He saw only two innings of Major League action in 2008 and gave up 7 runs (31.50ERA).

According to his Wikipedia page, he is a "voracious reader". Good luck Matt, you're still only 29 and hopefully you get another shot at the Bigs.

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Jim Rice (#14)

In his final year of eligibility, and somewhat under the radar thanks to Rickey Henderson, James Edward Rice was elected into the 2009 Hall of Fame class thanks to 76.4% of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Statistically, the argument for Rice to reach the hall has been questioned - 2452 hits and 382 home runs, but a career line of 298/.352/.502. Rice led the league in home runs 3 times, along with leading in slugging and RBIs twice. Jimbo would be tagged an all-star 8 times in his playing days in left field, would rank 3rd in the MVP voting as a rookie in 1975, and go on to win the AL MVP in 1978. For most of his career, Rice lined up alongside Dwight "Dewey" Evans and Fred Lynn to form one of the all-time great offensive outfields.

What likely kept Jim out of the Hall for so long was his lack of glitz, glamour, and what I'll call impactual stats. Yeah, he was a big hitting lefty - but other than the MVP in '78, it's not like he took over the league. His years of eligibility were also coinciding with the steroid era. While Sammy was chasing Big Mac and Bonds was laughing at everyone - Jim's stats suddenly weren't that impressive anymore. However, thanks to Debbie Clemens, the freakish growth of Bonds' feet and head, and the Viagra man - the fact that Jim Rice collected those stats in a "clean era" were finally appreciated.

Jim Rice's last game was in 1989, thus he was a bit before my time, as I was tuning into Alf at 7 pm rather than the BoSox. The only Jim Rice I knew was the hitting coach or the guy in the NESN booth, looking a cross between Stuart Scott and Jackie Chiles, with Neon Deion's wardrobe (color necessary to truly appreciate the matching tie and pocket square).

Frankly and understandably, I never was up in arms when Rice would miss The Hall each year by dozens of percentage points. I was honestly a bit hesitant to write this at the request of our Editor in Chief. But after doing a bit of research, I think the stats show that Jim Rice should be in there.

By far the most impressive and meaningful stat was that Jim Rice was a member of the Red Sox from the day he was drafted 15th overall in 1971 until his last day as a Major Leaguer in 1989. That type of commitment from both player and franchise just isn't seen enough anymore. The all mighty dollar.