Meet the new guys: Bobby Meacham

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I missed the Bobby Meacham era in the Bronx. It was right at the cusp of my worldly – and baseball – consciousness.

In fact, Meacham made his Bronx debut when I was three months and one day old. He played his final game a few months after my fifth birthday, and at that point, little Ben didn’t care that much about the backup infielder with 134 plate appearances.

Offensively, Meacham had a pretty bad career for the Yanks. In 457 games, spanning parts of five seasons, he hit .236 with a .313 on-base percentage and a .308 slugging. Behind the scenes, things were even worse, as Bill Madden writes in today’s Daily News:

A Yankee for parts of five seasons, from 1983-88, he was subjected to some of the imperious and impulsive owner’s most notorious indignities. On the fourth game of that ’84 season, Meacham committed a two-out error that allowed the go-ahead run to score in a 7-6 Texas Rangers victory over the Yankees. After the game, an infuriated Steinbrenner ordered Meacham demoted to the minors, which wound up being Double-A Nashville because Andre Robertson, the Yankees’ first-string shortstop in ’83, was re-habbing at Columbus from injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

Three years later, Meacham again came into Steinbrenner’s crosshairs when, in a spring training game against the Braves, he committed two errors on a pock-filled infield in West Palm Beach. It didn’t matter that the Yankees had committed six errors as a team that day, Steinbrenner called GM Woody Woodward and ordered him to “get rid of Meacham.”

Meacham eventually wound up in Texas, traded for Bob Brower, and, despite the Steinbrenner-inflicted abuse, would pine for New York. When Joe Girardi offered him the third base job, he jumped.

In a way, Meacham has some big shoes to fill. Larry Bowa is, as Madden writes, one of the most respected baseball minds in the game and a stellar third base coach. But for Meacham, that doesn’t matter; he’s just happy to be back.

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  • Spike

    Let’s just hope he’s a better coach than player. I heard that Bowa wanted to come back to the Yanks, and I really wish that’d happened.

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  • Buddy Biancalana

    I was ecstatic when they got Bob Brower, he was the cousin of a buddy of mine in High School. We had the chance to play stickball against him & I almost struck him out. Bob Brower was a great guy to hang with us that day. He also hit an inside the park Grand Slam while on the Rangers.

  • http://www.mokers.org/blog Mokers

    Although Meacham still has a lot to prove, it’s not like Girardi plucked him out of nowhere. Meacham first met Girardi in the Rockies system, where Meacham was a minor league coach and manager. They became friends, and Meacham was the third base coach in Florida. Although Girardi didn’t come back for 2007, Meacham took the first base coach job with the Padres. Girardi gets another job, so of course he wants to bring along somebody he knows from Florida. I don’t think Meacham would have come to the Yanks because of “blind allegiance” as Madden states.