Archive for Days of Yore
Via Anthony Sulla-Heffinger: Reggie Jackson is putting the jersey from his three-homer game in the 1977 World Series up for auction. The proceeds will go towards his family and his charity, the Mr. October Foundation for Kids. Reggie hit three homers on three pitches off three different Dodgers pitchers in Game Six to help clinch the team’s 21st championship.
“Give someone $100,000 and it changes lives … I collected because I was a fan, and that stuff has turned into significant value. I’ve never sold anything except my stuff, because my stuff I guess is not as important to me as some of the other things I’ve collected,” said Jackson. The jersey will sold as part of an online auction at the California-based SCP Auctions from April 10-26. Late last year Don Larsen sold his uniform from his 1956 World Series perfect game for $756k at auction.
Via Ian Duncan: Long-time Yankees right-hander “Bullet Bob” Turley passed away on Saturday morning after a bout with liver cancer. He was 82.
Turley, who pitched for the Yankees from 1955-1962, won the 1958 Cy Young Award after going 21-7 with a 2.97 ERA (4.04 FIP). He was named World Series MVP the same year. Turley spent parts of 12 years in the show and also pitched for the Browns, Angels, and Red Sox. Supposedly there is some distant relation to current Yankees farmhand Nik Turley — I remember Michael Kay mentioning it during a Spring Training broadcast — but I can’t find anything to confirm that. Condolences go out to Turley’s family and friends.
Sad news today. Right-hander Virgil Trucks, who was the oldest living Yankee, passed away at age 95 today according to the team. Right-hander Rugger Ardizoia is believed the oldest living Yankee at 93.
Trucks only spent half-a-season in New York, going 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA in 39.2 relief innings in 1958, his final season as a big leaguer. He spent the majority of his career with the Tigers, pitching to a 3.50 ERA in just over 1,800 innings for Detroit from 1941-1952. Trucks also suited up for the Browns, the White Sox, and the Athletics. He is most famous for throwing not one, but two no-hitters during the 1952 season.
There are countless prospect ranking publications out there, but I think we can all agree that Baseball America is among the absolute best. They’ve been doing the prospect ranking thing for 30 years now, long before the internet made everyone an expert. Their editors and contributors do a wonderful job of culling together information from those within the game and presenting it to their readers in a concise and easy to understand way. They’re the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned.
Baseball America recently posted their entire team top ten prospects list catalog online, dating all the way back to 1983. The index can be found here, but you’re going to need a subscription to go see the individual lists. Thirty years of prospect lists are sure to produce some interesting stories, which is what we’re going to look at today. Here’s the link to their 1983-2003 lists for the Yankees, now let’s see what we can dig up.
- John Elway, of
Oh hell yes. Right off the bat we’ve got a gem. The Yankees drafted Elway out of Stanford in the second round of the 1981 draft and signed him for $140k, which was huge dollars back then. He was a star in the outfield and a bigger star at quarterback, but George Steinbrenner wanted him in pinstripes. The Boss handed over the big check and allowed Elway to continue playing football for Stanford while mixing in some professional baseball. As a 22-year-old in 1982, Elway hit .318/.432/.464 with four homers, 13 steals (in 16 attempts), 28 walks, and 25 strikeouts in 185 plate appearances across 42 games for Short Season Oneonta. That was it, he never played baseball again. The Baltimore Colts selected Elway with the first overall pick in 1983 NFL draft, and he used the Yankees as leverage to force a trade to the Broncos. The rest, as they say, is history.
The greatest hitter and the greatest pitcher many of us will ever see were on the ballot, but that didn’t matter. The BBWAA elected a total of zero players to Hall of Fame this year, the first time that’s happened since 1996. Craig Biggio led the voting with 68.2%, but players must receive 75% for enshrinement. Tim Raines (52.2%), Roger Clemens (37.6%), Don Mattingly (13.2%), Bernie Williams (3.3%), Kenny Lofton (3.2%), David Wells (0.9%), Mike Stanton (0%), and Rondell White (0%) represent the crop of former Yankees on the ballot. Players receiving less than 5% of the vote drop off the ballot next year. Full voting results are available at the BBWAA’s official site.
Given the overwhelmingly deep ballot, it’s pretty ridiculous no players will be inducted this year. Beyond Barry Bonds and Clemens you have absolute no-brainers like Mike Piazza (greatest hitting catcher of all-time!), Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell. I count no fewer than 15 players on the ballot who, at the very least, deserve serious consideration for the Hall. My personal and mythical ballot, seen on Twitter and included in this YES Network feature, was ten players deep. It would have been a dozen had the ballots not been capped at ten. Never really got that rule.
More than anything, this year’s lack of inductees confirms the voting has become more about the writers than the players. The Hall of Fame is a museum and an archive of the game first and foremost. We can’t exclude the parts people don’t like just because. There’s zero evidence (zero!) guys like Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza used PEDs. No failed drug tests, nothing. Suspicion does not equal guilt, yet the ballot this year shows the BBWAA is treating these players as guilty until proven innocent. How someone would go about proving they didn’t use something, a PED or otherwise, is beyond me. Nevermind that the burden of proof falls on those making the accusations.
Anyway, the already overcrowded ballot will get even more crowded next winter when players like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, and former Yankee Mike Mussina will be Hall of Fame eligible for the first time. If they don’t change the rule and allow writers to vote for more than ten players in a given year, the voting process is going to be a cluttered nightmare in the coming years. For now, we get an empty 2013 class and a nine-month reprieve until the next ballot is announced and the same inane arguments begin again.
Former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert has been elected to the Hall of Fame by the Pre-Integration Committee, the Hall announced. Ruppert owned the club from 1915-1939, so he was at the helm for the Babe Ruth acquisition and the construction of the original Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won nine pennants and six World Series championships under his watch.
The BBWAA announced the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot today, which is headlined by first-timers Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, and former Yankee Roger Clemens. David Wells and Mike Stanton are also among the first-timers while Don Mattingly is entering his 13th year of eligibility and Bernie Williams is entering his second.
We’ve now entered the PED thunderdome with guys like Bonds, Sosa, and Clemens becoming eligible, and if Mark McGwire’s six years on the ballot are any indication, they’re going to have to wait a while for induction. Hell, there’s zero evidence linking Jeff Bagwell to PEDs and he only received 56% of the vote last year. I count no fewer than eight guys I would definitely vote for plus at least six others I’m on the fence with. The ballots are going to be very crowded the next few years.
Former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert is among this year’s Pre-Integration Era Hall of Fame candidates. Ruppert, who made his fortune through his family’s brewing company, owned the club from 1915-1939 and was behind both the purchase of Babe Ruth and the construction of the original Yankee Stadium. The team won nine pennants and six World Series championships under his watch.
Voting will be conducted by the 16-person panel and take place during the Winter Meetings in Nashville next month. Here’s more on this year’s ballot and more on the Pre-Integration Era Hall of Fame in general, if you’re interested.
We all need some positive vibes this afternoon, so let’s take a quick look back at something that happened nine years ago today. I’m talking about this…
And finally this…
Aaron Boone had three hits in his previous 27 at-bats prior to that. All it takes is one swing.
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the Yanks-Sox game with a couple of first-timers. Not only had they never been to the current Yankee Stadium, but they’d never been to any Yankee Stadium. They were quite curious about the various aspects of the new park, and how it all looked at the old park. It made me nostalgic for the Stadium across the street, of course. That’s the park I grew up with. But it also got me thinking about the old Yankee Stadium.
It’s hard to imagine any park looking quite like the one in which the Yankees played before the 1970s renovations. The dimensions were, by the modern standard, incomprehensible. Imagine you’re Alex Rodriguez and you hit one right on the sweet spot. It soars out to left-center and lands 390 feet from the plate — but is in the field of play.
(Or, better yet, imagine his 500th home run. That also would have been in the field of play, thanks to a 461-foot fence in center.)
True, the Yankees typically pound their homers to right. Back in the day the Stadium still had that short porch — it was actually a little shorter down the line, though it was a bit deeper in right-center — so it would have still played to the Yankees’ primary strength. But it’s hard to imagine the Yankees hitting many of their homers anywhere near right field.
Of course, there were righties who hit for power at Yankee Stadium. Joe DiMaggio led the league in home runs in 1937 while playing more than half of his game at Yankee Stadium. He hit 27 of his 46 homers on the road, sure, but that’s still 19 at home. He also produced a near .300 ISO at home, and an overall 1.061 OPS. Apparently that cavernous right field didn’t hold him back a bit.
(I haven’t seen the stat anywhere, and I’m sure he went opposite field plenty, but I have to wonder how many of DiMaggio’s homers were inside the parkers.)
A park so oddly shaped could certainly benefit a team. We’ve already seen the Yankees amass players who can park pitches over the right field porch. Imagine a lineup that balances those players with ones that can poke the ball into that enormous right-center field gap. In-his-prime Ichiro, for example, would have been great for that kind of gap hitting.
Modern field technology would make such a park even more attractive. While I wouldn’t want to remove the monuments from center field, there wouldn’t be any career-changing sprinklers in the outfield. Basically we’d have the old-time layout with modern technology. I’d be game for that.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be room in today’s game for a park as oddly shaped as the old Yankee Stadium. Which is a shame. Sure, it might be difficult to lure pull-heavy right handed power hitters, but it’s not as though the Yankees attract, or even seek, many of them anyway. (A-Rod, for example, had superb opposite-field power). I’d love to see modern teams play in a Stadium like that.