New York Giants offensive line coach tests positive for COVID-19

New York Giants, Dave DeGuglielmo

It’s not long since the New York Giants had their top cornerback missing due to a close COVID-19 contact. This time, the team will have someone else missing with one game of the season left. And instead of a close contact, it’s a positive test. The person this time is Dave DeGuglielmo, the offensive line coach of the Giants who joined midway through the season in a slightly controversial hiring.

The team has come out in a statement acknowledging the positive test and stating that two other close contacts were isolated.

“The Giants have been informed that offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has tested positive for COVID-19. He was immediately isolated, as were two potential close contacts, and we are currently working with the league’s chief medical officer. Quest Diagnostics Training Center remains open, and the team is following its normal practice and meeting schedule today,” the statement from the Giants read.

It hasn’t been announced who the close contacts are. It’s possible that it was players but it’s also possible that it was other coaches, and the Giants haven’t said more about the matter yet.

DeGuglielmo already has a replacement lined up for Sunday. That coach is offensive line assistant Ben Wilkerson, unless there’s a late change. With little time between now and the Dallas game, it’s easy to believe that we would have heard about it already if either of the close contacts were Giants players.

But, while it looks like the Giants are in the clear and will avoid any players ending up on the reserve/COVID-19 list because of this, it’s not possible to say so with a hundred percent certainty just yet.

New York Liberty: Becky Hammon comments on history in San Antonio

The New York Liberty legend became the first woman to serve as a head coach of one of the “Big Four” American sports leagues.

From Rapid City to Manhattan to her current settings to San Antonio, Becky Hammon has always had a knack for making basketball history. Her latest accomplishment is one that will leave a lasting impact on the American sports scene.

Earlier this week, Hammon became the first woman to serve as a head coach in America’s so-called “big four” professional sports when she took over duties for the San Antonio Spurs’ Wednesday tilt against the Los Angeles Lakers. Hammon took over midgame when longtime San Antonio boss Gregg Popovich was ejected.

“It’s a substantial moment,” Hammon said after head coaching debut, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. I’ve been a part of this organization, I got traded here in 2007, so I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs and sports organization with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me, in building me and getting me better.”

Hammon, one of the most prolific players in the history of the New York Liberty, has been an assistant on San Antonio’s staff since 2014. She is the second female coach in NBA history, following only Lisa Boyer’s single-year on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench during the 2001-02 season. Prior to her Wednesday endeavor, Hammon guided the Spurs’ Summer League squad to a championship in 2015.

“The guys responded great. I thought we gave ourselves some chances. We battled back multiple times,” she said in McMenamin’s recap. “I think it was business as usual. They’re used to hearing my voice in practice.”

Though San Antonio fell by a 121-107 final, the impact of Hammon’s trailblazing was not lost on the competitors.

“The future is bright for her,” said Spurs guard Dejounte Murray, who scored a game-best 29 points, per Victor Mather and Marc Stein of the New York Times. “I hope she just sticks to it and doesn’t give up. One day it may happen, it may not happen, who knows, but she’s definitely on the right road.”

“It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets,” Lakers star LeBron James added in the Times’ report. “She’s very passionate about the game. So congrats to her, congrats to our league.”

Hammon has had a strong rapport in San Antonio basketball since she was traded to the now-defunct Silver Stars in 2007. Popovich brought her aboard in 2014 after she spent some time at Spurs practices which recovering from in injury during the latter days of her WNBA career.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to her. I pay attention to all those little things,” Murray said, per McMenamin. “She’s been here since I got here. I’ve been watching her talk to every single player, whether he was a veteran dude or a young dude. Just using her voice and her knowledge of the game.

“I love Becky to death. We are really, really close. She texts me on holidays to ask about my daughter, and I ask about her kids. I appreciate her. The future is bright for her. I hope she sticks to it and doesn’t give up.”

Hammon is the most recent inductee into the Liberty’s Ring of Honor, earning entry in 2015 after an eight-year career in New York (1999-2006). She currently ranks fourth all-time in Liberty scoring (2,367) and third in games played (227).

Hammon and the Spurs (2-2) are battling the defending champion Lakers in the latter half of a pair at the AT&T Center on Friday night with their next tilt coming against the Utah Jazz on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants defense needs to shut down high-scoring Cowboys offense in Week 17

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

The New York Giants are still in the playoff hunt. With a Giants win over the Dallas Cowboys and an Eagles win over the Washington Football Team, the Giants will make their first playoff appearance since 2016.

First and foremost, the Giants need to beat the Cowboys. A loss against Dallas would officially eliminate the Giants from playoff contention. But if the Giants want to beat Dallas and go to the postseason, they need their defense to step up in a major way.

The Giants’ offense has struggled to put points on the board all season long. New York has only topped 30 points in a game once this season (their Week 5 loss to the Cowboys). The Giants’ offense also averages the least amount of points per game, averaging only 17.1 points.

The Giants’ offense has been particularly bad over the last three weeks. During their current three-game losing streak, the Giants have scored a total of 26 points, an average of 8.6 points per game. Dallas on the other hand has lit up the scoreboard over the last three weeks.

Dallas Cowboys offense

The Dallas Cowboys are on a three-game winning streak in which their offense has exploded and propelled them to consecutive victories. The Andy Dalton-led Dallas Cowboys are putting points on the board with ease. Over their last three games, the Cowboys have topped 30 points in each game. Dallas’s offense is averaging 36 points during this winning streak.

This incredible offensive display by Dallas is not exclusive to this three-game winning streak. The Cowboys have been scoring a high volume of points all season long.

If the New York Giants want to win this game, they absolutely have to contain the Dallas Cowboys’ offense and hold them to under 30 points (ideally under 20, given the state of the Giants’ offense). The Cowboys have scored 30 or more points in every single win this season. They have topped 30 points in eight of their fifteen games this season.

The Cowboys are averaging 25.1 points per game this season. The Giants, though, do have one of the better defenses in the NFL. New York has allowed opposing offenses to average only 22.5 points per game this season (tenth-best in the NFL). The Giants have held opposing teams to 20 or fewer points in eight games this season. Keeping Dallas’s offense under the 20-point threshold will go along way toward winning this crucial Week 17 matchup.

New York Rangers announce training camp schedule

New York Rangers hockey is back! On Friday afternoon the club announced its 2020-2021 training camp schedule which will begin on Sunday, Jan.3 at their Tarrytown, NY facility.

Team President John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton will meet with the media via zoom conference on Saturday to discuss training camp along with their expectations for the upcoming season.

Training Camp Schedule

Players will be broken down into two groups throughout camp, which have yet to be announced.

Sunday, Jan. 3

All Day – Off-Ice Testing

Monday, Jan. 4

10:30 a.m. – Group A on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group B on-ice

Tuesday, Jan. 5

10:30 a.m. – Group B on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group A on-ice

Wednesday, Jan. 6

10:30 a.m. – Group A on-ice
12:30 p.m. – Group B on-ice

Thursday, Jan. 7

10:30 a.m. – Group B pre-game skate
11:45 a.m. – Group A pre-game skate
7:00 p.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B

Saturday, Jan. 9

10:30 a.m. – Group B on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group A on-ice

Sunday, Jan. 10

10:30 a.m. – Group A on-ice
11:30 a.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B
12:30 p.m. – Group B on-ice

Monday, Jan. 11

10:30 a.m. – Group A pre-game skate
11:45 a.m. – Group B pre-game skate
7:00 p.m. – Scrimmage between Group A and Group B

Wednesday, Jan. 13

11:00 a.m. – full team practice

The team will have two off days Friday, Jan.8, and Tuesday, Jan. 12. There will not be any preseason games played prior to opening night on Jan. 14 at MSG.

Training Camp Roster

The Rangers announced the player invited to training camp on Thursday which can be found in this article by fellow ESM writer Jim Bay.

 

Yankees News: What should we expect from Domingo German in 2021?

New York Yankees, Domingo German

I think it’s safe to say that very few people support Domingo German the person. I quite frankly didn’t want him on the roster after what happened in his abuse case and then his retiring fiasco. This didn’t deter the Yankees, who probably got to talk to the young right-hander. He’s heading into his age 28 season, and time is running out on waiting for him. With all of that said, his pitch mix bodes well among the analytical side of baseball. This, paired with an analytical pitching coach in Matt Blake, has success written all over it. The Yankees need starters, and Domingo German could be a surprise for them in 2021.

One of Baseball’s Best Curveballs

Domingo German had a 44.7% strikeout percentage on his curveball, one of baseball’s best marks. Among pitchers with 100 plate appearances with their curveball, he had the 6th highest strikeout percentage on that pitch. He was also 6th in whiff% as well, giving him one of baseball’s very best curves. His curveball had a minuscule .251 xwOBA against in 2019 and a .191 xBA against. His ability to avoid hard contact on his curve and get those swings and misses make it a very valuable asset.

Having Untapped Potential

Domingo German has a career 4.52 ERA, but that’s not the full story. See, his xFIP, SIERA, and pCRA (all ERA estimators based on your strikeouts, walks, and home runs, among other things) suggest that he’s much better than that. His xFIP is 4.08, his SIERA is 3.91, and his pCRA is at 3.84 since 2018. This suggests that German is more of a high 3-ERA pitcher, and that’s pretty good for an American League pitcher. While I know that he isn’t an elite starter, he still has the potential to be a guy who would be a 3 in plenty of other rotations. While he can’t be a guy you rely on in a game 2, if he’s your back end starter, his potential makes him an amazing option.

Can Domingo German Control His Biggest Problem as a Yankee?

His obvious issue is his home runs. His HR/FB% was 17.6%, which is really high. He had a 1.89 HR/9 in 2019, and that will not cut it. His issues with the longball come from his inability to pitch on the road for some reason. Who would think that German could have a 1.41 HR/9 at the Bronx and a 2.27 on the road? His fastball is thrown in the middle a ton, and it led to a lot of home runs, and while I don’t think it’s something that would fully change, I think Matt Blake will have German elevate his fastball more. This would generate swings and misses and allow German to be more swing and miss and fewer souvenirs in the outfield seats.

Do I think Domingo German will be a top-flight starter for the Yankees? No, but I think he’s going to be a really solid arm for them. He’s going to get innings and contribute, and it’ll be a season that shows off German’s promise as a starter.

 

New York Giants: Is Julio Jones a potential trade target for the Giants?

New York Giants, Julio Jones

One of the greatest wide receivers of this generation is rumored to be on the market this offseason. Could Julio Jones be a good fit for the New York Giants’ offense with Daniel Jones? The Giants should at least monitor the Julio Jones situation.

Jones is one of the best receivers in the NFL and has had an elite career thus far, but is getting up there in age. He is also coming off an injury-filled year. Should the Giants still consider making a move on Jones this offseason?

The Falcons have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL with Jones and Calvin Ridley. With the emergence of Ridley, he has shown wide receiver one numbers when Jones has been injured this past season. Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ quarterback, is also aging. Seems like Jones is the odd man out.

Once the new Falcons general manager is hired, he will assess the roster and whether to rebuild the Falcons or stay with the team as is and try to make a playoff push.

Jones has been on and off the field all year, playing only nine games this season. In those nine games, Jones has shown he still got it hauling in 51 catches for 771 yards but only three touchdowns. With Jones missing seven games, you would like to see more touchdowns, but Jones has been dealing with injuries all year.

Questions

The questions all Giants fans are asking right now are, why would we be interested in Julio Jones, and what is it going to cost the Giants to acquire a player like him?

The Giants need a difference-maker on the offensive side of the ball; Jones would be just that. Daniel Jones or any Giants quarterback, at that matter, needs a player they can trust that will go up and get the ball. Jones is faster, taller, and stronger than anyone the Giants currently have on the outside. He is a freak of nature, and from what he has shown this past year, he still can ball.

The cost to get Julio in New York is very hard to say. Jones is 31 currently and aging, it will be hard for the Giants to give up a first-round pick for an aging player. The Falcons traded wide receiver Mohommad Sanu to the New England Patriots for a second-round pick in 2019. If Sanu got traded for a second-round pick, I could only imagine what the Falcons would want for Julio Jones.

Not only will the Giants have to give up assets to get Julio Jones, but the Giants will also have to create a little bit more cap space as well. Jones’ cap hit in 2021 will be around $23 million dollars, which is very high for a wide receiver. In 2022 and 2023, the cap hit will get more affordable, being around $19 million dollars but after that, Jones has an opt-out in his deal.

Forget Julio Jones, draft a receiver:

Would you trade your first-round pick for Julio Jones or keep your first-round pick and draft one of two premier receivers in this year’s draft class? Some really want Ja’Marr Chase from LSU or Devonta Smith from Alabama. Which sounds better, Julio Jones or one of the two rookies?

If the Giants have a chance to go with one of the two premier receivers in this draft class, it will be hard to pass them up. If the Giants miss both of the receivers, that is when I think you could see the Giants try to make a play on a talent like Julio Jones.

Forget Julio Jones and drafting a receiver, sign one:

The Giants will also be looking to sign one of the top receivers in free agency if they do not decide to go with one in the draft. Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, Will Fuller, Curtis Samuel, and Corey Davis are some of the big-name receivers that could be hitting the open market this offseason.

Robinson is looking to win, which considering the state of the Giants, he might stay away. Golladay has missed 12 games this season and could take a one-year prove-it deal with the Giants. Godwin, in my opinion, will not hit the open market. The Buccaneers will either franchise tag or extend him this offseason. Fuller got caught with PEDs in the middle of the season, but his performance on the field is something the Giants could be interested in. Samuel is more of a number two receiver but could be a good outside receiver with Sterling Shepard in the slot and Darius Slayton on the opposite side. The last receiver we have is Corey Davis, he has ties with safety Logan Ryan from the Tennessee Titans. Davis has been injury-prone much of his career but will fit the Giants scheme if he stays healthy.

What should the Giants do?

The New York Giants have to bolster their wide receiver corps. If the Giants have to trade for a stud like Julio Jones, or sign a big-time receiver this offseason, and or go young and draft an absolute stud receiver. Either way, I do not think the Giants will not leave this offseason empty-handed.

New York Rangers announce training camp roster

On Thursday, the New York Rangers announced their roster for the upcoming training camp that starts in a few days. The Rangers open their season on January 14.

Like the summer re-start, the players invited to this camp face an unusual set of circumstances for this season.

The NHL will allow each team to carry a “taxi squad” of four to six players in addition to the regular roster rules that teams usually follow. This is especially important as it not certain if the AHL will be playing and if it’ll be possible for players from those teams to travel back and forth from their NHL clubs.

All of this is necessary as the coronavirus, which has led to numerous positive tests in other leagues and has wreaked havoc with their rosters. Therefore, it makes sense for NHL teams to have additional players on hand all year. In this scenario, teams will be permitted to repeatedly move players back and forth from the taxi squad, every day if needed.

Even with the “regional” aspect of the temporary division alignment, teams could “send down” players to the taxi squad without them having to board a plane and travel to the next game.

The other aspect of the taxi squad will be the effect it has on the cap, whether this was meant to be intentional or not. The taxi squad will allow for is some creative accounting practices in meeting tight cap demands. Many media outlets have reported that the new roster rules will be used for more than simply COVID-19 insurance.

So with training camp set to officially open for the Blueshirts on January 3, there will be many more considerations that the Rangers coaching staff and brass will need to take into account when assembling their team for the upcoming 56 game season.

Bold 2021 predictions for Bellator MMA

Patricio Pitbull Freire

2021 is already promising to be a massive year for Bellator MMA. The promotion made some major progress in 2020 despite having to shut down for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bellator put on some tremendous fights in 2020. However, it was their string of signings in the second half of the year that had the MMA world buzzing. Bellator really stacked their light heavyweight division.

Bellator added Yoel Romero (13-5), Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6), and Corey Anderson (14-5) to their light heavyweight division. All of the former top UFC contenders parted ways with the UFC this year.

As soon as they hit the open market, Bellator scooped them up. In doing so, the promotion has put together a light heavyweight division that is certainly capable of competing with the UFC’s light heavyweight division.

There are so many things to watch for with Bellator in 2021. I wanted to do some bold predictions for the promotion for what will happen in 2021. If these predictions come true, there are going to be some shocked MMA fans.

2021 Bellator Bold Predictions

Patricio Pitbull leaves 2021 without a title

For my first bold prediction I’m looking at Bellator’s two-division champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4). Pitbull is widely considered to be the best fighter that Bellator has on the roster. He’s arguably the best fighter in the promotion’s history.

He currently is the Bellator lightweight and featherweight champion. However, there has been whispers of him vacating the lightweight championship. Pitbull became the lightweight champion when he defeated Michael Chandler (21-5) in 2019.

However, Pitbull is small for the weight class. He mainly moved up to lightweight to challenge Chandler to avenge his brother’s (Patricky Pitbull) knockout loss to Chandler. He has yet to defend the lightweight championship.

I’m going to say that Patricio Pitbull vacates the Bellator lightweight championship to focus on featherweight. However, I think that this is going to be the year that Pitbull is dethroned at featherweight.

The most exciting prospect in Bellator is AJ McKee (17-0). The Mercenary has fought all seventeen of his professional fights under the Bellator banner. They’ve brought him along the right way and he’s on the verge of superstardom.

McKee has already earned a spot in the finals of Bellator’s featherweight Grand Prix. The other spot will go to the winner of the fight between Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4).

I believe that Pitbull is going to defeat Sanchez when they fight setting up a fight between him and McKee. I’m going to say that McKee not only wins the Bellator featherweight title, but finishes Patricio Pitbull. With that, cementing himself as the superstar that Bellator needs.

Vadim Nemkov remains the light heavyweight champion

As mentioned above, the Bellator light heavyweight division is completely stacked at the moment. All of those signings are incredibly exciting and I didn’t even mention the promotion’s light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Nemkov knocked out Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) to capture the Bellator light heavyweight championship back in August. Nobody has been able to stop Nemkov since he made his debut with the promotion in 2017.

With the additions made to the light heavyweight division, many are saying Nemkov will not leave 2021 as the champion. However, my bold prediction is that the belt stays with the Russian as we enter 2022.

As things currently stand, there are three front runners to face Nemkov whenever he defends his title. Those contenders being Corey Anderson, Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC), and a rematch with Bader.

Something tells me that Nemkov is just going to fight twice in 2021 with both of his fights coming from that group of three. Nemkov has already defeated Davis and Bader on his way to the title.

Corey Anderson is definitely a tough challenge, however, I think Nemkov can beat him. While everyone will want to see Anthony Johnson or Yoel Romero challenge for the Bellator title next year, I’m not convinced it happens.

Something tells me that Nemkov is going to have a rematch with Ryan Bader next. Scott Coker said that they are looking into this. I believe that Nemkov will beat Bader again to retain the Bellator title.

Perhaps on the same card, I believe we will see a matchup between Davis and Anderson as a title eliminator. I also see Nemkov defeating the winner of that fight. So my prediction is when all is said and done, Vadim Nemkov is still the light heavyweight champion after 2021.

Two UFC bold predictions for 2021

Francis Ngannou

Thankfully for the world, 2020 is officially behind us. While it was a pretty terrible year across the board, the UFC accomplished some major things last year. The biggest MMA promotion in the world was the first major sport to return after the pandemic hit.

Dana White and the crew at the UFC deserve a lot of credit for what they pulled off. In addition, the promotion also delivered card after card of incredible fights. We saw new champions crowned and fights that made us stand up and applaud from home.

2021 is promising to be a very exciting year for the UFC. The promotion already is kicking off the year in Fight Island with some incredible fights. Most notably the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC).

There are so many compelling matchups in the UFC this year. There are so many interesting storylines as well. With that, I wanted to get bold with a few predictions for the UFC in 2021.

Now, I’m not saying these are official picks or guaranteeing this will happen. However, my gut is telling me that these two predictions will come to fruition and when they do, some UFC fans are going to be shocked.

2021 UFC bold predictions

Stipe Miocic doesn’t last one round with Francis Ngannou

For my first bold prediction, I’m looking at the UFC’s heavyweight division. The current plan is for Stipe Miocic (20-3) to defend his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3) in March. However, the fight is not finalized at this time.

This fight is a rematch from UFC 220. The narrative going into this fight is going to be a lot like the first one. Whenever they first were paired together, many believed that Ngannou’s power would be too much for Stipe Miocic.

However, Stipe completely dominated Ngannou and won a shutout decision. Since then, Miocic has only fought in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier where he’s gone 2-1. Ngannou lost his next fight to Derrick Lewis, but after that, he’s looked inhuman.

The Predator has knocked out four straight opponents with none of them getting past 71 seconds. He’s training like a mad man and he is desperate to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion of the world.

Ngannou went into the first fight completely overconfident. He didn’t think Miocic could handle him, and he was wrong. His training is different now and I think he’s going to be better than ever when they fight.

On the other hand, I personally don’t believe Stipe is as good as he was when they fought the first time. I think when they rematch in March, Stipe is going to fall in the first round and Francis Ngannou will be the new UFC heavyweight champion.

Gilbert Burns dethrones Kamaru Usman

For my second and final bold prediction, I’m taking a look at the UFC’s welterweight title. Champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), is tentatively booked to defend his title against Gilbert Burns (19-3) in February at UFC 258.

To this point, nobody has been able to solve Kamaru Usman. Colby Covington pushed him to the absolute limit, but Usman was ultimately able to finish Covington in that fight. It’s extremely difficult to deal with the style of Usman.

He’s incredibly strong, he’s got tremendous power, and he has phenomenal wrestling which he uses to control his opponents. Whether on the ground or against the fence, Usman’s control is something that fighters struggle to deal with.

However, if there’s anyone in the UFC who has the style to beat Usman it’s his former teammate, Gilbert Burns. As Burns was on the rise, it was his BJJ skills that everyone was incredibly impressed with. Burns is one of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the sport.

However, it’s his striking that’s blown me away this year. Burns is incredibly fast and extremely powerful with his hands. He knocked out Demian Maia on the feet and dropped Tyron Woodley when they fought earlier this year.

On the feet, I believe that Burns is going to have a big advantage at UFC 258. He’s got the speed to give Usman fits. His skills as a grappler are also going to cause problems for Usman in my opinion.

Now, would I be shocked if Usman is able to use his strengths to grind out a decision? No, I mean he’s the UFC champion for a reason. However, I truly believe that Gilbert Burns is a nightmare matchup for him. For that reason, we will see a new welterweight champion next month.

New York Yankees: Looking back at famous Yankee players that have passed on this year (videos)

New York Yankees, Whitey Ford

For New York York Yankees fans, 2020 is a year we would all like to forget and not repeat. Number one was the coronavirus that ravaged so many Americans and still does. We have lost family members and friends to the dreaded virus. Many have lost jobs, and several of us are financially stressed. Hopefully, with vaccines coming online, 2021 will see a safer, healthier, and more prosperous year.  Although subjected to a short baseball season for relief, Yankee fans did find some pleasure in our favorite sports pastime even if we exited the postseason far too early.

2020 also marked a year when we lost many favorite players, some famous others not so much, but as we look back, we have fond memories of all of them for their play, their antics, and was downright fun to watch. Some even include Hall of Famers. Today we look back and remember some of them.

Don James Larsen August 7, 1929 – January 1, 2020

2020 started out with a New Years Day with the news that Don Larson had died overnight. Larson is a famous Yankees and a record holder in all of baseball, which is likely never to be repeated. He is the only pitcher ever to pitch a perfect game in the World Series.  On October 8, 1956, he pitched his perfect game against the then Brooklyn Dodgers. Larson was not the greatest pitcher for the Yankees and was used mostly by manager Casey Stengel as a spot starter and reliever, but on this one day, he reached the baseball history books.  From George Steinbrenner’s time, he made every Old Timer’s Day celebration at Yankee Stadium, much to the delight of Yankee fans.

Edward Charles Ford October 21, 1928 – October 8, 2020

“Whitey” Ford was one of the most popular New York Yankees ever when he pitched for the Yankees. Ford signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1947 he made his Major League debut in 1950. From then until 1967. He had a record of 236-106 over sixteen years, all with the New York Yankees, making him the most successful Yankee pitchers of all time, and that still stands. He was so good he was eventually called “The Chairman of the Board,” as named by famous Yankee catcher Elston Howard, a title that stuck until his death two weeks short of his 92nd birthday. Ford had eleven seasons of 16 or more wins. He has a monument in Yankee Stadium Monument Park, is a Cy Young Award winner, and is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of fame.

Philip Henry Niekro April 1, 1939 – December 26, 2020

Just one day after Christmas, we learned of the passing of Phil Niekro. Niekro had one of the longest pitching careers in baseball, pitching for 24 years, two of them with the New York Yankees. He earned his 300th win in those two years and went 32-20 over the two years with a 3.59 ERA. He was the second oldest pitcher ever to have a complete game. He is also the second oldest to have a shutout. He finished the 1985 season with a 16–12 record, the final time he won 15 or more games in a single season. From 1984 through 1985, he was one of the most popular of Yankee players. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997.

Horace Meredith Clark June 2, 1939 – August 5, 2020

Horace Clark was a second baseman for the Yankees for then years, starting in 1965. Clarke made history, becoming the only big leaguer whose first two career homers were grand slams and becoming one of two players to break up three no-hitters in the ninth inning. Clarke wasn’t a great player, but he was a good solid player who played during the Yankees’ down years. However, because of those lousy teams, he never got the credit he deserved. He played all but one year of this career playing for the Yankees. He wasn’t the greatest hitter (.256) but was an excellent defender for the Yankees.

Robert Jose Watson April 10, 1946 – May 14, 2020

Bob Watson signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees after coming from the Red Sox. With the Yankees, he reached the post-season for the first time in his career, losing to the Royals. A year later, he reached the World Series for the first time. He hit two home runs and batted .318 with seven RBI’s in the Yankee’s loss to the Dodgers. But his claim to fame is not his playing days, which were pretty good too. He was the first and only black general manager in baseball. He was named the New York Yankees general manager in 1978 and won a World Championship.

Claudell Washington August 31, 1954 – June 10, 2020

Washington was a popular Yankee outfielder from 1986 to 1988. With the Yankees, he had a .277 batting average hitting 27 home runs. He hit the 10,000th home run in Yankee franchise history on April 20, 1988, facing Minnesota Twins pitcher Jeff Reardon in the ninth inning of a 7-6, 10-inning win in Minneapolis.

Several other Yankee players passed on this past year. The Yankees salute shortstop Tony Fernandez, one season 1995, he is one of only three Yankees to hit for the cycle. Outfielder Jimmy Wynn, one the year 1977. First baseman Hank Workman, one season 1950. Second baseman Damso Garcia, two seasons 1978-79. First baseman Bob Oliver, one season 1975. Pitcher Matt Keough, one season 1983. Pitcher Mike McCormick, one season 1970. Pitcher Jay Johnstone, two seasons 1978-79.