The Yankees signed free-agent second baseman Steve Sax from the reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers to a three-year contract on November 23, 1988. The unfortunate effect of the signing had the Yanks and Dodgers, essentially, swapping second basemen, with former Pinstriped Captain Willie Randolph signing with the Dodgers.Sax provided a decent singles stick (including a record 171 one-base hits in ’89) and mediocre defense in the Bronx over three years, while Randolph kicked in six home runs and 135 RBI’s with the Dodgers, the A’s, and the Mets in a waning career that lasted through 1992. The Yankees traded Sax to the White Sox for pitchers Domingo Jean, Melido Perez, and Bob Wickman</ in January 1992.
Not many baseball fans realize this famous New York ballplayer was a Yankee, but righthander Ralph Branca (2016), who surrendered “the shot heard ’round the world” deciding the 1951 National League pennant, is the only pinstriper to have died on November 23rd. Ralph tossed five games (three starts) with the 1954 Yankees, winning one of them. He started in Brooklyn, pitching for the Dodgers from 1944-1953. He finished his career with an 88-68 record,and a 3.79 ERA.As a hitter, he homered three times,with 31 RBI.
In light of the number of times the Queen rock anthem We Are the Champions has been blasted over baseball stadium loudspeakers over the years, we remember the passing of Freddie Mercury on this day in 1991.
Happy Birthday wishes go out to Luis Tiant (1940), Aaron Small (1971), and Tyler Wade (1994).