On January 16, 1974, New York Yankees star Mickey Mantle became the seventh player to be voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He had played for the Yankees only from 1951-1968, during which time he blasted 536 homers, knocked in 1,509 rbi’s, and sped to 153 stolen bases. Quite an honor, but not unprecedented. The thing that makes it special is that on the same day, Mickey’s teammate Whitey Ford, the “Chairman of the Board,” achieved Hall of Fame status too.
Number 7’s Numbers
Mickey was the AL MVP three times, came in second in that vote another three times, and in third once. He came in first in offensive categories time and time again: batting average in 1956; rbi’s in 1956; home runs in 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960; triples in 1955; extra-base hits in 1952, 1955, 1956; total bases in 1956, 1958, 1960; runs in 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961; on-base percentage in 1955, 1962, 1964; slugging percentage in 1955, 1956, 1961, 1962; OPS in 1952, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1964; and walks in 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962.
Number 16’s Numbers
Whitey’s pitching stats are pretty impressive as well. His winning percentage was almost 70 percent (236-106) over a Yankee career that spanned 1950-1967. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 1961, and on a team that shattered the record for team home runs in that same year, it was Whitey who won the World Series MVP. First places in pitching stats include era in 1956 and 1958; wins in 1955, 1961, 1963; innings pitched in 1961 and 1963; shutouts in 1958 and 1960; starts in 1961 and 1963; and complete games in 1955. In 1961, Ford bested the (29.67) consecutive scoreless innings streak in World Series play that Babe Ruth had set with Boston in 1918, when he extended his to 33.67 frames in 1962.
On January 16, 2001, long-time Yankee Dave Winfield was voted into the Hall of Fame, along with Kirby Puckett. Dave pounded 205 of his career 465 homers and drove in 818 runs of his 1,833 in pinstripes. Winfield had a falling out with George Steinbrenner in New York, and he wore the cap of the San Diego Padres in his Hall plaque. While Winny did not perform well in the postseason in New York, he did drive in the World Series-clinching runs for the Blue Jays at age 41 on October 24, 1992.
They Say It’s Your Birthday
A stalwart on the mound for the 1995 Wild Card team, Jack McDowell (1966) is joined on the Yankee birthday list by five other players, most notably Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni (1957). Also born this day was Hall of Fame hurler Dizzy Dean (1910), along with current Anaheim Angel Albert Pujols (1980).