Yankees “Stick” the Landing
Twelve home runs and 204 rbi’s over seven seasons for a position player are undoubtedly mediocre numbers. And if said player also had three managerial stretches with the New York Yankees that all netted positive results (34-22 prestrike in 1981; 14-12 post-strike; and 44-42 in 1982), they hardly merited many boldface declarations either. But few would dispute, despite those ordinary numbers, that the acquisition of Gene “Stick” Michael from the Dodgers on November 30, 1967, was a huge move for the Yankees in the latter years of the last century. It was bad news to all of Yankee land, and baseball, when Stick passed away in 2017.
Yankee lefthander Dave Righetti rode his 8-4, 2.06-era 1981 season to that year’s American League Rookie of the Year Award, granted to Rags on November 30. He posted a 74-61 record with 224 saves in the Bronx from 1979 through 1990. The southpaw led the league in saves in 1986, and won two AL Rolaids Relief Awards. He also came in fourth in the 1986 Cy Young voting and 10th in the MVP tally. Righetti led the American League in strike outs per nine innings in 1982.
The Yankees signed free agent righty Mike “Moose” Mussina to a six-year contract on November 30, 2000. The first of three highlights of his career in Pinstripes was a 1-0 win-or-go-home victory over Barry Zito and the A’s in Game Three of the 2001 ALDS, Second, his work in relief of Roger Clemens in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox ensured the game would continue to be played until Aaron Boone put his stamp on Yankee history. And his 20-win season in 2008 was the only one in his long career.
A Tale of Two Pitchers
Yankee November 30 birthdays are highlighted by two pitchers, good ones too, though the career of only one worked out well in the Bronx. Tall, lanky lefty reliever Steve Hamilton (1935) was famous for tossing a slow looping pitch which he called “the Folly Floater.” Steve had a taste of some good teams in his early years in the Bronx, and posted a fine 34-17 mark with 33 saves from 1963-1970. Righthander Bob Tewksbury (1960) debuted to a 10-9 record with the 1986-1987 Yankees. During his career Bob posted a 110-102 mark with the Cubs, the Rangers, the Padres, the Twins, but mostly five years with the Cardinals. A 19th-round Yankee amateur draft pick in June 1981, Tewksbury was traded away to the Cubs in July 1987 for a totally ineffective Steve Trout. This was one of many bad eighties trades in which the Bombers sent away young talent for veteran players.