New York Yankee Top 10s: Best Second Basemen

1. Eddie Lopat 1948-1955

Lopat just missed being a Yankee legend. He pitched eight years with the New York Yankees. During his time with the Yankees, he had an outstanding career going 113-59 with an ERA of 3.19. He was an All-Star and a three-time MVP candidate. Lopat had four years with 15 or more wins. In 1951 he would have 21 wins, and in 1953, he had a winning percentage of .800, going 16-4. In 1953 he led the American League in both earned run average and won/lost percentage. Feel free to comment on any Yankee you remember as an unsung Yankee hero.

2. David Robertson 2008-2014, 2017 and 2018

It would be hard for David Robertson to become a huge star with the Yankees being constantly overshadowed by future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera.  But nevertheless, he made his mark in his two stints with the Yankees. He pitched for the better part of 9 seasons; he would go 38-22 in 501 games. Even though he never started a game for the Yankees and often being called in in a rough situation, he managed a career of 2.75 ER

3. Ron Blomberg 1969-1978

Ron Blomberg is one of the most unsung Yankee players. Blomberg is mainly known today as one of the old guys who shows up annually for the Old Timer’s Day Game. Few remember that Blomberg is usually recognized as the first designated hitter in baseball. In his ten years being a DH and outfielder for the Yankees, he hit .302. In his first plate appearance as a DH in 1973, he walked with the bases loaded against the Red Sox Luis Tiant. The bat he used is in the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.

4. Chien-Ming Wang 2005-2009

Wang is an interesting story while being sad at the same time.  The New York Yankees got Wang from his homeland of Taiwan, where he was a huge pitching star.  He was projected as a possible ace for the Yankees. In his first rookie year, he pitched to a 4.02 ERA. In his second year, he was 19-3 with an ER of 3.63. In 2007 he would come in second in the Cy Young Award Voting. He pitched two consecutive 19 win seasons. Then his future was turned upside down when he was injured running the bases. He would never return to form and never become the next big Yankee pitching star.

5. George Selkirk 1934-1942

During his nine years of Major League Baseball service, all with the Yankees, Selkirk appeared in 846 games, batting .290 (.265 in 21 World Series games), with 108 regular-season home runs, 131 doubles, 41 triples, 810hits, and 576 RBIs. Selkirk earned the nickname “Twinkletoes” for his distinctive way of running on the balls of his feet. Selkirk twice in his career recorded 8 RBI in one game, both against the Philadelphia A’s at Yankee Stadium after World War II; he managed at the A and triple A levels for the Yankees.

6. Joe Dugan 1922-1928

Joe Dugan is a New York Yankee player that most fans have not only not seen him play but probably have never heard of. He batted in his seven Yankee years .286 and was an MVP candidate in 1925. Although he was never a home run hitter, he had five straight seasons hitting over 100 hits on the season. But what made Dugan a Yankee worth remembering is that he was an excellent defender at the hot corner, leading the American League as a third baseman in fielding percentage in four consecutive seasons.

7. Ralph Terry 1956-1957 and 1959-1964

Ralph Terry was a Yankee pitcher for seven years in two different stints. In 1962 he had a 23 game winning season going 23-12 with a 3.19 ERA. He only had a no-decision in four games started. He also led all of baseball in wins in 1962. He was known as a “finisher.” In 1963 he completed a career-high 18 complete games

8. Aaron Small 2005-2006

Aaron Small is an interesting story that I remember well. Aaron Small was a Journeyman pitcher. Aaron Small was about to call it quits. He spent most of his career in the minors, and he wasn’t pitching well enough to be a serious contender for a spot in the New York rotation in 2005. Then, an injury bug hit, and Small found himself with a spot start in July. He would pitch well and would get a win. Small would then go on a tear, he ended the year 10-0, with a 3.20 ERA. Small the 33-year-old, his 2005 season helped the Yankees to clinch the division title.

9. Ronald Torreyes 2016-2018

Little Ronald Torreyes (5? 8,” 151 pound) was a fan favorite super-utility infielder for the New York Yankees for three seasons under manager Joe Girardi that frequently used Torreyes. He hit .281 for the Yankees, but 2017 was his breakout year when it seemed whenever Girardi would put him in for a hit, he seemed to not disappoint. In 2017 he led the team in batting average at .314. When Aaron Boone was named Yankee manager, Torreyes was traded to the Chicago Cubs.

10. Cecil Fielder 1996-1997

Cecil Fielder was never a big star with the Yankees, but in his two years, he hit .260. The All-Star and MVP candidate with the Detroit Tigers was traded to the Yankees. In just 151 games, he managed 26 home runs. Overshadowed by the likes of Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, he never really endeared himself to Yankee fans. He had the distinction of winning the Babe Ruth Award for outstanding performance in the 1996 postseason. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Isiah Kinner-Falefa, the Yankee answer

The New York Yankees went into the postseason with plenty of questions to answer. The most important one was to acquire a new shortstop to replace Gleyber Torres, who was moved permanently to second base near the end of last season. Since then, the Yankees have had their eyes on Isiah Kinner-Falefa.

But, the Yankees sat back and did nothing to improve the team for the 2022 season, while many other teams made significant moves scooping other major leagues’ hottest free agents. The Yankees saw two of the best shortstops in the business, including Corey Seager and Marcus Semiem, going to another team, leaving just Isiah Kinner-Falefa and Corey Correa on the market.

As soon as the CBA was reached, The Yankees pounced and orchestrated a mega-trade bringing Isiah Kinner-Falefa, as well a third baseman, and a stop back to the Yankees, as the Yankees gave up Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez in the trade with the Minnesota Twins. Now with Isiah Kinner-Falefa on the roster, let’s get to know him better.

Kiner-Falefa attended Mid-Pacific Institute in  Honolulu, Hawaii. The Texas Rangers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. He spent all of the 2013 season with them, batting .322 with 11 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 41 games. In 2014, he played for the AZL Rangers, Hickory Crawdads, and Spokane Indians. In 2015 he played with High Deserts Mavericks. Kiner-Falefa spent 2016 with the Frisco RoughRiders. He compiled a .256 batting average with 27 RBIs in 108 games.

Kiner-Falefa has played all the infield positions, including catcher for the Rangers. He played in 2017 with Frisco, where he batted .288 with five home runs and 48 RBIs in a129 games. The Rangers added him to their 40-man roster after the 2017 season. He started in the minors but was called back to the major leagues for the rest of the season.

Texas Rangers

On April 14, 2018, Kiner-Falefa made his Major League debut. He hit his first career home run. Kiner-Falefa appeared in 111 games during his rookie season of 2018, hitting .261/.325/.357/.682 with four home runs and 34 RBI. He opened the 2019 season with Rangers in a catching tandem with veteran Jeff Mathis but was soon placed on the injured list. He finished 2019, hitting .238/.299/.322 with one home run and 21 RBI.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Kiner-Falefa hit .280/.329/.370 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 58 games. He was awarded the AL Gold Glove Award for third basemen. Over 158 games in 2021, he hit .271/.312/.357/.670 with eight home runs, 53 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. He led the major leagues with 136 singles. Defensively, he moved to shortstop and led his position with 436 assists and 98 double plays.

Texas Rangers

Kiner-Falefa made his Major League debut against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 10, 2018. On April 14, against the Houston Astros, he hit his first career home run. Kiner-Falefa appeared in 111 games during his rookie season of 2018, hitting .261/.325/.357/.682 with four home runs and 34 RBI. He finished 2019, hitting .238/.299/.322 with one home run and 21 RBI.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Kiner-Falefa hit .280/.329/.370 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 58 games. He was awarded the AL Gold Glove Award for third basemen. Over 158 games in 2021, he hit .271/.312/.357/.670 with eight home runs, 53 RBI, and 20 stolen bases.[12] He led the major leagues with 136 singles. Defensively, he moved to shortstop and led his position with 436 assists and 98 double plays.

New York Yankees

On March 12, 2022, Texas traded Kiner-Falefa, along with pitcher and two other positions players, to the Twins. A day later, Kiner-Falafa was traded in the blockbuster trade to the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees Top 10s: The Yankees’ worst acquisitions ever, do you agree?

New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury

With the New York Yankees looking to improve their team for the upcoming 2022 season, once the lockout if over, they will hopefully make many moves with acquisitions and trades to accomplish their goals. A few days ago I gave you my top 10 best acquisitions, which makes this the perfect time to look at some of the worst Yankee acquisitions ever. There are so many, fans may disagree with me. That’s okay add your choices in the comments.

The Yankees- in their glorious history, have had some of the greatest players to play the game of baseball. Players like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, Derek Jeter, etc. Some were farm-raised, and some were acquired.

For some franchises paying too much for a player that doesn’t work out can be financially devastating. And it can take a club a long time to recover from that purchase.  For teams more flush-like the New York Yankees, those poor choices usually can be recovered from in a short time. In other cases, a club gives up a prime prospect in a trade to get that player while significantly weakening their farm system when that player turns out to be a bomb.

When acquiring a player, the New York Yankees either have to spend money or trade players or a combination of both to get the player they want. Some have been amazingly successful, like Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, El Duque, Roger Clemens, Roger Maris, Ricky Henderson, and many more. But they also have had some bummers. Today we examine my picks for the Yankee’s worst acquisitions.  I based my picks on how the Yankees performed and how much they had to pay to get the performance or lack thereof.  Picks are only from the modern era.

10. Kevin Youkilis

The Yankees paid Youkilis $13 million for a one-year contract for the ex-Red Sox star in 2013.What they thought they were getting was an impeccable defender at the hot corner and an All-Star that still had horsepower under the hood. What they got was very different.  The Youkilis that showed up in 2013 was an older man that was out of gas. He hit .219 in 28 games played before the Yankees dumped him.

9. A. J. Burnett

When A. J. Burnett came to the Yankees in 2009 from the Toronto Blue Jays, where he had an 18 win season.  The Yankee contract with Burnett was for $85.5 million over five years. Burnett was one of those players like Kenny Rogers and, more recently, Sonny Gray that couldn’t adjust to the bright lights of New York Yankee Stadium.  In his three years before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was 34-35 with an ERA of .493.

8. Pedro Feliciano

Pedro Feliciano was a two-year $8 million disaster with the Yankees. There is little to say here.  He required two shoulder surgeries after leading the AL with the most starts in the previous three years.  For the Yankees, he never pitched a game.  End of story.

7. Spike Owen

Owen was coming off a career year with the Expos, where he won a gold glove, hit .269, and racked up 24 extra-base hits.  He came to the Yankees from the Expos and was so bad at short that he didn’t even complete a year with the Yankees.  In 1993 the Yankees were in dire need of a shortstop with Prospect Derek Jeter not yet ready.  So they paid $7 million or a three-year contract.  He hit .234 with a stinking .300 OBP.  The Yankees dealt him to the Angels to playout the contract.

6. Ed Whitson

If you thought Pavano and Igawa were bad, Ed Whitson was worse. The New York Yankees acquired Whitson in a five-year deal for $4.5 million from the Padres. For most of his career, he was a near ace pitcher but not for the Yankees.  What followed? Fifteen wins and a 5.38 earned run average over two years with the team. They dealt him back to the Padres in 1986, where they’d fork 90% of his contract the remainder of the deal.

5. Hideki Irabu

The big problem with the Irabu acquisition is that he was supposed to be the next great Yankee ace pitcher. He never even came close to being anything more than a 4th or 5th pitcher in the rotation. In his four years starting in 1997, he went 29-20, 4.80 ERA, 64 starts, 74 games, 395 2/3 IP. For this, the Yankees had to pay the San Diego Padres $3 million to acquire him and give Irabu $12.8 million over four years.

4. Kei Igawa

Wow-what a mistake this was.  Kei Igawa was a miserable pitcher.  The Yankees signed him to a 5 year $20 million contract and paid a $26 million Japanese posting fee to get him in the first place.  In 2006 Igawa started for the Yankees at the major league level.  He was 2-4, 6.66 ERA, 13 starts, 16 games, and 71 2/3 innings for his first two years.  He was then demoted to Scranton Wilkes/Barre for two years and a third-year with AA Trenton. While in the minors, Brian Cashman tried several times to send Igawa back to Japan, but Igawa refused to go.

3. Jason Giambi

Some may wonder why I have Giambi so high on this worst deal list. It’s not because he wasn’t a decent player because the Yankees paid far too much for a declining player.  There is no question that he was a star player for the Oakland Athletics.  His 40 points lower batting average with the Yankee was not deserving of his $120 million seven-year contracts.

While with the Yankees, the first baseman never was a Gold Glover, Silver Slugger, while only being an All-Star once and begin nominated for MVP twice in which he received few votes.  In 2004 due to injuries, he missed half the season.  Giambi was often a liability at first, leading him to play a lot of games as DH.  Oh, and then there was the whole doping thing.  After initially denying doing drugs, he admitted to having injected himself with human growth hormone during the 2003 season with the Yankees.

2. Carl Pavano

Carl Pavano is a pitcher that many Yankee fans don’t even remember, as he was seldom on the mound during his four years $40 million deal. Pavano was a pretty average pitcher for the Florida Marlins until 2004; he had an 18-8 year, came in 6th in the Cy Young voting, and was an All-Star.  Based on this, the Yankees decided to take a chance on this break out pitcher during the offseason. In his first year with the Yankees, he managed to pitch in only 17 games for a 4-6 record and an ERA of 4.77.

His lackluster performance in 2005 was just the beginning things were about to get worse, much worse.  In 2006 he didn’t pitch at all due to injuries.  In his last two years with the Yankees, he pitched in only nine games between injuries.  His record was a dismal 5-2 with an ERA of 5.15. The Yankees were happy to be rid of him.

1. Jacoby Ellsbury

Without a doubt, in recent memory or Yankee history, the acquisition of Jacoby Ellsbury from the Boston Red Sox was the worst ever buy.  And that’s not only in how he performed. It’s what they had to pay for him to be away from the team the majority of his Yankee contract.  General Manager Brain Cashman is undoubtedly one of the smartest traders and purchasers in the business. But in this case, he missed the mark by a mile, not only in the original contract but how this player turned out.

Ellsbury was a good player for the Red Sox, but his best years were early in his centerfield career.  In 2011 he hit .321 with 32 home runs, and the guy could steal bases.  But he would never hit those figures again.  On December 3, 2013, Ellsbury and the New York Yankees agreed in principle to a seven-year, $153 million deal, including an option for an eighth year that could increase the contract’s value to $169 million. Mistake number one was that he was never worth this gargantuan contract, to begin with.

Ellsbury never enjoyed the fan praise that Red Sox acquisition Jonny Damon received mostly due to his performance, which never reached the level that the money spent demanded.  In his Yankee employment in the first four years, he only managed less than 10 home runs a year while hitting a league average .264 batting average. That’s when a deplorable trade turned into a disaster.  In 2018 and 2019, Ellsbury never set foot on the field due to continued injuries, which led many Yankee fans to think he was faking it and just wanted to collect the money and not play.

With the 2021 season in the rearview mirror, Jacoby Ellsbury was finally off the payroll. Many wonder in the future if Giancarlo Stanton will be on this list. He has never been the player he was in his 2017 season with the Marlins, he is often injured, and his huge contract limits what the Yankees can do with new acquisitions.

Dishonorable mentions go to Jose Contreras: 4-Years, $32 Million, paid too much for his 1 1/2 years, Kenny Rogers 4-Years, $20 million, ERA 5.12, Pascual Perez: 3-Years, $5.7 Million, drugs only won 3 games, Mel Hall: 4-Years, $4 Million, he kept the Yankees from the 1991 postseason due to his constant arguments with Don Mattingly, and finally Jaret Wright: 3-Years, $21-Million, when he became a Yankee his body fell apart.

Most of the Yankee bomb acquisitions have been pitchers strangely, but luckily for the Yankees, they have had far more successful acquisitions, and being a rich franchise has been able to handle those that weren’t.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.William Parlee

Yankees ponder who will play first base, there are some bright prospects in the system

The New York Yankees announced a long while ago that they would get a new shortstop before the 2022 season starts. We don’t know if they will hire a star-like player to fill the position, or go the stop-gap avenue, while they wait for Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe to develop to the major league level. With all that publicity, little attention has been paid to farm system players who could make an impact at first base in the coming years. Today we take a closer look at those up-and-coming prospects.

During the last few years, it was assumed that Luke Voit would be the Yankee’s first baseman for years to come. That reality seems like a distant thought, as Voit has been unable to stay healthy, as well, his performance at the plate, other than 2020, has been disappointing. Although the Yankees held onto Voit for 2022, it doesn’t seem likely that he will be the starting first baseman. The Yankees are interested in Matt Olson and Freddie Freeman, among others, to fill the spot.

However, looking past the 2022 season, the Yankees have some exciting young prospects already in the farm system that look appealing.

Chad Chaparro

One player who has really made progress last season and at Arizona in the fall league was Yankees’ Andres Chaparro. Although Chaparro has played a majority of the games at third base during his time with the Yankees, He became the first baseman when he was elevated to the Hudson Valley Renegades. Chaparro was selected to represent the Renegades in the Arizona Fall League. He also played first base there. He hit a combined .267/.381/.468 last season between the two Class-A levels. His pop drew eyes, which led to more power to add to his excellent plate discipline.

The Arizona Fall League seemed to be the catalyst for his new power behind the plate. Scouts took notice when he turned it on after a slow start. He started hitting for power while also hitting more frequently. Three of his hits were launched at exit velocities of 110 mph or higher. He slashed .353/.462/.686 in his last 61 plate appearances last fall.

Anthony Garcia

When Chaparro was elevated to the Hudson Valley affiliate, the Yankees promoted Anthony Garcia from the Florida Complex League. Garcia was an outfielder when he signed with the Yankees and did not play any first base during his first two seasons, in 2018 and 2019. This season he was transferred to first base, a move that turned out to be productive as he hit well and put up some impressive numbers.

Garcia has always been known for his power, Garcia slashed a combined .306/.444/.678 with 14 home runs in 153 plate appearances. Garcia does have a glaring problem to fix before he progresses, and that is his strike-out rate. He has struck out over 30 percent of the time while in the minors. To make it to the big team, he will have to continue working on that less then desirable trait. 

Tyler Hardman

The Yankees selected Tyler Hardman in the fifth round of the 2021 draft, selected out of the University of Oklahoma. He led the Big-12 conference in batting average in his final season there, hitting .397 for the Sooners. His selection was the highest in the draft since 2001 as a first baseman. Before winning the Big-12 batting crown, Hardman previously won the Cape Cod League home run derby. Although his bat has not shown tremendous power, there is enough there to show the Yankees they may depend on future progress. Although he has played some third base, the Yankees see him as a first baseman.

Chad Bell

The Yankees have something to look forward to. Chad Bell is a powerful left-hander. He slammed 21 home runs last season while rising from Low-A Tampa to Double-A Somerset. At the two Class-A levels, he posted a combined 138 wRC+. He does strike out more than the Yankees want but has also shown the ability to crush homers with power, making him a productive hitter. He will likely start with the Somerset Patriots again this season.

Other prospects

The Yankees also have some other prospects that are further away from the majors. Yankee fans should also keep their eyes on Connor Cannon and Spencer Henson, who are returning from injuries. Cannon was the player to be named later in the Mike Tauchman trade with the San Franciso Giants. Then there is Eric Wagaman, a player who made significant strides with in-season adjustments this past year. Wagaman has been a fixture with promise since he was drafted in 2017.

 

 

New York Yankees Top 10s: The ten most iconic moments at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

In their 112-year history, the New York Yankees have had many of the best players in the game, many of which are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But always front and center was the famed Yankee Stadium, “The house that Ruth Built.”

Today we look back in my newest Yankee top 10 articles to pick the most iconic moments at Yankee Stadium. Of course, these are arbitrary, and many will disagree with my choices. That’s okay, as there are far more stunning moments at the Stadium in the Bronx.

Opening of the new old Yankee Stadium 1923

The house that Ruth built finally became a reality when in 1923, the New York Yankees opened their own Stadium where history would be made for the next 85 years. The Yankees started as the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore in 1901. In 1903 they would move the team to New York City. The team first played at Hilltop Stadium downtown. Then they played at the Polo Grounds until 1922, when they built the new Stadium in the Bronx. During that time, Babe Ruth had become the best player in the game, filling the stands and allowing the Yankees to build their first Stadium.

Lou Gehrig makes his famous speech in 1939

Lou Gehrig was one of the finest ballplayers to ever play for any team. Although he would eventually win every accolade the game can give, luck was not on his side. In 1939 after realizing he could no longer play due to the ALS disease that was ravaging his body, he gave the most iconic speech ever spoken at any baseball field. It is still referred to be the most famous baseball speech ever. It was on July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day, when the longtime Yankee first baseman uttered the famous words at a home plate ceremony at Yankee Stadium: “For the past two weeks, you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Gehrig died of the disease that now bears his name, “Lou Gehrig Disease,” on June 2, 1940.

Don Larsen has the first-ever no-hitter in World Series 1956

In a record that still stands average pitcher, Don Larsen threw the first no-hitter in history to be accomplished in a World Series game. On Monday, October 8, 1956, in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, pitcher Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League at Yankee Stadium. It was the first postseason no-hitter since Claude Grier did it in the 1926 postseason. Larsen’s perfect game is the only perfect game in the history of the World Series, it was the first perfect game of any kind thrown in 34 years and is one of only 23 perfect games in MLB history. 

Roger Maris makes history with number 61 1961

1961 was an exciting year for New York Yankee fans, it was the year of the M&M boys, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, as they fought all season long to see who would end up beating Babe Ruth’s record for 60 home runs. Near the end of the 1961 season, Mantle’s health issues allow Maris to overtake him. On October 1, 1961, Maris hit his 61st home run, hitting just one more than Babe Ruth. The more popular Mickey Mantle ended the season with 54 long balls.

Chris Chambliss causes the best kind of riot (1976)

On a cold New York Yankees autumn night on October 14, 1976, the fifth game of a winner take all ALCS game, the game would be at a standstill in the bottom of the ninth. Kansas City relief pitcher Mark Littell would be taking warm-up tosses, Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard was cautioning the crowd of over 58,000 about throwing debris onto the playing field. Meanwhile, Yankee first baseman Chris Chambliss waited in the cold. Finally, at 11:13 PM, Chambliss stepped into the batter’s box, and home-plate umpire Art Frantz yelled play ball. Littell would throw Chris a high fastball that Chambliss would smash over the right-field wall for a walk-off win and one of the most iconic moments in baseball history, as the Yankee fans emptied the stands and filled the fields.

Reggie Jackson becomes Mr. October (1977)

In yet another example of a Yankee moment seemingly scripted by a famous writer, Reggie Jack Jackson managed three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 Fall Classic. It caused the Yankees to win their first World Series title in fifteen years. Those home runs cemented Reggie Jackson in the history books and his place in New York Yankees lore. After the game, he was dubbed “Mr. October.”

Bobby Murcer drives in five in honor of Thurman Munson 1979

1979 was a sad year for the New York Yankees, as they lost their iconic catcher Thurman Munson to the crash of his own plane in Ohio. On the day of his funeral, the Yankees attended his funeral in Ohio under the threat of having to forfeit their game later than night. The Yankees made it back in time for the game at Yankee Stadium. During that game, Bobby Murcer managed to play in the game and be impactful under the duress of having spoken at Munson’s funeral. Manager Billy Martin suggested Bobby sit out given the circumstances, but Murcer insisted on playing in honor of his fallen friend. Bobby single-handedly erased a 4-0 Baltimore lead by hitting a 3-run shot in the 7th and a two-run walk-off single down the left-field line. New York won 5-4.

Famous Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera stands alone 2011

During 2011 Mariano Rivera recorded his 602nd save. Urged by his teammates to soak up the moment, Rivera stood alone on the mound, celebrating his place as the game’s all-time saves leader. Rivera, in his humble ways, tipped his cap to the fans, and both teams looked on. Rivera surpassed Trevor Hoffman by recording his 602nd save, dispatching all three Twins he faced. Rivera even shattered a bat with his trademark cutter, later calling the moment “priceless.” Rivera would retire with 652 saves, plus a record 42 more in the postseason. He became the first player ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously in 2019. He said in his acceptance speech, “I would love to be remembered as a player who was always there for others. ” In another iconic moment for “Mo” in his final game, his best friends Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter came onto the field to take the ball from Rivera, he broke down in Pettitte’s arms and was saluted by both teams as he made his final exit.

Yankee Stadium tries to heal America 2001

America and the world were still in shock after the horrible terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The Yankees resumed their season on the road in Chicago on September 18 and did not return home until September 25, an absence of 16 days. This first game after the attacks at Yankee Stadium was dripping with emotion. Before the game, there was a 30-minute ceremony. Many in the announced crowd of 33,777 were late entering the ballpark. There was an increased police presence, and fans were screened as they entered the ballpark. They had even checked Yankees manager Joe Torre’s bags. The ceremony included the then-mayor of New York Rudy Giuliano and other prominent stars, including Bette Midler and Michael Bolton. Branford Marsalis played taps while members of the New York Police and Fire Departments stood along the baselines. Tenor Ronan Tynan offered a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. Later in the game, members of the Fire Department sang a rendition of “God Bless America.” The Yankees lost the game to the Rays, but the Boston Red Sox lost their game to Baltimore, retaining the Yankees 13 1/2 game lead in the AL East.

Derek Jeter goes out in style 2014

More than any other Yankees player, Derek Jeter had enough iconic moments in his career to fill his own top 10 moments. Still, none could duplicate Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium, not even the flip or the crash into the stands. In his final game in pinstripes, Jeter exited a winner at home, showing off his trademark inside-out swing to lace a walk-off single and sending home the deciding run in a 6-5 victory over the Orioles. Jeter raised his fists, securing a Hollywood conclusion after he had already doubled and driven in a go-ahead run earlier in the contest, only for closer David Robertson to permit three runs in the ninth. Announcer Michael Kay called the walk-off win “where fantasy meets reality.” Just one more moment when Derek Jeter rose to the occasion.

Honorable mentions:

A-Rod drives in 10 runs in one game (2005), Derek Jeter has 3,000 hits (2011), Mariano Rivera’s final gaem “exit the Sandman (2013), Yankees christen new Yankee Stadium (2009), three Grand Slams in one game (2011), Guidry strikes out 18 (1978), Babe Ruth traded to the New York Yankees (1919).

Continuing, Allie Reynolds has two no-hitters in the same season (1951), and the Yankees win their first World Series (1923). The one-handed Jim Abbott makes history with a no-hitter (1993), George Steinbrenner was honored during the All-Star game 2008. There is no question that the winningest team in all of the sports has no shortage of iconic moments for the Yankees and Yankee Stadium.

 

New York Yankees Twists and Turns: Will Cashman go for defense or offense in shortstop selection?

The New York Yankees haven’t made any progress with their next shortstop due to the lockout. It all started when the Yankees admitted that their experiment with Gleyber Torres had failed at short and permanently moved him to second base at the end of the season. That move left the Yankees with several players at the position for the remainder of the season and no clear shortstop for 2022.

General Manager Brian Cashman made it clear even before the end of the World Series that his top priority was to get a star-like shortstop to fill the position. But before the ink had dried on that thought, they wavered and said they might look to the stopgap avenue waiting for prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to assume the position.

Meanwhile, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement for the players came and went when a new CBA couldn’t be agreed upon by the December 1 deadline. That caused the Yankees to be left out in the dark as other teams made significant moves to improve their teams before MLB instituted a lockdown, forbidding any major league transactions.

The Yankees basically sat back and watched the action while doing nothing to fill the holes in the team. They saw Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, two prime shortstops go to the Texas Rangers. They also saw starting pitcher Robbie Ray go to the Seattle Mariners, Kevin Gausman go to Toronto Blue Jays, and Eduardo Rodriguez go to the Detroit Tigers. Another priority for the Yankees is to land a No. 2 starting pitcher behind ace Gerrit Cole.

Now the Yankees are left to select from a reduced pool of players to fill their needs. They won’t be able to start that process until a new CBA can be reached. That process has seen only one meeting since the deadline. Today the owner and players will have their first face-to-face meeting with the players presenting their counter-proposal after rejecting the owner’s proposal.

Yankee general manager Brian Cashman still has not shown his hand on whether he will continue to go the route of a star player to fill the shortstop position or go with a lesser player on a short contract. Here is a look at those players still available to the Yankees.

Carlos Correa:

If the Yankees still want to make a splash by hiring free-agent star shortstop Carlos Correa they will have to deal with Correa and high profile agent Scott Boris who will be looking for a huge contract mirroring that given to Corey Seager by the Rangers. He got $325 million over ten years. That will be more than the Yankee’s want on the books, and an Aaron Judge extension looming. Being the youngest shortstop on the market (27), Correa will give Boris even more bargaining power. It would be a big surprise if the Yankees go this route.

Trevor Story:

Free-agent Trevor Story, age 29, is a former Colorado Rockie and is the second-best shortstop still on the market. Story has been of interest to the Yankees before when they tried to trade for him before the trade deadline this past season. The Rockies and Yankees couldn’t agree then and likely won’t now. Brian Hock of MLB.com has said the Yankees have since soured on Story and likely won’t pursue him now. Story, a five-tool player would be a significant upgrade for the Yankees and not as costly as Correa.

Andrelton Simmons:

Next in line is Andrelton Simmons, one of the best defensive shortstops of the last several years. But there is a big problem here, he is old (32). Add to that, he is coming off a dismal season with a slash line of .223/.283/.274, something that can’t be attractive to the Yankees regardless of his glove prowess. Only a short contract at a low price could entice the Yankees to move on Simmons.

Other options:

If you discount those three shortstops, there isn’t much left for the Yankees. Some say they will do nothing and move Gio Urshela to short, where he was serviceable for 28 games last season. Other analysts see the Yankees going the short gap avenue trading for players like Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Harold Castro of the Tigers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa of the Rangers, Kevin Newman of the Pirates, or Willie Adames of the Brewers. Besides those players, there are a host of low-cost players that Cashman could get creative with.

One thing is for sure when the owners and players can come to an agreement, the Yankees are going to have to pounce quickly with spring training less than a month away so that they can concentrate on their several other needs.

 

New York Yankee Legends: “Donnie Baseball” the case for Hall of Fame induction

The former New York Yankees’ great seemed to be well on his way to earning a place in Cooperstown in the late 1980s before a back injury ended his career and ultimately cast doubt over his candidacy. Although Mattingly was once again up for consideration for the National Baseball Hall of Fame as one of 10 finalists for induction on the 2020 Modern Baseball Era ballot, Mattingly failed again.

Most in baseball think of “Donny baseball” as one of the best Yankee hitters of all time, which he probably was. But what most miss is that he was perhaps the most excellent defender at first base, or any base ever, not just as a Yankee, but as a baseball player. In his fourteen years, his fielding percentage was .9959. That’s four misplayed balls out of 1000 sent his way. His offensive career ended up with an average of .307 with 222 home runs and three consecutive seasons of over 200 hits.

Mattingly the early years

Donald Arthur Mattingly was born on April 20, 1961, in Evansville, Indiana, the youngest of five children of Bill and Mary Mattingly in Evansville, Indiana. Mattingly’s introduction to baseball included backyard Wiffle ball. Because he was the youngest in the family, his brothers let him tag along to their neighborhood baseball games. Being the youngest, he would have to try harder than the other boys, and at his young age, he found that he could hold his own against the older players.

As a teenager, he attended Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville. He would excel in baseball, football, and basketball. He was the team’s starting quarterback. In basketball, he was the team’s point guard. But it was one American Legion baseball game that convinced Don that he was a baseball player. In a 1976 game against the neighboring town of Owensboro, Kentucky, he faced a pitcher who was the Cincinnati Reds’ top draft pick that year. Don, a freshman, hit two doubles off the star. From then on, people knew who Don Mattingly was. At one point, Mattingly helped Reitz Memorial to a 59-game winning streak, with one of those wins coming in the Indiana state championship game in his junior season. After that, he started getting letters offering scholarships.

Don credits his high school baseball coach to instilling a strong work ethic and always getting better. His coach would say to him, if you are the best on the team, you need to be best in the region; if you’re the best in the region, you need to be the best in the state, and then you start to think about the best in the country. Mattingly would recall that ethics helped him in minor leagues when he fought for jobs. Because he got so many scholarship offers, most scouts thought he would attend college. But the Yankees took a chance and drafted him in the 1979 draft at the age of 18, Mattingly accepted, and the Yankees signed him to a minor league contract.

Donnie Baseball in the minors and his Major League debut

Mattingly enjoyed almost instant success in the minor leagues, hitting .349 with the Oneonta Yankees of the Class-A (short season) New York-Penn League in 53 games in 1979. In 1980 he moved up to Greensboro, then on to AA Nashville. In 1981 he was promoted to AAA Columbus. There he hit .315 with 98 RBI’s. The performance was good enough to get him called up to the stadium when the roster expanded in September. He flopped miserably in seven games with the big club, hitting .167. As the 1983 season started, he made the team and appeared in seven at-bats before being sent back down to Columbus. After 43 games at Columbus, he was hitting .340, and when Bobby Mercer retired, he was called up to fill the position for the New York Yankees. He spent the rest of the year as a spot hitter, left and right fielder, and at first base.

In 1984, Yogi Berra was the new Yankee manager, and he would say that Donnie would be on the team, much to Donnie’s relief, as he wouldn’t have to wonder if he would make it. Berra believed he would best be used as a reserve player and a pinch-hitter because “he has the kind of stroke that enables him to sit for three weeks and still hit,” as Berra said. It took only a few weeks of spring training to change Berra’s mind. After a March in which Mattingly hit well and continued to show off his slick glove at first base, Berra announced that Mattingly would start the season as the regular first baseman. Donnie would never see the minor leagues again. In 1984 Mattingly would hit .343 with 207 hits with 23 home runs. He would be an All-Star. He didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the best season of his career.

Mattingly becomes a baseball star:

For the next five years, he would hit over .300 and establish himself as one of the game’s best first basemen. In 1985 he would have 147 RBI’s. As the season was coming to an end and the Yankees out of reach of the postseason, the media’s big New York Yankees story was the batting title race between him and Dave Winfield. With four games remaining and four right-handed pitchers to face, Lou Pinella gave the advantage to Mattingly. But for Mattingly, he would go only 1 for 7, and Winfield went upon him. But in the last game of the year, Mattingly would hit four hits in the game, winning the race. After the game, Winfield and Mattingly walked to first base and shook hands before a wildly cheering Yankee crowd.

Mattingly’s 1986 season was even more dominant than his MVP campaign the year before. He hit .352, with 238 hits, 53 doubles, 31 home runs, and 113 RBIs. He finished second to Roger Clemens that year in MVP voting. All in all, Mattingly would go on to play in six All-Star games, be nominated for the MVP seven times, winning it once, and would receive an unprecedented nine Gold Glove Awards. He would also win three Silver Slugger Awards. In the five years. 

After 1990 his performance would fall off considerably due to the injured discs in the back. However, most say he was still one of the best players in either league. Donnie would spend his entire 14-year career with the Yankees. He finished his career with 2,153 hits, 222 home runs, 1,007 runs scored, 1,099 RBI, and a .307-lifetime average. After he retired as a player, he would manage the Dodgers for five above .500 seasons. He then managed the lowly Florida Marlins, never having a winning season. He still works as the Marlins manager with the owner, fellow Yankee Derek Jeter.

He will always be “Donnie Baseball,” an all-time fan favorite of the Yankee faithful for Yankee fans. Many fans wanted him to replace Joe Girardi as Yankee manager. He got 28% of the vote in his first year of eligibility, failing to get enough votes, but it was enough to keep him on the ballot until 2015. After that, he never approached 28% again. Nevertheless, New York Yankees fans believe he should be enshrined.

Below are some video highlights of his illustrious career.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.

New York Yankees: Will Nestor Cortes Jr. stand tall in the 2022 rotation?

New York Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr.

It was August 28, 2021, and the New York Yankees faced the Oakland Athletics, with Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound trying to win the Yankee’s 14th win in a row. A win would have been the longest consecutive winning streak since 1941. But, unfortunately, the victory was not to be had, as Cortes gave up three runs through the sixth inning, and the Yankees, as so often last season, could only muster up two runs of their own.

Although Cortes didn’t win that game, he had been a Godsend for the Yankees with the injury to Corey Kluber. Cortes started the season as a reliever out of the bullpen but gradually stretched out to a starter to fill the gap.

Cortes was a strange pitcher that didn’t have an overpowering fastball or no particular put-out pitch. What he did have was an ever-changing delivery that mystified opposing hitters. He finished the season 2-3 in 22 games. He struck out five players a game and amassed a tiny ERA of just 2.90. However, like other Yankee pitchers, he suffered from little run support.

The question now is, what part will he play in the 2022 season? Will we see him back in the bullpen or again as a starting pitcher in the rotation. If the Yankees can’t pull in a significant number two starter to back up Gerrit Cole, you could see Cortes standing tall right in the middle of the rotation, either in front or behind Jordan Montgomery. Was last season an anomaly, or is he the real deal? Much of how the Yankees treat Cortes will be based on his performance in spring training, if and when that starts.

An excellent example of Cortes on the mound happened in a game against the Angels. Cortes Jr. is an old fashion pitcher, a real pitcher that constantly surprises his opponents with a whacky windup and throws any pitch at any time. He keeps hitters off-balance, often making them laugh. In a game against the Angels, he faced the great Shohei Ohtani. When Cortes made a bunch of strange moves on the mound, Ohtani laughed, thinking that Cortes was afraid to pitch to him; the fact was that he was playing with Ohtani. Cortes is scared of nothing and always has fun on the mound. He can’t blow away hitters, but his mental game wins.

Cortes Jr. throws a four-seam fastball that averages approximately 89 miles per hour. He also throws a slider and a curveball. His curveball has been registered as slow as 47 miles per hour. Hitters never know what they are going to get from Cortes. He throws all of his pitches in any situation. His style has given Yankee fans something to enjoy.

Cortes was born in Surgidero de Batabano, Cuba. His father won a lottery when Nestor was just a baby, and his father moved the family to Hialeah, Florida. Cortes started playing baseball at the age of 5. He pitched for Hialeah High School and Florida International University. The Yankees selected Cortes in the 36th round of the 2013 draft. He started in the Gulf Coast League, but the Yankees didn’t protect him, and the Orioles claimed him in the Rule 5 draft. He made his Major League debut as a Baltimore Oriole on the first day of the 2018 season.

On April 13, 2018, he was returned to the Yankees. He played in one game for the Trenton Thunder, but he advanced to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, combining a 6†“6 record and a 3.68 ERA in 24 games. In spring training in 2019, he didn’t make the team and started the season in Scranton. On May 9, he was advanced to the Stadium. On June 15, he earned his first Major League win but again was sent down to Scranton, where he completed the season 5-1, but in November, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners. He bombed with the Mariners and selected free agency.

The New York Yankees signed him to a minor league contract in a third stint. He came up to the Stadium on May 20, 2021. In nine games at the beginning of the season, he won no games but recorded a 1.05 ERA. The Yankees won both of the games that Cortes started. Where he ends up in the rotation this season, one thing will be sure he will surely entertain.

New York Yankees: 4 takeaways from “Who’s your daddy” sweep of the Red Sox

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

The New York Yankees, entered last night’s game at Fenway Park, looking to sweep the rival Red Sox as they looked for the home-field advantage in the wild-card race. The age-old rivalry was in full force as they looked to shame their rivals with a sweep this late in the season and knock them out of the number one spot in the wild card. In that effort, they sent Jordan Montgomery to the mound at Fenway to face the supposed ace, Eduardo Rodriguez. At the end of the night, the Yankees had achieved their goal. The Yankees won 6-3.

“Monty’ did what he needed to do

Yankee pitcher Jordan Montgomery who has suffered from a lack of run support all season, continued that trend last night. He didn’t have the luxury that Cortes Jr. had Thursday night when the Yankees scored three runs in the first inning. He got no run support through his first four innings of work. Finally, he got some in the fifth. Nevertheless, Montgomery did his job holding the Red Sox to just one run.

Following Montgomery, the amazing Clay Holmes came in and pitched a clean sixth, striking out the side in order. Joely Rodriguez fumbled in his outing, being completely wild and giving up two runs. Chad Green pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. Aroldis Chapman closed out the game with this not-so-familiar dominance.

Stanton/Judge led the Yankees to sweep

Last night in the top of the eighth inning Aaron Judge hit a double that put the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox. After the Yankees’ best defenders dropped two balls and Tyler Wade was caught stealing, LeMahieu walked. Anthony Rizzo doubled for the Yankees extra-base hit, with LeMahieu moving to third. Aaron Judge faced the new Red Sox pitcher Adam Ottavino with two on and one out and doubled, scoring two runs for the Yankees, taking the lead once again.

Giancarlo Stanton crushed another home run over the green monster in the eighth, driving in Judge for another two runs in another highlight of the night. Stanton joined Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Micky Mantle as the only Yankees to hit 3 home runs in one three-game series at Fenway Park. For Stanton, that was joining baseball Royalty. Stanton has been white-hot since August 3rd with a .289 average and hitting 18 home runs.

Red Sox shamed by Yankees late-season run

The Boston Red Sox must have been scratching their heads at the end of last night’s shame game outcome. The Yankees shamed the Red Sox in their last meeting at their own home field. The Yankees pulled out an eighth-inning win in the final game of the series for the sweep. However, the Red Sox still has the bragging rights for taking the season from the Yankees.

To add to the humiliation, In this three-game series, Giancarlo Stanton acted like a one-person team as he drove in 11 Yankee runs all by himself. The Red Sox in the three-game series only scored 9 runs total.

Yankees own the #1 wild card berth

With the win, last night the New York Yankees now own the number one berth in the wild card race knocking the Red Sox out by one run in the loss column. But the fact of the matter is that the Yankees can’t over celebrate that feat; they have a lot of work to do to hold on to it. The Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, who are just one game behind, have an elementary schedule in the last week of the season; the Yankee have the most challenging schedule.

The Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. Then, the Blue Jays play the Red Sox and the Orioles. Then, the Yankees have to play the Toronto Blue Jays at Roger’s Center starting tomorrow and finally the Tampa Bay Rays to close out the season at Yankee Stadium. The bottom line is that the Yankees will have to play their hearts out, win almost every game if they have any hope of reaching the AL Championship series, and even more to obtain their long-awaited 28th World Championship.

 

New York Yankees: Buckle up buttercup, it’s going to be a tough weekend, here’s the preview

yankees, gerrit cole

Tonight, the New York Yankees open a three-game weekend series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. This series not only revisits the oldest rivalry in sports, but it is against a team the has won seven straight games and holds the number one berth in the wild-card race. Unfortunately, the Yankees this season have won only 7 of 16 against the Red Sox.

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock for the last few weeks, the Yankees have slipped in and out of holding one of those berths in a winner take all game, that either ends the season or propels them into the divisional series. Presently they hold the number two spot with the Toronto Blue Jays nipping at their heels.

The Yankees have a gargantuan job holding onto that spot as they play the last nine games of the season with teams that are statistically equal or better than they are. The Seattle Mariners are still in the mix as well, just one game behind the Blue Jays. The Yankees have to do well this weekend, at least taking two games from the Red Sox. Tonight toward that goal, they are pitting Yankee ace, Gerrit Cole against Nathan Eovaldi in that park with the famous green monster.

Tonight, September 24, 7:10 pm EDT:

Tonight the Yankees will put their best foot forward with Gerrit Cole on the mound. Cole is the Yankee ace and has won more games than any other Yankee starter. He is 15-8 with an ERA of 3.03 and an incredible 231 strikeouts on the season. Unfortunately, he is coming off his worst start of the season, a loss to the Cleveland Indians when he gave up seven runs in 5.2 innings of work with two home runs allowed. However, Cole will hope to bounce back and prop up the Yankees for a game one win. Cole is going to have to keep Rafael Devers in check. He has two homers off Cole and five RBIs this season.

Cole will face one of the best Red Sox pitchers in Nathan Eovaldi, a righty that is 10-8 with an ERA of 3.58 and 188 strikeouts. The edge in this game goes to Cole but only for a minimal margin. Eovaldi has faced the Yankees twice this season. On June 5th, he earned the 5-2 win over the Yankees. The flame thrower’s changeups mystified the Yankee hitters. On July 24th, he threw 100 pitches and left the game with a 3-0 advantage, but the Sox bullpen blew it when the Yankees came roaring back in the 8th led by Brett Gardner to win it over the Sox 4-3. DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge have had Eovaldis number all season long. Both with batting averages over .368.

Tonight’s game will be televised in the New York area in WPIX and its affiliates, NESN, and nationally on ESPN.

Saturday, September 25, 4:10 pm EDT

Saturday will be another tough matchup when relief pitcher turned starter Nestor Cortes Jr. takes the mound for the Yankees. For the most part, other than a few hiccups along the way, Cortes has been brilliant for the Yankees, much more than his stats would suggest. He is a lefty that is 2-2 with a low 2.79 ERA and 94 strikeouts. He has faced the Red Sox twice this season, both no-decisions. He is coming off three of his best outings in a row also for no-decisions. He achieved a season-high 11 strikeouts in a September 15 game.

Cortez will battle for the win against righty Nick Pivetta who is 9-7 with a 4.63 ERA and 159 strikeouts. His sixth loss of the season was against the New York Yankees on August 18th. Anthony Rizzo has six RBI’s off him, and Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez have been Pivetta killers. Saturday’s game will be on the YES Network, NESN, and MLBN out of the market.

Sunday, September 26, 7:08 pm EDT

The Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound for the series finale, and the last time the two teams will meet up in the regular season. “Monty” is 6-6 with an ERA of 3.55 and 155 strikeouts. Montgomery is one of two Yankees pitchers that have gotten the least run support in his starts stunting his record. Montgomery is coming off a win against the Rangers and had a season-high 12 strikeouts against the Orioles. Monty will have to be careful with Xander Bogaerts; he has a .438 average off him in 24 at-bats.

Montgomery will face the Boston Red Sox ace Eduardo Rodriguez who is 11-8 with an ERA of 4.97 and 170 strikeouts. E-Rod has not had the best of seasons due to heart problems that kept him off the field in 2020. He is a force to be dealt with, however. He started the season gangbusters, winning his first 5 games in a row, but he has not been as dependable since then, winning only 5 more games in the next three months. Gleyber Torres has hit 3 homers off him, while Joey Gallo generated two long balls in just six at-bats.

The Sunday evening game will be broadcast nationally only on ESPN.