Tag Archives: Dickey

More awards, a signing, and a huge trade.

Manager of the Year Awards went out last night. Davey Johnson of Washington won for the N.L., and the A.L. award went to Bob Melvin of Oakland.

I thought Buck Showalter of Baltimore would win in the A.L., but he lost 16 first-place votes to 12. I’m not saying Melvin wasn’t deserving, but I thought Buck would get it.

Today, the CYA winners were announced. David Price of Tampa Bay edged out Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the A.L. award by just four points. The N.L.  award went to R. A. Dickey of the Mets, who became the first knuckleballer to ever win the award.

Tomorrow, the MVPs.

Torii Hunter signed a 2-yr. deal with Detroit. You would think that Hunter, winner of 9 Gold Glove awards, will help the Tiger defense, what with being next to Austin Jackson in that big outfield in Detroit. Hunter wanted 2 years, and the Yanks wouldn’t go for that, even if Swisher goes. Hunter got those 2 years, along with $26MM, from the Tigers. Hunter, who will be 38 next June (and it may be a good thing the Yanks DID NOT get him, what with their present age concerns), hit .313-16-92, OPS+ 132 for the Angels this past year. Yes, an excellent year, but you have to ask how many players 35+ you want on the Yankees.

As for the Yankees, they better watch out. Toronto made a huge trade. If the old players on the Yankees show their age, then the Yanks could very well slip to 3rd or 4th place in the A.L. East. The Blue Jays picked up a #1 AND a #2 starter from the Marlins in Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, as well as an All-Star SS in Jose Reyes. They also got C John Buck and speedy utility man Emilio Bonifacio in the deal. (Reyes and Bonifacio combined for 70 SB, and Bonifacio only played in 64 games).

There is rumors that Miami isn’t done. I see on the BBD blog that the Yanks are thinking about bringing back Ibanez (I’m against it, he’ll be 41 next June) and thinking about Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins. I also see a rumor that Miami may shop Logan Morrison.

Nolasco, 29, was 12-13, 4.48, ERA+ 88 last year. I don’t want that. For his career, he is 76-64, 4.49. His 162 g. average is 14-12, 4.49. Figure in the DH league he goes something like 13-13, 4.80. That’s not good enough in my book.

I’d rather let Ibanez go and go after Morrison if the Marlins have him on the block. I appreciate what Ibanez did last year (esp. in the postseason), but he will be 41 next June. How many old players do you want on the Yankees (think Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera, A-Rod, maybe Kuroda, maybe Ichiro… Jones is most likely gone, if Chavez comes back, he is 35, Ichiro…). Morrison is 25, LF/1B. With Gardner maybe moving to CF and Granderson to LF, Morrison can DH, play RF and fill in at 1B once in a while (he seems better suited for DH, his defense isn’t good). He hit just .230-11-36 (OPS+ 91) last year, but is young, a lefty hitter, 6’3″ 240 and hopefully can use that to take advantage of the porch. He hasn’t done badly vs. lefties (.247 vs. righties and .259 vs. lefties). He hit 23 HR in 2011. His 162 g. average is .250-21-73. OPS+ 110. Younger than Ibanez, more potential, can probably put up better numbers in 2013 than Raul.

But getting back to Toronto. This is a big deal for them. Let’s face it. The Yanks have an OLD team. If the Yanks don’t watch it, they can fall to fourth place in a hurry, maybe even last. God forbid. But look at the division. Good young players in Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and now Toronto made a big move. Goodness knows how Boston will rebuild.

Yes, I know the Yanks had the best record in the league last year. But they were exposed in the playoffs.

There is a fine line between experienced, and old.

Will the Yanks inject some youth in 2013?

These are the Celtics?

It’s funny looking at the standings and seeing the Celtics at 4-7. What makes it worse is that the NBA season is just 66 games this year because of the lockout, which means less recovery time.

Allen, Garnett and Pierce are getting old, and it’s showing. You wonder if, like with Bird, McHale and Parish, Boston hung onto them too long.

Pierce suffered through a long stretch of the Celtics not being any good, and now, they are reverting to what he dealt with for so long.

It’s hard watching the fabled franchise (17 NBA titles) struggle. You wonder what the long-range plan is, because it’s apparent that the Big Three (plus Rondo) are struggling.

I see one letter in the NY Post today. It asks “besides Yogi, what other catcher other than Posada, has five rings?” Now, Posada wasn’t there long in 1996, so that ring may not mean as much as the other four (1998-2000, 2009), but how about I give an answer? Bill Dickey. (1932, 1936-1939, 1941 and 1943).

A Catching Lineage.

As I mentioned in the previous post about Posada, NO team can match the Yankees’ catching lineage. NONE. Let’s briefly look at that lineage.

1) Bill Dickey. HOF. #8 retired by the Yanks. Yanks 1928-1943, 1946.
.313 BA. 202 HR. OPS+ 127. 5th, 5th, 2nd and 6th in MVP voting 1936-1939. 8th in 1943 (a WWII year) at the age of 36. (Yanks mgr. 1946).

2) Yogi Berra. HOF. #8 retired by the Yanks. Yanks 1947-1963, Mets 1965. Yanks mgr. 1964, 1984-1985. MVP 1951, 1954, 1955.
How about this run? 3rd, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 1st and 2nd in MVP voting from 1950-1956.
.285 BA. 358 HR. OPS+ 125.

3) Elston Howard. #32 retired, Yankees 1955-1967, Red Sox 1967-1968.
1963 MVP. Also 10th in MVP 1961, 3rd in 1964.
.274, 167 HR. OPS+ 108.
Had he not died at age 51, could he have become the first black manager of a NY team?

4) Thurman Munson. #15 retired. Yankees 1969-1979.
Untimely death at age 32.
Could he have become a Yankees mgr.?
.292, 113 HR, OPS+ 116; MVP in 1976. 7th in 1975 and 1977.

5) Jorge Posada. #20 (we’ll see). Yankees 1995-2011.
HOF? (We’ll see). Future Yankees Mgr.? (likewise).
.273, 275 HR, OPS+ 121.  3rd in MVP voting 2003, 6th in 2007.

SB by a catcher.

On the LoHud blog, it’s noted that Russell Martin’s 8th sb is the 3rd most by a Yankees catcher in the past 50 years.

Joe Girardi had 13 in 1996. Thurman Munson had 14 in 1976, but 11 were as as a catcher, 3 at other positions (LF, RF, DH). They only went back 50 years. Elston Howard was SLOW. 9 for 23 in his career. Yogi was 30 for 56 in his career. Bill Dickey was 36 for 68 in his career. I haven’t gone back in time, but 50 years? More like Martin is 3rd most by a Yankees catcher in at least 80 years.

Looking back at another time, and another catching competition

Now that it has been made official, that the Yanks plan to move Posada to DH next year and open up the catching position to the youngsters, how about a post on another catching competition?

In 2011, a 39 year old (40 in August) Posada will give up a lot of the catching chores. Soon to be 21 year old Jesus Montero is the front runner to win the position. 24 year old Francisco Cervelli, last year’s backup who got considerable playing time will have a shot, as will Austin Romine, who will be 22 when camp opens. Montero (AAA last year) and Romine (AA) have yet to play in the majors.

Soon to be 18 year old Gary Sanchez is a few years away, but already rated the #2 prospect in the Yankees system, behind Montero. 

Let’s look back at another time there was competition for the Yankees’ catching position.

In 1946 the Yankees had a 39 year old catcher in Bill Dickey. Of course, there was no DH role back then to slide Dickey into. Dickey ended his career by hitting .261-2-10, OPS + 101 in 134 AB. One reason Dickey retired, besides his age, was his new job. For in May of 1946, Joe McCarthy resigned as Yankees manager. Dickey took over. With that came added responsibility. Long story short, Dickey didn’t care for managing and resigned himself late in 1946. The Yanks closed 1946 with Johnny Neun as their manager. They then got Bucky Harris for 1947. 

But a transition needed to be made at the catching position also.

In 1946, players were coming back from WWII. Baseball was trying to get back to normal. Players were trying to shake off “baseball rust” that accumulated while they were doing something more important—winning a war. Unfortunately, Some veterans of WWII still couldn’t play in the majors no matter how good they were. 1946 was the last year of an all-white major leagues. Desegregating the majors was still a year away.

The Yanks’ main catcher in 1946 was Aaron Robinson. Robinson hit .297, with 16 HR and 64 RBI. A lefty hitter, Robinson was 31 at the time. It took him a long time to get to the majors. He got one AB in 1943 and struck out. His MLB debut came at the age of 28. In 1945 he went .281-8-24 in 160 AB, OPS+ 147. In that 1946 season, a year when the Yanks finished 3rd, Robinson finished 16th in MVP voting with the stats listed above and an OPS+ of 147. Nice numbers. Nice career ahead of him, right? Nope. In 1947, Robinson was the primary C of the champion Yankees, hitting .270-5-36. He made the All-Star team, his only appearance. The OPS+ was a respectable 118. He went 2 for 10 in the World Series. But in February 1948 the Yanks traded him to the White Sox for Eddie Lopat. It was a trade that worked out for the Yanks, since Lopat joined Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi to form the “Big Three,” a trio that led the Yanks to five consecutive WS triumphs from 1949-1953.

Robinson had ok numbers from 1948 to 1951. He hit .252-8-39, OPS+ 96 for the White Sox in 1948 before moving on to the Tigers 1949-1951. He hit 13 HR for the 1949 Tigers. He ended his career with the 1951 Red Sox. Robinson finished his career with a .260 average, 61 HR and an OPS+ of 112.

Gus Niarhos went 9 for 40 for the 1946 Yanks at the age of 25. He was out of the majors in 1947 but came back to catch 83 games in 1948 for the Yankees, hitting .268-0-19, OPS+ 99. He had 43 ABs in 1949. In 1950, after one game with the Yankees, he was selected off waivers by the White Sox. He wound up hitting .324 in 105 AB for Chicago that year. Niarhos was with the White Sox in 1951, hitting .256-1-10 in 168 AB. He spent 1952 and 1953 with Boston, and 1954 and 1955 with the Phillies. After 1951, he only had a total of 107 more at bats in the majors. Niarhos hit .252 in his MLB career with just one HR in 691 AB.

Ken Silvestri got into 13 games for the 1946 Yankees. 6 for 21 at the age of 30. He was with the White Sox 1939 and 1940, Yankees 1941, 1946-1947, and the Phils 1949-1951. He only had a total of 203 MLB at bats, though. .217-5-25, OPS+ 78.

Bill Drescher, at age 25, was 2 for 6 for the 1946 Yanks, then never played in the majors again. Drescher got 7 ABs in 1944. In 1945 he went .270-0-15 in 48 games. He had just 139 ABs in his brief career, .266-0-16. OPS+ 75.

There was one other guy who got some catching time in. A 21 year old catcher. Good bat but there was serious concerns about his defense. We’ll get to him later.

In 1947, Robinson got most of the playing time at catcher. (See his stats above). One of his backups was a 27 year old rookie, Ralph Houk. Houk hit .272-0-12 in 92 AB in 1947, OPS+ 91. Houk only got 66 more ABs in his MLB career, despite hanging on with the Yanks through 1954. He finished .272-0-20 in only 166 MLB at bats. OPS+ 79. Houk, of course, made his mark another way by managing the 1961 and 1962 Yankees to World Championships and the 1963 squad to the AL pennant. He spent all or parts of 20 years as a manager for the Yanks, Tigers and Red Sox, winning 1619 and losing 1531. From 1964-1966, he was the Yanks’ GM.

Silvestri (see above) was 2 for 10 in 1947. Another backup was Sherm Lollar.

Lollar was just 22, turning 23 in August 1947. He had played 28 games for the 1946 Indians, hitting .242-1-9. With the Yanks in 1947, he played in 11 games, going 7 for 32 with a HR and 6 RBI. He went 3 for 4 in the WS with 2 doubles. The Yanks’ catcher of the future, right (especially with the stats, lack of playing time of the others listed above, except for Robinson)? Nope. In 1948 Lollar went 8 for 38 for the Yanks. He was then traded to the Browns.

Lollar went on to have a very good career. He was with the Browns 1949 to 1951, then with the White Sox 1952-1963. He went on to become a seven-time All Star. He was the starting catcher for the 1959 AL Champion White Sox. He finished in the top 10 of MVP voting in 1958 and 1959, when he hit 20 and 22 HR. For half his career, there were no Gold Glove Awards. Now, sometimes the GG is a joke, but Lollar won three of them. Twice he had seasons of over 80 RBI. He ended his career hitting .264 with 155 HR. OPS+ 104.

Hmm, it’s something to let a future seven-time All-Star go…

Oh yeah…there was still that guy from 1946 I didn’t get to yet. The 21 year old who had a good bat but whose D was questionable. Yup, he was there in 1947 as well. I’ll get to him in a bit. Hold on. 

In 1948, Niarhos got most of the catching time for a team that came in third. You can see his stats above. Houk was there (29 AB) as was Lollar (38 AB). There was another new guy on the scene as well. A 23 year old named Charlie Silvera. He only got 14 ABs, but went 8 for 14. Bright future?

Well, Silvera stayed with the Yanks through 1956. In 1957 he ended his career with the Cubs. He did get 130 AB in 1949, hitting .315-0-13, OPS+ 95 but only had 482 AB in his ten-year career, going .282-1-52, OPS+ 86.

So you had Robinson take over for Dickey. Robinson was replaced by Niarhos. Houk was there, as was Lollar in his pre-All Star days. Silvera. Drescher. Silvestri.

…and that funny looking kid.

That funny looking kid took over as full-time catcher in 1949.

Yup. Good bat. Questionable D. 

1946. Six games at catcher. Seven total. 8 for 22, 2 HR and 4 RBI.
1947. Still shaky with the D. Bill Dickey is working with him. 51 games at catcher. The Yanks want his bat in the lineup. 24 games in the OF. 83 total games. .280-11-54, OPS+ 114. Hey, the 22 year old kid actually finished 15th in MVP voting. Hit the first PH HR in WS history, too.
1948. You know, this kid sure talks funny but boy, can he hit. Dickey is still working with him, though. 71 games at C, 50 in the OF. .305-14-98, OPS+ 120. You know what, he swings at everything but almost never strikes out. 469 AB. Just 24 strikeouts. Made the All-Star team, too. 29th in MVP voting.

1949. Hey, guess who is the full-time catcher? He got hurt and missed a month. Silvera had to catch for a while, but 116 games, 109 at catcher. No OF. .277-20-91. OPS+ 111. All Star, 15th in MVP voting.

This kid turned out all right, the one who eventually got the job. .285, 358 HR. OPS+ 125. Made the HOF. A three-time MVP. Gee, Lollar was named an All-Star in seven seasons. This guy was named a All-Star in fifteen seasons. From 1950 to 1956 this guy finished 3rd, 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 1st and 2nd in MVP voting. That’s something.    

He even managed. Yanks and Mets. Took both to the WS, but lost both times. He got his number retired, #8. His mentor, Dickey, has the same number retired. 

…and this guy also became a national treasure.

By now you know who that kid is.

Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra.       

If only the winner of the competition to succeed Posada becomes half as good as Yogi was.

But, especially with Sanchez still a few years down the road, the eventual winner may not be determined for a few years. It took some years of adjustment from Dickey’s retirement in 1946 to Yogi becoming full time in 1949.

Could we be seeing the same now? A few years of adjustment from Posada sliding to DH to to eventual winner establishing himself?   

Time will tell.  

Game 63. Posada slams Astros again in Yanks 9-5 win.

When the Yanks went on the 16 game stretch that just concluded, I was hoping for 12-4 and making up ground on the Rays.

Mission accomplished.

12-4 is what it was and the Yanks are now tied for first with the Rays at 40-23, thanks to Jorge Posada.

For the second day in a row, Jorge hit a grand slam—becoming the first Yankee to slam in two consecutive games since Bill Dickey in 1937. #251 for Jorge passes Graig Nettles on the Yankees HR list.

Robbie Cano hit a HR today, #100 of his career. He’s at .371.

Ramiro Pena had a two-run single, and Brett Gardner had 2 hits (.317), an RBI & SB #22.

Chad Huffman got a hit in his first MLB at bat.

Phil Hughes was solid for 5, then struggled when rains came in the 6th. He went 5 2/3, 5 R, 7 H and 6 K with two walks. He improved to 9-1 and the ERA went up to 3.11. Marte went 1/3, K. (3.09).

Park the scoreless 7th. 1 K, 5.71. Joba the 8th, scoreless. 4.76.

Mo went the 9th, 2 K. scoreless as the Yanks won 9-5. The great Rivera lowered his ERA to 1.21.

Yanks off Monday.

A special game in Wrigley as Lilly and Floyd looked like they would throw a double-no-no. Floyd lost his no-no in the 7th and gave up the only run of the game. Lilly threw 8 no-hit innings before losing his no-no. The game was up for grabs until the final out (bases were loaded with just one out). Cubs 1, White Sox 0 and only four hits in the game.

For those wondering, a double no-no after nine was done in 1917. Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs and Fred Toney of the Reds. Vaughn lost the no-hitter in the 10th and gave up a run. Toney got a 10-inning no-hitter as the only run of the game was driven in by Jim Thorpe.

In Cleveland, Strasburg went to 2-0 for the Nats. 8 K in 5 1/3. Watching was 91 year old HOFer, Bob Feller, who at the age of 17 struck out 15 in his MLB debut in 1936.  

Huh? Questions about the Lineup’s picks again…this time at 3B and next week—SS.

No, the lineup did choose the right guy for #1 at 3B–A-Rod.

It’s the four below him I question. They did pick Graig Nettles and Red Rolfe as I thought they should. It’s the other two I question.

Howard Johnson for the Mets? I wondered about that one myself and was tempted. I chose David Wright, however.

HoJo was with the Mets from 1985-1993. He hit 192 HR as a Met, but had just a .251 BA with them. 124 OPS+. His career 162 g. average was .249-24-80, OPS+ 117. Average not hot, but good OPS+. Good speed, too, as he went 30-30 three times for the Mets (1987, 1989 and 1991) and led the NL in HR in 1991 with 38. He also led the league in RBI that year. His OPS+ numbers with the Mets? 94, 118, 133, 124, 169, 106, 145, 91, 98.  10th in MVP voting in 1987, 5th in 1989 and 1991. Didn’t think the numbers were that good, do you? Four times did Johnson steal 30 or more. After turning 30, however, Johnson’s numbers dropped like a rock in water. 1987-1991 superb, but his numbers before and after weren’t. His postseason numbers make A-Rod’s previous struggles pale in comparison. 1 for 26 in the postseason. Not the greatest glove.

Wright had a tough year in adjusting to Citi Field. Just 10 HR last year. He has a long way to go, as he has only had five full seasons as a Met. In those years however, Wright has had two 30 HR seasons, one a 30/30, to HoJo’s three. His 162 g. average to date is .308-27-107, OPS+ 136. He has won two GG (two more than HoJo) and has finished in the top 10 for MVP voting 3x (same as HoJo). Maybe the panel didn’t feel like Wright has done enough yet to put him over HoJo. I disagree.

As for the other spot, Clete Boyer was selected. I was tempted to put Frank Baker there, but Home Run Baker’s dead ball era HOF stats were best with the Philadelphia A’s, not with the Yankees.

But here is my biggest gripe with the Lineup. How can they put Gary Carter—who only had two really good years in NY, and who was selected over Dickey and Munson—on the all-time NY team for catchers, but not put Wade Boggs on for 3B?

Yes, I know Boggs had his best years in Boston. But if you choose Carter over Dickey and Munson, how do you not then choose Boggs over Boyer?

Yes, I know Boyer had the better glove. He also couldn’t hit.

Boyer hit .241 as a Yankee, .242 in his career. His 162 g. average was .242-15-61, OPS+ just 87. A lot of Gold Gloves he could have won, he didn’t because of Brooks Robinson. Boyer was a full-time player from 1960-1966 with the Yankees. He hit .224 in 1961, .218 in 1964.

Boggs was with the Yankees for just five years, but hit .292 or better in each of those years. The .292 was the only year under .300. As a Yankee, Boggs hit .313. His 162 g. average for his career was .328-8-67 and his great eye for a walk led to a career OPS+ of 130 (111 as a Yankee). Over 3000 hits in his career. A HOF. Not the fielder Boyer was, but still 2 GG.

The OPS+ numbers for Boggs as a Yankee weren’t as good as in Boston, 104, 141, 119, 98 and 102, but they were still better than Boyer’s.

But I repeat…how can Carter (see a previous post on that) get on over Dickey and Munson when Carter had only two good NY years, but Boggs lose out to Boyer?

Next week? The SS. We know who’ll be #1…and he wears #2 (Jeter). One #1 will wind up one of the runnerups (Pee Wee Reese) along with Rizzuto. Who’ll be the other two?

UPDATE: Already I see a HUGE problem with the SS picks. No, not with Jeter, Scooter or Pee Wee, but with the other choices. I mean, WHERE IS ALVIN DARK? He is not even one of the choices that you can select….but Kevin Elster is? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Elster: .228 career hitter, OPS+ 83. .224 in seven years with the Mets. In 40 games with the Yankees, he went 2 for 37. Elster had three years in NY where he played in 100 or more games. Those years?

1988. .214-9-37. OPS+ 75
1989. .231-10-55 OPS+ 87
1991 .241-6-36 OPS+ 89

Alvin Dark. NYG 1950-1956. 1951 NL Pennant Giants, 1954 WS Champs.
Career .289 hitter with an OPS+ of 98.

23 HR in 1953, 20 in 1954. Not the glove of Elster, but a far better bat. 5th in MVP voting in 1954. .300 or better, 1951-1953.

Not only that, Dave Bancroft isn’t on the list. Only 4 years with the NYG, 1920-1923, but a HOF who hit .300 or better 1921-1923.

Elster on the list over Dark and Bancroft. You gotta be ****ing kidding me.     

But then, they’ll probably take .236 hitting Buddy Harrelson as one of their backups, while not even nominating Dark or Bancroft.

You gotta be kidding me.