Category Archives: Ex-Players

Ex-All Star Catcher Crandall passes away at age 91.

Del Crandall, an 11x All-Star catcher who won 4 Gold Glove awards, and who was the starting catcher for the 1957 WS Champion Milwaukee Braves, passed away two days ago at the age of 91.

Crandall caught for the Boston Braves in 1949 and 1950, then lost two seasons due to military service. He came back to the Braves, now in Milwaukee, and was with them from 1953 to 1963. He played for the Giants in 1964, Pirates in 1965 and ended his career with the Indians in 1966.

He was runner-up for the Rookie of the Year Award in 1949.

He got MVP consideration 7x, including a 10th place finish in 1958, when the Braves won the NL pennant. He hit .272-18-63 that year. OPS+ 119.

In the WS Title year of 1957, he hit .253-15-46, OPS+ 97.

He hit 20 or more HR 3x.

In 13 WS games, Crandall hit .227 with 2 HR, 4 RBI.

He is ranked the 40th best C of all-time on the baseball-reference site.

His 162 game average was .254-18-68, but of course catchers don’t catch all 162. OPS+ 96. A catcher with some pop.

From 1953-1960 he averaged 130 games a year, .259-19-60, OPS+ 105.

He managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 1972 to 1975, and when he was fired, one of his players was his long-time ex-teammate, Henry Aaron.

He also managed Seattle in 1983 and 1984.

His managerial record was 364-469, winning percentage .437, which equates to a 162 game season of 71-91.

Game 31. Yanks’ bullpen falters in 7-4 loss.

Gerrit Cole left after 7 innings with a 3-2 lead, but the Yanks’ (16-15) bullpen, a strength so far this season, faltered in a 7-4 loss to Houston Thursday afternoon.

The Yanks struck first when the red-hot Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo HR (9). He has a 12 game hitting streak.

Cole gave up a HR in the top of the fourth to Yordan Alvarez, who would torment the Yanks all game.

A 2-run HR (3) by Clint Frazier in the bottom of the fourth put the Yanks’ up 3-1.

Cole gave up another HR to Alvarez in the seventh. 3-2.

In the top of the eighth, the wheels fell off. Chad Green gave up a 3-run HR to Jose Altuve and Houston went up 5-3.

On a strange play in the bottom of the eighth, Gleyber Torres scored all the way from first on an infield single by Aaron HIcks to cut Houston’s lead to 5-4.

But Justin Wilson gave up a 2-run HR in the top of the ninth, final Houston 7-4. The Yanks’ bullpen disappointed today.

Gio Urshela had to leave the game. MRI today.

Can’t wait to get Luke Voit back. Jay Bruce retired after hitting just .118. Mike Ford is 3 for 31 (.091).

Stanton solo HR (9)
Urshela 2 hits.
Hicks 3 for 3, walk, RBI.
Frazier 2 run HR (3)

Cole 7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 4 K. 1.61 Gave up 2 HR.
Green (L, 0-3; BS, 1) 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.50 Gave up HR.
Luetge 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.63
Wilson 1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 7.04 Gave up 1 HR.

Missing Zack Britton too. Wilson hasn’t filled his shoes.

Two sidenotes about three of the greatest players in MLB history.

One, Happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays.
Two. Albert Pujols released by Angels. 3253 hits, 667 HR.
Three. Miguel Cabrera last I saw hitting about .105. Needs something like 128 hits for 3000, 11 HR for 500, but ugh. Something like 6 for 57 so far.

Minor league report tomorrow morning.

Game 25. Yanks fall in 10, 4-3.

Somewhere in the great beyond, Phil Rizzuto, one of the greatest bunters of all time, is shaking his head, while saying “Holy Cow, can’t these huckleberries bunt?”

The lack of the Yankees to lay down a bunt, and the ability of Baltimore to do so, enabled the Orioles to beat the Yanks (11-14) 4-3 Thursday afternoon.

Baltimore got a run in the first inning off of Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery, but the Yanks went ahead 2-1 with a couple of runs in the top of the fifth inning.

The Yanks loaded the bases with no one out when Brett Gardner singled, D.J. LeMahieu walked, and Giancarlo Stanton singled. After two non-productive outs, Rougned Odor singled in two runs.

Montgomery gave up a game-tying HR in the bottom of the sixth, and the O’s went ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth by getting a run off of Darren O’Day.

In the top of the ninth, Mike Ford walked, and after an out, LeMahieu also walked. Then came another out. Down to their last out, Gleyber Torres tied the game with a ground-rule double.

In the top of the tenth, the Yanks started the inning with Gio Urshela at second (I hate this extra inning rule). Tyler Wade couldn’t get down a bunt, and struck out. The Yanks failed to score when Aaron Hicks tapped back to the pitcher and after an intentional walk to Gary Sanchez, Ford struck out.

In the bottom of the tenth, the O’s started the inning with their man on second (once again, I hate that rule). Their guy DID get the bunt down to move the runner to third, then a sac fly brought home the winning run. Exactly what the Yanks needed to do.

One reason I hate that rule. The pitcher does his job, getting two outs, and it wasn’t his fault a man was on second. But he takes the loss. In this case, Loaisiga does nothing wrong. It’s just that MLB forces him to need a strikeout. They are forcing him to get an out a certain way.

Stanton 3 hits
Odor 2 RBI

Montgomery 5+ IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 W, 1 K. 4.39 Gave up 1 HR.
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 4 K. 0.59
O’Day 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.00
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 0.00
Loaisiga (L, 2-1) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1.17

Before the game Mike King went down, Wandy Peralta (just acquired) up. Wade replaced Tauchman (traded for Peralta) on the roster.

Game 17. Yanks’ bats still quiet in 4-1 loss.

Since I was only six at the time, I don’t remember too much of the 1968 Yankees, other than honoring my dad’s request to call him if he was out of the room every time #7 (Mickey Mantle) came up to bat. It was Mickey’s last season and my dad didn’t want to miss Mickey’s at bats.

Mickey only hit .237 that season, but it still was one of the better averages on a team that only hit .214 (no DH). HIs 18 HR led the team (thanks to a gift from Denny McLain, he beat out Roy White by one HR).

But that team is noted for its offensive deficiencies in the year of the pitcher.

It’s early, but this 2021 Yankees team so far resembles that 1968 team offensively.

There is a lot of time to turn things around, but we the fan base are getting impatient. Especially after the Yanks (6-11) were futile offensively again in losing to Atlanta, 4-1, on Wednesday night.

Corey Kluber started and wasn’t bad until running out of gas in the fifth, when the Braves scored twice. The Braves got another run in the seventh, They got a solo HR in the ninth.

The Yanks’ only run was actually a gift. They should have been shut out. In the bottom of the ninth, Aaron Hicks walked with one out. After another out, Hicks moved up to second on defensive indifference. Clint Frazier blooped a single to drive in HIcks. It was Frazier’s first RBI of the year. It’s hard to believe that after 17 games, both Frazier and Gleyber Torres each have just one RBI.

The Yanks only got give hits in the game, and the team batting average dropped to .205. No need to highlight individual failings, there are so many.

The Yanks express confidence in the team, manager Aaron Boone, and also the coaching staff, but I am pretty sure the hitting coaches (Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere) are feeling the heat.

We the fans, are sure impatient. This team has to start hitting soon, but when?

The Yanks are actually second in the league in ERA (3.41) but in 17 games, have given up 11 unearned runs. The defense has to tighten up, too.

Kluber (L, 0-2) 4 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 4 H, 2 W. 5.40
Nelson 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 3 K. 8.53
Cessa 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 0.93
Kriske 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 W, 1 K. 9.00 Gave up HR.

Kriske was brought up when King went back to the alternate site a few days ago. He was sent back down after the game so that the Yanks could recall Thursday’s starter, Domingo German.

Early 1960s Boston 2B Chuck Schilling passes away at age 83.

Chuck Schilling, who played for Boston from 1961-1965 and was their starting 2B from 1961-1963, passed away recently at the age of 83.

Schilling finished 3rd in ROY voting in 1961, and finished 19th in MVP voting that year when he hit .259-5-62. A couple of years hitting in the .230s followed, and then a couple years as a bench player.

In 541 MLB games, he hit .239 with 23 HR. His 162 game average was .239-7-44, OPS+ 69.

Former St. Louis 3B Reitz passes away at age 69.

Ken Reitz, Cardinals 3B for most of the 1970s, has passed away at the age of 69.

Reitz played for the Cardinals (1972-1975), Giants (1976), Cardinals again (1977-1980), Cubs (1981) and Pirates (1982).

One thing I remembered about Reitz is that it seemed he’d have a great April every year, then come back to earth. So I looked it up, and I was right. A .314 hitter in April, but a .260 career hitter.

His 162 game average was .260-8-66, OPS+ 79.

He won a Gold Glove in 1975 and was an All-Star in 1980.

Ex-Yankee 3B, Cardiologist and AL President Bobby Brown dies at 96.

Dr. Bobby Brown, 3B for the Yankees (1946-1952, 1954), who later became a renowned cardiologist and President of the American League, has passed away at the age of 96.

Mostly a 3B, the lefty hitting Brown also played some at SS, 2B and a little outfield.

He served his country in WWII before becoming a Yankee, and also during the Korean Conflict, which made him miss most of the 1952 season and all of 1953.

A platoon player, the most at bats he got in a season was in 1948, when he played in 113 games. He hit .300 that season, as well as .300 in very limited time (150 AB) in 1947.

In 548 MLB games, he hit .279, with 22 HR. His OPS+ was 100, right on the league average. His 162 game average was .279-7-70.

But it was in the World Series that he made his mark. In 1947, he got into four games, all as a PH, and went 3 for 3 with a walk. Two doubles, 3 RBI.

In 1949, he went 6 for 12. One double, two triples, 5 RBI.

He was 4 for 12 with a double, triple and and RBI in the 1950 WS.

Finally, in 1951, he was 5 for 14 with a double.

He missed the 1952 and 1953 WS because of military service.

But in the four WS he played in, the Yankees won all four.

And his WS numbers? 18 for 41, an astounding .439 WS batting average. 5 doubles, 3 triples and 9 RBI.


And I am sure his patients when he became a cardiologist would say the same.

S.T. Game 21. Phils blank Yanks, 4-0.

The Yankees (13-7-1 in spring training) only got two hits—both by Giancarlo Stanton—-in losing 4-0 to the Phillies Monday night.

The bats seem to be in a bit of a slump lately. I like the pitching, with one exception. With Zack Britton out, Justin Wilson needs to step up, and he’s had a bad spring so far. Last night he gave up a 2-run HR to our old buddy, ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius.

Taillon (L) 2 2/3 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 0 W, 5 K. Needs to go deeper and soon. Opening Day not far away.
Green 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1 WP.
O’Day 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Wilson 0 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up the HR to Didi, didn’t get anyone out.
Cortes 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Lyons 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.

On another note (NBA), Lakers legend from the 1960s Elgin Baylor (retired #22) passed away, age 86. RIP.

UPDATE: Wilson complained of shoulder tightness and will be getting an MRI today. So the Yanks could have two lefty relievers on the DL come Opening Day (Britton and Wilson) and if so, we may see both Luetge AND Lyons on the team Opening Day.

Armbrister, involved in controversial 1975 WS play, dies at 72

Ed Armbrister, who only played in 224 games for the Reds from 1973-1977, died at the age of 72 recently.

Armbrister hit .245-4-19 with 15 SB (OPS+ 88) in his MLB career, but did get 2 WS rings as a backup OF with the 1975 and 1976 WS Champion Reds. He got into 10 postseason games, going 1 for 7 with an RBI.

He was involved in a controversial play in Game 3 of the 1975 WS. With the score tied in the bottom of the tenth, CF Cesar Geronimo singled, and Armbrister was called up to PH for P Rawly Eastwick and to lay down a sac bunt. He got tangled up with Boston catcher Carlton Fisk at home plate, and Fisk’s throw to second to try to nail the lead runner was off for a two-base error, putting Geronimo on third and Armbrister on second. After an intentional walk to 3B Pete Rose to load the bases, PH Merv Rettenmund (PH for RF Ken Griffey, Sr) struck out, but 2B Joe Morgan singled in the winning run, putting the Reds up 2 games to 1 in a series they would win in seven.

The Red Sox argued for interference on the Armbrister play, but were denied.

Norm Sherry, backup C for early 1960s Dodgers, dies at age 89.

Norm Sherry, a backup C for the Dodgers in the early 1960s, passed away at the age of 89 a few days ago. He only played in 194 MLB games, and was overshadowed by his brother Larry, a relief pitcher who was the 1959 WS MVP for the Dodgers, but Norm made his mark in a different way.

Norm hit .215 with 18 HR and 69 RBI, OPS+ 70, in 497 at bats for the Dodgers (1959-1962) and Mets (1963).

But in the spring of 1961, he gave a tip to a struggling 25 year old Dodger lefty named Sandy Koufax. The rest is history. Before that tip (or corrected flaw), Koufax was 36-40, 4.10 in his career. After that tip, Koufax went 129-47, 2.19.