Category Archives: Ex-Players

WS Perfect Game Pitcher Don Larsen passes away at age 90.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Don Larsen, who authored the only perfect game in WS history on October 8, 1956, has passed away from esophageal cancer at the age of 90. The only other pitcher to throw a postseason no-hitter was Roy Halladay in the NLDS in 2010.

Larsen pitched for the Browns (1953), Orioles (1954), Yankees (1955-1959) KC A’s (1960-1961) White Sox (1961), Giants (1962-1964) Colt .45s/Astros (Houston was called the Colt .45s before going into the Astrodome–1964/1965), Orioles again (1965), and Cubs (1967).

He pitched in five WS, and was part of two WS Champions in 1956 and 1958. He won the 1956 WS MVP.

Pitching on the last St. Louis Browns team in 1953, and the first Baltimore Oriole team of 1954, he went 10-33 in those years, losing a MLB leading 21 in 1954.

But things changed when he was traded to the Yankees, for whom he went 45-24 in the next five years, and for whom he pitched that perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series—-a game my father attended. Things got rough again after leaving the Yanks, as he went 1-10 in 1960. Pitching on poor teams before and after pitching for the Yankees hurt Larsen’s career numbers.

For his career, Larsen had an 81-91 record, ERA 3.78, ERA+ 99. His 162 game average would be 48 games, 20 starts. 9-11, 3.78.

He pitched in 10 WS games, starting 6. He was 4-2, 2.75 in WS play, and started Game 7 of both the 1957 (loss) and 1958 (ND) World Series for the Yankees.

He pitched seven shutout innings in winning Game 3 of the 1958 WS.

Larsen was also a good hitting pitcher, hitting .242 with 14 HR in his career. In 1958, he hit .306 with 4 HR.


Would be remiss in not pointing out the passing away of David Stern, age 77, former NBA commissioner who suffered a brain hemorrhage 3 weeks ago.


There hasn’t been much action on the Yankees’ front, so an update on the HOF voting, via a tracker set up by Ryan Thibodaux:

With 115 votes, 27.9% counted, as of now, these ex-players would reach the 75% necessary to get in:

Derek Jeter, 100%
Larry Walker 86.1%
Curt Schilling 79.1%
Barry Bonds 76.5%
Roger Clemens 76.5%

As late ballots come in, and some voters remain anonymous, those numbers generally DROP, thus really putting Schilling, Bonds and Clemens all on the bubble.

Bonds and Clemens will have some voters, especially the anonymous ones, NOT voting on them because of steroid suspicions.

We’ll see if Jeter continues at 100% and joins Mariano Rivera as a unanimous selection.

Not getting one vote so far are sluggers Jason Giambi, Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko and Alfonso Soriano—all of whom hit over 400 HR in their careers.

 

Pettitte instrumental in getting Cole to NY. Now for other moves.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Hal Steinbrenner called Gerrit Cole five times, but someone else apparently was also very instrumental in getting Cole to sign with the Yankees.

Andy Pettitte, who pitched mostly for the Yankees but who also spent a few years with the Astros, discussed the difference between the teams, how much NY meant to him and helped him, and what a postseason experience—as well as WS titles in NY—meant to him and his career. That supposedly helped tip Cole, who grew up a Yankees and Pettitte fan, to NY.

So Andy, a special consultant, really came up huge for the Yanks in these negotiations.

Now the Yanks turn to other needs. After losing Didi Gregorius to the Phillies, will they be able to keep Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances or Austin Romine?

It looks like a deal with Gardner could be hammered out soon. The concern is that Gardner will turn 37 next August. Gardner did hit career highs in HR and RBI this past season, and since Aaron Hicks will miss at least half of 2020, the Yanks do need a CF.

Betances, who pitched only 2/3 of an inning in 2019, is iffy. Would he re-sign for a year to re-establish value?

Romine is also iffy. Rumors are that the Yanks could be looking at Martin Maldonado, who caught Cole ten times in Houston last year to a 1.57 (!) ERA. Maldonado, 33 and a righty bat, isn’t much of a hitter (.219 career batting average, OPS+ 73) but did win a Gold Glove in 2017 for the Angels. He hit .213-12-27, OPS+ 75 for three teams in 2019. The question about Romine is would he come back to backup Gary Sanchez or does he want to start elsewhere.

Oh yeah, as mentioned in a NY Post article by George A. King III, the Yanks probably won’t be needing that “opener” in 2020 now.


Ken Harrelson, known as the “Hawk”, was selected to the HOF in the broadcasting category—The Ford C. Frick Award. Many may also remember him as a flamboyant 1B/OF for the KC A’s and Boston Red Sox in the 1960s, and in 1968 he led the AL in RBI while finishing third in the MVP voting. He broadcast Chicago White Sox games for many years. He actually broadcast Yankees games in 1987 and 1988.

Didi joins Girardi w/Phils

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Joe Girardi in Philadelphia now has a SS he is very familiar with.

After the Yanks wouldn’t offer Didi the QO of $17.8 MM, Didi has gone to Philly to join Girardi at a one year deal of $14MM.

Maybe the Yanks can throw that Didi $$ to Cole.

But the Yanks might have been hoping Didi would come back at less than $17.8 MM. He did not.

Didi only signed a 1 yr deal, so he is hoping that a good 2020 re-establishes his value after a 2019 that did see 16 HR, 61 RBI in only 1/2 a season, but a .238 batting average as well as a significant amount of time missed.

It may be safe to say that Didi, in his short term with the Yankees, may be the 3rd best SS in Yankees history behind Derek Jeter and Phil Rizzuto. Who would you say would be better? Dent? Crosetti? Kubek? Koenig? I would put Didi #3, above all but Derek and the Scooter.

 


Named to the All-MLB team: D.J. LeMahieu 1st team and Aroldis Chapman 2nd team.

Miller, Simmons make HOF. Munson, Mattingly and John come up short.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It would have been nice to see two or even three Yankee captains entering the HOF on the same day but it won’t happen.

Thurman Munson and Don Mattingly were not elected to the HOF yesterday by a committee, so neither will be joining Derek Jeter (expected to get in, perhaps unanimously, by the writers) and Tommy John was not elected either.

Elected were Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons.

Miller, who died in 2012 at the age of 95, was a union leader who fought for players rights, such as free agency and against the reserve clause and as a result, player’s salaries skyrocketed.

Simmons, a switch-hitting C, played for St. Louis 1968-1980, Milwaukee 1981-1985, and Atlanta 1986-1988. He helped the Brewers win the 1982 AL Pennant. He got MVP consideration 7x, finished in the top 10 3x, and was an 8x All Star. His 162 g. average was .285-16-92 with an OPS+ of 118. He hit .186-3-8 in 17 postseason games. He had 2472 hits and 248 HR.

2020 HOF ballot out, headlined by Jeter.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Derek Jeter headllines the 2020 HOF ballot, and the question is, will he go in unanimously as did his long-time teammate, Mariano Rivera?

Fromthe NY Post:

Ballots must be mailed by Dec. 31, and results will be announced Jan. 21.

Anyone elected will be inducted July 26 along with any selections by the Hall’s modern era committee (Tommy John, Don Mattingly and Thurman Munson are among those under consideration there), which meets and votes at San Diego on Dec. 8.

The ballot: (ex-Yankees, even briefly, in bold) Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Barry Bonds, Eric Chávez, Roger Clemens, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Raúl Ibañez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carlos Peña, Brad Penny, Andy Pettitte, J.J. Putz, Manny Ramírez, Brian Roberts, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano, Sammy Sosa, José Valverde, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker.

It’s too early to really track now, but if you want to start tracking, say a month from now, here is a site you can check up on:

https://onedrive.live.com/view.aspx?resid=F2E5D8FC5199DFAF!17003&ithint=file,xlsx&authkey=!ALD8BEbKmTajwcI


MLB is said to be eliminating and realigning some minor league teams, and Staten Island could be eliminated as part of the process. Some 40+ teams are involved in this 2021 realignment.

 

 

Ex-Yankees P Jim Coates dies at age 87.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Jim Coates, a pitcher who won two WS rings with the Yankees in the early 1960’s, passed away Friday at the age of 87.

Coates was with the Yankees 1956, 1959-1962, then Washington 1963, Cincinnati 1963, and the California Angels 1965-1967.

A spot starter/long reliever, he was an All-Star in 1960 when he went 13-3, 4.28, ERA+84 for the Yanks (18 starts, 17 relief appearances), leading the majors in winning percentage, but his failure to cover first base on a play in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series helped lead to the Yanks loss in that game.

He won WS rings with the Yanks in 1961 and 1962. The righty went 11-5, 3.44 in 1961 (11 starts, 32 relief appearances), ERA+ 108 and 7-6, 4.44 (6 starts, 44 relief appearances) ERA+ 85 in 1962.

In April of 1963 he was traded to Washington for the long, lanky, lefty reliever Steve Hamilton.

Coates pitched in six WS games, all in relief, and went 0-1, 4.15 in 13 IP, losing Game 4 of the 1962 WS.

From Wikipedia:

With the Yankees ahead 7–5 with no outs (and one run in) in the eighth inning and Bill Virdon on second and Dick Groat on first, Coates relieved Bobby Shantz and got Bob Skinner out on a sacrifice bunt, which advanced the runners. Rocky Nelson then flew out to Roger Maris in right field, and Virdon declined to challenge Maris’ throwing arm. Coates then got to an 0–2 count on Roberto Clemente and was a strike away from getting the Yankees out of trouble.

However, a lapse by Coates allowed the Pirates to keep their inning alive. Clemente eventually chopped a ground ball toward first base, and Coates initially ran toward the ball instead of running directly to cover first base. First baseman Moose Skowron fielded the ball as Coates changed direction and ran to the first base bag. But the momentary delay enabled Clemente to reach the base right as Coates got there himself. Skowron was forced to hold on to the ball, and Virdon scored to cut the Yankee lead to 7–6. Coates then gave up a home run to Hal Smith to give the Pirates a 9–7 lead. Terry then relieved Coates and retired Don Hoak to finally end the inning. The Yankees got Coates off the hook by scoring twice in the top of the ninth to tie the game, only to lose on Mazeroski’s home run off Terry in the bottom of the 9th. The Pirates had hit four home runs in this Series; Coates had given up two of them.

1961 & 1962 Championships

In 1961, Coates went 11–5 as a spot starter. Led by the hitting of Maris, Skowron, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, the infield defense of Clete Boyer, Tony Kubek and Bobby Richardson, and Whitey Ford‘s 25–4 season, the now-Ralph Houk-led Yankees (Stengel had been fired immediately after the 1960 World Series) won the World Series over the Cincinnati Reds in five games. Coates relieved Ford in Game 4 of the Series and pitched four scoreless innings for the save in a 7–0 Yankee win; Ford had left the game with an injury, but not without first breaking Babe Ruth‘s World Series record of 29⅔ consecutive scoreless innings.

In 1962, Coates went 7–6 for a Yankee team that repeated as World Champions. Coates was the losing pitcher in Game 4 of this Series, which the Yankees won over the San Francisco Giants in seven games.

Legacy

In his career, Coates, whose nickname, “The Mummy”, came from his funereal visage on the mound, won 43 games against 22 losses, with a 4.00 ERA and 396 strikeouts in 683⅓ innings pitched. He was also well known for throwing at opposing batters. Jim Bouton, in his book, Ball Four, said Coates, after throwing at the opposing hitters, “would not get into the fights that followed.”

Coates was 43-22, ERA 4.00 in his MLB career, ERA+ 90. His 162 game average was 10-5, 4.00 (11 starts, 46 relief appearances).

As a hitter, he hit .131 with 0 HR and 7 RBI in 160 at bats.

Ex-Yank Irv Noren passes away at age 94.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Irv Noren, who would have celebrated his 95th birthday on November 29th, has passed away at the age of 94.

Noren was a Yankee in the early 1950s. He received MVP consideration 3x.

He was with Washington (1950-1952), the Yankees (1952-1956), The Kc A’s, 1957, the St. Louis Cardinals 1957-1959, Chicago Cubs 1959-1960 and the Dodgers 1960.

He was an All-Star for the 1954 Yankees and got MVP consideration for the 1950 and  1951 Senators as well as the 1954 Yankees.

He was an OF/IB.

In 1954, his best season, he hit .319-12-66, OPS+ 138 and was an All-Star who finished 15th in MVP voting.

In 1955 he hit .253-8-59 as an OF.

His 162 G. average was .275-10-67, OPS+ 105.

He was on two WS Champs with the Yanks in 1952 and 1953.

He was 3 for 10 w/an RBI in the 1952 WS and 0 for 1 with a walk in 1953.

In 1955 he was just 1 for 16 with an RBI. He was starting in CF for an injured Mickey Mantle.

His combined WS totals are 4 for 27 in 11 games, .148-0–2.

Update: From Wikipedia:

He also played for the National Basketball League‘s Chicago American Gears in 1946–47. Later in his baseball career, Noren was a minor league manager and the third-base coach of the 197273 World Series champion Oakland Athletics.