Results tagged ‘ Carl Yastrzemski ’

Jeter runs it out as usual in final big-league game

Once you saw Carl Yastrzemski on the field at Fenway Park before Sunday’s season finale that marked Derek Jeter’s last major-league game you know this was a big deal. Yaz is one of the most reclusive former athletes in the world. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 and has gone back for a ceremony only twice, in 2000 and 2009 for the inductions of former teammates Carlton Fisk and Jim Rice, respectively.

So there was Yaz on the Fenway infield with other Boston stars of the past – Rice, Luis Tiant, Rico Petrocelli, Fred Lynn, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek – all decked out in Red Sox jerseys to pay homage to a star of the Yankees. The Red Sox did it up big for the Yanks’ captain. Along with Varitek, DJ’s counterpart with the Red Sox, former captains of Boston’s other pro sports teams – Bobby Orr (Bruins), Troy Brown (Patriots) and Paul Pierce (Celtics) – were on hand for the pregame ceremony as well.

The Red Sox had taken a tongue-in-cheek approach to Mariano Rivera’s farewell last year, and it laid a huge egg. They made up for that this year with a grand sendoff for Jeter. David Ortiz and Red Sox shortstop Zander Bogaerts presented Jeter with a sign made up of Fenway scoreboard lettering reading, “Re2spect,” and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who became friendly with Jeter when they were teammates on the USA team in the World Baseball Classic several years ago, handed the retiring icon second base with No. 2 in pinstripes across the front. The Red Sox organization also gave Jeter a $22,222.22 donation to the Captain’s Turn2 Foundation, equaling the largest check he received from an opposing team, that of the Mets. Major League Baseball had also given Jeter a check for that amount, but not surprisingly the Yankees came up with the largest donation of all — $222,222.22.

There had been some speculation that Jeter might pull a Ted Williams and not play in the three-game series following his triumphant final game at Yankee Stadium Thursday night when he had the game-winning hit. Teddy Ballgame homered in his final Fenway at-bat in 1960 and decided not even to go to New York for the last series considering the Yankees had already clinched the American League pennant. Well, the Yankees were out of contention this week, too, something Jeter was not accustomed to, but out of respect for the game and the supporters of the Yankees’ biggest rivals he made the trip to Boston.

There were no such things as farewell tours years ago. Players would receive a standing ovation and then just go home. In fact, Jeter’s last game came on the 46th anniversary of Mickey Mantle’s last big-league appearance, also at Fenway Park. The Mick started at first base but never took the field. He batted in the first inning, popped out to shortstop, and was replaced at his position by Andy Kosco. Unlike Jeter, however, Mantle did not announce his retirement in that season of 1968 but rather the following March before the start of spring training in 1969.

Jeter had made a pact with manager Joe Girardi that he would make two plate appearances as the designated hitter, the same as he did Saturday. Jeter did not play Friday night because he was exhausted from all the tension and excitement of his Stadium exit game as well as his last as a shortstop. DJ lined out to short in the first inning. Batting with Ichiro Suzuki on third base after hitting a two-run triple in the third, Jeter hit chopper off the plate and beat it out for a single that drove in a run, his 50th RBI of the season, and settled his career hit total at 3,465, sixth on the all-time list.

At that point, Jeter came out of the game for a pinch runner, of all people, Brian McCann, one of the slowest runners in the majors (he even lost a pregame footrace to Mark Teixeira). Unlike last Thursday night when his emotions nearly got the best of him, Jeter was calm and flashed often his signature smile. While he left the game, he did not leave the dugout and cheered on his mates through a 9-5 victory.

The Red Sox had one more cool surprise for Jeter. They arranged for Bernie Williams, former Yankees center fielder and current road musician, to play “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on his guitar for his old teammate during the seventh-inning stretch, a poignant moment that echoed the end of an era for the Yankees. Perhaps that is why the Red Sox celebrated the day.

Jeter, not always comfortable with the out-of-town attention this year and under some criticism lately for what seemed at times an over-merchandizing of his farewell tour, was grateful to the Red Sox for this parting glass.

What I will take mostly from this game was Jeter’s hit itself. He ran hard to first base as he did from Day One in a Yankees uniform, forcing an infielder to hurry and eventually be unable to make the play. Most Yankees fans would have surely loved to see Jeet rip one over the Green Monster to finish off his career, but the dash to first base exemplified what Jeter was all about the past 20 years. You run everything out. It is the only way he played every day.

Jeet, A-Rod reach milestones on same play

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez combined on a couple of milestones in the first inning of Saturday night’s Subway Series game as the Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Mets.

Jeter ended a 0-for-17 slump with a leadoff single to center off Mets righthander Dillon Gee, who had trouble with the rubber on the mound and balked Jeter to second. After Curtis Granderson lined out to first baseman Ike Davis, Rodriguez hit a ground single through the middle to score Jeter.

It was A-Rod’s 1,917th run batted in of his career, which tied him with Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for seventh place on the all-time list since RBI became an official statistic in 1920. Rodriguez is only seven RBI behind another Hall of Famer, Jimmie Foxx, in sixth place.

The run for Jeter was career No. 1,800, which placed him above Hall of Famer Ted Williams into 17th place on the all-time list. Next up is No. 16 Carl Yastrzemski, yet another Hall of Famer, with 1,816.

Once a player gets to those levels on these lists, nearly everyone they pass is a Hall of Famer. Except for Pete Rose, that is.

Jeter climbing yet another list

Derek Jeter was back in the Yankees’ lineup Tuesday night for the opener of the Red Sox series at Fenway Park. The Captain sat out the night game Sunday at Baltimore because of a bruised right knee, the result of fouling a ball off it in the afternoon game Sunday.

Jeter’s appearance in the day game Sunday at Camden Yards brought his career total of games to 2,402, the most of any player to wear a Yankees uniform, thereby breaking what Mickey Mantle had considered his most cherished career record. DJ has been moving up a lot of lists this year with the push past 3,000 hits and a climb up the career list for runs as well.

On that games played list, he also passed the Mick in another area: that of games played for one team. Like Jeter, Mantle played all his games for the Yankees. Jeter is now 16th on that list. His game Tuesday night got Jeter to 2,403, one behind Mike Schmidt for 15th. Schmidt played all 2,404 games of his career with the Phillies.

The record for most games played for one team is 3,308 by Carl Yastrzemski with the Red Sox. Also ahead of Jeter on that list are Stan Musial (3,026 with the Cardinals), Cal Ripken Jr. (3,001 with the Orioles), Brooks Robinson (2,896 with the Orioles), Robin Yount (2,856 with the Brewers), Craig Biggio (2,850 for the Astros), Al Kaline (2,834 with the Tigers), Mel Ott (2,730 with the Giants), George Brett (2,707 with the Royals), Ernie Banks (2,528 with the Cubs), Dave Concepcion (2,488 with the Reds), Tony Gwynn (2,440 with the Padres), Roberto Clemente (2,433 with the Pirates) and Luke Appling (2,422 with the White Sox). All but Biggio and Concepcion are in the Hall of Fame, and Biggio is not yet eligible.

While Jeter was back in the Yankees’ lineup, Alex Rodriguez was not. He is not expected to swing a bat in the series due to a nagging left thumb sprain that required a cortisone injection Monday. Those shots usually take a couple of days to take effect, so A-Rod is not likely to play in Boston unless needed in an emergency situation as a defensive replacement or pinch runner.

Whelan in sort of select company

It doesn’t take long for the guys and girls at, a sensational web site, to dig up history related to a contemporary event. Less than 10 hours after Yankees rookie Kevin Whelan had walked four batters in two-thirds of an inning Friday night against the Indians, Steve Lombardi had posted a list of 12 pitchers since 1919 who had pitched two-thirds of an innings or less and walked four batters in their big-league debuts.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to comfort his young pitcher Friday night when he removed him from the game, smiling at Whelan as he took the ball and saying, “Hey, we have all gone through this.” He meant fighting the heart-pounding that comes with playing in the majors for the first time.

Whelan might also be comforted with knowing that the list included several pitchers who went on to some success in the major leagues. In fact, Friday marked the 67th anniversary of the first game pitched by the youngest player to appear in a big-league game. Lefthander Joe Nuxhall gave up six runs on two hits and five walks June 10, 1944 for the Reds against the Cardinals in an 18-0 Cincinnati loss.

It was understandable, considering Nuxhall was only 15 years old at the time. His appearance was among the oddities during the World War II years when rosters were depleted because of military service. Nuxhall returned to the majors in 1952 and had a 135-117 record over a 16-season career before becoming a fixture behind the microphone as a long-time broadcaster of Reds games.

The only other Yankees pitcher on the list was Karl Drews, who gave up six runs on two hits and four walks in the second game of a doubleheader Sept. 8, 1946 in a 9-8 loss to the Washington Senators. His contract was sold to the St. Louis Browns during the 1948 season. The righthander from Staten Island went on to pitch also for the Phillies and Reds and compiled a 44-53 record in eight seasons.

The best pitcher of the lot was Fred Hutchinson, who broke in with the Tigers May 2, 1939 and was clocked for eight runs, five hits and four walks in a 22-2 shelling by the Yankees. “Hutch” lost five seasons to military duty during WW II but returned to post a 95-71 record and 3.73 ERA in 10 big-league seasons, all with Detroit.

He later became a manager, notably with the Reds, and was their skipper when Cincinnati lost the 1961 World Series in five games to the Yankees. Hutchinson was diagnosed with cancer during the 1964 season but continued to manage the team. He died after that season at the age of 45.

The Hutch Award has been presented annually since 1965 to a player who has embodied the spirit and determination of Hutchinson as a fund raiser for cancer research. The first recipient was Mickey Mantle. Other former Yankees honored have been Tommy John, David Cone, Jim Abbott, Jason Giambi and manager Joe Torre. In addition to the Mick, other Hall of Famers who have been recipients were Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, George Brett, Johnny Bench, Paul Molitor and Andre Dawson.

Another guaranteed win for Sabathia

The Yankees guaranteed themselves a winning West Coast trip Saturday night with a 3-2 victory over the Angels. The score seems misleading. That is because CC Sabathia was in such absolute control until things got a big dicey in the ninth inning that the Yankees appeared to be ahead by a large margin.

Sabathia’s fourth consecutive outing of eight-plus innings was another example of an ace in charge. The first run off him was unearned due to an error by shortstop Derek Jeter. The second run was the result of the dreaded defensive indifference ploy whereby the team in the field allows the runner to steal second base because he does not represent the tying run.

So when Peter Bourjos, who singled with two out in the ninth, was allowed to waltz into second base on defensive indifference, he moved into scoring position and was sent home on a chopping single through the middle by Maicer Izturis. That ended the night for Sabathia. Mariano Rivera came in for a one-pitch save (No. 15) to preserve what turned out a one-run game.

It marked the first time the Yankees won a one-run game on the road this year in six tries. They are 7-10 overall in one-run games. The Yankees also improved to 5-3 on the trip, which is saying something since they lost the first two games of the trek in Seattle. The trip concludes Sunday with Bartolo Colon returning to Anaheim where he won the American League Cy Young Award for the Angels in 2005.

Sabathia (7-3, 2.80 ERA) has been especially durable in recent starts. He is only the second Yankees pitcher in 25 years to win four straight starts in which he lasted for eight or more innings. The other was Andy Pettitte, who had a run of five such starts in 1995. Sabathia is 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA over his past four starts in which he has allowed 28 hits and five walks with 20 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings.

Once again, the long ball served the Yankees well. Ervin Santana, starting in place of injured Dan Haren (back stiffness), was taken deep twice. Robinson Cano homered (No. 12) with two outs in the fourth to culminate a 10-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off six pitches. Angels right fielder Torii Hunter resembled Jeter by tumbling into the stands in an attempt to catch the ball, although Hunter emerged from the other side of the fence without losing any blood.

Alex Rodriguez unlocked a 1-1 score in the sixth with his 10th home run, a two-run shot that landed in the rocks and stream beyond the fence in left-center. Earlier this year, A-Rod moved into the top 10 of the career RBI leaders by surpassing Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. The two RBI on Alex’s 623rd career home run pushed his total to 1,864 and tied him for ninth place with another Hall of Famer, Mel Ott. Eighth place belongs to Hall of Famer Willie Mays at 1,903.

Also moving into territory occupied by Hall of Famers was Jeter, whose single in the seventh inning was career hit No. 2,985 that tied him with Sam Rice for 28th place on the all-time list. Now there is no one between Jeter and No. 27 Roberto Clemente at 3,000.

CC = Sabathia & ‘Comfy Camden’

Over the years, Camden Yards has been just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees when they were ailing offensively. Although they split the two-game series at Toronto, the Yankees had only one hit in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They took out their frustration at the picturesque park in Baltimore Saturday night with a 15-3 pounding of the Orioles.

In a week when they had two open dates and a rainout, the Yankees were anxious to get back in action, and it showed right from the beginning. They struck for three runs in the first inning and didn’t let up.

By the time the dust cleared, the Yankees had slugged five home runs among their 14 hits, all of which was very much welcomed by CC Sabathia, who finds facing the Orioles very much to his liking as well. The big lefthander has pitched superbly over the season’s first month but didn’t get a ‘W’ on his register until his fifth start despite an impressive 2.73 ERA.

The victory improved Sabathia’s career record against Baltimore to 15-2 with a 2.89 ERA and 9-1 with a 3.01 ERA at Camden Yards. The way he handled the Orioles, the Yankees’ offense was merely gravy. CC was perfect through the first 11 batters and was working on a one-hit shutout into the seventh before Adam Jones ruined the bid with a three-run home run that barely cleared the right field fence.

By then, the Yankee had six runs, which turned out to be only two-fifths of their final total. They exploded for seven runs in the eighth and added two more in a very satisfactory manner the next inning.

Once again, the long ball was the Yankees’ primary weapon, although they did not homer in the first when they had what was probably their most important rally since it provided Sabathia a 3-0 spread before he even took the mound.

Russell Martin hit two home runs, including a three-run shot in the sixth that was essentially the game winner, and Jorge Posada began the eighth-inning outburst with a two-run homer. Martin and Posada joined teammates Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson with six apiece.

Right behind them with five is Alex Rodriguez, who drove in six runs, four on his 22nd career grand slam, which puts him one behind Lou Gehrig’s major-league mark, a record that was once considered insurmountable. A-Rod also pushed himself into the top 10 of the all-time RBI list with 1,847 as he passed Carl Yastrzemski and is only 17 behind another Hall of Famer, Mel Ott, who ranks ninth.

Perhaps the most satisfying home run of the night came from an unlikely source. Brett Gardner, dropped from the leadoff spot where he had hit against right-handed starters back to the 9-hole, doubled his first time up to stop a hitless stretch of 16 at-bats. When Gardner batted in the ninth inning, it was with two out and immediately after Martin was nailed by a pitch in his upper back by Josh Rupe.

It is not uncommon for a player who has hit two home runs in a game to get buzzed by a pitcher, but the location of Rupe’s drilling of Martin was dangerous. The ball struck Martin just below his neck as he turned away from the pitch.

The head-hunting pitch lifted most of the Yankees off their dugout seats. They stayed on their feet as Gardner drove a 2-1 pitch to right-center for his first home run of the season. It turned out to be better retaliation than for the ninth-inning pitcher, recent Triple A call-up Buddy Carlyle, to return fire.

The Yankees lead the majors in home runs with 35 and in multi-home run games with 11. They have homered in 15 of their 17 games this year.

The best part of Saturday night’s massacre was that all the Yankees contributed. Each player in the starting lineup scored and all but Nick Swisher had hits. And while Swish was 0-for-4, he did walk and hit the ball on the screws four times.

Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 12 games and continued his assault on Baltimore pitching with three singles to improve his career numbers against the Orioles to .471 with 35 runs, 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 39 games and 155 at-bats.

Teixeira, a Maryland native, reached base four times with a double, a single and two walks and scored twice. At the top of the order, Derek Jeter singled, walked and scored two runs and Granderson singled and scored.

Chalk another one up to the Yankees’ comfortable home away from home. Camden Yards is a sort of Yankee Stadium South. The Yankees’ 95-52 record there is the best winning percentage (.646) of any American League club in the history of the park that is now in its 20th season.

Yanks feast on Birds

Man, did the Yankees ever need a dose of the Orioles. Despite the makeover that manager Buck Showalter is trying to achieve in Baltimore, the Yankees seem to come alive when they see those orange and black uniforms.

The Yankees entered Wednesday night’s game with a .230 team batting average and off a two-hit shutout Sunday night at Boston. Two innings into the game, the Yankees had supplied A.J. Burnett a 6-0 lead, which gave the righthander room to correct his mechanics after throwing 53 pitches before the third inning.

When the mist cleared, the Yankees had a 7-4 victory that moved them into a first-place tie with the Orioles in the American League East. The Yanks have had 13 straight non-losing season series against the Birds and have won at least 11 games against Baltimore nine times in the past 10 seasons. The Yankees have won 25 of the past 32 games against the O’s and are 38-17 against them since the start of 2008.

Jorge Posada, with a home run and a single, and Mark Teixeira, with two singles, ended slumps of 19 and 18 at-bats, respectively. Back in the lineup after a bout of the flu, Alex Rodriguez hit his 617th career home run, a three-run, opposite-field job in the first inning that pushed his RBI total to 1,839 to tie Hall of Famers Al Simmons and Ted Williams for 11th place on the all-time list. With six more RBI, A-Rod will knock another Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, out of the top 10.

Also moving up a career list was Derek Jeter with two hits for 2,935 to tie Barry Bonds, who did not have as good a day in a San Francisco courtroom, for 32nd place in knocks.

Burnett had a sharp bite on his curve (sometimes too much, evidenced by three wild pitches) and his best changeup. He took a shutout into the seventh before losing it as he got to the 100-pitch area and was touched for two-run home runs by Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts. The victory improved Burnett’s record to 3-0 despite a 4.67 ERA.

The Orioles have historically been a good match for Burnett, who improved his career mark against them to 12-4, even though his ERA is a somewhat lofty 4.54. April has always been a good month for Burnett, who was also 3-0 last April and has a career mark of 19-9 with a 3.92 ERA in the season’s first month.

The question remains whether Burnett can maintain the consistency and not fall into the same traps that ruined 2010 for him. He is off to a promising start.

Swish sent

Nick Swisher got what he wanted. As weird as this whole process is in voting for the final spot on the All-Star team, Swisher cannot be faulted for his unabashed campaigning. The system practically begs for it, and there was perhaps no more willing a contender than Swisher.

A year ago, Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge and Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino formed an alliance called “Bran-Torino,” a takeoff on the Clint Eastwood flick, “Gran Torino,” in which each doubled his vote total.

Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, Swisher’s main challenger for the 34th spot on the American League squad, engaged in a similar alliance with Reds first baseman Joey Votto. This could have spelled big trouble for Swisher because Votto was a wire-to-wire winner for the National League Final Vote. In the end, Youkilis could not ride the coattails sufficiently enough to catch Swisher, who finished with somewhere in the vicinity of 9.8 million votes.

What Swisher had going for him was his own Twitter account of more than 1.2 million followers and the support of the Yankees organization, most demonstratively by his own general manager, Brian Cashman, with two personal appearances this week with Bronx youth groups tied to the “Send Swish” campaign.

For a while there, I thought Swisher’s campaign was becoming a distraction. He went into a mild slump in late June going 3-for-20 (.150) over five games just as he was telling people he’d love to go the All-Star Game. But he kicked it into gear this month, batting .393 with three doubles and a home run through Wednesday night.

The process has been criticized in many circles, but I do not have a problem with it. For one thing, it brings publicity to the All-Star Game, which is okay with me. I have always liked the All-Star Game and feel it serves a useful purpose for baseball as a public-relations engine.

I can remember in the 1970s when some American League players (Carl Yastrzemski comes to mind) year after year begged out of the game. No wonder the National League kept kicking their butts, a pattern that has reversed itself in recent years. When the proceeds of the All-Star Game were tied to building up the players’ pension fund, it was an insult for a player to turn his back on the game.

Swisher’s attitude is refreshing, as far as I’m concerned. I like the fact that a player made no bones about the fact that he saw a rare opportunity to make the team and went for it. His numbers (.298, 14 home runs, 48 RBI) warrant his inclusion. Let’s just hope AL manager Joe Girardi gets his guy in the game or we’ll never hear the end of it.