Results tagged ‘ Duke Snider ’
Two pitches, two home runs. How’s that for efficiency?
That is what Alfonso Soriano did in his first two at-bats Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. Sori’s first bomb was just that, a Jose Canseco-like towering drive right down the line. It scored Derek Jeter, who had singled in a run, and Robinson Cano, who was hit by a pitch, to give the Yankees and Andy Pettitte a 4-0 lead right off the bat.
At the end of the inning, Cano came out of the game and was replaced at second base by Eduardo Nunez. Here is where the Yankees miss someone like Jayson Nix, who is on the disabled list because of a fractured left hand that was also the result of being hit by a pitch. Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ was the same pitcher who broke Curtis Granderson’s left wrist with a wayward pitch in the first exhibition game of spring training.
Cano had been one of the constants for the Yankees this year. He had played much of the season without his regular infield partners – first baseman Mark Teixeira, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter as well as A-Rod’s replacement at third, Kevin Youkilis, and Jeter’s replacement at shortstop, Nunez. Second base was the only position unaffected by injuries this year. In addition to the other infield spots, the Yankees also lost to the DL pitchers Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Joba Chamberlain and David Phelps; catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielders Granderson and Zoilo Almonte.
So the Yankees are keeping their fingers crossed about Cano and hope he can cross the fingers on that left hand.
Soriano paid Happ back in the third inning by driving a first-pitch slider off the back side of the left field fence for his second home run of the game and the 400th homer of his career. Soriano became the 51st player to enter the 400 Home Run Club. Ahead of him on the all-time list in 50th place is Duke Snider with 407.
Derek Jeter’s leadoff single to right field Wednesday night off Cliff Lee was career hit No. 2,877 for the Yankees shortstop and captain, and it was a big deal.
Coming in the same week in which Jeter passed Babe Ruth on the career list, this time he pushed ahead of Mel Ott and in so doing now has the most hits of any player while playing for a New York team, not just the Yankees but also the Mets and the former New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. That covers a lot of territory.
Not all of the Babe’s 2,873 hits were for the Yankees. He also played for both Boston teams, the Red Sox and the Braves. In Ott’s case, all of his 2,876 hits were with the Giants in a 22-season career spanning 1926 to 1947. No player wearing a New York uniform had more hits than Ott, a record he held for 63 years until Wednesday night.
Just last year, Jeter surpassed Lou Gehrig as the Yankees’ franchise hit leader, which was rarified air enough. Now this. Think about the long history of major league baseball in New York City, much richer than even the supposed hot beds of St. Louis and Boston, and now Derek Jeter stands heads and shoulders over all the hit makers.
There are 203 players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Of that total, 92 played a portion of their careers for at least one of the New York teams. The city has seen some of the greatest hitters ever, from the Babe and Lou to Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson, from Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle) and the Duke (Snider), on to Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez.
Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle all won batting titles as did fellow Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams. Other batting champions in New York were the Dodgers’ Robinson, Jake Daubert, Zack Wheat, Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo and the Giants’ Mays, Larry Doyle and Bill Terry, the last National League player to hit .400 (.401 in 1930). No Mets player has led the league in batting, but Dave Magadan and John Olerud came close.
Ott won no batting titles, either, even though he was a career .304 hitter. Ott’s specialty was the long ball. His total of 511 was the NL record for 20 years before Mays passed him in 1966. Ott led the league in home runs six times, and the NL trophy for the annual home run champion is named after him. He also had 488 doubles and 72 triples and hit .295 with four homers and 10 RBI in 16 World Series games.
Ott would have fit very well into today’s game as an on-base specialist. He led the NL in walks six times, walked more than 100 times in 10 seasons and had a career .414 on-base average. A left-handed batter, Ott took advantage of the short right field dimensions at the Polo Grounds utilizing a quirky hitting style in which he lifted his right leg as he started his swing. Copying that style years later was the Japanese slugger Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants.
In his last six seasons in the majors, Ott wore two hats for the Giants as a player manager. A soft-spoken man from Louisiana with a demeanor not unlike that of Gehrig, it was Ott to whom Leo Durocher came up with his famous line, “Nice guys finish last.”
Ott never did finish last, and when he did finish his career he was first among New York players in total hits. Now that distinction belongs to Derek Jeter, another nice guy who doesn’t finish last.
What better time than the upcoming Subway Series this weekend at Yankee Stadium than to visit the newest exhibit at the Yankees Museum, “Subway Series: New York’s Baseball Rivalries.”
The exhibit is devoted to the real Subway Series, those World Series in which the Yankees opposed the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers from the 1920s to the 1950s, as well as the 2000 matchup against the Mets.
Among the many items on display in the exhibit that opened last week are game jerseys worn by Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle) and the Duke (Snider); catcher’s mitts that belonged to three-time Most Valuable Players Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella; plus game programs, scorecards, pennants, pins and photographs. It is a wonderful nostalgic journey through New York City’s baseball past.
Technically, the Subway Series refers to the World Series the Yankees played against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field in 1941, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1956 (all but ’55 won by the Yanks) and the 2000 Series against the Mets (also won by the Bombers).
The phrase was also used for the Yankees’ World Series against the Giants, although there was no direct subway connection between Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds, the Giants’ former home that was located across the Harlem River from the Stadium in upper Manhattan. You could get from one park to the other merely by walking across the Macombs Dam Bridge a lot quicker than taking the subway.
In fact, the first two World Series between the Yankees and the Giants, in 1921 and 1922 (both won by the Giants), were played in the same place, the Polo Grounds, where the Yankees were tenants for 10 seasons before the original Stadium opened in 1923, the site of World Series between the teams that year plus 1936, 1937 and 1951, all won by the Yankees.
Another recently opened exhibit is “Iron Horse: The Life and Career of Lou Gehrig,” examining the Hall of Famer’s life on and off the field. Artifacts include two game-worn Gehrig jerseys, two game-used bats (one of which was autographed) and the “Don’t Quit” parchment given to him during Lou Gehrig Day July 4, 1939 when he delivered his famous farewell speech calling himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”
Of more recent vintage is the exhibit, “2009: A Season to Celebrate,” which focuses on last season’s memorable events. Artifacts include the ball from the final out of the 2009 World Series, a World Series ring from Balfour, and the plate and pitcher’s rubber used during the first game at the current Stadium, which were also used during the last game at the original Yankee Stadium Sept. 21, 2008.
The Museum, presented by Bank of America, is located at the Stadium on the Main Level near Gate 6 at East 161st Street and River Avenue. Guests may gain access to the museum on game days from the time the gates open two hours before gametime until the end of the eighth inning. On non-game days, visitors may visit the museum as part of Yankee Stadium tours.
My pal in Cooperstown, Craig Muder, director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, sent along a report on the World Series Weekend event in which the Yankees’ 2009 trophy and other artifacts from last year’s 27th championship season were on display in the museum’s exhibit, “Autumn Glory, which celebrates each year’s playoff and World Series teams.
Among the items were the cleats Johnny Damon wore for his double steal in Game 4, bats used by Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui and the catching gear of Jorge Posada and Jose Molina in the clinching Game 6, caps worn by Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera and the scorecard belonging to Suzyn Waldman, the first female broadcaster in World Series history.
“My wife and I had planned to be here this weekend anyway, but when we found out the trophy was going to be here it made it extra special,” said Brian Povio, a Yankees fan from Rochester, N.Y. “Seeing it brings you back to the World Series all over again.”
A crew from the YES Network was in town to capture the excitement. Yankees jerseys were the uniform of the day as pinstripes adorned nearly every corner of the museum – especially at the new “Pinstripe Pictures” exhibit, which opened Saturday. Located on the museum’s third floor, “Pinstripe Pictures” features photographs reproduced from the Associated Press book, “New York Yankees 365,” a photographic history celebrating more than 100 years of pinstripe baseball in the Big Apple. The exhibit will be on display through the end of 2010.
“This is great – right where the trophy should be,” said Jackie Campbell, a Yankees fan from Troy, N.Y. “And it will be back here next year, too, after the Yankees win it again.”
The Hall also announced Tuesday that singer-songwriter John Fogerty will perform his 1985 baseball hit, “Centerfield,” during the induction ceremony July 25 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown. This is the 25th anniversary of the song that has been a fixture at Hall of Fame ceremonies and ballparks throughout North America.
“Because of the lasting contributions to baseball and Americana made by John Fogerty, we are thrilled to pay homage to him and the song, as we celebrate the silver anniversary with his live performance in Cooperstown,” Hall president Jeff Idelson said. “The song captures the spirit and energy of those of us who have dreamed of being a baseball star and playing center field, like Robin Yount, Duke Snider or Willie Mays.”
Jeff chose three living Hall of Famers for his statement, but Fogerty told the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner in an interview that he grew up in Berkeley, Calif., as a Yankees fan before the Giants moved to San Francisco and that among his inspirations for the song were two other center fielders, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.
Andre Dawson, who played center fielder for the Expos before he moved to right field with the Cubs, will be inducted that day along with former manager Whitey Herzog and former umpire Doug Harvey. Also honored will be ESPN and Giants broadcaster Jon Miller with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence and New York Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for contributions to baseball writing.