Results tagged ‘ Moose Skowron ’

Yanks in ALCS for 15th time

The 2012 American League Championship Series marks the 15th ALCS for the Yankees, whose record coming into this series is 11-3. This is their 10th ALCS appearance in the past 17 seasons and the third in manager Joe Girardi’s five-season tenure. He also led them into the second round of the playoffs in 2009 and ’10.

The Yankees improved their record to 6-4 in best-of-five Game 5s (4-4 in the AL Division Series Game 5s, plus victories in the 1976 and 1977 ALCS vs. Kansas City when the ALCS was a best-of 5. It went to best-of-7 in 1985). The Yankees are 12-11 in winner-take-all postseason games, 4-6 mark since 1995. Friday’s victory ended a three-game losing streak in such games (losses in 2011 ALDS Game 5 against the Tigers, 2005 ALDS Game 5 at Los Angeles and 2004 ALCS Game 7 against the Red Sox).

The Yankees have won five of their last seven overall postseason series since 2009. They are 11-7 in 18 Division Series (1981, 1995-2007, 2009-12) and improved to 44-32 in ALDS games. The Yanks are 12-6 in postseason games at the current Yankee Stadium and 114-70 (.620) all time in postseason home games. They improved to 7-3 in postseason games against Baltimore and 3-2 in postseason home games vs. the Orioles (won 1996 ALCS 4-1, going 1-1 at the Stadium).

Yankees starting pitchers combined for a 2-1 record and 2.04 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings and holding opponents to a .193 batting average in 145 at-bats. Yankees pitchers have allowed three or fewer runs in each of their past seven postseason games (since 2011 ALDS Game 4), tied for the second-longest such streak in club history.

Yankees base runners matched their ALDS single game high with two steals (Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson), doing so for the sixth time in franchise history and first since Oct. 9, 2010 in Game 3 against the Twins.

CC Sabathia has a 9-4 record with a 4.25 ERA over 103 2/3 innings in 18 postseason games, all but one as a starter. With the Yankees, Sabathia is 7-1 with a 3.09 ERA over 78 2/3 innings in 13 games, all but one as a starter. He won both of his career postseason starts with his team facing elimination. He also won Game 5 of the 2010 ALCS against the Rangers when the Yanks trailed in games, 3-1. CC is the second Yankees starter to throw a complete game in the ALDS. The other was David Wells Oct. 4, 1997 in Game 3 at Cleveland. Sabathia’s 17 2/3 innings were the most for a Yankees pitcher in ALDS, surpassing the previous mark of 15 2/3 by David Cone in 1995 against the Mariners.

Derek Jeter was 0-for-3 in Game 5, which ended his streak of four multi-hit games to start this postseason. It matched the longest such streak in club history. The others occurred in World Series play, by Babe Ruth against the Cardinals in 1928, Lou Gehrig against the Cubs in 1932 and Moose Skowron against the Pirates in 1960. Jeter is a career .343 hitter in 268 ALDS at-bats.

Maris/Mantle ’61 tribute moved to Saturday

The Yankees postponed due to uncertain weather conditions Friday night their pregame ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Roger Maris setting the major league record of 61 home runs in a season that stood for 37 seasons, even longer than Babe Ruth’s 34-year-old mark that Maris broke in 1961.

The event has been rescheduled for Saturday. Fans attending the Yankees-Red Sox 4:05 p.m. game at Yankee Stadium should try to be in their seats by 3:20 p.m. to be in position to view the special ceremony beginning at 3:35 p.m.

Joining the Yankees for the celebration will be the families of Maris and Mickey Mantle, his teammate who finished that season with 54 homers. Family members attending will be Roger’s widow, Pat, daughters Susan and Sandra and sons Roger Jr., Kevin, Randy and Richard as well as Mickey’s sons, David and Danny.

The master of ceremonies will be actor-comedian Billy Crystal, who directed the 2001 HBO movie 61*, which depicted Maris’ and Mantle’s pursuit of the home run record half a century ago. Also expected to be on hand are former teammates Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Bob Cerv, Moose Skowron and Bobby Richardson, plus former Yankees bat boy Frank Prudenti and Sal Durante, the Brooklyn bus driver who caught the 61st home run in the right field stands Oct. 1, 1961 on the last day of the regular season.

That ball as well as the bat that Roger used for the historic blow will be on view during the ceremony on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. After a video tribute, the Yankees Foundation will present a donation to the Roger Maris Cancer Center in his home town of Fargo, N.D.

Cheryl Howard, the daughter of another Yankees teammate, All-Star catcher Elston Howard, will sing the national anthem. A group of honorees is scheduled to arrive at the Stadium at 12:45 p.m. at Gate 4 where they will officially unveil the Gray Line New York Ride of Fame bus honoring Roger. They will then go on a private tour of the Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America, before heading to Monument Park.

Just the other day, I was interviewed by a young writer from the newspaper in Fargo, and I told him that it is my belief that what Roger accomplished 50 years ago is more revered today than it was then. Friday night’s ceremony will be a chance to relive one of the greatest moments in the history of a franchise that has had more of them than any team in professional sports.

Good & bad about All-Star selections

The good news is that the Yankees will have six players on the American League roster, four in the starting lineup, for the All-Star Game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix. The bad news is that several deserving players from the Yankees will not be making the trip next week to Arizona.

Let’s start with the positive. The Yankees will make up three-quarters of the AL starting infield for the third time in franchise history with second baseman Robinson Cano, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter.

The only other time the Yankees had three infielders elected to the starting unit was for the 2004 game at Minute Maid Park in Houston with Rodriguez, Jeter and first baseman Jason Giambi.

The Yankees also had three starting infielders in 1980 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, but only one – shortstop Bucky Dent – had been elected by the fans. Graig Nettles started at third base as a replacement for injured George Brett of the Royals. The Brewers’ Paul Molitor was voted the starter at second base but had to be replaced due to injury as well. The Angels’ Bobby Grich was added to the roster, but the Yankees’ Willie Randolph started the game at the position.

This will mark the 10th time that the Yankees have had at least three infielders on the All-Star roster. First baseman Mark Teixeira’s failure to make the squad this year cost the Yankees the chance to have four infielders overall for the third time. The Yankees had four infield All-Stars in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee (Jeter, Giambi, 2B Alfonoso Soriano, 3B Robin Ventura) and in 1939 at Yankee Stadium (1B Lou Gehrig, 2B Joe Gordon, 3B Red Rolfe, SS Frankie Crosetti). Giambi and Soriano were starters in 2004 and Gordon in 1939.

Other years in which the Yankees had three All-Star infielders were 1950 at Comiskey Park in Chicago (1B Tommy Henrich, 2B Jerry Coleman, SS Phil Rizzuto), 1957 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (1B Moose Skowron, 2B Bobby Richardson, SS Gil McDougald), Game 1 in 1959 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh (Skowron, Richardson, SS Tony Kubek), Game 2 in 1959 at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles (Skowron, Kubek, McDougald) and 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh (Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez).

Yankees catcher Russell Martin had led in the voting until the last week when he was passed by the Tigers’ Alex Avila. At least Martin made the team as an alternate. His handling of the Yanks’ pitching staff has been superb.

Mariano Rivera was an obvious choice for the staff despite his blown save Sunday, which ended a 26-save streak against National League clubs in inter-league play.

Now for the head-scratching stuff – why no Teixeira or CC Sabathia? And has anyone other than Yankees fans been paying attention to the season David Robertson is having?

Tex fell out of the balloting lead at first base last month behind the Red Sox’ Adrian Gonzalez, an admitted Most Valuable Player Award candidate, but still ran a strong second in the voting. The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera cannot compare with Teixeira defensively and trails him in homers, 25-17, and RBI, 65-56, but his .328 batting average is 80 points higher than Tex’s.

Now, here’s the rub. Teixeira has been invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. Nice. He can’t be on the team but he can fly all the way to Phoenix and take part in an exercise that could ruin his swing. Ask Bobby Abreu or David Wright about that? Say no, Tex.

All Sabathia has done is lead the AL in victories with 11 and posted a 3.05 ERA. Oh, that’s right. Pitching victories do not count anymore. I guess that’s why there was room for Felix Hernandez on the staff. The word is that CC pitching Sunday before the Tuesday night All-Star Game hurt his chances of making the team. Dumb reason.

To his credit, AL manager Ron Washington of the Rangers said nice things about Robertson when Texas was in town and that he was given him strong consideration. With so many other Yankees on the team, Robertson didn’t stand much of a chance, particularly since every team needs to be represented. When you see the Royals’ Aaron Crow in the pre-game announcements, think of Robertson. Crow, also a set-up reliever, is Kansas City’ lone representative.

It is a tough break for Robertson, but he is no more deserving than Sabathia, so it is hard to say he was snubbed. A lot of people don’t like the baseball rule about All-Star Games having to have players from each team, but I think it is a good thing. The 2012 game is supposed to be in Kansas City. It would be a shame if someone from the Royals was not on the team.

Each club no matter where it is in the standings has someone who deserves All-Star recognition. That the Yankees have so many is a testament to the terrific season the team is having.

First timers enjoy Old Timers’ Day

I have come full cycle with Old Timers Day, one of the great traditions at Yankee Stadium where it all began with a day to honor Babe Ruth in 1947. The first one I attended was in the late 1950s and getting to see Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Tommy Henrich, Red Ruffing and other stars of my parents’ generation’s youth. My father was actually a Giants fan when they still played in New York, but my mother’s family was all Yankees fans.

When I started covering the Yankees in the 1980’s, Old Timers’ Day was a favorite because I would not only get to see the Yankees stars of my youth such as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Hank Bauer and Moose Skowron but also to talk to them. Bauer was one of the best interviews ever; blunt, outspoken, colorful.

One of my favorite stories came from Bauer’s old platoon partner, Gene Woodling. (Bauer, by the way, was not crazy about Casey Stengel, who platooned him early on in the outfield before he became the regular right fielder.)

Back to Woodling; he talked of a time when players were so worried about keeping their jobs that he played for about a week with a broken bone in his heel. It swelled so much, Woodling said, that he cut out the back of his cleat and spread black shoe polish on the heel so no one would notice and stayed in the lineup. Finally, Dickey, the Hall of Fame catcher who was then Casey’s first base coach, saw Woodling’s shoe with the big hole in it in his locker and told him that he needed treatment.

Think of something like that happened today when disabled lists are almost as big as rosters!

At Sunday’s Old Timers’ Day, I was reminded of the passage of time when I encountered so many players whom I covered when they broke into the majors – Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and David Cone in my years on the Mets and Bernie Williams, Pat Kelly and Kevin Maas during my time with the Yankees. I had them as rookies, and now they’re Old Timers, so what does that make me.

Don’t answer that.

This was Bernie’s first Old Timer’s Day, and he was one of the big hits of the afternoon. He got a rousing ovation from the crowd during the introduction ceremonies. Fans were on their feet again when he doubled to the warning track in left-center in the two-inning Old Timers’ game. Then the Stadium really exploded when Bernie’s old teammate, Tino Martinez, popped a two-run home run to right off Cone, another old teammate.

I teased Bernie around the batting cage before the game after he had told writers that he still did not consider himself retired. “But I think that’s closer now,” he said.

I told him that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America was in the process of putting together the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot that will go out to voters in December, and that he would be on it; in other words, like it or not, Bernie, you’re retired.

He was asked during the press conference what his favorite memory from his playing career was. Williams could not limit it to just one and gave a very thoughtful answer.

“I would say that three things stick out – winning our first World Series championship in 1996, winning the batting title in 1999 and being on the field before the last game at the old Stadium,” he said. “I got announced after Yogi, which was pretty cool.”

Bernie officially joined the pantheon of Yankees legends Sunday, and he sounded proud of it.

“It’s a really big thing for me,” he said. “If you take the word ‘old,’ I think I’d be a little uncomfortable with it. But when I was playing, I looked forward to these days. To me, it was a reminder of the fact that we’re part of a family that has been going on for 100 years, and thinking I was part of something that was bigger than myself. And now I’m on the other side, being in the same situation, so it’s good. It’s great. I’m just really proud of this organization. When I chose to stay and have my whole career as a Yankee, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Also back for the first Old Timers’ Day appearance were former managers Lou Piniella and Joe Torre. “Sweet Lou,” who served the Yankees in nearly every category there is (players, coach, manager, general manager, broadcaster) put on the pinstripes for the first time since 1988. He had been busy elsewhere after that, winning a World Series with the Reds in 1990 and helping to build the Mariners into a viable franchise.

The pinstripes looked good on Torre, too, even while wearing a sling after recently undergoing right rotator cuff surgery. The man who won six American League pennants, four World Series and had the Yankee in post-season play all 12 of his seasons as manager had been invited before but was unable to attend because he was managing the Dodgers. Joe is now vice president for baseball operations in the commissioner’s office, but it is not really a desk job as he gets to spend a lot of time in ballparks.

With Jack McKeon (Marlins) and Davey Johnson (Nationals) back in big-league dugouts, I was curious if that gave either Lou or Joe the itch to return.

“There comes a time when you have to walk away, and I knew last year was that time for me,” Piniella said. “It was the same when I was a player. I was never one who wanted another at bat.”

“I was shopping with my wife recently,” Torre said, “and she told me how strange it was that here we were in the middle of a baseball season together and I wasn’t stressed out. I don’t miss all that stress.”

Both proudly wore rings linking them to their Yankees careers – Lou the World Series ring of 1977 and Joe of 1996. Those were the first championships for each.

“You never forget the first time,” Joe said on a day at Yankee Stadium that never gets old.

Gates for Sunday’s Old Timers’ Day open at 10 a.m.

Fans planning to attend Sunday’s 65th annual Old Timers’ Day are encouraged to get to Yankee Stadium early. Gates will open at 10 a.m. with the Old Timers’ Day ceremonies to start at 11:30 a.m., followed by the traditional, two-inning Old Timers’ Day game. The regularly scheduled inter-league game between the Yankees and the Rockies will have a first pitch of 2:20 p.m. The entire day’s activities will be cablecast on the YES Network.

Bernie Williams and former managers Lou Piniella and Joe Torre will be making their Old Timers’ Day debuts. “Sweet Lou” will be putting on a Yankees uniform for the first time since 1988. Torre, whose Yankees teams defeated Piniella’s Seattle Mariners in the 2000 and 2001 post-seasons, is still active in the game as Major League Baseball’s vice president for baseball operations.

They will be among 50 former Yankees on hand for the ceremonies. Other headliners among returning Old Timers will be Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage, plus the perfect game trio of Don Larsen, David Wells and David Cone. The Yankees will also hold a special tribute honoring long-time team trainer Gene Monahan, who will retire at season’s end after 49 years of service to the organization.

In addition, players and coaches from Yankees championship teams of the past will include Dr. Bobby Brown, Jerry Coleman, Moose Skowron, Luis Arroyo, Homer Bush, Brian Doyle, Cecil Fielder, Joe Girardi, Dwight Gooden, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Gene Michael, Jeff Nelson, Graig Nettles, Joe Pepitone, Mickey Rivers, Charlie Silvera, Darryl Strawberry, Mel Stottlemyre and Roy White.

Joining the Hall of Famers and other former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of five legendary Yankees – Arlene Howard (Elston), Helen Hunter (Jim “Catfish”), Jill Martin (Billy), Diana Munson (Thurman) and Kay Murcer (Bobby).

YU members can query a favorite Old Timer

Is there a question you’d like to ask a Yankees legend? Of course you have. Yankees Universe members will get the chance to pose a query to any of the former Yankees who are scheduled to attend the 65th annual Old Timers’ Day Sunday, June, 26, before the Yankees’ inter-league game against the Rockies at Yankee Stadium.

You can pick your favorite former Yankee from among a choice field, including Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson or Goose Gossage. Or maybe one of the pitchers who threw perfect games for the Yankees – Don Larsen, David Wells or David Cone. Or any one of a number of players who were on World Series championship teams for the Yankees over the years, from Jerry Coleman to Moose Skowron to Joe Pepitone to Roy White to Ron Guidry to Graig Nettles to Charlie Hayes to Bernie Williams.

Or maybe you’d prefer to ask a question of a manager. Take your choice among Lou Piniella, Joe Torre or Joe Girardi.

The Yankees will select questions and conduct interviews. The answers will be posted on the members-only section of yankees.com prior to July 15. Please submit your questions by 5 p.m. Thursday, June 23.

Bernie an Old Timer? He will be June 26th

Are you ready to consider Bernie Williams an old timer? Well, get used to it. Bernabe will make his first appearance on Old Timers’ Day when Yankees alumni gather for the 65th annual event Sunday, June 26, at Yankee Stadium.

Also making their Old Timers’ Day debuts will be former managers Lou Piniella and Joe Torre. “Sweet Lou” will be putting on a Yankees uniform for the first time since 1988. Torre, whose Yankees teams defeated Piniella’s Seattle Mariners in the 2000 and 2001 post-seasons, is still active in the game as Major League Baseball’s vice president for baseball operations.

They will be among 50 former Yankees on hand for the ceremonies that begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by the traditional, two-inning Old Timers’ game. The current Yankees will play the Colorado Rockies in an inter-league game starting at 2 p.m. The entire day’s activities will be aired exclusively on the YES Network.

Other headliners among returning Old Timers will be Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage, plus the perfect game trio of Don Larsen, David Wells and David Cone. The Yankees will also hold a special tribute honoring long-time team trainer Gene Monahan, who will retire at season’s end after 49 years of service to the organization.

In addition, other players and coaches from Yankees championship teams of the past will include Dr. Bobby Brown, Jerry Coleman, Moose Skowron, Luis Arroyo, Homer Bush, Brian Doyle, Cecil Fielder, Joe Girardi, Dwight Gooden, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Gene Michael, Jeff Nelson, Graig Nettles, Joe Pepitone, Mickey Rivers, Charlie Silvera, Darryl Strawberry, Mel Stottlemyre and Roy White.

Joining the Hall of Famers and other former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of five legendary Yankees – Arlene Howard (Elston), Helen Hunter (Jim “Catfish”), Jill Martin (Billy), Diana Munson (Thurman) and Kay Murcer (Bobby).

Still Bronx Bombing half a century later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Yankees’ championship team of 1961, a club that is particularly associated with the home run. Merely 20 games into the season, the 2011 Yankees are also linking themselves with the long ball.

Entering play Wednesday night, the Yankees were leading the majors in home runs (38) and multi-homer games (12). They are averaging almost two home runs (1.9) per game. Both of their runs in Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss to the White Sox at Yankee Stadium were on homers, solo shots by Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner.

Of the Yankees’ 111 runs, 68 (61.3 percent) have been the result of homers. Half of the top 10 home-run hitters in the American League are Yankees. Curtis Granderson’s seven are the most on the team and tied with Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre for second in the AL only to the eight by Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Mark Teixeria, Jorge Posada and Russell Martin are among those in a seven-way tie for fourth place with six apiece.

The Yankees are on a pace to hit 308 home runs this season, which is unfathomable.

Half a century ago, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chased the ghost of Babe Ruth, whose home run record for a season of 60 in 1927 was outdistanced by Maris’ 61 in ’61 while Mantle finished second with 54. As a team, the Yankees bashed 240 home runs in 1961 that remained the major-league record for 35 years.

The ’61 Yankees were the first team to have as many as six players hit more than 20 home runs, including all three catchers – Yogi Berra with 22 and Elston Howard and Johnny Blanchard with 21 apiece. In truth, that was nothing more than a trivia question. Howard was the regular catcher with Blanchard the backup in 48 games. Yogi actually platooned with Hector Lopez in left field and caught only 15 games. The Yankees’ sixth 20-homer hitter that season was first baseman Moose Skowron with 28.

That was also the first season of the 162-game schedule, which is why there was a controversy about whether Maris broke Ruth’s record or not. The American League expanded by adding the Angels and a replacement franchise in Washington, D.C., after the original Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins. Eight games were added to the previous schedule of 154.

In the last season of pre-expansion, the Yankees set the AL record for home runs with 193. In a preview of ’61, Mantle and Maris also dueled for the home run title with the Mick winning, 40-39.

The major-league record of 221 was shared by two National League clubs, the 1947 Giants and the 1956 Reds. That was the record the Yankees shattered in 1961. Their 240 bombs remained the standard until 1996 when all hell broke loose in slugging.

Three teams topped the ’61 Yanks total in ’96 with the Orioles eclipsing the standard with 257. The Mariners had 245 and the Athletics 243. Baltimore’s mark didn’t last long. One year later, Seattle slugged 264 homers, which remains the big-league record. The old NL mark of 221 was tied by the Rockies in 1996 but went by the board when the 2000 Astros bashed 249, still the NL standard.

The 240 homers the Yankees hit in 1961 stood as the club record until 2004 when the team had 242, once again powered by six players with more than 20 (Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield 36 each, Hideki Matsui 31, Derek Jeter 23, Bernie Williams 22, Posada 21). In the first year of the current Stadium, the Yankees pushed the mark to 244, this time with seven 20-homer guys (Teixeira 39, Rodriguez 30, Nick Swisher 29, Matsui 28, Cano 25, Johnny Damon 24, Posada 22).

Who knows how high they can go in 2011?