Happy Mother’s Day! With no offense to Derek Jeter, that’s still the primary special occasion today. So I hope it’s a wonderful Mother’s Day for all mothers in the Yankees Universe. This is your day! None of us would be here getting ready to celebrate Derek Jeter Night if not for you.
Congrats to Derek Jeter as he gets ready to leave a permanent reminder of his notable Yankee achievements in Monument Park. Unless someone eventually takes number “0”, it’s the final single-digit number to be retired.
As the number 2 begins to make its way to the Monument Park Wall, it’s hard not to remember when it was worn by the late Bobby Murcer. Murcer wore the number when he was reacquired from the Chicago Cubs in 1979 until his release in 1983. Bobby was a great Yankee. I don’t really remember much of his first tour with the Yankees, but growing up in the Midwest, Murcer was constantly on TV with the Cubs. I knew his history with the Yankees and he was a welcome addition to the 1979 Yankees which would soon be marred by one of the team’s greatest tragedies (the death of catcher Thurman Munson). As a close friend of Munson, Murcer’s actions and words in the days following the tragic plane crash in Akron, Ohio were huge. It was easy to see how much Murcer loved Munson and the Yankees. We were later privileged to have Murcer as a Yankees broadcaster until his passing.
Of course, #2 recognition also has to be given to Mark Koenig who was the first Yankee to wear the number in 1929 courtesy of his spot in the lineup. Koenig, the team’s shortstop, was part of the famed 1927 Murderer’s Row, when he batted second in front of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.
Yankees third baseman Red Rolfe wore the number from 1931 until his retirement after the 1942 season.
The only person to wear #2 for more years than Jeter was Frankie Crosetti. Also a shortstop, Crosetti spent his entire 17-year playing career as a member of the Yankees. He started wearing #2 in the final years of his playing career in 1945 and continued throughout his 20-year coaching career with the team which ended in 1968.
While Number 2 is being retired for Jeter, the number will forever carry the significant contributions of those who wore the number before the kid from Kalamazoo.
The first game of today’s double-header begins at 2:05 pm Eastern. The Derek Jeter Night pre-game ceremony scheduled between games will start no earlier than 6:30 pm ET. The second game of the doubleheader will begin following the pregame ceremony but no earlier than 7:30 pm ET. Many former teammates will be in attendance including David Cone, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Gerald Williams, and Bernie Williams. Former Yankee greats Reggie Jackson and Willie Randolph will also be there, along with Dick Groch, an area scout who signed Jeter, former Yankees head athletic trainer Gene Monahan, and Jean “Soot” Zimmer, widow of former Yankees coach Don Zimmer.
Derek Jeter, this is your day…your night. Enjoy!
The New York Post’s Steve Serby had a Q&A with Aaron Hicks this morning. When asked what is the biggest criticism he’s heard that bothers him the most, he responded: “I don’t want to be considered…I want to be a starter. I don’t want to be a fourth outfielder. That’s kind of something that I don’t like. I’m better than a fourth outfielder.” I agree 100%. Sadly it is time for GM Brian Cashman to create the room in the outfield for Hicks to start. Without question, I would love for the Yankees to move Jacoby Ellsbury, but that’s not happening. So, it is back to Brett Gardner as the most marketable outfield asset for a trade. Gardner’s recent homer binge hopefully raised his perceived value.
Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year $21.65 million contract for the 2018 season. It includes a $1 million incentive if he win’s the MVP Award. The contract buys out Harper’s final year of arbitration eligibility and he maintains eligibility to become a free agent following the 2018 season. He’s making $13.625 million this year. To celebrate his new contract, he hit a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. I am anxious to see what he does when he signs that 10-year $400 million deal with the Yankees in a couple of years. Hal, it’s just money…
It’s not really Yankees news but Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta took a fastball to the face in Friday’s action. The pitch fractured some teeth and Iannetta’s nose, but the catcher is doing okay and hoping to avoid a DL stint. The pitch was thrown by former Yankees prospect Johnny Barbato, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this year. All the best to Iannetta with his recovery. It could have been much worse and I am thankful it was not.
|Credit: Mark J Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports|
Have a great Mother’s Day and Derek Jeter Night! Let’s take two!
Nobody was the right fielder…
I was surprised that nobody was elected to the Hall of Fame for the Class of 2013. Count me among those who feel no consideration should have been given to the players accused or who have admitted steroid use.
There no circumstances that I would have supported putting Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens into the Hall. From the sounds of it, it is the consensus of the HOF members. However, I am probably not as hard line as Rich “Goose” Gossage who said “If they let these guys in ever — at any point — it’s a black eye fo rthe Hall and for baseball”. I do believe there will be a day when Bond, Clemens and other suspected users should be given consideration. With Barry, I realize that ‘roids changed his physique and surely powered a few homers. However, his terrific hand-eye coordination was his own and not something derived through PED’s.
Same with Clemens. He was a great pitcher from the start. Maybe PED’s extended the career, but the ability to leave batters befuddled at the plate, mix up his pitches and play to the batters’ weaknesses was never drug induced. Baseball has seen too many guys who could throw a baseball 100 mph but couldn’t harness the control to save their lives. Clemens knew where to place his pitches and it was his natural ability that made him a star, not his suspected PED use.
I am not sure how long they should be excluded for the Hall but personally I would not want to see them allowed to enter for at least 5 years. Admittedly, I am also in favor of Pete Rose’s entry to the Hall but I suspect that one won’t happen until Pete has met his maker.
The sad part about this entire issue is the presence of suspected and possibly undetected cheaters in the current HOF enshrinement.
As for the 2013 votes, Craig Biggio deserved to get into the Hall. But I am not convinced he was a first ballot HOFer. So I think 2014 will be his year as he will be enshrined at some point.
I did not believe that Bernie Williams was a legitimate Hall of Famer but it was still sad to see him make his final unsuccessful attempt. Given the Yankees have not re-issued #51 or #21 (for Paul O’Neill), it is very likely they will be enshrined in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. That certainly makes for a nice consolation prize. I still see votes for Don Mattingly. I would absolutely love to see Donnie Baseball make the Hall but realistically I do not believe it will happen. Yet, he continues to garner sufficient votes to remain on the ballot. Mattingly was my favorite player and has reached the status of my favorite manager. I hope the expectations for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the newly adorned salary champions of baseball, do not become too overwhelming for Donnie to succeed. If given the time and support, he will win a championship.
Much ado about something?…
Back to the Yankees, I think the Yanks should aggressively pursue Michael Morse of the Washington Nationals. His bat would fit nicely into right field. I would be inclined to move Ichiro Suzuki to left, and move Brett Gardner for prospects. Morse is the kind of guy that I’d love to see the Yankees pursue.
Today was cold by Northern CA standards. Yeah, to the Cheeseheads of Wisconsin in town for the NFL play-off game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers might beg to differ but I was shivering. If there is a reason I left my beloved Minneapolis, this might be it. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….
Chavez Ravine to the Bronx reminds me of Tommy John for some reason…
Welcome to New York, Hiro! It was a terrific debut at Yankee Stadium for #2 starter Hiroki Kuroda, as he shut down the Los Angeles Angels, 5-0 in the team’s 2012 home opener. The Angels, historically, play the Yankees very well in New York, so Kuroda’s performance was significantly more impressive than if it had come against a team like the Minnesota Twins. Obviously, the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is not going to pitch like this every time out, but I do feel more confident in the #2 slot in the rotation than I did when it was held by A.J. Burnett.
The game also marked the 630th home run by Alex Rodriguez, which tied him with his former teammate, Ken Griffey, Jr. The script couldn’t have been written any better for a marvelous day in New York.
A proud day for a Yankees legend and his father…
It was also a very classy move to have Jorge Posada throw out the first pitch, which is the good karma that set the stage for the wonderful day. I am sure that it was a thrill for Jorge to throw the pitch to his father. I lost my own father as a child, but who doesn’t love the scene in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner plays catch with his father. It has to be an absolute thrill, and I am sure that it was for Jorge as his father was able to take the field at Yankee Stadium. I had heard the Yankees wanted Mariano Rivera to catch Posada’s throw, but Jorge wanted his dad. You certainly cannot find fault in his decision. Mariano’s day will come. Both players have reservations for Monument Park.
I was sorry to see the injury suffered by Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox. The word is that he’ll be out 6-8 weeks with the shoulder injury he suffered during Boston’s home opening day win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston may be a fierce rival, but I take so satisfaction in seeing the loss of one of their better players. To be the best, you have to beat the best which means that I want Boston and Tampa to have their best players on the field. The Red Sox probably have more dollars committed to guys on the DL than the team payrolls for a number of teams in major league baseball, with the likes of John Lackey, Dice-K, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and Bobby Jenks currently disabled.
Hopefully, Ellsbury will make a smooth and speedy recovery, and will be back on the field soon.
The team name on Damon’s jersey should come with Velcro…
I know it’s a paycheck but it seems like Johnny Damon will have played with every team in the AL by the time he’s finished. He’s been with so many teams, I honestly can’t say what team he should be remembered for. Maybe Boston because of the Caveman look and helping them secure their first World Series win in a century, maybe the Royals because that’s where he got his start, who knows. I can’t look at him and say that ‘he’s forever a Yankee’ because his time was too brief and now it’s too watered down with other teams. Damon as a Cleveland Indian just seems strange. If Cleveland is out by July, I am sure that Damon will be moved to a contender, adding yet another team. Or Damon doesn’t get enough at-bats and opts out of his Cleveland deal, and heads elsewhere. Regardless, he just seems like a rent-a-player at this point. Maybe MLB should incorporate 10-day contracts like the NBA…
Purple People are better…
I am looking forward to the upcoming NFL Draft. The Minnesota Vikings, with the third selection and the top two picks already pre-determined, have some tough choices to make. I’ve been in favor of OT Matt Kalil, but an argument can be made for WR Justin Blackmon or CB Morris Claiborne. I thought it was interesting when Colts owner Jim Irsay made comments that teams interested in QB Ryan Tannehill should talk to the Vikings about their #3 pick. I have not followed the story closely enough to understand his motivation, but I’d prefer to see the Vikings hang on to the pick (despite the opportunity to add more picks) given the strength of the talent available. I am sure the Miami Dolphins are drooling over the idea of nabbing Tannehill so I guess it would depend upon how desperate they are to make a move. Unless the Vikings are overwhelmed, I want to see Kalil, Blackmon or Claiborne wearing purple at a mini-camp coming soon.
Actually, it’s hard to believe that we are already starting to talk about football again. It seems like the season just ended. But then again, it’s hard to believe that the 2012 MLB Season is well underway. It should be a fun sports year for all…