Another Loss from the Yankee Dynasty Years…
Another lesser known but important Yankee passed away this week. Tom Sturdivant, who was a member of Yankee teams that played in three consecutive World Series from 1955 through 1957, has died at age 78. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Sturdivant went 16-8 in 1956 and 16-6 in 1957. He led the American League in won-lost percentage in ’57, and was second in ERA at 2.54. He hurt his arm the next year, and was never the same. He was subsequently traded to Kansas City in 1959. He spent the remainder of his career, which ended in 1964, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Mets.
Sturdivant was a member of the 1956 World Series rotation that threw five straight complete games, a feat that has not been matched since. The rotation consisted of Whitey Ford, Sturdivant, Don Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks.
Sturdivant evened the ’56 World Series at 2 games apiece on October 7, 1956, with a complete game 6-2 victory. It set the stage for the next day when Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history.
In his final season, on May 31, 1964, Sturdivant combined with three other New York Met relievers to hold the Giants scoreless through 19 2/3 innings (in a game the Mets finally lost in the 23rd inning).
So Much For What’s His Name
Now that T.J. Houshmandzadeh has signed with the Seattle Seahawks instead of the Minnesota Vikings, it removes the pressure for me to learn how to pronounce his name. Surely, there is some free agent Wide Receiver somewhere named Smith or Jones…
Actually, there are some quality wide receivers available, although nobody quite in T.J.’s category. The Vikings still need a playmaker opposite Bernard Berrian.
The latest rumors indicate possible Vikings interest in Denver quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, refusing to speak with Broncos management over their denial of trade discussions, may hasten his departure from Denver with his current stance. Of course, it’s not exactly like he’s John Elway. I am not sure that he has done enough in the league to warrant his obstinate approach regarding alleged trade rumors. However, despite the Vikings acquisition of QB Sage Rosenfels, Cutler would be a very nice addition for the Vikings.
Odds & Ends…
On the heels of signing SS Orlando Cabrera, the Oakland A’s have inked Nomar Garciaparra. “No-mah” will be the starting DL for the A’s…
QB Kurt Warner’s flirtation with the San Francisco 49ers reminds me of Timothy Hutton’s new TV series…“Leverage“. Seriously, about 10 to 15 years ago, would a player have used to the 49ers to sign with the Cardinals? Um, probably not…
Derek Jeter hit a two-run single in the third inning to help power Team USA past the New York Yankees today in exhibition play. Granted, Kevin Youklis also added a two-run single, but it was painful to see DJ represent the primary reason for a Yanks loss. He also scored a run on a based loaded error in the sixth inning by Angel Berroa.
What’s with the influx of Baltimore Ravens to the New York Jets? First, there was coach Rex Ryan. Then, the Jets signed LB Bart Scott. Now, they’ve reached an agreement with S Jim Leonhard. If the exodus continues, I don’t think the Ravens will be a threat to prevent the Patriots from reaching the play-offs again anytime soon.
Randy Johnson pitched three scoreless innings, and struck out 7 of the 12 batters he faced in a Cactus League match-up between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Working out some anger management issues there, Randy? The Giants won the game, 7-6.
I have to admit that my biggest fear about the upcoming season is the health of an aging 37 year-old catcher’s surgically-repaired right shoulder.
Jorge Posada sat out Saturday’s 7-3 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Twins due to shoulder soreness. He downplayed the severity of the soreness after the game. “I am not concerned at all.” Posada said. “I did something I wasn’t supposed to do and it’s sore.”
Courtesy Mad Magazine
Jorge is a competitive guy. Once the regular season gets underway, he could either be tentative out of concerns for “over-doing” it or he could get caught up the heat of the moment and literally throw his shoulder out. With Jorge’s competitiveness, I would suspect the latter to be a very real possibility.
There is no Plan B. Jose Molina is a good back-up but he has proven that he is not a starting catcher. He cannot be depended upon over the long haul, nor is Kevin Cash a long-term solution. There is hope in the farm system with Austin Romine and Jesus Montero, but neither guy is ready for major league action right now. The Yankees need to develop a sound contingency plan for ‘what if’.
There are other uncertain positions on the team, such as center field and right field. But in those situations, the Yankees have choices. If the first choice doesn’t work out, they can still fall back to the other option and should be okay. But with catching, they have a front line starter with average, capable back up support. Take away the front line catcher, and there’s not much left.
I am hopeful that Brian Cashman is actively working to identify a solution. There’s is too much riding on this season to depend upon Posada’s health at this stage of his career. Theo Epstein is in a relative similar situation in Boston as Jason Varitek’s skills are declining with age. It will be interesting to see whether Cash or Theo is more successful at addressing their team’s needs by the the end of spring training…
Ron Gardenhire’s Comments
I saw the comments by Ron Gardenhire yesterday where he felt that the Yankees weren’t done yet. It was an apparent, but unsaid, reference to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ inability to re-sign Manny Ramirez.
I honestly do not believe that the Yankees will enter the mix for Manny regardless of what happens with the Dodgers. I would really believe the Giants would sign Manny before the Yankees would. Contrary to public opinion, even the Yankees have a budget and they’ve been affected by the poor economy like every other team.
I think it is more imperative for the Yankees to figure out solutions for other current weaknesses on the team before they enter the fray for Manny Ramirez.
Would I love to see Manny in the Bronx? Absolutely. But looking at the whole picture, it does not make sense and there are still too many shortcomings in other areas that need to be addressed.
Jim Bowden Resigns…
Jim Bowden has finally stepped down as the GM for the Washington Nationals, and it is about time. Regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty regarding the federal government’s investigation into skimming signing bonuses, he had become too much of a distraction for the Nationals.
When I first heard that Jose Rijo had taken a leave of absence (later fired) regarding the bonus given to the “prospect” with the falsified age, I wondered why the GM was not being held accountable. It seemed as though Rijo was being made the scapegoat, and that responsibility rested higher within the organization.
It wasn’t that long ago Bowden was mentioned as a possible successor for Brian Cashman (before he subsequently re-signed with the Yanks). Now, Bowden is most likely done depending upon how the investigation turns out…
It’s a sad situation for an organization that deserves better.
Re-tooling the Vikings…
Okay, I was a little disappointed to see the Vikings miss out on QB Matt Cassel, but I do still believe that Sage Rosenfels was an upgrade over Gus Frerotte. Had Cassel been dealt to the Vikings, he would have been the clear starter. Rosenfels, on the other hand, will enter camp in competition with Tavaris Jackson. I have not heard much about John David Booty, so I don’t know how his development is coming along or if he projects to anything more than a career as a backup.
Somehow, Vikings backup QB’s have a tendency to go elsewhere and find new life (i.e., Rich Gannon). Tyler Thigpen, who started for the Chiefs last year, is another example, although he’s been relegated to backup status with the Chiefs’ acquisition of Cassel.
Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the Vikings cash savings with Rosenfels (instead of pursuing someone like Cassel) allows them to re-sign C Matt Birk.
On Saturday, owner Zygi Wilf flew a private jet to Seattle to pick up WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh who had been visiting with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday. Although I don’t know how to say or pronounce T.J.’s name, he would be a great addition for the Vikings, and a perfect complement to WR Bernard Berrian. T.J. would potentally give the Vikings their first 90-catch WR since Randy Moss.
Prior to the free agency period, T.J. had mentioned the Vikings as a possibility. “If I can play with Adrian Peterson, can you imagine what I would do getting 1-on-1 coverage with Adrian Peterson?”, he said. “I am going to win 98.6% of the time with 1-on-1 coverage with him in the backfield.”
T.J. has apparently indicated that he’ll decide by tonight whether to stay in Cincinnati or sign elsewhere. Here’s hoping that he is wearing Purple and Gold in the not-so-distant future…