Tagged: Tommy Henrich

Last Link to Lou Gehrig Passes Away…

The oldest Yankee legend has passed away…





Tommy Henrich, 96, a Yankees outfielder in the 30’s and 40’s, died yesterday in Dayton, Ohio.  Henrich was part of a tremendous outfield trio in the late 40’s that included Charlie Keller and Joe DiMaggio. 





In Game 1 of the 1949 World Series, Henrich hit the first game-winning home run in Series history in a 1-0 victory over Don Newcombe and the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Henrich, like many of the players from his era, missed three years due to military service during World War II. 





Henrich, a five time All-Star, played 11 seasons and hit 183 home runs.  His career batting average was .282.  He retired following the 1950 season.  During his career, Henrich was part of seven World Series Championships.


He was nicknamed “Old Reliable” by the great Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen due to his knack for coming up with clutch hits in big games.  On a sad note, Henrich was the final surviving teammate of the legendary Lou Gehrig and the last member of the 1938 World Champions.






An autographed picture of Henrich has long been one of my prized possessions.  In Yankees history, he ranks as one of my personal favorites.  I never got to meet Henrich, but he will be missed. 





The Yankees did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents.  So, Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui are free to sign with any team without compensation to the Yanks.  I understand the reasons (they couldn’t take the chance that any of the players accept arbitration), but it does feel that the bonds to the players have lessened considerably.  I still think that Andy Pettitte will come back on a one year deal, but I am getting pessimistic that Damon will return.  It was a given that Matsui most likely will not be back.





With the talk of Boston’s interest in Matt Holliday, it will be interesting to see if that sparks any Yankee interest in Jason Bay.  If both Damon and Matsui leave, the Yankees will lose a tremendous amount of production that needs to be replaced. 



Jason Bay's three-run home run in the first plates David Ortiz and puts the Red Sox up in the first inning.


Antonelli/New York Daily News



Derek Jeter was named Sport Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year.  Surprisingly, he is the first Yankee to win the award in its 56 year history.  It was a great year for the Yankee captain, and of course, just another noted achievement, in what is becoming a long list of achievements, for the future plaque that will be placed in Monument Park when DJ retires.  Congratulations to Derek for the well-deserved honor and recognition!






The New York Jets brought in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to teach QB Mark Sanchez how to slide?  Seriously?…



GROUND ATTACK: The Jets reached out to the world champion Yankees to send someone to give quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) some tips on how to slide. The Yankees responded by sending manager Joe Girardi (inset).


New York Post


Huh? That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen!…

A bitter taste…


Finally, A.J. Burnett was pitching like the guy that the Yankees expected when they signed him as a free agent in the off-season.  After a series of poor starts, he had dominating stuff last night and was in position for a win.  He went 7 innings, and gave up only 1 run on 7 hits.  He struck out 6, and walked only 3.  He was leading 2-1 at the time of his exit, and the Yankees seemed to be in control despite the close score.


Ted S. Warren/AP


The 8th saw a business-as-usual performance from Phil Hughes, with 3 up and 3 down.


Mariano Rivera appeared very loose in the bullpen prior to his entrance in the 9th.  The stage was set for another save on his way to Cooperstown.  Even the Seattle-based announcers made a comment that they should just waive the 5 year waiting period for Mo when he retires.  Mo easily set down the first two batters (getting the second, Mike Carp, out on his 1,000th career strikeout), but then pinch hitter Mike Sweeney stroked a double to right.  Okay, there were two outs, the Yanks were still in good shape.  Only Ichiro stood in the way of their 95th victory.  Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  Mo tried to go inside on a cutter but left the pitch out too much, and Ichiro got a hold of it and sent it into the outfield bleachers for the game-winning home run.  The Mariners walked off with a 3-2 victory…


Ted S. Warren/AP


Mo saw his string of 36 consecutive saves snapped.  The only other time he has failed to convert a save this season was in April on a Jason Bay home run.


Sipkin/New York Daily News 


Ichiro may have been picked off twice in the game, but he clearly got the last laugh…


Ted S. Warren/AP

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Red Sox shrank to 6 games.  This is definitely a tough stretch.  The Yankees are on a difficult road trip against winning teams and in cities they historically have troubles with.  Meanwhile, the Red Sox are playing the lifeless Orioles, and then move on to Kansas City for face the punchless Royals for four games.  Both the O’s and Royals stand at 87 losses prior to today’s games.  So, the Yankees’ three-game series against the Red Sox next weekend looms as the big AL East showdown.  It is very possible that the Red Sox may be in position to determine who enters the play-offs as the AL East champion and who backdoors it as the Wild Card entrant.  The Yankees’ magic number remains at 10, but their magic number for making the play-offs dropped to 3 with the Rangers’ loss to the Angels.  That one was a double-edged sword as the Angels gained a game on the Yanks for best record.  So, needless to say, Ichiro’s hit made for a very difficult night on many fronts.



Hopefully, the Yanks will show their mettle and rebound today with CC Sabathia taking the hill in search of his 18th victory.  Let’s hope it’s the Yanks’ 95th



I still can’t believe that the great Peter Abraham (who has been referred to as the “blogfather”) is leaving the LoHud Yankees Blog to go to work for the Boston Globe and write about the dreaded Red Sox…  L




The oldest living Yankee has passed away,  Lonny Frey, who played with the Yankees in the 1947 World Series, was a three-time All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds in the 30’s and 40’s.  Frey died on Sunday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the age of 99.  He was the last surviving player to play for the Yankees, the New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.


Courtesy Richard Hirschman


Frey’s passing leaves Tommy Henrich, 96, as the oldest living Yankee.  Henrich played his entire career with the Yankees from 1937 to 1950.  He is the last surviving member of the World Champion 1938 Yankees.


193820Crosetti2C20Rolfe2C20Henrich2.jpg 1938 New York Yankees image by BillBurgess

Courtesy Bill Burgess


Andy Pettitte is scheduled to pitch on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.  Andy missed his last start due to a “fatigued” shoulder, and hopefully, the rest has helped him.  Andy will be a huge part of what the Yanks will try to accomplish in October.  It was good to hear that he has reached most of his incentives to allow him to nearly double his $5 million salary for the year.  He has certainly earned his pay (relatively speaking of course, because $5 mil is a heck of a lot of money any way you slice it!).


John Munson/The Star Ledger 

Speaking of rest, reliever David Robertson, who was shut down for elbow stiffness, appears to be on track for a return by the final week of the season.  He is another arm that will be crucial to October success.  I am glad that his visit to Dr. Andrews did not reveal more serious problems and that rest was the prescribed treatment.  Robertson has been great in the pen this year.


Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger


Today is a new day.  Let’s get back to winning…




Dreams of Manny in the Bronx…



While the Los Angeles Times continues to report that no one is blinking in the Dodgers negotiations with Manny Ramirez and his agent, Scott Boras, the rumors (generated by the fans, not the organization) continue to persist about the possibility of Manny playing in the Bronx. 


Granted, Hal Steinbrenner may have the opinion that Manny will never know the inside of the home locker room at the new Yankee Stadium, and there would be a united guffaw from the Red Sox nation, but the move to the Bronx would actually make some sense.


Don Mattingly has made some very positive public statements about Manny.  Of course, he only saw the “Best of…” version, and didn’t get to see the unhappy Manny version that played in excess during his later years in Boston.  But there are arguments that Manny would actually be able to maintain better privacy in New York than he could in the fishbowl known as Boston.  I think that’s a fair argument.  As Manny’s price continues to drop, there is a point that it would make financial and baseball sense for the Yankees to enter the Manny sweepstakes.  Maybe that’s why they have laid so low, without formally announcing they are not interested. 


There will be holes in the Yankees batting order.  The defensive combo of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner, combined with uncertainty at the catching position, leave potential weaknesses in the order.  The catching position is uncertain, obviously, because of the continued health concerns with Jorge Posada (and Jose Molina will never be confused with Mike Piazza when it comes to hitting or Bengie Molina for that matter).  While I like both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, I think both are complimentary players and not people that you’d build your starting outfield with.  Given the uncertainty of center field and the advancing age of Johnny Damon in left, it makes perfect sense to solidify right with Manny.  He’d be very comfortable in front of the hometown Bronx crowd, and how scary is a batting order that starts with Damon-Jeter-Teixeira-Ramirez-ARod.  That would make up for the defensive shortcomings, and would allow you to forego Andy Pettitte or Ben Sheets in the 5th spot of the rotation and go with Phil Hughes.  Of course, it would also mean that both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher would probably be dealt, although I’d like to keep Swisher due to his versatility. 


For the fans, Manny’s presence in the lineup would be huge.  For the Yankees, Manny’s appeal for the YES Network and the turnstiles at the new Yankee Stadium would be larger.  It makes too much sense, which is why it will probably never happen…




I always enjoy reading Kat O’Brien’s blog on Newsday (On the Yankees Beat), and she has provided an answer to a question that has been nagging me.  Where is Robinson Cano mentally and physically?  At 26 years of age, has he finally realized that baseball is more than just raw talent?  Okay, there were a few questions in there.  According to Kat, Cano is now 208 lbs (down from 213 at the end of last season, a season that he most likely “, at a greater weight).  A career .303 hitter, Cano hit .271 last season after a very slow start (.151 BA in April). 


Based on Robby’s comments, he does seem to be focused this year.  “I’ve just been working on my new stance,” Cano said, “just getting ready mentally and physically…I know that I have to start in April, not in May or June”.


Great insight by Kat, and great news for the Yankees!




With 18 days to go until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa for spring training, all has been quiet on the Yankees front.  Granted, nothing may happen between now and then, but the Hot Stove League still has a few weeks of life left before it winds down. 


Almost certain to be a hot topic at camp is Joe Torre’s new book, “The Yankee Years”.  According to the New York Post, Joe has taken shots at Alex Rodriguez (“A-Fraud”), Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner’s.  I am sure that Joe’s comments are very ‘matter-of-fact’, and don’t have any added venom, but clearly, he was a very unhappy guy at the end of his Yankee tenure and very disappointed at how those final days played out.  Nevertheless, I am fearful for what the book may mean to Torre.  There could be an organizational backlash that could delay Joe’s entry to Monument Park when his managerial career is over.  Joe shouldn’t be punished for calling it like he saw it, and hopefully Hal Steinbrenner and the rest of the organization will take the book in stride.  But I am sure that it will be a hot topic for the next few weeks.


With the recent passing of Billy Werber, I have to admit that I did not realize that Tommy Henrich was still alive.  Henrich is the last surviving member of the 1938 World Champion Yankees, although he didn’t experience his greatest individual success until the 1940’s.  He was dubbed “Old Reliable” by Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen, in reference to his knack for getting a key hit when it was needed.  Henrich is 96 years old, and will long be remembered for his World Series exploits.  His notable achievements include:


·         5-time AL All-Star (1942, 1947, 1948, 1949 & 1950)

·         AL Runs Scored Leader (1948)

·         2-time AL Triples Leader (1947 & 1948)

·         20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (1938, 1941, 1948 & 1949)

·         30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1941)

·         100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1948)

·         100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1938, 1941, 1947 & 1948)

·         Won six World Series with the New York Yankees (1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1947 & 1949; he did not play in the 1937 and 1939 World Series)


While dreaming of a Damon-Cabrera/Gardner-Ramirez outfield, I can’t help but think how great it would have been to see the outfield of Henrich, Charlie Keller, and Joe DiMaggio…