Results tagged ‘ Phil Niekro ’
Former Yankees pitchers Goose Gossage and Phil Niekro will compete with fellow Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers and more than 20 additional former major-league players from the past three decades in the May 25 Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown. The fifth annual Classic is moving to Memorial Day Weekend this year as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates the time-honored connection between the National Pastime and the nation’s military.
Two of the game’s legendary managers, Bobby Cox and Cito, Gaston will reprise their 1992 World Series matchup as opposing skippers with players that will include former Yankees pitchers Brian Boehringer and Brian Fisher as well as Bob Boone, Bret Boone, Bert Campaneris, Doug Creek, Will Clark, John Doherty, Cliff Floyd, Jeffery Hammonds, Jim Hannan, Todd Haney, T.J. Mathews, Brian McRae, Desi Relaford and Dmitri Young. More players will be announced in the coming weeks.
Four soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division will also participate in the Classic, which will be preceded at 1 p.m. by the Legends Hitting Contest at Doubleday Field. The 10th Mountain Division Color Guard and Band from nearby Fort Drum, N.Y., will be featured in pregame ceremonies – including the 12 p.m. Cooperstown Game Day Parade on Main Street – as the Museum presents a salute to our Armed Forces.
Following the Classic, the Hall of Fame will host “A Night at the Museum” – a new event that provides a limited number of fans an unforgettable evening with Hall of Famers and other big league stars from 7-9 p.m. Fans can take pictures with their heroes while sharing a meet-and-greet experience throughout the Cooperstown shrine.
On Friday, May 24, the Museum will host the Legends for Youth Skills Clinic, from 4-7 p.m. at Doubleday Field. Hosted in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, the Clinic gives youth participants ages 5-12 a chance to learn hands-on training from several former major league stars. The event concludes with an autograph session for participants. Registrations are free but limited and can be secured by calling 607-547-0397.
Fans may experience May 24-26 Classic Weekend through two packages available for the first time in 2013:
Baseball’s Past and Present will feature a baseline ticket on either the first- or third-base side to the Hall of Fame Classic and a one-day Museum admission pass for just $25, a savings of $7 off the regular rate.
Let’s Play Two features a baseline ticket on either the first- or third-base side to the Classic and entry to “Night at the Museum,” a two-hour exclusive opportunity to meet and greet Hall of Famers and other former big leaguers from 7-9 p.m. at the Hall of Fame. Let’s Play Two is available for $50 per person.
Classic Weekend will also feature a Hall of Fame golf tournament fundraiser for the Museum, a member photo opportunity with Hall of Fame members, curator-led talks on the history of Doubleday Field, a family photo opportunity at Doubleday Field and the Family Catch at Doubleday Field.
Ticket packages for the 2013 Hall of Fame Classic are online at http://www.baseballhall.org or by phone at 1-877-726-9028. Tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic are $12.50 for first and third base seats and $11 for general admission outfield seats. Tickets are only available via phone or online and will not be sold at the Museum in Cooperstown.
The Museum has teamed up with Sports Travel and Tours to offer baseball fans a one-stop opportunity to purchase Hall of Fame Classic Weekend travel packages. For more information or to plan a trip to Cooperstown, please call 1-888-310-HALL (4255).
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Former Yankees managers Lou Piniella and Joe Torre were among the baseball people who came to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend. I kidded them that they must be rehearsing for when their time comes for induction. In another two years, both will likely be on the Veterans Committee’s ballot from the Expansion Era for their careers as managers.
Lou was here for both of Sunday’s inductees, Barry Larkin and the late Ron Santo. Larkin was the shortstop on Piniella’s Reds team that won the 1990 World Series in a sweep of the Athletics. During his time as manager of the Cubs, Piniella also became a friend of Santo, the former third baseman who later was a fixture at Wrigley Field as a broadcaster.
Santo died last year, and his widow, Vicki, gave a moving acceptance speech. How she got through it without breaking down was amazing to me. She painted a brilliant picture of the man who was as identified with the Cubs as former teammates Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, who were on hand for the ceremony. They were among the 45 Hall of Famers who attended the ceremony, including Yankees favorites Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Dave Winfield, Phil Niekro and Rickey Henderson.
Larkin told a story about how Piniella addressed the Reds in 1990 before the start of spring training and explained to them that he did not like losing and that he did not intend for this team to lose. Cincinnati won its first nine games that season and went wire to wire to win the National League West, the division the Reds were in before the NL Central was created with realignment in 1994. They defeated the Pirates in the NL Championship Series before sweeping the A’s in the World Series, so Lou kept his promise about not losing.
Larkin was that baseball rarity that played his entire career for his hometown team. I could think of only three other Hall of Famers who did that, and all were Yankees – Lou Gehrig, Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford. Gehrig grew up on the West Side of Manhattan, the Scooter in Brooklyn and Ford in the Queens neighborhood of Astoria, and each spent his entire playing career in the Bronx.
I remember when Paul O’Neill was traded to the Yankees from the Reds in 1993, and a lot of people said that he would have trouble playing in New York. O’Neill, who was also on that ’90 Reds team and like Larkin had grown up in Cincinnati, told me once that he never had any doubts that he would do well in New York. He was not unfamiliar with the city because his sister, Molly, then the food critic for the New York Times, lived there for many years.
“There was a lot more pressure on me playing for the Reds because it was my hometown,” Paulie said. “I never felt that kind of pressure in New York. The fans in New York welcomed me and got behind me early on. I enjoyed the New York experience a lot more than Cincinnati.”
Torre came up for Saturday’s program at Doubleday Field for former teammate Tim McCarver, who was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting alongside Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun as the J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner for baseball writing. Joe and Timmy were teammates with the Cardinals and have remained good friends over the years.
Among the people McCarver credited for his playing career, which covered four decades from 1959 through 1980, was Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey, a career Yankee. McCarver said that in those pre-draft years of the 1950s that he almost signed with the Yankees because he was so impressed by Dickey but wound up signing with the Cardinals.
“Bill Dickey gave me the greatest piece of advice I ever received for a catcher,” McCarver said. “He told me, ‘Be a pitcher’s friend.’ And I am happy to say that a couple of Hall of Famers who are up on this stage with me have been lifelong friends, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton.”
The Yankees, who played Tampa Bay for the first time on July 4, entered play Wednesday with a 28-28 record on Independence Day in the expansion era (since 1961). The Yankees had lost their past three road games on the Fourth of July and seven of the past nine.
They played on the road on the Fourth of July for the second straight year, the first time they have done that in consecutive seasons since 1996 and ‘97. The Yankees will not play at home on Memorial Day (May 28), July 4 or Labor Day (Sept. 6) in the same season for the first time since 2006.
The Yankees have posted winning records in the month of July in each of the past 19 seasons (1993-2011). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks the longest winning stretch of Julys in major league history. The previous record was 15, held by the Pirates from 1899 to 1913.
Elias also reported that Derek Jeter became only the third major league player in the past 80 years to get his 100th hit of a season before the Fourth of July, in his age group (38 or older) on that date of the year. The others were Paul Molitor with 110 hits at age 39 for the Twins in 1996 and Pete Rose with 100 hits at age 38 for the Phillies in 1979.
The Yankees have long been associated with the Fourth of July. Lou Gehrig delivered his famous farewell speech July 4, 1939 at Yankee Stadium. Other major events in Yankees history on the Fourth of July were Mickey Mantle’s 300th career home run in 1962, Dave Righetti’s no-hitter against the Red Sox in 1983 and Phil Niekro’s 3,000th career strikeout in 1984. Independence Day was also the birthday of former owner George Steinbrenner and current radio voice John Sterling.
About the best thing that could be said about Freddy Garcia Tuesday night was that he did not get tagged with a losing decision. He had his teammates to thank for that as the Yankees rallied for three runs in the sixth inning to come back against Orioles rookie lefthander Wei-Yin Chen to make it a 4-4 game.
The Yanks had staked Garcia to a 1-0 lead on Derek Jeter’s leadoff homer, but the righthander had control problems throughout his 4 2/3 innings in which he barely threw more strikes (52) than balls (46). And, remember, those strike included four hits by the Orioles, including a home run by J.J. Hardy.
Garcia helped the Orioles to two gift runs on wild pitches. One of them came in the fifth inning after manager Joe Girardi had shown confidence in Garcia by not taking him out and bringing in lefthander Clay Rapada to pitch to the left-handed Nick Markakis. The skipper’s reward for leaving Garcia in the game was to watch him launch his fifth wild pitch that let in the fourth Baltimore run. On the next pitch, Garcia then hit Markakis. Yeah, it was that kind of night.
The five wild pitches tied the American League record for the amount in one game, set in 1912 by the Tigers’ Charles Weatley and tied by another Detroit pitcher, Jack Morris, in 1987, albeit in a 10-inning game. Garcia didn’t even pitch half that long.
The major league record for wild pitches in a game is six, a mark shared by three National League hurlers. Not surprisingly, Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro is one of them, for the Braves in 1979, the same year Astros fireballer J.R. Richard did it. The Expos’ Bill Gullickson joined the list in 1982.
David Phelps, the James P. Dawson Award winner as the top rookie in the Yanks’ spring training camp, continued to impress with 2 1/3 hitless innings with four strikeouts, all looking. Phelps has struck out five of the nine batters he has faced in two relief appearances.
More than any other team in the majors, the Yankees make it difficult for a new player to receive his preferred uniform number. The main reason is that the Yankees have retired 14 numbers (including 8 twice, for both Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra), the most of any team. In the case of the three players traded to the Yankees over the weekend, two were able to get the numbers they had worn for their previous clubs, and none of the three numbers issued had been retired.
First baseman-designated hitter Lance Berkman received No. 17, which he had worn throughout his career in the National League with the Astros. Outfielder Austin Kearns got No. 26, the same number he had worn in his time with the Indians. Kearns’ preferred number would have been 28, which he wore with the Reds and the Nationals. He was unable to get it in Cleveland because it was worn by pitcher David Huff, now in the minors, and had no chance with the Yankees since 28 is the number of manager Joe Girardi.
Relief pitcher Kerry Wood, who made his Yankees debut in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to the Rays, was given No. 39, the first time he has worn a number in the majors other than 34, which he had with both the Cubs and the Indians. Number 34 was not available because it belongs to pitcher A.J. Burnett.
The matter of uniform numbers can get dicey. A lot of players have jewelry made up with their numbers, and the trinkets become useless if they can’t get their number with a new team. That was the case with Rickey Henderson when he came to the Yankees in 1985. He had worn No. 35 in Oakland, but Phil Niekro had that number when Rickey came to New York. Henderson took No. 24 and then continued to wear that number most of the rest of his career with eight more teams. The only teams he couldn’t wear No. 24 for were the Mariners, who had just traded Ken Griffey Jr. but wouldn’t give out the number, and the Dodgers, who had retired it for Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston.
Reggie Jackson did something similar. He had worn No. 9 with the A’s, but that was Graig Nettles’ number with the Yankees when Reggie reached the Bronx in 1977. Reggie switched to No. 44, which he later wore with the Angels and when he returned to Oakland. Both numbers were retired by the Yankees – 44 for Reggie and 9 for Roger Maris. The latter number was retired by the time Joe Torre, who had worn it throughout his career, came to the Yankees as manager in 1996. He wore No. 6 for 12 years.
Randy Johnson wore No. 51 in Montreal, Seattle, Houston and Arizona, but when he came to the Yankees in 2005 had to change because that number belonged to Bernie Williams. The Big Unit took No. 41, which was his age at the time.
Tino Martinez wore No. 23 with the Mariners, and the number was available when he came to the Yankees in 1996 because Don Mattingly, who had worn it, retired. In deference to Mattingly, a player he greatly admired, Tino declined and instead took No. 24, which is now worn by Robinson Cano. Robbie had worn No. 22 but gave it to Roger Clemens when the Rocket rejoined the Yankees in 2007. Cano then took 24 because it is the reverse of 42, now retired in perpetuity in honor of Jackie Robinson, for whom Cano was named.
Prior to the two-hit blanking of the Braves Friday night by Phillies lefthander Jamie Moyer, 47, the previous oldest big-league pitcher to throw a shutout was Phil Niekro, the Hall of Famer who was 46 when he turned the trick for the Yankees against the Blue Jays on the final day of the 1985 season at old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto for his 300th career victory.
That was quite a day for “Knucksie,” the master of the knuckleball who had a plan entering that game that included his younger brother, Joe, then a Yankees teammate. Since the Jays had clinched the pennant the previous day, the season finale was essentially meaningless, so Phil worked out a deal in which both he and Joe would appear in the same game and combined for the milestone victory that they hoped would uplift the spirits of their father, who was seriously ill back home in Lansing, Ohio.
“We were up late the night before, and I told Joe I wanted his name along with mine in the same boxscore if I got my 300th win,” Phil told me a few years ago. “He ended up backing out of the deal, but it was for a good reason.”
It was also pointed out Friday night that the oldest non-knuckleball pitcher to throw a shutout was Hall of Famer Satchel Paige, 46, for the St. Louis Browns Aug. 6, 1952 against the Detroit Tigers, a 12-inning, 1-0 victory at Sportsman’s Park. Not to take anything from ol’ Satch, but Niekro was not a knuckleball pitcher on that October 6 afternoon in Toronto. That was also part of Phil’s plan.
“I had always wanted to pitch a game where I didn’t throw the knuckleball,” he said. “This seemed the perfect opportunity. Actually, I did throw one knuckleball, the last pitch of the game.”
And that was after he found out that Joe Niekro had no intention of entering the game. Joe Safety, then the Yankees’ publicist, notified the dugout in the late innings that Phil would be the oldest pitcher to throw a shutout if he got the complete game. Hearing that, Joe told Phil that he would not come into the game and he’s have to finish it himself, which he did.
The Yankees had come into Toronto trailing the Blue Jays by three games with a chance to force a playoff for the American League East title if they swept the series. The Yankees won Friday night in surprising fashion. With two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning, Butch Wynegar tied the score with a home run off reliever Tom Henke, who then allowed a single to Bobby Meacham and walked Rickey Henderson.
Bobby Cox, then the Toronto manager, brought in lefthander Steve Davis to pitch to Don Mattingly, who hit a lazy fly ball to center field. Lloyd Moseby dropped it, however, allowing the Yankees to take the lead that was preserved in the ninth by Dave Righetti. Saturday was a different story. Rookie Joe Cowley was rocked by home runs by Moseby, Willie Upshaw and Ernie Whitt, and pitcher Doyle Alexander stifled the Yankees for a division-clinching, 5-1 victory.
“I knew they’d all be out on the town after winning the division,” Niekro said. “Most of the regulars wouldn’t be in the lineup the next day, and those that were would be really hung over.”
Cox put together a makeshift lineup, resting regulars Moseby, Upshaw, Whitt, Tony Fernandez, Jesse Barfield, George Bell and Garth Iorg. Second baseman Damaso Garcia and DH Jeff Burroughs were the only regulars in the lineup that included a 21-year-old rookie named Cecil Fielder. Throwing mostly fastballs, sliders and an occasional eephus pitch, Niekro had the Jays mostly returning to the dugout after each at-bat and finished with a four-hitter and an 8-0 victory. Burroughs struck out on that final-pitch knuckler.
The Niekros flew to Ohio together the next day to visit with their father, who had listened to the game on a radio broadcast hooked up by the Yankees. Nothing Jamie Moyer did Friday night topped that.