Results tagged ‘ Rickey Henderson ’

Old-Timers’ Day never gets old

Funny thing about the Yankees’ Old-Timers’ Day is that the event itself never gets old.

Other organizations that followed the Yankees’ lead over the years in staging reunions of their old players discontinued the practice except for special occasions.

With the Yankees, however, the exercise remains an annual event, and each year it seems something new is added. This year’s 68th annual gathering marked a return for the first time of favorites such as Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, key stars of the franchise’s last World Series championship of 2009. Another new returning alumni was John “The Count” Montefusco, a former National League Rookie of the Year with the Giants who became part of the Yankees’ rotation in the 1980s.

“I have been waiting to come to this almost as much as I waited to get to the majors when I was in the minors,” Montefusco said. “I just wanted my grandson [Nicholas] to see what his grandpa did for a living and some of the great guys he played with.”

One of the great things about new blood joining the exercise is that new old timers like Matsui and Damon are still agile enough to play in the three-inning game. Matsui hit a home run this year in the Hall of Fame Classic last month and after watching him swat a few into the stands during batting practice I thought he might pop one during the game but no such luck.

Matsui even pitched to one batter, a Hall of Famer no less, and gave up a single to Reggie Jackson. Meanwhile, there were pitchers all over the field. David Cone played some third base. So did “El Duque,” Orlando Hernandez. David Wells made a sparking scoop of a short-hopper at first base. Coney had a tough day on the mound. He gave up a home run to Jesse Barfield and a hit to his old running mate, Wells.

Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson told me during batting practice that he has been bothered by a sore toe. He said he went to the doctor thinking it was broken, but that x-rays were negative.

“Turns out I have arthritis from all the pounding I took,” said the all-time stolen base leader. “I guess I’m officially old.”

I told him, “No, that just means you’ll steal only two bases instead of five.”

Actually, stolen bases are frowned upon in the Old-Timers’ game. In the first inning, Henderson drove a liner to left-center and sore toe and all legged out a double.

A special treat in this year’s event Sunday was the dedication of a plaque in Monument Park for Hall of Fame relief pitcher Rich “Goose” Gossage, the day after first baseman Tino Martinez was installed.


The inscription reads:


1978-1983, 1989




JUNE 22, 2014

“To receive this today in front of all those guys and all you fans is overwhelming,” Goose said. “I can’t think of another word for it.”

Gossage reminisced that Old-Timers’ Day was always his favorite day of the year. He grew up in Colorado Springs with a father who was a huge Yankees fan. Goose followed the career of Mickey Mantle closely and got to see his hero at the first Old-Timers’ Day he attended while a visiting player. When he came to the Yankees in 1978, he made sure to circle that day on the calendar.

So it was fitting that Old-Timers’ Day was the venue for Goose’s entrance into Yankees immortality.

Monument Park plaque for Goose on Old-Timers’ Day

Rich “Goose” Gossage will be honored with a Monument Park plaque dedication at the 68th annual Old-Timers’ Day celebration Sunday, June 22, at Yankee Stadium that will feature 50 former Yankees players and family members.

Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, which will be aired exclusively on the YES Network. The Yankees will then play the Orioles at 2:05 p.m., also airing on YES. Gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:15 a.m. for the festivities.

As part of the pre-game ceremonies, the Yankees will unveil a Monument Park plaque for Gossage, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. He pitched in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees (1978-83, ’89) and won a World Series with them in 1978.

In addition to Gossage, the Old-Timers are headlined by Hall-of-Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson, as well as Joe Torre, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill will also participate.

Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, teammates on the Yankees’ World Series title team in 2009, will make their Old-Timers’ Day debuts along with pitcher John Montefusco, who helped the club produce three seasons of at least 90 victories from 1983-86.

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

List of those Scheduled to Attend

Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Brian Boehringer, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Maggie Coleman, David Cone, Johnny Damon, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Jake Gibbs, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Arlene Howard, Helen Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene Michael, Gene Monahan, John Montefusco, Diana Munson, Kay Murcer, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Andy Phillips, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Joe Torre, David Wells, Roy White.

Old-Timers’ Day June 23 at Yankee Stadium

Nearly 50 former Yankees players and managers will participate in festivities at the 67th annual Old-Timers’ Day Sunday, June 23, at Yankee Stadium. Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, both of which will be aired exclusively on the YES Network.

The Yankees will play the Rays at 2:05 p.m., also on YES. Stadium gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11 a.m. for the program.

The Old-Timers headliners are five Hall of Famers – Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson. Former Yankees and current YES broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty, Paul O’Neill and Lou Piniella will also take part.

Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who helped lead the Yankees to three consecutive World Series titles from 1998-2000, will make his Old-Timers’ Day debut along with Flaherty, Brian Dorsett, Todd Greene, Scott Kamieniecki and Andy Phillips.

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

Here is a list of those expected to attend:

Luis Arroyo, Steve Balboni, Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Ron Blomberg, Brian Boehringer, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Chris Chambliss, Horace Clarke, Jerry Coleman, David Cone, Bucky Dent, Brian Dorsett, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Oscar Gamble, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Todd Greene, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Sterling Hitchcock, Arlene Howard, Helen Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene Michael, Gene Monahan, Diana Munson, Kay Murcer, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Andy Phillips, Lou Piniella, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Mel Stottlemyre, Mike Torrez, David Wells, Roy White, Bernie Williams.

Ichiro named AL Player of the Week

Ichiro Suzuki was named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending Sept. 23. It marked Ichiro’s fourth career weekly honor and his first with the Yankees. The previous time he won the award was for the period ending Sept. 26, 2010 with the Mariners.

Suzuki batted .600 with three doubles, two home runs, five RBI, seven runs and six stolen bases in six games and 25 at-bats. For the week, he led all players in batting average, hits, steals and on-base percentage (.630), was tied for second in total bases (24) and ranked third in slugging percentage (.960) and tied for fourth in runs.

The center piece of the week for Ichiro was Wednesday’s split-admission doubleheader sweep of the Blue Jays. In the day game, Suzuki had a double among three hits and scored two runs as the Yanks beat Toronto. In the night game, Ichiro had 4-for-4 at the plate and on the base paths. His double in the eighth inning knocked in the deciding run of a 2-1 victory.

It was the second time in his career in which Suzuki collected at least four hits and four stolen bases in a single game (previously accomplished July 20, 2004 against Boston). Ichiro was the first player in the majors to do it since the Rangers’ Julio Borbon Aug. 15, 2009 and the first Yankees player since Rickey Henderson had five hits and four steals April 11, 1988.

It marked the first time that Ichiro recorded at least three hits in each game of a doubleheader and he became just the seventh Yankees player to do so since 1969 (last by Derek Jeter in 2008). After going 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, three RBI and two runs in a 10-7 victory over the Jays Thursday to complete a three-game sweep, Ichiro helped lead the Yankees to their seventh straight victory Saturday, going 3-for-5 with two walks, a homer and three runs in the 10-9, 14-inning triumph over the Athletics.

Other noteworthy performances last week included the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera (.346, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI), the Rays’ Jeff Keppinger (.440, 11 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI), the Indians’ Carlos Santana (.308, 3 HR, 8 RBI) and the Tigers’ Doug Fister (shutout over the White Sox Sept. 22).

Piniella, Torre pay respects at Hall of Fame

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.”

Sunday marks 66th Old Timers’ Day at Stadium

Nearly 50 former players, managers and coaches of the Yankees plus the widows of five of the most prominent team alumni will be on hand at the 66th annual Old-Timers’ Day Sunday, July 1, at Yankee Stadium.

Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:15 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, both of which will be aired exclusively on the YES Network. The Yankees will then play the White Sox at 2:05 p.m., also on YES. General public gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11 a.m. for the festivities.

The Old Timers are headlined by several members of past Yankees’ World Series championship clubs, including Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson. Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, Paul O’Neill and Lou Piniella will also be part of the program.

Also invited back are former Yankees managers Joe Torre and Stump Merrill. For Merrill, who currently serves as a Special Assistant to the General Manager, it will mark his first Old-Timers’ Day appearance. Gene Monahan, who retired at the end of the 2011 season after serving as a trainer in the Yankees organization for 49 years, will also make his Old-Timers’ Day debut.

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

Here is the full list of those scheduled to attend:

Luis Arroyo, Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Ron Blomberg, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Jerry Coleman, David Cone, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Cecil Fielder, Whitey Ford, Oscar Gamble, Jake Gibbs, Joe Girardi, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Sterling Hitchcock, Arlene Howard, Helen Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Tommy John, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene Monahan, Diana Munson, Kay Murcer, Matt Nokes, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Lou Piniella, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Aaron Small, Mel Stottlemyre, Darryl Strawberry, Tanyon Sturtze, Ralph Terry, Joe Torre, Bob Turley, Roy White, Bernie Williams.

Who says Jeter can’t hit .300 anymore?

It is no longer a question of if Derek Jeter can get his batting average to .300 this year. It is only a matter of time. The Captain keeps passing Hall of Famers on the career hits list while marching into the land of .300.

You keep hearing these days that batting average isn’t as relevant a statistic as it used to be. So how come they still put batting averages on the scoreboard? I agree that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better gauges of a player’s offensive profile, but hitting .300 is still a cool thing, particularly if you’re someone like Jeter who is not a traditional power hitter.

Jeter hits at or near the top of the lineup, a place where .300 hitters are always welcome. Jeter was being written off by the same people who say batting average doesn’t count for much anymore when he hit .270 last year and was stuck on .260 this year while on the disabled list due to a right calf injury.

Mickey Mantle told me in an interview years ago that the greatest disappointment as a player was that his career batting average fell below .300 at .298. Another Hall of Famer, Tigers great Al Kaline (.297), said the same thing. Sure, you can say those guys played in the 1950s and ‘60s when hitting .300 was still a big deal, but I maintain that the .300 level remains a badge of honor.

You won’t hear Jeter talk much about individual stats, which is one of his greatest attributes. The stat he plays for is the W. All he cares about is his team winning and what he can do to make that so. You can be sure that what he liked most about his third-inning single Wednesday night was that it scored Brett Gardner from second base to tie the score against the Athletics.

Maybe years from now DJ will remember that it was the hit that tied him with Rickey Henderson for 21st place on the all-time list. Jeter passed another Hall of Famer, Rod Carew, with his infield single in the first inning. Jeter can move into the top 20 with five more hits that would bring him even with Craig Biggio.

In the meantime, .300 is a knock away – literally. That 3,055th hit got Jeter to .299. This has been quite a ride for the Captain since his July 4 return. That spell on the DL could have been the best thing that happened to Jeter.

He got to step away from the game, take a look at himself with perspective and get in some work with old pal Gary Denbo, who preached the message of stay back and trust your hands. It was a simple message, really, but one that took hold after a long year of getting into bad habits such as jumping at the ball and top-handing everything.

By hitting .351 in 168 at-bats in the past 40 games, Jeter has raised his season batting average 39 points. In his previous 16 seasons in the majors, Jeter batted over .300 11 times. An even dozen is suddenly looking like a lock.

Yanks falter again against Mariners’ pen

How weird is this? The Yankees scored seven earned runs with nine hits, including three home runs, and 10 walks in 12 combined innings off the Mariners’ devastating 1-2 punch of Michael Pineda and Felix Hernandez.

Sounds good enough to win a couple of games in Seattle, right? Wrong. Here’s the weird part. While they prevented Pineda and Hernandez from adding to their victory totals, the Yankees have been shut out in nine innings against the Mariners’ bullpen.

Five of those innings were Saturday night, which was really Sunday morning by the time the game ended in Eastern Daylight time with Seattle striking against Mariano Rivera for a 5-4, 12-inning victory in a game that took 4 hours, 18 minutes to complete.

The Yankees’ pen was having a strong night as well until Rivera got into the game. Talk about weird. How often is it that Mo is the least effective reliever for the Yankees? Holding this loss against Rivera isn’t entirely fair considering the Yankees’ bats were able to score one somewhat tainted run after the third inning.

The Yankees are 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position in this series, 3-for-26 over their past three games and are batting .243 in such situations for the season. Again, the long ball sustained the Yankees, who scored three of their runs on homers by Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. A triple by Curtis Granderson on a ball that probably should have been caught by Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki accounted for the Yankees’ other run.

After that, they were stymied by Seattle relievers for the second straight night. The Yankees are hitting .161 with no extra-base hits in 31 at-bats against the Mariners’ pen.

Already the Yankees’ franchise leader in hits, Derek Jeter took over the top spot in stolen bases as well with career No. 327 in the third inning. He made light the other day of tying the previous mark of Rickey Henderson, noting that it took him 18 seasons to reach a mark Henderson set in less than five seasons with the Yankees.

Scoring position is wherever homer hitters stand

When a team is having trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, as the Yankees have, the best thing for it to do is to hit the ball over the fence, which the Yankees did regularly Saturday night in evening up the Subway Series. They used the long ball in overcoming an early 2-0 deficit against the Mets and won, 7-3, to set up a rubber match Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees didn’t have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position until the eighth inning, by which time the game’s outcome was hardly in doubt, thanks to four home runs that accounted for all but one of their runs. Two-run homers by Russell Martin and Mark Teixeira and solo shots by Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez provided the Yankees a victory without worrying about hitting in the clutch.

The Yankees are batting .242 with runners in scoring position for the season and .223 at home. In the six-game home losing streak that ended Saturday night, the Yanks hit only .148 in 54 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Home runs have been a major part of the Yankees’ offense this year. They are up to 70 now and are on a pace to his 258 for the season. The Yankees have homered in 34 of their 44 games and have scored 52.2 percent of their runs via the long ball.

All four home runs were off Mets lefthander Chris Capuano, who has yielded nine homers in 48 2/3 innings. The victory got A.J. Burnett his first victory in four starts since April 30 and got him off the winless May merry-go-round.

The Yankees ended up 0-for-1 with runners in scoring position Saturday night. Runners were on first base when Martin and Teixeira connected. Derek Jeter, who singled twice and has 2,973 hits in his career, was the first Yankees player to get into scoring position when he stole second base in the eighth. That steal was the 326th of his career and tied Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson for the Yankees’ career club record.

Granderson flied out to right field, which sent Jeter to third from where he scored on a flyout by Teixeira, who has homered in three straight games. Even though Granderson didn’t get a hit with Jeter in scoring position, it was still a productive out. Granderson’s home run, off a slider on a count of 0-2, was his 15th of the season and eighth in 47 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

This has given manager Joe Girardi a dilemma when filling out lineups. His original plan was to rest Granderson or Brett Gardner against lefties and use Andruw Jones, but Granderson has done so well against lefthanders that Gardner has been the odd man out more often. Girardi considers it a nice dilemma to have.

Tough Hall ballot for former Yankees

Last week’s Hall of Fame election was a tough one for those players with ties to the Yankees. Of the eight players on the ballot who spent time with the Yankees, five failed to get the five percent required to remain in consideration and were dropped. The three players who will remain on the ballot next year did nothing to improve their chances of election anytime soon, if ever.

With a record total of 581 ballots submitted by Baseball Writers’ Association of America members with 10 or more consecutive years of service, 436 votes were needed for election to satisfy the 75-percent requirement. Second baseman Roberto Alomar with 523 (90.0 percent) and pitcher Bert Blyleven with 463 (79.7) were the only ones to make the grade; Alomar in his second time on the ballot and Blyleven in his 14th and next to last time.

Kevin Brown, who pitched for the Yankees in his later years after having been a Yankees Killer with the Rangers early in his career, did the best of those who wore the pinstripes that failed to make the cut, with 12 votes, which reflected only 2.1 percent of the ballots cast. First baseman Tino Martinez, one of the franchise’s most popular players, got 6 votes (1.0 percent), and pitcher Al Leiter and first baseman John Olerud received 4 apiece (0.7). Shut out entirely was outfielder Raul Mondesi.

Brown has become sort of a darling of the SABR (Society of Baseball Research) set, who love his statistics. I admit Brown had a better career than a lot of people may think (211-144 record, 3.28 ERA, 2 ERA and WHIP titles, 6 All-Star appearances), but the Hall of Fame is for the great, not just the very good. Brown’s time with the Yankees was one of the areas that worked against him. His impact was less than minimal; it was non-existent. Martinez also falls into the very good category, as did his old buddy Paul O’Neill, who was a one-and-done candidate four years ago.

The others had their moments in the sun, which is why they were on the ballot in the first place, but Cooperstown just was not to be their destination.

As for those who remain, the outlook is not good, since each lost ground in the voting. Reliever Lee Smith, who pitched in eight games for the Yankees in 1993, is stuck below 50 percent. He might have been expected to get to the half-way point in this year’s election but instead fell to 45.3 percent – two percent below his 2010 showing. He has up to six more years for consideration (players may stay on the ballot up to 15 years provided they get 5 percent of the vote each year), but he appears to be going backward.

The same holds true for outfielder Tim Raines, whose candidacy is based more on his high-profile years with the Expos and White Sox rather than his role-playing time with the Yankees. I would have thought that appreciation for Raines’ record as a leadoff hitter would have heightened after Rickey Henderson’s election in 2009, but Rock is also moving in reverse. He went from receiving 37.5 percent of the vote last year to 30.4 percent this year. Time at least is on Raines’ side; this was only his fourth year on the ballot.

Very much like Smith, time is running out on Don Mattingly, the Dodgers’ new manager whose entire playing career was spent with the Yankees. The 2011 election was Donnie Baseball’s 11th year on the ballot. He fell from 16.1 percent last year to 13.6 percent this year. Mattingly has never done better than the 28.2 percent he got in his first ballot year of 2001. He is down to less than half of that now and has only four years possibly remaining for consideration.

The 2012 ballot will feature another Yankees favorite, Bernie Williams, the switch-hitting center fielder and cleanup hitter on four World Series championship teams. This is just a hunch, but he is bound to do better than the first-year candidates with Yankees pedigrees this time around.


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