Results tagged ‘ Yogi Berra ’

Yankees keep their manager for four more years

Well, that was quick. All things considered, the Yankees were fortunate to keep their manager in place in a relatively quick period of time during an off-season that promises to be busy. Surely a fourth year on the contract extension was a deal doer. Other clubs – notably the Cubs, Nationals and Reds – as well as a television network or two may have had designs on Girardi, but four-year contracts at seven figures per annum are hard to come by, so the Yankees were able to retain the guy they wanted to continue running the club before his current pact was to expire Oct. 31.

Girardi was deserving of the extension. Even with the World Series championship of 2009 at the top of his accomplishments, Joe’s effort with the 2013 Yankees may have been his best work. It certainly was his most arduous. With the abundance of injuries the Yankees had to deal with, just running out a healthy lineup every day was an ordeal for the manager.

Much was made in the media of Girardi’s Illinois background and ties to the Cubs as a fan while growing up and as a catcher as a player being a temptation for him to go off to Wrigley Field. On a conference phone hookup Wednesday, Girardi emphasized it was a family decision. Mom and the kids were A-OK with the Yankees and New York. The Girardi’s have made solid roots in Westchester County.

And let us not forget that Joe Girardi despite all the Cubs history has become a part of Yankees history as well. He fits in very well come Old Timers’ Day as a player who was part of three World Series championship clubs as a player (1996, ’98-99) as well as his one as a manager. He pointed out that in his conversation with the family that getting to manage in the same place for 10 years, which would be the case if Girardi fulfills the whole contract, is pretty special.

Over his first six years as Yankees manager the club has led the major leagues in home runs (1,236), ranked second in runs (4,884) and seventh in hits (8,836) and batting average (.265). The Yankees have also committed the fewest errors (484) over the span with a majors-best .986 team fielding percentage.

In 2013, Girardi did a good job getting the beaten-up Yankees to an 85-77 finish and third-place tie in the American League East with the Orioles. He got his 500th win as Yankees manager May 10 at Kansas City. The club made just 69 errors in 2013, the third-lowest total in the majors and tying the franchise record for fewest in a season (also 2010). Their .988 fielding percentage set a franchise record, fractionally better than their .988 mark in 2010.

In 2009, Girardi became the ninth Yankees manager to win a World Series, and just the fourth to do so in his postseason managerial debut, joining Casey Stengel (1949), Ralph Houk (1961) and Bob Lemon (1978). Girardi also joined Houk and Billy Martin as the only men to win World Series for the club as players and managers.

Girardi was named the 32nd manager of the Yankees Oct. 30, 2007, becoming the 17th Yankees manager to have played for the club and the fourth former Yankees catcher to skipper the team, joining Bill Dickey, Houk and Yogi Berra.

In 2006, Girardi was named National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America after guiding the Marlins to a 78-84 record in his first season as a big league manager. With the award, he matched the Astros’ Hal Lanier (1986) and the Giants’ Dusty Baker (1993) as the only managers to win the honor in their managerial debuts.

In 15 major-league seasons as a catcher, Girardi played for the Cubs (1989-92 and 2000-02), Rockies (1993-95), Yankees (1996-99) and Cardinals (2003) and batted .267 with 454 runs, 186 doubles, 36 home runs and 422 RBI in 4,127 at-bats over 1,277 games. He had a .991 career fielding percentage and threw out 27.6 percent of potential base stealers. Girardi was named to the National League All-Star team in 2000 with the Cubs.

With the Yankees, Girardi was behind the plate for Dwight Gooden’s hitter May 14, 1996 against the Mariners and David Cone’s perfect game July 18, 1999 against the Expos. In World Series Game 6 against the Braves in 1996, Girardi tripled in the game’s first run in a three-run third inning off Greg Maddux as the Yankees clinched their first championship since 1978 with a 3-2 victory. He has a .566 winning percentage with a 642-492 record as a manager and is 21-17 in postseason play.

Rain falls on Mattingly’s parade

If only the weather had cooperated. Tuesday night was supposed to be special for Don Mattingly, who would have made his first appearance on the field at Yankee Stadium since he retired as a player after the 1995 season. He came back along with former manager Joe Torre in September 2010 for the unveiling of the plaque for the late owner George Steinbrenner but not in uniform.

“Donnie Baseball” was expected to receive a very warm welcome from Yankees fans even if he was wearing Dodgers blue as their manager in the club’s first regular-season game in the Bronx. A persistent rain forced the postponement of the game, however, which will be made up as part of a split-admission doubleheader Wednesday. It is hoped that a good sized crowd is on hand for that first game, so Mattingly can receive the ovation he richly deserves.

He is that rarity (think Yogi Berra, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera) as a Yankees player than even Yankees haters liked. Mattingly wore the pinstripes proudly for 14 seasons as a player and was a loyal coach as well. He was a candidate for the managerial position after Torre left but lost the job to current skipper Joe Girardi, a situation Mattingly now considers a “blessing.”

“They treated me fairly, I thought,” Mattingly said of the Yankees’ front office. “Things work out for a reason. That would have been really bad timing for me. Terrible. I was going through some personal stuff that would have been miserable trying to manage for the first time and have that going on. So, that was a blessing in disguise. Coming to L.A. has been great, and obviously there’s been a lot of turmoil this year, but I love what I’m doing and I like being in L.A.”

Mattingly was going through a divorce at the time and ended up joining Torre with the Dodgers as bench coach. When Joe stepped down from the manager’s job two years ago, Mattingly succeeded him. Unfortunately, injuries have played a huge part in the Dodgers’ disappointing season, a situation for which his Yankees counterpart can relate. Girardi has had 13 players do 16 stints on the disabled list. Mattingly has had 15 players on the DL.

About coming back to New York, Mattingly said, “It’s not just the building, it’s the people. Seeing the guys in the clubhouse and around the Stadium, it’s a good feeling.”

Mattingly feels fortunate that he has been involved with two clubs with storied histories. He grew up in Evansville, Ind., where the Cardinals and the Reds were the clubs people listed to mostly on the radio. The Yankees were a dynasty from long ago to Mattingly until he finally arrived at the Stadium as a player.

“I’m always excited when we come back to New York,” he said. “I don’t quite understand the relationship [with the fans], to be honest. I came from a small town and just played. They seemed to appreciate that. That was nice for me because all I had to do was play.”

Mattingly had hoped to be a part of a Yankees-Dodgers World Series (they have opposed each other in October a record 11 times) in 2009, but Los Angeles lost to Philadelphia in the NL Championship Series.

“I didn’t really know much about the Yankees until I got here,” he said. “It starts in spring training. Mickey [Mantle] was still alive and came to camp. You’d see Whitey [Ford] and Yogi. You don’t understand the history until you get here. Now I’m in another place that it steeped in history, going back to Jackie [Robinson] breaking the color line, bringing baseball to the West Coast and having strong ties to the community. All the Rookie of the Year winners over the years that shows the commitment to players coming through the system, fighting for a championship year after year, it is very similar to the Yankees.”

“Donnie is one of the greatest Yankees that’s ever played,” Girardi said. “He’s one of the greatest teammates that has ever put on that uniform. I know I’ve always loved him and appreciated what he has done, and I know the fans have seen a lot more than I have. I think it’ll be a great day for him.”

It will just have to wait for one more day.

The only tickets valid for the 1:05 p.m. game Wednesday are tickets dated June 18. The game originally scheduled for June 19 remains scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start. YES will cablecast the 1:05 p.m. game. Channel 9 will telecast the 7:05 p.m. game.

Fans holding paid tickets for Tuesday night’s game (June 18) may use them for the rescheduled game or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at Yankee Stadium during the 2013 season or 2014 season (subject to availability).

Fans holding Complimentary tickets (COMP) for the June 18 game must use them for the rescheduled game. Complimentary tickets (COMP) or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and do not have any additional benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value.

For complete information about the Yankees’ rainout policy, please visit http://www.yankees.com/rainout.

With respect to tickets purchased through Yankees Ticket Exchange, please visit http://www.yankees.com/ticketexchange or call 1-800-355-2396 for complete information about its rainout policy.

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.

Nunez latest Yankee to go on DL

As anticipated, the Yankees placed shortstop Eduardo Nunez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 6, because of a left oblique strain and purchased the contract of veteran infielder Alberto Gonzalez from Triple A Scranton. To create room on the 40-man roster for Gonzalez, the Yanks transferred first baseman Mark Teixeira to the 60-day DL.

With Nunez still hurting, the Yankees were in need of infield help because they have a makeup doubleheader against the Indians coming up Monday at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Gonzalez, 30, was reacquired by the Yankees Thursday from the Cubs in a trade for a player to be named or cash.

Gonzalez batted .217 with one home run and two RBI in 23 at-bats for the Cubs. This is his second tour with the Yankees. Gonzalez, a utilityman whose primary position is shortstop, was with the Yankees for parts of the 2007 and ’08 seasons and hit .152 in 66 at-bats. A .241 career hitter over seven seasons, Gonzalez has also played for the Nationals, Rangers and Padres.

Monday’s scheduled twin bill will be a single-admission doubleheader. The first game will start at 12:05 p.m. with the second game to start approximately 20 minutes after the end of the opener. It will mark the Yankees’ first traditional doubleheader since May 3, 2007 when they swept the Rangers at Arlington, Texas, and their first against the Indians since taking both games Sept. 22, 1998 at Yankee Stadium. Since 2000, the Yankees have gone 14-1-16, getting swept only once – July 17, 2006 at the Stadium.

It had been speculated that Ivan Nova might come off the DL to start one of the games of Monday’s doubleheader, but the righthander injured his left side while recuperating from right triceps inflammation and will not be activated. David Phelps, who had already been tabbed to start the first game, will share the bill with lefthander Vidal Nuno.

Since 1914 when Mother’s Day was first recognized nationally, the Yankees have combined to go 57-47-2 on the holiday. They played on the road on Mother’s Day for the fifth time in the past seven years and against the Royals for the first time since 1997, a 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Sunday also marked Yogi Berra’s 88th birthday. The legendary catcher with 10 World Series rings and three American League Most Valuable Player Awards was born May 12, 1925 in St. Louis. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and inducted with Early Wynn and Sandy Koufax.

Bobblehead Ticket Pack now available

The Yankees have added four limited-edition collectible player bobblehead dates to their 2013 promotional calendar. The set of four is the first series in a three-year collection of 12 Yankees bobbleheads.

It marks the first time in 10 years the Yankees will hold a player bobblehead promotion. The 2013 series includes Derek Jeter Monday, July 8, vs. the Royals; Hideki Matsui Sunday, July 28, vs. the Rays; Yogi Berra Friday, Aug. 30, vs. the Orioles and Mariano Rivera Tuesday, Sept. 24, vs. the Rays.

At each of the selected games on the dates listed, the first 18,000 guests in attendance will receive the select bobbleheads, presented by AT&T. The Yankees are also introducing a special Yankees bobblehead ticket pack, starting at $88. Fans can purchase the packages beginning now at http://www.yankees.com/bobblehead.

Fans should note that purchasing a Yankees Bobblehead Ticket Pack does not guarantee you will receive the designated giveaway. Giveaways will be distributed to the first 18,000 guests at each game. All giveaways and event dates are subject to change. This is a limited time offer and is subject to availability, has no cash value, is not valid on previously purchased tickets and is not good in conjunction with any other promotional offer. Other restrictions may apply.

Mo sets club durability record

Mariano Rivera’s first appearance of the 2013 season Thursday night set a club record for years with the Yankees. This marks Mo’s 19th season in pinstripes, which breaks the tie he had shared with Yogi Berra (1946-63), Mickey Mantle (1951-68) and Derek Jeter (1995-2012). Once Jeet comes off the disabled list, of course, he will go back into a tie with Rivera.

Next in line with 17 seasons with the Yankees are Lou Gehrig (1923-39), Bill Dickey (1928-43, ’46), Frankie Crosetti (1932-48) and Jorge Posada (1995-2011). With 16 seasons apiece are Whitey Ford (1950, ’53-67) and Bernie Williams (1991-2006).

Rivera’s save to preserve the 4-2 victory over the Red Sox for Andy Pettitte also made it 18 years in a row (1996-2013) in which Mo has saved at least one game, tying the major-league record with John Franco.

In the major-league opener Sunday night between the Astros and the Rangers, Houston center fielder Justin Maxwell hit two triples to become one of only six players in history to triple twice in a season opener. One of them was the Yankees’ Tommy Henrich in 1950, his final season. “Old Reliable,” as Henrich was known, had more triples (8) than doubles (6) or home runs (6) that year. Henrich hit 73 triples over his 11-season career (he lost three full seasons to military service during World War II) and led the league twice, with 14 in 1948 and 13 in 1947.

Gotta go to ‘Mo’

So I was trying to think of which Yankees legend would throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday night’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.

The octogenarians Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford aren’t up to the task anymore, and neither is Don Larsen, probably. Reggie Jackson hasn’t been seen around the Stadium for months.

It never dawned on me until I saw him trot to the mound that the Yankees had the ideal guy all along to handle the assignment – Mariano Rivera. What a concept; a guy used to throwing the last pitch throws out the first one instead.

A perfect choice.

Larsen, Yogi reunited on anniversary of Series perfecto

Don Larsen and Yogi Berra will be reunited on the 56th anniversary of the only perfect game in World Series history at 1 p.m. Monday at the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls, N.J. The battery mates for that historic game will be present at the museum along with Brandon Steiner, chief executive officer of Steiner Sports; Andrew Levy, president of Wish You Were Here Productions and museum director Dave Kaplan.

The No, 18 uniform that Larsen wore in that milestone performances in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series will go up for auction. Steiner Sports Memorabilia, a leader in collectibles and a company which has sold innumerable sports artifacts, has been entrusted with the auction that will be held from Oct. 8 through December this year.

Recently, a jersey once worn by Babe Ruth was sold to a collector for a reported $4.4 million. Berra’s No. 8 jersey that he wore during Larsen’s perfecto reportedly sold for nearly $600,000 in 2010. It will not be a part of the auction but will be displayed at the press conference.

Teixeira, Chavez end Yanks’ 1-run game futility

With his game-tying solo home run Thursday at Detroit, Mark Teixeira has five homers this year that tied the game or put the Yankees ahead in the seventh inning or later. It marks his most such homers in a single season in his career. Only one Yankees player has had more homers in those circumstances in a season over the past 12 years – Alex Rodriguez with six each in 2009 and ’10.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, the back-to-back homers by Teixeira and Eric Chavez Thursday were the first by the Yankees in the eighth inning or later on the road – with the first one tying the game and the second one giving them the lead – since Aug. 25, 1955 when Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle went back-to-back in the ninth inning of a 3-2 victory also in Detroit at old Briggs Stadium.

Chavez, who was given Friday night off the turf at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, is batting .467 with nine runs, two doubles, four home runs and nine RBI over his past nine games and 30 at-bats. He has hit nine home runs over his past 35 games after hitting just three in his first 42 games. In the four-game series at Comerica Park, Chavez had 9-for-16 (.563) with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI with multiple hits in each game.

The Yankees’ 4-3 victory Thursday was their first in a game decided by one run since July 13, 6-5, over the Angels. They had lost their previous eight one-run games. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that it was the longest such skid for the Yankees since 1944. The victory was also the Yankees’ eighth of the season when trailing after the end of seven innings. Last year, they had only four. The Yankees are tied with the Orioles and the Nationals for the most such victories in the major leagues this season.

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.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.