Thursday, February 13, 2014

Your Attention Please, This Is Your Captain



I want to start by saying thank you. 

I know they say that when you dream you eventually wake up. Well, for some reason, I’ve never had to wake up. Not just because of my time as a New York Yankee but also because I am living my dream every single day.

Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle. The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.

So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100% sure.

And the thing is, I could not be more sure. I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball.

I’ve experienced so many defining moments in my career. Winning the World Series as a rookie shortstop, being named the Yankees captain, closing the old and opening the new Yankee Stadium. Through it all, I’ve never stopped chasing the next one. I want to finally stop the chase and take in the world.

For the last 20 years I’ve been completely focused on two goals: playing my best and helping the Yankees win. That means that for 365 days a year, my every thought and action were geared toward that goal. It’s now time for something new.

From the time I was a kid, my dream was always very vivid and it never changed: I was going to be the shortstop for the NY Yankees. It started as an empty canvas more than 20 years ago, and now that I look at it, it’s almost complete. In a million years, I wouldn’t have believed just how beautiful it would become.

So many people have traveled along this journey with me and helped me along the way: I want to especially thank The Boss, the Steinbrenner family, the entire Yankees organization, my managers, my coaches, my teammates, my friends and of course, above all, my family. They taught me incredible life lessons and are the #1 reason I lasted this long. They may not have been on the field, but they feel they played every game with me, and I think they are ready to call it a career as well.

I also couldn’t have done it without the people of New York. NY fans always pushed me to be my best. They have embraced me, loved me, respected me and have ALWAYS been there for me. This can be a tough, invasive, critical and demanding environment. The people of this city have high expectations and are anxious to see them met.

But it’s those same people who have challenged me, cheered for me, beat me down and picked me back up all at the same time. NY made me stronger, kept me more focused and made me a better, more well-rounded person. For that I will be forever grateful. I never could have imagined playing anywhere else.

I will remember it all: the cheers, the boos, every win, every loss, all the plane trips, the bus rides, the clubhouses, the walks through the tunnel and every drive to and from the Bronx. I have achieved almost every personal and professional goal I have set. I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball, and I have absolutely no regrets.

Now it’s time for the next chapter. I have new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges. There are many things I want to do in business and philanthropic work, in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own. And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation.

But before that, I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life. And most importantly, I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship.

Once again, thank you.

Derek Jeter




Monday, September 23, 2013

Thank You for Great MO-ments



'It has been a great run, guys, you guys have been amazing.  You always have been here for me and for the organization - I will never forget that."

"You guys will have a part of my heart here in New York."


Sunday, June 23, 2013

If You Build It, They Will Come



What a fabulous old timer's day at the park the "The Boss" built.  I haven't attended this event in a while and it was very special to see so many great legends. We were gifted with a beautiful summer day and visuals of great players from year's past - both in equal measure.

These players came together from different baseball eras, some considered bygone eras, and some hadn't a clue they would create baseball history.  Now, they have left iconic footprints - some more distinguished than others - that have traversed great baseball moments and serve as memory markers.  It almost felt like time travel and we were presented with cascading folklore at Yankee Stadium.



Friday, October 19, 2012

I Will Be Back



"That's correct. I will be back. I have a lot to prove and I will be back - on a mission.  I don't expect to be mediocre."


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sabathia in Cruise Control



Sabathia's dominant performance in game five vs the Orioles to win the ALDS was his first career postseason complete game and one befitting an aCCe.

"That's what I'm here for," Sabathia said.  "It's what I play the game for.  I guess I should feel a little pressure or something like that, but I don't."

"He is one of the greatest pitchers on the planet, that was all heart."  --Ibanez



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When Does It Stop?

ORIGINALLY POST ON 5/23/12



Playing baseball for the New York Yankees is a tremendous privilege; especially if one gets paid a busload of money for the honor.  In New York, respect is earned and it is not a right. And, of course - everyone has an opinion at the very least about the Yankees. Opinions about character assassination run rampant in New York - as well as being contemptuous.  

For Alex Rodriguez, this is a normal day at the office.  Although, he has always displayed the required backbone for excellence and continues to work his tail off, he's denoted a choker and a swaggerer.  We have all heard the chinwag: Catcalls for his head on a bad play or a strikeout, resentment over his lofty contract, envy, and vogue for this season - annoyance for his pitiable performance with RISP (6 for 40 with 2HR and 12RBIs).  Now, lets have a look-see at two categories for his career.  With RISP he's batting a very respectful .298/.400/.539 with 154 HRs and 1,216 RBIs  and .346/.394/.697 with 22 Grand Slams with the bases full.  Not Bad! However, a great deal of fans continue to have selective amnesia, including the press as they pile on and overanalyze  his statements, modulate his success and constantly disparage him.

There are plenty of flies buzzing around the stadium lately, but we can't continue to censure and exile the unproductive.  We need to root for wins and provide a vote of confidence.  AROD's unrelenting supremacy may be gone, but he's not the only one to blame - It's a 25 man team.  It's understandable for all this to be fad in New York as he makes the most money, and as such - should have the biggest target ironed on his uniform.  The numbers: the Yankees are obligated to pay Alex $143 million with another $30 million in possible incentives.  Still, let's not forget the money remaining on the contracts of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter - over $300 million with possible incentives.  Not exactly pocket change.  Yet Alex must absorb all the heat.

Some are so dismayed at the notion that he's got a chance to top the HR and RBI records. And, because of his admitted steroid use, he then, should be removed from any serious consideration to be mentioned alongside other baseball immortals: Aaron, Ruth, Mantle or Mays.  Perhaps, Alex should be relegated to complete obscurity?  C'mon?! What about the Ruth era, when players were notorious for drinking and gambling and the days of Mickey, Whitey and Billy - where liquor was a constant.

There is no debate about the poor showing so far this season for Rodriguez (.276/.369/.404 with 5 HR and 15 RBIs) - an unproductive beginning by AROD's standards. But, it's just not producing for him, his benchmark is so high that no matter what he does, it would never suffice New York.  How will his pinstripe legacy be defined? Who knows, but one thing is for sure: most will continue to disapprove and most sentiments about him will always be hurled outside the realm of goodwill.  





Sunday, October 7, 2012

A 162-Game Bender




The Yankees 2012 season was certainly a 162-game mind-bender.  To really understand and appreciate this year's team, one would have had to devoutly follow them all year and get a flavor for the failures and accomplishments.  Undoubtedly, there were many variables to chew:  the season hinging on an aging club, injuries and the lack of production as a side-effect.  The harsh 200 million dollar payroll and only one World Series win in the last eleven years - eventhough the Yankees have played October baseball in ten of those eleven.  To the naked eye, a degree of stubbornness was obvious with their approach at the plate, with almost no effort to make any adjustments.  Although, this philosophy yielded many happy endings - 95 wins to be exact.  

To comprehend what defines this year's team, a closer analysis must be done to understand how the 162-game schedule played an immense part in the team's equation. The wear and tear of the long season was a test in fortitude. In this part, the closest analog for me would be blogging.  It has helped me understand the game better and a chance to feel the pulse of the game.  Like anything else, having a reasonable basis about what's written is essential.  Of course, there are principles in writing and there must be general correctness to these principles.  But, we don't have to follow them uncompromisingly - as they can be pliable.  To have success at blogging, the effort must be sustained for a long period, as is with production if baseball.  The Yankees stood the test of time and displayed perseverance to win the AL East division on the final day of the season.  Albeit, not before the tenuous times comprised of hot streaks and plenty of struggles.  This season not only frustrated many of us and in even infuriated, however it also afforded us prosperity. 

Injuries affect the stability and success of a team and the Yankees were not immune to them:  losing Mariano Rivera for the season, and having Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez spend time on the disable list.  These are huge loses for any team to instantly recover from.  Even for the Yankees, who led the American League in home runs, and at times struggled with the four baggers.  The lack of success with bases occupied denoted a different Yankee team from years past. The middle of the lineup struggled mightily in clutch situations, especially with the bases loaded. Early on the Yankees were hitting a mere .151 as a team with bases juiced and slightly north of the "Mendoza Line, " with runners in scoring position (.220).  Not a pretty sight, in fact downright wearisome.  Some of the major lineup components were not providing us with any hope with the bases loaded:  Curtis Granderson .143, Derek Jeter .143 and Alex Rodriguez .111.  The only thought infiltrating my mind was small-ball.  Can the team play small-ball until the bats return to standard form? Just one measly hit?  As inauspicious as those early numbers appeared, some benefit of the doubt had to be given to the team - since the same veteran core of players succeeded before and proved it by powering their way to lead the majors in home runs and the best record going into the All-Star break (52-33).  At that point, the Yankees were well on their way to a division crown and a taste of bubbly.  

Every year is different, but let's consider that the last two seasons with basically same lineup, the "The Bronx Bombers," were an imposing team with the bases loaded:  In 2010, the team amassed 10 Grand Slams with 187 RBIs while batting .344/.396/.559, and in 2011 - 10 GRSL and 142 RBIs (.337/.354/.601).  The Yankees again struggled after the All-Star break and their 10-game lead almost dissipated by the first week of September. Once again, the team displayed a championship character and commitment to making the playoffs by finishing with the best record in the American League (95-67).  Also, leading the MLB with most home runs and obtaining home-field advantage throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs.  This was the antithesis to last year were the urgency to have the comfort of playing at home alongside the support of the fans wasn't at hand.  

Congratulations to the 2012 New York Yankees. 



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old Reliable Lefty


Andy Pettitte may consider himself a "work in progress," but the reliable lefty has now thrown 11 shoutout innings since coming back for the DL, and has provided the Yankees with a much needed comfort level down the stretch.

The fans should not evoke fear or a feeling of despair when the Yankees need a must win, since Andy will properly steer the ship.  He seems to pitch his best when a win is mission critical.  Andy's pedigree: Clutch!

One thing for sure: Andy will be a factor in the postseason.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Small Step for Joba, One Giant Leap for Yankees



According to Newsday and ESPN:  Chamberlain threw an inning for the Single-A Tampa Yankees this morning.  He struck out two and allowed no hits and no walks, but gave up an unearned run.  His fastball topped at 97 MPH.  



Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Grand Slam With Mythical Prestige

I happen to be working late on Tuesday night and missed the chance to watch Alex's history making grand slam, as he tied Lou Gehrig's all-time record. This could be the ab-bat to springboard alex forward and induce a home run trend.  One powerful swing provided a flashback to a time when Alex displayed a relentless superiority with his extempore show of power. Although, AROD's speed and power are no longer in abundance - he can still imposed his will and dramatically change the outcome of a game.  

On June 10, 1934, vs the Philadelphia Athletics, the Iron Horse tied Ruth for the most grand slams with 16 and surpassed him with his 17th on July 5, 1934 - to take sole ownership of the GRSL record.  Gehrig hit the 23rd GRSL of his career on August 20, 1938, of pitcher Buck Ross from the Philadelphia Athletics, a record unrivaled in 74 years. He hit eleven of the twenty-three grand slams in the legendary Yankee Stadium, and was most dangerous with the four baggers in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings - where he hit 17 GRSL.  

Rodriguez has joined company with one of the most celebrated yankees.  Twelve of his twenty three grand slams have either tied or put his team ahead and three have been of the walk-off variety.  Alex has been one of the most productive hitters with the bases loaded and not even this year's struggles (2 for 11) will dampen his lofty credentials:  .345/.391/.703 with 23 GRSL and 261 RBIs, while producing a lofty 1.094 OPS.  Alex, also bested Ruth and tied DiMaggio with the second most GRSL as a Yankee at 13.  With 1,923 RBIs on the right side of the ledger, he has a real chance at challenging Hank Aaron (2,297) for the all-time RBI record.  A doable feat considering he's only short 374 RBIs and has 5 plus years to play.  Assuming he attains another 40 RBIs this season, then, he would only have to average 67 RBIs for the remainder of his contract.  


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Feeling of Freedom

When I attended Daytona Bike Week this year, I was pleasantly surprised at the volume of women riders.  History will tell us this occurrence is not a new spectacle, but it's definitely a refreshing visual.  As the weather in New York is unseasonably warm - to the naked eye - one could plainly see the shifting of the gears as a growing number of female bikers are taking the handlebars and revving up the engines.  There is no denying that the unique sound of a Harley-Davidson is music to the biker aficionado, however - most especially so - the sound becomes luxuriating with female riders. In baseball, "Chicks dig the long ball." In the biker world - who doesn't dig a chick who digs bikes?

As it turns out, women have had a long and enduring love for the four wheelers.  So, let's acknowledge some of the most important pioneers who felt the call of the open road and paved the way for the modern-day female biker-enthusiast.  They were beautiful and independent women who soared above the boundaries placed on women of the era, and became an important part of motorcycle lore.



"New York 'society girls' Adeline and Augusta Van Buren (descendants of our 8th president) dreamed of serving the country by being motorcycle dispatch riders.  They were the first women to make the transcontinental journey on separate motorcycles.  In 1914, they set out on a cross-country trek from Brooklyn to LA and were often arrested for wearing men's clothing."


"Louise Scherbyn was concerned about the effect riding would have on her reputation as she traveled extensively all over the USA and Canada.  She was reportedly the first American woman to reach the far north, Timagami Forest of Canada."


"Linda Dugeau was a pioneering motorcyclist who founded the Motor Maids, the oldest motorcycling organization for women in North America, in 1940 - with 51 charter members. She worked as a motorcycle courier and had a reputation as one of the best female off-road riders in 1950s."


"Dorothy 'Dot' Robinson the 'first lady of motorcycling' was the other co-founder of the Motor Maids.  She paved the way for women riders in the competitive arena.  In founding the Motor Maids Inc., Dot set out to unite women riders, to show that you could ride a motorcycle and still be a lady."


"Bessie Stringfield was the first African American woman to ride cross-country.  She busted through social and racial barriers as one of the earliest and bravest women motorcycle riders. She served as a civilian courier for the US Army during WWII, carrying documents between domestic army bases.  During the four years she worked for the Army, she crossed the United States eight times."

Riding a motorcycle is a pure enjoyment as well as an inexpensive and environmentally sound way to travel and commute. With cars prices beyond the means of many - a byproduct of an economy in despair - commuting by motorcycle has taken a preponderant role. 

Two wheelers stimulate the soul and nothing could be more pleasant to the eye than female bikers.  There's something to be said about the sexy nature in which a woman rides her motorcycle -particularly, if she rides with passion and exudes an air of confidence.  What a visual - a woman biker who makes her bike roar and takes the rapture of the road "Mano a Mano." To me, that is motorcycling to the extreme.  


Friday, June 1, 2012

The "Hitman" In Pursuit of the "Iron Man"

In the history of baseball, players with a prevalent fondness measure only a handful. There have been many great players, but only a few are standouts and are universally respected. Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken are two of these mainstay players with well-know reverence.

Jeter didn't get to this level without a healthy dose of resilience - especially, after his well-documented struggles in 2010 and 2011.  There was no shortage of conversation: Was he now a shell of a great player, who's becoming prone to injury and losing power? Was the latter part of 2010 and the first half of the 2011 season, a large enough sample to suggest jeter was done playing at an exceptional level?  Well, like all legendary players, he deserved the benefit of the doubt.  According to Elias, since returning from the DL on 7/14/11, Jeter has hit .333 with 73Rs, 25 doubles, 9HRs and 59RBIs in 118 games. Which, include a superb .420BA with 7HRs off left-handed pitching over the span.  He has hit safely in 41 of 49 games and leads the AL in hits with 71, ranks 4th in the AL with a .336 batting average, and owns the AL's highest average (.464) vs left-handed pitchers.  Put simply: Vintage.

Distant memories are the struggles as the captain continues to ascend the all-time MLB hit list.  He currently sits at number 14 on the list with 3,159 hits - 25 hits behind Cal Ripken, jr.  Back on 4/26, I tweeted the following:



At the time Jeter was bruising the baseball with a BA north of .380, and no one would have doubted my agressive forecast - I was close.  However, he's back to his human form batting .336 and averaging 1.45 hits per game.  So, with three days left to meet my projection, Jeter would have to drink rocket fuel to get 25 hits.  He's more aptly to pass his childhood idol at home vs the Atlanta Braves during a three game series in June (6/18 - 6/20).  

Soon Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken and Derek Jeter will share some great baseball history. First, on 9/11/09, Jeter collected his 2,722nd hit, moving him ahead of the "Iron Horse" to become the Yankees's all-time hits leader.  A tremendous feat, considering "Gehrig's record stood untouched for seven decades."  And, now Jeter is on the verge of passing Cal Ripken (3,184) as he climbs the latter to gain sole possession of 13th place on the all-time hit list.  Legendary: The modern day "Hitman" tops the "Iron Horse," and now in pursuit of the "The Iron Man."

Similar to Gehrig and Jeter (so far), Cal Ripken played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, and is considered one of the best players to ever play the game.  "Ripken was a departure from the prototypical shortstop of the time," and is ascribed with redefining the shortstop position - while transcending it. He's symbolized as baseball's all-time "Iron Man" for surpassing Lou Gehrig's record of consecutive games played (2,130), "deemed unbreakable by many."  His playing career - akin to Gehrig and Jeter - has earned him plenty of on-field accolades.  Chiefly, one of the game's greatest records of all time: Playing in more consecutive games (2,632) than any other player in history.  A genuine testament to his endurance, which bridged seventeen seasons, from May 30, 1982, to September 20, 1998.  


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When Does It Stop?



Playing baseball for the New York Yankees is a tremendous privilege; especially if one gets paid a busload of money for the honor.  In New York, respect is earned and it is not a right. And, of course - everyone has an opinion at the very least about the Yankees. Opinions about character assassination run rampant in New York - as well as being contemptuous.

For Alex Rodriguez, this is a normal day at the office.  Although, he has always displayed the required backbone for excellence and continues to work his tail off, he's denoted a choker and a swaggerer.  We have all heard the chinwag: Catcalls for his head on a bad play or a strikeout, resentment over his lofty contract, envy, and vogue for this season - annoyance for his pitiable performance with RISP (6 for 40 with 2HR and 12RBIs).  Now, lets have a look-see at two categories for his career.  With RISP he's batting a very respectful .298/.400/.539 with 154 HRs and 1,216 RBIs  and .346/.394/.697 with 22 Grand Slams with the bases full.  Not Bad! However, a great deal of fans continue to have selective amnesia, including the press as they pile on and overanalyze  his statements, modulate his success and constantly disparage him.

There are plenty of flies buzzing around the stadium lately, but we can't continue to censure and exile the unproductive.  We need to root for wins and provide a vote of confidence.  AROD's unrelenting supremacy may be gone, but he's not the only one to blame - It's a 25 man team.  It's understandable for all this to be fad in New York as he makes the most money, and as such - should have the biggest target ironed on his uniform.  The numbers: the Yankees are obligated to pay Alex $143 million with another $30 million in possible incentives.  Still, let's not forget the money remaining on the contracts of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter - over $300 million with possible incentives.  Not exactly pocket change.  Yet Alex must absorb all the heat.

Some are so dismayed at the notion that he's got a chance to top the HR and RBI records.  And, because of his admitted steroid use, he then, should be removed from any serious consideration to be mentioned alongside other baseball immortals: Aaron, Ruth, Mantle or Mays.  Perhaps, Alex should be relegated to complete obscurity?  C'mon?! What about the Ruth era, when players were notorious for drinking and gambling and the days of Mickey, Whitey and Billy - where liquor was a constant.

There is no debate about the poor showing so far this season for Rodriguez (.276/.369/.404 with 5 HR and 15 RBIs) - an unproductive beginning by AROD's standards. But, it's just not producing for him, his benchmark is so high that no matter what he does, it would never suffice New York.  How will his pinstripe legacy be defined? Who knows, but one thing is for sure: most will continue to disapprove and most sentiments about him will always be hurled outside the realm of goodwill.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Last Dance

R.I.P.


Her sultry voice embodied and defined an era; "we should all get up and do a dance in her honor."


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Transforming Into A Catcher



In his short stint with the Yankees, Jesus Montero became one of my favorite players, and I was really hoping he would have a long and bright future at Yankee Stadium.  If we were to believe Brian Cashman and the Yankees' talent evaluators, Montero had a future with the team as a catcher.  Unfortunately, that was a hyped-up metaphor by Cashman to eventually induce a trade.


Out of the cleanup spot on Friday vs the Yankees, Montero went yard in the sixth inning - to a familiar destination: Right Field.  In his young career, he has 9 HRs in 190 ABs, which include 4HRs at Yankee Stadium - where he's batting .425/.521/.800.  And, even more impressive, in 33 ABs when going to the opposite field as a RHB, he is batting .394/.382/.879 with 5 HRs and 13 RBIs.  Prodigious results that are tailor-made for Yankee Stadium.  For Montero - as most would agree - hitting was not going to be a problem; particularly, hitting with power.  According to scouts: "He's a natural hitter with an advanced approach at the plate.  He has excellent hands and an amazing hand-eye coordination that enables him to square balls routinely."

However, there has been no shortage of disbelievers when it comes to his defense and many feel that he would not project well as a Major League catcher.  The Chatter:  Strong arm, but has a slow transfer and release when throwing to second base - a byproduct of messy footwork.  Baserunners will exploit this flaw to the hilt. He's a poor defender in most respects and has significant holes when blocking pitches (breaking balls) in the dirt. Which by the way...most young catchers have.  He doesn't have enough athletic ability to overcome the limitations that are caused by his 6-foot-3, 235-pound frame and doesn't fit well in a crouch.  As a result, he will never be a full time catcher.

Don't count his manager - Eric Wedge - as one of Montero's skeptics.  Wedge "believes in the kid," and doesn't understanding or accepts the babble about his defense.  "There is a lot of demand with the catching position, and you have to respect that...you can't rush a 22 year old."

I'm not a talent evaluator and will never pretend to be, but the two games Montero caught at Yankee Stadium gave us a glimpse of a young player who has put in the necessary work to improve his defense - principally, with balls in the dirt.  There is no doubt he's continuing to work extremely hard to refine his defensive game and could gradually transform into an above average catcher.



Monday, May 14, 2012

"Greatest Living Yankee"


ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 12/14/11


In 1969, Joe DiMaggio was bestowed the title “Greatest Living Player” by a poll of national sportswriters.  According to those that saw DiMaggio play, he earned the accolades “play-by-play, game-by-game and season-by-season.”  Ted Williams, who rivaled the Jolter in magnitude, measured him “the greatest player he ever saw, as well as the most graceful.” Players like DiMaggio is a big reason why the “Yankees have a tie to the roots of the game that no other club ever will.”  He earned and represented the title with top-shelf class and was proudly introduced at Yankee Stadium as such.  However, it’s been twelve years since the “Yankee Clipper” has moved on to play with the baseball gods; and the time is right for the Yankees tradition to continue by honoring another great player – Yogi Berra – on opening day.  Yogi should be introduced as the “Greatest Living Yankee.”  The titles may be different, but it’s the distinction that resonates. 

There are numerous great Yankees who are currently living and well deserving; nevertheless, in the vernacular of the sport, Yogi Berra is an American Icon.  Many players have donned the pinstripes and have had a pronounced impact on the game, but Yogi stands very tall in Yankees folklore:  14 Pennants, 10 Word Series (including five in a row), which are major league records.  He is revered universally.  At 5’7” and 185 pounds, Yogi was inspired by an appetite to succeed and win.  He had immense power and endurance contained within a deceptively miniature frame.  During his prime from 1950 to ’56, Berra won three MVP awards and “played catcher at a sustained level of greatness perhaps unsurpassed in baseball history.”  He crushed 191 home runs while amazingly striking out only 166 times and led some of the best teams the Yankees ever assembled in RBIs for seven consecutive seasons. He also had a well-deserved reputation as a player who came through in the clutch. On his superb endurance, Berra played in 100 more games than any other catcher in baseball.  In that seven-year prime: “Yogi Berra started at catcher in both games of a doubleheader 117 times.  Seven times during that stretch he started both games of a doubleheader on back-to-back days.”  

Yogi Berra’s combination of leadership and reverence has imprinted his Yankee legacy and a standout place in the history of the game.  “From 1957 through 1981, New York baseball teams appeared in 13 World Series and Yogi appeared in all of them.”  As a player coach and manager, he has appeared in 21 World Series and has amassed 39 rings –including All-Star games and the Hall of Fame.  “It is impossible to imagine that anyone in any sport will ever experience anything like that again.”  Not many in the game of baseball have achieved more than Yogi Berra and conceivably – he could be the greatest catcher to ever play the position.

For Yogi “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Though, at 86 years old, he’s not getting any younger and on 4/13/12, Yankees home opener against the Los Angeles Angels – as we eagerly anticipate another exciting season – Yogi Berra should be introduced as the “Greatest Living Yankee.”  Yogi has “never let go of the firm grip on his own values, convictions and determination,” and if it were up to him, “you really are not supposed to get these things until you’re dead,” but I couldn’t disagree more. 


Yogi Testimonials: 

“I never play a game without my man.”  - Casey Stengel

“No player I ever managed had a better understanding of what a team needed to do to win games.”  - Casey Stengel

“He was the sort of person who could fall into a sewer and come out wearing a gold watch.”  - Casey Stengel

“A diamond in the rough.”  - Ted Williams

“He may have been the greatest catcher of them all.”  - Carlo DeVito

“He had no weaknesses.”  - Tommy Henrich

“The toughest man in the league in the last three innings.”  - Paul Richards

“The most secure person I’ve ever know, he accomplished what he set out to do since he was five years old.”  - Carmen Berra

‘He’s a very broad individual, unlike the public perception; you’ll never find him saying a bad word about anybody.  I would have to say that I consider him one of the best friends I have.”  - John McMullen

“He would be just as good a friend with the guy who pumps gas in his car as he would with the chief executive of a major corporation in New York; he would not even distinguish the two.”  - Dale Berra

“In six decades as a public figure, he has managed to remain untainted by scandal or vice, his reputation – and his marketability – only burnished by time.”  - Christopher Hann

Mariano Rivera on Yogi as the greatest living Yankee:  “Definitely Yogi, ten World Series wins.  He’s seen a lot, and the way he treats the game, the way he respects the game, the way he went through his business is amazing.  He’s done everything, and the most important thing that he has – what a person, what a person.  That’s all I have to say about him – beautiful man.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Iron Man - Lou Gehrig




As Josh Hamilton made history and became the 16th Major Leaguer to hit four home runs in one game, it summoned images of the rare feat from one of our pinstripe brethren:  Iron Man - Lou Gehrig.  On June 3, 1932, Gehrig befitted the first "American League and modern player in baseball history to accomplish the feat as he tallied four consecutive home runs during a 20-13 slugfest against the Philadelphia Athletics."

At Shibe Park, Gehrig hit homers in the first, fourth and fifth inning of pitcher George Earnshaw.  His fourth homer came off pitcher Leroy Mahaffey in the seventh inning. No player has accomplished this feat more than once and no player has ever hit five home runs in one game, but Gehrig did have a chance to be the first in the ninth inning against pitcher Ed Rommel.  According to accounts of the day,  "A fifth home run was missed by inches as Gehrig hit his hardest shot of the day - caught in the furthest part of the park in deep centerfield."

Batting behind the Babe in the Yankees lineup, Lou - resolutely went about performing his job as the cleanup hitter and together they became a formidable combination. 1932, would also be the last great year for Babe Ruth, who was 37 years old.  Ruth hit .341 with 120 runs, 137 RBIs, and a league leading 130 walks.  And, for the first time since 1925, "The Sultan of Swat" did not lead the American League in home runs.  That distinction belong to Jimmie Fox; who won the Triple Crown - while batting .364/.469/.749 with 58 HRs and 169 RBIs.  That year the "Iron Horse" held his own:  .349/.451/.621 with 34 HRS (4th) and 151 RBIs (t-2).

As Yankees' lore would paint the picture for us, the 1932 World Series vs Chicago Cubs featured the assumed "Called Shot" by the Babe off pitcher Charlie Root.  In the fifth inning of game three, Ruth (with two strikes) held up his hand and gesticulated toward center field.  The next pitch by Root was deposited deep into the center field stands and the Yankees went on to win the game 7-5 and sweep the World Series.



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Andy Will Be Dandy


As there maybe some doubts as to what kind of pitcher Andy Pettitte will be on his first start Sunday vs the Mariners, there is no reason to doubt that he is well-known for his pitching prowess.  Andy will bring a healthy dose of excitement and competition to a struggling rotation.

Pettitte has won more postseason clinchers (six) and postseason games (19) than any other pitcher in history.  And, only three pitchers in Yankee history have thrown more innings for the team than Pettitte: White Ford, Red Ruffing, and Mel Stottlemyre. 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

"I'm Coming Back, Put It Down."


MO's swift decision to embrace a comeback after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee, resembles his positive approach after blowing a save situation.

"When you love the game and you like to compete, it would be tough to go out like this, I can't go down like this...."