"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Rub

The boy in the middle of the photograph is my great uncle Albert, my grandfather’s brother. The picture must have been taken some time in the 1920s, somewhere in Belgium.

06 Albert corde

I love his expression. He’s really working, boy, forget smiling.

This winter, we hope the Yankees’ live up to their Business-First image. As Jonah Keri mentioned in the Times the other day, they caught lightening in a bottle with productive seasons from their old-timers (Rivera, Posada, Pettitte, Jeter, Damon and Matsui). That is not likely to happen again. So while we wait out this lull, the hope here is that the Yanks go into 2010 younger.

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1 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 24, 2009 9:45 am

We're so sorry, Uncle Albert but the kettle's on the boil and we're so easily called away.


2 Ben   ~  Nov 24, 2009 10:00 am

Can't tell for sure, but I'd put money on the last boy on the left being Raymond 'the anchor' Bertrand...

3 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 24, 2009 10:26 am

Dude, I was going to link to that...GOOD CALL! Love that record, "Ram."

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 24, 2009 10:44 am

[3] Sorry I jumped the gun on your link, Alex. First thing I thought of when I read your opening line. Yeah, great tune -- and great pic of yer Uncle Albert.

5 tocho   ~  Nov 24, 2009 11:51 am

great pic. norman rockwell could not have painted it better. your uncle's expression is classic rockwell.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 24, 2009 12:01 pm

I imagine Alex making that same face while watching Cano botch a simple grounder. :-)

7 gary from chevy chase   ~  Nov 24, 2009 12:10 pm

Great pic......
As to the Yanks needing to get younger, it's absolutely necessary. Steve Goldman pointed out last April that for the Yanks to win, they'd need unprecedented efforts from the post-35 crowd. They got them. But it was unprecedented.

We need to set the stage for a run (like when Jeter, Posada, Mariano and Andy came up together). Whether it's all from inside, or with judicious trade/signing of under 25 talent, we need to get younger fast.

It's one reason why we should NOT trade prospects for available starting pitching talent, regardless of how good they might be for 2 or 3 years..

8 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Nov 24, 2009 12:58 pm

The whole Old Timers Gang thing is interesting. In March last year it was widly thought we were hopelessly geriatric. I remember some people hating the Tex signing because he'd be old near the end.

You can say 'lightning in a bottle' yes, or you can step back just a bit from the wild 'go young, my man' chorus that started after Tampa Bay won the AL two years ago. I'd say, all things being equal, that younger teams are likely to be healthier and almost certain to be cheaper. But all things aren't invariably equal. I'd bet a bit on Lincecum being likelier to have a major arm issue in next 2-3 years than Roy Halladay.

It doesn't actually help the team the next 2 years to chase youth, since our core WILL be old. Fact of life. And we won the WS with those old-timers, as everyone here knows. Nor, honestly, is NY these days the place to patiently bring along 22 year olds. Joba and Hughes are the only ones I think likely to get that patience - and maybe they won't. This is the town that can let Montero go and take him back for his inflated salary in 6 years, at 26, if he's as good as rumour says he will be, eventually.

A reason other teams and fans get frustrated or bitter, but it is a reality given the Yankee revenue stream. Were we that healthy last year? Has anyone got the injury games for the AL linked? Wang, Arod, Kennedy, Marte, Nady ...

I'd like youth, too. It is just fun to cheer for young players. But I'm a bit contrarian about how urgent it is as a priority.

9 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 24, 2009 1:33 pm

I don't think I would classify good seasons from Rivera, Posada, Pettitte, Jeter, Damon and Matsui as lightining in a bottle. Those are all excellent players who, when healthy, regularly post good to great seasons.

[8] Agree with alot of what you stated. Youth is great in theory, but when push comes to shove, I'll take talent. Now, if you can obtain young, but proven talent (e.g., Evan Longoria).

10 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2009 1:49 pm

We need to set the stage for a run (like when Jeter, Posada, Mariano and Andy came up together). Whether it’s all from inside, or with judicious trade/signing of under 25 talent, we need to get younger fast.

Average age of the 1996 team: 29.6
Average age of the 1998 team: 30.3
Average age of the 2008 team: 30.8
Average age of the 2009 team: 29.7

11 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 24, 2009 2:09 pm

How many times in baseball history has a team had so many productive seasons out of guys who are over 35?

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 24, 2009 2:37 pm
13 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 24, 2009 3:35 pm

[11] Not very often. In fact, the 2009 Yankees are the only team in history to have four age-35+ batters produce an OPS+ of 115 or greater (in at least 400 PAs). In fact, only one other team (1998 Padres) had three (Ken Caminiti / Tony Gwynn / Wally Joyner).

The pitching side isn't as historic because Rivera was really the only 35+ pitcher who had a very productive season (Andy's ERA was a very pedestrian 103). 178 different teams had at least two age-35+ pitchers post an ERA+ of 103 or better.

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