"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: History

Gee Whiz: A Look Back at the 1950 World Series

1958 Topps Richie AshburnOne of the happy side-effects of the Yankees’ general dominance over major league baseball since 1921 is that they have a postseason history with nearly every other team in the game. In the American League, only the White Sox, Blue Jays, and Rays have never faced the Yankees in the playoffs, and in the senior circuit, only the Rockies, Astros, Brewers, and Expos/Nationals have never faced the Yankees in the World Series (the ‘Spos/Nats have never been to the World Series, period), and the Brewers faced the Yankees in the 1981 Division Series.

Of the 24 teams the Yankees have faced in the postseason, they’ve faced 22 of them since their lone meeting with the Phillies in the 1950 World Series (the exception being the Cubs, who they last faced in the 1938 Serious). To give you a sense of just how long it’s been since the Yankees swept Philadelphia’s Whiz Kids, the 1950 World Series was the last Fall Classic to feature two all-white teams.

That fact is not as trivial as it might sound. The Yankees’ struggles in the late 1960s and early 1970s had several sources, including the institution of the amateur draft and the corporate ownership of CBS, but their failure to properly exploit the African American talent pool was undeniably a contributing factor. When they finally emerged from that slumber, it was with black stars such as Mickey Rivers, Willie Randolph, Chris Chambliss, Roy White, Oscar Gamble, and Gamble’s replacement, Reggie Jackson.

Similarly, the Phillies’ surprising pennant in 1950 fed the organization’s resistance to integration. The 1950 Whiz Kids got their name not only because they won the pennant, but because they were the youngest team in the National League on both sides of the ball. In fact, the 1950 Phillies were the youngest pennant winners ever. The Phillies’ oldest regular was first baseman Eddie Waitkus (the player whose shooting the previous year inspired The Natural). Just one of the six men to make more than ten starts for them was over the age of 26, and future Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts were both just 23.

Assuming that young squad would only get better with age, the Phillies didn’t even begin scouting black players until 1954, when Roy Hamey took over as general manager following four seasons in which the Phillies finished between third and fifth place. The Phillies didn’t field their first black player until 1957, didn’t have an African-American starter until 1961, and didn’t have an African-American star until the arrival of Richie Allen in 1964.

That was awful timing for Allen, who despite one of the best rookie campaigns in major league history, fell victim to the Phillies infamous Phlop, in which they blew a 6.5-game lead over the final dozen games of the season thanks to a ten-game losing streak (during which Allen hit .415/.442/.634). Allen’s ensuing battles with the Philadelphia faithful as well as the organization’s brutal treatment of Jackie Robinson back in 1947 were key factors in Curt Flood’s decision to refuse to report to the Phillies after being traded from the Cardinals, ironically for Dick Allen, after the 1969 season. The Phillies wouldn’t return to the postseason until 1976 (again ironically with Dick Allen back in the fold as their first baseman), and despite the Philadelphia fans’ affection for center fielder Gary Maddox and a late-career cameo by Hall of Famer Joe Morgan on the superannuated 1983 pennant winners, the Phillies didn’t have a black superstar who was embraced by the city until the arrivals of Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard in the new millennium.


Be It Ever So Humble . . . It’s Still A Damn Dome

1982 Twins Leaders/Checklist (1983 Topps)Barring a moderately unlikely post-season matchup against the Twins, the Yankees will play their last game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome this afternoon. The first came back on May 28, 1982, when Ron Guidry matched up against a similarly diminutive and mustachioed righty named Bobby Castillo.

Giving early credence to the new stadium’s “Homer Dome” nickname, the two starters combined to give up seven home runs as the lead changed hands four times in the first six innings. Rookie third baseman Gary Gaetti, future Yankee Gary Ward, and rookie right-fielder Tom Brunansky (twice) all connected for solo shots off Gator. Lou Piniella, Oscar Gamble, and Roy Smalley, who had been acquired from Minnesota for reliever Ron Davis and shortstop Greg Gagne that April, went deep off Castillo.

With the game knotted at 4-4, Gaetti led off the top of the seventh with a double, prompting Yankee manager Gene Michael to go to his bullpen. George Frazier, the 1981 World Series goat, retired the next three batters, stranding Gaetti, after which the Yankees pushed across a fifth run in the top of the eighth on an Oscar Gamble triple that bounced Castillo and a two-out RBI single by Bobby Murcer.

With a 5-4 lead, Michael went straight to Goose Gossage in the eighth, but Goose blew the save, starting with a lead-off walk to Larry Milbourne, who had been traded from the Yankees to the Twins earlier that month in the deal that netted catcher Butch Wynegar. Milbourne was singled to third by Brunansky and scored on a sac fly by pinch-hitter Randy Johnson (not that one, or even the other one, this one).

In the ninth, Twins skipper Billy Gardner turned to Gossage’s former set-up man, Ron Davis, who came over in the Smalley trade the previous month. With one out, Willie Randolph and Dave Collins singled. Randolph then stole third and scored on Gamble’s subsequent single. After getting John Mayberry to fly out for the second out, Davis walked Bobby Murcer to load the bases, then gave up a back-breaking grand slam to Graig Nettles.

Given a reprieve, Gossage retired Gaetti, Ward, and Tim Laudner in order in the bottom of the ninth, punctuating a wild game with a strikeout of Laudner to give the Yankees a 10-5 win.

The loss ran the last-place Twins’ losing streak to nine games, which explained why just 18,854 showed up to see the Yankees’ first visit to the new building. Despite all that scoring, the game took just 2 hours and 29 minutes to play.

That was the first game the Yankees played in the Metrodome. The most significant were the four playoff games they won in the dome in 2003 and 2004:

2003 ALDS: After splitting the first two games in the Bronx, the Yankees win Games 3 and 4 at the Metrodome to defeat the Twins in the series. The combined score of the two games in the dome is 11-2. Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, and Nick Johnson all double off Johan Santana in the fourth inning of Game 4 as the Yankees score six runs and bounce Santana from the game.

2004 ALDS: Repeating the previous year’s pattern exactly, the Yankees win Games 3 and 4 at the Metrodome to defeat the Twins in the series. The Yankees enter the top of the eighth down 5-1, then score four runs to tie the game, the key hit being a game-tying three-run home run by Ruben Sierra off Juan Rincon. The game goes into the 11th inning, when Alex Rodriguez doubles, steals third, then scores on a wild pitch with what proves to be the winning run of the series.


Base Balls

Stealing home seems to be the hot throwback play this year. It happened twice yesterday, and Ted Keith has an article on the phenomenon over at SI.com, pegged to Jacoby Ellsbury’s swipe against Andy Pettitte earlier this season.

I have a complimentary piece up that lists the top-10 steals of home of all time, including one by Mr. October in October, and one by the Yankees against Boston 105 years before Ellsbury finally turned the tables.

Dig it.

Cooperstown Confidential: Embarrasment, Veras, and Mel Hall

It’s time to take the gloves off.

The Yankees should feel thoroughly humiliated after losing two of three games to the worst team in baseball. It is unfathomable that the Yankees could muster a mere seven runs in three games against the poorest pitching staff in the major leagues and arguably the worst bullpen that has ever been assembled in the history of the game.

If this atrocity of a series against the Nationals, who had a won a total of six road games prior to this week, had been an isolated development, I would have been willing to cast it aside as a blip on the screen. But it is not an isolated occurrence. When attached to a lackluster series against the Mets, another sweep at the hands of the Red Sox, an embarrassing 0-8 record against Boston, mediocre play against the Orioles, and another abominable April, it becomes a symptom of a larger disease.

So what exactly is wrong with the Yankees? Having followed them closely through their first 66 games, I’m not convinced that the real problem is a lack of talent. Oh sure, their bullpen and bench could use upgrading and the absence of overall depth remains a concern, but those are problems that can be fixed relatively quickly from within. I’m afraid that the Yankees’ malaise has roots in other areas, principally a low baseball IQ, a lack of toughness, and a general complacency that can happen when too many players have multi-year contracts and no fear of losing their status on the team. (more…)

Observations From Cooperstown: The Bard, Knuckleballs, and Godzilla

The Yankees tend to treat the waiver wire as an afterthought, but I’d like to see them take an aggressive approach and make a play for Josh Bard, newly released this week by the Red Sox. Perhaps Bard would take a minor league deal, with the stipulation that he has to be on the major league roster by a certain date. Why am I singing the praises of Bard, he of the .270 on-base percentage and .279 slugging percentage in 2008? There are several reasons. Over a much larger sample size of games in 2006 and ’07, Bard was a very good offensive catcher. Anyone who can slug .537 while playing half of his games at Petco Park, as Bard did in 2008, has some measure of offensive talent. Bard is also a switch-hitter, giving the Yankees some flexibility in case Jorge Posada hits the disabled list for the second straight season. Additionally, Bard is a relatively young 30, having never caught more than 108 games in a single season dating back to 2002.

Bard was hitting over .400 for the Red Sox this spring, but fell victim to the Tim Wakefield hex. On a team where Jason Varitek, a highly skilled defensive catcher, has inexplicably never adjusted to the nuisance of the knuckler, the Red Sox’ backup catcher must be able to catch Wakefield every fifth day. (The job goes to rookie George Kottaras.) Bard cannot handle the knuckleball with any more dexterity than Varitek, but that’s not a problem for a Yankee franchise that hasn’t had a knuckleballer since Joe Niekro in 1987. (I’m not including Wade Boggs’ one-game cameo in 1997.) At the very least, Bard would represent an upgrade over no-hit wonder Kevin Cash, currently slated to do most of the catching at Scranton-Wilkes Barre . . .


While we’re on the subject of the knuckleball, the Yankees have had very little connection to the pitch during the expansion era. According to research, they have had only three fulltime knuckleballers over the last 50 years. Not surprisingly, two of them were the Niekro brothers, whose Yankee days stretched from 1984 to 1987. The third was a journeyman right-hander named Bob Tiefenauer, who appeared in ten games for the Yankees in 1965.

At least five other Yankee pitchers have thrown the knuckleball with some regularity over the past five decades. They are Doyle Alexander (1976, 1982-83) and Luis Tiant (1979-80), who mixed occasional knucklers into their wide assortments of pitches. (Perhaps Alexander should have used the knuckler more often during his second Yankee stint.) From the 1960s, we find relievers Bud Daley, Ryne Duren and Pedro Ramos as intermittent practitioners of the knuckleball.


The Yankees’ announcement that Hideki Matsui will not play the outfield until at least June is one of the least surprising developments I’ve heard this spring. With five fulltime outfielders (Damon, Gardner, Cabrera, Nady, and Swisher) expected to be on the Opening Day roster, the Yankees really have no need to play Matsui—the worst defender of the bunch—in the outfield over the first two months. If the Yankees want to work Posada into the DH mix, they can always use him against left-handers, sitting Matsui down and making him available for late-inning pinch-hit chores.

The more pertinent news has to do with the way that Matsui looks at the plate this spring. Through Wednesday’s action, Matsui had compiled a .588 slugging percentage in his DH-only role. After watching “Godzilla” play on Tuesday night against the Pirates, I’m ready to proclaim him the early favorite for AL Comeback Player of the Year honors. The game marked Matsui’s fourth consecutive start at DH, an indication that his right knee is nearly ready for the start of the season. In his first at-bat, Matsui turned on an inside fastball, launching a tower-scraping drive high over the right field wall at Steinbrenner Field. It was the kind of swing missing most of last season, as Matsui struggled on balky knees, one of which was recovering from surgery while the other was anticipating a similar procedure. While much of Yankee camp has centered on the abilities of new third baseman Cody Ransom, Matsui’s early season role has been underplayed. With Alex Rodriguez on the DL, Matsui will serve as the Yankees’ cleanup hitter, making him resident protection for Mark Teixeira. A good start for Godzilla will help soften the blow of losing A-Rod for any length of time, whether it’s four, five, or six weeks.

Bruce Markusen can be reached via e-mail at bmarkusen@stny.rr.com.

Observations From Cooperstown–Ankiel, The Veterans Committee, and Robert Prosky

Following baseball for nearly 40 years has taught me at least one principle: no deal is ever done until both sides have announced it. The failed Mike Cameron trade reinforces that notion. Just a week ago, some media sources were proclaiming it a done deal. A week later, it has been declared dead, apparently over the Yankees’ unwillingness to pick up all of Kei Igawa’s exorbitant salary. So for now, Igawa and Melky Cabrera remain Yankee property—for good, bad, or indifferent.

I have to admit I was lukewarm on the rumored acquisition of Cameron. Yes, he would have been an immediate upgrade over Cabrera and company, and would have come with the bonus of allowing the Yankees to be rid of Igawa, who seems to have no clue about pitching in the major leagues. Yet, the 36-year-old Cameron would have represented only a short-term solution, probably two years at the maximum. He also would have affected the offense’s continuity, with his rather alarming windmill propensity at the plate. Cameron piles up strikeouts the way that Bobby Bonds once did, but without the levels of power and patience that Bonds once displayed during an all-star career.

With Cameron apparently off the board, I’d like to see Brian Cashman resurrect talks for one of three younger center fielders available in trades: the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, the Cardinals’ Rick Ankiel, and Kansas City’s David DeJesus. Of the three, Ankiel might be the most realistic. He’s available, mostly because he’s a Scott Boras client who is one year removed from free agency. The Cardinals don’t think they can sign him by next fall, at which time Boras will likely send Ankiel spiraling full throttle into free agency.

Cashman talked to the Cardinals about the 29-year-old Ankiel during the recent winter meetings (which once again proved to be a disappointing flop and an unmitigated bore, but that’s another story). The Cards expressed interest in Ian Kennedy, whom they really like as a rotation option for 2009. If the Yankees could package Kennedy with Cabrera and perhaps a fringe minor league prospect (someone like Chase Wright or Steven Jackson), maybe a deal could get done.

If the Yankees could sign Ankiel past 2009, he would provide several long-term benefits. He has real power (he hit 25 home runs in 2008, a remarkable achievement considering that he has been an everyday player for only four seasons). He also has a Clementian throwing arm that could play well in either center field or right. The Yankees could use Ankiel in center while Austin Jackson develops at Triple-A and then shift him over to right once “Ajax” is ready for prime time delivery.

Because of his late start as an outfielder, Ankiel might not hit his prime until he’s in his early thirties. By then, he may have improved his patience at the plate and his fundamentals in the outfield. Even if he doesn’t, he looks a lot better than what the Yankees currently have in center field…


Card Corner–Tim Foli

Earlier this week, the minor league Syracuse Chiefs announced that Tim Foli would serve as the team’s manager in 2009. Foli has been the Nationals’ Triple-A manager for three of the last four seasons, but this will be his first go-round here in central New York, with Syracuse now acting as the home of Washington’s top affiliate.

If you remember Tim Foli as a Yankee, give yourself a pat on the back; you are a true Yankee diehard. Considering that Foli spent all of one undistinguished summer in pinstripes, and that his one season here coincided with a down time in franchise history, your memory of Foli shows your sharpness when it comes to all things Yankees.

During the 1983 winter meetings, the Yankees announced that they had acquired Foli from the California Angels at the expense of a minor league reliever named Curt Kaufman and some cash. Foli was coming off an unspectacular season in which he had hit .252 with two home runs. The move made little sense, considering the crowd that the Yankees had already assembled at shortstop: veteran Roy Smalley, top prospect Bobby Meacham, and former top prospect Andre Robertson. I’m not sure why the Yankees thought Foli was better than any of the present alternatives. He couldn’t hit nearly as well as Smalley, didn’t have the range or speed of Meacham, and lacked Robertson’s defensive reputation.


Hey Nineteen

With one out in the bottom of the third inning of last night’s game against the Blue Jays, Toronto’s rookie left fielder Travis Snider hit a comebacker that ricocheted off Mike Mussina’s pitching elbow and shot into foul territory, allowing Snider to reach base with an infield single. The ball hit Mussina flush on the head of his radius, and when trainer Gene Monahan and manager Joe Girardi ran out to attend to their veteran ace, the conclusion to Mussina’s terrific comeback season was clearly hanging in the balance. The Yankees had a 1-0 lead at the time, but Mussina needed to finish the third and pitch two more innings without giving it up in order to qualify for his nineteenth win and keep his hopes for his first twenty-win season alive.

UntitledMussina asked the assembled group to let him throw a few pitches, and after tossing a fastball and a sharp curveball, he declared himself fit to pitch. He was right. Despite a large red welt on the outside of his elbow the size of a golf ball, Mussina allowed just one more hit before being pulled after going the minimum five innings required for the win. By then his lead had doubled to 2-0 thanks to Jason Giambi’s 32nd home run of the season.

The Yankees added a third run in the seventh when Robinson Cano doubled off Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a passed ball. Never mind that Cano was actually out at home as the ball bounced right back to catcher Gregg Zaun, who tossed to Litsch, who made a great play sliding across the opposite side of the plate and tagging the sole of Cano’s foot as it came down to touch home. Home plate ump Larry Vanover blew the call and spent the rest of the game calling strikes in a manner that found the middle ground between a sea lion and the Swedish Chef (strike one: “BORK!” strike two: “BORK!” strike three: “ARF! ARF!”).

The Jays got that run back in the bottom of the seventh when lefties Adam Lind and Lyle Overbay singled and walked against Damaso Marte and Scott Rolen greeted Joba Chamberlain with a single that scored Lind. With two out and none on in the eighth, the Jays loaded the bases against Chamberlain thanks to some sloppy defense by Cody Ransom, who replaced Derek Jeter and his sore left hand at shortstop just before game time (Jeter said after the game that he couldn’t swing), and an intentional walk, but Chamberlain won a seven-pitch battle with Lyle Overbay on a slider breaking down and away for a called strike three (ARF! ARF!). Otherwise Phil Coke, Brian Bruney, and Mariano Rivera were perfect in relief, nailing down the 3-1 win and giving Mussina his nineteenth win.

Hard Times Befallen The Soul Survivors


Unfortunately, the Red Sox also won, putting up a five-spot against likely Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee at Fenway to squeek out a 5-4 win behind Tim Wakefield and a quintet of relievers. The decisive run was scored by Dustin Pedroia on a two-out single by Jason Bay in the fifth (“sweet things from Boston, so young and willing”). With that, the Yankees have been eliminated from the postseason for the first time since 1993, the last year before the Wild Card was introduced.

That year it was Toronto that won the AL East, though the Yankees avoided being eliminated head-to-head by beating Todd Stottlemyre and the Jays behind Jim Abbott in their final game at SkyDome that season. The Yankees won again the next day, beating Rick Sutcliffe and the Orioles 9-1 behind Scott Kamieniecki (playing right field in place of an injured Paul O’Neill, Jim Leyritz homered in both games), but the Jays clinched anyway by beating the Brewers 2-0 behind Pat Hentgen and a trio of relievers that included Mike Timlin. The Jays would go on to win their second consecutive World Championship that October with Joe Carter delivering the Series-ending home run off Phillies closer Mitch Williams.

Please take me along when you slide on down.

Baltimore Orioles VI: The Final Series Edition

The just-completed series against the White Sox had some interest beyond the impending closing of Yankee Stadium thanks to Chicago’s fight for the AL Central, Mike Mussina’s still-active quest for 20 wins, the return of Phil Hughes to the Yankee rotation, and the major league debuts of three Yankee prospects last night. This weekend’s series against the Orioles has none of that. These last three games will be about Yankee Stadium and nothing else. With that in mind, here are the three other opening and closing dates in the Stadium’s 86-year history:

April 18, 1923 – the first game at Yankee Stadium, Yankees beat the Red Sox 4-1 behind Bob Shawkey, who scored the first run at the new park on a single by third baseman Joe Dugan in the fourth inning. Ruth followed Dugan with a three-run homer, the Stadium’s first. Second baseman Aaron Ward had picked up the park’s first hit in the previous inning.

Sept. 30, 1973 – the final game at the original Stadium, Yankees lost to the Tigers 8-5 as Fritz Peterson and Lindy McDaniel combined to allow six runs in the eighth inning. Backup catcher Duke Sims, in his only start of the year, hits the last home run at the old park in the seventh. Winning pitcher John Hiller gets first baseman Mike Hegan to fly out to center fielder Mickey Stanley to end the game.

April 15, 1976 – the first game at the renovated Stadium, Yankees beat the Twins 11-4 with Dick Tidrow picking up the win with five shoutout innings in relief of Rudy May and Sparky Lyle getting the save. May gave up the first hit and home run in the remodeled Stadium to Disco Dan Ford in the top of the first. Twins second baseman Jerry Terrell, who led of the game with a walk, scored the first run ahead of Ford. The first Yankee hit was delivered by Mickey Rivers in the bottom of the first. The first Yankee home run at the redone park would come off the bat of Thurman Munson two days later.

Untitled The relocated St. Louis Browns first played at the Stadium as the Baltimore Orioles on May 5 and 6 of 1954, losing to Eddie Lopat and Allie Reynolds by scores of 4-2 and 9-0. The O’s first visit to the renovated stadium came in a three-game weekend series starting on May 14, 1976. The O’s took two of three in that series, beating Catfish Hunter in the opener. The first batter in that game was Ken Singleton, who struck out looking, but the next six Orioles delivered hits off Hunter, among them a two-run homer by O’s center fielder Reggie Jackson (!) as the O’s cruised to a 6-2 win behind Ross Grimsley.

For the curious, the action depicted in the Merv Rettenmund card pictured here occurred on August 9, 1970 in the seventh inning of the first game of a Sunday doubleheader. With the O’s leading 1-0 behind Jim Palmer, Rettenmund led off the seventh with a double off Fritz Peterson. Andy Etchebarren then hit a hot shot to third base that Jerry Kenney either booted or bobbled, allowing Etchebarren to reach and Rettenmund to advance. The photo on the card freezes the action as Kenney, ball in hand, checks Rettenmund at third base. The O’s would go on to score three unearned runs in that inning, but the Yanks got two in the eighth and two in the ninth to tie it, the latter two on a single by Roy White after Earl Weaver had replaced Palmer with Pete Richert. White would later end the game in the 11th with one out and Horace Clarke on first base by homering off Dick Hall to give the Yankees a 6-4 win.

Finally, here’s an account of the last game at the original Stadium from Glenn Stout’s outstanding Yankees Century:

The Yankees ended the season on September 30, closing down old Yankee Stadium to accommodate the scheduled renovation. In the final week of the season, the Hall of Fame hauled away a ticket booth, a turnstile, and other memorabilia. Anticipating souvenir takers, the club had already removed the center-field monuments and a hoard of equipment scheduled to follow the Yankees to Queens.

The club hired extra security to head off bad behavior, but the crowd of 32,328 arrived at the Stadium in an ugly mood and packing wrecking tools. Disappointed at the late season collapse, banners urging the Yankees to fire [manager Ralph] Houk ringed the park.

The game was only a few innings old when it became clear that souvenir hunters weren’t going to wait. In the outfield and the bleachers fans turned their backs on the game and started demolishing the park. The Yankees took the lead over Detroit but lost it in the fifth [sic]. When Houk came to the mound to change pitchers, exuberant fans waived parts of seats over their heads like the angry they had become.

As soon as Mike Hegan flied out to end the 8-5 loss, 20,000 fans swamped security forces and stormed the field. The Yanks had plans for objects like the bases, but the mob had other ideas. First-base coach Elston Howard scooped up the bag for a scheduled presentation to Mrs. Lou Gehrig, but he had to fight his way off the field, clutching the base like a fullback plowing through the line. Cops stood guard at home plate to make sure it went to Claire Ruth, but a fan stole second base, and third was nabbed by Detroit third baseman Ike Brown. Some 10,000 seats ended up being pulled loose.


Yankees by the Numbers

Updated Sept. 27, 2007 and Sept. 18, 2009

This is a rainy day post I’ve wanted to do for years. Thanks to the tremendous YankeeNumbers.com, and in the spirit of Jon Weisman’s recent All-Time Dodger Alphabet Team, I’m pleased to present the Yankees by the Numbers. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

A quick bit of history before I begin: though often credited as such, the Yankees were not the first major league team to wear numbers. The Indians wore numbers on their left sleeves for several weeks in 1916, but abandoned the practice after another brief period of use in 1917. The 1923 Cardinals were the next to try, the numbers again appearing on the players’ left sleeves, but quickly removed them because the players were “embarrassed.” Both the Indians and the Yankees were set to begin the 1929 season with numbers on their backs, but a rainout in the Bronx gave the Indians the precedent. Still, the 1929 Yankees were, along with the Indians, the first team to wear numbers for a full season. Here’s where the legend synchs back up with reality. Those 1929 Yankees wore numbers that corresponded with what was likely their opening day line-up, thus the original single digits were:

1 – Earl Combs (CF)
2 – Mark Koenig (3B)
3 – Babe Ruth (RF)
4 – Lou Gehrig (1B)
5 – Bob Meusel (LF)
6 – Tony Lazzeri (2B)
7 – Leo Durocher (SS)
8 – Johnny Grabowski (C)

Catchers Benny Bengough and rookie Bill Dickey wore numbers 9 and 10 (Dickey won the starting job that year and took Grabowski’s #8 in 1930). Top pitchers Herb Pennock, Waite Hoyt and George Pipgras wore numbers 11, 12 and 14 (the Yankees skipped #13 for the usual reasons).

Enjoy . . .


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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver