Posts Tagged ‘Herb Pennock’

ESPN New York released their “50 Greatest Yankees” list the other day. I can’t really argue too much with their list, although I probably would have swapped Thurman Munson (#12) and Bill Dickey (#10). Yes, I know Dickey is in the Hall of Fame and Munson isn’t. But it was Munson’s leadership, as much as anything else that returned the Yankees to their winning ways in the ’70s. And who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up if not for the plane crash?

Anyway, here’s their list. I’ve added in the dates they played for the Yanks, along with their position. An asterisk denotes a playing career interrupted by a military commitment; # denotes a Hall-of-Famer. Current players are in red type. Feel free to let us know how you feel about the list!

50. Mike Mussina (RHP, 2001-2008)

49. Bob Meusel (LF, 1920-1930)

48. Albert “Sparky” Lyle (LHP, 1972-1978)

47. Gil McDougald (IF, 1951-1960)

46. Jim “Catfish” Hunter (RHP, 1974-1978)#

45. David Cone (RHP, 1995-2000)

44. Roy White (LF, 1965-1979)

43. Hank Bauer (RF, 1948-1959)

42. Jack Chesbro (RHP, 1903-1909)#

41. Eddie Lopat (RHP, 1948-1955)

40. Rickey Henderson (1985-1989)#

39. Vic Raschi (RHP, 1946-1953)

38. Joe Gordon (2B, 1938-1946)*#

37. Tommy Henrich (RF, 1937-1950)*

36. Charlie “King Kong” Keller (LF, 1939-1949)*

35. Bobby Murcer (CF, 1969-1974, 1979-1983)

34. Spurgeon “Spud” Chandler (RHP, 1937-1947)

33. Willie Randolph (2B, 1976-1988)

32. Waite Hoyt (RHP, 1921-1929)#

31. Mel Stottlemyre (RHP, 1964-1974)

30. Paul O’Neill (RF, 1993-2001)

29. Graig Nettles (3B, 1973-1983)

28. Dave Winfield (OF, 1981-1990)#

27. Herb Pennock (LHP, 1923-1933)#

26. Allie “Superchief” Reynolds (RHP, 1947-1954)

25. Rich “Goose” Gossage (RHP, 1978-1983, 1989)#

24. Elston Howard (C, 1955-1967)

23. Earle Combs (CF, 1924-1935)#

22. Roger Maris (RF, 1960-1966)

21. Jorge Posada (C, 1995-present)

20. Phil Rizzuto (SS, 1941-1956)*#

19. Bernie Williams (CF, 1991-2006)

18. “Poosh ‘Em Up” Tony Lazzeri (2B, 1926-1937)#

17. Ron “Gator” Guidry (LHP, 1975-1988)

16. Andy Pettitte (LHP, 1995-2003, 2007-2010)

15. Reggie Jackson (RF, 1977-1981)#

14. Vernon “Lefty” Gomez (LHP, 1930-1942)#

13. Alex Rodriguez (3B, 2004-present)

12. Thurman Muson (C, 1969-1979)

11. Don Mattingly (1B, 1982-1995)

10. Bill Dickey (C, 1928-1946)#

9. Charles “Red” Ruffing (RHP, 1930-1942)#

8. Edward “Whitey” Ford (LHP, 1953-1967)*#

7. Derek Jeter (SS, 1995-present)

6. Lawrence “Yogi” Berra (C, 1946-1963)#

5. Mariano Rivera (RHP, 1995-present)

4. Mickey Mantle (CF, 1950-1968)#

3. “Joltin” Joe DiMaggio (CF, 1936-1951)*#

2. Lou “Iron Horse” Gehrig (1B, 1923-1939)#

1. George “Babe” Ruth (RF, 1920-1934)#

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31 days until pitchers and catchers report, and Andy Pettitte has yet to decide whether he wants to pitch in 2011. He announced he may sort of, maybe, pitch for half of 2011. In my humble effort to help the Yankees’ 3rd winningest pitcher of all-time make up his mind, I offer 5 reasons he should stop hanging out in his pj’s and get on a plane to Tampa.

  1. You stand to make one final, massive payday. If reports are true, the Yanks had penciled in $22 million for Cliff Lee. We all know that Lee walked away from that and headed to the land of cheese steaks instead, and the Yanks haven’t even begun to spend any of that money. My guess is you can safely tell Cashman & Company to fork over $17 million or so for one final season.
  2. New York loves a winner. There’s absolutely no way coming back can ruin your career reputation. If the team stays in contention, you’ll be the man who saved the season in many eyes. If the team falters and you have a great season, you’ll get to retire with your adoring fans thanking you for one final hurrah. Even if everything goes horribly wrong (team misses playoffs and you don’t play particularly well), everyone will remember you as a great pitcher who came back one final time and gave it your all, but couldn’t outrun Father Time any more.
  3. The Yankees need you! This might be stating the obvious, but they really do. Right now, the rotation projects to CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. It may not be the worst rotation in history, but it certainly comes close. Injecting an Andy Pettitte gives the Yankees two proven starters and gets Mitre back into the bullpen.
  4. Solidify those HOF credentials. Your regular season numbers are probably close to being good enough to getting you into the Hall of Fame, and your post-season pitching should get you over the top (hey, you’re mentioned in the same breath with Whitey Ford and Catfish Hunter when it comes to big game pitching!). But another 15 regular season wins and you’ll pass Herb Pennock, Amos Rusie, Joe McGinty, Vic WillisJuan Marichal, Carl Hubbell, and Bob Gibson – all of whom are already enshrined. Another 150 strikeouts gets you past Marichal, Early Wynn, Rube WaddellRobin Roberts and Sandy Koufax. I know you’ve never been the type to worry about how baseball history views you, but a plaque in Cooperstown is a fitting way to cap off a great career.
  5. Nobody wants their last year to be an injury plagued one. If 2010 is your final season, I can’t imagine it’s the way you envisioned closing your career. Spending 2 1/2 months on the DL and then still not healthy enough to pitch at 100% in the playoffs. (Although, that 80% you gave us was better than the other 3 starters combined). Come on back and show everyone what Andy Pettitte at 100% for a full season can do.

Well, there you go. Just let me know when to send the limo around for you – I’ve got the jet all warmed up and the auto-pilot set for Yankee Stadium.

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Photo Courtesy of the NY Times

Joe Digangi passed away last year on July 14th. The name may ring a bell, or you may be asking yourself, who is that man? Joe Digangi was one of the last links to some of the Yankees greatest teams of all-time. He served as the New York Yankees bullpen catcher from 1933-1941. The man got to know the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey and so on. He knew everybody.

He warmed up some of the greatest pitchers in franchise history, including Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez and Herb Pennock. Joe was actually warming up the starting pitcher in the Yankee Stadium bullpen when Lou Gehrig delivered his famous “Luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech. I’m sure the man could go on for days, talking about some of the greatest sports figures to ever play the game.

“I was a lucky kid of 18 years old to be with such great ball players of my time.”

In his later years, he took the time to answer letters from fans. I wrote to him a couple of years ago, and he sent a couple of photos, signed a couple of index cards and wrote me this nice letter (pictured below). He didn’t have a job that was going to make him filthy rich, but as he said himself, he was a lucky guy. He had witnessed things that only others could dream of.


The New York Times published an article about him back in 2007. I strongly recommend that you give it a look.  (more…)

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Recently Dave Eiland was speaking about the competition for the Yankees 5th starter slot when he said this:

“We want 200 innings in all five of our guys,” Eiland said.

Now, upon reading this, his statement made me a little bit curious as to whether this has been done, so I turned to our trustworthy friends over at Baseball-Reference. Upon extensive searching on Baseball-Reference for teams with pitchers with equal or greater than 200 Innings Pitched and at least 20 Games Started only 15 instances of such were found. The last occurrence of this was in 1923 when the Yankees had the rotation of Joe Bush, Waite Hoyt, Sam Jones, Herb Pennock, and Bob Shawkey did this. The last Yankees team to come close to this was the rotation of Mike Mussina, David Wells, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Jeff Weaver in 2003. Weaver was 40.2 innings away from hitting the 200 IP mark.

For the Yankees to have all five of their starters to hit the magical mark of 200 IP there are a handful of things that have to happen in their favor.

  • If CC Sabathia pitches the same as last year, you can easily count him in for 200, however, it isn’t necessarily guaranteed.
  • AJ Burnett, while is no virtual lock to hit 200 innings, has proven if he is healthy, which is a big if, can hit 200 innings as he has the last two seasons.
  • While Andy Pettitte throughout his career could be penciled in for 200 innings usually, however he is turning 38 during this season. In 2009, he logged 194.1 innings and one has to wonder how many innings he has left on his left arm.
  • Javy Vazquez has pitched over 200 innings 9 out of the last 10 years, so theoretically he is a virtual lock. The only year he did not pitch 200 innings? 2004 with the Yankees when he logged 198 innings. During his time pitching in the American League, Javy has amassed an average ERA above 4.50.
  • Joba Chamberlain/Phil Hughes will have to up their game to reach 200 innings as neither of them have pitched this much in a single season. While Joba has been under the Joba rules, there is no telling how his arm will react when he hits 180, 190 or even 200 innings. Hughes on the other hand has not pitched more than 130 innings since 2006 in the minors when he pitched 146. If Hughes becomes the 5th starter it is unknown how his arm will react to the increase of innings.

So, while it is possible for each the Yankees starters to log 200 IP, it is highly unlikely. While I would like to see all five rotation spots hit 200 innings, truth be told, I can see 3 or 4 pitchers hit 200 innings. At this current time, I don’t have faith in Joba or Phil to be able to pitch 200 innings this year, maybe 170 or 180, but not 200.

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