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Posts Tagged ‘Ron Guidry’

Brian Cashman recently told Mike Lupica on ESPN Radio that “the captaincy should be retired with number two.”

No more captains for the Yankees? Please. I love Derek Jeter as much as the next guy, but enough is enough. Yes, that’s right…I said it. Derek Jeter is a mortal being…just like Lou Gehrig and Thurman Munson before him. There’s nothing that make Derek any more special or deserving than those two, so I don’t see why the New York Yankees shouldn’t have another captain.

Keith Olbermann has called Cashman’s comments  as the “dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”

After Lou Gehrig passed away from ALS (now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), Yankees manager Joe McCarthy stated that the club would never have another Yankees captain. Years went by and the organization didn’t have a captain. In 1976 that changed, as George Steinbrenner appointed Thurman Munson to be captain. Just three years later (1979), Thurman died in a tragic plane crash, leaving the Yankees captainless. Nettles, Randolph, Guidry, and Mattingly followed him. What I’m trying to say here is…nobody is bigger than the interlocking NY on their chest.

George Steinbrenner once said:

“I have always been very, very careful about giving such a responsibility (Captain of the New York Yankees) to one of my players, but I can not think of a single player that I have ever had who is more deserving of this honor than Derek Jeter. He is a young man of great character and has shown great leadership qualities. He believes, as I do, what General (Douglas) MacArthur said, that ‘there is no substitute for victory.’ To him, and to me, it’s second only to breathing.”

I don’t believe they need to appoint a new captain right away, but when the right person comes along I don’t see anything wrong with giving that rank to a deserving player. I think you can safely bet that the Yankees will find somebody to be named captain in future years. And if you like to bet like me, you should check out: www.SportsBettingInfo.comLife goes on, and so do the Yankees.

 

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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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A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times published a charming article about Ron Guidry’s close relationship with legendary Yankee, Yogi Berra. I thought I would just pass it along if you haven’t seen it.

TAMPA, Fla. — With all the yearly changes made by the Yankees, Yogi Berra’s arrival at their spring training base adds a timeless quality to baseball’s most historic franchise.

Berra, the catching legend and pop culture icon, slips back into the uniform with the famous and familiar No. 8. He checks into the same hotel in the vicinity of George M. Steinbrenner Field and requests the same room. He plans his days methodically — wake up at 6 a.m., breakfast at 6:30, depart for the complex by 7 — and steps outside to be greeted by the same driver he has had for the past dozen years.

The driver has a rather famous name, and nickname, as well.

“It’s like I’m the valet,” said Ron Guidry, the former star pitcher known around the Yankees as Gator for his Louisiana roots. “Actually, I am the valet.”

When Berra arrived on Tuesday afternoon from New Jersey for his three- to four-week stay, Guidry, as always, was waiting for him at Tampa International Airport. Since Berra forgave George Steinbrenner in 1999 for firing him as the manager in 1985 through a subordinate and ended a 14-year boycott of the team, Guidry has been his faithful friend and loyal shepherd.

Guidry had a custom-made cap to certify his proud standing. The inscription reads, “Driving Mr. Yogi.”

“He’s a good guy,” Berra, the Yankees’ 85-year-old honorary patriarch, said during an interview at his museum in Little Falls, N.J. “We hang out together in spring training.”

By “hanging out,” Berra means being in uniform with the Yankees by day and having dinner with Guidry by night. That is, until Guidry, who loves to cook and rents a two-bedroom apartment across the road from where Berra stays, demands a break from their spring training rotation of the five restaurants that meet Berra’s approval.

“See, I really love the old man, but because of what we share — which is something very special — I can treat him more as a friend and I can say, ‘Get your butt in my truck or you’re staying,’ ” Guidry said. “He likes that kind of camaraderie, wants to be treated like everybody else, but because of who he is, that’s not how everybody around here treats him.

“So I’ll say, ‘Yogi, tonight we’re going to Fleming’s, then to Lee Roy Selmon’s tomorrow, and then the night after that you stay in your damn room, have a ham sandwich or whatever, because the world doesn’t revolve around you and I’m taking a night off.’ ”

Berra played 18 years for the Yankees, from 1946 to 1963, and was part of 10 World Series champions. Guidry pitched from the mid-1970s through 1988, played on two World Series winners and was a Cy Young Award winner in 1978, when he was 25-3 with a 1.74 earned run average.

While Guidry was blossoming into one of baseball’s premier left-handers, Berra was a coach on Manager Billy Martin’s staff (and later became Guidry’s manager). They dressed at adjacent stalls in the clubhouse of the old Yankee Stadium. Eager to learn, Guidry would pepper Berra with questions about what he, as a former catcher, thought of hitters.

Berra would say, “You got a great catcher right over there,” nodding in the direction of Thurman Munson. But Guidry persisted, and their bond was formed.

During Berra’s self-imposed absence, Guidry saw him only on occasion, at card-signing shows and at Berra’s charity golf tournament near his home in Montclair, N.J. When Berra returned, the retired players he knew best were no longer part of the spring training instructional staff.

“There was really nobody else that he had to sit and talk with, to be around after the day at the ballpark,” Guidry said. “So I just told him, ‘I’ll pick you up, we’ll go out to supper,’ and that’s how it started. It wasn’t like I planned it. It just developed.”

(click here to see the rest of the article) (more…)

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With pitchers and catchers celebrating our love of all things baseball by reporting to Spring Training on Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share some reminiscences about Spring Trainings gone past.

First of all, this may come as a surprise to many of the Yankees younger fans, but the team didn’t always train in Tampa. Since the team’s founding as the New York Highlanders, they have trained in 19 locales. They spent a season in the Cactus League (1951). They trained in Atlantic City (1944 & 45). That was due to travel restrictions during World War II, but I can’t imagine the weather was much better in AC than it would have been in the Bronx. They even spent a season in Bermuda (1913).

But the period I remember from my youth is when the team trained in Ft. Lauderdale, from 1962 through 1995. In the early and mid-1970’s, I was lucky enough to make annual pilgrimages to south Florida. Ostensibly, my folks were sending me down to spend time with my grandparents. But I would invariably end up spending more time with my uncle at Ft. Lauderdale Stadium, watching my boyhood idols. Oh, and nabbing a few autographs; they were easier to get back then – I suppose because nobody had thought up the idea of holding events where people would pay $500 and up for one.

I remember in 1975 watching a tall, skinny kid routinely striking out some of the game’s better hitters. I didn’t know it then, but that was my first glimpse of the Gator. Then there was the time Bobby Bonds hit a ball that landed near the pitchers mound on one of the auxillary fields. I still think that’s the longest homer I’ve ever seen in person, and it brought everyone in attendance to their feet. In 1976, the Yankees debuted Mickey Rivers as their new center fielder – and his speed completely floored me.

There were other moments of baseball greatness that dazzled my preteen brain during those years, but they were my preteen years, after all. I wasn’t always as transfixed on the game as the happenings around me. One of the great things about those years was that not only did the Yankees invite back some of the former greats as guest coaches (a tradition they still follow today, thankfully), but you would often find others watching the games from the stands. Once we sat a row behind Moose Skowron, who was pretty much like any other fan. On another occassion, the guy next to me spilled his beer on me. My uncle was about to give him what-for – until he realized the guy he was getting ready to blast was none other than Tom Tresh. Mr. Tresh was a real gentleman about it. He got me a #15  jersey. At the time, I didn’t know it was his old number – I thought he got me a Thurman Munson jersey, who was (and still is) my favorite Yankee. As you might imagine, I was completely dumbfounded – and hoping to get more beer spilled on me by other former Yankees.

The memories from the halcyon days of my youth are a big reason why I’m such a huge fan today. It is why baseball, for me (and I suspect many of you) goes far beyond statistics, contracts and all of the other stuff we spend so much time talking about. It’s about great and not-so-great players, human beings not unlike us except for an incredible talent to play the game. In “Field of Dreams“, James Earl Jones‘ character Terrance Mann gives one of the best monologues about baseball ever written:

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again”

So, with that…let’s play ball! Mission 28 is officially underway!

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NY Daily News/Aris Sakellaridis

Sabathia & Berra lend their voices to ‘Henry & Me’ C.C. Sabathia, Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, as well as other Yankees players, recorded parts for the upcoming movie, ‘Henry & Me.’ “Their message to the sick child “Jack,” the “Me” in the story: You can do it, kid. Just keep telling yourself you can, and you will.”

Ron Guidry and the Beach Boys:Guidry played the drums when he was with the Yankees, and he was skilled enough to perform once with the Beach Boys as a drummer in a post-game concert. But playing the drums also benefited Guidry’s pitching.”

“I kept a set of drums at Yankee Stadium for one reason,” said Guidry. “Playing the drums kept my wrists very strong, and a strong left wrist allowed me to throw my slider more effectively.”

Yankees and  Jay-Z team up on co-branded merchandise. From the AP: “The hip-hop mogul is teaming up with his favorite baseball squad on co-branded clothes that will be sold exclusively at Yankee Stadium beginning next week. All the items, from baseball caps to T-shirts and hooded sweat shirts, will feature Yankees and Jay-Z logos. In a news release Thursday, the Yankees said the attire was created to commemorate the first official concerts at the new Yankee Stadium on Sept. 13 and 14, when Jay-Z and Eminem will co-headline.”
 
  • Yanks lose fourth straight, grip on first place
  • CANALI RE-SIGNS MO AS THEIR MR. OCTOBER
  • Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can
  • Donald Trump blogs about Steinbrenner
  • (more…)

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    With the first game being thisclose, I thought it might be fun to look back and see who has played the most Opening Day (first game of the season, not first home game) games per position — Relief pitchers need not apply. The available information only goes back until 1952, unfortunately. Next to each name below is the exact number of opening day games started for the Yankees.

    Starting Pitcher: Whitey Ford/Ron Guidry/Mel Stottlemyre (7)

    Catcher: Jorge Posada (10)

    First Base: Don Mattingly (10)

    Second Base: Willie Randolph (10)

    Shortstop: Derek Jeter (13)

    Third Base: Graig Nettles (11)

    Left Field: Roy White (9)

    Center Field: Mickey Mantle (13)

    Right Field: Paul O’Neill/Hank Bauer (7)

    Designated Hitter: Don Baylor/Ruben Sierra (3)

    You can view each lineup since 1952 here.

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    In the Yankees’ long line of history, they have retired in total 16 numbers for 17 players (Including Jackie Robinson) which is far above any other team in Major League Baseball history and over the course of the next 5 years will be adding more numbers to the list. Below is the list of current retired numbers with the appropriately named player for those numbers.

    1 – Billy Martin
    3 – Babe Ruth
    4 – Lou Gehrig
    5 – Joe DiMaggio
    7 – Mickey Mantle
    8 – Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra
    9 – Roger Maris
    10 – Phil Rizzuto
    15 – Thurman Munson
    16 – Whitey Ford
    23 – Don Mattingly
    32 – Elston Howard
    37 – Casey Stengel
    44 – Reggie Jackson
    42 – Jackie Robinson
    49 – Ron Guidry

    Now, in the next decade, give or take, the Yankees will be adding more numbers to the already historic list. Personally, I believe the Yankees will retire all the below listed numbers.

    2 – Derek Jeter
    6 – Joe Torre
    20 – Jorge Posada
    21 – Paul O’Neill
    42 – Mariano Rivera
    46 – Andy Pettitte
    51 – Bernie Williams

    When do I think all these numbers will be retired? Hard to tell. Derek and Mo’s numbers are a given to happen within the first year or two of retirement. However, I don’t think Torre’s number will be retired with Brian Cashman working in the organization considering their falling out, but crazier things have happened. There is something that tells me Bernie and Posada’s numbers might take a little bit longer, but will eventually join Mariano and Derek’s numbers in time. Another issue that will come up is whether or not Pettitte’s number should be retired due to his admitted use of HGH. Now, I believe what he has told us, so I don’t think he should be penalized for what he has done. I mean, the Yankees have brought him back the last two years, so obviously they don’t think it’s an issue.

    So there is the potential for 23 numbers for 25 players to be retired in the next decade, give or take, which is kind of crazy, but after this group gets their just due, it won’t be for a while that another number gets retired.

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    Earlier this week we wrote an article about the Yankees’ hitting coaches since 1996. In baseball, you can’t hit if there isn’t anyone pitching to you, so, now we take a look at the Yankees pitching coaches since 1996…

    Mel Stottlemyre

    Year ERA H Runs HR BB SO WHIP
    1996 4.65 1469 787 143 610 1139 1.56
    1997 3.84 1463 688 144 532 1165 1.57
    1998 3.82 1357 656 156 466 1080 1.56
    1999 4.13 1402 731 158 581 1111 1.58
    2000 4.76 1458 814 177 577 1040 1.52
    2001 4.02 1429 713 158 465 1266 1.38
    2002 3.87 1441 697 144 403 1135 1.50
    2003 4.02 1512 716 145 375 1119 1.50
    2004 4.69 1532 808 182 445 1058 1.49
    2005 4.52 1495 789 164 463 985 1.53

    (more…)

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         Jason Giambi was talked about in Joe Torre’s new book, but not really in a bad bad way. Torre said that Giambi was a “defensive liability” in the field, but that is so true. Jason didn’t have any problem with it either. He said:

     “I’m OK with it. I knew what my job was. I came to New York to drive in runs.”

         Giambi is a very likable guy. He has a great personality and was very open with the media.

    He had a few other things to say as well:

     “It’s definitely hurtful,” he told me. “When you play together that long, you’re family. There’s a certain trust involved. We were always like ‘keep everything in-house, especially in New York with that media.’ I was surprised to hear that he was writing a book … he meant so much to that town. But from his point of view you can respect it. He had to get things off his chest,” referring to Torre’s bitter exit from the Yankees.

    “Look, he’s a great manager, he really is. I haven’t talked to Joe about the book yet … someday.”

    When I asked if writing the book violated the trust of his former team, Giambi said, “That’s hard to answer. We were all going in the same direction, we were a family. I can see how other guys will be hurt by it.”

         Giambi was a guy that everyone liked in the clubhouse. It seems like he has mixed feelings on the situation. He likes Torre a lot, and thinks he is a great manager, but at the same time he believes that some people might be hurt by some of the things he said.

    ———————————————————————————————————–

     Torre on Letterman: ‘A-Fraud’ just a running joke / Derek Jeter’s Next Contract

    Guidry’s suggestion to Yanks on Joba: Make up your mind / Jeter’s contract

    Impressions of Joe Torre’s book / Brian Bruney fit for Yankees’ pen

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         SI.com posted an excerpt from the book The Yankees Years. The main topic is how the meetings were handled after the Yanks’ were knocked out of the postseason by the Indians.  Here is a small piece:

    So that was it. The 12-year Torre era had come to a nonnegotiable end. Torre’s run ended with a meeting that took little more than 10 minutes. As Torre got up from his seat in Steinbrenner’s office, Hal Steinbrenner said to him, “The door’s always open. You can always work for the YES Network.”

    Torre was too stunned to speak, caught between bemusement and anger. Did the Boss’s son really just dangle the consolation of working for the Yankees-run regional television network after the Yankees refused to negotiate with the second-­winningest manager in franchise history?

    Torre shook the hands of everybody in the room, starting with George. The old man took his dark glasses off and said, “Good luck, Joe.”

    “Thanks again, Boss,” Torre said.

    ————————————————————————-

    “Cash was sitting right over my right shoulder,” Torre said, “and never uttered a sound the whole meeting.” Cashman, for his part, says simply, “It was Joe’s meeting.”

    Only much later did Torre start to put the picture together of what had happened to his working relationship with Cashman. The personal falling-out they had in 2006 spring training over philosophical issues, Cashman’s decision not to bring back longtime center fielder Bernie Williams when his contract expired in 2006, his submission of odd lineup suggestions based on stats, his lack of regard for Ron Guidry as a pitching coach, his detachment from the “they” who were making an offer to Torre, his failure to offer any comment or support in the meeting that decided Torre’s future, his failure to personally relay Torre’s proposal to find a way to reach an agreement to the Steinbrenners …

    Where could Torre find support in the end? His old ally, Swindal, thanks to one DUI charge, had been run out of the organization and the Steinbrenner family. George was not fit enough to deal directly with Torre himself. And now Cashman had retreated to silence with Torre’s job on the line.

    “I thought Cash was an ally, I really did,” Torre says. “You know, we had some differences on coaches, and the usefulness of the coaches. I know he ­didn’t think much of Guidry. And [former bench coach Don] Zimmer. You know, Zimmer ­didn’t trust Cash, and I disagreed with Zimmer vehemently for the longest time. Then, you know, you start thinking about things … I have a, I don’t want to say it’s a weakness, but I want to trust people. And I do trust people until I’m proved wrong. And it’s not going to keep me from trusting somebody else tomorrow, because it’s the only way I can do my job.”

    Some other things in the news about the book:

    Cashman offers support to A-Rod: 

    Brian Cashman thinks the Yankees should rally around Alex Rodriguez following a book in which former manager Joe Torre portrayed A-Rod as a divisive figure in the New York clubhouse.

    “I think we’ve gone through so much of the Alex stuff that, you know, if anything, maybe this brings people closer together,” Cashman said Monday during a conference call to announce Andy Pettitte was returning to the team in 2009.

    In “The Yankee Years,” scheduled for publication Feb. 3, Torre says “Alex monopolized all the attention” and that “he needs people to make a fuss over him.”

    BOWA: TEAMMATE SHOTS AT ALEX ALL IN FUN:

     Alex Rodriguez may have been referred to as “A-Fraud,” but it was in jest, says former Yankee coach Larry Bowa.

    In Joe Torre’s latest book, “The Yankee Years,” it’s reported that Yankee players referred to A-Rod as “A-Fraud.”

    But yesterday, Bowa – Torre’s third-base coach with the Dodgers who filled the same role with the in 2006-07 – told The Post that former Yankee bullpen catcher and batting-practice pitcher Mike Borzello, a good friend of , used to joke around with the star player by sometimes referring to him as “A-Fraud.”

    Source: By batting A-Rod 8th in playoffs, Joe Torre wrote him off:

    Alex Rodriguez told friends Monday that he is “not bothered at all” by the reports that Joe Torre apparently took some shots at him in his forthcoming book, and dismissed talk of an “A-Fraud” persona or any Derek Jeter obsession as old news that no longer applies to his standing in the Yankee clubhouse.

    “He laughed at the stuff because he is so beyond all of that,” one person close to A-Rod said Monday. “Personally he feels like he’s in a great space in his life and felt very comfortable last year in the clubhouse and with his relationship with his teammates.”

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

         This will probably tarnish part of Joe Torre’s legacy, but in my mind..it’s the same old Joe. I like him as much as I did before this book came out. Torre was pushed out of NY and he is finally getting his feelings out. I have no problem with it at all. This book sure has caused a big stir in New York and around the sports world. Everything you hear is about Joe Torre and his new book.

    I have a copy of the book on it’s way from Barnes & Noble. I can’t wait to read it.

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Nothing ever ends well  /  Yanks Set On Field, But What About the Clubhouse?

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