As the dust settles on the 2016 Hall of Fame inductee announcements, Yankee fans can take solace in the fact that Mike Mussina received a nice jump in the vote percentage, and the realization that another pinstripe hero, Jorge Posada, will be eligible in 2017. Realistically, Jorge will take a while if indeed he ever meets the 75% vote threshold. While a solid argument can be made — especially from a New York perspective — on his numbers, longevity, being one of the leaders on a string of championship teams, etc., I’m expecting a long slog in convincing BWAAA writers to give Posada a hard look.
Which brings up a couple of other things in thinking about during the voting. When — notice I say when, Moose gets in, what cap will he wear? And Junior Griffey just broke the record for ballot percentage — 99.3%. The next question is obvious — will The Captain be the one to set the unbreakable bar of a unanimous selection (100%) when he’s eligible in four years?
This query is covered nicely here by A.J. Herrmann of YES Network: Can Derek Jeter become the first unanimous inductee into Baseball’s Hall of Fame?
When comparing Jeter to the top-three vote-getting shortstops in history, Cal Ripken Jr. (98.53%), Honus Wagner (95.13%) and Ozzie Smith (91.74%), Jeter’s numbers and accomplishments stand up to the Hall of Fame juxtaposition.
Jeter retired with a .310 career average, more than 30 points higher than both Ripken (.276) and Smith (.262), won two more World Series rings than all three players combined and led MLB in hits the same number of times (2) as Wagner and Ripken combined (1 apiece).
I’m sold. And — no debate on which cap ‘Cap’ will wear, huh?
You just gotta think the interlocking N and Y, right?. No doubt, he had great years and numbers with Baltimore, and Bird fans I’m sure are thinking the same thing and why he should be donned with an O’s cap.
Mussina’s career spanned 18 years — 10 with the Orioles, 8 with the Yankees. He scored an overwhelming majority of accolades and votes of recognition (for Cy Young, All-Star, Golden Glove, etc.) in his tenure with the Birds. But had great years in The Bronx, including his first 20-win season in the final year of his career (2008), and while he unfortunately never got a ring, Moose was a reliable anchor of the ever-changing rotations of the 2000’s, and not unlike Hiroki Kuroda of recent vintage, got terrible run support — but Moose was pitching for lineups that cranked out runs left and right. Except when he was on the mound. Go figure.
I was hoping he would come back for the 2009 campaign, and if so he would have earned that elusive ring. At this point, tell you what — I’m good with whichever hat Mussina chooses. I hope it’s the New York one, but just don’t do what Greg Maddox (Cubs and Braves) did — have no insignia on his Hall of Fame cap. That’s lame. Pick or the other, Moose. We’ll live with it either way.
“Thank You, Chicago” By Starlin Castro
The Yankees new second-baseman Starlin Castro has penned an interesting piece for Derek Jeter’s fine website, The Players’ Tribune. How cool is this:
“At 7 a.m. that morning I had been a 20-year-old kid in Double-A Tennessee. 12 hours later, I was at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati — standing there under the lights, wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform, watching a ball fly off my bat and into the right field bleachers.” ‐ Starlin Castro (From: The Players’ Tribune)
Not following the National League as closely, before the trade was announced I was unaware Castro broke in at 20 years old. I’ve since learned it’s has been a ride filled with high and lows for the young man until now, including a couple of brushes with the law — not uncommon with the young athletes of today. But he’s just hitting his prime and surrounded now by strong veterans, who will help his transition from The Second City to The First be as seamless as possible.
Read the complete piece here. Also related reading from Anthony McCarron of the Daily News: New Yankees infielder Starlin Castro wants to see Cubs again — in opposing dugout during World Series.
Yankees Acquire RHP Kirby Yates
Press Release | The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired right-handed pitcher Kirby Yates from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for cash considerations.
Yates, 28, is 1-2 with one save and a 5.27 ERA (56.1IP, 56H, 33ER, 22BB, 63K, 14HR, .253 opp. BA) in 57 career relief appearances over parts of two Major League seasons (2014-15) with Tampa Bay. Right-handed batters have hit .237 (36-for-152) with a .295 on-base percentage against him in his career. On November 25, 2015, he was acquired by Cleveland from Tampa Bay in exchange for cash considerations.
Over seven minor league seasons (2009-15), Yates has a 14-14 record with 69 saves and a 2.67 ERA (343.2IP, 247H, 102ER, 159BB, 455K) in 209 games (18 starts). He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Rays on June 19, 2009.
The Yankees’ 40-man roster now stands at 38.
MEMORY LANE : On today’s date in 2009, speaking of the Hall of Fame, Goose Gossage was the only candidate that year (in his 9th turn of eligibility) to garner enough votes to be enshrined — as a Yankee, no less. Over a 22-year career, Gossage compiled a 124-107 record, 301 saves, (3.21 ERA), and was the prototypical “closer” of the era — not an 8th or 9th inning guy — Goose came in to get 9 outs, and did it better than anyone at the time …