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9 years ago  ::  Apr 06, 2011 - 9:36PM #3151
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Classic Yankees: Mel Stottlemyre


 


 


New York Yankees Mel Stottlemyre


Unfortunately, not all Classic Yankees  had a wealth of postseason experience (and, if I ever do a “Classic  Highlander”, you know that there would be none there unless that  Highlander made it to the postseason elsewhere!)


Cubs great Ernie Banks never played in a postseason game. None. At least Don Mattingly got in a couple. The same for Mel Stottlemyre.


When Stottlemyre came up to the Yankees  in 1964, no one would have believed it if you had said that he would  make it to the 1964 World Series, but no more after that. But that is  precisely what happened.


When Stottlemyre made his debut on  August 12, 1964, the Yankees were sitting in third place, 3 ½ games  back. Stottlemyre went 9-3, 2.06 down the stretch to lead the Yanks to  their fifth straight pennant. His ERA+ was 177. I don’t know why he  didn’t get any ROY votes, but even with his late arrival, Stottlemyre  got MVP consideration, finishing 25th in the voting.


In that major league debut, which  Stottlemyre won, Mel pitched a CG victory, giving up 3 R, 2 ER. He was  backed by four Yankees HRs in the 7-3 win, one each by Roger Maris and Clete Boyer, and two by Mickey Mantle.  Mantle’s first HR was hit to straightaway CF at the old Stadium.  Stottlemyre saw Mantle fling his bat away in disgust, and then amazingly  watched as CF Gene Stephens kept backing up…all the  way to the 461 mark in CF. Mantle’s blast cleared the 461 sign and the  20’ fence! It was said to have gone 502 feet. Stottlemyre’s reaction,  upon seeing Mantle fling his bat and then in seeing where the ball went  was something like, “if that isn’t far enough for him, what is?” Later  that season, on September 26th, Stottlemyre helped himself by going 5 for 5 at the plate.


The 22 year old rookie had developed into an ace in a hurry. In the 1964 WS, he had to be the ace. Whitey Ford developed arm trouble while pitching in Game 1. It would be the last WS  game Whitey would pitch in. Upon getting knocked out, Whitey’s arm was  dead with a circulatory problem. Some at the time thought he was having a  heart attack when they took his BP. The Yanks lost that Game 1, but  Stottlemyre out pitched Bob Gibson in Game 2 to even  the series. Mel gave up three runs on seven hits in his CG victory. Mel  went up against Gibson again in game 5, and this time got a ND, giving  up 2 R, 1 ER in 7 IP. The Yanks went on to lose the game in 10 innings.  Stottlemyre then started Game 7 on just two days of rest, going up  against Gibson yet again. Ford’s arm troubles, along with Berra losing  faith in Al Downing, forced him to choose Mel or Downing for Game 7 (Jim Bouton won Games 3 and 6). Mel ran out of gas though, giving up 4 R in 3 IP  and taking the loss (Downing gave up 3 runs in relief of Stottlemyre,  and didn’t get anyone out). Mel would never pitch in another postseason  game. In his only postseason, Stottlemyre went 1-1, 3.15.


As the dynasty collapsed in 1965, Stottlemyre emerged into a star, winning 20 games. On July 20th of that year, Stottlemyre hit an inside-the-park grand slam at the Old  Stadium. He was 20-9, 2.63, ERA+ 129. His 18 CG and 291 IP led the  league. He was an All-Star who finished 14th in the MVP voting.


Stottlemyre had a tough year in 1966 as  the Yanks dropped to dead last. He went from being a 20-game winner to  being a 20-game loser, going 12-20, 3.80, ERA+ just 87 and leading the  league in losses. Still, with the Yanks being so bad, he was named to  the All-Star team.


In 1967, Mel went 15-15, 2.96, ERA+ 105.  Yankee Stadium, with its dimensions, was good to pitchers, and Mel’s  ERA in this pitching-rich period (note despite the 2.96 ERA the ERA+ was  just 105) would be good. Unfortunately for him, the team couldn’t hit  much and his record didn’t coincide with his ERA. Mel was known for his  sinkerball and for getting groundouts. You may say that he was the Chien  Ming Wang of his day. Not a strikeout pitcher, Stottlemyre threw 303  innings in 1969 and struck out just 113. In 1973, he pitched 273 innings  and struck out just 95.


Mel became a 20-game winner in  back-to-back seasons, 1968 and 1969, making it three times in his career  that he achieved the feat. In 1968, he went 21-12, 2.45, ERA+ 117 and  was once again an All-Star. He finished 10th in the MVP  voting. The writers were probably acknowledging his fine season in  winning 21 for a team that collectively hit a Yankees’ record low of  just .214.


1969 saw 20-14, 2.82, an ERA+ of 124. As I stated, 303 IP. His 24 CG led the league. Once again, an All-Star. 18th in the MVP voting.


Mel went 15-13, 3.09 in 1970 when he  made his fifth and final All-Star team. His ERA+ was 115. In 1971, the  ERA+ was a 114 as Mel went 16-12, 2.87.


He had an off-year in 1972. He led the  league in losses with 18, going 14-18, 3.22. How rich of a pitching era  was this? 3.22 sounds great, doesn’t it? The ERA+ however, was just 92.  100 is average. This was the last of the pre-DH years in the AL. You can  see how much of a premium runs were in 1972. The 92 means that the  average ERA was 2.96.


Another year, another good ERA, another .500 record. 1973 saw Stottlemyre go 16-16, 3.07. ERA+ 120.


In 1974, Stottlemyre was just 32. He went 6-7, 3.58, ERA+ 99. Average. On June 11th of that year, Stottlemyre felt something as he pitched against the  Angels. He had given up four runs in 3+ innings. Stottlemyre would pitch  in just one game after that—he pitched two innings of relief, giving up  two runs, vs. Boston on August 4, 1974. He had torn his rotator cuff.  At that time, there weren’t the surgical procedures of today. Even  today, often it’s a career-ender. Although Stottlemyre tried to come  back, his career was over.


From 1965-1973, the least amount of  innings Stottlemyre threw in a season was 251. He was a workhorse. It  caught up with him. During this time period, Stottlemyre averaged 37  starts and 272 innings a year. 17-14, 2.98, ERA+ 111. He threw 40 career  shutouts. He finished his career with an ERA of 2.97, going 164-139,  ERA+ 112. Amazingly, he never received a single CYA vote.


In his book, Now Pitching for the Yankees, former Yankees PR director Marty Appel recounts asking third base coach Dick Howser, soon after the Yankees got Catfish Hunter, who he thought was better, Hunter or Whitey Ford. “Stottlemyre was better than both of them,” was the answer Howser gave.


Mel was born ten years too late. Imagine  if he’d have pitched from 1954-1964 instead of 1964-1974. Imagine if he  had Mantle in his prime and not in his decline. Imagine Yogi Berra, not Jake Gibbs catching him (although he did get Thurman Munson later). Imagine Maris at his peak, not his decline, rather than Steve Whitaker, Curt Blefary or Ron Woods in the OF.


As a hitter, Stottlemyre hit .160 with 7 HR. Two of his sons, Mel Jr., and Todd, made it to the majors in their own right.


After retirement, Stottlemyre went into  coaching. He was the pitching coach for the 1986 WS Champion Mets and  was there for ten years. He then spent two years with the Astros as  their pitching coach.


When Joe Torre became  manager of the Yankees in 1996, he named Mel Stottlemyre as his pitching  coach. As a guy who remembered watching Mel pitch in the late 1960’s  and early 1970’s, I applauded the move. Mel was coming home. I also knew  of the success Mel had as a pitching coach and hoped it would translate  over. Mel was the Yanks’ pitching coach from 1996-2005, and in that  timeframe the Yankees went to six World Series, winning four of them. He  served as a pitching coach for Seattle after leaving the Yankees.


Stottlemyre, along with Willie Randolph, are the best known players to have worn #30, now worn by David Robertson.


Stottlemyre lost one son at the age of  11 to leukemia, and was diagnosed with multiple myeloma himself but has  been in remission for a decade or so. He is 69 years old.


Stottlemyre ranks 7th on the all-time Yankees’ list for victories. Only Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing threw more innings as a Yankee. Besides not being a strikeout pitcher,  Mel ranks #7 in Yankees’ history in that category. He’s 4th in GS, 8th in CG, and his 40 shutouts are tied for 2nd—five  behind Whitey Ford. Unfortunately, due to the weak clubs he played on,  Mel has the lead in one other category—most career losses by a Yankees  pitcher.

9 years ago  ::  Apr 07, 2011 - 9:37AM #3152
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

Remembering Yankees  Former Reserve OF Bobby Del Greco


http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/board/attachments/ootp-mods-rosters-photos-quick-starts/113279d1197747759-gambo-t_wil1-photo-bobby_del_greco_yankees.jpg http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/m/mD0bMr1jldw1IeY2PY7INhg/140.jpg


 


 


April 7, 1933Former Yankees reserve OF Bobby Del Greco (1957-1958) was born.
Bobby  Del Greco hit .459 for his month with the New York Yankees in September of 1957  after being purchased from the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in six games with  the Yankees in 1958, before being sold to Philadelphia Phillies in  April of 1959. Bobby originally came up with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952. He played in the MLB from 1952-1965. Also he played for St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City A's finishing  witha .229 lifetime BA.

http://i50.tinypic.com/vfvbja.jpg


9 years ago  ::  Apr 08, 2011 - 10:11AM #3153
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

New York Yankees  1985 Opening Day


 


April 8, 1985- At  Fenway Park, 46-year-old Phil Niekro starts for the New York Yankees,  becoming the second oldest pitcher ever to start in Opening Day. Only  Jack Quinn, for the Brooklyn Robins in 1931, was older at age 47. The  Boston Red Sox chase Niekro after four innings behind the pitching of  starter Oil Can Boyd, coast to a 9-2 win over the Yankees. Niekro walks four Red Sox batters in the 3rd  inning, including 2 with the bases loaded, to lose his 7th opener in a  row (six with the Atlanta Braves), the worst opening day record ever. Red Sox outfielders Tony Armas, Dwight Evans and Jim Rice stroke HRs for Boston.


http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/multimedia/photo_gallery/0901/mlb.yankees.offseason.acquisitions/images/phil-niekro.jpg


SI Photo: New York Yankees P Phil Niekro

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2011 - 8:40AM #3154
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Classic Yankees: Spud ChandlerNew York Yankees Spud Chandler


 


  pitcher has won the MVP award since Dennis Eckersley did it in 1992. There is just one Yankee who has ever done it. It’s not Whitey Ford, Lefty Gomez, Red Ruffing, Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte… none of those.


The only Yankee pitcher to win the MVP award was Spurgeon Ferdinand “Spud” Chandler in the WWII year of 1943. There was no CYA back then.


Chandler didn’t make it to the majors  until 1937 at the age of 29. He went 7-4, 2.84, ERA+ 158 that year. He  didn’t pitch in the World Series.


In 1938, he went 14-5, 4.03, ERA+ 113. Another ring, but no WS appearance by Chandler.


1939 saw Chandler go 3-0, 2.84 in eleven games, all in relief. ERA+ 157. Same thing. Ring, no WS appearance.


1940 saw no ring. Chandler went 8-7, 4.60, ERA+ 88. He led the AL in HBP with 6.


Another ring in 1941. Chandler went  10-4,  3.19, ERA+ 124. This time, he finally pitched in the WS. He gave  up 3 R, 2 ER in 5 IP in Game 2 and lost 3-2.


1942 was the first year that Chandler pitched 200 innings. He was an all-star and finished 27th in the MVP voting with a record of 16-5, 2.38, ERA+ 145. He pitched in  two WS games, starting one. Despite giving up just one earned run in 8  1/3 innings, Chandler was 0-1, 1.08. He started and lost Game 3.


1943 saw many players in the service.  Chandler, who turned 36 in September of 1943, didn’t enter the service  yet, and responded with his MVP year. He went 20-4, 1.64, ERA+ 198 and  was an all-star. He led the AL in wins, CG (20) and shutouts (5). He led  the majors in winning percentage, ERA, ERA+, WHIP, and SO/BB ratio. He  pitched two complete game victories in the World Series, giving up just  two runs, one earned.


Chandler’s 1.64 ERA of 1943 was the  lowest of any pitcher from 1920 (introduction of the lively ball)  through 1967. 1968, as we know, was the “Year of the Pitcher”, dominated  by Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA and Denny McLain’s 31 wins (Luis Tiant had a 1.60 ERA that year as well). It’s still the Yankees’ team record for pitchers who qualified for the ERA title.


Chandler missed most of the 1944 and  1945 seasons due to WWII service (Army). In 1944, he started one game  and got a ND, going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs. In 1945, he started  four games and was 2-1, 4.65.


When the 1946 season started, Chandler  was 38 years old. He came back to 1943 form with a superb 20-8, 2.10  season, ERA+ 164 with 20 CG. He was once again an all-star, and he  finished 16th in MVP voting. He led the AL in least HR given up per 9 innings.


Chandler’s final season was 1947. He was  an all-star for the fourth and final time as he turned 40 just before  the season ended. He went 9-5, 2.46, ERA+ 144. In the WS, Chandler gave  up 2 runs in 2 innings and got a no –decision.


Chandler ended his career with a record  of 109-43, 2.84, ERA+ 132. He only pitched in eleven seasons, and 1939  (injury), 1944, and 1945 (WWII) were shortened considerably. Only three  times did he pitch 200 innings or more. His WS record was 2-2, 1.62. As a  hitter, Chandler held his own, hitting .201 with 9 HR and 45 RBI for  his career (548 AB). In his MVP season, Chandler hit .258-2-7. He went 2  for 10 as a hitter in the WS.


In 1937, Chandler wore uniform numbers  13, 24 and 35. He wore 27 for a time in 1939. He is most famous for  wearing #21 from 1938 to 1947.


Chandler played for seven pennant winners and six world championship teams.


On baseballreference.com, under winning  percentage (minimum 1000 IP, 100 decisions), Chandler ranks second  all-time with his .717. Only Al Spalding, who pitched in the 1870s,  ranks higher. So in the modern era (1901 on), Chandler ranks #1 among  all pitchers in W-L percentage. Chandler also ranks #1 among pitchers  who pitched in ten or more seasons, such was the brevity of Spalding’s  career (1871-1878). Despite the brevity of his own career, Chandler  threw 26 shutouts.


Chandler never had a losing record. Only  his one game, no-decision 1944 season keeps him from joining Babe Ruth  as the only pitchers to pitch in ten or more seasons and have a winning  record in each season. Andy Pettitte also never had a losing season.  Only Pettitte’s 14-14 2008 season kept him from joining the Babe.


Bill Dickey called Chandler the best  pitcher he ever caught. Considering that Dickey caught Ruffing and  Gomez, two Hall-of-Famers, that’s high praise. Dickey described Chandler  as having five pitches, a fastball, curve, slider, forkball and  screwball.


After retirement, Chandler managed in  the minors for a while, and was the KC A’s pitching coach in 1957 and  1958. He also became a scout.


Chandler died in 1990 at the age of 82.

9 years ago  ::  Apr 09, 2011 - 12:22PM #3155
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

The New York Yankees obtained veteran OF/1B Felipe Alou from the Oakland A's


 


April 9, 1971- The  Oakland  A’s traded veteran 1B/OF Felipe Alou to the New York  Yankees  in exchange for pitchers Rob Gardner and  Ron Kliminkowski.  In 1972,  Felipe Alou's younger brother, Matty Alou, will join him in Yankees  pinstripes. The Yankees will acquired him in another deal with the  Oakland A’s. Felipe Alou played in 344 games for the Yankees (1971-1973) with a .271 BA with 18 HRs with 133 RBIs. In September of 1973, Felipe was picked on waivers by the Montreal Expos, while his brother Matty was picked by the St. Louis Cardinals.


 



1973 Topps Baseball Card


 

http://i50.tinypic.com/vfvbja.jpg


9 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2011 - 2:29PM #3156
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

Remembering Former Yankees Reserve 1B Richard Kryhoski


 


April 10, 2007- Former Yankees 1B Richard Kryhoski  (1946-1949) passed away.

In  1946, Richard Kryhoski was signed as an MLB amateur free agent by the New  York Yankees MLB scout Paul Krichell. He batted .294 in 54 games during  the 1949 American League season for the Yankees. On December 17,1949, he was traded  by the New York Yankees to the Detroit Tigers for 1B Richard Wakefield  (1950).  The Tigers traded him to the St. Louis Browns, who later became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. On December 1, 1954, he was sent by the Baltimore Orioles to the  New York Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on November 17, 1954.  The Baltimore Orioles sent players to be named later, INF Billy Hunter,  Pitchers Don Larsen and Bob Turley to the New York Yankees for players  to be named later, P Harry Byrd, P Jim McDonald, INF Willy Miranda,  Catchers Hal Smith, and Gus Triandos and OF Gene Woodling. With the 1955  Yankees, Richard was blocked at 1B by the presence of Joe Collins and  Bill Skowron. On March 30, 1955, he was purchased by the Kansas City A’s  from the New York Yankees.


 


 


 


http://www.sportsmemorabilia.com/files/cache/767/dick-kryhoski-new-york-yankees-signed-8x10-photo-wcoa_76725cbc578d60cfaa621a55c4c98cc7.jpg

http://i50.tinypic.com/vfvbja.jpg


9 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2011 - 2:58PM #3157
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

The 1954 New York Yankees obtained veteran St. Louis Cardinals OF Enos "Country" Slaughter


 


April 11, 1954- To  make room for promising rookie OF Wally Moon, the St. Louis Cardinals  traded longtime OF great Enos Slaughter to the New York  Yankees in  exchange for Yankee minor league players OF Bill  Vidron, P Mel Wright, C Hal Smith,  and OF Emil Tellinger.


Outfielder Bill Vidron would become the National League  Rookie of the Year in 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals, later a starting outfielder for the Pittsburgh  Pirates during the late 1950-1960’s. Hal Smith was another in a string of  young Yankee catchers, who were traded away because of the presence of  All Star starting catcher Yogi Berra.  Bill Virdon and Mel Wright would  return to the New York Yankees in 1974 as Manager and MLB pitching  coach. Enos Slaughter would play 5 seasons with the Yankees in between a  brief stay with the Kansas City A’s, finishing up  with the 1959 Milwaukee Braves and retiring as a active player from MLB.


http://www.sportsblink.com/product_images/enos-slaughter-new-york-yankees-autographed-photograph-3389724.jpg


OF Enos Slaughter working out at Yankees St. Petersburgh spring training camp

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2011 - 3:40PM #3158
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

Remembering Former Yankees Pitcher Bill Wright


 


Photo of Bill Wight


 


April 12, 1922- Former Yankees P Bill Wright (1946-1947) was born. (1922-2007)



Hurler  Bill Wight was signed as a high school junior by New York Yankees MLB  scout Joe Devine. Eventually he played for 8 MLB teams; New York  Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland  Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, and finishing up with the  St. Louis Cardinals in 1958. He was renowned for his pickoff move, and  once picked off Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle twice in a game. Bill Wight began his  professional  baseball career in 1941. He missed the 1943-1945 baseball  seasons  due to military service. Bill appeared in 15 games for the New York Yankees  posting a 3-2 record. On February 24,1948, he was traded by the New York  Yankees along with P Fred Bradley and C Aaron Robinson to the Chicago  White Sox for starter Eddie Lopat. For 37 years, he worked in MLB scouting,  signing Joe Morgan for the Houston Astros, before moving to the Atlanta  Braves organization where he spent 32 years. He signed MLB players Dusty Baker, Dale  Murphy, Bob Horner and David Justice for the Braves among others. Bill passed away at the age of 85 in May of 2007.


 


http://www.thedeadballera.com/TeamPhotos/1946Yankees.jpg


From the Left:  Pitcher Bill Wright is the second one in top row next to Phil  Rizutto


1946 New York Yankees Team Photo

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9 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2011 - 10:07PM #3159
MajorYankFan
Posts: 32,868

Classic Yankees: Snuffy Stirnweiss


New York Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss


WW II took most of the great players into the service, be it for three years (Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams) or one (Stan Musial).  In their place, some players had great years because of the lack of  talent that was left. Nick Etten (led AL in HR 1944, RBI 1945) and George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss were two of the Yankees stars in that time of the mid-1940s when Yankees like DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Tommy Henrich, Charlie Keller and Red Ruffing spent all or most of the season in military service.


Snuffy Stirnweiss was a 2B, SS and 3B  who was born in New York and attended high school at Fordham Prep in the  Bronx. He was a true homegrown player. The righty-hitting Stirnweiss  went to the University of North Carolina, where he was an All-American  halfback who was drafted by the Chicago (later St. Louis, now Arizona)  Cardinals. Stirnweiss chose baseball, however.


Stirnweiss made it to the majors in  1943, as WWII was raging. He wore #2 in 1943 and 1944 before switching  to #1 in 1945. He only hit .219, with 1 HR and 25 RBI for the 1943 World  Champion Yankees, playing in 83 games. He stole 11 bases while posting  an OPS+ of 82. He went 0 for 1 in the WS.


1944 and 1945 saw a great depletion of  talent from the majors as the war raged on. In 1945, the St. Louis  Browns had an outfielder named Pete Gray (born Peter Wyshner in the coal mining area of Nanticoke, PA). Gray had only one arm and had to play much like Jim Abbott would years later. 1944 NL MVP Marty Marion,  who passed away recently, won that MVP despite hitting just .267.  Meanwhile, Stirnweiss flourished in these two war years. Gastric ulcers  and hay fever exempted Stirnweiss from military service, along with the  fact he supported his mom and sister.


In 1944, Stirnweiss became the Yankees second baseman because Joe Gordon was in the service. Stirnweiss finished 4th in the MVP voting that year. He hit .319, with 8 HR and 43 RBI. He led  the majors in plate appearances, runs scored (125), hits (205) and SB  (55). His 16 triples led the AL, and he had an excellent OPS+ of 138.


In 1945, Stirnweiss won the batting title, hitting .309. It would be the lowest average for a batting champion until Carl Yastrzemski hit .301 in 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher.” Stirnweiss finished 3rd in the MVP voting. He led the AL in plate appearances, at bats, runs  scored (107), hits (195), Slugging Average, OPS, OPS+ (144) and total  bases. He led the majors in triples (22), SB (33) and CS (17). He had 10  HR and 64 RBI.


Stirnweiss was an All-Star for the only  time in his career in 1946 (there was no All-Star game in 1945 due to  wartime travel restrictions). The return of Gordon from military service  forced Stirnweiss into a utility role, and Stirnweiss’ numbers declined  now that the competition was better. He hit .251 with no homers and 37  RBI. He stole 18 bases. His OPS+ dropped to an 84.


Stirnweiss got his 2nd WS Championship ring in 1947, as he hit .256-5-41 for the Yankees. Gordon was gone, traded for Allie Reynolds,  so “Snuffy” got his second base job back. He stole just 5 bases, and  the OPS+ was 96. He was 7 for 27 with a triple and 3 RBI in the Series.


Stirnweiss hit .252-3-32 in 1948. 5 SB and an OPS+ of 86. In 1949, he lost his second base job to Jerry Coleman. As a backup, Stirnweiss won his 3rd and last ring with the Yankees, hitting .261-0-11 with 3 SB. OPS+ 90. He got into one game in the Series but had no at bats.


Stirnweiss went 7 for 28 in three WS, with 3 RBI. He played on three pennant winners and all three won the World Series.


In 1950, Stirnweiss started with the Yanks, but only played in seven games for them. Coleman was still there, and Billy Martin had arrived. This made Stirnweiss expendable. He was traded to the St.  Louis Browns. Overall, Stirnweiss hit just .216 with 1 HR and 24 RBI.  OPS+ 54, 3 SB.


He finished his career with the Indians. In 1951, Stirnweiss hit .216-1-4, OPS+ 77. He got into just one game in 1952.


Stirnweiss ended his career with a .268  batting average, helped by the two war years. He hit 29 HR and had an  OPS+ of 102. He stole 134 bases.


In 1956, Phil Rizzuto was released by  the Yankees on Old-Timer’s day in a heartless fashion. It was Stirnweiss  who advised the shaken “Scooter” to stay quiet and who took him home.  Stirnweiss’ compassion and consolation enabled the “Scooter” not to say  anything rash and burn any bridges. Therefore Rizzuto could return to  the organization later as a broadcaster for four decades. Rizzuto later  said that following Stirnweiss’ advice was the best move he ever made.


Stirnweiss managed in Schenectady and  Binghamton after his career ended. He later went into banking and later  the foreign freight business.


The Snuffy Stirnweiss story ended  tragically, however. In June of 1957, he suffered a heart attack. He was  just 38 at the time. On September 15, 1958, Stirnweiss, just 39, was a  passenger upon a train that plunged off the CRRNJ Newark Bay Bridge  between Elizabethport and Bayonne, NJ.


From Hardball Times:


For reasons never entirely  understood—the prevailing theory was that the engineer passed out,  probably due to a coronary of his own—the train failed to heed three  separate warning signals that the bridge span was raised.


The train then hit a derailing device, designed to knock it off  the tracks and stop it, to prevent it from proceeding into the chasm.  But this train was traveling at such velocity that despite having been  derailed, both of the train’s diesel locomotives and its first two  coaches plunged headlong into the bay, and immediately sank. A third  coach snagged at the edge and hung precariously at an 80-degree angle as  emergency crews desperately tried to rescue its passengers. After two  hours, when it was apparent that every surviving occupant had either  jumped out or climbed out and no one left inside was still alive, the  coach was cut loose with blow torches and fell into the murky water 40  feet below.


48 were killed, one of them being  Stirnweiss, who was in one of the first two coaches. He left behind his  wife and six children, their ages ranging from 17 months to 15 years  old. Among those present at his funeral were Rizzuto, Coleman, Joe Collins, and Frank “Specs” Shea.

9 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2011 - 7:00PM #3160
FW57Clipper51
Posts: 15,581

Apr 10, 2011 -- 10:07PM, MajorYankFan wrote:


Classic Yankees: Snuffy Stirnweiss


New York Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss


WW II took most of the great players into the service, be it for three years (Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams) or one (Stan Musial). In their place, some players had great years because of the lack of talent that was left. Nick Etten (led AL in HR 1944, RBI 1945) and George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss were two of the Yankees stars in that time of the mid-1940s when Yankees like DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Tommy Henrich, Charlie Keller and Red Ruffing spent all or most of the season in military service.


Snuffy Stirnweiss was a 2B, SS and 3B who was born in New York and attended high school at Fordham Prep in the Bronx. He was a true homegrown player. The righty-hitting Stirnweiss went to the University of North Carolina, where he was an All-American halfback who was drafted by the Chicago (later St. Louis, now Arizona) Cardinals. Stirnweiss chose baseball, however.


Stirnweiss made it to the majors in 1943, as WWII was raging. He wore #2 in 1943 and 1944 before switching to #1 in 1945. He only hit .219, with 1 HR and 25 RBI for the 1943 World Champion Yankees, playing in 83 games. He stole 11 bases while posting an OPS+ of 82. He went 0 for 1 in the WS.


1944 and 1945 saw a great depletion of talent from the majors as the war raged on. In 1945, the St. Louis Browns had an outfielder named Pete Gray (born Peter Wyshner in the coal mining area of Nanticoke, PA). Gray had only one arm and had to play much like Jim Abbott would years later. 1944 NL MVP Marty Marion, who passed away recently, won that MVP despite hitting just .267. Meanwhile, Stirnweiss flourished in these two war years. Gastric ulcers and hay fever exempted Stirnweiss from military service, along with the fact he supported his mom and sister.


In 1944, Stirnweiss became the Yankees second baseman because Joe Gordon was in the service. Stirnweiss finished 4th in the MVP voting that year. He hit .319, with 8 HR and 43 RBI. He led the majors in plate appearances, runs scored (125), hits (205) and SB (55). His 16 triples led the AL, and he had an excellent OPS+ of 138.


In 1945, Stirnweiss won the batting title, hitting .309. It would be the lowest average for a batting champion until Carl Yastrzemski hit .301 in 1968, the “Year of the Pitcher.” Stirnweiss finished 3rd in the MVP voting. He led the AL in plate appearances, at bats, runs scored (107), hits (195), Slugging Average, OPS, OPS+ (144) and total bases. He led the majors in triples (22), SB (33) and CS (17). He had 10 HR and 64 RBI.


Stirnweiss was an All-Star for the only time in his career in 1946 (there was no All-Star game in 1945 due to wartime travel restrictions). The return of Gordon from military service forced Stirnweiss into a utility role, and Stirnweiss’ numbers declined now that the competition was better. He hit .251 with no homers and 37 RBI. He stole 18 bases. His OPS+ dropped to an 84.


Stirnweiss got his 2nd WS Championship ring in 1947, as he hit .256-5-41 for the Yankees. Gordon was gone, traded for Allie Reynolds, so “Snuffy” got his second base job back. He stole just 5 bases, and the OPS+ was 96. He was 7 for 27 with a triple and 3 RBI in the Series.


Stirnweiss hit .252-3-32 in 1948. 5 SB and an OPS+ of 86. In 1949, he lost his second base job to Jerry Coleman. As a backup, Stirnweiss won his 3rd and last ring with the Yankees, hitting .261-0-11 with 3 SB. OPS+ 90. He got into one game in the Series but had no at bats.


Stirnweiss went 7 for 28 in three WS, with 3 RBI. He played on three pennant winners and all three won the World Series.


In 1950, Stirnweiss started with the Yanks, but only played in seven games for them. Coleman was still there, and Billy Martin had arrived. This made Stirnweiss expendable. He was traded to the St. Louis Browns. Overall, Stirnweiss hit just .216 with 1 HR and 24 RBI. OPS+ 54, 3 SB.


He finished his career with the Indians. In 1951, Stirnweiss hit .216-1-4, OPS+ 77. He got into just one game in 1952.


Stirnweiss ended his career with a .268 batting average, helped by the two war years. He hit 29 HR and had an OPS+ of 102. He stole 134 bases.


In 1956, Phil Rizzuto was released by the Yankees on Old-Timer’s day in a heartless fashion. It was Stirnweiss who advised the shaken “Scooter” to stay quiet and who took him home. Stirnweiss’ compassion and consolation enabled the “Scooter” not to say anything rash and burn any bridges. Therefore Rizzuto could return to the organization later as a broadcaster for four decades. Rizzuto later said that following Stirnweiss’ advice was the best move he ever made.


Stirnweiss managed in Schenectady and Binghamton after his career ended. He later went into banking and later the foreign freight business.


The Snuffy Stirnweiss story ended tragically, however. In June of 1957, he suffered a heart attack. He was just 38 at the time. On September 15, 1958, Stirnweiss, just 39, was a passenger upon a train that plunged off the CRRNJ Newark Bay Bridge between Elizabethport and Bayonne, NJ.


From Hardball Times:


For reasons never entirely understood—the prevailing theory was that the engineer passed out, probably due to a coronary of his own—the train failed to heed three separate warning signals that the bridge span was raised.


The train then hit a derailing device, designed to knock it off the tracks and stop it, to prevent it from proceeding into the chasm. But this train was traveling at such velocity that despite having been derailed, both of the train’s diesel locomotives and its first two coaches plunged headlong into the bay, and immediately sank. A third coach snagged at the edge and hung precariously at an 80-degree angle as emergency crews desperately tried to rescue its passengers. After two hours, when it was apparent that every surviving occupant had either jumped out or climbed out and no one left inside was still alive, the coach was cut loose with blow torches and fell into the murky water 40 feet below.


48 were killed, one of them being Stirnweiss, who was in one of the first two coaches. He left behind his wife and six children, their ages ranging from 17 months to 15 years old. Among those present at his funeral were Rizzuto, Coleman, Joe Collins, and Frank “Specs” Shea.




George Stirnweiss was with Phil Rizzuto, when the New York Yankees released him on Old Timer's Day 1956. Phil was very upset by the event. Snuffy made sure that Phil got home to Cora safely. Phil missed Snuffy alot, he talked about him being a great friend and Yankees teammate many times on WPIX-TV.  His story about his Yankee teammates on a winter hunting trip hiding a stuffed bear in the outhouse to scare Snuffy is still one of the funniest stories that Scooter told on the air during a Yankees  game on WPIX-TV. Phil felt that Yankees General Manager George Weiss and the Yankees Manager Casey Stengel got rid of the McCarthy players on the team. Phil was the last Yankee player from the Joe McCarthy era to leave the team.


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