Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Retiring uniform numbers

Andy Pettite‘s son Josh broke the news this weekend that the Yankees will retire #46 this summer in honor of his dad.

Pettitte’s 219 wins rank third on the Yankees’ all-time leaderboard, behind Hall of Famers Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231), but ahead of Ron Guidry, who had his number retired in 2003. (It’s interesting to note that Ruffing and Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez, who falls between Pettitte and Guidry on the Yankees’ all-time win list, have not been honored with retired numbers – though Ruffing’s #15 was later retired for Thurman Munson.)

Pettite’s 2020 strikeouts are the most in Yankee history, though his 3.94 ERA ranks 41st among Yankee pitchers who made at least 100 starts. And Yankee fans won’t be likely to forget that Pettitte was part of five World Series championship teams.

On the other hand, Pettitte’s admitted use of HGH seems like something many Yankee fans are willing to forget, though not all of his former teammates are ready to let it go.

Yankee Stadium's retired numbers (Photo credit: John_from_CT, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)
Yankee Stadium’s retired numbers (Photo credit: John_from_CT, via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Leaving aside the cheating issue, it’s interested to reflect on the philosophies of New York’s two teams. The Yankees are quick to retire uniform numbers to honor popular players – in addition to Pettitte’s #46, they will also retire Jorge Posada’s #20 and Bernie Williams’ #51 this season.

Not including the MLB-wide retirement of #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson’s legacy, there are 17 uniform numbers retired by the Yankees, though the team no longer seems to keep an updated list on its website. It is widely expected that Derek Jeter‘s #2 will also be retired.

Citi Field's retired uniform numbers (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Citi Field’s retired uniform numbers (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Across town, the Mets have retired three uniform numbers since 1962 and only one – Hall of Famer Tom Seaver‘s #41 – honors a player’s legacy. Casey Stengel‘s #37 was retired in a small, private ceremony shortly after the team’s original 75-year-old manager was forced to step down as the result of a broken hip. Gil Hodges‘ #14 was formally retired one year after his death. Hodges, the popular manager who guided the Mets to their first World Series title, passed away of a heart attack while he was still serving as the team’s skipper in 1972.

Many fans keep calling for the organization to honor the legacy of the 1986 team by retiring the numbers of its stars – co-Captains Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. Younger fans push for the team to retire Mike Piazza‘s #31 in honor of the best-hitting catcher who’s yet to make it into the Hall of Fame. Some older fans want to see Ed Kranepool‘s #7 retired to honor his longevity.

At one time, I was part of the group that wanted the Mets to honor our 1980s stars. Now I’m beginning to appreciate their more exclusive approach – I have confidence that Piazza’s number will be retired after he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Met, since that seems to be the criteria these days. Retired numbers should be something really special for the legendary figures in a team’s history.

We’ve got the Mets Hall of Fame to recognize fan-favorites (though that committee needs to do a better job finding players to induct – after honoring John Franco in 2012 and Piazza in 2013, they didn’t choose anyone last year and have been silent so far this off-season.)

But I’m interested in what you think: should the Yankees retire Andy Pettitte’s #46? Which number-retiring philosophy do you prefer? And, I never thought I’d suggest this, but should the Yankees actually have even more uniform numbers retired to honor the Hall of Famers from the earlier years of their history?

Posted in Uncategorized

A look at the 2012 Tampa Yankees minor league baseball card set

Autographed Nik Turley 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card from my collection
Autographed Nik Turley 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card from my collection

The Tampa Yankees are the New York Yankees’ Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League. Manager Luis Sojo led them to a 65-70  record last year.

I did not see the Tampa Yankees play in 2012, but many of the players included in their baseball card team set moved up to the Double-A Trenton Thunder by the end of the season. It’s a good bet that many of the players in this set will also start the 2013 season in Double-A, so I picked it up earlier this winter to see how many cards I can get signed.

Minor league pitcher Nik Turley, a 50th round selection in the 2008 draft, was a free autograph guest at MAB Celebrity Services “Pinstripe Glory Days” autograph show this weekend, so he got to be the first player to sign his card in my set.

Andy Pettitte's 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card
Andy Pettitte’s 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card

Unfortunately, none of the players Baseball America rated as the New York Yankees’ top 10 prospects are in this set. (Catcher/infielder J.R. Murphy was ranked the Yankees’ #9 prospect before the 2012 season, and he is included.) Andy Pettitte fans may be interested to note that even though the New York Yankee star only pitched seven innings for Tampa, he was included in the team set.

Grandstand produced a 36-card unnumbered set with full-color fronts and backs, printed on non-glossy cardstock. The photos are almost all game-action shots, and the designer did a good job of making sure we got a look at some of the alternate jersey the Tampa Yankees wore last year. The majority of the cards use a standard vertical design, but there are a few with a horizontal orientation for variety.

The back of J.R. Murphy’s 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card

Here is the checklist:

  • Tampa Yankees All-Stars (Rob Segedin, J.R. Murphy, Mark Montgomery)
  • Rigoberto Arrebato – LHP
  • Manuel Barreda – RHP
  • Sean Black – RHP
  • Tyson Blaser – C
  • Kelvin Castro – 2B
  • Aaron Dott – LHP
  • Ramon Flores – LF
  • Mario Garza – Coach
  • Shane Greene – RHP
  • Kyle Higashioka – C
  • Tom Kahnle – RHP
  • Garrison Lassiter – 3B
  • Neil Medchill – OF
  • Lee Meyer – Athletic Trainer
  • Jose Mojica – SS
  • Mark Montgomery – RHP
  • J.R. Murphy – C
  • Zachary  Nuding – RHP
  • Michael O’Brien – RHP
  • Andy Pettitte – LHP
  • Brandon Pinder – RHP
  • Hector Rabago – C/INF
  • Jose Ramirez – RHP
  • Kyle Roller – 1B
  • Rob Segedin – 3B/OF
  • Jay Signorelli – Strength Coach
  • Kramer Sneed – LHP
  • Luis Sojo – MGR
  • Eduardo – Sosa – OF
  • Jose Toussen – 2B/SS
  • Matt Tracy – LHP
  • Nik Turley – LHP
  • Justin Turner – Coach
  • Jeff Ware – Coach
  • Zachary Wilson – 3B

You can still get the 2012 Tampa Yankees card set from the team for $7. (They also have older sets from 2006-2011 and various Florida State League prospect sets from 2004-2012. Shipping is a very reasonable $3 per three card sets, though you will have to write out your order and mail a check or money order – the Tampa Yankees don’t do online shopping.)

Kyle Higashioka's 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card
Kyle Higashioka’s 2012 Tampa Yankees baseball card
Posted in Trenton Thunder, Uncategorized

Chris Schwinden, strange minor league scheduling & the longest baseball game

Chris Schwinden (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

For the past two days, much of the talk among fans and media covering the New York Mets has been about whether Chris Schwinden deserves to make another start. (I think that artist/blogger Joe Petruccio summed up Wednesday’s game rather eloquently in this cartoon.)

Schwinden has not looked like a pitcher who can win in the major leagues in his two 2012 starts, though both have taken place at hitter-friendly ballparks: one in at Denver’s Coors Field and the other at Houston’s Minute Maid Park. And as blogger Toby Hyde points out, there’s not much reason to expect Jeremy Hefner would really give the Mets a better chance to win.

Until Chris Young completes his rehab from shoulder surgery, Schwinden and Hefner are the Mets’ best in-house options… unless you really want to see Miguel Batista pitch more innings. Jeurys Familia is averaging better than one walk per inning at Buffalo;  no matter how good his stuff looks, it’s clear he’s not ready for the majors. Matt Harvey has a grand total of 165.2 professional innings to his credit… so it seems premature to bring him to the major leagues too.

Continue reading “Chris Schwinden, strange minor league scheduling & the longest baseball game”

Posted in Uncategorized

Thunder to open gates early for Pettitte start

Andy Pettitte banner on display outside Mercer County Waterfront Park in Trenton (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Andy Pettitte is scheduled to start tomorrow night for the Trenton Thunder, and the team will open the gates early at 5:30 p.m. (5 p.m. for season ticket holders) to accommodate the large anticipated crowd.  The team will also operate a free shuttle parking lot at the corner of Cass Street and Rt. 129 for the game. For details more details, click here. The first 2,000 fans will receive a free photo of Pettitte in a Trenton Thunder uniform.

Limited tickets are still available (as of 6:15 p.m. tonight.)

The Trenton Thunder are also showing all remaining home games online through MiLB.TV. Subscriptions are $9.99 per month or $39.99 per season.

I’ll be trying to stay warm while watching the Mets play the Marlins Wednesday night, but I’d love to hear how the Andy Pettitte experience in Trenton goes.

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