The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Remembering the Unit

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Jan 06, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The perception of Randy Johnson is that he is ornery. Surly. Unfriendly. And certainly there is some truth to all that. Johnson could be all of those things (and more) at any given time. I think even he would admit it.

But the Johnson I got to know when he was with the Yankees was not nearly the ogre he is often imagined to be. In many ways – despite his dominance – I think there was a lot to the notion that Johnson was still, even in his 40s, a little bit uncomfortable in his own skin.

I remember writing a very long profile on Johnson for the Daily News ahead of his Opening Night start in 2005, and hearing about how the way to beat Johnson when he was in high school was to get inside his head. One opposing school would even go to the umpires and complain that Johnson’s uniform shirt wasn’t tucked in when he was on the mound – technically a violation of the rules – and that would inevitably get Johnson all riled up.

Why?

Because it was impossible. “There wasn’t a shirt in Alameda County big enough for him to tuck into his baseball pants,” one of the coaches told me. “But we’d complain to the umpire that he was breaking the rules anyway by not having his shirt in, and he’d go nuts over that, too, since there wasn’t anything he could do about it. His shirt came out all the time, so he got ruffled all the time.”

It was just another reminder of the difficulties that come with being nearly 7-feet tall. It gets easier as one gets older, of course, but it never fully fades away: Johnson ended up living near me in Manhattan, and I recall him telling me once about how he struggled to get into standard city taxi cabs – the partitions made it nearly impossible for him to fold his legs into the backseat.

Could he be a jerk sometimes? No doubt. I know that a lot of players on the Yankees never quite felt comfortable with Johnson because of his over-the-top intensity, especially when it came to his routines. But I also think much of that shell was a defense mechanism from Johnson, who felt that shutting out everyone was the only way to be sure he couldn’t be thrown off by insecurity when it came time to pitch.

Oftentimes he could be quite friendly.  Tyler Kepner wrote about a time when he talked so long with Johnson that the lefty was late for stretching, and I had several similar experiences. I remember once talking with Johnson for nearly an hour about faith and religion (not exactly the standard clubhouse discussion) and then having him come back to me the next day with another point that he’d thought about that night.

Sure, his time in New York was hardly perfect. He knew that, too. But he sure did try. During a time when Carl Pavano was missing starts with bruised buttocks, I’ll always remember Johnson having to hold the heat pack on his back to make sure it didn’t slip while he ducked his head under the clubhouse doorway. No one could say he wasn’t tough.

Today is about Hall of Famers, which is coincidental since Tim Raines (who might go into the HOF) gave Johnson the “Big Unit” nickname. But as we wait for that announcement, I still wanted to take a moment to remember Johnson. Everyone knows how great a pitcher he was and – despite the popular stereotype – he’ll also go down as one of the players I most enjoyed covering.

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55 Responses to “Remembering the Unit”

  1. Jack Bauer January 6th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    So will we see the Big Unit on Old Timers’ Day?
    LOL.

  2. Phil the Thrill January 6th, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Now Randy Johnson was a Hall of Famer.

  3. Phil the Thrill January 6th, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Yanks and SWB have retained all of their coaches for this season.

  4. vinny-b (NJ and Granderson - thank you Cashman!) January 6th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    “Borderline. Dawson did make a lot of outs and his RBI’s benefitted a great deal from batting behind Raines in the same way that Rice did batting behind Boggs (and often Dewey).
    Could go either way on Dawson. However, players like him (the bordeline calls) are what makes the HOF for me. After all, I don’t need a HOF to let me know that Mantle, Cobb, Ruth, Gehrig, etc. stood out above the rest. But for guys like Dawson, the HOF would change the perception of them”
    ——————————————————-

    what-up, Joe. Good to see you. How much snow do you have on the ground?

    fair enough. A mistake people make in judging Dawson is they look at his stats and believe they can make an intelligent determination. In short, Dawson dominated in his days. He was a great 5-tool player. Instead “geniuses” who never viewed him lay back with their laptops, pocket protectors, and horn-rimmed gl@sses, and try to compare his numbers to players from a different era. One cannot compare Dawson’s numbers to his contemporaries in the 1990’s-2000’s. They were different eras. Andre Dawson was a great 5-tool player. And a consistent one

  5. Sam Borden January 6th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Just FYI, guys: Yankees have officially retained all their coaches for this season. We’ll do a new post later on. Not a big surprise to anyone.

  6. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day January 6th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    CB, by the way – I wasn’t directing that to you, but I’ve seen people describe last season as magical and I’ve never liked that description. By that token, any WS team has had a magical season.

    Unfortunately, I think you hit on something….the 2010 team will definitely be unfairly compared to 2009 if things don’t play out exactly as they did (particularly since Melky and Matsui, and probably Damon) are gone. I mention Melky because it’s hard to believe, but the fan base seems ticked off that the Yankees traded him. Many fans already can’t stomach Vasquez and they think Melky is a huge part of team chemistry (they also seem to think he’s better than he is based on his walk off hits). I think fans are very worried (at least some are) about the chemistry being different – they really loved the 2009 team’s personality. I’m not worried- we brought in good guys and we still have the core four, Tex, CC, AJ, Swish, etc..

  7. blake January 6th, 2010 at 11:40 am

    The Yankees traded for Johnson to be CC Sabathia at that time. Is it really his fault that he was too old to be that? The dude took the mound every 5th day and gave his all while he was here…the Yankees just miscast what he was at that stage of his Career.

  8. vin January 6th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Random factoid of the day:

    Alex Rodriguez has been hit by a pitch 149 times in his career.

    Mickey Mantle was hit 13 times (in 300 more plate appearances).

    Wow. Was it because the Mick was so beloved and Alex is so hated? Or did the method for getting a guy to back off the plate change? Instead of simply brushing him off, now they just put one in your ribs or back side.

    Interesting.

  9. vin January 6th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “Is it really his fault that he was too old to be that?”

    I’d say it was more the herniated disk than his age. But the age probably played a factor.

  10. vinny-b (NJ and Granderson - thank you Cashman!) January 6th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    “Good morning! A couple of feet although it’s “warmed up” to 25 today (from around 0) and is supposed to be dumping another 10 inches of powder thru tomorrow with wind gusts. The high Friday is supposed to be -7 plus the wind chill”
    ——————————————————–

    wow. Stay warm. And safe

  11. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day January 6th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Great – I can only speak to the major league coaching staff, but I think we have one of the best. Long, Pena, Thomspon, Kelleher……glad to see them back for another year. I look forward to Pena working with Montero and Romine in ST; maybe the Yankees can arrange for them to work with Pena even before ST starts?

  12. Peter R January 6th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    He has some sweet facial hair.

    We need a post about the best Yankee Facial Hair. Randy would be number two for me behind the one and only Jason “Mustache” Giambi.

  13. Joe Vogel January 6th, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Vinny:

    I’m in for the day. I drove my wife to work and my mother to the airport (“I’m not taking anyone to the airport!!!”) and now I’m settling in after a long night of vino, turkey, and Hawkeye football.

    What did you think of the Holliday signing? My brother, the ultimate Cardinal apologist, still insists this is a good deal. Who were they realistically competing against. If they are able to re-up Pujols after 2011, this team is literally going to be a team of a few major contracts (Holliday, Pujols, Wainright, perhaps Carpenter) and a remaining roster that will more resembler the Louisville Redbirds than the St. Louis variety. Same rock and hard place in the Twin Cities.

  14. Erin January 6th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Peter R
    January 6th, 2010 at 11:45 am
    He has some sweet facial hair.

    We need a post about the best Yankee Facial Hair. Randy would be number two for me behind the one and only Jason “Mustache” Giambi.

    ******************
    LOL I agree Jason would have to be at the top.

  15. GreenBeret7 January 6th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    vin
    January 6th, 2010 at 11:41 am
    Random factoid of the day:

    Alex Rodriguez has been hit by a pitch 149 times in his career.

    Mickey Mantle was hit 13 times (in 300 more plate appearances).

    Wow. Was it because the Mick was so beloved and Alex is so hated? Or did the method for getting a guy to back off the plate change? Instead of simply brushing him off, now they just put one in your ribs or back side.

    Interesting.

    ————————————————————

    It wasn’t just that Mantle was so loved by other players and pitchers, though, he was. It was because they knew that he couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. A young white sox pitcher threw at Mantle’s legs once and a team mate of the pitcher, Early Wynn, who had no problems with hitting batters for digging in at the plate, threatened to deck the pitcher if it happened again while they were in the dugout.

  16. Erin January 6th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Sam Borden
    January 6th, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Just FYI, guys: Yankees have officially retained all their coaches for this season. We’ll do a new post later on. Not a big surprise to anyone.

    ********************
    Glad to hear it :)

  17. blake January 6th, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I don’t understand why everyone is assuming that Mauer will end up in Boston if he chooses to not re-sign with the twins or why Boston would put all their eggs in that basket. If he doesn’t re-sign (which I think he will) then I think the Yankees will be all in on him.. I think that’s one of the reasons they passed on Holliday, just in case Joe hits the market. It would be silly for Boston to put all their hopes and dreams on Mauer when the chances of them getting him are so low.

  18. Joe Vogel January 6th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    GreenBeret7
    January 6th, 2010 at 11:47 am
    Few players benefitted from Fenway more than Evans, Petrocelli and Boggs. Rice could reach any seat in any park.
    —————————————————
    No doubt. Boggs career average in Fenway against RHP exceeded .400. It is a great park for batting average (limited foul ground, Green Monster singles/doubles) along with being a terrific doubles park (Jody Reed had 3 straight years of over 40 2B’s there, 76 at home, 53 on the road).
    Rice benefitted too. Career in Fenway: .320/.374/.576
    Career on Road: .277/.330/.459
    I grant you that he could reach the seats anywhere, but he also receieved his share of Green Monster singles and doubles. A point about batting behind Boggs. The great knock on Rice was his propensity for hitting into DP’s. This is not fully deserved as batting behind Boggs gave him innumerable opportunities with runners on base, but a runner who rarely took second on the steal. Upshot: More RBI’s but also DP’s.

  19. vinny-b (NJ and Granderson - thank you Cashman!) January 6th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    “I’m in for the day. I drove my wife to work and my mother to the airport (”I’m not taking anyone to the airport!!!”) and now I’m settling in after a long night of vino, turkey, and Hawkeye football.
    What did you think of the Holliday signing? My brother, the ultimate Cardinal apologist, still insists this is a good deal. Who were they realistically competing against. If they are able to re-up Pujols after 2011, this team is literally going to be a team of a few major contracts (Holliday, Pujols, Wainright, perhaps Carpenter) and a remaining roster that will more resembler the Louisville Redbirds than the St. Louis variety. Same rock and hard place in the Twin Cities”
    ————————————————————

    ok. kewl. Take it you TIVO’d the game last night

    far as Holliday. I like him not in the AL and in ST Louis. Am happy for Cardinals fans. That said, i believe Boras conned them, and they didn’t have to pay that much. SJ44 would certainly be a better person to speak on the matter (instead of me). As far as economic percussions in the future, the fact it is ST Louis who made the signing and not a team like Texas, provides me some confidence they can make it work. Historically a very well-run/stable franchise

  20. m January 6th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Randy Johnson seems like he has a quirky personality. The worst part about him wasn’t his growl, it was the mullet!

    haha. Some guy on First Take just said that St. Louis just rewarded a guy for making the biggest mistake in their postseason history.

    Missed all the reaction yesterday to the Holliday signing. What’s the consensus? Personally, I don’t see why they had to go 7 years when they were the only serious bidder.

    Pretty big outlay for St. Louis in back to back years.

  21. Don't Hassle the Hoff January 6th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    “Remembering the Unit”

    Do we have to?

  22. Phil the Thrill January 6th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Good Lord. I saw Dawson’s entire career. He was a great player for a little while, then an overrated player the rest of the way. I knew he didn’t get on base enough while he was still playing. That it is neatly summarized in his stats in convenient for showing people why he wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but that was already clear during his career for anyone who could read a box score or watch the Super Station and not just watch what he was doing on Sportscenter.

  23. CountryClub January 6th, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    One thing to remember about next yr, the Sox have almost 50 mil coming off the books. So they’ll be a lot like the yanks were last off season. They’ll have money to spend and there will be players to spend it on (even if Mauer reups with Minny).

    Of course, the Yanks will have money coming off the books too…plus they’re the Yankees. Also, the Angels will probably be looking to make a splash. Next off season will be crazy.

    Hopefully, the Yanks will be the 2 time defending champ.

  24. Joe Vogel January 6th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Vinny:

    Watched it last night. Don’t have TiVo. Must watch sports live (Couldn’t stand the idea of knowing the outcome has already occurred).

    Funny you should mention the Cardinals perceived stable/well-run reputation. It’s the same out here (along with the Twins, opposite of the Royals/Pirates). However, if you look closely, their success over the past 10-15 years has primarily been made on vulturing players from other organizations who could no longer afford them (McGwire, Isringhausen, Mulder, Rolen, Drew–in a way, Renteria, etc.). More recently, as their farm system has been fairly unproductive, they have resorted to castoffs and reclamation projects to make ends meet. Some have worked (year 2 of Piniero, Ludwick, Franklin, year 1 of Lohse), some have not (year 1 of Pineiro, year 2 of Lohse, Clement, etc.). The point is, aside from Pujols, Molina, and Rasmus, their farm system has produced relatively little over the past 10 years. They keep trading away talent for patches like Holliday and DeRosa.

  25. CB January 6th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    “One thing to remember about next yr, the Sox have almost 50 mil coming off the books. So they’ll be a lot like the yanks were last off season.”

    Yes and no. They do have a lot of money coming off the books. But part of that money is Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez.

    Beckett is going to want $20M+ per season. Martinez will shoot for 15M or so. If they let them walk they will still need to replace their production and that won’t be easy.

    They have money coming off the books but that money represents production they may feel compelled to keep and may need to do so at much higher values than what they’ve been paying.

    In some sense their situation is closer to the off season the yanks had after the 2007 season when the yanks had a huge money coming off the books but still needed to bring back Posada and Mo (and of course Alex but that’s a complete outlier of a story…)

  26. L to the 2nd January 6th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    So Holliday basically got a Giambi contract at roughly the same age that Giambi was when we signed him. Good for him, but it’s way too many years and too much $$$ in this market.

    If Pujols commands $30m/yr. next year, and you’ve got guys like Carpenter & Wainwright to take care of as well, I don’t care how “well run” STL is, that payroll has to jump significantly to contend – even in a weak NL Central. Unless Albert is just satisfied with being a perennial division champion that’ll get bounced in the 1st round every year.

    As for HOF, Alomar, Blyleven finally squeaks in, and maybe Dawson – who I watched in the ’80s and think is borderline anyway. As for Larkin, honestly I hadn’t watched him regularly or taken a close look at his career stats, but I’m sure he’s better than Ozzie, so he gets in, maybe with a short wait.

  27. GreenBeret7 January 6th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    If BJ Upton bombs again in 2010, there’s no way that Tampa lets Crawford leave. They’ll move Upton out of town first. Twins can’t have another public relations disaster because they let Mauer and Morneau leave town. The same thing in St. Louis. They didn’t resign and over pay (by baseball standards) Holliday without already working on a lifetime contract to lock up Pujols. That leaves a few pitchers like Lee and Beckett. Hernandez is also a keeper in Seattle.

  28. randy l. January 6th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    gb7-

    i think that old time players didn’t get hit so much because they had a more balanced stance( though as you describe, mantle may have received special treatment). so many of todays hitter’s lean in and can’t back up once they commit.

    i once bet a mlb pitcher in pre season workouts he couldn’t hit me if he tried .he tried and didn’t hit me once. if a hitter is balanced at the plate he can move in both directions away from the pitch.

    think about the catcher. if he wanted to “ole” every pitch and catch them off to the side he could. there’s plenty of time to move sideways out of the way of a pitch as long as you’re not trying to hit it or catch it.

    if a player dives in like jeter or youkillis, they can’t back up after a certain point which is why they get hit so much.

    of course, taking command of the outside of the plate the way they do helps their hitting.

    playing without modern helmets and body armor tending to make old time hitters pay attention to getting hit more too.

  29. CountryClub January 6th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    CB,

    All that is true. But they’re not paying beckett 20 mil per yr. They’ll offer him the same deal Lackey got. And if he doesnt accept they’ll move on to Lee. The Yanks will be hot on Lee too.

    Also, Martinez becomes expendable if Mauer is on the market.

    Obviously, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. But it could be a crazy winter.

  30. Joe Vogel January 6th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    vinny-b (NJ and Granderson – thank you Cashman!)
    January 6th, 2010 at 11:43 am
    “Good morning! A couple of feet although it’s “warmed up” to 25 today (from around 0) and is supposed to be dumping another 10 inches of powder thru tomorrow with wind gusts. The high Friday is supposed to be -7 plus the wind chill”
    ——————————————————–

    wow. Stay warm. And safe
    —————————————-
    Vinny:
    Front page of the DSM Register this morning. An east-side (where mufflers are optional) DSM man goes outside this morning at 4:30 AM to retrieve a pack of smokes from his car. Problem: He is wearing no shoes/socks nor a coat. He locks himself out of his house so he decides to wait on his porch for his roommate to show up and let them both in. The Wait: 5 hours. The Result: His body temperature drops to 86 degrees and severe frostbite body-wide.

    We sure raise some winners out here. Safety first.

  31. L to the 2nd January 6th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    GB7 I agree – Mauer, Pujols & Hernandez are each the faces of their franchise – they can’t go anywhere else or it’d be a PR disaster.

  32. Paco Dooley January 6th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    “Of course, the Yanks will have money coming off the books too…plus they’re the Yankees. Also, the Angels will probably be looking to make a splash. Next off season will be crazy.”

    They do, but they are also obligated to resign a couple of those players (Jeter and Mo) to premium contracts. So they don’t really clear that much money (Johnson, Pettitte, who else making considerable money?).

  33. Phil the Thrill January 6th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I think Mauer will have his new Twins deal by some time in ST.

  34. randyhater January 6th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Johnson got bench-jockeyed while he was in high school? Oh, the horror. Well that explains 20+ years of treating everyone around him like garbage.

  35. CountryClub January 6th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    PR disaster or not, it all depends on what theose players want for a contract. If those guys demand 8 yrs and 200 mil (totally possible for each of them), I can’t see anybody but Seattle coming close to being able to afford that kind of deal.

    It’s all going to depend on whether those players take a discount or not. Felix might, just because he’s so young and he wants to get paid. The others are a crap shoot.

  36. CB January 6th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    What made the 2009 off season such a huge opportunity for the yankees wasn’t only how much net money was coming off the books. It was the fact that they had so much unproductive money coming off the books.

    In that sense the opportunity was created by their own bad decision making before hand.

    Having 50M of unproductive money coming off the books is very different than having 30M of productive money + 20M of unproductive money off the books.

    The yankees had money coming off the books that had been inefficiently spent (e.g. Giambi) to pure waste (pavano).

    As such, not only did they not want those players back, the were losing very little value in not bringing them back. The loss really didn’t hurt much in any significant way given the prices they were paying.

    Lee is a better pitcher than Beckett. But if the Sox sign Lee and lose Beckett then it’s a marginal gain and nothing like the huge boost CC was when he was replacing part of the money paid to Pavano.

  37. GreenBeret7 January 6th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    randy l.
    January 6th, 2010 at 12:18 pm
    gb7-

    i think that old time players didn’t get hit so much because they had a more balanced stance( though as you describe, mantle may have received special treatment). so many of todays hitter’s lean in and can’t back up once they commit.

    ————————————————————

    Exactly. Today’s hitters have gone to the Frank Robinson School Of stances. Stand on top of the plate and dare them to hit you. The difference was, Robinson could get out of the way without getting hurt. Frank Thomas and Derek Jeter never learned to get out of the way. Robinson got hit about 250 times, but, it took 12,000 at bats to do it.

    With Mantle, it was a couple of things…admiration and respect. They also knew that Mantle drew crowds and made everyone more money.

  38. m January 6th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    The good thing about the Yankees and how they’re set up, is that we don’t *have* to pray that Hernandez, Mauer, or some other franchise player hits the market. Cashman has us set up good. Doesn’t mean he’s not lying in the weeds, though. lol.

  39. Joe Vogel January 6th, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I’m curious what the consensus is regarding which FA will get the most lucrative deal of Hernandez, Mauer, or Pujols. I’m guessing Hernandez due to his age, position, production, and likely market need at the time of FA. I think Mauer will be second (especially with Boston’s hole at catcher).
    I’m not downplaying Pujols worth (he will still probably get $25 per annum, but he’s signed for 2 more years. He won’t be a FA until age 32 and it will be interesting to see if his tremendous production erodes at all over this time or if nagging injuries start occurring. This could limit the number of years offered. Besides, I don’t believe NY will be active in the pursuit of Albert.

  40. L to the 2nd January 6th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    CClub – each team could afford them, but the question would be what would that leave them with to spend on a supporting cast?

    I agree that no one is a lock to stay anywhere – especially when nine digit contracts start getting thrown around.

  41. Rishi January 6th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    :arrow:

  42. CountryClub January 6th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Mo and Jeter will get paid the same amount in 2011 as they do in 2010. jeter might make a little less if they backload his deal. But Andy and Vazquez make over 22 mil. Nick Johnson makes another 5.

    After some arb raises and some contracts getting more expensive (Swish), the yanks will still have a decent amount coming off the books. Plus, as we’ve seen this yr, Cash is not afraid to make a trade.

  43. Frank January 6th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    “If BJ Upton bombs again in 2010, there’s no way that Tampa lets Crawford leave. They’ll move Upton out of town first.”

    Upton has also made it known he is not prepared to sign any deal where the Rays could buy out some arb/FA years like Crawford and Longoria did. If the Rays can find a way to lock up Crawford, they’re going to do it.

  44. vinny-b (NJ and Granderson - thank you Cashman!) January 6th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    “Front page of the DSM Register this morning. An east-side (where mufflers are optional) DSM man goes outside this morning at 4:30 AM to retrieve a pack of smokes from his car. Problem: He is wearing no shoes/socks nor a coat. He locks himself out of his house so he decides to wait on his porch for his roommate to show up and let them both in. The Wait: 5 hours. The Result: His body temperature drops to 86 degrees and severe frostbite body-wide”
    —————————————————
    relayed the story you shared to my father who worked in Cedar Rapids. Sad

    the NY winter to this point have been cold. However, not much snow upstate yet. Dutchess county did not get the same snowstorm which manhattan received (before xmas)

    props on the Hawkeyes :) By the way, my Badgers finished ok too

  45. vin January 6th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    “A young white sox pitcher threw at Mantle’s legs once and a team mate of the pitcher, Early Wynn, who had no problems with hitting batters for digging in at the plate, threatened to deck the pitcher if it happened again while they were in the dugout.”

    Yeah, I had heard stories like that. It’s interesting how widely appreciated and respected he was throughout the game. Hell, even a good guy like Pujols has been hit almost 70 times in his relatively short career.

  46. Joe Vogel January 6th, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Phil the Thrill
    January 6th, 2010 at 12:25 pm
    I think Mauer will have his new Twins deal by some time in ST.
    ————————————————–
    Do you really think he’s going to bypass his best shot at FA when he knows that there are large-revenue teams in dire need of catching?
    You may be right, but this would be a huge concession on his part.

  47. Chad Jennings January 6th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Sorry to put up a new post so soon after this one, but the Yankees have announced the entire coaching staff is coming back next season.

  48. GreenBeret7 January 6th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Seattle took three massive PR hits in 1999 and the early 2000s when they let Griffey, Rodriguez and Johnson get away. New park or not, they almost lost that team from those hits. Twins moved Santana and got nothing in return. They can’t go through that again, and, especially not with a hometown kid. St. Louis just coughed up a ton of money to save their franchise player. They knew two years ago what Pujols would cost. That money’s already in a savings account.

  49. GreenBeret7 January 6th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    vin
    January 6th, 2010 at 12:34 pm
    “A young white sox pitcher threw at Mantle’s legs once and a team mate of the pitcher, Early Wynn, who had no problems with hitting batters for digging in at the plate, threatened to deck the pitcher if it happened again while they were in the dugout.”

    Yeah, I had heard stories like that. It’s interesting how widely appreciated and respected he was throughout the game. Hell, even a good guy like Pujols has been hit almost 70 times in his relatively short career.

    ————————————————————

    It’s like Randy said. There were very few batters that stood on top of the plate and dove to the outside of the plate. Mantle had a pretty conventional stance and really wasn’t a pull hitter. His bat speed was unbelievable, and so was his strength. I saw a couple of brawls with the Yanks and White sox from back then and 3 or 4 of the Sox players would surround Mantle to keep him out of the fights because he might get hurt. Pitchers just refused to throw at him. They had no problems hitting Bauer, Maris or Pepitone, though.

  50. E-gawa January 6th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Nice post Sam, thanks for the read.

  51. MTU January 6th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    SJ-

    Do you have any scuttlebutt on the Yanks and Chapman ?

  52. saucY January 6th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    again, i liked Randy. he didn’t live up to expectations here, but he was far from terrible. and I give him credit for realizing he wanted out of NY…

    I’m 6’2″. i’d say that’s above average… but not huge.

    NYC is definately designed for much shorter people. I felt like a giant living there and could only imagine what it was like for RJ…

  53. 57' Yank January 6th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    As far as getting HBP, batters didn’t used to stand there and get hit like today, they actually had to make an effort to get out of the way. ( a rule not enforced today )

    Mantle got thrown at plenty, especially at knees. I saw it many times.

    Blyleven should be in HOF.

    Trammell is getting screwed also.

    Ozzie Smith got in with great defense and doing back flips.
    Check Mattinly’s lifetime stats compared to Kirby Puckett’s. They’re almost identical, except Mattingly didn’t make the W.S.

  54. John L January 6th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    One unfair thing that Randy bashers don’t understand is that the Yankees got exactly what they paid for when they got him. In the 5 years previous to him coming to the Yankees, he averaged 17 wins per season. He won 17 games in each of his 2 seasons in pinstripes.

    I admired his grit as a Yankee. The guy pitched with a back in such poor shape that he needed surgery as soon as the season ended. How many other players in MLB would do that instead of just mailing in the season and collecting the big checks? Anyone in the ‘real’ world knows how difficult it is to perform routine tasks when their back is acting up. RJ had to perform on a world-class level without whining about the pain he was in. I think that people should give his time in pinstripes more credit than they have.

  55. dipper13 January 7th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    The big unit never did anything for the yankees and was not
    a big time pitcher here. He was one of George’s (not his baseball people) picks and never remotely pitched as well in the Bronx that he did in Arizona or Seattle. He has HOF credentials but didnt show it as a Yankee.

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