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That's a Diss
2005-12-27 05:36
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

No, not Godzilla Matsui's decision not to play in the upcoming WBC games, but the Murray Chass' characterization of Bernie Williams this morning in an article about Yankee centerfielders:

Williams was the center fielder in the second halves of 1991 and 1992, then took over the position through last season, when he surpassed Mantle to become the Yankee with the most games played in center - 1,828 to 1,745.

Still, as important as longevity and popularity may be, they don't earn Williams a place in the line of royal succession.

Williams has been a solid player - he hit better than .300 for eight consecutive seasons - and he contributed significantly to the Yankees' postseason successes. But he was not the Gold Glove outfielder he was voted to be from 1997 to 2000, and he was not a dominant hitter in the American League.

Williams was never a great fielder but he was the Yankees' best offensive player during their 1996-01 championship run (you could look it up).  Of course, he's not as great as DiMaggio or Mantle, but he's a boderline Hall of Fame candidate at worst.  Other than Ken Griffey Jr and Jim Edmonds, who has been a better center fielder than Williams over the last 10-15 years (and yeah, Andruw Jones was a great fielder but he hasn't even been close to Williams as an offensive player)? 

Comments (80)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-12-27 06:14:18
1.   tommyl
Yeah, there seem to be some times lately when Chass is out to lunch. I recall an article a couple of weeks ago saying they should have signed Pierre (and I believe citing his ability to run down balls in the outfield). I've stopped reading him for anything but entertainment.
2005-12-27 06:29:24
2.   Dimelo
I don't get Murray chAss, sometimes he can come across as being so smart then I read articles like these and I don't get where he bases his 'opinions' on because they definitely aren't facts. BTW, shouldn't his opinions be on a separate op-ed page?
2005-12-27 06:45:44
3.   markp
Bernie Williams was valuable because of the things reporters have no clue about. He drew lots of walks and hit a lot of doubles. He was near or at the top of the class for CFs for almost his entire career, but nobody noticed. He's better than quite a few guys in the HOF, but isn't likely to go in any time soon.
2005-12-27 07:01:37
4.   rsmith51
I am not sure if he would believe that Johnny Damon's best OPS season would be the 10th best of Bernie's career. Bernie is definitely underrated. Getting a .900 OPS from a CF is pretty rare, and doing it 7 years in a row is outstanding.

One thing about Bernie, though, is that he didn't always play 155+ games a year...

2005-12-27 07:05:06
5.   tommyl
rsmith51,

Great stat. I've often wondered why Bernie doesn't get more credit than he does. Ok, he's not Mantle or DiMaggio, but well a lot of people in the HOF aren't Mantle or DiMaggio either. I can't think of any other CF I'd rather have had in the mid to late 90s (though I'm sure I'm being subjective).

2005-12-27 07:09:15
6.   tommyl
Ok, doing a bit of looking things up, there's of course Griffey, I thought his injury problems started a bit earlier than they actually did.
2005-12-27 07:10:49
7.   rsmith51
I don't see how Johnny Damon could possibly be better than Williams. Even if he hit .300 and played good defense, he would have to sustain that level for 7 freaking years to match Bernie in Yankee "royalty", not to pass him. This is a stupid article. Just because he didn't lead the league in HRs and RBIs doesn't mean that he is not extremely valuable.
2005-12-27 07:11:33
8.   Murray
Mantle and DiMaggio didn't always log full seasons, either. At least Bernie never got himself infected from a bogus vitamin shot, nor did he ever impale himself with his own golf clubs.
2005-12-27 07:25:31
9.   Nick from Washington Heights
I know a lot of people agree with Chass's assessment that he never deserved the gold glove. And maybe I'm wrong, but don't defensive metrics show Bernie to be a great defender during that period.
2005-12-27 07:28:21
10.   wsporter
Bernie was as good as anyone from 1995 - '03. Both tails of his career were at or below league average both offensively and defensively however. He wasn't on the level of Joe D., Mantle or Combs in terms of his top eight seasons; very few players have been. But Bernie was very good. Could we say that he is now part of a "Big Four" rather than a "Trinity" without defaming DiMaggio, Mantle and Combs? I think we can. Was Chase way off base in his opinions? I don't think he was. Bernie may be borderline but he isn't a Hall of Famer. Bernie is one of the 10 great Yankee players of my lifetime. I can live with him being recognized for what he was without morphing him into something he wasn't.

I found Chase's column to be an objective brief appraisal of the Yankees Centerfield position over the years. There will be enough fawning over Bernie in the months to come. Chase is still better than the invective and hyperbole spewers who pollute the landscape on a daily basis with their inane scribblings . I don't always agree with him but I always read him. Christ, at least he writes in English.

2005-12-27 07:36:11
11.   wsporter
That's Chass btw. Spell checker issue.
2005-12-27 07:37:07
12.   Nick from Washington Heights
Did he really debunk the centerfield myth though? I mean how many franchises can say they had three legends of such magnitude roam center for them? Here's one for the baseball history guys: What other teams have three like Combs, Joe D, and Mickey? And Bernie just a level below?
2005-12-27 07:51:44
13.   Dan M
I really hate it when writers have nothing to write about, so they dream up a hatchet piece. This takes the cake. Chass has been anti-Yankee for years, but this winter it seems as if he's going out of his way to criticize them. The above-mentioned Pierre piece was laughable it was so stupid, and this one is uncalled for. F Chass.

And, funny, I was delighted to see a pro-Eli Manning piece in the paper this morning, just before I saw Chass's. I guess the Times can't get everything right.

2005-12-27 07:56:48
14.   markp
Since Combs retired at age 36 and Bernie's 36 now, it's easy to compare their careers. Bernie's OPS+ is 127, Combds 126. They both are about the same above the league in range factor over their careers, though Combs played the corners a lot more in his last year or two.
Bernie played alomst 600 more regular season games than Combs, and played in 120 post-season games compared to Combs 16.
Bernie therefore has much more value over his career simply because he had the same numbers as Combs, but has them for more than 150% as many games.
2005-12-27 08:06:51
15.   Dimelo
I was reading through the list of the best quotes of the year from bbp, I wish I had seen this one before.

"The Yankees have that guy [Tony] Womack [a second baseman] playing left field. If I can't play that position at least as well as he can, I'll hang up the spikes right now."
--outfielder and future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, on why he still feels he can play (San Francisco Chronicle)

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4674

2005-12-27 08:16:15
16.   JohnnyC
I've recounted this anecdote before but I think it's interesting to see where Chass is coming from. During a rain delay in the late '70s, Phil Rizzuto was interviewing Chass (then at the Daily News?)and, typical of Scooter, asked him what it must mean to him to cover the Yankees on a daily basis since he's a born and bred New Yorker. Chass gave Scooter a baleful look, paused, and then hit him with this: "It doesn't mean that much, really. I was a Dodgers fan growing up. I hated the Yankees. Still do." The double take from Rizzuto was priceless. Anyway, Chass is no fan of the Yankees. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I'm sure that with the Times part-owning the Red Sox, still waters run deep these days for Murray.
2005-12-27 08:21:42
17.   wsporter
I thought Chass's thesis was that the Yankees have not had a truly great centerfielder since the three he mentioned as great. He defined greatness as achieving their career numbers. He then argued that none of the successors to those three approached their numbers or accomplishments. The succession of greatness therefore ended at Mantle. I think he made his case. There has been no continuation of that line. Johnny Damon is not the latest in an uninterrupted line of greatness.

Ignoring 1968 through 1992 (which represents 14 out of our current 80 year run from 1925) we've been pretty darn close though with Bernie. I don't think the Yankees have to take a back seat to anyone in terms of their tradition of great centerfielders.

2005-12-27 08:31:47
18.   Nick from Washington Heights
in other words: for the majority of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Yankees have had 3 legends and one borderline superstar playing center. Again, the myth seems all too real.
2005-12-27 08:34:40
19.   Paul in Boston
As many of you did, I've followed Bernie his whole career, and it's been fascinating to watch him develop into first a good, then a great player, even though he had such poor baseball instincts. Going against the "common wisdom", he appeared to develop plate discipline as he matured -- maybe a teachable skill to some? -- and realized he couldn't steal bases despite his speed, so he stopped trying. Although he never got a good jump on the ball, his pure athleticism in CF allowed him to catch up to some gappers during his prime. Finally, the power from the left side came late, but when it finally arrived in the late 1990s, he became a great offensive force, hitting for avg, power, OBP%.

Bernie, thanks for the great years in CF. Let's hope you get some of that bat magic back as a DH!

2005-12-27 08:39:25
20.   jkay
The Times sports section has been a joke since the beginning of time. They try to spice up their lack of reporting with "spicy" opinion pieces. The result is a bigger joke.

On the bight side, it leaves a void filled by Bronx Banter and others. Alex is getting a shot over at SI. There is plenty of good info out there--just not in the Times.

2005-12-27 08:44:55
21.   Shawn Clap
Ugghh. Hey, Murray Chasshole, if you're gonna defame Bernie in this town, you'd better back it up with something more concrete than your misguided opinions.

There's a reason Bernie Williams has played more games in CF than any other Yankee in history. Think about it. Then you can write an appology article in the Palookaville Post or wherever you wind up next year. Hack.

2005-12-27 08:50:37
22.   wsporter
Nick from WH
Yes, but its not an uninterrupted line which I think was his point. I have never viewed it that way nor have I met many (any?) who have. What's the big deal? We've had three great players and a borderline HOFer who have played CF for us for 64 out of the last 80 years. 16 years of interruption, where's the shame in that? How many franchises can make the same claim?

Believe me I come to praise Bernie not to bury him. Fair is fair and Chass is right, the line is not unbroken. However, I'm not so sure that the game was worth the bullet on this one. Was this deserving of a column. It does seem a little mean spirited. Bernie's been a wonderful player and someone we can all be proud to root for. I'm glad he's retiring a Yankee (if he does do that). We'll have plenty of time to say good things about him.

2005-12-27 09:02:47
23.   Matt B
Whoa...anyone see this?

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/sports/AP-BBO-Reardon-Arrested.html

2005-12-27 09:35:18
24.   jdsarduy
off the topic a bit here's an article that predicts the AL East race for 2006.
Of course it's early, but as of now it seems right on the mark for us Yankee fans. And it's nice to get some honest evaluations about these teams.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5196710

2005-12-27 09:47:14
25.   debris
re: #4 - rsmith51. A quick glance at Bernie's and JD's stats reveals that JD has once in his career exceed Bernie's lifetime OPS. JD didn't manage to beat Bernie's career mark once in the inflated atmosphere in Boston.

re: #24 - I wouldn't argue with this article which states "as presently constructed, Boston is a third place team." Should the Sox go into April with 7 starters, 9 relievers, no shortstop and no centerfielder, they will have a hard time cracking the top two, no doubt.

2005-12-27 09:53:13
26.   wsporter
Is Boston's 06 season in real peril? With Millwood off the market can the Sawx trade Wells? Does anyone have a sense of how much they were depending on signing Millwood as a means of remaking the team? Signing Millwood might have allowed them to move Wells for the prospects they needed to use as trade bait to fill holes. Without moving Wells it seems they're going to have a devil of a time putting together a package for a shortstop and centerfielder. A deal with the Rays would have been sweet for them now it doesn't look as likely as it did before last night. Now it looks like they may have to pick those pieces up in separate deals which will be more expensive for them. I for one am not looking forward to a summer where the Sawx suck, an end of September stretch run against the Jays just isn't as much fun.

I know Debris has a set of ideas that made some good sense but those hinged on signing Millwood, at least they seemed to. The Rocket seems to be the only guy left they could sign that would allow them to move a top half of the rotation pitcher such as Wells with which they could bring back players needed to allow them to fill holes. Does bringing in Rocket make sense? Should they make a move with Wells prior to signing Clemens, fill their holes then try to get the Rocket? I doubt if he'd sign if their status remains as it is currently. This just seems to get messier for them by the day.

2005-12-27 09:59:06
27.   Dan M
#23 - rrright - the "meds" made me do it.
2005-12-27 09:59:16
28.   Nick from Washington Heights
wsporter, I think Millwood hurts the Sox's ability to trade Arroyo or Clement who were both rumored chips in trades for center fielders. I'd say there's a 90% chance a Wells trade will get done (and that the Millwood signing will have little effect on negotiations).
2005-12-27 10:21:15
29.   wsporter
Nick f WH, If they move Wells what do they do to replace him? His contribution to the Sawx was, I think, generally undervalued last year.
2005-12-27 10:30:28
30.   Patrick
I agree with you. He belongs in that "line".
2005-12-27 10:32:24
31.   Nick from Washington Heights
No doubt, wsporter. I agree that he was a valuable part of the staff and it's unclear who will fill in for him. But Wells is on his way out regardless of Millwood, Damon, etc. He demanded a trade and apparently the demand has teeth (i.e. he's mentioned sitting out 2006 if he doesn't get his traded). My only point is that Millwood's non-signing will not prevent the Sox from sending Wells out west.

Wells' departure seems likely to net the Sox (based on rumors) a SS who can fill that hole (Dodgers prospects that can be flipped for Lugo, or Itzuris and Choi). But there's still that big hole in center. Originally, rumors had it that they were shipping Clement or Arroyo to Seattle for Reed. With Millwood off the table, and with Wells on the way out, they might have to rethink parting with either.

2005-12-27 10:53:30
32.   debris
wsporter,

I nearly shat my pants when I heard the Sox were going after Millwood. He's my leading candidate for the 2006 Carl Pavano Award. I must confess befuddlement.

At this point the Sox have 7 starters: Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, Papelbon, Clement, Arroyo and Wells. They can deal two, go into Spring Training with 5, and if one should break down, still have either Lester or Alvarez to push his way on to the team. There is considerable sentiment among the cognescenti that Lester is just about ready for the big time, despite his tender age and the fact that he hasn't seen AAA. (He is older than, for example, either Gubicza or Saberhagen were when they made the jump from AA.) So, to my mind, they can deal Wells and either Clement or Arroyo and still be fine going into camp.

Everytime a starter leaves the free agent market, the value of starters in the trade market increases. The Sox are discussing Wells with the Dodgers and will likely get something done this week. Talk is either prospects to send to Tampa Bay for Lugo or something involving Choi and/or Izturis. The latter would leave me gasping for breath.

Lugo would be a significant upgrade from Renteria both offensively and defensively.

They are also trying to pry Reed from Seattle for Clement. My understanding is that Seattle wants the considerably less expensive Arroyo. I don't think Coco Crisp can be had without dipping seriously into major prospects close to the big time, something the Sox don't want to do. In the easy come, easy go department, I'd send Marte to Cleveland if they could get Crisp, though I have no idea how Marte could fit into Cleveland's plans.

Quite honestly, I think they're a stronger team with Lugo and Reed than they would be with Renteria and Damon. they'd also save about 8 million big ones.

2005-12-27 11:04:21
33.   Suffering Bruin
27 The man has no history of criminal activity, there is no evidence of financial stress, he started taking medication after the death of his son and the robbery is being described as out of character.

Yeah, I buy that the meds were a factor. You don't?

2005-12-27 11:07:10
34.   Nick from Washington Heights
debris, do you really think that the difference between Lugo and Renteria (who in past posts you described as being near equals) would make up for the drop off Reed is from Damon? Reed was a good prospect, but his numbers last year were none too impressive. To assume he'll approach Damon's level beginning in 2006 is optimistic.

I do think the moves would be positive in the long run, but in the short-term, I think the Sox would take a step back.

Also, the Sox's odd interest in Millwood suggests that, contrary to your assertion that Lester or Alvarez are ready for the big time, the team feels it lacks pitching depth, especially if it is to trade off Arroyo or Clement. The only justification for signing Millwood is that he'll fill any vacancy created by the Sox trading two pitchers away. The Sox do not have confidence yet in some of their farmhands.

2005-12-27 11:19:57
35.   wsporter
Debris, didn't you characterize Millwood as an upgrade over Wells in a post late last week? Then didn't you go on to say that Wells should have won 18 games and was a valuable member of the staff? How does that reconcile with your Pavano line? (which I still think is apt) Additionally I suggested to you after the Becket deal that both Lester and Papelbon were likely rotation candidates, you dismissed that suggestion as indicating that I was anything but cognoscente of the Sawx situation. What's changed between then and now? You may get something for Arroyo and or Clement maybe even Reed or Lugo, I doubt you'll get both. Good luck. BTW I agree that Millwood is way over hyped.

The Sawx may be stronger IF and WHEN they get Lugo and Reed. Yet, I'm reminded of Abe Lincoln's comments about Fighting Joe Hooker who in the Winter and Spring of 1863 was doing a lot of talking about what he was going to do when he took Richmond. Mr. Lincoln remarked that "of all creatures in nature the hen is the surely the wisest, for she only cackles after the egg is laid."

2005-12-27 11:28:42
36.   debris
Nick,

Offensively, I think the jump up from Renteria to Lugo is pretty damn near the equivalent of the step down from Damon to Reed, and even that could be somewhat offset by the fact that Reed should improve as he gains more experience.

The defensive gain from Renteria to Lugo is pretty huge. Despite making a fair number of errors, Lugo's range is extremely impressive.

Also, Nick, I'm not suggesting that either Alvarez or Lester is ready. Indeed, Alvarez might never be a major league pitcher. I'm saying it is possible one of them might step it up in Spring Training as does happen. The Sox till have 5 in their rotation without Wells and Arroyo or Clement. Right now, with Schilling, Beckett, Wakefield, and Papelbon, they have 7. They also have the spare cash sitting around to bring back the Rocket, but I'm not exactly holding my breath.

Interesting article in the Portland (OR) Tribune this morning. The OSU coach says the Sox should give his former star, Jacoby Ellsbury, a long look at the centerfield job.

2005-12-27 11:32:54
37.   debris
Sporter,

I think that's a misquote on Millwod. I was never in favor of a Millwod signing. You're right on Wells. He pitched much better than his numbers indicate, due to two poor outings out of camp and three poor outings, one with an ankle injury, two returning too soon. (OK, or refusing to make rehab starts as they wouldn't have helped him make his incentives.)

I think you're also off on the other quotes. While my sense is that Lester is probably 8-10 AAA starts from being ready, I have no doubt that Papelbon is a leading ROY contender and should be in the rotation. I absolutly love the guy.

2005-12-27 11:33:12
38.   debris
er. absolutely
2005-12-27 11:35:34
39.   JL25and3
33 - I'm a psychologist, and I'd say that it's and unlikely but not impossible explanation. If Reardon's actually bipolar (manic-depressive) rather than just depressed, then anti-depressants could cause a manic swing - which would explain impulsive, antisocial behavior.

Another possible explanation is that it's not the medication but the depression itself, which can make people do some pretty self-destructive things.

2005-12-27 11:54:46
40.   wsporter
Debris, your post from 12-23-05 follows, I would call your attention to the paragraph you have numbered as 2 as well as to your conclusion. It appears you advocate the signing of Millwood as an improvement over Wells. Perhaps I am misreading the apparent plain meaning of your words. As to the Lincoln quote I will admit to it coming from my memory. You'll find it in any number of sources including the Library of Congress or any of Bruce Catton's major works for example. I'd search out the others but ….

85. debris
jayd,
There are several holes in your thinking, although I'm in complete agreement with you on the grease job that got the Henry group the franchise.
Hole 1. This ownership didn't have the jing to swing the deal. John Henry is one of the richest men in baseball, considerably wealthier than George Steingrabber.
Hole 2. Lucciano (well named) is trying to cut payroll to dismantle the franchise. By all accounts, Lucchino was the only one in the front office who wanted to open the vault for Damon. In a clear sign that his power is waning, he was overruled.
The simple fact is that the Sox didn't think Damon worth the money. I see a scenario where they can upgrade significantly at two spots for less money.
1. Deal Wells and a prospect for JD Drew. Drew is an adequate centerfielder although a slight downgrade from Damon. Drew is an immense offensive upgrade from Damon, with a career .907 ops to Damon's .784. Adjust that with the Fenway differential and Drew could beat Damon by 150 points. LA will have to throw in a witch doctor to keep Drew healthy for more than two weeks at a time. Drew is $2 M cheaper than Damon and has three years left on his deal. LA has added Lofton, Garciaparra, and Mueller to their offense and has only four starters. Swapping Wells for Drew trims payroll and gives them a pitcher in Wells whose contract only becomes expensive if he stays healthy.
2. Sign Kevin Millwood. An upgrade from Wells.
3. Acquire Julio Lugo for Arroyo or Clement plus Shoppach.
With these moves, the Sox will have strengthened themselves vs. 2005 at every position except backup catcher.

2005-12-27 11:58:32
41.   Nick from Washington Heights
Debris, you suggested that those in the know think Lester's ready for the majors. The Sox's pursuit of Millwood suggests otherwise. Of course, Lester of Alvarez might prove to be useful in spring training. They're warm bodies, and anyone's capable of steping up his game. Need I mention Aaron Small? The point is that it now seems that Sox management doesn't want to rely on either pitcher as potential back-ups for a roation that is likely going to miss a lot starts.
2005-12-27 12:07:36
42.   Nick from Washington Heights
a lot of problems with the English language there. bad typing and dyslexia make Nick go BLAH!
2005-12-27 12:17:18
43.   debris
wsporter,

That quote was from before their weekend negotiations with Millwood. I would have supported a $20 M/2 year deal, certainly never a 4 year deal like they offered or a 5 year one like Texas gave him.

Nick,

No one is suggesting that Alvarez is ready or near. Those suggesting that Lester is are not the Sox front office. Specifically, I'm referring to John Sickels, who seems to me to have a better eye for minor league talent than just about anyone out there.

I might add that I'm a bit confused by the Sox unwillingness to commit to some of their young talent. Why are they, for example, bringing in Mota and Seanez (who I really like) when that clearly squeezes Hansen and Delcarmen out? Is it simply a case of you can never have too much pitching? Are they stalling on Hansen and Delcarmen to push them back a year on arbitration? Why are they looking for a first baseman when Youkilis clearly deserves a chance to see what he can do? Why did they sign Flaherty when Shoppach has earned a look see as Varitek's backup?

They do have one enviable problem but a problem nonetheless. They have too much young talent ready for the show or near ready for one team to bring to the show when said team is expected to contend each and every year.

Personally, I'd commit to Shoppach and Youkilis. I'd forget about first base and the bullpen, both of which should be fine. I'd forget about signing another starting pitcher, unless of course they could sign Clemens. I think the Red Sox are in fine shape and in need of setting themselves only at short and center, both of which seem quite doable if they'd forget about the rest and go with what they have.

They are also down about $20 million in salary, putting them in great shape for taking on payroll as May and June roll around.

As Billy Beane has said, the first two months are about determining your needs, the next two about filling them, the last two about pushing for the post-season. The Sox are in fine shape right now. They outscored the league last year will little contribution after number 5. They won 95 games despite missing their closer and number 1 starter for basically the whole year.

Having Manny and Papi in the middle make up for a lot of other problems. They had one good OBP guy in front of Manny and Papi last year; if they lead with Loretta and Youkilis, they'll have two this year.

2005-12-27 13:23:42
44.   standuptriple
According to debris, as soon as you put on the Sox uni in Boston you produce (Reed, Lugo, Alvarez, Lester, Shoppach, Delcarmen, Youkilis). Nice rose colored sox...er, I mean glasses. Last time I checked not every player, no matter how seasoned they may be (Renteria), has trouble adjusting in the fishbowl. Fact of the matter is, the Beantowners have some serious holes to fill and are running out of options.
I also love how Damon's #'s will take a steep decline, but Loretta (2 yrs. older) will flourish in a league he hasn't seen.
2005-12-27 13:25:50
45.   standuptriple
Um, let me clarify. Not every player adjusts to the fishbowl. Stupid meds.
2005-12-27 13:32:16
46.   debris
standup,

I'm not saying that Damon's abilities will decline, just that his numbers will as he goes from a park that boosts OBP by 40 points to a neutral park. Same with Loretta as he goes from the most extreme pitchers park in baseball to the aforementioned Fenway. I don't see where either player's road numbers will change much at all.

Simply put, if Damon is the same player in NY that he was in Boston, his numbers will take a serious decline. The reverse will be true for Loretta. Ballparks do that.

I also expect a serious bump in home runs in Fenway next year, both for the Sox and allowed by the Sox. The wind currents which carried balls to left and were changed when they built that glass monstrosity behind the plate will return now that the hideous thing has been ripped down. (Of course, given the overall climate change of the past 20 years worldwide, I suppose its possible that the prevailing winds have changed and that we'll see a whole new ballpark effect, vis a vis power, that will be quite unexpected.

2005-12-27 13:32:52
47.   Nick from Washington Heights
As long as we're looking at player's home-away splits (Damon out of Fenway apparently just isn't that good-Jeremy Reed who batted .245 in 2005 is going to be near his equal in 2006, so the story goes...), how about Josh Beckett's? He's close to a league average pitcher outside of the pitcher's park in Florida. I wonder if he's a legit #1 or 2 in Fenway.
2005-12-27 14:46:38
48.   markp
curious: someone above wrote that the jump from Renteria to Lugo offensively..." Actually, Renteria has a (park adjusted) career OPS+ 3 points higher than Lugo and they're both 29. Lugo isn't as good a hitter as Renteria, so getting him would (slightly) diminish Boston's offense at SS from 2005 to 2006.
2005-12-27 14:55:25
49.   wsporter
Debris, Ok so first you deny having said it. Then when you're called on it you admit it but with a qualification, that can't be read contextually within the body of the statement itself. How convenient. "2. Sign Kevin Millwood. An upgrade from Wells" seems to be an unequivocal statement. Dude, what are you doing, running for office? That's not merely debris, it borders on garbage.
2005-12-27 15:02:11
50.   Murray
Speaking of splits, this was on Page Six:

THE OFF SEASON

THE odds were against ladies' man Derek Jeter heading into a third season with Vanessa Minnillo and it looks like the oddsmakers were right - at least for now. The Yankee captain, who was recently spotted with Scarlett Johansson, and the sultry "Total Request Live" hostess are going through an "off" phase in their off-and-on relationship, sources said. They've been dating since late 2003 and had recently returned from a romantic trip to Hawaii. Minillo's rep wouldn't comment.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-12-27 15:07:38
51.   Nick from Washington Heights
Today:

"Offensively, I think the jump up from Renteria to Lugo is pretty damn near the equivalent of the step down from Damon to Reed, and even that could be somewhat offset by the fact that Reed should improve as he gains more experience."

12/07/05
"Renteria is not a better player than Lugo. They are basically the same offensive player except Renteria has a bit more power, Lugo gets on base slightly more often, their ops pretty much match. Renteria does have his big 2003 that skews things, but even with that the ops match. Their strikeout rate is a dead match.

There are only three real differences between them:
1 - Lugo is a much better fielder.
2 - Lugo steals bases.
3 - Lugo is much cheaper."

And
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes"

Two of these statements come from debris. The other is Walt Whitman's.

Ok, I'm being kinda shmucky. It's meant in good fun. I view debris's statements as contradictory. Maybe, I'm missing how close Reed and Damon are offensively? I guess you could argue that the improvement defensively that Lugo provides could make up for the offensive loss. I just don't think it's reasonable to think that offensively it would be a wash. The debris of 12/7 agrees. I think.

2005-12-27 15:46:31
52.   standuptriple
I dunno, although I'm a big fan of Johansson I'm a little worried about her VORF against Minnillo. Johansson has shown excellent "talent" in The Island which probably initiated trade talks. Minnillo has great home/road splits that may keep Scarlett on the bench once the season begins.
2005-12-27 17:28:10
53.   Dimelo
This is awesome to read. For the last week or so all of Debris' words have come back to haunt him. I love to see him backpeddling and you all are doing a great job of keeping track of his carefully "crafted" words. Hey Debris, I think Karl Rove is calling...he needs an assistant political advisor....Fox news might be a good alternative if that doesn't pan out.

On Jeter and banging every female that moves, keep it going Jetes....From Minnillo to Johansson, what a guy...what a guy.

2005-12-27 17:48:26
54.   JohnnyC
I like debris. He so funny.
2005-12-27 20:29:56
55.   tommyl
standuptriple,

That is one of the funniest things I've read all week. Great post. Maybe play one against lefties?

2005-12-27 22:19:06
56.   yankz
My hero: http://tinyurl.com/628ns
2005-12-28 04:51:51
57.   singledd
I don't get it (although it's true I'm not very bright). I did not think the Chass article was a 'Diss'. I thought it was accurate. I am a big Bernie fan; was there when he came up (I didn't know if B. Williams or Gerald Williams would ever make it), and have followed him since.

I never thought of Bernie as great. Maybe this is because I started following BB in the Mantle/Mays years, which set the 'standard' for greatness. I always thought Bernie was very, very good. For me, the article informed me of some statistical accomlishments I was not aware of.

Players can be loved without being great. Bernie is close, but not HOF. It he was, then Jim Rice and a bunch of other 'very close' players would have to be in also.

It will be sad to see Bernie retire. While I believe he will be below average for his position this year, I'm very glad he is on the team (sentimental me). I hope his last career hit is in the WS.

We are lucky we had the $$ to keep him for his career. I suspect Jetes and ARod will retire as (overpaid) Yankees, even when they are 'past their prime'. This is, I believe, the luxury of having money. Not necesssarily 'buying a winning team', but keeping the guys we have grown to love together, for our sake and the sake of Yankee history.

2005-12-28 06:03:50
58.   debris
Sporter,

First, regarding Millwood. At the time, there appeared to be little interest in him. He seemed at that time to be signable in the $18 M over two years. That said, I still believe the Sox have two starters to spare, Wells and either Clement or Arroyo, leaving Schilling, Beckett, Papelbon, Wakefield, and either Clement or Arroyo. I would never have supported giving Millwood the kind of contract he got from Texas.

Second, regarding Reed. I've always been high on him. He will only be 25 in 2006 and his OPS away from Seattle last year was .705. With a bit of improvement with age and a bump from Fenway, I don't believe it would be too much to expect .760 from him in 2006. Damon over four years in Boston had an OPS of .782 away from Fenway. Do I think Reed will be the player Damon will be in 2006? No. But I would expect him to be a better player than Damon in 2008 and 2009. Here's a quote from Joe Sheehan, a Baseball Prospectus writer and a Yankee fan. "The Red Sox could actually end up huge winners here. There's a rumor making the rounds that they're trying to deal Matt Clement to the Mariners for Jeremy Reed. If they can do that, they will have replaced Damon with, essentially, a Damon Starter Kit, complete with functional arm and 25-year-old legs, and saved $20 million a year in the process.If they get Reed, they'll never miss Damon." Here's another quote from Rob Neyer, an ESPN writer who cut his teeth as a researcher for Bill James "What does this mean for Damon? He's not going to bat .300 in 2006. He's going to bat in the .270 to .290 range, with an on-base percentage between .320 and .340 ... hardly the numbers the Yankees and their fans are expecting from a $13 million leadoff man."

Third, regarding Lugo. In three years at Tampa Bay, he has posted an OPS of +38, +199, and -15 on the road. While he and Renteria are similar offensive players overall, Lugo, when removed from Tampa Bay, is a vastly superior hitter. He is light years better defensively.

Fourth, regarding Beckett, his career ERA in Florida was 3.14, on the road 3.83. He is only 26 in 2006 and has still been half a run better than league average away from pitcher friendly Pro Player or whatever they're calling it this week. Is he a Cy Young candidate. Possibly, if he elevates his game a notch or two. Is he a solid 2-3 starter already. Absolutely.

2005-12-28 06:18:45
59.   TheOneTrueGod
The Sox are rebuilding on the fly. At the end of the day, if they don't get the guys they want for the price they want they will end up with guys like CF Dave Roberts and SS Alex Gonzalez. They will live with solid/good defense players with limited offense.

Plain and simple, if Beckett, Schilling and Papelbon have great seasons in the rotation and the bullpen is solid they will compete. If not they won't do any better than they did last year, if that.

The Yankees are quietly rebuilding. They were in a lot of trade rumors this offseason but wouldn't part with Cano, Wang, Proctor, etc... They didn't add one signifigant free agent beyond Damon. The only reason they signed Damon was addition by subtraction. You fill a hole on the team with a guy who is a great offensive force but as limited as Bernie. At the same time you take him away from the Sox and create a hole for them. They are trying to slow the bleeding and get back to profitability and get out from the luxury tax.

The question I have yet to see anyone ask is are the Yankees any better than the team that Titanicked in '04 or limped out last year?

1) Randy is a year older and isn't the same dominating guy. Mussina has been gimpy the last few seasons and is not the guy they paid for. Pavano and Wright cashed in on their only healthy seasons and went El Busto. Wang should be solid but he isn't a staff carrier. Aaron Small had a career year at 30. Anyone remember Estaban Loiaza? Shawn Chacon is a solid pitcher but he isn't a staff carrier over the long haul.

2) The offense is the same force it is. Posada is starting to slide and they don't have a force at DH, like they need one.

3) The defense is horrible with Giambi at 1B, Damon, Matsui and Sheffield in the OF, and Jeter's range way down. Though no one inside of NY will admit the truth there. Every city has it's homer disease for it's favorite son. I still don't understand why A-Rod isn't playing SS and Jeter 3B. Hell, Pete Rose went to the All-Star game at 3 different positions. You can bet on that fact.

The yard stick every team needs to compare itself to is the White Sox. They have added Thome and Vazquez as nice support pieces. To be the man you have to beat the man. The Sox, on paper, look great to repeat as of today.

2005-12-28 06:57:06
60.   debris
OTG,

First, your observations on the Yanks are a bit off, in my estimation. Are you a Yank fan?

Randy is, indeed, a year older, but he was pretty fabulous the last two months of last year. He's a bit of a wild card, but, if I were a Yankee fan, I'd be pretty optimistic. I pretty much agree with the rest of your assessment. Small, however, had his career at 33 last year, not 30.

Defensively, Damon is no Gold Glove, but he's a big step up from Bernie. Jeter has actually gotten better with age. While he didn't deserve a Gold Glove, he did field the first positive RAA of his career last year. Go figure. Did having Arod at third allow him to cheat up the middle and cut down on those "Past a diving Jeter" calls we've all grown to know and love? His biggest problem was always his first step. Cano is weak, but a big step up from Womack, who gave them 40 lousy games at second. Though not a good defensive club, they are better than they were.

Offensively, the don't need a force at DH. They're strong through 1-8. Last year, the Sox led the league in runs scored despite holes at 2, 6, 7 and 9.

As for your read on the Sox, despite not knowing who will play short and center, they've improved themselves at first (I would be an improvement over Millar '05) and second (ditto Bellhorn.) They can afford to give up offense at short, though they didn't get much there last year either. Gonzalez, BTW, isn't a particularly good defensive shortstop.

I think the Sox have improved the pitching and defense enough to give up some offense. You say "If not they won't do any better than they did last year, if that." Actually, what they did last year will do just fine. 95 games should win the division and will certainly get a wild card.

BTW, they're still working on Jeremy Reed. Ron Shandler of Baseball HQ, the best projector in the business, projects Damon at .788 OPS and Reed at .741. It will be interesting to see his next round of projections come January when he adjusts Damon for playing in NY.

2005-12-28 06:57:42
61.   Nick from Washington Heights
Re: Beckett

Sincere we're quoting BP and sabermetrically-inclined scribes, here's one from Dayn Perry:

"The key to the 2006 season will be whether Curt Schilling can pitch as he did in 2004, whether Josh Beckett can be something more than the roughly league-average pitcher he's been away from the run-suppressing environs of Dolphins Stadium..." I can't imagine Fenway's new wind-current situation will help young Josh much. He sounds like a 3rd starter to me.

Another thing of note of course is his blister problem. Let's hope it doesn't act up again. If it doesn't, that would make 2006 an anomoly for Josh.

God, I think the Yanks are stronger because Damon is a serious upgrade from the tandem we had out there last year. Plus, Womack and Sierra are gone. Don't forget that.

2005-12-28 07:00:35
62.   Nick from Washington Heights
I should add that Beckett's last three years have shown a more dramatic split between his home/away numbers. He's posted a 2.86 ERA in Dolphins stadium and a 4.10 away. It might be a trend that signifies something.
2005-12-28 07:06:29
63.   Nick from Washington Heights
um, that's since we're. but I'm being sincere.
2005-12-28 07:21:17
64.   jdsarduy
TheOneTrueGod you're right, with one exception: Yanks, Red Sox, and Jays have to worry about getting to the playoffs 1st before they can worry about the White Sox.
In some places the White Sox over achieved last yr and they do have some players with a history of injury problems. But I expect the White Sox to be the favorite to go to the WS again this yr and they should be. The White Sox are best team in the AL.

Reed for Clement sounds like a fare deal b/c right now both aren't very productive.
Reed might be better than Damon in two yrs but with Sheff being a free agent next yr I can't see Damon playing CF in two yrs from now. Yanks got Damon for their immediate problem.

Lugo should be an improvement over Renteria the only problem is how is Boston going to get him?
Arroyo and or Wells for Lugo would be another steal for Boston but I just don't see the TB organization being that stupid. It would have to be a young prospect that has a strong chance of making an impact in the major leagues. The Red Sox organization, fans and press say the Sox have good prospects but they say that about all their farm system players.
If they can make that trade then they're in business. I don't see TB making a bad trade just to save some money.
And if TB has no replacement for Lugo then there's no reason to talk about it, b/c it won't happen.

They can definitely get some good things in return for Manny. And if what Manny says it's true about not coming to spring training unless he's traded then he has to be traded, Red Sox have no choice.
I don't expect much for Wells but getting back any decent middle relief, which is what they need would be a good trade for the Sox.
If they can pull all this off
Seems like a lot of work

2005-12-28 07:44:32
65.   wsporter
The Sawx are going into January without a playable major league shortstop or centerfielder on their 25 man roster. That's not good news in a year when teams report early. Its not that players aren't going to be available, they will be, its that the supply of quality replacements will shrink relative to a fixed demand as teams roster plans become set. That's right the price is going up. The Sawx are a metaphoric millionaire dieing of thirst in the desert, someone will give them a drink, but for a price, always for a price. The thirstier they are the more they'll be willing to pay.

You know I wonder if the Sawx would be interested in a fine 29 year old turf eater named Bubba Crosby. He'll hit okay at the Fens and boy can he go get it. I bet we could work something out for one of those young relievers. I'm sure that sometime within the next half hour and 2 years Bubba will be better than Damon too. Skoal.

2005-12-28 07:57:23
66.   debris
jdsarduy,

First off, Manny will either show up or blow off his remaining $57 M. Whaddya think? Simply put, if they trade him, they blow up the 2006 season.

As for acquiring Lugo, the talk is sending Wells to the Dodgers for prospects who then go to TB. The Rays either trade Lugo, sign him to a contract extension, or see him walk at the end of the year. Given that they have new owners in place, youneverknow.

They are trying to get Reed for Clement, but will probably have to part with the much cheaper Arroyo.

" The Red Sox organization, fans and press say the Sox have good prospects but they say that about all their farm system players." Simply not true. Prior to the last year or so, no one on the face of the earth would have had anything good to say about the Sox farm system. The Sox farm system prior to last year was ranked, along with the Yankee system, near the bottom. By season's end, their farm system was the only one, according to Baseball America, to have gone from a bottom 10 ranking to a top 10 ranking. Sickels has said that they'd have ranked a top 5 before the Beckett deal, but still in the top 10 after. I don't know if acquiring Marte puts them back in the top 5.

wsporter,

True enough. If they go into April in the same condition, I will worry. They don't have a single game against a team with a winning record between now and April 1.

2005-12-28 08:09:46
67.   Zack
debris, you are ever the optimist, and its refreshing from the majority of Sox fans who are doom and gloom, but its a major feat to make roses out of the Sox current droppings. You can sing the praises of who the Sox might get and how they and their young kids might do, as the Sox loving guys on espn can as well, but we shall see. Its easy to turn you know what to gold when there aren't anything but projections to go back on. For all that Reed or Lugo might work out, Schilling might still stink, Beckett might not be more than a #3 or worse, Lowell might be a massive albatross, Varitek might start to slide, Foulke might not come back, and they might trade Manny for money to finance a musical.

See, given those projections, the Sox season looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Ahh, that was fun...

2005-12-28 08:10:59
68.   Zack
And the latest rumors of Clement and Manny for Tejada are quite humorous.
2005-12-28 08:26:20
69.   jdsarduy
debris
I think Manny will blow off the 57mil it's not like he can't afford it.
In the past in any sport when a player demands a trade it happens.
Don't know how long can the Red Sox can put up with it before Manny gets ugly.
Nomar got ugly and so will Manny. Trading Manny won't be the end the Sox they can get two players that can put up his numbers and it might be an upgrade in defense too.
As a matter of fact it might even help the Sox inn the long run.

I've read the Boston papers for over 10 yrs and I have a ton of friends in Boston.
Since 75' the Red Sox, the Boston press and the fans have always hyped up their rookies.
Every organization does it, but the Boston does it a little more. So, yes it is true.
Didn't say anything about Baseball America , to go from bottom 10 to top 10 in short time is fabulous.
But great minor league prospects are just that, some pan out and others don't.
You can't count on them until you see what they can do in the ML.

2005-12-28 08:38:34
70.   Nick from Washington Heights
Manny has an odd relationship with money. It seems he doesn't view it as a priority. Two stories: One from an SI article a few years back, and another from a friend who knew a guy who knew a valet or mechanic or someone to that effect.

1. According to the SI story, when Manny was on Cleveland, the team's accounts department was baffled by year-end numbers in their books. Their cash flow showed a surplus of something on the order of $9 million. Turns out, Manny hadn't deposited any of his pay checks that season. Instead they were lying around in odd places, like in the sneakers in his lockers. There might be some hyperbole on my part. That's my memory of the story.

2. This story my friend told me, and I forgot from whom he heard the story. A mechanic was working on Manny's car one afternoon, and discovered $300,000 in cash in the glove compartment. When Manny came to pick up the car, the mechanic pointed this out to him, to which Manny responded "Oh, so that's where I put that."

The point is that if there's anyone who's going to turn away from $57 million it's Manny. But the greater point is that no one's going to turn away from $57 million.

2005-12-28 08:41:52
71.   wsporter
NOBODY blows off $57 Million. Not NOBODY.
Not Rainmen. Not NOBODY.
2005-12-28 08:48:22
72.   debris
Zack,

That's what's great about this game. Anything can happen. Who ever thought Jim Rice would turn into a singles hitter overnight at the age of 33? Who ever thought that Jason Giambi would put up his best numbers since 2001 over the second half of last year.

Just three weeks ago, everybody on this blog was complaining about how everyone, Atlanta, Florida, San Diego, was giving the Sox something for nothing in a league wide conspiracy. All of a sudden, the Damon-no-one-here-wanted joins the Yanks and the Sox are dead. I'm going to miss Johnny. He was a good player and fun to have around. But there are only two players on the Sox who can't be replaced and Johnny wasn't one of them.

Everything I read suggests that Tejada is likely to go in a deal for Prior. Again, as optimistic as I am about everything, I do fully believe that the Sox can't possibly get value for Manny and that trading him will utterly schtup the 2006 season for the Sox.

2005-12-28 10:22:04
73.   TheOneTrueGod
The Sox won't trade Manny because they won't get value. It will be a lot easier to hold onto him now that they chopped payroll.

Anyone who thinks Manny will sit is out to lunch. Manny is an idiot, he isn't crazy.

If Lasik surgery was available in 1986 Jim Rice would have played into the 90's. His eyes went at an early age.

Anyone ever mention the oddity that Jason Giambi and Jose Canseco both took steroids and became MVPs. Jeremy Giambi and Ozzie Canseco both took steroids are now working a drive thru new you.

2005-12-28 11:11:59
74.   debris
Latest rumor, via GothamBaseball.com

Mets would get Manny Ramirez
O's would get Lugo, Benson, Bannister, Diaz
Red Sox would get Tejada
Devil Rays would get Heilman and Matsui

Sox save $8 M per year, get $8 M less talent, not that I don't love Tejada. Unless they figure out some way to spend a whole bunch of dough and get a whole bunch of talent, a whole lot is going to have to break right for them should this happen.

This would leave the Sox at $96, down 25% from 2005. The natives will be quite restless. Oh, yeah, ticket prices are up.

BTW, I don't see this happening. Four teams?
Sox get shortchanged.
Mets get Ramirez for Heilman and the pleasure of dumping Matsui?
Rays get shortchanged.
Don't know Bannister and Diaz, but it doesn't sound too fabulous for Baltimore either.
Does anyone else think that only the Mets make out here?

2005-12-28 11:19:08
75.   Nick from Washington Heights
I don't know, debris. I mean Tejada's positional value probably makes up for some of the offensive loss that Manny's departure is. It's a lot easier finding a good hitting left fielder than a strong offensive SS. Plus, Miggy is still relatively young.

It doesn't make sense to me because of what the O's get back. If there is indeed a trade for Prior out there, and the last rumor I read is that Cubbies are waiting on word from the Boids, then why would the O's go for this?

2005-12-28 11:42:13
76.   wsporter
Can anyone see Angelos moving Tejada inside the AL East and for a bushel basket of complimentary players at that? If that mean old man allows him to be moved at all it will be to a place that is a lot further away from the Yard than Fenway, at least for that kind of consideration.
2005-12-28 11:59:26
77.   Start Spreading the News
If I were the cubs, I would not do the tejada for prior deal. Prior is only 25 and (if not overworked) could be a great pitcher for a long time. Tejada is at his peak now and will only continue to decline as he ages. He has never had a .900 OPS season -- even in hitter-friendly Camden.

Moving to Wrigley, Tejada could produce more homeruns and hit well. But Prior is a rarity -- a pitcher who has dominated in a hitters' ballpark. With a little care (though not likely from Dusty Baker), Prior could produce 17-20 wins for the Cubs for the next 7 years. Tejada won't be that valuable for the same period of time.

If the Cubs do it, they better get money and prospects.

As a Yankee fan, I would rather not have Prior in our division either.

2005-12-28 12:24:23
78.   Zack
debris,
its not that I don't think the Sox can somehow get another rediculous trade, for instance, that trade you just posted seems rediculous. It still amounts to a Manny for Tejada trade for the Sox, which is way lopsided in favor of the Sox. And the Damon signing is only good because it costs the Sox, of course :)

As for the Cubs trading Prior, if I were them, I would do that in a heartbeat. Prior has shown no tendency to stay healthy, and while he is a dominant pitcher, it doesn't matter how dominant youa re if you are on the dl. In Tejada they get the best shortstop in the game at a position that is very difficult to fill. And if the O's throw in Bedard too, then its a steal...

2005-12-28 12:55:51
79.   debris
Don't see it, Zack. Much as I love Tejada, he just doesn't crank it like Manny. Yes, there's the defensive upgrade. Yes, there's Tejada's leadership. Yes, they save $8 M and cut the price of every ticket by $2. But Manny's never had an OPS under 960. Miggy's never had one over 894. The career difference is 185 points. If there were a $12 M outfielder for them to spend their money on, I could see it, but there ain't and Damon's no $12 M outfielder.

In another winter where the money could be directed elsewhere, this deal might make sense, but it doesn't today.

And I agree with you that the Damon deal is only good if it costs the Sox. That still remains to be seen. On a possibly humorous note, the coach at Oregon State is suggesting that the Sox give a serious look see at Jacoby Ellsbury for the CF job. Ellsbury was the Sox' first round pick last year out of OSU and had a bang up first professional season, but something tells me the pitching's a bit tougher in the Bronx and Toronto than it is on Staten Island and Coney Island.

BTW, I don't see this deal happening and I've also read that the Chicago end of it is dead as well.

On another note, you know how some guys just have it in for some teams. Like Eduardo Perez seemed to know just what pitch was coming from whatever Yankee he happened to be facing last year. Well, as long as he's been a Jay, Orlando Hudson has owned the Red Sox. There breathes not a Sox fan on the face of the earth who isn't happy to see young Hudson in the other league. (Sometime, if you can find the splits, you should take a look at Stan Musial's numbers against Brooklyn. As good as he was overall, he at the Dodgers alive. I'll bet he hit .400 for his career.)

2005-12-29 06:38:41
80.   The Mick 536
While Mickey Muscles or the Two Micks as Casey called him played more games in Center than all other pinstripers, the number of games is a mileading indicator of his prowess. More than showing his domination of the position and his institution as a legend, it shows how needy and weak the team has been at the position since Joe D. retired. Remember that The Mick started in 1951 as a right fielder. When he inherited the position the following year, he was already damaged goods, having destroyed his knee on an outfield drain chasing a ball that the Clipper should have called him off on. Not a natural outfielder, he started his career as a weak shortstop (Murcer started his at 3B - Tresh at SS), and was moved to Center to improve the infield, not the outfield. During the 1950's in the City, he wasn't even the most loved of the three, earning boos for his offish attitude, especially with the press, his avoiding the draft, and all those Ks. Willie Mays was far and away the leading CFer of the time. Duke, it was said, didn't have that much territory to cover, but what was there he did pretty well at.

Not until the race to pass Ruth he lost to Roger Maris did the fans show him their love. 61 embellishes the story without telling the truth. He missed the end of the season due to an infection from a dirty needle. Mel Allen, the less than sober announcer had referred him to a doctor fell good for a vitamin shot.

By then the Mick had suffered a series of injuries that left him a mass of scar tissue that covered a disappearing liver. He had a number of caddies during the 60s, including Roger Maris, Bob Cerv, Ken Hunt, Tony Kubek, Jim Pisoni, Jack Reed, Joe Pepitone (he played great going from Gold Glove first to Center), Phil Linz, Tom Tresh (the planned successor), Hector Lopez, Archie Moore, Ross Moschito, Roger Repoz, Roy White, Lou Clinton, Steve Whitaker, Jerry Kenney, and the more than forgettable Bill Robinson who never hit better than .240.

Moreover, before moving to first, The Mick spent time in left and right. According to Dick Lally in Pinstriped Summers, he could go sideways and not forward or back. A shoulder injury repaired at the Mayo clinic limited his ability to throw. By 1965 he had become a defensive liability, probably costing the Yankees as many games with his glove as he won with his bat. Tom Tresh replaced him. He, too, got injured.

The players who trolled the turf in center after The Mick possesed range and speed. Cannot remember one with a strong arm. Maddox could have been the best until a muddy field at Shea during the reconstruction cost him his knee.

Mickey Rivers, my favorite, once turned his back as the Goose pitched to get a better jump on balls hit over his head. Oh those myths of invincibility.

Then there were regular,lackluster centerfielders: Rupert Jones (1980), Jerry Mumphry (1981-1983), Omar Moreno (1984), Rickey Henderson (1985-6), Claudell Washington (1987-1988), Roberto Kelly (1989-90). And who can forget Billy Cowan, Jim Lyttle, Rusty Torres, Felip Alou, Terry Whitfield, Larry Murray, Rich Coggins, Walt Williams, Ron Swaboda, Rick Bladert, Bobby Bonds, Kerry Dinear, Dave Bergman, Paul Blair, Gary Thomasson, Juan Beniquez, Bobby Brown, Jay Johnstone, Bobby Murcer (again), RON GUIDRY, Ted Wilborn, Dave Winfield, Stan Javier, Mike Patterson, Dave Collins, Victor Matta, Ken Griffey, Henry Cotto, Gary Roenicke, Jay Buhner, Gary Ward, Stan Jefferson, DEION SANDERS, Jesse Barfield, Scott Lusader, Pat Sheridan, Dion James, Randy Vellarde, Mike Humphries, Daryl Boston, Chad Curtis, Rickey Ledee, Ruben Rivera, Clay Bellinger, David Justice, Ryan Thompson, Scott Brosius, Donzell MacDonald, Robert Perez, Mike Coleman, Raul Mondesi, Juan Rivera, Gerald Williams, Rondell White, David DeLucci, Chris Lathum, Karim Garcia, Hideki Matsui, Bubba Crosby, Kenny Lofton, and Melke Cabrera.

Bernie came over from Columbus in 1991. Not satisfied, they returned to Kelly in 1992. Bernie won the job by default in 1993. Very steady. Couldn't go in or throw. Couldn't run bases or steal. But you got to love him. Still haven't figured out how he won the Gold Glove those year, but then again Jete won this year.

Bernie hasn't been the answer, though he didn't become a liability until last year. The Yankees have been looking for a superstar in the position for forty years. Willie Magee would have been a legend, but they let him go to the Cardinals. Damon ain't it. Shoudda waited for Jones.

By the way, I am new to the blog, a first time poster. I bleed Pinstripes, especially for The Mick. I also follow the game.

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