A Memorable Day and Night for Yankee Stadium…
Happy Mother’s Day! With no offense to Derek Jeter, that’s still the primary special occasion today. So I hope it’s a wonderful Mother’s Day for all mothers in the Yankees Universe. This is your day! None of us would be here getting ready to celebrate Derek Jeter Night if not for you.
Congrats to Derek Jeter as he gets ready to leave a permanent reminder of his notable Yankee achievements in Monument Park. Unless someone eventually takes number “0”, it’s the final single-digit number to be retired.
As the number 2 begins to make its way to the Monument Park Wall, it’s hard not to remember when it was worn by the late Bobby Murcer. Murcer wore the number when he was reacquired from the Chicago Cubs in 1979 until his release in 1983. Bobby was a great Yankee. I don’t really remember much of his first tour with the Yankees, but growing up in the Midwest, Murcer was constantly on TV with the Cubs. I knew his history with the Yankees and he was a welcome addition to the 1979 Yankees which would soon be marred by one of the team’s greatest tragedies (the death of catcher Thurman Munson). As a close friend of Munson, Murcer’s actions and words in the days following the tragic plane crash in Akron, Ohio were huge. It was easy to see how much Murcer loved Munson and the Yankees. We were later privileged to have Murcer as a Yankees broadcaster until his passing.
Of course, #2 recognition also has to be given to Mark Koenig who was the first Yankee to wear the number in 1929 courtesy of his spot in the lineup. Koenig, the team’s shortstop, was part of the famed 1927 Murderer’s Row, when he batted second in front of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.
Yankees third baseman Red Rolfe wore the number from 1931 until his retirement after the 1942 season.
The only person to wear #2 for more years than Jeter was Frankie Crosetti. Also a shortstop, Crosetti spent his entire 17-year playing career as a member of the Yankees. He started wearing #2 in the final years of his playing career in 1945 and continued throughout his 20-year coaching career with the team which ended in 1968.
While Number 2 is being retired for Jeter, the number will forever carry the significant contributions of those who wore the number before the kid from Kalamazoo.
The first game of today’s double-header begins at 2:05 pm Eastern. The Derek Jeter Night pre-game ceremony scheduled between games will start no earlier than 6:30 pm ET. The second game of the doubleheader will begin following the pregame ceremony but no earlier than 7:30 pm ET. Many former teammates will be in attendance including David Cone, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Gerald Williams, and Bernie Williams. Former Yankee greats Reggie Jackson and Willie Randolph will also be there, along with Dick Groch, an area scout who signed Jeter, former Yankees head athletic trainer Gene Monahan, and Jean “Soot” Zimmer, widow of former Yankees coach Don Zimmer.
Derek Jeter, this is your day…your night. Enjoy!
The New York Post’s Steve Serby had a Q&A with Aaron Hicks this morning. When asked what is the biggest criticism he’s heard that bothers him the most, he responded: “I don’t want to be considered…I want to be a starter. I don’t want to be a fourth outfielder. That’s kind of something that I don’t like. I’m better than a fourth outfielder.” I agree 100%. Sadly it is time for GM Brian Cashman to create the room in the outfield for Hicks to start. Without question, I would love for the Yankees to move Jacoby Ellsbury, but that’s not happening. So, it is back to Brett Gardner as the most marketable outfield asset for a trade. Gardner’s recent homer binge hopefully raised his perceived value.
Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year $21.65 million contract for the 2018 season. It includes a $1 million incentive if he win’s the MVP Award. The contract buys out Harper’s final year of arbitration eligibility and he maintains eligibility to become a free agent following the 2018 season. He’s making $13.625 million this year. To celebrate his new contract, he hit a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. I am anxious to see what he does when he signs that 10-year $400 million deal with the Yankees in a couple of years. Hal, it’s just money…
It’s not really Yankees news but Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta took a fastball to the face in Friday’s action. The pitch fractured some teeth and Iannetta’s nose, but the catcher is doing okay and hoping to avoid a DL stint. The pitch was thrown by former Yankees prospect Johnny Barbato, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this year. All the best to Iannetta with his recovery. It could have been much worse and I am thankful it was not.
Have a great Mother’s Day and Derek Jeter Night! Let’s take two!