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Author Archives: Mike Sommer
He was known as the “Major,” and for good reason. He kept a helmet on his mantelpiece, a helmet with a bullet hole in it that if that bullet hole were say, ¼” lower, he would have been KIA in WWII. An Army Ranger, Ralph Houk became a Major while serving at Bastogne and fighting in ...
Some players are legends, with many moments over their careers that stand out, while others long for that one brief shining moment; that one moment in time (cue Whitney Houston) where they can be a star. Such a ballplayer was Brian Doyle. Doyle was a small infielder, whose brother, Denny Doyle, played in the 1975 WS as ...
No one wants to be the goat, especially of a championship game. If so, you want the chance to redeem yourself. Ralph Terry got that chance… with a bit of good fortune mixed in. Terry came up with the Yanks, was sent to KC for “seasoning” (the criticism of the 1950’s being that KC was like a ...
He was 5’4”, 140 lbs. Think Freddie “the Flea” Patek. Yet Wee Willie Keeler was known for “hitting them where they ain’t” while on his way to 2932 hits, a .341 career batting average, and the Hall of Fame. At the same time that the AL Baltimore Orioles moved to NY in 1903 and became the ...
In a week when the Yankees unexpectedly picked up one Japanese superstar player, another Japanese superstar player who once played for the Yankees was designated for assignment and could see his career officially ending. This past winter, Hideki Matsui, affectionately known as “Godzilla,” was searching for a job. He didn’t find one until late this ...
One day, someone may write the definitive biography on Billy Martin. Maybe it’ll be someone like Jane Leavy, who has already written two books, one on Sandy Koufax, and another on Mickey Mantle, that are excellent. There is a catch, though. There are so many sides to Billy Martin. To capture them all in one ...
He’s best remembered for a “headache” and for the person who replaced him. Even today, his name is brought up anytime a regular has a day off and his replacement does well---the fear being that the regular won’t get his job back. But what people seem to forget is that Wally Pipp was a good player ...
He had one brother that could hit, won an MVP award, got HOF consideration and who had his number retired. He also had another brother who pitched in the majors. He was one of fourteen children. When he became a Yankee, Mickey Mantle told him it was ok to wear #6 (Mantle’s number as a rookie ...
Before Graig Nettles, before A-Rod, the general consensus was that Robert Abial “Red” Rolfe was the best Yankees third baseman ever. Rolfe, a lefty hitter who wore #2, came up to the Yanks in 1931 for one game at shortstop. He didn’t get to bat. He would not return to the Yanks until 1934. He played some ...
Spahn and Sain and pray for rain… Although Johnny Sain is famous for that phrase associated with the 1948 Boston Braves, he also made a considerable impact on the Yankees, both as a player and as a coach. In 1942, Sain, age 24, made it to the majors with the Boston Braves. His manager was the one ...