This year, it is Chris Dickerson. In the past decade, its been easy-to-forget names like Kevin Thompson, Kevin Reese, Charlie Gipson, Marcus Thames and Michael Coleman. All of these guys were in their mid-to-late twenties, playing in the outfields of Yankee triple A farm teams when they got their late-season call-ups to the Bronx. It usually happened in September, when big league rosters expanded to forty slots and the parent club was looking to rest their regular outfielders or keep them healthy for the postseason. For most of these Yankee “utility” outfielders with the exception of Thames, those September moments became the extent of their big league careers and just about every one of them made a memorable play or had key at bats that would become their contributions to Yankee history and nostalgia.
That moment for today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant, Greg Golson, came during a crucial three-game mid September series against the Rays during the 2010 season. In game 3 of that set, Golson caught a pop fly to medium right field near the foul line and then gunned down speedster Carl Crawford who tried to tag on the catch and reach third base. It was a dramatic, bang-bang type of play and it ended the game and gave New York their only win in the critical series.
Originally a first round draft choice of the Phillies, Golson’s bounced around the minors for five seasons, striking out a bit too much to catch on with a big league team. The Yankees got him from Texas in January of 2010. He’s spent most of the following season in Scranton, where he averaged .263 and poked ten home runs. Golson was gifted with above average speed and was also a good base-stealer. He ended up appearing in 23 games and hitting .261 during his 2010 Yankee season. I thought he might have had a chance to make the roster the following spring as New York’s fourth outfielder but the Yankees signed Andruw Jones instead. Golson did get back to the Bronx in September of 2011 for another eight-game look see but was released by the Yankees following last-year’s postseason. He played in the White Sox organization in 2012. The Austin, TX native was born on this date in 1985.
The Texas Rangers became Golson’s second big league organization when the Phillies traded him for John Mayberry Jr, the son of former big league slugger and former Yankee, John Mayberry. Coincidentally, this only other member of the Yankee all-time roster to be born on September 17th was a prime candidate to replace the elder Mayberry as the Yankee starting first baseman when John Sr called it quits in 1982.