I did not find myself watching too many complete Yankee televised games back during the 1990 season. Why? Because the Yankee team was so bad that year, if I watched more than three or four innings of a game, something bad or stupid would usually happen that would give me agita and cause me to turn the channel. But I do clearly remember watching every single inning of a game that took place on July 1 of that season. Today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant started that contest against the White Sox.
The Yankees had signed Hawkins as a free agent in December of 1988, after the big right hander had spent his first seven big league seasons pitching for the Padres. The 1988 Yankees had finished in fifth place in the AL East but they had done so with a respectable 83-78 record and an aging starting pitching staff that included Tommy John, John Candelaria and Rick Rhoden. All three veteran hurlers were at the end of their careers and the Yankee front office was hoping that the younger Hawkins would become the ace of their staff for the next few years. He did become that ace during the 1989 season, but considering the rest of that staff included Clay Parker, Dave LaPoint, Greg Cadaret and Walt Terrell, that designation was not especially flattering. Hawkins finished 15-15 that season and New York again finished fifth in the AL East but this time they lost thirteen more games than they won.
With Steinbrenner stuck in the murky aftermath of the Howie Spira/Dave Winfield scandal, the Yankee front office was a complete mess. That explains why the team tried to fix their starting pitching woes with names like Tim Leary, Mike Witt and Chuck Cary. The 1990 Yankees turned out to be one of the worst New York teams in my lifetime.
Which brings me back to that July 1st game Hawkins pitched against the White Sox that year. He pitched perfect for four innings and ended up completing the game and not allowing a single hit. One other thing. The Yankees lost that day. New York’s defense crumbled in the eighth inning when three errors and a couple of walks led to four unearned Chicago runs. Hawkins wasn’t even credited with an official complete game no-hitter because as the visiting pitcher of the losing team, he only threw eight innings.
That loss was Hawkins’ fifth in six decisions that year. He would finish the season with a record of 5-12. Four weeks after Hawkins pitched his no-hitter-NOT, George Steinbrenner was suspended for his role in the Spira affair. The Yankees would end up in last place in their division in 1990, with the embarrassing record of 65-97. It was certainly not a great time to be a Yankee fan.
Hawkins shares his birthday with this Yankee reliever and this former Yankee catcher and frequent postseason Yankee opponent.
|SDP (7 yrs)||60||58||.508||3.84||199||172||14||19||7||0||1102.2||1089||531||471||99||412||489||1.361|
|NYY (3 yrs)||20||29||.408||5.21||66||63||2||7||3||0||378.2||417||243||219||48||164||177||1.534|
|OAK (1 yr)||4||4||.500||4.79||15||14||1||1||0||0||77.0||68||41||41||5||36||40||1.351|
With spring training just around the corner, I’m getting Yankee fever. The answers to all of the following questions are former New York Yankees who were born on January 21.
Player number one led the Yankee pitching staff with 15 victories in 1989. Who is player number one?
Player number two finished second behind closer Mo Rivera in most appearances for the 2003 AL Champion Yankees.
Player number three backed up Yankee starting catcher, Rick Cerone during both the 1980 and 1981 seasons before retiring and eventually becoming a big league manager. He managed against New York in both the 1998 and ’99 playoffs, losing each time. Who is player number three?
Although player number four has never played for the Yankees, he gave up three of the most dramatic home runs in pinstripe history. Who is player number four?
You’ll find the answers below:
Player number one is Andy Hawkins. Unfortunately, Andy also led that year’s Yankee pitching staff with 15 losses. He had signed a $3.6 million, three-year free-agent contract with New York before that 1989 season and finished his stay in pinstripes with a mediocre 20-29 record. Andy was born on January 21, 1960, in Waco, TX.
Player number two is Chris Hammond. He was born in Cleveland, OH, on January 21, 1966. He had already pitched for four different clubs when New York signed him as a free agent before the 2003 season. The left-hander finished that season with a 3-2 record, 1 save and a 2.68 ERA. After the Yankees lost to the Marlins in the 2003 World Series, Hammond was traded to the A’s.
Player number three is Johnny Oates. He was a nine-year veteran when the Yankees signed him to back up Cerone. He managed for both Baltimore and Texas and his Ranger teams were swept twice by New York in postseason play. Johnny was born in Sylva, NC on January 21, 1946. He died in December of 2004.
Player number four is Byung-Hyun Kim. No Yankee fan who witnessed the fourth and fifth games of the 2001 World Series will ever forget the home runs Kim gave up to Tino Martinez, Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius in games 4-5 at Yankee Stadium. Kim was born on January 21, 1979, in Gwagju, South Korea.