Tagged: august 12

August 12 – Happy Birthday Dave Pavlas

The great Mariano Rivera was not used as a closer during his final minor league seasons with the Yankees’ Columbus Clippers Triple A farm team. Instead, that task was handed to today’s much lesser known Pinstripe Birthday celebrant. Dave Pavlas was born in West Germany on August 12, 1962. This tall and lanky right-hander led the Clippers in saves for three straight seasons, from 1995 through 1997. Unfortunately, he was already 33 years-old by the time he joined Columbus.

Pavlas had made his big league debut back in 1990, as a reliever with the Cubs. He got into thirteen games in his first season, won his only two decisions and compiled an impressive 2.11 ERA. But he started the next season back in the minors and when the Cubs gave him another chance at the Big Show it wasn’t much of one. In late July of the ’91 season, Pavlas was given the ball in the top of the ninth, with his team behind 4-0 against the Braves. He was hit hard, gave up a couple of runs and didn’t get another chance to pitch from a Major League mound for the next four years.

The Yankees signed him to a minor league contract in early 1995. He got called up to the Bronx in both 1995 and ’96 and did some effective relief pitching for the World Championship team of 1996. He earned his one and only big league save on August 24th of that season when he came on in the ninth inning with two men on, two outs and New York leading Oakland 5-4. The first batter he faced was future Yankee Scott Brosius, who got an infield single to load the bases. He then struck out another future Yankee, Jason Giambi, to preserve the victory.

He was just one of 14 big league players and the only member of the Yankee’s all-time roster to have been born in West Germany and he will forever hold that distinction since that country no longer technically exists. Pavlas shares his birthday with this Cuban defector who played in pinstripes.

1995 NYY 0 0 3.18 4 0 1 0 0 0 5.2 8 2 2 0 0 3 1.412
1996 NYY 0 0 2.35 16 0 8 0 0 1 23.0 23 7 6 0 7 18 1.304
4 Yrs 2 0 1.000 2.65 34 0 13 0 0 1 51.0 57 18 15 3 13 33 1.373
CHC (2 yrs) 2 0 1.000 2.82 14 0 4 0 0 0 22.1 26 9 7 3 6 12 1.433
NYY (2 yrs) 0 0 2.51 20 0 9 0 0 1 28.2 31 9 8 0 7 21 1.326
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/13/2013.

August 12 – Happy Birthday Michel Hernandez

One year before “El Duque” fled Cuba and signed with the Yankees and a year after his older brother, Livan did the same, there was another Cuban named Hernandez who made the same escape. His first name was Michel, he was no relation to the Hernandez siblings and he was a 23-year-old, highly heralded catcher. The Yankees managed to sign him but not without controversy. Major League Baseball began an investigation of allegations that some of the necessary paperwork filed by New York was forged.

As it turned out, Michel was not quite good enough to enjoy a long career as a Major League catcher. He spent five unspectacular years in the Yankee farm system before getting his only shot at the parent club. That opportunity came in September of the 2003 season. Joe Torre got him into his first four games as a late-inning replacement for Jorge Posada and then started him against the Orioles. He got his first hit against Baltimore’s Rodrigo Lopez when he led off the bottom-of-the-eighth inning of a tied game with a line drive single. Torre then sent Alfonso Soriano into run for him and Michel Hernandez’ Yankee career was over.

The following January the Yankees put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Red Sox. It would take the catcher another five years to get his second shot at the Big Leagues and by then, he was a member of the Ray’s organization. In 2009, he got into 35 games for Tampa as their back-up catcher and hit his first and only big league home run against Josh Beckett. He’s still playing minor league ball for the Cleveland organization.

The only other Yankee born on August 12th is this pitcher. One of my favorite actors of all time, John Cazale, who played Fredo in the Godfather movies, Sal in Dog Day Afternoon and Stosh in the Deer Hunter was also born on this date in 1936. He died on March 12, 1978 from lung cancer during filming of the Deer Hunter. Cazale was only in five movies during his short lifetime and all five were nominated for the Academy Award’s Best Picture Oscar.

2003 NYY 5 5 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
3 Yrs 45 127 118 14 28 3 1 1 12 2 8 16 .237 .286 .305 .591
TBR (2 yrs) 40 122 114 14 27 3 1 1 12 2 7 15 .237 .281 .307 .588
NYY (1 yr) 5 5 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/13/2013.