Well what do you know? There is yet another Yankee nicknamed Babe on the team’s all-time roster. This one’s real name was William Borton, a native of Marion, IL who made his big league debut as a 23-year-old first baseman with the 1912 Chicago White Sox. He only appeared in 31 games that season but he caused quite a stir in the Windy City by averaging .371 in his rookie year. That earned him a spot on the team’s 1913 roster, but thanks to the unsavory behavior of one of the most notorious players in Yankee team history, he would not finish his second season as a White Sox.
Hal Chase had been the Yankee’s best player and a fan favorite during the franchise’s first decade in New York. Unfortunately, he was also a gambler and a con man. Chase would do anything for money including throwing baseball games and by 1913, he had worn out his welcome in New York. The Yankees traded him to Chicago for today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant and a White Sox infielder named Rollie Zeider on June 1, 1913. While Chase hit .286 for the White Sox during the second half of that season, Babe Borton floundered badly in New York, averaging just .130. As a result, he was not invited back by the Yankees the following year.
Instead, Borton played minor league ball in 1914 and then signed on with the St Louis Terriers of the upstart Federal League in 1915. He became a star for the Terriers, averaging a robust .286 and leading the new league in both runs and walks. When the Federal League went belly up at the end of that 1915 season, Borton signed on with the St. Louis Browns. He again struggled against American League pitching, averaging just .224 for the Browns in 1916 and would never again play in a big league ball game. He spent the next four years putting up some very decent numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Ironically, the guy the Yanks got for Hal Chase ended up getting suspended from that league when he admitted to accepting money to throw games.
|CHW (2 yrs)||59||224||185||24||61||8||1||0||30||2||31||14||.330||.429||.384||.812|
|SLM (1 yr)||159||668||549||97||157||20||14||3||83||17||92||64||.286||.395||.390||.785|
|NYY (1 yr)||33||131||108||8||14||2||0||0||11||1||18||19||.130||.260||.148||.408|
|SLB (1 yr)||66||118||98||10||22||1||2||1||12||1||19||13||.224||.350||.306||.657|
When the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez as their Manager during the 2010 season, he was replaced by today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant, Edwin Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a former big league infielder from Ponce Puerto Rico, who had signed with the Yankees back in 1980 when he was 19-years-old. Two years later, the Yankees brought him up at the end of September for a look-see and then-NY-Manager, Clyde King gave him two starts at second base. He went 3-for-9 in those two games and never played another as a Yankee. The following September he was traded to San Diego with Dennis Rasmussen in the deal that brought John Montefusco to the Bronx. He played his last big league game for the Padres in 1985. He shares his August 14th birthday with this former Yankee shortstop.
Rodriguez was the second former Yankee player to manage the Marlins. Joe Girardi was the first. I’ve put together the following all-time lineup of Yankee players who managed in the big leagues:
1b – Don Mattingly
2b – Billy Martin*
3b – Bobby Cox*
ss – Leo Durocher*
c – Joe Girardi*
of – Hank Bauer*
of – Lou Piniella*
of – Yogi Berra
dh – Don Baylor
p – Eddie Lopat
Other former Yankee players who’ve become big league skippers include; Willie Randolph, Bucky Dent, Gene Michael, Red Rolfe, Bob Shawkey, Ralph Houk*, Felipe Alou, Roger Bresnahan, Frank Chance*, Hal Chase, Ben Chapman, Billy Gardner, Bob Geren, Toby Harrah, Dick Howser*, Billy Hunter, Hal Lanier, Lee Mazzilli, John McGraw*, Bill McKechnie*, Jerry Narron, Johnny Oates, Steve O’Neill*, Roger Peckinpaugh, Wilbert Robinson, Tommy Sheehan, Ken Sylvestri, Robin Ventura.
*Won at least one World Series as a manager.
1974 was a good year for the New York Yankees. After falling eight games back in their Division race by that season’s All Star break, Manager Bill Virdon’s team got hot in the second half and battled Boston and Baltimore for first place, finishing in second, just two games behind the Birds. I remember going absolutely crazy when the Yankees swept Cleveland in a four-game series in late September and climbed into first place. Two days later, their time at the top ended when they lost a double header to the Red Sox. This marked the first time since 1964 that New York had been in first place during the month of September. The starting shortstop on that 1974 Yankee team was today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant. Born in Mobile, AL, in 1950, Mason was one of the last draft choices of the old Washington Senator franchise before they moved to Texas. He played 152 games for New York in 1974, batting .250 but committing 26 errors. He played quite a bit of shortstop for the Yankees the next two seasons as well and he pinch-hit the only Yankee home run in the disastrous 1976 World Series against the Big Red Machine.
Mason had succeeded “The Stick,” Gene Michael as New York’s starting shortstop. Fred Stanley then succeeded Mason. When I see New York sportswriters disparage an aging Derek Jeter’s supposed offensive shortcomings I just laugh. These pundits must have not been around when Michael, Stanley and Mason were around. This trio wrote the book on the offensive shortcomings of Yankee shortstops.
Mason shares his birthday with this long ago Yankee first baseman and this former Yankee infielder and one-time Florida Marlins’ Manager.
|TEX (5 yrs)||232||616||554||52||113||17||2||4||39||0||44||117||.204||.262||.264||.525|
|NYY (3 yrs)||339||974||880||75||183||28||9||8||67||1||66||173||.208||.261||.288||.548|
|MON (1 yr)||40||78||71||3||13||5||1||0||6||0||7||16||.183||.256||.282||.538|
|TOR (1 yr)||22||88||79||10||13||3||0||0||2||1||7||10||.165||.233||.203||.435|