One of the smallest players in baseball during the time he played, this 5’8″ outfielder used one of the biggest gloves in baseball history. Polonia, a native of the Dominican Republic, had three tours of duty in pinstripes. In June of 1989 he was traded to New York by the A’s in the deal that sent Rickey Henderson back to Oakland. He hit .313 during the second half of that season but an alleged sexual escapade with a minor after a game in Milwaukee in August of that year, nearly destroyed his career. The Yankees sent him to the Angels the following April. He then had his best big league seasons with California, averaging over 50 stolen bases per season during the next three years. In 1994, he rejoined New York and batted .311 in 94 games of action as the Yankees’ starting left-fielder. Then in 2000, Louis played his final 37 big league games in a Yankee uniform. In all, Luis played 12 seasons in the Majors, batting .293 lifetime.
|NYY (5 yrs)||276||1019||914||151||271||45||11||6||88||44||85||102||.296||.357||.389||.746|
|CAL (4 yrs)||560||2347||2138||300||628||69||27||5||149||174||170||233||.294||.345||.358||.704|
|OAK (3 yrs)||268||1000||929||160||268||33||18||7||93||66||62||119||.288||.332||.385||.717|
|ATL (2 yrs)||50||90||84||9||27||7||0||0||4||4||4||12||.321||.348||.405||.753|
|DET (2 yrs)||167||653||600||83||181||31||13||16||57||25||38||57||.302||.343||.477||.819|
|BAL (1 yr)||58||187||175||25||42||4||1||2||14||8||10||20||.240||.285||.309||.594|
By July of the 1993 season, the Yankee bullpen had the highest earned run average in the American League. Closer Steve Farr was in the final year of his three-year Yankee contract and his ERA had skyrocketed to over four. There wasn’t a middle reliever or set-up guy who was doing much better. Steve Howe and Paul Gibson, the team’s two left-handed relievers, couldn’t seem to get anyone out. That’s why the Yankees felt it was imperative to acquire southpaw Paul Assenmacher from the Chicago Cubs at the All Star break. The Detroit native had spent his first seven-and-a-half big league seasons pitching out of the NL bullpens of the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs, compiling a 39-30 record with 41 saves and a 3.41 ERA. He was also a workhorse, having pitched in more than 70 games in each of his three previous seasons.
Second year Yankee manager, Buck Showalter put his new bullpen acquisition to work immediately and the results were not instantly encouraging. Assenmacher blew a save opportunity in his first pinstriped appearance. But than he got hot. In his next 12 games he gave up just one run while winning both of his decisions and being credited with five holds. He got lit up pretty good in his first appearance in September versus the White Sox but pitched well from there on out. He finished his half year as a Yankee with a 2-2 record and an ERA of 3.12. I thought those numbers were good enough to earn him a spot on New York’s 1994 roster but he was instead traded to the White Sox for right-hander Brian Boehringer about two weeks before the new season started. The Yanks would have done better keeping Assenmacher. During the next four years he went 11-6 with two saves and an ERA in the low threes while Boehringer was going 5-9 with no saves for New York.
Big Paul would continue pitching until 1999, retiring with a 61-44 record, 56 saves and a lifetime ERA of 3.53. No pitcher in baseball appeared in more than the 644 games Assemacher pitched in during the 1990s. He later became a baseball coach at a Catholic High School in Atlanta. He shares his birthday with this former Yankee outfielder and this one-time Yankee backup receiver.
|CLE (5 yrs)||19||10||.655||3.83||309||0||82||0||0||8||214.0||225||102||91||20||77||209||1.411|
|CHC (5 yrs)||22||16||.579||3.42||279||1||93||0||0||33||331.1||310||132||126||32||118||328||1.292|
|ATL (4 yrs)||17||14||.548||3.46||226||0||83||0||0||14||260.0||246||118||100||19||98||230||1.323|
|NYY (1 yr)||2||2||.500||3.12||26||0||6||0||0||0||17.1||10||6||6||0||9||11||1.096|
|CHW (1 yr)||1||2||.333||3.55||44||0||11||0||0||1||33.0||26||13||13||2||13||29||1.182|
Nineteen-sixty-five was the year the Yankee dynasty crumbled. For over four decades before that season, ever since Babe Ruth first put on pinstripes, every Yankee team that took the field each opening day had a very good shot at winning the pennant. That 1965 team did not. The team’s front office thought they did but the truth was that the players New York most depended on to have good years had all gotten old at the same time. Bobby Richardson, Tony Kubek, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford and Elston Howard were all suddenly over the hill and would never enjoy season performances that came close to their career averages.
Howard, who turned 36 during the 1965 season, was breaking down physically. His throwing elbow had bone chips floating around it and Ellie experienced terrific pain whenever he tried to throw a ball hard. The problem was that Howard’s longtime backup with New York, Johnny Blanchard, could not throw very well with a perfectly healthy elbow so Yankee GM Ralph Houk and Manager Johnny Keane made a deal with Kansas City. They sent Blanchard and reliever Rollie Sheldon to the A’s in return for today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant, Doc Edwards. When Blanchard found out about the deal he began crying like a baby in the Yankee locker room. His concerned teammates tried to cheer him up by telling him he would finally be a starting catcher but the inconsolable Blanchard preferred sitting on the Yankee bench over playing regularly anywhere else.
Edwards could throw but he was a horrible hitter. He appeared in 45 games that year and got just 19 hits in 100 at bats for a .190 average. Perhaps if the rest of the Yankee lineup had been hitting decently, Edwards offensive shortcomings would not have been so glaring. New York let him go after that one season and the six year big league veteran spent the next five seasons down in the minors trying to earn another shot with the big show. That happened in 1970, when Tim McCarver got hurt and the Phillies needed a backup catcher on their roster. Edwards then became a Minor League Manager, and eventually skippered the Cleveland Indians for three lackluster seasons in the mid eighties. He was born in Red Jacket, WV in 1936.
Edwards shares his December 10th birthday with this outfielder who played for the Yankees three different times and this former Yankee reliever.
|KCA (3 yrs)||174||586||554||42||129||22||0||11||63||0||25||65||.233||.272||.332||.604|
|CLE (2 yrs)||63||187||174||19||47||8||0||3||9||0||11||20||.270||.321||.368||.689|
|PHI (1 yr)||35||86||78||5||21||0||0||0||6||0||4||10||.269||.313||.269||.582|
|NYY (1 yr)||45||114||100||3||19||3||0||1||9||1||13||14||.190||.289||.250||.539|