How times change. In 2006, the Yankee right-hander Jaret Wright went 11-7 with a 4.49 ERA. It was the right-hander’s option year and the Yanks could have kept him in their rotation the next season by paying him $7 million or buy him out for $4 million. If it was this 2013 offseason instead of ’06, its a pretty safe bet Wright would have been pitching in the Bronx next year. But back then, Brian Cashman was convinced he could find someone better than Wright so in a creative deal, the Yankee GM exercised the team’s option and then traded the starting pitcher to the Orioles with $4 million and got today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant back in return.
Chris Britton was a huge 280 pound Florida-born relief pitcher who had been drafted by Baltimore in 2001 and made his big league debut pitching out of the O’s bullpen in 2006. He pitched decently as a reliever for Joe Torre during his first season in pinstripes, which included two stints back in Triple A. In 11 appearances for New York, he managed a 3.55 ERA. He started the ’08 season back in Scranton but pitched well for new Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, in three separate call-ups during the first half of that season. He then got a final call-up in mid August and was used heavily by Girardi the rest of the way. Unfortunately for Britton, he got hit hard during that stretch and was released by New York that December. He kept pitching in the minors until 2011, before hanging up his glove for good, at the age of 28.
Here’s my all-time lineup of Yankees who, like Britton, were born in the Sunshine State.
The only other Yankee born on December 16 is this little-known former Yankee outfielder.
|NYY (2 yrs)||0||1||.000||4.54||26||0||18||0||0||0||35.2||37||18||18||6||15||17||1.458|
|BAL (1 yr)||0||2||.000||3.35||52||0||12||0||0||1||53.2||46||22||20||4||17||41||1.174|
How many ballplayers can say they once replaced Mr. October during an October baseball game? Today’s birthday celebrant can. He made his last appearance in Pinstripes by replacing Reggie Jackson in right field at the start of the third inning, during an October 5, 1980 game against Detroit. It was New York’s regular season finale and the Yankees had already clinched their Division. New York Manager, Dick Howser let Reggie get an at bat (he tripled) and then pulled his superstar out of the meaningless contest and replaced him with Wilborn. Ted’s real name is Thaddeus Inglehart Wilborn. He was born in Waco, TX, on December 16, 1958.
New York had originally drafted this speedster in the 4th round of the 1976 Major League Draft but then lost him to Toronto in the Rule 5 Draft two years later. The Yankees got him back from the Blue Jays in the same 1979 deal that had brought catcher Rick Cerone to the Bronx. He appeared in just eight games for New York during his only season in pinstripes. He went back down into the Yankee farm system the following year and ended up getting packaged in a 1982 trade with the Giants for Doyle Alexander. He went on to steal over 200 bases in the Minors but never again played in a big league game.
This former Yankee reliever was also born on December 16.
|NYY (1 yr)||8||8||8||2||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||.250||.250||.250||.500|
|TOR (1 yr)||22||14||12||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||7||.000||.077||.000||.077|