Tagged: december 24

December 24 – Happy Birthday Bill Otis

You would think that with a last name like Otis, this guy would at least have had an “up and down” career with the Yankees parent club and their farm system. Unfortunately for Bill, his entire big league experience consisted of just four games for the 1912 New York Highlanders (the team’s name before they became the Yankees.) He got just one hit in seventeen at bats that year but that one hit came off the immortal Hall-of-Famer, Walter Johnson. He is the only current or former Yankee to be born on Christmas Eve. He’s also the only native of Scituate, MA to play Major League baseball. When he died in 1990 at the age of 100, he was the oldest living former MLB player on the planet.

The only other member of the Yankee family to be born on Christmas Eve is this former NL All Star pitcher who was signed by New York in 2011 but only pitched for their Triple A team in Scranton.

1912 NYY 4 20 17 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 3 .059 .200 .059 .259
1 Yr 4 20 17 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 3 .059 .200 .059 .259
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/24/2013.

December 24 – Happy Birthday Kevin Millwood

millwoodThis big right-hander was coming off the worst season in his 14-year big league career, when the Yankees signed the Gastonia, North Carolina native to a free agent minor-league contract just before the 2011 season opened. Millwood’s 4-16 record with the Orioles in 2010 had scared away most big league teams but his 159 lifetime wins and the uncertainty of New York’s own starting rotation convinced Brian Cashman to grab the former NL All Star and hold him in reserve. The Yanks assigned Millwood to their Scranton-Wilkes Barre Triple A team. If either Freddie Garcia or Bartolo Colon had failed to perform for the parent club during the opening weeks of the 2011 season, New York intended to use Millwood as their replacement.

Millwood pitched well during his opening month in the minors but both Colon and Garcia were doing likewise with the Yankees. Instead of waiting around for circumstances to change, Millwood chose to opt out of his Yankee contract and sign with the Red Sox. By that August, Millwood was 7-2 for the season in Triple A but with no hope of getting called up by the Red Sox either. When the Rockies were looking for a starter, he got Boston to release him and he ended up in Colorado’s rotation during the last two months of the 2011 regular season, going 4-3. He pitched the 2012 season with the Mariners.

The only member of the Yankee all-time roster who actually played for the big league club is this former outfielder who lived to be 100 years-old.