This St.Louis native evidently had a tough time leaving home. He went to college at St. Louis University and then after a couple of seasons in the minors, signed with his hometown Browns. It soon looked as if Robertson was on his way to big league stardom when he won the starting third base position for St. Louis in 1924 and averaged .319. The following season, the 5’7″, 152 pound left-handed hitter surprised all of baseball by belting 14 round-trippers and driving in a career high 76 runs.
Then in 1926 he stopped hitting and the Browns let him go. He spent the 1927 season regaining his stroke with the St.Paul Saints. Yankee skipper, Miller Huggins, had become a silent one-third owner of the Saints’ franchise in 1924 and over the next few seasons, the contracts of several St.Paul players were purchased by the Yankees, including Robertson’s in August of 1927.
He made his Yankee debut the following year, sharing third base pretty much evenly with “Jumpin” Joe Dugan and averaging .291 during his first season in pinstripes. That fall, he saw the only World Series action of his career, appearing in three games against the Cardinals, driving in two runs and winning his first and only ring.
When the Yankees struggled early during the 1929 season, Huggins, who had been feeling physically lousy since spring training, inserted Robertson as his every-day third baseman. He again hit for a decent average but once it became clear his team had no chance of catching the Philadelphia A’s in that year’s pennant race, the Yankee skipper decided he needed to begin rebuilding the Yankee lineup for the 1930 season. He made 23-year-old Lyn Lary his new starting third baseman and in his last player personnel move before checking into the hospital, Huggins sold Robertson to the Boston Braves. One week later Huggins was dead.
Robertson got off to a horrible start for the Braves in 1930 and was hitting just .186 when he was sent to the Pacific Coast League. He passed away in 1981 at the age of 81. He joins this speedy outfielder and this one too as former Yankees who were born on Christmas day.
|SLB (6 yrs)||454||1767||1553||229||431||75||17||19||166||23||157||64||.278||.347||.384||.732|
|BSN (2 yrs)||29||98||87||8||19||1||0||0||13||1||6||3||.218||.269||.230||.499|
|NYY (2 yrs)||173||624||560||74||165||24||6||1||71||5||42||12||.295||.345||.364||.709|
Only two New York Yankees have led the American League in stolen bases three times while wearing pinstripes and both celebrate their birthdays on Christmas day. Today’s birthday celebrant accomplished it in consecutive seasons beginning in 1931.
Chapman began his big league career in 1930, when Bob Shawkey made the rookie the Yankees’ starting third baseman. The Nashville native had a terrific first year, hitting .316 and driving in 81 runs. When Joe McCarthy took over as New York manager the following season, he switched Chapman to left field, where he teamed with Babe Ruth and Earle Combs to give the Yankees one of their best outfields in franchise history. Chapman was more than just a base-stealer. He drove in 327 runs during the next three seasons while the Bambino had 403 RBIs of his own during that same span. Chapman later replaced Combs as the Yankee starting center fielder.
During his seven seasons in the Bronx, Chapman averaged .305 and played great defensively. So why did the Yankees trade such a talented ballplayer to the Senators for a guy named Jake Powell just before the midway point of the 1936 season? There were actually two reasons. The first was a young center fielder named Joe DiMaggio, who showed up in the Bronx in 1936. But perhaps the biggest reason Chapman was dealt was because he also happened to be one of the meanest and most unfriendly Yankees to ever put on the uniform. He got into fights with everybody, umpires, opponents, teammates, it didn’t matter who. He insulted Babe Ruth, was suspended for hitting an umpire and told his first wife he wanted a divorce just two months after they were married. Worst of all, Chapman was also considered by many to be a vocal racist and an anti-semite. And he must of got meaner as he got older because once the Yankees got rid of him, Chapman was traded seven more times during the next dozen years. His meanest and lowest moments came after he retired as a player when in 1947, while he was manager of the Phillies, Chapman became infamous for his relentless and unusually cruel hazing of the great Jackie Robinson.
Chapman was definitely the Yankee Grinch who stole a lot of bases.
|NYY (7 yrs)||910||4018||3539||626||1079||209||64||60||589||184||404||362||.305||.379||.451||.830|
|WSH (3 yrs)||160||750||641||123||195||49||8||5||82||29||105||31||.304||.403||.429||.832|
|PHI (2 yrs)||25||54||52||5||16||2||0||0||4||0||2||1||.308||.333||.346||.679|
|BOS (2 yrs)||240||1040||903||168||293||63||19||13||137||40||122||68||.324||.405||.480||.885|
|BRO (2 yrs)||33||68||60||13||17||4||0||0||14||1||7||5||.283||.358||.350||.708|
|CLE (2 yrs)||292||1285||1093||183||315||71||15||10||132||31||165||75||.288||.384||.408||.792|
|CHW (1 yr)||57||210||190||26||43||9||1||2||19||2||19||14||.226||.297||.316||.612|
Ricky Henderson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. Few have deserved the honor more. Just ask Ricky. Ricky will also tell you he was the best Christmas present Major League Baseball ever received. He was born in Chicago on Christmas Day in 1958. The all-time leader in stolen bases, runs scored, and walks, he was the Yankee left fielder for four and a half seasons, beginning in 1985. His career in pinstripes lasted a total of 596 games, during which he set both the single season (93) and all-time (326) Yankee marks for steals before returning to the Athletics during the 1989 season.
In all, Ricky played the game for 25 big-league seasons and wore nine different uniforms doing it. He ended up hitting .279 lifetime and garnered 1,406 stolen bases. His career stolen-base mark will be a tough one to surpass. Number two on the list is Lou Brock who stole 938. The closest active player is Juan Pierre, who played for the White Sox last season and now has 554 career steals. Boston’s Carl Crawford is currently next among active players with 427.
Ricky led the league in steals three different times while wearing the pinstripes. Coincidentally, the only other Yankee who did so was also born on Christmas Day as was this former Yankee third baseman.
|OAK (14 yrs)||1704||7481||6140||1270||1768||289||41||167||648||867||1227||915||.288||.409||.430||.839|
|NYY (5 yrs)||596||2735||2302||513||663||119||16||78||255||326||406||281||.288||.395||.455||.850|
|SDP (3 yrs)||359||1432||1132||243||277||45||5||23||98||91||277||236||.245||.399||.354||.753|
|NYM (2 yrs)||152||650||534||106||159||31||0||12||44||42||107||102||.298||.416||.423||.839|
|BOS (1 yr)||72||222||179||40||40||6||1||5||16||8||38||47||.223||.369||.352||.721|
|LAD (1 yr)||30||84||72||7||15||1||0||2||5||3||11||16||.208||.321||.306||.627|
|ANA (1 yr)||32||144||115||21||21||3||0||2||7||16||26||23||.183||.343||.261||.604|
|SEA (1 yr)||92||395||324||58||77||13||2||4||30||31||63||55||.238||.362||.327||.689|
|TOR (1 yr)||44||203||163||37||35||3||1||4||12||22||35||19||.215||.356||.319||.675|