Today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was born in Sacramento, California on December 5, 1893 and became a star athlete at Sacramento High School. He was so good that Calvin Griffith, the legendary manager and future owner of the Washington Senators, brought Elmer “Joe” Gedeon to the big leagues when he was just 19 years-old. The problem was that back then, the big leagues played all of their games east of the Mississippi and most of them in cities that didn’t get warm until June. Gedeon hated cold weather and was far from disappointed when the Senators sent him back to the much more mild game-time temperatures of the Pacific Coast League for more experience after the 1914 season.
After he put together a great year as the starting second baseman for the Salt Lake City Bees, Griffith wanted him back in Washington. But the Newark franchise in the upstart Federal League lured him away with a very attractive two-year deal that then fell apart when that struggling enterprise went belly-up. That’s when the Yankees swooped in and signed Gedeon to play second base for their 1916 team.
By all accounts,Gedeon had a super spring training camp that year and beat out Luke Boone for the starting job. His hot hitting continued early in the season and his batting average was at .319 at the end of April. He couldn’t keep it up, however and ended his first year with New York hitting just .211. He then lost his job to Fritz Maisel during the 1917 season and was traded to the Browns in January of 1918.
Still just 23 years-old at the time of that deal, over the next three seasons Gedeon got better with both the bat and the glove and was soon being touted as one of the AL’s top second baseman. Then misfortune hit him like a ton of bricks.
When the 1919 regular season ended, instead of returning to California right away, Gedeon decided to take in that year’s World Series between the White Sox and Cincinnati. That of course was the Series during which the infamous “Black Sox” scandal took police. Gedeon had buddies on the Chicago team and he later testified to a Grand Jury that those buddies had told him that the games were going to be fixed. Gedeon placed bets totaling about $700 on the Reds. He won the bets but lost his MLB career.
Unbelievably, after volunteering to tell the whole truth to to the grand jury convened the following year to investigate the scandal, Gedeon received a lifetime ban from the game by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. More shockingly, many of the White Sox players who also knew the fix was on, received no punishment whatsoever.
A distraught Gedeon went back to California and evidently slowly drank himself to death. When he died in 1941 at the age of 47, he was suffering from severe cirrhosis of the liver.
|SLB (3 yrs)||396||1746||1484||191||382||60||13||1||129||13||132||100||.257||.326||.317||.643|
|WSH (2 yrs)||33||78||73||3||13||1||3||0||7||3||1||7||.178||.211||.274||.484|
|NYY (2 yrs)||155||622||552||65||120||21||4||0||35||18||47||74||.217||.284||.270||.554|
Together, Yankee skipper Joe Torre had called on 35-year-old Paul Quantrill and 36-year-old Flash Gordon to pitch 166 times during the 2004 season. The question entering 2005 was; “Would the right arms of both these guys endure another season of such heavy use?” Instead of waiting to find out, the Yankees acquired some insurance in a December 2004 deal with the Phillies for a nine-year-veteran reliever named Felix Rodriguez. The native Dominican had spent most of those years as a middle reliever for the Giants, compiling a 34-19 record in that role, with 5 saves and a 3.06 ERA.
New York had almost traded for Rodriguez a couple of seasons earlier. At that time, they had been negotiating with the Rangers to acquire Ugueth Urbina as Mo Rivera’s new set-up man. When Texas sent Urbina to Florida instead, the Yankees’ options became Rodriguez and Armando Benitez. They ended up taking Benitez
Ironically, it would be Rodriguez and not Gordon or Quantrill, who broke down first during that 2005 season, tearing cartilage in his knee in early May. Quantrill, however, could not get anyone out during the first half of that year and the Yankees gave up on him in early July, dealing him to San Diego. When Rodriguez returned from the DL, he took Quantrill’s spot in the bullpen but failed to pitch effectively. His walk ratio went up and his strikeout rate went down, helping his ERA climb over the five run mark. He failed to make the Yankees postseason roster and New York released him on October 27, 2005.
Rodriguez was originally signed by the Dodgers in 1989 as a catcher. He hit .291 in his first season in the LA organization but his throwing arm was so strong, the Dodgers convinced him to convert to pitching. He spent his final big league season with the Nationals in 2006 and then continued his playing career in Korea. Felix shares his birthday with this one-time Yankee outfielder and this long-ago Yankee second baseman.
|SFG (6 yrs)||34||19||.642||3.06||395||0||102||0||0||5||403.0||340||149||137||33||175||376||1.278|
|ARI (1 yr)||0||2||.000||6.14||43||0||23||0||0||5||44.0||44||31||30||5||29||36||1.659|
|PHI (1 yr)||2||3||.400||3.00||23||0||5||0||0||1||21.0||18||7||7||1||10||28||1.333|
|LAD (1 yr)||1||1||.500||2.53||11||0||5||0||0||0||10.2||11||3||3||2||5||5||1.500|
|WSN (1 yr)||1||1||.500||7.67||31||0||9||0||0||0||29.1||32||25||25||5||16||15||1.636|
|CIN (1 yr)||0||0||4.30||26||1||13||0||0||0||46.0||48||23||22||2||28||34||1.652|
|NYY (1 yr)||0||0||5.01||34||0||10||0||0||0||32.1||33||18||18||2||20||18||1.639|
Gary Roenicke was best known as a Baltimore Oriole. Born in Covina, CA in 1954, he spent eight of his twelve big league seasons with the Birds as an outfielder and had his best year in 1982, when he achieved career highs of 21 HRs and 74 RBIs for an Earl Weaver managed team that won 94 games but finished one behind the Brewers. The Yankees got him in a December 1985 trade and Lou Piniella used him as a fourth outfielder the following season behind future Hall of Famer’s Dave Winfield and Ricky Henderson and second-year player, Dan Pasqua. Roenicke got into 69 games for New York that year, hitting an unremarkable .265. The Yankees released him after that season and he signed with Atlanta.
As I researched Roenicke’s history, it got me thinking about other trades that have taken place between the Oriole and Yankee franchises. There have been some doozies over the years. For shear volume, you can’t top the deal the two teams made after the 1954 season that involved a total of seventeen players. The Yankees got the best of that one because they received future Cy Young Award winner, Bullet Bob Turley and 1956 World Series perfect game pitcher Don Larsen in the deal. In June of 1976 the two teams put together another blockbuster and this one was especially noteworthy because it took place in the middle of a regular season during which the two teams were battling for the same division flag. The Yankees won that flag with lots of help from Doyle Alexander, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson, the three pitchers they received in that ten player deal. The Orioles, however, got the biggest longterm benefit because they got a great starting pitcher in Scott McGregor, a wonderful reliever in Tippy Martinez and an outstanding catcher and team leader in Rick Dempsey. The following season, the Yankees got outfielder Paul Blair from the Birds for outfielder Elliott Maddox and a pitcher named Rick Bladt. Blair became a valuable reserve on two consecutive Yankee World Championship teams. The last time the two teams did a deal in which players exchanged uniforms was the 2006 post season trade of pitcher Jared Wright to Baltimore for pitcher Chris Britton.
|BAL (8 yrs)||850||2634||2217||311||555||114||3||106||352||15||335||342||.250||.355||.448||.803|
|ATL (2 yrs)||116||309||265||36||59||13||0||10||35||0||40||38||.223||.324||.385||.709|
|MON (1 yr)||29||96||90||9||20||3||1||2||5||0||4||18||.222||.260||.344||.605|
|NYY (1 yr)||69||165||136||11||36||5||0||3||18||1||27||30||.265||.388||.368||.756|