The Yankee pitching staff faced a lot of questions as the 1994 regular season was about to open. The most pressing one was who would manager Buck Showalter use as his closer. They had lost Steve Farr to free agency during the offseason and had Jeff Reardon, Steve Howe, Bob Wickman and a sore shouldered Xavier Hernandez all in camp fighting for the coveted role. When none of the four stood out, Showalter told the press he’d use all of them, sort of a closer by committee. That didn’t leave much room out in the bullpen.
The Yankees had signed right-hander Don Pall as a free agent after the ’93 season. The Chicago native had spent his first six big league seasons pitching decently out of the bullpen for his hometown White Sox. The Sox had traded him to the Phillies the previous September and now the Yanks were hoping the 32-year-old veteran could give them some dependable middle inning relief. He sort of did that just fine.
Showalter called on him 26 times during the first half of the ’94 season and he posted a respectable 3.60 ERA in the 35 innings he pitched. He was looking forward to helping the Yankees reach the postseason for the first time in 12 years, when Showalter called him into his office and told him he was being released. Pall was completely shocked by the move and told the New York press so. Showalter explained it by saying he was committed to giving his young starter, Sterling Hitchcock the rest of the year to prove he belonged in the starting rotation and he needed Pall’s roster spot for that purpose. The Yankee skipper admitted it was a tough decision.
Pall, who was nicknamed “the Pope,” ended up signing on with the Cubs before the season was halted by the Players’ strike. He then spent the next two years in the minors before reemerging with the Florida Marlins in 1996.
The only other Yankee born on this date was this former Yankee third baseman.
|CHW (6 yrs)||21||19||.525||3.45||255||0||72||0||0||10||394.1||392||169||151||38||109||209||1.270|
|FLA (3 yrs)||1||2||.333||5.30||37||0||13||0||0||0||54.1||61||35||32||9||17||35||1.436|
|CHC (1 yr)||0||0||4.50||2||0||0||0||0||0||4.0||8||2||2||1||1||2||2.250|
|NYY (1 yr)||1||2||.333||3.60||26||0||7||0||0||0||35.0||43||18||14||3||9||21||1.486|
|PHI (1 yr)||1||0||1.000||2.55||8||0||2||0||0||0||17.2||15||7||5||1||3||11||1.019|
The Yankees have three “Babes” that I know of on their all-time roster. The first and most famous, of course, was Babe Ruth. Then there was Babe Dahlgren, the guy who replaced the legendary Lou Gehrig as the Yankees’ starting first baseman, in 1939. The third Yankee “Babe” was Loren Babe, who’s birthday we celebrate today. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t resemble the original Babe when he was trying to hit big league pitching but if you put a Dodger hat on the guy pictured on the left, you could easily have mistaken him for the great Sandy Koufax.
Loren Babe had the misfortune of being a 24-year-old third base prospect when the Yankees already had a young Gil McDougald and Andy Carey on their big league roster. Born in Pisgah, IA, on January 11, 1928, Mr. Babe got into 17 games as a Yankee during the 1952 and beginning part of the ’53 seasons. Loren’s bat did play a very significant role in Yankee history. I read Jane Leavy’s book about Mickey Mantle, entitled The Last Boy. It contains the most detailed account I’ve ever read of Mickey’s historic home run off of the Senators’ Chuck Stobbs in Washington’s Griffith Stadium, on April 17, 1953 (See illustrative photo below-not a photo of actual home run.) When Mantle hit that monster he was using a bat he borrowed from a teammate. That teammate was Loren Babe. Nine days later, the Yankees sold Babe to the Athletics but Mickey kept his bat.
That missing bat may or may not help explain why Loren hit just .224 in 103 games for Philly and ended up back in the Minors and eventually, back in the Yankee organization. He then went into managing, scouting and coaching. He was on the Yankees’ big league coaching staff in 1967. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1983 while working for the White Sox organization. Needing just eight weeks more of employment to qualify for MLB pension benefits, Chicago put Babe on their coaching staff after Charley Lau, who was serving as the team’s hitting coach, graciously offered to step aside. In a tragic and ironic twist, Lau was also diagnosed with cancer and died just five weeks after the disease took Babe’s life.
Babe shares his birthday with this former Yankee pitcher.
|NYY (2 yrs)||17||43||39||3||8||2||0||2||6||1||4||6||.205||.279||.410||.689|
|PHA (1 yr)||103||383||343||34||77||16||2||0||20||0||35||20||.224||.300||.283||.583|