“Conie” joined the Yankees in 1995 and helped them reach postseason play in each of the six years he wore the pinstripes. A five-time All Star (twice as a Yankee), David had two 20-victory seasons during his 17 years in the big leagues and posted 21 shutouts. The year before he became a Yankee, he had been voted the AL Cy Young award-winner for his 16-5 season with the Royals. The Royals then traded him to the Blue Jays and Toronto traded him to New York after the 1995 All Star break for three Yankee prospects. Cone finished with a 64-40 record as a Yankee and 194-126 lifetime. His best year in New York was his 20-7 season in 1998. His absolute greatest moment in pinstripes occurred on July 18, 1999, when he pitched a perfect game against the Montreal Expos. Does anyone out there remember who made the last out of that game for the Expos? It was Expo shortstop Orlando Cabrera whose popup was caught in foul territory by Yankee third baseman, Scott Brosius.
Mr. Cone won a total of five World Series rings including four with the Yankees plus one with the Blue Jays in 1993. The right-hander had an overall 8-3 record in the postseason including his six wins and a loss in pinstriped fall ball.
Cone now is an analyst on Yes Network broadcasts of Yankee games. I like him in that role. When Jorge Posada was struggling with his reduced role with the 2011 Yankees, Cone talked about his own personal fight with the fact he could no longer play the game. His final Yankee season in 2000 had been the worst of his seventeen-year big league career, finishing with a 4-14 record and an ERA near seven. When the Yankees did not try to re-sign him, Cone signed with the Red Sox for $1 million and started for Boston during the 2001 season. He actually pitched pretty well for the Yankees’ arch-rivals, finishing the year with a 9-7 record. His best start of that season took place on the second day of September at Fenway Park against his old New York teammates in a classic pitchers’ duel between him and Mike Mussina. I remember watching every pitch of that game. Cone was brilliant for eight innings, striking out eight and holding New York scoreless until Enrique Wilson’s ground ball double scored Tino Martinez with one out in the top of the ninth. Mussina was even better, pitching a perfect game until Carl Everett, pinch-hitting for Red Sox catcher Bob Oliver singled with two outs in the ninth. Mussina won the game 1-0 but Cone proved once again that he was a warrior on the mound.
I thought he was gone for good after that season but he reappeared two years later in a Met uniform and won his first start of the 2003 season for the Amazin’s. But then he got hammered in his next three and finally called it quits for good. During that 2011 discussion about Posada coming to terms with the end of his playing career, Cone admitted he wished he had retired after his final year in pinstripes.
Also born on this date was this Yankee middle reliever who led the AL in appearances in 2006.
|NYM (7 yrs)||81||51||.614||3.13||187||169||4||34||15||1||1209.1||1011||472||421||91||431||1172||1.192|
|NYY (6 yrs)||64||40||.615||3.91||145||144||0||7||1||0||922.0||829||431||401||98||398||888||1.331|
|KCR (3 yrs)||27||19||.587||3.29||68||57||5||10||4||0||448.1||364||176||164||37||181||344||1.216|
|TOR (2 yrs)||13||9||.591||3.14||25||24||0||5||2||0||183.1||152||69||64||15||70||149||1.211|
|BOS (1 yr)||9||7||.563||4.31||25||25||0||0||0||0||135.2||148||74||65||17||57||115||1.511|
Joe Torre did a lot of things when he managed the New York Yankees but one of the things he did most often, especially during his final two seasons in the Bronx, was summon Scott Proctor from the bullpen to pitch. In 2006, the right hander led the AL in appearances with 83 and probably would have led it again the following season if he hadn’t been traded to the Dodgers for Wilson Betamit in July of 2007.
It is probably fair to say that most Yankee fans didn’t love Proctor but most of us admired him. Born in Stuart, FL on today’s date in 1977, he was drafted by the Dodgers out of Florida State University, in the fifth round of the MLB amateur draft in 1998. The Los Angeles organization wasn’t sure if the former Seminole should start or relieve so he spent most of his Dodger minor league years switching back and forth between roles. Then in July of 2003, the Dodgers traded him and outfielder Bubba Crosby to New York for Robin Ventura. He began his big league career in pinstripes the following season and gradually grew into the role of Torre’s workhorse. According to New York Times baseball correspondent, Tyler Kepner, Torre ruined Proctor’s pitching arm by overusing him in 2006 and ’07. Ironically, after Scott was traded to LA in 2007, Torre took over as skipper there the following year and again wasn’t shy about using him. Proctor ended up blowing out his elbow and missed the entire 2009 season. After reconstructive surgery, he reappeared briefly last season with the Braves. The pitcher does not hold Torre or the Yankees accountable for his arm injury. He blames drinking as the reason he the Yankees got rid of him. Proctor is a recovering alcoholic who credits Yankee closer Mariano Rivera with getting him to confront his demon. Another great save by Rivera.
Update: Proctor got a second chance to pitch for New York in September of 2011 but was unfortunately, bloody awful. In eight games out of the bullpen he went 0-3 with no saves and an ERA of 9.00. He was the losing pitcher in the September 28th game against Tampa on what turned out to be one of the most exciting days in baseball history. Evan Longoria’s 12th inning home run against Proctor that day capped an amazing come-from behind victory for Tampa. Moments later, Baltimore’s Robert Andino’s single off of Joanathan Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth drove in the winning run and the Soxplosion of 2011 was complete.
This Yankee pitcher, also born on today’s date, is the only guy to win twenty games in a season for both the Mets and the Yankees.
|NYY (5 yrs)||11||13||.458||4.51||198||1||48||0||0||1||237.1||236||131||119||41||105||194||1.437|
|LAD (2 yrs)||5||0||1.000||4.84||72||0||15||0||0||0||70.2||66||44||38||11||39||73||1.486|
|ATL (2 yrs)||2||3||.400||6.43||37||0||13||0||0||0||35.0||35||25||25||6||23||24||1.657|