It would not take too long for just about any Yankee fan to corresctly guess who hit the first World Series home run in franchise history. That would be the one and only Babe Ruth. The Bambino hit the historic blast in Game 4 of the 1921 World Series versus the Yankees’ Polo Grounds landlord at the time, the mighty New York Giants. But even the most astute fan of Bronx Bomber baseball could keep guessing for the next ten years and not come up with the name of the second Yankee to perform that same feat.
The correct answer of course, is today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant, Wilson Lloyd “Chick” Fewster. His two-run blast in the top of the second inning of that same Fall Classic’s very next game, gave the Yankees a temporary 5-3 lead they would eventually lose. Its no wonder the name “Chick Fewster” means nothing to Yankee fans. After all, his entire Yankee career consisted of just 228 games spread over six lackluster seasons beginning in 1917. Back then, Yankee manager Miller Huggins was predicting great things for his young outfielder, telling the New York sports press that he had never seen a better prospect than this new kid from Baltimore. But Fewster would never fulfill that promise and he almost didn’t live long enough to hit that World Series home run either.
In a 1920 spring training game against the Brooklyn Robins, Fewster was hit in the head by a pitch and nearly died. They put a plate in his head and doctors told him he’d never play baseball again. Miraculously, he was back in action by early July of that same season.
|NYY (6 yrs)||228||783||642||113||174||33||4||3||45||15||90||109||.271||.372||.349||.721|
|BOS (2 yrs)||113||424||367||40||91||14||2||0||24||15||45||45||.248||.337||.297||.634|
|BRO (2 yrs)||109||397||338||54||82||16||3||2||24||9||45||49||.243||.340||.325||.666|
|CLE (2 yrs)||194||704||616||75||159||28||3||1||74||18||60||61||.258||.327||.318||.645|
Jack Clark loved being a Cardinal and after hitting 35 home runs and driving in 106 for Manager Whitey Herzog’s 1987 Pennant-winners, the New Brighton, PA native had every reason to believe he’d be staying in St Louis for the next few seasons. One word explains why that didn’t happen, collusion. That was the off season when big league owners decided to band together to reverse the upward spiral of salaries during the free agency era and star players in their prime, like Clark, paid the price. The Cardinals actually asked their All Star first baseman to take a cut in pay so instead, his agent got him an offer from George Steinbrenner and Clark came to New York for the 1988 season after playing thirteen seasons in the National League, including the first ten with the Giants. He belted 27 home runs and drove in 93 during his single season in Pinstripes. He then signed with the Padres. During his eighteen-year big league career, Clark hit 340 home runs. Since leaving the game, Clark has become a vociferous critic of players who took steroids. He has said that players like Mark McGuire, A-Rod, Bobby Bonds and Roger Clemens are all “cheaters” who belong in a “Hall of Shame” but “not baseball’s Hall of Fame. Clark has also experienced personal financial setbacks since leaving the game. According to accounts I’ve read, his addiction to expensive cars forced him into personal bankruptcy, in 1992.
Also born on this date was this Yankee starting pitcher who tied Jimmy Key for second in most regular season wins on the team’s 1996 pitching staff and this long-ago outfielder, who hit the second home run in Yankee postseason history.
|SFG (10 yrs)||1044||4300||3731||597||1034||197||30||163||595||60||497||556||.277||.359||.477||.836|
|STL (3 yrs)||322||1371||1093||198||299||61||6||66||216||3||264||288||.274||.413||.522||.935|
|BOS (2 yrs)||221||907||738||107||174||29||1||33||120||1||152||220||.236||.366||.412||.778|
|SDP (2 yrs)||257||1036||789||135||199||31||2||51||156||10||236||236||.252||.423||.490||.914|
|NYY (1 yr)||150||616||496||81||120||14||0||27||93||3||113||141||.242||.381||.433||.815|
Kenny Rogers was a very good Major League pitcher for two decades. New York signed him to a four-year $20 million free agent contract in December of 1995, when the left hander was thirty years old. He was the second best starting pitcher on the Yankee staff during the 1996 regular season, winning 12 of his 20 decisions. What Kenny Rogers wasn’t able to do, was pitch well for the Yankees in the postseason. If you can’t pitch well in pinstripes in October and you get paid $5 million per season, you’re in trouble. In 1996, Rogers had one of the worst postseason performances of any Yankee starting pitcher in history. He started three games, one each in the ALDS, ALCS and the Series. He did not last longer than three innings in any of them and he gave up 11 total runs for an ERA of 14.14.
Even though New York won all three of those series, Rogers became a player Yankee fans loved to hate. When he followed his disastrous postseason up by going 6-7 in 1997, he was jettisoned to Oakland for a player to be named later, who turned out to be Scott Brosius. From the date of that trade until he retired from baseball at the end of the 2008 season, Rogers went 131-77 for five different teams. In 2006 he went 3-0 in a great postseason performance for Detroit that featured a seven-plus inning shutout victory over the Yankees in the 2006 ALDS. Rogers was born in Savannah, GA, on November 10, 1964.
|TEX (12 yrs)||133||96||.581||4.16||528||252||128||21||6||28||1909.0||1997||986||882||195||686||1201||1.405|
|DET (3 yrs)||29||25||.537||4.66||75||74||1||0||0||0||440.2||472||251||228||53||158||217||1.430|
|OAK (2 yrs)||21||11||.656||3.54||53||53||0||10||1||0||358.0||350||162||141||27||108||206||1.279|
|NYY (2 yrs)||18||15||.545||5.11||61||52||4||3||1||0||324.0||340||197||184||34||145||170||1.497|
|MIN (1 yr)||13||8||.619||4.57||33||31||0||0||0||0||195.0||227||108||99||22||50||116||1.421|
|NYM (1 yr)||5||1||.833||4.03||12||12||0||2||1||0||76.0||71||35||34||8||28||58||1.303|