I’m sure you never heard of former Yankee pitcher Marty McHale. Heck, he only pitched for New York for just three seasons, compiled a pretty horrible 11-27 record doing so and his pinstriped career began 100 years ago, so why would you? But the right-handed McHale was anything but just an ex Yankee pitcher nobody ever heard of.
For starters, he was actually very talented on the mound. He was known for his spitball but he also threw a real good curve and a pretty good fastball. At the University of Maine, he was a three-sport star and when he threw three consecutive no-hitters for the Black Bears’ baseball team, several major league clubs came calling. A native of Stoneham, Massachusetts, which is a suburb of Boston, McHale accepted a $2,000 bonus to sign with the Red Sox. He then spent the next three seasons bouncing back and forth between the minors and Beantown, trying to stick to the team’s big league roster.
He never did win a game for the Red Sox but he did establish a singing career. The guy was an incredible Irish tenor. Babe Ruth, who was famous for never remembering the face or the name of a teammate had no problem remembering McHale, telling reporters the pitcher had the best singing voice he ever heard. During his days with Boston, the pitcher became part of a singing group called the Red Sox quartet that became a very popular act around town. After joining the Yankees, McHale teamed up with the New York Giants Mike Donlin to form a very popular vaudeville act. The venerable Variety Magazine, thought enough of McHale’s vocal ability to dub him “Baseball’s Caruso.”
In any event, the Yankees purchased McHale’s contract in August of the 1913 regular season and Frank Chance, the New York skipper at the time, fell in love with the guy. He got seven starts in the next two months and though he was just 2-4 in those starts, his ERA was a very respectable 2.96.
The singing pitcher was good enough to earn the Opening Day pitching assignments for New York in both the 1914 and ’15 seasons and he won both games. But the Yankee ball clubs he pitched for were some of the worst in franchise history and McHale had a tough time earning winning decisions. He went 6-16 during his second year with the team and just 3-7 in 1915.
The Yankees then released him and he ended up pitching one more year in the big leagues before hanging up his glove for good after the 1916 season. He was 29 years-old with a wife and two boys at home. He probably realized careers in both baseball and show business were not conducive to a stable family life so he started a third career as a New York stockbroker. He retired from M. J. McHale Securities 52 years later. Baseball’s Caruso had conquered Wall Street too.
|BOS (3 yrs)||0||3||.000||5.90||8||4||3||1||0||0||29.0||41||27||19||1||13||18||1.862|
|NYY (3 yrs)||11||27||.289||3.28||51||40||8||22||1||1||318.0||330||148||116||5||62||111||1.233|
|CLE (1 yr)||0||0||5.56||5||0||2||0||0||0||11.1||10||7||7||1||6||2||1.412|
The 2009 Yankee team would not have challenged for a World Championship without a group of relievers who had a knack for holding down the opposing team’s offense while the Yankee lineup got their bats untracked and took the lead. The combined 2009 won-lost record of Alfredo Aceves, Jose Veras, Brian Bruney, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant was 35-9.
Albaladejo had become a Yankee via a December 2007 trade that sent the promising Tyler Clppard to the Nationals. A native of Puerto Rico, this right-hander’s huge 6’5″ 250 pound frame made him an imposing site on the mound and his ability to throw a fastball in the mid-to-high nineties made him even more intimidating. He spent most of his first season in the Yankee system on the DL and then pitched himself onto the Yankee roster during the 2009 spring training season.
He would put together several stretches of spot-on pitching during the 09 season, but it seemed as if once a month, his control would abandon him and he’d get shelled. Girardi called on him 32 times that year and he held the opposition scoreless in 24 of those appearances. But even though he finished the regular season with a 5-1 record, he was left off the Yankees’ postseason roster. He was then demoted to Scranton-Wilkes Barre in 2010 but he sucked it up and pitched brilliantly as that team’s closer, saving 43 games. The problem for this guy was that the Yankees already had Mo Rivera and Rafael Soriano on their roster so they released Albaladejo and he ended up pitching in Japan during the 2011 season. Meanwhile, Tyler Clippard blossomed into a very effective closer for the Nationals in 2012.
|NYY (3 yrs)||5||2||.714||4.70||49||0||12||0||0||0||59.1||65||34||31||8||30||42||1.601|
|ARI (1 yr)||0||0||9.00||3||0||0||0||0||0||3.0||5||3||3||1||0||2||1.667|
|WSN (1 yr)||1||1||.500||1.88||14||0||1||0||0||0||14.1||7||3||3||1||2||12||0.628|
The 1991 Yankee team was a pretty inept squad. They finished 20 games under 500 and tenth in the American League in both offense and pitching. The cross-town Mets had not done much better that year but they were killing the Yankees in free agent signings as the 1992 spring training season approached. The Amazin’s had already put Eddie Murray, Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberhagen under contract while Yankee GM Gene Michael had been told not to sign anyone until he got the OK from the chaotic Yankee management team that was supposedly running the franchise during George Steinbrenner’s Howie Spira induced banishment from baseball.
When Michael finally did get permission to pursue a free agent it came with specific orders to sign free-swinging first baseman, Danny Tartabull. Michael did not like Tartabull’s game and was against the move but went ahead and did what he was told to do. The Yankees signed Tartabull to a four-year $20 million free agent contract in January of 1992. Three and a half mostly disappointing seasons later, he was traded to the A’s for Ruben Sierra. His best season in pinstripes was his second when he hit 31 home runs and drove in 103 runs for Manager Buck Showalter’s first Yankee team.
Personally, I liked this guy when he played in New York. He did strike out a lot and was a liability in the field but his OBP as a Yankee was over .370 and he hit 81 home runs and drove in 282 during his three-and-a-half year stay in the Bronx. And who can forget his appearance on the television show Seinfeld? Perhaps Tartabull’s biggest problem was staying healthy. He missed too many games because of injuries and would then struggle to regain his rhythm at the plate each time he returned to the lineup. Danny is the son of former big league outfielder Jose Tartabull. He was born in San Juan on this date in 1962. His last season in the big leagues was 1997 and he hit 262 home runs during his 14-years in the Majors.
|KCR (5 yrs)||657||2684||2327||348||674||141||9||124||425||28||325||592||.290||.376||.518||.894|
|NYY (4 yrs)||424||1837||1525||252||385||88||3||81||282||3||294||436||.252||.372||.473||.845|
|SEA (3 yrs)||166||671||592||87||164||33||7||28||110||5||71||174||.277||.354||.498||.853|
|PHI (1 yr)||3||11||7||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||4||.000||.364||.000||.364|
|CHW (1 yr)||132||541||472||58||120||23||3||27||101||1||64||128||.254||.340||.487||.827|
|OAK (1 yr)||24||98||88||9||23||4||0||2||7||0||10||28||.261||.337||.375||.712|
After hitting 157 home runs during a decade as a third baseman and outfielder with San Francisco, Hart was purchased by the Yankees during the 1973 season and hit 13 home runs. He played only ten games for New York the following year, his final season in the big leagues even though he was only 32-years-old at the time. Jim Ray was born in Hookerton, NC on October 30, 1941. I remember Hart’s rookie season of 1964 very well because it was a great year for rookies. He smacked 31 home runs for the Giants that year and hit close to .290 but finished tied for second with the Braves Rico Carty for NL Rookie of the Year honors behind the Phillie Pheenom, Richie Allen. In the AL the Twins Tony Oliva took first-year honors by winning the AL batting title as a rookie.
Hart was injured a lot during what should have been his peak performing years but what probably hurt his career most was his drinking. Booze had been a big part of Hart’s life since he was raised by a father who was a bootlegger. After his playing career ended, his addiction to alcohol took over his life completely and he at one time was homeless, living on the streets of San Francisco. In the early nineties, it was reported that Hart was off the booze, and back with his family living and working in Seattle.
|SFG (11 yrs)||1001||3836||3425||488||965||135||27||157||526||17||341||521||.282||.348||.474||.823|
|NYY (2 yrs)||124||400||358||30||87||13||2||13||52||0||39||52||.243||.316||.399||.715|