Tagged: Sparky Lyle
Jason Varitek in Pinstripes?
O.K. Don’t kill me, anybody. He’ll probably sign with the Red Sox within the next six seconds. I’m just saying that he’s still out there and maybe he’s getting a little antsy.
And let’s face it. There’s a history of Boston players crossing over into enemy territory, most of whom felt unappreciated and/or underpaid.
There was, of course, Babe Ruth. He crossed over and became, well, The Babe.
Sparky Lyle crossed over and won three straight AL pennants and two World Series and was the first reliever to win the Cy Young award.
Wade Boggs crossed over and had four straight .300+ seasons, earned two Gold Gloves and helped the Yankees win their first World Series in 18 years.
Roger Clemens crossed over after taking a detour through Toronto. He won two World Series and notched his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout as a Yankee. (Go ahead. Put an asterisk next to him if you must.)
Flash Gordon crossed over. He was a terrific set-up man for Mo and led the AL in holds in ’04 with 36.
The list wouldn’t be complete without Johnny Damon, who swore he’d never leave Boston but took the extra year the Yanks offered (and the extra millions). He batted .303 last season and was one of the most consistent hitters on an underachieving team.
Back to Varitek. Why in the world would he sign with the Yankees and why in the world would the Yankees want him?
1) Scott Boras. The guy lives for this stuff.
2) Jorge Posada. What if he can’t throw?
3) Jose Molina. What if he can’t catch every day?
4) Chad Moeller. Gone.
5) Ivan Rodriguez. Gone.
6) Francisco Cervelli. A prospect from Triple A.
7) Kevin Cash. Another crossover, but a lowly one on the order of Mike Myers, Alan Embree and Mark “the strikeout king” Bellhorn.
Are there obstacles to a deal? Absolutely. Varitek hates #13.
But they’d work it out. That’s what being a big leaguer is all about.
There’s also the money. Do the Yankees have any left? I’m not their accountant, but probably.
And there’s the issue of Varitek’s batting average; it hovered near the Mendoza line last season. But it just beat out Nick Swisher’s and the Yankees took him. We take lots of players who look like they’re ready for the glue factory. Sometimes they revive. Sometimes they don’t. Nothing is for sure in this game, not even Jason Varitek’s next address.
Coming This Spring – George Steinbrenner Unplugged
We’ve all heard the stories about “The Boss” – from his hirings and firings to his run-ins with Major League Baseball. But now, thanks to Peter Golenbock, we’re about to get The Whole Story.
Peter has written numerous New York Times bestsellers, including “The Bronx Zoo” with Sparky Lyle…
“Idiot” with Johnny Damon…
“7: The Mickey Mantle Novel”…
Who better to delve into the outsized, improbable life of George Steinbrenner?
Recently, Peter gave me a sneak peek at the book, which comes out on May 4th. It’s compulsively readable – chocked full of eye-popping, never-before-told anecdotes that are sure to make headlines. Unfortunately, he swore me to secrecy.
What I can tell you is that the book is a fascinating, thoroughly researched account of a complex man, and features interviews with a huge cast of memorable characters (including Steinbrenner). It’s all here – from George’s childhood to his suspensions from baseball, his stormy relationships with players and managers, and so much more.
There’s plenty to satisfy Yankee fans and Yankee haters as Steinbrenner comes across as both a bully and an icon. Put this book on your wish list. You won’t be disappointed.
In the meantime, here are a few memorable “George Moments.”