The Yankees signed free-agent second baseman Steve Sax from the reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers to a three-year contract on November 23, 1988. The effect of the signing had the Yanks and Dodgers swapping second basemen, with former Pinstriped Captain Willie Randolph signing with L.A. Sax provided a decent singles stick (including a record 171 one-base hits in ’89) and poor defense in the Bronx over three years, but he would net good players in trade.
Yankee catcher Clint Courtney was sent to the St. Louis Browns in exchange for pitcher Jim McDonald on November 23, 1951. Courtney would kick around the bigs, primarily with the Browns (and the Baltimore Orioles they would become) and the Washington Senators for the next 10 years, hitting 38 homers and over 300 rbi’s. But the Yanks were happy with McDonald, who went 16-12 the next three years, won a game in the 1953 World Series, and was part of the 17-player blockbuster 1954 deal that brought Bob Turley and Don Larsen to the Bronx.
In light of the amount of times that the Queen rock anthem We Are the Champions has been blasted in baseball stadia over the years, we acknowledge the death of Freddie Mercury on this day in 1991.
Not many baseball fans realize that this quite famous New York ballplayer was ever a Yankee, but righthander Ralph Branca (2016), who surrendered “the shot heard ‘round the world” deciding the 1951 National League pennant, is the only pinstriper to have died on November 23. Ralph tossed five games (three starts) with the 1954 Yankees, winning one game. He started in Brooklyn, pitching for the Dodgers through the 1944-1953 seasons. He also pitched for Detroit and finished up with Brooklyn by pitching one game in 1956, in a career in which he won 88, lost 68, and saved 19. As a hitter, he homered three times, and drove in 31.
The six-member New York Yankee November 23 birthday club reached that number when lefthanded infielder Tyler Wade (1994) was drafted in the fourth round in 2013. In part-time duty, Tyler provided solid defense and very little offense playing 66 games in 2017 and 2018, but his offense improved in 2019, with two homers and 11 rbi’s. The weirdness of the 2020 season gave the versatile Wade a lift, as he played in 52 of the 60 games, with three home runs, 10 rbi’s, and four stolen bases. After long years tossing for both Cleveland and then Boston, Luis Tiant (1940) pitched to a 21-17 mark in the Bronx in 1979 and 1980. El tiante, who signed a free agent contract with the Yanks in November 1978, had been involved in a Cleveland trade for future Yankee star Graig Nettles from Minnesota earlier in his career.
It was big birthday news for Yankee fans regarding November 23 back in 2005, when free agent Aaron Small (1971) came out of seeming nowhere and saved a tattered rotation with his 10-0 record. The Yanks won all nine games he started, but lost all three of his decisions in 2006. The flip side of the unexpectedly productive season the Yanks got out of Scott Brosius when they picked him up for the 1998 season was the paltry numbers from the guy who was signed to platoon with him. Lefty-hitting Dale Sveum (1963) chipped in with only three rbi’s during 58 at bats. Lefty-hitting first baseman Frank Tepedino (1947) debuted in the Bronx in 1967 and played sparingly through 1972, finishing with six rbi’s in 52 games. Lefty-hitting outfielder Jimmy Sheckard (1878) managed four hits (in 15 at bats) with two stolen bases for the 1902 Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that would relocate to New York as the Highlanders the very next season.