Kenny Rogers made three starts for the Yankees in the 1996 playoffs and put the team in an early hole all three times. Jimmy Leyritz‘s homer rescued the Yanks in Game Four of the World Series, but The Gambler had to go. He was sent to Oakland on November 7, 1997, for eventual 1998 World Series MVP Scott Brosius. Brosius’s stingy defense, classy demeanor, and ability to provide clutch offense was huge, and it culminated with the game-tying home run he hit in the bottom of the ninth of Game Five of the 2001 World Series. But the postscript, of course, is that Rogers had a part in Detroit sending the Yanks home in 2006.
Elston Howard of the Yankees became the first Black ever voted Most Valuable Player when he topped Al Kaline of the Tigers for the American League prize on November 7, 1963, 248-148.
But Yankee fans were a lot less accepting of the AL Cy Young/MVP voting results announced on November 7, 1978. Despite Ron Guidry‘s incredible 25-3 season that netted him the former, Boston’s Jim Rice outpointed him in the MVP vote, 353-291. Rice did have a great season, but Guidry’s year was one for the ages, and should have netted him the MVP.
On November 7, 2018, the Yankees signed free agent southpaw CC Sabathia for a return year. Although CC would post just a 5-8 record in 2019, his final season, he was a solid contributor to the rotation.
Boston Braves righthander Johnny Sain (2006), who spent four-plus years pitching for the Yankees at the end of his career, died on November 7, 2006. Of Sain’s lifetime 139-116-51 record, 33-20-1 of it came pitching for the Yanks. It was an unfortunate 1951 trade that brought Johnny to the Yankees, as they sent eventual World Series stalwart (against the Yanks, no less) Lew Burdette and cash to the Braves to get Sain for that year’s stretch run.
A trade deadline deal in 2017 added righthander Sonny Gray (1989) to the Yankee November 7 birthday list. A first round selection by the A’s in 2011 who pitched to a 44-36 mark in Oakland from 2013 until he was traded, Gray posted a disappointing 4-7 mark in 11 games, then went 11-9 in 2018. New York sent three prospects to Oakland for Gray: righthander James Kaprielian, infielder Jorge Mateo, and outfielder Dustin Fowler. Sonny has performed well with Cincinnati the last two years. Fans who remember the pre-Guidry/Munson Yankees have fond memories of catcher Jake Gibbs (1938), a $105,000 bonus baby out of the University of Mississippi, who played only for the Yanks, garnering 25 homers and 146 rbi’s from 1962-1971, once he was selected in the 1960 free agent amateur draft.
Also born on November 7, righty Russ Springer (1968) pitched in 14 games to no record for the 1992 club and was traded to California with others to get lefty Jim Abbott. Speaking of the courageous Abbott in Pinstripes invariably introduces the subject of no-hitters, leading us to Joe Niekro (1944), who pitched 11 years for Houston and went 14-15 in the Bronx from 1985 through 1987. Joe, who came within one hit of both tossing a no-hitter at the Yanks, and later throwing one for them, died suddenly in 2006, due to a brain aneurysm. Jim Kaat (1938), whose 25 years of pitching was a major league record and who earned 16 consecutive Gold Gloves, accumulated 283 career wins, but Kaat only managed a 2-4 mark for the 1979-1980 Bombers. Lefty first baseman Bob Hale (1933) hit one homer with one rbi in 11 games for the ’61 team to finish his seven-year career; catcher Herb Crompton‘s (1911) 12 rbi’s in the Bronx during 36 games in 1945 represented his entire big-league experience except for two games with the 1937 Senators; and righthander Tommy Thompson (1889) went 0-2 in seven games, two of them starts, for the 1912 Highlanders, his only big league play.