Following three fifth-place finishes and one seventh in the AL East in five years, you could be forgiven for figuring the Yankees were not a team from which two expansion clubs would be looking for talent when the League stocked the new franchises in Miami and Colorado on November 17, 1992. But you’d be wrong. First, the Florida Marlins took Yankee third baseman Charlie Hayes with their third pick. Florida then took [unprotected] Carl Everett, the No. 1 pick of the 1990 Yankees, with the 27th pick of the day. Later, the Rockies took catcher Brad Ausmus with the 54th pick. The Yanks had struck late-round magic we never discovered when they nabbed the catcher in the 48th round of the amateur draft in 1987.
Two other Yankee-related player moves came out of that two-team-building 1992 day. Amazingly, the Marlins managed to nab eventual lights-out San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman with their fourth pick, only to trade him for outfielder Gary Sheffield, who would sign with New York 10 years later. And finally, the Rockies turned their 10th pick into catcher Joe Girardi, who would later catch and then coach, and manage, in the Bronx.
On November 17, 2016, the Yankees traded catcher Brian McCann and cash to the Houston Astros for righthanders Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman. The much-hyped Abreu finally pitched two games in the Bronx in 2020. Guzman would make a 2020 debut as well, in one game for the Marlins, as he was part of the trade that brought Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees in 2017.
The first to pass on of the four Yankee players to have died on November 17 was lefthanded outfielder Benny Kauff (1961), who debuted by playing five games for the 1912 Highlanders. He collected two rbi’s on three hits in 11 at bats. Shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh (1977) played 1,219 games with the 1913-1921 Yankees, reaching 36 fences good for 427 rbi’s while getting 1,170 hits in 4,515 at bats. Switch-hitting outfielder Hersh Martin (1980) ended his career with the 1944-1945 Yankees. He had 208 hits in 202 games, collecting 16 homers and 100 rbi’s in 736 at bats. And righty-hitting, lefty-throwing outfielder Zeke Bella (2013) debuted for the 1957 Yankees by hitting no homers and collecting no rbi’s; Zeke went 1-for-10 at the plate, in five games.
Leading off November 17 Yankee birthdays is righty reliever Jeff Nelson (1966), who held righthanded batters to a .118 average with his frisbee curve and fastball; he went 23-19 with nine saves in the Bronx from 1996 through 2000. Outfielder Darnell McDonald (1978) was plucked off the Boston roster in 2012, once the Yanks had dfa’d DeWayne Wise to make room for Ichiro Suzuki, but he had no hits in four at bats. Lefty Alex Graman (1977), who pitched to poor results in three games (two starts) for the 2004 Yankees, was selected by New York in the third round (111th overall pick) of the 1999 amateur draft. Righty Lee Stine (1913) finished a four-year big-league career by allowing one run in 8.67 innings pitched for the 1938 Yankees, after two years with the White Sox and one with the Reds. Gene Stallings (1867) managed the Yankees for the 1909 and 1910 seasons until he was replaced for the latter season’s final 11 games. Stallings piloted the Yanks to a fifth-place finish in ’09 and had them in second place when he left in 2010. Later Stallings would lead the 1914 Miracle Braves from last place on July 4 to that season’s NL pennant, and a sweep of the favored A’s in the World Series. Righty starter Shane Greene (1988), a 15th-round Yankee pick in 2009, compiled a 5-4 record with a respectable 3.78 era for the 2014 team in 15 appearances, 14 of them starts. Greene was one piece that netted the Yanks shortstop Didi Gregorius from Arizona, in a three-team trade, in ‘15. Righthander Adonis Rosa (1994) appeared in one game for the 2019 club. He struck out two with no walks in two innings, but the lone hit he surrendered was a home run.
Although November 16 held no Yankee player moves or awards, the day did feature some Yankee player deaths, and births. Portsided outfielder Hugh High (1962) is the only Yankee player to have died on November 16. After having played 1913-1914 with Detroit, High ended his career by playing 345 games with New York from 1915-1918. The three home runs he hit was the career total, but the 100 rbi’s he garnered on 295 hits in 1,179 at bats would make his overall total 123, including his play with the Tigers.
Yankee birthdayers on November 16 are Dwight Gooden (1964); and Rollie Zeider (1883). After a meteoric rise to fame and success with the Mets, Gooden’s career was almost lost due to drug abuse and other personal behavior problems. But the 24-14 mark he managed with the Yanks in 1996, 1997, and briefly in 2000 gave both “Doc” and the Yanks a much-needed boost. His 1996 no-hitter in the Bronx was inspiring, and the Bombers probably would not have made it to the World Series that year had Gooden not filled in so well during David Cone‘s aneurysm surgery and recovery. A 1982 Mets first round (fifth pick) draft choice, Gooden signed free agent contracts with the Yankees in 1996 and again in 2000.
Infielder Zeider notched 12 rbi’s in 50 games for the 1913 Yankees. As an AL player in Chicago, he had set a rookie stolen-base record (49) that would last for 76 years until John Cangelosi, another White Sox player, broke it in 1986. Zeider’s other claim to fame he shares with Dutch Zwilling — aside from the fact that their last names begin with “Z.” They are the only two men in the Twentieth Century to play in three different major leagues in the same city. They both played in Chicago for the White Sox of the American League, the Cubs of the National League, and the Chi-Feds of the Federal League. Zeider was traded with Babe Borton to the Yanks from the White Sox in June 1913 for Hal Chase. He jumped from New York to the Chi-Feds before the following season.