When New York Yankee Bob Turley won the Cy Young Award over Warren Spahn on November 12, 1958, he beat Spahn, the 1957 recipient, by one vote.
The oft-suspended Yankee (et al) Steve Howe got a reprieve on November 12, 1992, when arbitrator George Nicolau ruled his latest suspension from major league baseball was too severe. The Bombers promptly re-signed him. Howe, who posted an 18-10 record with 31 saves in New York from 1992 through June 1996, died in a one-car accident in May 2006.
Billy Martin was named Manager of the Year for his work piloting the Oakland A’s in that capacity during the recently completed season on November 12, 1981.
Although it’s something of a cliche to say so, both teams really did benefit when the Yankees traded catcher Francisco Cervelli to the Pirates for lefthanded reliever Justin Wilson on November 12, 2014. Following a fine 2015 season in pinstripes (5-0, 3.10 era in 74 games, all in relief), Wilson would be traded to Detroit for Chad Green and Luis Cessa.
November 12 hasn’t been the kindest day to former Yankee second baseman Alfonso Soriano. He lost the Rookie of the Year vote on that day in 2001 to Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia. Soriano then came in third in the AL MVP voting on the same day in 2002. At the time Oakland shortstop Miguel Tejada topped the list with 365 points and Alex Rodriguez, then the Texas shortstop, followed with 254 points. Soriano’s third-place total was a respectable 234 points.
On November 12, 2013, the Yankees signed free agent third baseman Zelous Wheeler to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. Wheeler had a strong winter season in Latin America, and a few moments subbing for the 2014 Yankees, for whom he drilled two home runs and drove in five runs.
The Yankees acquired righty reliever Chris Britton from Baltimore for righty starter Jaret Wright on November 12, 2006. The oft-injured Wright was not missed, but Britton’s effect on the 2007-08 seasons was minuscule, as he spent most of it in AAA ball.
One of two Yankee players to have died on November 12 is a great one, a Hall of Famer whose number is retired and hangs proudly in Monument Park. Catcher Bill Dickey (1993) not only hit 202 home runs and drove in 1,209 runs in his 17-year career. He did yeoman defensive work and handled a pitching staff that led his teams to eight World Championships. He also would mentor a young Lawrence Peter (Yogi) Berra to take his place. On the other end of the experience spectrum is lefthander George Shears (1978), whose only big-league play came during four appearances (no starts) for the 1912 Highlanders, to no record.
Of the three November 12 birthdayers who actually played for New York, one was recent and popular, one obscure, and one quite controversial. Homer Bush (1972) was acquired from San Diego in April 1997 along with the rights to negotiate with Hideki Irabu. In February 1999, Homer, a speedy baserunner and a huge hit with the fans in New York, was packaged with David Wells and Graeme Lloyd and sent to Toronto for Roger Clemens. Homer smacked one homer with eight rbi’s and six stolen bases in the Bronx in 1997-1998, adding two runs scored and one stolen base once he returned as a free agent infielder in 2004.
The obscure Yank is righty Don Johnson (1926), who pitched to a 5-3 record with the 1947 and 1950 Yanks, before tossing 1.5 years with the Browns and two with the Senators.
And the death of Cleveland’s Ray Chapman after being hit by a rising submarine ball thrown by Yankee Carl Mays (1891) in 1920 was just one of many reasons that righthander Mays was controversial. Although a very effective starter in Boston from 1915 through 1919, Mays was moved to the Yankees largely because management suspected that he was not always giving his best effort. But his 79-39 record in Pinstripes from 1919 to 1923 was superb, even if those rumors followed him to New York. The same rumors resurfaced during the five years he pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, once they purchased him in December 1923. Given his reputation, the 1929 Black Sox scandal marked the end of Mays’s career.