Second Basemen Then and Now
By Rich Bauer
When I heard the Yankees were playing the Pittsburgh Pirates I had a flashback to that day in 1960 when second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit what many consider to be the greatest home run ever. It was on October 13th at the original Forbes Field in the Iron City, the seventh game of the World Series. The scored was tied 9-9 in the bottom of the 9th inning with no one on base when the Pirates’ Mazeroski drove a fastball over the left field wall and became the first player to ever hit a game-winning walk-off homer in the Series.
Bet you did not know that Yogi Berra was the Yankees left fielder that day.
Today’s New York Yankees are being led by another second baseman, Starlin Castro. He is among the American League leaders with a .364 batting average, 24 hits and an on-base percentage (OBA) of .408. The Dominican-born Castro came over to the Yanks in 2016 to replace the perennial all-star Robinson Cano who left to chase the almighty dollar out in Seattle. Starlin’s first year was as solid as anyone could have asked as he was one of the team leaders in games played (151), at bats (577) and had a respectable .270 batting average.
I think one of the reasons the Yankees will be more competitive this year is because Manager Joe Girardi has the luxury of moving Castro around in the batting order. So far he has produced in the meat of the order spots, 3rd, 4th, or 5th.
We have all heard the term “must see TV.” Well that is beginning to apply to the Bronx Bombers. Their ability to have big innings, scoring runs in bunches, keeps you either glued to the YES Network or speeds up your channel surfing depending on your TV watching habits.
If you are watching the game in person at the stadium plan your snack and bathroom breaks in the top half of the inning. No matter where you are you want to be ready for a possible offensive explosion.
Everyone loves the home run ball especially the tape measure ones that travel 400-450 feet or more and the Yanks have upwards of five guys who have that power, especially man-child Aaron Judge. His moon shots, high and far into the night are magical to watch. Others in the group who are not far behind him are Chris Carter, Matt Holliday, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Chase Headley.
With that said, I hope none of them participate in the All Star Home Run Derby, I say save them for when it counts boys.
This is a big week for Yank fans as we take on the Red Sox up in Fenway and then back home versus the Orioles.