There are five days remaining in the RAB era. We’ve been at this — I’ve been at this — more than 12 years now and it’s time to move on to something else. RAB started as a passion project and the passion is not there anymore. It’s become a burden. It sucks, and I am bummed about it, but it is time.
Since RAB launched in February 2007, the Yankees have played over 2,000 meaningful games, and 319 different players have worn pinstripes. The leader in plate appearances during the RAB era? Brett Gardner. He has roughly 600 more plate appearances than second place Derek Jeter. CC Sabathia of course leads in innings. He’s thrown nearly twice as many innings as second place Andy Pettitte.
We’ve been fortunate enough to watch some all-time great players these last 12 years. Jeter, Sabathia, Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, Aaron Judge, on and on it goes. We’ve also seen an army of bit players and up-and-down guys. Most don’t contribute much. Everyone once in a while one of those guys does something memorable though.
Since we’re closing up shop soon, I figured it would be fun to go back through the years and Remember Some Guys. I scrolled through 12 seasons worth of rosters, picked out some names that stood out for one reason or another, and now we’ll pay homage to the random players who suited up for the Yankees. Come with me, won’t you?
Y’all remember the first series at the new Yankee Stadium? The Yankees lost two of three to the Indians and got clobbered in the series finale. The final score: 22-4. Only the fourth time in franchise history the Yankees allowed 20+ runs. It is still the only time the Yankees have allowed more than 15 runs in a regular season game at the new Yankee Stadium. I remember that series for the collective shock at how small the ballpark played. Pretty funny thinking about it now.
Claggett came over in the Gary Sheffield trade with the Tigers and he made his MLB debut in that 22-4 loss. It did not go well:
Zoinks. Claggett made only two more appearances in his big league career (one with the Yankees and one with the Pirates) and he finished with eleven runs allowed in 3.2 innings. The highest ERAs in baseball history (min. 3 IP):
Lewis: 60.00 ERA (20 earned runs in three innings)
Dave Davidson: 30.00 ERA (ten earned runs in three innings)
Steve Dixon: 28.80 ERA (16 earned runs in five innings)
Jim Brady: 28.42 ERA (20 earned runs in 6.1 innings)
Anthony Claggett: 27.00 ERA (eleven earned runs in 3.2 innings)
It is literally just Lewis. He’s some guy who pitched for the 1890 Buffalo Bisons. Not the best company for Claggett.
I think you might remember the first and only home run of Curtis’ career. In July 2010, he replaced Brett Gardner after Gardner was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the middle of an at-bat. Curtis inherited an 0-2 count and whacked a home run. Check it out:
Curtis only played 17 more games in his big league career and went 4-for-32 (.125) in those 17 games. Pinch-hit home run as a Yankee in 2010, out of baseball by 2013. Rough. As far as random Yankees homers go, Curtis is right near the top during the RAB era.
Longtime RAB and DotF readers will remember Mighty Matt DeSalvo. The Yankees signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2003 and he worked his way into their top prospect mix during the farm system’s lean years from 2003-05. From 2003-06, DeSalvo pitched to a 3.63 ERA in 439.1 minor league innings and that was during the peak of the box score scouting era. The numbers were good and therefore he was a good prospect.
DeSalvo was the guy everyone wanted the Yankees to call up, and they eventually called him up in 2007, and in his first start he held the Mariners to one run in seven innings. Next time out: Two runs in 6.2 innings against those same Mariners. Things went downhill after that (17 runs in 14 innings) but hell yeah Mighty Matt. Those 27.2 innings in 2007 represent his only stint with the Yankees (he also threw two innings with the Braves in 2008).
Before hanging up his spikes in 2016, DeSalvo pitched everywhere from the Bronx to Atlanta to China to various Caribbean countries to independent leagues. Twelve seasons in professional baseball with some big league time is a hell of a career for an undrafted free agent.
That is World Series Champion Freddy Guzman to you. Guzman was on the postseason roster for the entire 2009 World Series run as the designated pinch-runner. He pinch-ran twice during the ALCS, neither stole a base nor scored a run, and that was it. No appearances in the ALDS or World Series. Hey, it’s good work if you can get it. Guzman last played in Mexico in 2017.
Man did McDonald get hosed. The Yankees claimed him off waivers from the Red Sox in July 2012 specifically so they could use his righty bat against Boston’s lefty starters in an upcoming series at Fenway Park. He went 0-for-4 in the three-game series before being dropped from the roster. McDonald had to cut his dreads, which his daughter loved and he’d been growing for more than two years, to get four at-bats with the Yankees. The hair policy is just ridiculous.
It was a big deal when the Yankees signed Miranda. They gave him a four-year deal worth $2M in December 2006, though he wound up spending the next few years as an up-and-down depth guy. Miranda never hit much in the big leagues, but I do remember him hitting this moonshot: