After spending parts of four seasons pitching in relief for the Yankees and Padres, Erdos was signed as a free agent by Boston after the 2000 season. He appeared in 10 games for the Red Sox in 2001 and was then released. He was born on this date in 1973, in Washington, PA. I also found a Boston Brave player named Andy High who was born on this day. High was the semi-regular starter at third for the Braves in both 1926 and ’27. His nickname was actually “Knee.” Get it, Knee High? The most famous ballplayer celebrating a birthday today is the great Stan Musial, who turns 91-years-old today.
The Boston area has had its share of famous robberies. When the Specs O’Keefe Gang walked away from the Brinks Company in Boston’s north end, with $2.7 million in January of 1950, it was at the time the biggest armed robbery in history. In 1980, a gang led by a former Boston police officer ripped open 500 safety deposit boxes at the Depositors Trust Company in Medford and made off with $1.5 million. Then there was the $500 million Gardner Museum art heist in 1990. And if you follow Red Sox baseball, you’ll never forget the Valentine’s Day caper pulled off by Scott Boras in February of 2007. On that day he strong armed Boston’s front office into paying $70 million for the services of J.D. Drew for the next five seasons.
In the five years after World War I ended, the Yankees and Red Sox made nine major player transactions. The Yankees came out of most of those deals so far ahead of the Red Sox that many Boston fans and sports writers were sure Red Sox owner Harry Frazee also had an ownership stake in New York’s franchise. Just before Christmas in 1921, Frazee made yet another deal with New York. A total of seven players were involved in the transaction including each team’s starting shortstop. Boston got New York’s Roger Peckinpaugh and then quickly traded him to Washington for another future Yankee, Jumpin Joe Dugan. New York got Everett Scott from the Red Sox.
Scott had started at short for the 1915, ’16 and ’18 Red Sox World Championship teams. In all, he played for Boston for eight seasons, averaging .246 during that span. He absolutely loved playing in Boston and I do mean “loved playing,” because at the time of his trade to new York, he had played in a then Major League record of 830 consecutive games.
That streak would not end until May 5 1925, during Scott’s fourth and final season with New York, when Yankee Manager, Miller Huggins decided his shortstop needed to rest a sore back. At the time he had played in 1,307 consecutive games. Just a couple weeks later, Scott’s Yankee teammate, a young first baseman named Lou Gehrig began a consecutive game playing streak that would eventually overwhelm Scott’s achievement. The player they called “Deacon” was not much of a hitter but he was one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops during his day. And although he didn’t hit for average, Scott barely struck out, making him a valuable hit-and-run weapon. He was also very smart and worked very hard at his craft. That’s probably why Miller Huggins made the guy a Yankee Captain. Old Everett added a fourth World Series ring to his collection in 1923, as a key member of the first-ever Yankee team to win the Fall Classic. In all he played thirteen big league seasons in five different uniforms and hit .249 lifetime. He was born on November 19, 1892 in Bluffton, IN and died almost 68 years later, in nearby Ft Wayne.
Ortiz became one of baseball’s most feared sluggers after being released by the Twins and joining Boston in 2003. Had a monster year in 2004 to help lead Boston to the playoffs. He then proceeded to hit five more round trippers and drive in 19 more runs during an incredible 2004 post season performance that saw him average .400 in the 14 games he appeared. “Big Papi” hit a career-best 54 home runs in 2006 and his phenomenal 1.066 OPS in 2007 led the Red Sox to their second World Championship in four seasons. It had been sort of downhill since for the big Dominican and then rumors of steroid use surfaced and probably put a tarnish on his career achievements. Ortiz put that all behind him in 2011 however, as he once again got his regular season average over .300 and won his fifth Silver Slugger award as the top-hitting AL DH. He also happens to be one of the great “Yankee killers” of all time.
Ortiz is currently a free agent. If Boston hadn’t imploded at the end of the 2011 season, I’m betting this guy would have already signed a new contract with the Red Sox. Now, with all the changes that have taken place in the team’s front office, Boston fans have to wonder if Ortiz will still be wearing the Red Sox uniform in April.
“Tom Terrific” ended his illustrious 20-year career as a Red Sox starting pitcher during the 1986 season. The Red Sox front office felt the then 41-year-old right hander had enough stuff left in the tank to help Boston hold off the Yankees in that year’s AL East Division race. They gave up utility player Steve Lyons to secure Seaver from Chicago on June 29, 1986. Although he went just 5-7 for Boston during the last three months of the regular season, he did put together three consecutive great starts in early August that proved critical to Boston’s successful drive to a division title. The future Hall-of-Famer finished his career with 311 victories. He was born on this date in 1944, in Fresno, CA.
Looking for more offense from the shortstop position, Boston signed Lugo as a free agent to a four-year, $36 million contract in December of 2006. He hit just .237 during his first season at Fenway but he redeemed himself by hitting .385 in Boston’s four-game sweep of the Rockies in the 2007 World series. In 2008, Lugo’s defensive play faltered and when he couldn’t make up for it with his bat, he found himself splitting the shortstop position with Alex Cora. His frustrating tenure in Boston ended the following July, when he was traded to the Cardinals for outfielder, Chris Duncan. Lugo was born on this date in 1975, in the Dominican Republic.