Players You Forgot Were Yankees: The 1980s
On Monday, we brought you a list of 10 players you may have forgotten were Yankees during the 1970s, and while we had to bend our criteria from a previous incarnation of that feature, the list was still full of guys who were notable for one reason or the other.
Well, when it comes to the 1980s, the list we’ve compiled using our regular criteria for a “cup of coffee” – either one full season or less than, say, 80 games over two (or three) – contains one Hall of Famer, a handful of multiple-time All-Stars, and a guy who had one of the best pitching seasons in modern history en route to a Cy Young Award.
What they all have in common, of course, is that for a short period of time, they wore pinstripes. Whether it was before or after their claims to fame were made matters not, only that their names are in the media guide as past members of the New York Yankees.
Gaylord Perry: We start with that one Hall of Famer, a guy who won 314 games over 22 seasons and won Cy Young Awards in both leagues. The AL one didn’t come in New York, but four of Gaylord Perry’s 314 wins did; traded from Texas to the Yankees for two fringe players in August 1980, the then 40-year-old righty was less than two years removed from a 21-8 Cy Young season but went just 4-4 with a 4.44 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) for the Bombers and did not make a postseason appearance as the team was swept by Kansas City in the ALCS.
Butch Hobson: Yankees fans likely remember Hobson as the manager of the Red Sox in the early 1990s, but less than a decade before that, he was in the home dugout at Yankee Stadium. That happened in 1982, when Hobson – admittedly, a shell of his former powerful self because of an elbow injury – was traded from the Angels to the Yankees and posted a .172 average in 30 games as a first baseman/DH before calling it a career.
Rick Reuschel: A near 20-year career for Reuschel included a stop in the Bronx in 1981, as he was traded from the Cubs that June and went 4-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 11 regular season starts and made three postseason appearances as well. That would be it, though, as after missing all of 1982 due to injury and being generally ineffective in four Triple-A starts in 1983, the Yanks simply released him in June of that year.
Mike Morgan: Mike Morgan was never a “great” pitcher, and in fact only made one All-Star team in 22 seasons, but his pure longevity earned him a World Series ring in Arizona in 2001. But two decades before he was a Yankee killer, he was in fact a Yankee; traded from Oakland in the winter of 1980, Morgan made 21 starts for the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate in 1981 and then went 7-11 with a 4.37 ERA in 30 games (23 starts) with the big club in 1982. That winter, he and a prospect named Fred McGriff were traded to Toronto for a journeyman pitcher and a career Minor Leaguer.
Bert Campaneris: Most Baby Boomer-era fans best remember Campaneris, a six-time career All-Star, as the speedy shortstop on the Athletics teams that won three straight World Series from 1972-74. Eight years later, though, he finished his career in New York, coming to the Yankees as a free agent in 1983 after a year in the Mexican League – and the then 41-year-old still had it, hitting .322 in 60 games as a utility infielder that season before calling it a career.
Stan Javier: Like Campaneris, Javier was more widely known for playing on an Athletics dynasty, this one the 1988-90 group that went to three straight World Series; however, he actually began his career as a Yankee, coming to the team in the 1982 trade with St. Louis that also brought Bobby Meacham to town. Javier made his MLB debut in 1984, playing seven games as a September call-up, and was traded to Oakland that winter in the seven-player deal that also sent Jose Rijo out west but brought back some guy named Henderson.
Ivan de Jesus: If one had to sum up de Jesus’ biggest career burden, it’s the fact that he was the guy the Phillies traded Ryne Sandberg (and Larry Bowa) to the Cubs for in January 1982. He would eventually come to the Yankees during the 1986 season, spending about eight weeks in the organization but playing just seven games (and going 0-for-4 in the process) before being released.
Rafael Santana: The defensive wizard and shortstop on the 1986 World Series champion Mets was actually a two-time Yankee, but only a one-time Major Leaguer. Santana was originally signed by the Bombers in 1976 as an amateur free agent, but only reached Double-A before being traded to St. Louis in 1981; almost seven years later, the Mets traded Santana back to the Yankees, and he hit .240 in 148 games as the starting shortstop in 1988 but missed all of 1989 due to an elbow injury and was swiftly released that winter.
Tom Brookens: A third baseman and later utility man on the Tigers of the 1980s – a stint that included the famous blooper reel collision clip immortalized in a Dire Straits video – Brookens was traded to the Yankees in the spring of 1989 and hit .226 in 66 games at four positions. That winter, though, he did the “Walk of Life” to Cleveland, where he finished his career in 1990.
Doug Drabek: Finally, we come to one who fits the profile of “the one who got away” in Drabek, who spent two-plus years in the organization as the bounty from a 1984 trade that sent Roy Smalley to the White Sox. Drabek debuted in 1986 and went 7-8 with a 4.10 ERA in 27 games (21 starts) that year, but was traded to Houston in a six-player deal and went on to win the NL Cy Young Award in 1990 – two seasons after any of the three guys he was traded for last played in pinstripes.