The Yanks last pulled off a big trade on January 23 way back in 1904, when they shipped pitchers “Long” Tom Hughes and Bill Wolfe to Washington for Al Orth, who was nicknamed “The Curveless Wonder.” Although Al only amassed 72 wins and 73 losses with the Yanks from 1904 through 1909, those numbers were negatively affected by his 16-34 mark on two bad teams in ’07 and ’08. In 1906, he led the American League with 27 wins, 36 complete games, and 339 innings pitched. Hughes had been a 7-11 bust in New York in 1903 after they had sent Jesse Tannehill to Boston for him, but the change of scenery to Washington did not help, as he compiled an 83-125 mark with the Senators by the end of the 1913 season. Wolfe only pitched one game in the bigs, which he lost for the 1902 Phillies.
Of all the players who have died on January 23, two recent ones are a guy who finished his career with the Yanks, and another who is listed as an all-time great. Outfielder Walt “No Neck” Williams (2016), the only Yankee player to have passed this day, played for the Bombers in 1974 and 1975. For New York, Walt hit five home runs and drove in 19 runs, numbers that increase to 33 and 173 when looking at his whole career from 1964 through ’75, most of it spent with the White Sox.
“Let’s play two.” Mr. Cub, Hall of Fame first baseman and shortstop Ernie Banks (2015), smashed 512 long balls and knocked in 1,636 runs while playing his entire major league career from 1953 through 1971 on Chicago’s North side. Ernie began playing professional baseball in 1950 with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro leagues.
Read more history for January 23 on TakeHimDowntown.com