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Saturday, January 7, 2012

"WHO ARE YOU...BOBBY MEACHAM?"

Bobby Meacham was never a huge success story in the Yankees organization. Let’s face it, if you look through your baseball cards from the 80’s, you have dozens featuring Bobby Meacham who posted a career .236 average. It’s hard to believe that he was a Yankees shortstop and second baseman, but if you think about it, for many years, the Yankees really didn’t have a solid shortstop. Sure, we had Tony Fernandez in 1996, and he was great, but his career was over at that point. Before that, one of my favorites, Andy Stankiewicz, but it was clear back in 1992 that the Yankees were just using the scrappy shortstop as a place holder, there was never a long term plan for Andy. That being said, before that Spike Owen was there and before that there were others, but there was also a guy named Bobby Meacham who was given a shot to be an infielder for the New York Yankees.

It doesn’t matter what conversation I’m having with my buddies about the 80’s Yankees, no matter what… Bobby Meacham’s name always comes up. It’s usually in a comical discussion, for example, if we were playing softball and one of my bud’s is sluggish in the field, we’d yell “Who are you Bobby Meacham? because if you remember Bobby, you remember he was never an All-Star. He tried and the Yankee fans embraced all their Yankees, even Bobby, but it was never a good scene when he was out there.

(In Photo: Bobby Meacham being tagged by Carlton Fisk)

I remember he and Dale Berra rounding third base one game and one after the other, they got tagged out trying to cross home plate like it was little league. Billy Martin later said "I’ve never seen a play like that in grammar school, let alone the major leagues." Yet, the New York Yankees held onto Bobby, believed in him and always hoped he’d turn it around, at least that’s what it looked like to me.

Years later Bobby Meacham was a coach for teams around Major League Baseball even becoming a third base coach for the Yankees and Girardi in 2008, but when the Yankees didn’t make it to the playoffs, he was cut loose. I haven’t seen him since. It doesn’t matter, he’s still the name that pops up whenever me and my buds talk 80’s baseball trivia and will always be.

One thing you have to give credit to Bobby for though is never giving up, and maybe that why I was fascinated with the guy. Bobby Meacham may be the brunt of our jokes when it comes to non-Yankee greats, but the guy had the courage to never quit and that says a lot when you wear the pinstripes. Sure he wasn’t a Hall of Famer, but he was a New York Yankee and believe it or not, that says a lot, you have to break through a lot of layers to make it to the Bigs and he did. So, while this post sounds like a negative, it’s far from it. A salute to Bobby Meacham, long retired, but not forgotten. Thanks for the memories Bobby.

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