Monday, August 31, 2015


Well, honk my hooter.

Jon Heyman of writes this:

"Looking to enhance their already superb bullpen, the Yankees have put in on a claim on White Sox closer David Robertson, and will find out by Monday afternoon whether they have any chance at all to re-acquire their former reliever – though as of Sunday night it appeared unlikely he's going anywhere.

While the Yankees have indeed won the claim, sources say, it's now up to White Sox to decide if they would consider trading Robertson or -- less likely – even letting him go to the Yankees. At this point, though, there isn't strong evidence to suggest the White Sox have any intention to let Robertson leave by any means."

Evidence. Ha. I love Heyman, like this is a CSI: Miami episode.  It's baseball... don't get crazy, bro.

While I love the idea of the Yankees possibly wanting to bring back DRob, I just don't see the White Sox doing anything.  Although, I'm not sure how this works.  When DRob finds out, which, he probably has already, does he ask for them to push for a trade, or do the White Sox control it at that point.  If you know how that works, comment.

I find this whole thing interesting.  We'll let you know if it goes anywhere. Keep checking back here on BYB.

J's Bake Shoppe 

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That's a quote from one of our trusty readers.

Not sure where we went wrong, but let me try and correct the record. You see, that comment happened...with much more, when we published Mike O'Hara's piece JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE..., a piece highly critical of Mark Teixeira and his constant injuries.  You see, O'Hara is not a big fan of Mark Teixeira, mainly because he gets injured alot in his Yankee career.  At one point, O'Hara may have appreciated Tex more, but somewhere between the wrist and the ankle injury and who knows what else, he got annoyed and frustrated, and so, he flipped like a heal in the WWE. Is he allowed to? Yup.  We have the right to put our opinions out there on the daily. 

As Chief of BYB, should I allow it? YES. 100%.  Here's why, I believe in a balance, and I know that my other writers are not as overly critical of Tex as O'Hara, and so, I allow him to write his "Trash" as you call it, because, I have several other writers, especially huge Tex fan, Jeana Bellezza, waiting in the wings to deflect and write a followup defending big old Mark.   That's called journalism.  That's call free speech.  That's what we do here.

Someone asked me why we're not yet on the pages of recently.  You know, they have a blog section there and I guess if you're lucky enough to be there, or, don't talk out of turn, you can be chosen to publish with them.  My answer was simple. "We don't bend over."  Bleeding Yankee Blue are independent thinkers and when it comes to our opinions on the players, on the New York Yankees... we set the standard to be overly honest and critical if we need to be.  It's an opinion, it's not bad press.  Why do we do this? Because all the others are gonna kiss ass.  We won't.  Sure, we'll highlight great players, great seasons, and we'll give the Mets and Red Sox and Blue Jays jazz and trash talk when needed. But if someone botches a play, or if someone, like Mark Teixeira is injured for the 20th time of his Yankee career... yup, we're gonna highlight it.  Not to slam the man 24/7, but to balance the conversation.  I take pride in what I do here.  I have the best writers out there because those writers are free to express themselves, no chains, no regulations, as long as they are not threatening, and as long as they are not hateful.  Criticizing a player because he gets injured alot is not hate... it's critical... and that's OK.

After O'Hara wrote his piece about Mark Teixeira... the comment below appeared.  As a place to be free to express opinions, I thought it would be fitting to share it. It's from pethealer:
"I am so sick of the Teixeira bashing that keeps coming from you guys. WTF?! This article is complete trash. Tex has suffered the most severe form of a bone bruise called an intraosseous bruise which means he had bleeding from the central portion of the bone where the bone marrow is located. That' s one tiny step below a stress fracture. They take a minimum of 10 days and can go over 4 weeks to heal. I've even heard of some that took 6 months to heal. The guy has been trying like hell to run on it to the point where he actually made it worse. He went for a second opinion in Atlanta and the doctor told him to stop running until the pain was over because it was causing inflammation of the tissue around the bone. This injury is hardly a "boo boo' you idiot and you must be a real jerk to think that Tex actually wants to sit out these games during this important part of the season.
As for Greg Bird, he's OK, but I'd hardly call him a big bat. You guys have had your heads so far up his ass since he came up, it's ridiculous. Mark has shown himself to be an MVP for us this year and I think an article like this is in the poorest of taste. A big F.U. to BYB for publishing this trash."
Doogie Howser. We apologize.  We never wanted to sound hateful in that piece.  In fact, it's one of those things where when a player gets hurt a lot like Mark does... it almost becomes a joke.  We posted it and took it lightly not thinking about just how serious it was, and so, we are sorry about that. But I won't apologize for the critical part of it.  That's an opinion and Mike has handled that part terrific since he's been with BYB. 

But I was taken with the other comments in that note. "I am so sick of the Teixeira bashing that keeps coming from you guys."  Wait. What? From us?

Mike O'Hara is not a fan of Mark Teixeria.  I am not either, but both he and I and many of our writers have praised Mark throughout his Yankee career, and this season especially for doing great things as a Yankee.  Your attack is false pethealer, and there are dozens of examples that will make my argument:

 "So if I would've told you that Mark Teixeira was going to find his 2009 groove again you may have called me crazy. If I would've told you that two months into the season that he is a key contributor to the team success I would expect you to laugh at me and tell me to put the alcohol away. Well, I didn't say it because even I wasn't expecting this. I guess Mark Teixeira gets the last laugh here because he has fooled us all and I am OK with that." MARK TEIXEIRA IS TEARING IT UP (May 31, 2015)

"I also object to charging Teixeira with impersonating as a switch hitter. Again, he isn't the only switch hitter on this team. Have you ever tried to hit a tiny ball coming at you fast from both sides of the plate? It's two different swings, folks." DISMISSING TEIXEIRA? I OBJECT! (Sept 5, 2014)

"His defense has been so key to the New York Yankees over the past 2 years. Something we didn’t have once Tino Martinez left and Jason Giambi arrived." WHY WE LOVE TEX (Jan 4, 2011)

"Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup on Monday and he didn’t waste any time reminding us what he is capable of. It’s good to have a key piece of our heart of the order back and he really is back just in time. We have been anxiously awaiting his return here at BYB because we know how important he is, read MARK TEIXEIRA'S JUST IN TIME." MARK TEIXEIRA ADDS THAT EXTRA SPARK (Oct 6, 2012)

"Gluten free agrees with Mark Teixeira and whatever fitness and dietary regimen he is following PLEASE don't stop. Teixeira is a notoriously slow starter but this season has been different. I need to find out exactly what this guy is eating..." MARK TEIXEIRA GOT HIS GROOVE BACK (May 1, 2015)

"Much like Alex and Long, I too believe Tex will be dominant this year. I think a slow start is inevitable, but the numbers and play will be respectable again, he will bounce back freaks! That, I can guarantee." WHY TEIXEIRA IS A MONSTER (Feb, 25, 2011)

There are 6 examples from a few of our writers, me included... and there are dozens more. The point is, we are fair with opinion on BYB.  It's not trash, it's opinion.  If you don't like it, find the one you do, our archive is vast and dense and there is bound to be something you'll read.  But to call our work trash is wrong.  We offer everything here.

You were very hard on us... I'm not sure I get it.

In the end, thank you for commenting and please continue to read us.  We appreciate our readers very much.  When it comes to this comment though... you're just plain wrong... and that's my opinion, of course.

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If you are like me, you are ecstatic to see our shortstop, Didi Gregorius, knock in six runs on four hits including a three-run home run the other evening, a career high for the 25-year-old rising infielder. But if you recall, only a few months ago, there was a lot of banter about Gregorius inability to hit let alone knock in runs and of course, the big shoes to he had to fill.  An interesting nugget in Saturday's New York Times allows us to learn more about our shortstop and his potential through the lens of his early years playing the game.

"Don’t do too much. Play your game. Everything will get better," was the advice that his childhood friend and former teammate, Atlanta Braves Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, gave Gregorius earlier this season.  “Anybody that would have been in his shoes, that would have had to replace Derek Jeter, would have had a rough start,” Simmons said. “All eyes are on you, and you’re trying to impress, so you’re going to press a little bit," reported the New York Times.

I am sure that he received similar advice from a number of coaches, close friends, and teammates over the past several months, but there is something about a childhood pal calling you up and telling you "You Got This!"  It sort of like a parent telling a kid to wear a coat to school on a chilly day and he or she doesn't follow this advice until a peer suggests the same thing. 

Through this article, I saw some simplicity in a young man who has the opportunity to become something special here in Yankeeland.  Gregorius and Simmons say they see little change in one another since their early days of baseball.  They appreciate where they came from and the successes they are having in the big leagues.  "We see how hard we worked to get here, so it’s always great to see each other and talk a little before the game and during the game," said Gregorius in his post game interview the other evening.  

Keep an eye on young Didi- he's starting to make his mark and find himself in his new home in pinstripes.

--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof

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Sunday, August 30, 2015


It was a rout, and it was big for the Yankees.  Not only that, it's 3 in a row... that's a winning streak. Boo ya.

The Yankees scored 20 runs today.  They had 21 hits.  They were literally on fire today.  It started with Nate Eovaldi on the mound.  He went 5 innings, gave up 8 hits and 5 runs and he struck out 7.  Not exactly his best performance this year, but the good news is no one noticed.  20 runs allows you to forget something like that.

The rout went like this:

In the second, Jacoby Ellsbury homered.  It was a 3 run shot.  Next, in the 3rd, Chase Headley hit a 2 run homer.  After that, Stephen Drew cranked on out... another 2 run shot.  By now it was 7-0 Yanks.

In the top of the 5th, Drew walked with the bases loaded. Another run scored right there.  Then, in the 7th, Alex Rodriguez singled and knocked in 2. Brett Gardner then singled knocking in Drew.

Brian McCann then singled and Young and Gardner.  After that, it was Greg Bird doubling knocking in Beltran.  Headley then doubled and knocked in 2.

Drew then singled and yet another run scored.  By then, it was 17-5.

When the 8th came, Bird sacrificed in a run.  Pitcher Branden Pinder then doubled and knocked in Gardner.  Shortly after that, Didi Gregorius singled and knocked in McCann.

And that's your 20.  Unbelievable.

Yankees won.  Stephen Drew is batting .201.  Bad news? Blue Jays beat the Tigers 9-2.  Damn.

No matter... Yanks just need to keep going!

Final: Yankees 20 - Braves 6

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You’ve probably been wondering, “When is O’Hara going to take a swing at Tex again?”  Look, Mark has had an outstanding season all in all.  His power numbers are back.  He is still the gold standard when it comes to defense.  And it isn’t always a cakewalk with Headley’s throws sometimes.  No, Tex has been a really important piece to the Yankees’ success…but the race ain’t over, gang.

I have no idea how much our gluten free 1st baseman’s shin is hurting.  I have had foul balls crack me in the leg, hands, arms and mask (played catcher once upon a time).  It sucks and deep bone bruises are a pain in the ass…or shin etc.…  But how long are you out with that type of boo boo?

In 2012 our Captain played on a severely bruised ankle.  He pushed it and pushed in until it broke.  He was done and with it the Bomber’s playoff hopes…but the Captain wouldn’t come out of the line up.

For me the real knock on Tex has always been his “gamer” status.  No, I don’t want him in there if he is really unable to play.  No, I don’t want him to push it until it breaks…but I can’t help but wonder how much Mark is ever okay with playing dinged up.  He has a track record of sitting with injuries that others will play through.  I really didn’t want to write about Tex until the season was over and he was sitting at my table from TEXGIVING.

(In photo: Greg Bird)
I’d love to see Mark empty the tank.  Yes, he has baseball left in him, that’s apparent.  But considering the money he has already made and the time he actually has left to be an effective player…what is he saving it for?  Greg Bird has shown that he can be EXACTLY what we hope he can be. Greg is a big bat and an above average glove and will be for a long time in pinstripes.  I love the kid and yes, it has influenced my targeting of Tex.  I want a new look to this Yankee ball club.  I want the kids to come up and to say goodbye to the older, more expensive contracts that hold the Yankees hostage.

Again, let me reiterate that I am really happy with Mark’s overall play this year.  He’s a great ballplayer.  And this year has been a nice, tall, sugar free glass of “Shut Up Juice” for Mikey O’.  Mark can play this game at an extremely high level…when he isn’t sitting on the bench with an “ouchie”.

As we retire the old guard into Monument Park let’s take a moment and think.  Ponder for a few minutes, Yankee Universe.  Would Jorge, Paulie, Tino, Bernie or any of that class of Yankees be sidelined with a banged up shin this long?  Seriously.  Or did they feel playing and leaving every once of themselves on that field would push them past the pain?  Maybe I’m over glorifying past heroes…or maybe they are heroes for that very reason. 

They never wanted to come out.  And that’s why they are so loved by the toughest, most passionate fans in sports.

Food for thought anyway.

** The Greats won’t EVER back down.  Ever.  Time to decide, Tex. **

--Mike O'Hara Senior "Features" Writer
Twitter: @mikeyoh21


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I just wanted to share this comment. It's from a regular commenter and reader of Bleeding Yankee Blue, and it puts that recent Yankee slump in perspective.  I just found it to be smart.  Enjoy it. Thanks Mike...
"...Slumps are frustrating. It is irritating to watch your team struggle like this. After all, when a pitcher boots it (thank you Atlanta!) it is just one player. When a lineup struggles, that's 9 men (well, 8 - thank you Carlos!). 

But let's not pretend that hitting isn't the hardest thing to do in sports. They will work themselves out of it - hopefully tonight's outburst is the start of something good. But it is rare that an offensive slump, especially a team-wide slump- can be fixed by "try harder." Remember back in April when Didi was swinging from his heels on every pitch? That's easy to spot, and easy to fix, but that's the exception.
Otherwise we just have to bear it until it works itself out. And it will. Or it won't. Either way, the team will end up where it deserves."

That was written 2 nights ago.  since then, the Yankees have won 2 in a row.  Thank you Mike Darwin. One of my favorite commenters on BYB.

I'd love this guy to write for me. What the hell does it take?

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So sad to hear about this poor man who died at Turner Field last night.  I heard about it late last night and it's just puts life in perspective.  I just wanted to share this story and give it a separate post. It deserves it. Rest in Peace Mr. Greg K. Murrey.

 ESPN writes:

"A fan died after falling out of the upper deck of Turner Field during the seventh inning of Saturday's night's New York Yankees-Atlanta Braves game, police said.

The fan was identified as 60-year-old Gregory K. Murrey early Saturday morning by the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office.

Murrey, a native of Alpharetta, Georgia, will undergo an autopsy later Saturday, according to the medical examiner's office.

Murrey was given emergency medical treatment at Turner Field and was taken away on a stretcher after falling. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital... 

Didi Gregorius of the Yankees, who was on second base at the time after having doubled in Brian McCann, said, 'I saw him falling, like right in front of the press box. Then he hit the wires. Crazy.'
Gregorius said it was difficult to concentrate on the game after seeing the incident.

'I was thinking about it the whole time,' he said. 'All I can say is my condolences to the family.'..

McCann, the former Braves catcher who lives in Atlanta, had his wife, mother and children in the section, although his wife and children had left the stadium before the incident.

'My mom was right in the mix,' he said. 'All our families are up there, so you're just praying for the best. They were close. They were real close. Our hearts go out to the family. It's sickening.'"

Terrible tragedy. You have to wonder if it was unavoidable. Whatever the case, friends and family lost someone close to them.  Terrible shame.
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Every game's a must win.  Obviously that's how the Yankees look at it.  Fans definitely look at it that way, especially when the Blue Jays have knocked them out of first place.  The Yankees should be pissed.  The last 2 games in Atlanta is hopefully a sign that we're turning it around now.

Luis Severino started for the Yankees and there were indications early that he would keep us in the game.  He went 6 innings giving up 4 hits and no runs last night.  In fact the only Braves run that was given up was by Justin WilsonSeverino also struck out 5.

The Yankee run scoring went like this:

In the first, with Chase Headley at the plate... a wild pitch and Jacoby Ellsbury scored.  Then, in the 7th, Didi Gregorius, who's been on fire lately, doubled knocking in a run.

In the 8th, another double.  This one by Brian McCann, and that knocked in Chris Young. Those are your 3...

Andrew Miller then shut the door on the Braves, striking out 2, getting his 28th save of the season and securing the victory.

Keep going Yanks.  We need to get that consistency.  We need to get that confidence.  Let's do it.

Final: Yankees 3 - Braves 1

  Be Read. Get Known.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015


It's always an honor for me to meet and interview members of the Yankees family. It's especially great when it's an accomplished pitcher like Fritz Peterson. Fritz Peterson was a starting pitcher for the Yankees during a mediocre time in Yankees history, from 1966 to 1974, before being traded to the Cleveland Indians. He holds the distinction of having the lowest career ERA pitching at the old Yankees Stadium (2.52), and he pitched the final game there before renovations began.

Bleeding Yankee Blue had a chance to sit down and talk to him on his recent trip to New York. We proudly present our exclusive interview with Fritz Peterson. 

BYB: We want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us about your book “When the Yankees Were on the Fritz: Revisiting the Horace Clarke Years.” What is it about, what do you hope to accomplish through it, and what do you want to share?

Fritz Peterson: Sure. In my first book, I wanted to get some stuff cleared up about our “situation” [quotes mine]. I touched on a bunch of players that I really thought a lot about. I made it “Mickey Mantle Is Going to Heaven”. But it wasn’t a serious book. It was just to get it out there in case I died of prostate cancer which I was on the verge of doing at the time. At least I said some things that I wanted off my chest. But I wanted to do a serious book. I talk about my years with the Yankees, each one of them. One through nine - I call them innings, every year. Doing it [that way] brought back a whole bunch of memories about players that I remembered through those days. They taught me a lesson in that I didn’t know how baseball worked, I didn’t know that baseball was a real business - I thought it was a game. I found out when my first best friend there got released.

Then I go into a little bit about my family stuff, got through all those things, then had to transition through the marriage situation in 1972. The last chapter has to do with all the players that I played with, that I remember seeing in uniform in 1974. It has a lot of personal things in it, it has a lot of things that people have been commenting that they didn’t know that this was what happened in baseball.

BYB: You touched on your nine “innings”, but then in 1974 you were traded to the Cleveland Indians. What was that like and what do you remember most about changing clubs?

Fritz Peterson: I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know it was to Cleveland. But because that year I was the fifth starter, and I was starting to develop some arm problems, and at the beginning of the season you don’t play as many games. I wasn’t in the starting rotation at the start. I knew I was going somewhere. So I asked [Yankees General Manager] Gabe Paul. I said, “Gabe, I know you’re trying to trade me, but I just want you to know two things. I don’t mind because that’s baseball. But I won’t go to the Philadelphia Phillies or the Cleveland Indians.” He patted me on the back and said “Don’t worry, young man. We wouldn’t do that to you”. So two weeks later I’m on a plane with three other teammates and we’re heading to Cleveland. Bill Virdon had called us into his office and told the four of us [Peterson, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey and Steve Kline] that there’s been a trade. They were pissed. We were four people that they liked. That’s 40% of our pitching staff going for guys that they didn’t really pay much attention to. It turned to be a really good trade for the Yankees [ed. note: the Yankees got Chris Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, and Cecil Upshaw]. I remember us looking at each other on the plane going from LaGuardia to Cleveland, the four of us at about 8 o’clock in the morning, wondering what happened. We get there to Cleveland and there’s our old buddy John Ellis, one of my favorites from the Yankees, waiting for us to pick us up and bring us to the hotel. Cleveland was an odd feeling, but Cleveland was fun for a while.

BYB: You mentioned some of your teammates. Who was your favorite teammate and why?

Fritz PetersonMy favorite at the beginning was Jim Bouton. He roomed with me and he actually gave me a chance to make that team in Spring Training in 1966. When I heard that, I’m thinking that here’s a big leaguer who’s been there and he’s saying “you have a chance to make this team.” I planned on going to the minors a few more years and when he said that, I really believed it. So we roomed together and we had a lot of really good times together. Crazy guy, good guy, you know. When he wrote the book, I purposely didn’t read it because I had friends on both sides. I didn’t want to take sides. I got it at home ready to bring to the nursing home when I go. Then obviously Mike Kekich was my best friend from 1969 to 1972 when our situation was going on. Mel Stottlemyre overall was the best, most consistent friend I had.

BYB: Do you ever keep in touch with the old players?

Fritz Peterson: No, no. The only one I keep in touch with is Mel Stottlemyre. But with his sickness now, he’s not well. I’m afraid to even see the newspapers because if I see his name I’m gonna think “Oh no.” We were there at the [Old Timer's] game, but we didn’t go in. I didn’t wanna go in. I didn’t want to see Mel like that.

BYB: In 1970 you went 20-11 - a 20-game winner - with a 2.90 ERA, you made the All-Star team, the team finished second in the American League. What was your greatest memory from that season with that team?

Fritz PetersonI suppose it would have to be winning the 20th game on the last day of the season in Boston. They pushed me up one game ahead of Stan Bahnsen because I did have a chance to win the 20th game and it was the last day of the season. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have pitched. If it had rained, that game would have never been played because Boston and the Yankees were in the place they were going to be in the standings. We checked in to our hotel in Boston on the Friday of that weekend. The room that I was supposed to take was room 1912. Our traveling secretary had everything laying on the table, and I looked at that and I said there’s something wrong with that. If I had lost that game, that’s the record I would have had. Oddly enough, I said, “Bruce [Henry, 1970 Yankees traveling secretary], you gotta change that.” He said, “Why?” Then he looked and said “I know why”. So he did, and oddly enough, he got me 2011. Here I had 19 games and I didn’t know if I’d ever get to 20. I'm glad I figured that because I never did do that.

BYB: Every pitcher has one hitter they just hate facing. Who was that person for you?

Fritz Peterson: Those people were, in order fear, was Frank Howard. He was six feet nine inches, 300 pounds, and could fill a toilet in one sitting. I saw him hit a ball one time off Mel Stottlemyre, Mel threw him a sinker to keep it away from him. Frank hit it and it nearly hit his cap. It started going up, and up and up. It went out for a home run in center field. That was scary. It went up like a golf ball. So we learned that when we threw the ball to Frank, extra quick get your glove up for self-defense. Dick Allen later, was the second as far as scary. I’ve seen him hit some monsters. The best hitter I faced over my career was Al Kaline. That's because he never gave up. It could be 8-1 they’re losing and he still trying to get on base and start a big inning. I gotta tell you one little sidelight of that. When Duke Sims got traded to the Yankees, Al Kaline was about the end of his line. Duke had played with Al Kaline for a while and got to know him. Duke told me if you get a chance, could you let Al get a hit, like a bunt down third. Because if he gets on, it’s a base hit and they’ll take him right out of the game because that would make him an even .300 hitter. So I did and he did. They didn’t take him out for two more years. 

He got better there for a while because of the DH. The funny thing about that was Denny McLain, of course, was on Detroit, he had done the same thing for Mickey Mantle in grooving that home run pitch for him in 1968. So I thought, they did him a favor to Mickey, I’ll do Al a favor.

BYB: Baseball today is a lot different today than it was when you played. In what ways do you think the game got better and in what ways worse?

Fritz PetersonI think it got worse lately because of the speed gun. All pitchers want to be dominant, macho strong men. They think now, when the emphasis on that is so much, even when they’re signing rookie pitchers, because lefties have to throw at least 93 and righties have to throw 96 before they’ll even sign them for anything. But when they get there finally, they know that they have relief pitchers we never had before. So they can let it all out. But they’re also letting it out looking at the scoreboard. What did I get? Did I get up to 97? In our day, they signed pitchers that were pitchers even then. They had good sinkers, they had good control, two or three pitches maybe. Now it’s completely different, it’s a power game. So, if you can throw hard, you can work off that. But I think there’s an over-emphasis on that, and I’m not sure it’s gonna last forever. These guys are dropping out with Tommy John surgery.

BYB: What do you think of pitch counts?

Fritz PetersonI don’t like them. They’re so conditional. In the day, if we were going well and running a smooth ballgame, it didn’t really matter. We had a guy over there with the clicker, Jim Turner, but we never paid any attention to it. He was just doing a job. It didn’t matter. Now it matters a lot. It takes a little of the managerial stuff out of managing. When managers say “How are we doing?”. [pitchers say] “I wanna pitch, I wanna stay in.” Some of these guys are out of there before they knew [sic] what happened. All of a sudden, there’s an inning produced and they’re not in there. I think we should at least give a guy an out per inning. If he can’t get the first guy out, then bring in the relief pitcher. Not take him out because he threw too many pitches.

BYB: Tell me about Ralph Houk. He was a legendary manager. What was it like playing for him?

Fritz PetersonIt was wonderful. It was just like my own dad being there. Once you won a position with Ralph, you didn’t have to look over your shoulder or worry that if you made an error you were gonna lose your position. You could be yourself, throw good stuff because you were there and you knew you had a friend behind you. Being a major in the Army, he got people’s attention. I saw him grab a writer one time and raise him up on the wall because he wrote an article intimating the Yankees were having trouble. Ralph didn’t like that, so he grabbed him. It was Maury Allen. He had to set the record straight. The guys knew [Ralph] was right behind them, on their side.

BYB: You mentioned earlier about prostate cancer. It’s a big issue for men. Guys like Bob Watson are big advocates for early testing. My own father is a prostate cancer survivor. What would you like to say to that issue?

Fritz PetersonYes. There’s a movement going on now to do away with the testing, including the PSA, saying that even if you do treat, it’s about the same results as if you didn’t even know about it. For myself personally, I’m glad I did. I was one of those that if I didn’t have it taken care of, I would have been dead. I had that thought back in 2006 when they found it again. I envisioned what it would be like to not have another Christmas. It was a little peaceful, in a way, but when I found that I could make it again, I was happy again. It was almost a relief.

BYB: We are glad you are as well as you are, and we hope your treatments continue to work.

You mentioned about your “situation” a number of times during this interview. Is there anything you’d like to say, in general, about that.

Fritz PetersonSure. When Mike was traded to our team in 1969, he was Jim Bouten’s replacement for me. He was a fun guy. Mike and I were best friends, we roomed together on the road. Our families were the same age. He had 2 daughters, aged 5 and 2. I had 2 sons 5 and 2. We spent a lot of time,  just innocent times always, until the last part there. Then, getting to know the others’ spouse, I personally was never thinking of leaving mine. I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t consider it. But I thought he sure had it nice. His wife would let him stay at the ballpark, sign autographs. Mine, I had to come home the second the game was over, to be under her watch. He saw something in my wife, somebody pretty, who like to read and had college degrees. So something inside of us was building slowly. Until a night at Maury Allen’s house, in 1972, which was July 15. We were at a party at Maury’s, drinking beer and having hot dogs and hamburgers and stuff. Maybe we had a little too much drink, I’m not sure. It was sure fun. Mike’s wife Susan was sitting across from me, and he was sitting across from my wife Marilyn. I happened to touch Susan’s foot under the table. It didn’t bother her, but a little while later, I think she touched mine. After that, we touched each other’s foot more and more and we were drinking and stuff like that. After we were done at Maury’s, we decided to go home. On the way walking from the party to our cars,  I said to my wife Marilyn, why don’t you ride home with Mike, back to the Fort Lee Diner where we had both parked and met. I said to Mike, your wife Susan can come with me. We can just meet there. So we did and it was so much fun, at least in my instance talking to Susan, knowing that I didn’t have to be careful of what I said. She was such an easy-going, wonderful wife. With my wife, I had to say everything perfectly with her. Mike felt the same way about my wife as I did about his.

We got home and we met at the ballpark the next day. It was Sunday, and I said to Mike we should do that again, and he agreed. So we decided to do it again a couple of nights later, and this time we went to a steak and ale in Fort Lee, NJ. We met at the steak and ale and we all had a couple of drinks. Marilyn and Mike took off and then Susan and I just stayed there and ate and drank. We had a ball, an absolute blast. We all wanted to do it again, so we did it again the next available time. Then it became like, let’s do this all the time, so we did. It just became, wow, can this work? Mike was the first one to tell his wife that he loved Marilyn, my wife. I didn’t say that because I didn’t know yet, I was just one of the team. But we started then dating all the time.

At the end of the season, we didn’t want each other to leave. Mike and Susan were going to go off to Missoula, Montana. Marilyn and I were gonna go back to live and stay in New Jersey where we just built a house. It was tough to do. I was working in New Jersey, I was with John Sterling, who was with the New York Raiders hockey team. John was the play-by-play man, I was the color man. There was one night when we were going from Philadelphia to Boston, where my plane was so bad, it was one of those white-knucklers. I’m thinking you know what, I don’t even care if I die. Because Susan is gone, and I didn’t want to back to my wife, because I wanted to be with Susan. So when I got to Boston, I called Mike and I said Mike, you still wanna do this thing we’ve been talking about, switching families? He said yes. I said you arrange for Susan and your kids to come East to New Jersey, and I’ll send Marilyn and my boys out to you. That was it. Shortly after, my wife Marilyn called me and she said, I wanna come back. The poetry from Mike wore off, and she found out he didn’t have any degrees in college, and he was in debt and she wanted me back and I said I can’t come back. I’m gonna go be with Susan. It’s been her and I now for 41 years. They never did get married. They were both bull heads. I was hoping it would work out.

BYB: I am surprised by your response. I didn’t want to go there because I didn’t want you to be uncomfortable. You have a great history with the Yankees, as a player, and that’s what we were going to focus on. I am a little surprised that you’re as comfortable as you are, but we appreciate your candor.

Fritz PetersonI appreciate you not wanting to do that. But I don’t care. I’ll tell anything now. The older I get, the more I don’t care.

BYB: How do you feel about social media?

Fritz PetersonI’m just starting to get into that. I don’t really have much time, because mine is getting so extensive, my Facebook stuff. I almost have a full-time job doing that, and I feel like I gotta do that before I do anything. I’m not an English major, so there’s mistakes in it sometimes. I’m finding it fun and I’m practicing before I get Alzheimer’s, so I can remember everything [laughing]. I’m gonna start putting the word out [that] I would like to do commercials for nursing homes, because I wrote about that in the second book, and it was fun writing. I plan on pulling pranks on the people in the wheelchairs. They’re gonna have a hard time, but I’m going down hard!

BYB: Is there anything else you would like to say?

Fritz PetersonYeah. What do I have to do to get to the Old Timer’s Game? They don’t get to me quite often. Last time was 2006. I’d love to go to the Old Timer’s Game. I don’t even want you to make them look bad. I’d just love to go to that, and I just wish I went to more.

Again, we want to thank Fritz for sitting down and speaking with us. Fritz, you're a great conversationalist and a fun guy to be around. We wish you all the success in the world, great health, and that you accomplish all you set out to do.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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