Forgotten New York Yankees of the Past Four Decades: "A"
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Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, and Jeter are some of the greatest names in New York Yankees history. However, Bordi, James and Moses are the names of some of the forgotten Yankees. This series will focus on the less remembered players to wear pinstripes over the last four decades (1970s-2000s). Today's letter of the day is "A."
Juan Acevedo (2003)
Juan Acevedo appeared to be a great free agent signing in January 2003. After 19 saves in his first six seasons, Acevedo's 28 saves with Detroit in 2002 set a single-season record for a Mexican-born pitcher. The Yankees signed Acevedo as a free agent to replace set up man Ramiro Mendoza.
Acevedo's stint with New York was disastrous. In less than half a season, Acevedo was 0-3 with six saves and a 7.71 ERA. His worst stretch came after allowing a combined seven earned runs in consecutive appearances against Anaheim and Texas.
Acevedo was released on June 10 and signed by Toronto seven days later. He would not pitch in the majors again after 2003.
Paul Assenmacher (1993)
The 1993 season was a turning point in Yankees history. For the first time since 1987, it appeared New York would finish with a winning record. The Yankees were also battling Toronto for first place in the A.L. East.
New York was involved in a three-team trade on July 30 in order to improve their bullpen. The Yankees sent pitcher John Habyan to Kansas City while the Cubs acquired outfielder Tuffy Rhodes from the Royals. The Yankees received pitcher Paul Assenmacher from Chicago.
Assenmacher only allowed one run in his first 13 relief appearances with the Yankees and finished 2-2 with a 3.12 ERA in 26 appearances.
Mike Armstrong (1984-86)
Glen Cove, N.Y. native Mike Armstrong returned home to the Yankees in 1984. With Kansas City in 1983, Armstrong won a career-high 10 games and was the winning pitcher in the "Pine Tar Game."
On Dec. 8, 1983, Armstrong was traded along with Duane Dewey from Kansas City to New York for first baseman Steve Balboni and pitcher Roger Erickson. It turned out to be another in a series of bad Yankee trades in the 1980s. Balboni hit 117 home runs from 1984 to 1987 and won a World Series with the Royals in 1985.
Armstrong arrived in spring training with a sore arm, and owner George Steinbrenner claimed damaged goods and asked Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to void the trade. No resolution was reached, and Armstrong did not debut with New York that year until June 16. He eventually appeared in 36 games in relief and finished 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA.
It would be Armstrong's best season with the Yankees. He went back and forth between AAA Columbus and New York in 1985 and 1986 and only appeared in 16 games in The Bronx. Armstrong was eventually released by the Yankees in April 1987, after refusing an assignment to AA. He finished his career later that season with Cleveland.
Dell Alston (1977-78)
Dell Alston, a native of nearby Valhalla, N.Y., was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent at age 19 in 1972. By 1977, he was with the parent club and recorded his first major league hit in his debut on May 17, 1977. Alston batted .325 with a home run and 4 RBI in 40 at bats during the Yankees championship season.
However, his Yankees stint ended after only three games in 1978. On June 15, Alston and Mickey Klutts were traded to Oakland for Gary Thomasson. Alston remained in Oakland for the 1978 season before playing his final two years in Cleveland.
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