Howdy Doody was almost a Yankee

Darrell EvansA little Yankee trivia: Darrell Evans was drafted by the Yankees in 1966 as a 2nd Round pick, but did not sign.  I remember he was not an easy get: at various points, the Cubs, Tigers and Phillies drafted him but couldn’t get him to ink his contract.  Howdy Doody finally signed with the Kansas City Athletics, only to be picked up by the Braves in the 1968 Rule 5 Draft.  He went on to enjoy a great baseball career that included 414 Home Runs.  As a pitcher, I guess I am a little relieved that he enjoyed such a long career in the other league, so I never had to face him.  The Home Run threat, combined with how often Howdy Doody would draw a walk, made him especially formidable.

Darrell got called up by the Braves about seven weeks into the 1971 season, replacing Clete Boyer as the regular Third Baseman.  Imagine if he had signed with the Yankees.  No doubt he would have won the starting 3B job over Jerry Kenney and later Celerino Sanchez.  Howdy Doody might have changed the history of the Horace Clarke Era.  But when reality sets in – and before you start cursing poor Dan Topping all over again – remember that if the Yankees had Darrell Evans at third, they might never have traded for Craig Nettles – and no Yankee fan can imagine life without Craig Nettles.  So it was all for the best.

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