Happy Birthday to Billy Conigliaro, the younger brother of Tony Conigliaro and an outfielder for the Red Sox, Brewers and A’s during a career that went from 1969 to 1973. I faced Billy for the first time in his third week as a major leaguer. It was April 28, 1969 and the Red Sox were playing at Yankee Stadium. Billy was a good hitter and had a lot of potential power, but in that game he went 0-for-3. I remember the game. We won 1-0. I pitched a three-hitter. Ray Jarvis, Boston’s starter, only gave up four hits, but two of them – a single by Bobby Murcer followed by Roy White’s RBI double – enabled us to win.
Happy 70th birthday to Duffy Dyer, who played on the 1969 Mets World Championship team. I never played with Duffy, but I met him several times since we were both playing in New York. He was popular with fans and was best known as Jerry Grote’s backup catcher. He had a nice fourteen-year major league career, followed up by coaching at the major league level and managing in the minors. I wish him the very best for many, many more years.
For the first four years of my career, I was one of two Peterson’s to play major league baseball. I want to remember the life of Cap Peterson, no relation, who played for the Giants, Senators and Indians during his eight year career. When I first came up with the Yankees, Cap was with the Giants. I met him in 1967, after San Francisco traded him for Mike McCormick. Cousin Cap was really tough on me in his first few plate appearances. It was April 12, 1967 at D.C. Stadium and I was matched up with Joe Coleman. I got jammed up in the first inning, when Frank Howard hit a two-out RBI triple, followed by me walking Cap. Fortunately I got Ken Harrelson to fly out. The second inning – my last one – was worse. After successive errors by Shortstop John Kennedy and First Baseman Ray Barker, I walked the pitcher to load the bases. Then I walked Ed Brinkman. Fred Valentine drove in two runs with a single to left. After intentionally walking Hondo, Cap drove in two more runs with a double to center. Jim Bouton came in relief, walked Harrelson, and Ken McMullen hit a grand slam Home Run. We lost 10-4. Cap hit a double in his next at bat against me a few weeks later, but he ended up with a .211 career average against me. Tragically, Cap died in 1980 of kidney disease at age 37. He would have been 73 today.
Happy Birthday to Tommie Reynolds who played the outfield for the A’s, Mets, Angels and Brewers in a career that spanned eight years, from 1963 to 1972. I didn’t know Tommie well, but I liked him because he hit .118 against me in my career. But I remember one game he surprised me. He was back for his second tour of duty with the A’s in 1969 and they were playing at Yankee Stadium. The A’s pitcher, Lew Krausse, had tied the game with a Home Run, and Tommie followed up with a double. Luckily, I was able to calm down – credit for that goes to a kid named Thurman Munson, who was playing in his second major league game. We won the game 5-1, and I pitched a complete game.
Happy Birthday to José Santiago, who pitched for the Kansas City Athletics from 1963 to 1965, and the Boston Red Sox from 1966 to 1970. The first time I saw him pitch was in 1966, when the Red Sox were playing us at Yankee Stadium. Whitey Ford was pitching against Jim Lonborg. Boston took and, but the Yankees scored two runs in the fourth inning and Billy Herman brought Jose in to pitch. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Jose got the next three batters out.