Happy Birthday to Norm Siebern, a former New York Yankee, who played major league baseball from 1956 to 1968. Norm came up through the Yankee organization and was part of a trade that would have historic significance to the Yankees and to the game of baseball. After the 1959 season, the Yankees traded Siebern, Hank Bauer, Don Larsen and Marvelous Marv Throneberry to the Kansas City Athletics for Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley. Norm later played for the Orioles, Giants, Angels and Red Sox. He has two World Series rings –with the Yankees (1956 and 1957) – and played in the 1967 World Series with the Red Sox. I faced Norm for the first time during my rookie season. It was May 7, 1966 and we were playing the Angels at Anaheim Stadium. Marcelino Lopez was pitching for California and Norm was at First Base. I’ll never forget it; I had been in the majors for about three weeks, and I was pitching really, really well. In the first four innings, I retired the first twelve batters. Yes, I was pitching a perfect game. Then in the fifth, Rick Reichardt hit a leadoff triple to Mickey Mantle in center. I got Jackie Warner out. Then Norm comes up to bat and hit single to left, scoring Rick. I threw a complete game and got the win, and Norm drove I the only run California scored that day.
Thurman Munson got called up to the Yankees in August 1969, and his first game was on August 8, a Friday night, the second game of a twilight doubleheader against the Oakland A’s. Thurman was the catcher, giving Frank Fernandez a rest after the first game. Thurman batted eighth, and in his first major league at-bat came in the second inning; Catfish Hunter walked him. He grounded out Bert Campanaris in the fifth. By the seventh inning, the game remained scoreless in a pitching duel between Catfish and Al Downing. Gene Michael led off with an infield single, and Thurman hit a clean single to Tommy Reynolds in left – his first major league hit! Stick made it to third and Thurman advanced to second on Reynolds’ throw to Sal Bando. Stick and Thurman scored on a Horace Clarke single, and Hoss made it to third on Jerry Kenney’s hit. That’s when Hank Bauer, the A’s manager, pulled Catfish. Thurman’s second career hit came off Marcel Lachemann in the eighth. Bobby Murcer led off with a single. Jimmie Hall walked, and Stick made it to first on Lachemann’s error. So Thurman comes to the plate for his fourth big league plate appearance with the bases loaded and no outs. He hit a single to Reggie Jackson in right, and advances to second on Reggie’s throwing error. Thurman went 2-for-3 in his major league debut, with two RBI’s. And this Yankee fans will appreciate: on Thurman’s first RBI, Bobby Murcer scored!