by Paul Semendinger
August 27, 2022
In my article yesterday on Jerry Royster, I referenced some baseball players who I have always confused. I mentioned Royster and Lenny Randle as two similar players in my mind. Also Ralph Terry and Bob Turley. And Tony Kubek and Tom Tresh.
A few years ago, I wrote this piece that expands on that topic.
Do you ever get certain former Yankees players confused… as the years go by one name seems to remind you of a different name - one player of a different player?
This has happened to me over the years.
I decided to start to generate a list of players who tend to remind me of each other or whose careers I tend to confuse as the years go by…
DAVID PHELPS AND SCOTT PROCTOR:
Maybe this is because these two pitchers were both two somewhat successful right handed relief pitchers that were used seemingly in every game by Joe Torre.
PAT DOBSON, DAVE PAGAN, AND GEORGE MEDICH:
This might make sense because these were three right-handed pitchers who all played in the years just before I became baseball fan, but who I experienced time and time again as I flipped though the baseball cards I acquired as a kid. Even today, I sometimes confuse the three.
JACK AKER AND PEDRO RAMOS:
Maybe I just confuse right-handed relief pitchers… or not.
BIRDIE CREE AND PING BODIE:
Or sometimes it might be because some players from long ago had unique names. Both of these players were outfielders…
LUIS SOJO, ENRIQUE WILSON, AND MIGUEL CAIRO:
These were three back-up middle infielders who always seemed to make the big plays and come up big at the plate when you’d least expect it. Sojo had a big hit in the 2000 World Series. Wilson was the guy who seemed to own Pedro Martinez. When I think of Miguel Cairo, I always see him slapping a single up the middle.
BENNY BENGOUGH, PAT COLLINS, AND JOHNNY GRABOWSKI:
All members of the famed 1927 Yankees. All catchers. All batted right-handed. Their lifetime batting averages: Bengough .255, Collins .254, Grabowski .252.
BILL BEVENS, HANK BOROWY, ERNIE BONHAM:
All three of these pitchers had big moments or at least one very good year. All three pitched for the Yankees in the 1940’s. All three (here we go again) were right-handed pitchers. Bevens lost a would-be no-hitter in the 1947 World Series and never pitched again. Borowy later pitched for the 1950 Whiz Kid Phillies. Bonham’s nickname was “Tiny.” I know all that, but I still sometimes confuse these players in my mind.
JIM RAY HART AND WALT “NO NECK” WILLIAMS:
Two players who starred for other teams who I thought were big time Yankees, but didn’t leave much of a mark. Jim Hart played 124 games as a Yankee. Walt Williams played in 125.
JOHN ELLIS AND DANNY CATER:
I could swear that Danny Cater was a catcher. I am sure he was! Absolutely. Only, he wasn’t. The guy played for 12 seasons and never caught - ever - not even for an inning. I know he was traded by the Yankees to the Red Sox for Sparky Lyle, but, just like John Ellis, he was a catcher…right?
BRIAN FISHER AND JAY HOWELL:
Both of these guys were highly regarded right-handed flame throwers. Neither fulfilled their promise with the Yankees.
PHIL LINZ AND LYN LARY:
These guys didn’t even play in the same decade, but they remind me of each other. Both middle infielders, although Linz had the harmonica.
SCOTT KAMIENIECKI AND BOB TEWKSBURY:
Mid-to-late 1980’s or early 1990’s right handed pitchers with long names who didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. I rooted for them both…wanted them to be great!
THOUGHTS ABOUT SOME RECENT PLAYERS
I wonder if some current or recent players will be confused in twenty or thirty years (or longer).
How about Jacoby Ellsbury, Johnny Damon, and Andrew Benintendi? All were speedy outfielders who came to the Yankees after winning a championship with the Red Sox. All left-handed. They are similar players in many regards.
Or, how about the Yankees young infielders? In the future will any of Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza, and Anthony Volpe distinguish themselves or will they all be remembered together?
I’m sure there are others…
Which players have you confused over the years?