The Best Rookies of the Spring, The James P. Dawson Award Winners (Part 3, 1965-1969)
by Paul Semendinger
February 24 , 2021
Of note – My research for this project took me to the wonderful site Baseball Almanac where I was able to access the list of all the James P. Dawson winners in Yankees history. I also used Baseball-Reference for the players’ statistics.
In 1956, the Yankees began awarding the James P. Dawson Award to the best rookie in Spring Training.
I began to wonder how many of these players went on to successful careers with the Yankees or other teams.
Here I continue my examination of that important award and the players who earned it.
James P. Dawson was a longtime Yankees’ reporter with the New York Times. He served as the Chairman of the New York Chapter of the BBWAA.
It was very difficult to find an image of the award itself and it seems there is no actual trophy. Rather, it seems that the player is given a watch. Here is an auction from 2013 that highlights Johnny James’ watch. This photo shows Masahiro Tanaka being presented with a watch as well. In 2018, Miguel Andujar tweeted this photo of him earning his watch. The cover image on our home page is cropped from this Tweet.
1965 – Arturo Lopez
Known better as Art, Arturo Lopez, was a Yankee (and a Major Leaguer) for just one season, 1965.
That year he appeared as an outfielder, pinch hitter, and pinch runner.
He batted only .143 in 38 games.
All-Time WAR = -0.6
1966 – Roy White
Roy White, of course, became a Yankee great. White played on the Yankees through the 1979 season amassing a collection of impressive stats.
Roy White was a two-time American League All-Star. He earned MVP votes in four of his seasons.
He batted over .290 four times. He collected 1,803 hits.
White is on many of the Yankees’ All-Time leader boards including: Games (7th), At Bats (9th), Plate Appearances (7th), Walks (8th), Stolen Bases (6th), and more.
Roy White was an important member of the 1976-1978 World Series teams.
All-Time WAR = 46.8
1967 – Bill Robinson
Bill Robinson also had a long big league career that lasted until 1983. Most of that career was spent in the National League.
Robinson played for the Pirates for 8 years and the Phillies for 5 seasons. A solid outfielder, Robinson amassed 1,127 hits as he batted .258/166/641 over his career that saw him play in the post season with the Pirates in 1975 and 1979.
Bill Robinson earned MVP consideration in 1976 and 1977 when he batted over .300 and blasted over 20 homers each year.
Bill Robinson played as a Yankee from 1967 to 1969. In 310 games, he batted only .206 with just 16 home runs. The Yankees traded Robinson for pitcher Barry Moore (who never appeared as a Yankee).
All-Time WAR = 7.6
1968 – Mike Ferraro
Mike Ferraro became a long time coach in the big leagues. As a player, though, he wasn’t great.
In 1968, he appeared in 23 games batting .161. He played for the Seattle Pilots in 1969 and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1972.
All-Time WAR = -0.4
1969 – Jerry Kenney & Bill Burbach
Jerry Kenney, an infielder and part-time outfielder, was a Yankee until 1973. He was one of the players traded to the Cleveland Indians for Graig Nettles.
As a Yankee, Kenney played in 465 games batting .237/7/103.
He played just five games with Cleveland.
All-Time WAR = 9.0
Bill Burbach was a right-handed pitcher. He pitched in 31 games in 1969 which was the bulk of his career.
He pitched in 4 games in 1970 and 2 games in 1971.
His entire career was spent with the Yankees.
In 37 total games (28 starts), he went 6-11, 4.48.
All-Time WAR = -0.9