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The Best Rookies of the Spring, The James P. Dawson Award Winners (Part 9, 1995-1999)

by Paul Semendinger

March , 2021

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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.

***

The 1995-1999 Award Winners

1995 – No Selection Made

1996 – Mark Hutton

A big right-handed relief pitcher – one in a long line of Yankee prospects with the “can’t miss” label.

Hutton didn’t reach his potential.

In 1996, he pitched in 12 games (2 starts) with a record of 0-2, 5.04. On July 31, he was traded to the Florida Marlins for David Weathers. Weathers would go on to pitch well in the post season in helping the Yankees win the World Series.

Hutton would go on to pitch for the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds. His career was over after the 1998 season.

He pitched in 84 games accumulating an overall record of 9-7, 4.75.

All-Time WAR = 0.7

1997 – Jorge Posada

Hip Hip Jorge!

Jorge Posada went on to become a Yankees legend. He played 17 years as a Yankee. A “Core-Four” member. Posada won five Silver Slugger Awards, was an All-Star five times, and was an integral part of the most recent Yankees dynasty.

Posada his 20 or more homers seven times and finished his career with the following stats:

1,829 games, .273/275/1065

He ranks 18th all-time in WAR among MLB catchers, ahead of six catchers in the Hall-of-Fame.

All-Time WAR = 42.7 (ranks #3 all-time on this list)

1998 – Homer Bush

It is possible that no one had a better sounding baseball name…

Homer Bush brought energy and fun to the team. Between 1997 and 1998, Bush played in 55 games for the Yankees batting .378!

He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in the deal that brought Roger Clemens to the Bronx. Bush would also play for the Florida Marlins. He returned to the Yankees for 9 games in 2004.

Overall he played in 409 games in the big leagues batting .285/11/115

All-Time WAR = 3.0

1999 – No Selection Made

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Highest All-Time WAR of Players Highlighted (thus far) In This Series:


Willie Randolph 65.9


Roy White 46.8


Jorge Posada 42.7


Al Leiter 42.5


Don Mattingly 42.4


Jose Rijo 35.0


Tom Tresh 22.0


Bob Tewksbury 21.2


Norm Seibern 21.0


Tony Kubek 18.4


Jim Beattie 14.8

***

PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES:

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