Monday, October 31, 2005
Matt Nokes Born
While Scott Brosius is fairly secure in his status as my favorite player of all-time, Matt Nokes will always hold a special place in my heart as my first favorite player. Nokes was a catcher who began his career in
The 1990 Yankees were a dire squad, losing ninety-five games, the worst Yankees team on a win-loss basis since 1908 Highlanders and still the second worst ever. They had six regulars hitting .250 or worse, including catcher Bob Geren who hit .213/.259/.325 with just eight home runs across two hundred seventy-seven at-bats. Nokes' arrival then, was something of a revelation for a six year-old, as Matt hit four home runs in his first sixty at-bats while wearing the pinstripes. Adding to my fondness was the fact that although Nokes--like virtually every catcher--threw right handed, like me, he hit left handed. My father, a patient soul if ever there was one, actually purchased me a left-handed catcher's mitt (God only knows where you'd find one of those) and a catcher's mask to humor my desire to emulate my hero, who led the Yankees in homers in 1991 and was second on the team with twenty-two jacks in 1992. By 1993 however, the beginnings of the team that would evolve into the Yankee Dynasty was forming and Nokes was relegated to part-time status behind Mike Stanley.
Unless my memory fails me--always a possibility--the last time I saw Nokes was during this game when he struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth with the tying runs on base. He saw limited time for the Yankees during their 1994 season, but had moved onto