As you’re probably aware, today is Valentine’s Day. (And if you’re not aware, hopefully there’s still time for you to do something meaningful if you have a significant other.) Yesterday, we went over the Yankees you would most want to be your Valentine, but today, let’s do something else related to the holiday. Let’s find some Yankees from history with Valentines Day adjacent names.
The best possible answer to this task from all of baseball history, Cupid Childs, retired before the Yankees even existed as the Highlanders. However, there are still some good ones who donned the pinstripes.
Pitcher: Slim Love
Born Edward Houghton Love, the pitcher gained his nickname thanks to his 6-7, 195 lbs frame. He joined the Yankees in 1916, and wowed the team with his fastball. However, he dealt with injuries in his time in New York, including malaria and one he got from tripping over railroad tracks. He didn’t become a regular in the rotation until 1918, at which point he put up mediocre numbers and was traded to the Red Sox, who in turn sent him to the Tigers. For the purposes of this team, who better than someone literally named “Love.”
Third Base: Julie Wera
Wera counts for this team as his middle name is listed as Valentine. He played 43 games in two combined seasons for the Yankees in the late 20s. His playing career is arguably overshadowed by being reported as dead in 1948 despite the fact that he was very much alive.
Second Base: Jimmy Valentine
Shortstop: Valentine Gonzales
Neither of these two Yankees minor league players from the late 1940s/early 1950s have their positions listed on Baseball Reference, so we’ll combine them to make them a double play combo. Plus unlike Wera, the important word is actually in the name they went by.
First Base: Beau Robinson
The word “beau” is defined as a “boyfriend or male admirer,” so Mr. Robinson fits here. He too never quite made it to the majors but spent three seasons in the Yankees’ organization from 1969-71. After a good first year, and a solid second one, his career ended at just 20 after putting up a .344 OPS in 46 plate appearances in single-A.
Outfield: Larry Rosenthal
ROSEnthal was an eight-year major league vet who spent just 36 games with the Yankees in 1944. His career in pinstripes didn’t BLOOM into much as he was bought by the Athletics in June of that season.
Outfield: Royce Ring
Outfield: John Candelaria
Catcher: Arrow Wilkinson
We do have to be a little creative to fill out a full nine, as these three are all pitchers who we’re sliding into other spots.
Ring is the most recent Yankee on this team, having played in pinstripes in 2010. He had a ERA over 15 in 2.1 innings across five games. You could say his pitching wasn’t the most engaging while he was a Yankee.
Candelaria was known as the “Candy Man,” which allows him to sneak into our team. He had a long 19-year career, mostly with the Pirates whom he helped win the 1979 World Series. Towards the end of his career, he came a journeyman, which included one bit of a season in the Bronx.
Baseball Reference doesn’t list any information about how Wilkinson ended up in the Yankees’ org, but he did somehow and put up a 4.13 ERA in 28.1 innings in low-A in 1995 and then seemingly never played again.
In real life, I’m glad Bobby Valentine never managed the Yankees, but for the purposes of this post, he would’ve been perfect.