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This Day in Yankees History: Happy Birthday, Scott Proctor

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Joe Torre’s favorite bullpen arm turns 44 today.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History as we enter the new year. These daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!

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This Day in Yankees History

The turning over of the calendar has traditionally been a slow time in the offseason for the Yankees, as members of the front office, players, and their agents spend the holidays with friends and family. In fact, the Yankees themselves, according to Baseball Reference and Nationalpastime.com, have never made a significant move on the second day of January. Many fans might remember Troy Tulowitzki achieving his career goal of playing for the Yankees by signing on this day, but that is in fact a false memory: Jeff Passan first reported the signing at 11:21 PM EST on January 1st, after many fans who had work in the morning had gone to bed.

1 Year Ago

There is, however, one thing that has happened on January 2nd, and it happened only last year. After a three-month investigation, Major League Baseball laid down an 81-game suspension on Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. That suspension included the games missed while on administrative leave during the 2019 season, which meant that Germán would have to miss 63 games of the 2020 season. It was the longest suspension handed down to a player who did not face criminal charges.

Due to the pandemic-shortened season, as we know, Germán missed the entirety of 2020. By the time spring training begins in February (assuming, of course, that it begins on time), he will have been away from the Yankees for seventeen months, and with his only game action being a less-than-stellar performance for the Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League (13 earned runs, 17 hits in 16 13 innings).

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Birthdays

We wish a very happy 44th birthday to Joe Torre’s favorite bullpen toy, Scott Proctor. Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth round of the 1998 draft, Proctor was traded to the Yankees along with Bubba Crosby for veteran Robin Ventura during the 2003 season. After making his MLB debut on April 20, 2004, he spent two years in mop-up duty for the Yankees before emerging as a key bullpen piece during the 2006 season.

In that season, Proctor was the most-used reliever in all of baseball, throwing 102 innings (almost one-third of his career total) in 83 games. While his use was well-noted at the time — Brian Cashman, in fact, had to address overuse concerns with Torres — it was not all that extreme, as relievers had semi-regularly thrown more than 100 innings; since then, however, this practice has declined, and Proctor in fact represents the final pitcher to hit the century mark on a season entirely in relief.

On July 31, 2007, the Yankees traded Proctor back to the Dodgers in exchange for Wilson Betemit. He would later sign with the Florida Marlins, but would never appear in a game for them, as he needed Tommy John surgery. He then spent 2010 and the first half of 2011 with the Atlanta Braves before being released. On August 13, he signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, and would pitch eight games as a September call-up.

Proctor bounced around a bit in the minor league and international circuits, before eventually retiring.

The focus was on Proctor today, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t also briefly salute friend of the site David Cone, who turns 58. A stalwart pitching fixture of the Yankees’ dynasty teams from 1996-2000, Coney won four World Series in five years, pitched a perfect game, and in his post-playing career, has turned into one of the best color commentators in baseball. That’s not too shabby of a Yankees résumé to have on the record.

But still... why doesn’t he have a dance?

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We thank Baseball Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.