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1927 Yankees Profiles - Position Players

Benny Bengough
Age: 28
1927 Statistics: .247, 0 HR, 10 RBI

Image provided by Matt Fulling

Bengough attended Niagara University. He joined the Yankees after being purchased from Buffalo of the International League, and made his debut on May 5, 1923. Heading into the 1927 season, his fourth, Bengough had a .268 career batting average with no HR and 43 RBI.

He was scheduled to be the starting catcher in 1927, but an arm injury suffered in 1926 on a pitch from Cleveland's George Uhle kept lingering. He appeared in only 30 games behind the plate. After making four brief appearances, Bengough finally started behind the plate on July 30, the Yankees 100th game, and got his first hit of the season. He platooned the rest of the season. His only other appearance was when he pinch hit for Grabowski on August 26. He had four multi-hit games in 1927. Bengough committed two errors, posting a .986 fielding average, best among the catchers. He was the third toughest Yankee to strikeout, with only four, or an average of one every 22 at bats. Before each game, Babe Ruth liked to warm up with a catcher, and in 1927 it was Bengough. Ruth called him "Googles".

Pat Collins
Age: 30
1927 Statistics: .275, 7 HR, 36 RBI

After playing with St. Louis for six years, he was acquired from St. Paul prior to 1926 season. Batted .286 with 7 HR in 1926, and led AL catchers with 14 double plays. Entering the 1927 season, his eighth, he was a career .255 hitter with 20 HR and 116 RBI.

Collins was the starting catcher and would have played more than 89 games had he not injured his throwing arm. He had 17 multi-hit games in 1927. Collins finished fifth on the team in HR. He hit his 7th HR on September 13, 1927; his 31st birthday. He batted .310 at Yankee Stadium. Collins had a career high in RBI. He shared the same birthday as Dutch Ruether. Played three years with Yankees.

Earle Combs
Age: 27
1927 Statistics: .356, 6 HR, 64 RBI

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Combs attended Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College. He played for Joe McCarthy at Louisville of the American Association, being known as "The Kentucky Colonel". After batting .344 in 1922 and .380 with 145 RBI in 1923, the Yankees acquired him for $50,000 and five players. He made his debut on April 16, 1924, but a broken ankle limited him to 24 games. Entering his fourth season, he owned a .323 career average with 11 HR and 118 RBI.

Now known as "The Waiter", as instructed by Huggins, he was the best leadoff hitter in the American League. He would turn in one of the greatest seasons for a lead off hitter in history. In 1927 he led the American League with 648 at bats, 231 hits (setting a Yankee record), 166 singles, and 23 triples (a Yankee record). He was third in the league with 137 runs scored and 331 total bases. His 65 extra base hits was fourth best in the AL. His .356 batting average was sixth in the AL. A consistent performer at the plate, Combs had over 70 multi-hit games in 1927, most on the team. He batted .358 at Yankee Stadium and .355 on the road. Only once would he play three consecutive games without a hit; and this was immediately after hitting safely in the first 11 consecutive games of the season. His 18 game hitting streak from September 9 through September 29, during which he batted .432 (32 for 74), tied Gehrig for the longest of the season for the Yankees. Combs also had two other hitting streaks of ten or more games. Only 18 times would he fail to get a hit or score a run in a game. Combs was third on the team with 15 stolen bases. He played in every inning through the first 91 games. On May 31 in an 18-5 win at Philadelphia, he had five hits (two singles, two doubles and a triple) and scored four runs. He missed only three games in the outfield all year; July 22 and 23 against Chicago after getting hit in the head by a thrown ball, and on July 30 against Cleveland, he was hit in the first inning by a George Uhle pitch, forcing him to leave the first game and miss the remainder of the DH. On July 1 in a 7-4 win over Boston, he hit a lead off inside the park HR to left center off Danny MacFayden. Combs scored his 100th run in an 8-1 win at Chicago August 16. He scored 82 runs on the road, most on the team. He only hit one HR on the road, August 27 in a 14-4 win at St. Louis. Add 62 walks to his hits, and Combs was on base nearly twice each game. His 200th hit was a single in a 1-0 victory over St. Louis on September 10. On September 22 in an 8-7 win over Detroit, he stroked three triples, tying the ML record, including his 23rd of the season. He finished September with a .385 average, his best month. Combs batted .442 (19 for 43) in St. Louis. He was the second toughest on the team to strikeout, averaging one every 23 times up. He had career highs in AB, H, AVG, 2B (36), and 3B. Combs was blessed with great speed, with which he patrolled the vast Yankee Stadium outfield. A right handed thrower, he led all AL outfielders in put outs with 411, recording his 400th on September 27 in a 7-4 win over Philadelphia. The fans in the right field bleachers took up a collection during the season and on September 17, between games of a DH against Chicago, called him out to home plate and presented him with a gold watch to show their admiration. He then hit his sixth and final HR in the second game.

Joe Dugan
Age: 29
1927 Statistics: .269, 2 HR, 43 RBI

He attended Holy Cross, then left to play with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1917. The Yankees acquired Dugan on July 23, 1923 along with OF Elmer Smith in exchange for four players and $50,000 cash from the Red Sox. Dugan was called "Jumpin' Joe" because of the way he fielded bunts. Dugan had a .281 career average with 34 HR and 479 RBI heading into the 1927 season, which would be his 11th.

He was generally regarded as one of the top fielding third basemen in baseball, but offensively in '27, he got off to a slow start hitting, batting only .219 in his first 54 games. Dugan finished strong, batting .311 (65 for 209) over his final 58 games to raise his average to .269. Dugan had the distinction of being the first player ejected of the season during an 8-4 win over St. Louis on June 18.

Cedric Durst
Age: 30
1927 Statistics: .247, 0 HR, 25 RBI

Durst was acquired from St. Louis prior to the 1927 season along with P Joe Giard. He maintained a career .234 average, with 8 HR and 27 RBI heading into his fourth season for 1927.

Mainly a reserve, he appeared in 65 games, playing the outfield in 38 games. His first hit as a Yankee, a single in a 6-2 win at Washington, came on April 24. Durst relieved Gehrig at first base twice during the season on July 9 in Detroit and on September 27 at Yankee Stadium. He was productive, knocking in 25 runs with his 32 hits (his .78 RBI/Hit was fourth highest on team). He had six multi-hit games in 1927, and on June 8 against Chicago, he had four hits. As a pinch hitter, Durst batted .182 (4 for 22), with a team high 25 appearances. He only had one appearance as a pinch runner, for Ruth on June 25 in the 9th inning of a 7-6 loss to Philadelphia. Durst hit .317 in 32 games at Yankee Stadium. His .980 fielding average was the highest among the outfielders. He played RF in four games while Ruth was in LF.

Mike Gazella
Age: 30
1927 Statistics: .278, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Gazella attended Lafayette College. He joined the Yankees in 1923, after playing with Atlanta of the Southern Association, as a utility infielder. Heading into 1927, his third, he had a .221 career batting average with no HR and 21 RBI.

He played 44 games at third base in 1927, committing four errors. He also played six games at shortstop. Gazella saw the bulk of his playing time early in the year when Dugan went down with a leg injury. He had seven multi-hit games in 1927. Gazella batted .351 (13 for 37) in April, his best month. He collected two of his four triples on April 15 during a 6-3 victory over Philadelphia. Gazella had career highs in AVG, 2B (8), and 3B (4). He shared the same birthday as Ben Paschal.

Lou Gehrig
Age: 23
1927 Statistics: .373, 47 HR, 175 RBI

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Gehrig enrolled at Columbia University in 1921 on a football scholarship. The Yankees signed him for $3,500 on April 29, 1923, announced it June 11, and two days later he made his ML debut against St. Louis. He spent the next two seasons playing for Hartford of the Eastern League, batting .304 with 24 HR in 1923 and .369 with 37 HR in 1924, being recalled at the end of each season by the Yankees. In On June 2, 1925, he became the starting first baseman. Batting fifth in 1926, he led at AL in triples with 20, he was sixth in the league with 14 HR, and fourth with 112 RBI. Entering his fifth season in 1927, he had a .310 career batting average with 31 HR and 189 RBI.

Miller Huggins moved Gehrig to fourth in the order for 1927. Gehrig responded with one of the greatest single seasons ever, ascending to heights where only Babe Ruth had been. He and Ruth combined for the most devastating offensive display by two teammates that baseball has ever seen. He led the AL in: doubles with 52 (set Yankee record), RBI with 175 (broke Ruth's ML record of 171 set in 1921), extra base hits with 117 (second highest total in ML history), and total bases with 447 (third highest in ML history). He was second in the AL with: .765 slugging percentage (fourth highest in ML history), 218 hits, 18 triples, 47 HR, 149 runs, 109 walks, and 84 strikeouts. His .373 batting average and .474 on base percentages were third best in the AL. At the time, his 47 HR tied Ruth for the 4th highest total in history, becoming only the second player to hit that many. He hit seven HR in Fenway Park (most for him on the road), including three home runs in an 11-4 win over Boston on June 23. The Yankees were 33-7 in games which he homered. He hit 22 solo HR, and had 82 RBI from his HR. He hit two grand slams in 1927. Gehrig was fourth on the team with 10 stolen bases, including home three times. Gehrig had 19 RBI in the first ten games of the season. His final .373 batting average was the lowest of the season after the first five games. "Buster's" batting average peaked at .438 on April 20, hit .425 in June (his best month), and on July 8 his .401 average led the majors. From June 26 through July 12, Gehrig had an 18 game hitting streak, tying Combs for the longest of the season on the team, during which they went 14-4 and he batted .432 (32 for 74). He had two triples in a 9-0 shutout of Chicago on May 8th. His 100th RBI came in only the Yankees 78th game, in a 10-8 win at Detroit on July 8. He scored a run in 102 different games, and scored his 100th run of the season on July 27 in a 4-1 win over St. Louis, just the Yankees 97th game. His 48th double of the season (breaking his old Yankee record 47 set in 1926) was on September 7 in a 12-10 win over Boston. Gehrig's 200th hit of the season came in a 5-3 win over Cleveland on September 13. On September 22 in an 8-7 win over Detroit, his two RBI broke Ruth's record. He hit safely in all but just 23 Yankee games in 1927, and his 67 multi-hit games were second on the team. On the road, Gehrig batted .397 and set ML records for RBI (98), 2B (36), extra base hits (69), TB (247), and SA (.805). He batted .490 (24 for 49) in Philadelphia's Shibe Park. He played in every game, not even sitting an inning until July 9th, and only twice all year, running his consecutive games streak to 425 through the end of 1927. Gehrig led all AL fielders in total chances with 1,765. He had career highs in 2B, SA, and K (84). For all of this he was paid $8,000.

On October 1, the United German Societies held "Lou Gehrig Day" at the Stadium. He used a 34", 38 oz. Louisville Slugger bat. Gehrig batted .308 with 5 RBI and a .769 SA in the 1927 World Series, his second. On October 11, 1927 he was voted the AL MVP. That same day he and Ruth departed from Pennsylvania Station on a barnstorming tour through the midwest to the west coast. During the tour Gehrig batted .618 with 13 HR, and earned a reported $10,000. Gehrig was the second youngest player on the team.

John Grabowski
Age: 27
1927 Statistics: .277, 0 HR, 25 RBI

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With Benny Bengough having hurt his arm in 1926, prior to the 1927 season the Yankees acquired Grabowski from the White Sox as insurance. Entering 1927, "Nig" owned a .268 career batting average with one HR and 24 RBI.

He was the Opening Day catcher in 1927, and wnet on to catch 68 games. Grabowski had 14 multi-hit games. He had four hits in a 12-11, 11 inning win over Chicago on June 8. Fans from his hometown of Schenectady, N,Y. presented him with $1,500 to show their appreciation, prior to a 9-8 win over Philadelphia on June 28 in which he didn't play. On August 26 in Detroit, he was badly spiked in an 8-6 win, was sent back to New York, and would miss the next three weeks (21 games). He batted .316 in 33 games at Yankee Stadium. Grabowski had career highs in H (54), RBI, RS (29), and BB (20). He started Game 3 of the World Series, catching seven perfect innings from Herb Pennock before being lifted for a pinch hitter, Durst, in the bottom of the inning. This would be his only Series appearance in his career.

Mark Koenig
Age: 24
1927 Statistics: .285, 3 HR, 62 RBI

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The Yankees purchased him from St. Paul of the American Association for $50,000. He made his ML debut on September 8, 1925. In 1926, he led the AL with 52 errors. Heading into his third season in 1927, he was a career .261 hitter with five HR and 66 RBI.

During spring training, he batted below .100. He batted .400 (26 for 65) in April, his best month. Koenig was plagued by a leg injury (charley horse), missing 30 games in June and July, and limiting him to 123 games. When he returned to the starting line up, he batted sixth for five consecutive games beginning July 15; the only times he wouldn't bat second when he was in the line up. Being inserted into the game on July 14, he proceeded to embark on a 15 game hitting streak (third longest for the team), during which he batted .333 (23 for 69). He scored 99 runs, good for eighth in the league. A switch hitter, he hit two of his HR from the left side. Koenig felt he was a better hitter from the left side of the plate. He was the toughest Yankee to strikeout, with only 31, or an average of one every 27 times up. He had 46 multi-hit games in 1927. Koenig was five for five (all singles) in a 10-4 win over Philadelphia on April 13, the second game of the year. He had ten AB (three hits) in an 18 inning, 12-11 loss at Boston on September 5. Koenig batted .542 (13 for 24) in five games in Detroit. He had career highs in RS and 3B (11). He again led the league in errors with 52, and led AL shortstops in total chances per game with six. Koenig batted .500 (9 for 18) in the 1927 World Series. He was generally popular among his teammates. Koenig shared the same birthday as Bob Meusel.

Tony Lazzeri
Age: 23
1927 Statistics: .309, 18 HR, 102 RBI

Playing for Salt Lake City in 1925, Lazzeri, age 21, set Pacific Coast League records with 60 HR, 222 RBI and 202 RS, while batting .355 with 252 hits; becoming the first player ever to hit 60 HR in a professional season. Teams shied away from him because he was epileptic, but Yankees GM Ed Barrow took a chance on Lazzeri and purchased him for $55,000 and four players. He made his ML debut on April 13, 1926 and went on to play in every game for the Yankees; batting .275 and finishing third in the AL with 18 HR (behind Ruth's 47 & Simmons' 19), and tied for second with 114 RBI (behind Ruth's 146).

In 1927, in only his second season, Lazzeri was viewed as the best second baseman in the league, and the best infielder the Yankees ever had. He finished third in the AL with 18 HR (behind Ruth & Gehrig), tying his career best, hitting 11 at home and seven on the road. He did not hit a HR after August 31. Lazzeri's 102 RBI was fourth on the team, eighth best in the league, and helped earn the Yankees the distinction of being the first AL team to have four players with 100 or more RBI. On June 8 against Chicago, Lazzeri hit three HR in 12-11, 11 inning victory. Lazzeri batted .340 (32 for 94) in June, his best month. On August 24 at Detroit and the score tied 5-5 in the top of the ninth inning, Lazzeri hit a grand slam to win the game 9-5. He had his 100th RBI on September 27 during a 15-4 win over Washington. He had 48 multi-hit games. Only once did he go four games without a hit, otherwise he wouldn't go more than two games without one. His 22 stolen bases, a career high, tied him for fourth in the AL, but he was also caught stealing 14 times, leading the team. In the Yankees first 21 games of the season, he was errorless in 117 total chances; making an error on the first play of the 22nd game. A versatile infielder, he moved over to SS when Koenig went down with a leg injury for 30 games in June and July. He injured his throwing shoulder in July which caused him to miss his only two games all year, July 16 and 17 vs. St. Louis, ending his 241 consecutive games streak. The Italian-Americans held a "Tony Lazzeri Day" at the Stadium on September 8. "Poosh 'Em Up" was the youngest player on the team.

Bob Meusel
Age: 30
1927 Statistics: .337, 8 HR, 103 RBI

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Acquired from Vernon of the Pacific Coast League, Meusel made his ML debut with the Yankees on April 14, 1920. By general consent, "Silent Bob" possessed the best arm in baseball. He led AL outfielders in assists with 28 in 1921 and again with 24 in 1922. He was moved over to LF prior to the 1923 season. He led the AL with 33 HR and 138 RBI in 1925. Heading into his eighth season in 1927, Meusel was a career .315 hitter with 117 HR and 732 RBI, having batted below .300 only once.

Huggins moved him from fourth to fifth in the order for 1927. Meusel got off to a torrid start. He batted .419 (26 for 62) in April, his best month. On May 16th, during a 6-2 win at Detroit, he stole second, third and home in the second inning. He had a 13 game hitting streak from June 26 through July 8, during which he batted .364 (20 for 55). On June 30 he was second in the league with a .385 batting average; and on August 2nd he was still fifth with a .370 average. Meusel cooled off a bit and finished the season batting .337, a career high, and fourth best on the team. He was second on the team with 47 doubles, also a career high, and was third in RBI. He had 64 extra base hits, sixth in the league, and 54 multi-hit games in 1927. Meusel missed six games in May with a broken blood vessel. On August 20 in a 14-8 loss at Cleveland, he singled for Joe Giard in the 9th inning for his only pinch hit of the year. He had his 100th RBI on September 27 during a 15-4 win over Washington. Meusel batted .350 on the road. He hit three HR in the 11 games played in Sportsman's Park, St. Louis, and he batted .522 (12 for 23) in seven games played Cleveland. His 24 stolen bases tied for second in the league. Of the 131 games he played in the outfield, he switched with Ruth and played RF in 48 of them, all on the road. Standing 6' 3", he was the tallest Yankee. Meusel shared the same birthday as Mark Koenig.

Ray Morehart
Age: 27
1927 Statistics: .256, 1 HR, 20 RBI

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Morehart attended Stephen C. Austin College in Texas. He was acquired prior to the 1927 season along with John Grabowski from the White Sox. Heading into only his third season in 1927, he was a career .277 hitter, with no HR and 29 RBI.

In spring training, he led the team in batting (.360) and made no errors in 52 chances. Appearing in 73 games, he played second base in 53, pinch hit 18 times, and had two pinch runner appearances. Playing second base due to Koenig's injury, Morehart batted second in the order and batted .265 (36 for 135) in 34 consecutive games from June 9 through July 14. He hit his only HR, an inside the park HR, in the eighth inning on June 9th during an 8-3 win over Chicago. On July 18 at St. Louis, he was ejected in the first inning after arguing over his strikeout. He had 11 multi-hit games in 1927. Morehart stole four bases. He had career highs in AB, RS (45), and BB (29). 1927 was his last in the majors.

Ben Paschal
Age: 31
1927 Statistics: .317, 2 HR, 17 RBI

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Paschal was out of the majors for three seasons, playing with Atlanta of the Southern League, before the Yankees acquired him prior to 1924. He was a very capable reserve outfielder. He owned a career batting average of .319 with 19 HR and 97 RBI.

He played the outfield in 27 games, making just one error. As a pinch hitter, he hit .227, in 22 at bats. His .549 slugging average was actually the third best on the team, but he only had 82 at bats. There were teams that he could have started for, but on the Yankees he had to settle for a reserve role. His best game of the season came on June 13, when he hit two home runs, a triple and a double as the Yankees beat the Indians 14-6. Paschal played RF in two games while Ruth was in LF. He also was the only reserve not to be pinch hit for. He shared a birthday with Mike Gazella.

Babe Ruth
Age: 32
1927 Statistics: .356, 60 HR, 164 RBI

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"The Greatest Player Who Ever Lived" and easily the most recognized American of the 1920s. The Yankees purchased Ruth from the Red Sox on January 3, 1920 for $100,000 cash payable in four (4) equal installments plus a $350,000 personal loan from Colonel Ruppert to Boston owner Harry Frazee (one that was not run through the Yanks' books). Ruth had a 3-0 pitching record for the Yankees in 1921-22. Prior to the 1927 season, he earned a reported $25,000 for 17 days work filming "Babe Comes Home". He was the ultimate all around player; hitting, hitting with power, fielding, throwing, and running, all with skill. On March 4, 1927 he signed a three year contract for $70,000 per year. Having already written the record books, Ruth would add to his career totals. Since coming over to the Yankees in 1920, his average season with the team was a .362 batting average with 44 HR and 124 RBI. Heading into his 14th season, he was a career .348 hitter, with a ML record 356 HR and 1,097 RBI.

He had another phenomenal year in 1927. After hitting his first HR of the year April 15, he would go on to break the HR record for the fourth and final time by hitting his 60th on September 30 against Tom Zachary of the Senators. Along the way, he also led the AL with a: .772 slugging percentage (third highest in ML history), .487 on base percentage, 158 runs scored, 138 walks, and 89 strikeouts. He was second with: 164 RBI, 97 extra base hits and 417 total bases. His 164 RBI was the third highest season total in history (behind Gehrig's 175 and his former record of 171 set in 1921), and his .854 RBI/Hit led the team. He hit his 400th career HR off Rube Walberg in Philadelphia on September 2. His 32 HR on the road is a ML record, and his 17 HR in September is a ML record for most in a month. Of his eight multiple HR games, four were at home, three were at Boston's Fenway Park (where he hit eight, most HR for him on road), and one at Cleveland's League Park. Ruth hit 27 solo HR, and had 102 RBI from his HR. When he hit HR #56 on September 22, he carried his bat with him as he circled the bases. He hit two grand slams in 1927; #57 on September 27 off Philadelphia's Lefty Grove and #59 two days later off Washington rookie Paul Hopkins. The Yankees were 43-9 in games in which he homered. He only had one inside the park HR in 1927; on July 8 in Detroit. The following day he had his best game of the season; rapping five hits, including two HR, in a 19-7 romp over Detroit. On June 9 against Chicago, Ruth tripled then stole home in the sixth inning. He pitched on July 25 in a Johnstown, Penn. exhibition game. The following day, in a 12-3 win over St. Louis, Ruth became the first to scored his 100th run of the season, in the 96th game of the season. He batted .423 in July with nine HR, and .379 in September, his two best months. He had his 100th RBI on August 10 during a 4-3 win at Washington. Ruth had 53 multi-hit games. He batted .372 at Yankee Stadium, scoring 82 runs (most on the team). Ruth possessed a very strong and accurate arm, and in 1927 was involved in four double plays from right field. Ruth actually played RF in 95 games, and moved over to LF for another 56 games, switching with Meusel in 48 of those, all on the road. Ruth was only pinch run for once, on June 25th, then missed the only four games during the year with a sore right knee, June 26-28 against Philadelphia. Ruth's longest HR drought was ten games, from July 13th through July 23. Coincidentally, on September 30 he was three-for-three with three runs scored and 2 RBI, the same day that he would receive his last regular season bi-weekly paycheck for $6,595.38. Also coincidentally, his 540 official at bats were exactly the same amount of official at bats he had during the 1921 season when he set the HR Record with 59. Ruth used a Louisville Slugger bat, 35-36" long and weighing anywhere between 37-47 oz. In 1927, he put notches around the label for each home run he hit. In the 1927 World Series, his eighth, he batted .400 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. On October 11, 1927 he and Lou Gehrig departed on a barnstorming tour to the midwest that would earn him a reported $30,000 in three weeks. During the tour Ruth batted .616 with 20 HR.

Julie Wera
Age: 25
1927 Statistics: .238, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Wera as acquired from St. Paul of the American Association.

He made his major league debut on April 14, 1927 while pinch hitting for Hoyt in the 10th inning of a 9-9 tie vs. Philadelphia. In 38 games, he played 19 errorless games at third base, 15 as a pinch runner (most on the team) and 4 pinch hitting appearances. His first ML hit came on June 12 in an 8-7 loss to Cleveland. Wera hit his only HR of the year in a 21-1 win over Washington on July 4. With only 10 hits, his .80 RBI/Hit was actually the third highest on the team behing Ruth (.854) and Gehrig (.802). He was the only position player not to have a sacrifice hit in 1927. At $2,400, Wera was the lowest paid player on the team. In 1929 he appeared in five games with the Yankees, his only other year in the majors.