This Day in Baseball History: March 22nd, 1972

Nice ‘stache. He should probably have been on Shyster’s All-Star Team.

On March 22, 1972:

The Yankees trade Danny Cater to the Red Sox for Albert Lyle.

Danny Cater was a soon-to-be 32-year old first baseman for the Yankees. He was known for putting the bat on the ball, which led to him hitting into a lot of double plays but also for finishing second for the batting title in 1968 (“The Year of the Pitcher”) behind Carl Yastremski (who won the last Triple Crown that season). Defensively, he was a very good first baseman but below-average everywhere else. Yet, he may have been known more for his mathematical abilities than his playing abilities as someone once said he could figure out his batting average to 4 decimal places while running down the first base line (maybe he should have concentrated more on running and he wouldn’t have hit into all those double plays).

Albert Lyle was a soon-to-be 27-year old reliever. For the Red Sox, he was a productive reliever, but he had some control problems. His ERA’s had sat in the mid-2’s except for 1970. When he came to the Yankees, however, he would become the bullpen ace. In his first season as a Yankee, he saved a then-record 35 games (AL record and MLB record for lefties) with a 1.92 ERA. He led the league in saves again in 1976, but he upped the ante the next season by becoming the first AL reliever to win the Cy Young Award. The Yankees, however, brought in Goose Gossage for the 1978 season, and when Lyle regressed, he became expendable. Graig Nettles quipped that Lyle “went from Cy Young to sayonara”.

A funny non-baseball story about Lyle involves a cake and his butt. During games, he was known to go into the dugout and sit bare-ass on his teammates’ birthday cake, leaving a nice imprint for when the game ended. Supposedly, Ron Swoboda got him back by pooping on Lyle’s cake. Nice.

Sorry about the essentially non-existent weekend. Had to move back to Lexington as Spring Break is over, and then, I had to do homework I should have done while watching all those NCAA games or trying figure out if Jeff Francoeur’s Spring is for real.

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