Tag Archives: Andy Messersmith

The Yankee Pitcher Curse – Part 1: The Dawn Of Steinbrenner (1975-1981)

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff Passan implied something that a lot of people have said in the past. He stated that players coming to the Yankees – most notably starting pitchers – generally fail to live up to expectations. I talked about it in an earlier post, but Passan’s point that only “three of 21” pitchers the Yankees have picked up performed better after becoming Yankees was misleading, since veterans (especially “big name” veterans) are acquired to produce at the same level as they performed previously, not better. I talk more about it here, using big words like schadenfreude.

Then I hit baseball-reference.com to see if it was true.

What follows is what I found, broken into several parts so it’s easier to digest. I started at 1975, when the Yanks signed their first free agent, some “Hunter” fellow. I figured I’d base the majority of my comparison using WAR – Wins Above Replacement – to attempt to level out things such as park factors and differences in statistical eras, although ERA+ (a statistic that gauges a player’s earned run average compared to the league average, eliminating park factors) will also be used. Continue reading The Yankee Pitcher Curse – Part 1: The Dawn Of Steinbrenner (1975-1981)