The many travels of Aaron Small, before joining the Yankees, are well documented. But, I’m not sure if many realize how Small was pitching this season with the Yankees Triple-A team, the Columbus Clippers, before joining New York.
At Columbus, Aaron Small made 11 appearances – 10 of them being starts. In those opportunities, he won just one game. His ERA was 4.96. Triple-A hitters batted .310 against him in 49 IP (where he allowed a whopping 62 hits in that span).
Fast-forwarding to today, in what was a very close to must-win game, Aaron Small throws a complete game 5-hitter to raise his Yankees record this year to 6-0 with an ERA of 2.42.
Simply put, what Aaron Small is doing for the Yankees is a miracle. I have no idea why it’s happening or how he’s doing it. But, any Yankees fan who wants to look this gift horse in the mouth is a fool.
Back on July 15th of this season, I wrote:
Marty Bystrom, at age 21, came up in September 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies and was an overnight sensation for the team that would eventually win the World Series. In six games, five of which were starts, he had a tidy ERA of 1.50.
Then arm problems came and he was one of the worst pitchers in the NL for a few years – including 1984 when the Phillies finally gave up on him and traded him to the New York Yankees on June 30, 1984.
What happened over the final three months of the 1984 season? Bystrom made 7 starts for the Yankees and had an ERA of 2.97. You could probably make a case that Marty Bystrom was the second or third best starting pitcher on the Yankees for the second half of 1984.
In 1985, Bystrom reverted to his terrible pitching form and only made 8 starts for the Yanks and that would be the last time he pitched in the major leagues. His big league pitching days were over before his 28th birthday.
There is no question, that in 1984, the Yankees caught lightning in a bottle with Marty Bystrom – an extremely rare grab, indeed.
As this is being penned, the 2005 Yankees are in desperate need for starting pitching. Will lightning strike twice in a bottle for New York? Can it happen again this season? Stay tuned.
Two days later, the Yankees purchased the contract of pitcher Aaron Small from Columbus. And, he’s been a “Marty Bystrom.” If the Yankees make the post-season this year, Aaron Small deserves to be voted a full post-season share by the team. Heck, he probably deserves to get two-shares for what he has done so far this season.
Small this year has been a gift to the Yankees from the baseball gods. And, when you get blessed like this, you better do the right thing. If I’m Brian Cashman, I sign Small to a 2006 contract right now. Even if he never pitches for the Yankees next season, he’s earned it with his 2005 contribution. This is just an amazing story.