• Randy Velarde

    Posted by on June 26th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    When I saw this list, I did a double-take. It’s most games played for the Yankees for the period 1981 through 2005:

    Rank/Player/Games

    1 Bernie Williams 1945
    2 Don Mattingly 1785
    3 Derek Jeter 1525
    4 Paul O’Neill 1254
    5 Dave Winfield 1172
    6 Jorge Posada 1145
    7 Tino Martinez 1054
    8 Willie Randolph 997
    9 Mike Pagliarulo 703
    10 Randy Velarde 673

    Yes, prior to this season, in the last quarter-century, only 9 men played more games for the New York Yankees than Randy Velarde.

    Wow.

    But, then I remembered something that I wrote 14 months ago -

    Randy Velarde appeared in twenty more games as a member of the New York Yankees than Reggie Jackson did as a Yankee.

    Velarde was in New York for a while, eh? Maybe they should write a song about Randy? How about…..

    Velarde, oh, oh!
    Cantare, oh, oh, oh, oh!

    OK, so, it’s been done before. Still, how many Yankees fans think of Randy Velarde in terms of being a Yankees icon?

    Before seeing this list today, when I thought of Velarde, I would think of one of five things:

    1. He had Rickey-Henderson-like low body fat.
    2. His wife (once) referred to him, over the air on a Yankees broadcast (one day) while she was in the booth, as “My sweetie.” (If I recall correctly, they showed him on the screen and she said “There’s my sweetie” in a Texas accent.)
    3. He fielded the grounder that was the last out in Jim Abbott’s no-hitter.
    4. After leaving the Yankees, he turned an unassisted triple-play against them.
    5. He got busted in the BALCO scandal.

    I guess now I should think “Modern day Yankees staple” when I think of Velarde. The numbers back it up.

    Comments on Randy Velarde

    1. rbj
      June 26th, 2006 | 9:35 pm

      Didn’t realize he got busted in the BALCO deal. Not a favorite, but he always seemed to play hard, without any flash.

    2. June 27th, 2006 | 11:15 am

      I liked Velarde. Remember watching him as a (younger) kid. Seemed like a valuable, scrappy guy. Play any position relatively well, decent stick.

    3. February 26th, 2007 | 3:48 pm

      I was probably the biggest Randy Velarde fan around. While everyone else idolized the Rickeys, Donnies, Bernies, Winfields etc, I was the guy wearing the #18 Pinstripe Jersey. I thought he was such a great utility player. He didn’t have a superstar career but he was one of the best versatile players. He could play all over the field which is probably why he ranks so high in games played. I met him at numerous signings and he was a down to earth guy. Had the Yankees been successful when he played like they were in the late 90′s…he would have been more well known. As it went, they traded him because he wanted to play fulltime, which who could blame him. BALCO really upset me.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.