Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Chuck Knoblauch

Edward Charles “Chuck” Knoblauch was born on July 7, 1968 and spent much of his career with the Minnesota Twins before coming to the New York Yankees. Chuck was a Twin from 1991 until 1997 when he became a Yankee from 1998-2001. Knoblauch would finish his career in Kansas City in 2002 playing second base and left field in his final two seasons of his big league career. Knoblauch was a huge part of the Yankees World Series championship teams in 1998, 1999, 2000, and the team that almost won it all in 2001. Let’s remember Yankees of the past, Chuck Knoblauch.

Knoblauch would join the Yankees just in time in 1998 and drew praise from Buster Olney right away. Olney wrote that Knoblauch and Derek Jeter would form the greatest double play combination in history. Knoblauch struggled early in 1998 but would hit a career high 17 home runs on a team that won a then American League record 114 games. While Knoblauch will be more remembered for his 1998 postseason error that ensued into an argument with the umpire while the play was still live in the end he still received his first World Series ring with New York to cap off a successful season. “Blauch-head” had his first World Series ring and won his second beating the Atlanta Braves in 1999 and his third consecutive in 2000 when the Yankees beat the Mets in the Subway World Series.

The Yankees won the American League pennant every year Knoblauch was on the team. Knoblauch was one of the more premier defenders in the game until joining New York when he was his own worst enemy in the field. Knoblauch struggled to throw to first base, known as Steve San Syndrome among other things, and by the year 2000 he was moved to designated hitter more than he was in the field. By June of 2000 the Yankees had moved Knoblauch to left field after Chuck made three throwing errors in six innings on June 16. Knoblauch threw one ball so wide of the first baseman that it went into the stand and hit ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann’s mother in the head. Knoblauch would voluntarily leave that game and would never return to second base. Joe Torre had moved the struggling infielder to the outfield. Knoblauch would recover in left and ended up scored the game winning run after leading off Game 5 of the 2001 World Series with a single after being knocked in by his replacement at second base in Alfonso Soriano.

Knoblauch may have had his throwing issues, and lord knows he continues to struggle with his legal troubles, but he was a Yankee and an integral part of three World Series titles. Knoblauch was included in the Mitchell Report in 2007 and Knoblauch has always done his time and manned up to his mistakes and you have to respect that. Knoblauch’s most recent legal troubles cost him an induction into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame but you know what, he is still a Yankee and I thank him for that.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)