October 08, 2005
Tonight, I started to think about Harvey Edward (Ed) Yarnall.
Yarnall had the highest ERA of any pitcher on the last Yankees team to win a World Series ring. Granted, he only pitched in two games that year. The 2000 season was also the last time that Ed pitched in the big leagues.
Yarnall was a 3rd round draft pick of the Mets in 1996. (The year that the last Yankees dynasty started.) Before this, Yarnall was selected by the New York Yankees in the 44th round of the 1993 draft (but elected not to sign).
In 1998 - one of the best seasons in the history of the Yankees - the Mets traded Yarnall to the Marlins (with others) to get Mike Piazza (in an attempt to get themselves back on the New York baseball radar).
In 1999, Yarnall was traded (by the Marlins) to the Yankees for Mike Lowell. Ed did well for the Yankees in the minors that season - he was the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher. But, Yarnall pitched in just 5 games with the Yankees in 1999. Meanwhile, Lowell went on to become an All-Star with the Marlins.
During the aforementioned 2000 season, after appearing in just two Yankees games, Yarnall was traded to the Cincinnati Reds (along with Jackson Melian and Drew Henson) for Denny Neagle.
Yarnall never pitched with the Reds in the majors - his seven games with the Yankees was his whole big league career. The Reds released him in 2001 (the year that the Yankees had their hearts broken in the World Series) and sold him to the Orix Blue Wave (in Japan). He would pitch in Japan in 2001 and 2002.
In 2003, Yarnall was picked up by the A's organization. In 2003, the A's blew a 2-0 lead in a best-of-five LDS with the Boston Red Sox. Boston would then go on to face the Yankees in a tough ALCS.
In 2004, Yarnall was picked up by the Red Sox organization - who later sent him to the Phillies organization (after he pitched in just 2 games with the Sox Triple-A team). In 2004, the Yankees blew a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven LCS with the Boston Red Sox.
This season, Yarnall (now 29-years-old) pitched for Washington Nationals Triple-A team in New Orleans. Ed pitched in 19 games with an ERA of 5.59.
In summary, the Yankees tried to get Yarnall when he was just a kid, missed, and then still managed to get him six years later - and he starred for them in Triple-A at the age of 23.
The year after that good season, Yarnall had a chance to be part of a World Series winner - but was he was dealt away from the Yankees with two other (then) prized prospects in order to get a guy (Neagle) who bombed with New York (and was gone the next year).
Then Yarnall was sent bouncing around - including two years in the Far East - with stops in organizations that impacted the Yankees post-season schedule (in the years that he was there).
I almost want to suggest that there's some bad karma here - if you looked at what's happened to the Yankees and Yarnall since they parted ways in 2000 and where they've crossed paths, in a way. But, that's a reach. It's not like "Ed Yarnall" is an anagram for "A Rally End" or something.
Wait a minute, it is.
Looks like the Yankees are going to have to win it all this year - just to put this Yarnall thing to bed.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at October 8, 2005 10:34 PM
Way too much time on your hands Steve, way too much.
Posted by: Don at October 9, 2005 02:50 AM
Wait - I thought it was Clay Bellinger that was the reason why the Yankees haven't won it all....
Posted by: Kevin Y. Kim at October 9, 2005 11:22 AM
I don't know man, I've always blamed Randy Keisler.
Posted by: JeremyM at October 9, 2005 02:01 PM
In 1999, Yarnall was traded (by the Marlins) to the Yankees for Mike Lowell.
And if Brosius hadn't had that big postseason in '98, that trade doesn't happen
Posted by: Raf at October 10, 2005 08:30 AM
Ed can flat out pitch. I think if anybody ever keeps him around for long enough to get settled he will have success. You could say he was in Japan for a while and should have gotten settled. Ask any Marine who has been stationed in Japan just how easy it is to get settled there, it's like another planet. I caught for him a long time ago. I hope to some day see him pitch again. He made the big leagues and even has a ring, couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.