The Late Scott Sanderson Was A Yankee All-Star

Scott Sanderson, who was a bright spot in a dark 1991 season for the Yankees, died last week at the age of 62. Reports say he had been battling cancer.

Gene Michael acquired the veteran pitcher from the Oakland A’s on New Year’s Eve 1990. The Stick was familiar with the work of the right-handed pitcher having managed him with the Cubs. In fact, both skipper and pitcher were ejected in Michael’s first game as Cubs manager after Sanderson threw a high inside fastball to Terry Pendleton.

Sanderson was going from first to worst but he pitched well for the Yankees in 1991, going 16-10 with a 3.81 ERA. Only one other pitcher on the team, reliever Greg Cadaret, won as many as eight. He was selected to the All-Star team, a rare year when the Yankees only had one representative.

In his first start as a Yankee, Sanderson took a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Tiger Stadium before Tony Phillips doubled off the right field screen to lead off the final inning.

On July 11, in his first start after the All-Star Game, Sanderson pitched another complete game one-hitter. In a 2-0 win over the Angels, Luis Polonia’a fourth inning double inside the first base bag was the only hit.

In 1992, Sanderson went 12-11 though his ERA increased to 4.93. He picked up a milestone win on May 30 in Milwaukee, becoming the ninth pitcher to defeat all 26 Major League teams.

Sanderson made his debut with the Expos in 1978 and spent six seasons in Montreal. He pitched in the 1981 playoffs for the team.

Then it was on to the north side of Chicago, as he pitched for the Cubs from 1984 to 1989, bookending the span with NLCS appearances. He spent the 1990 season in Oakland, finishing 17-11 though he was in the bullpen during the postseason. Sanderson was overshadowed by a pair of 20-game winners in Bob Welch, who won 27 games and the Cy Young, and Dave Stewart.

He would’ve preferred to stay in Oakland but feeling unwanted he didn’t stop a deal with the Yankees, even if it meant going from a pennant winner to a team that had just lost 95 games.

After his time with the Yankees, Sanderson pitched for the Angels, Giants, White Sox and Angels again before retiring. He finished his 19-year career 163-143 with a 3.84 ERA.

After his playing days ended, Sanderson became an agent. He also filled in as Cubs announcer in 1997 when Ron Santo had to miss time because of inflamed vocal cords.

Sanderson played for the Yankees in the years before they turned the corner and became a dynasty thanks to Gene Michael and Buck Showalter.

He may have pitched during an era that is usually ignored in team history but he did give the Yankees a veteran presence and a solid arm when there was little else around.

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