Friday, May 28, 2021

Jerry Kenney (#219)

Jerry Kenney was to be part of the "new wave" of Yankee stars to replace Mantle & Co (led by Bobby Murcer, and also including 1968 ROY Stan Bahnsen). But things didn’t quite turn out for Kenney like they did for Murcer. 
Kenney was signed by the Yankees in 1964. He was a shortstop in the minors, spending '64 and '65 with 2 different class-A teams, then advancing to AA and AAA over the next 2 seasons. He made his major-league debut with the Yankees in September 1967.
After missing the entire 1968 season for military service (like Murcer), he made the Yankees at the start of the 1969 season. Installed as the Opening Day center fielder (with Murcer also given the 3rd base job) the two of them remained at their new posts until mid-May, when Kenney was moved to 3rd base, and Murcer to right field. 
Kenney platooned at the hot corner for the rest of the season with last year's 3rd base phenom Bobby Cox, (while Murcer manned right field until late August, then moved over to The Mick’s old post). 
With Cox dispatched to the minors for all of 1970, Kenney became the primary 3rd baseman, starting 2/3 of the games (with Danny Cater playing the rest). 
In 1971 Jerry’s playing time slipped, as he shared the 3rd base job evenly with Cater. In 1972 he was used as the backup shortstop (to Gene Michael), only starting a few dozen games. 
After the 1972 season he was traded to the Indians in the 6-player deal that brought Graig Nettles to the Big Apple, but after only 5 games with the Tribe, he was released on May 4th. The Yankees resigned him 3 months later and he played the next 2 1/2 years for their AAA team, never returning to the majors. 
In his 4 seasons with the Yankees, he hit .257, .193, .262, and .210. 
The sad SABR story of Jerry Kenney, (another "the next Mantle").