EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — It was a dream weekend for New York Yankees fans at the American Dream Mall. Imagine walking into a room with Yankee legends, mixed in with former/current coaches and the same goes for players. The event was an autograph signing that took place this past weekend from Friday February 2nd – Sunday February 4th. The former players were talking with fans and the media reminiscing on their glory days and stories of their World Series championships. The event, named the Pinstripe Pride Event, was put together by Hall of Fame Signings.
David Cone, a right-handed starting pitcher who won four World Series with the Yankees from 1996-2000, experienced both sides of New York baseball, also playing with the Mets from 1987-1992 and ending his career with them in 2003. He was a five-time All-Star and Cy Young winner in 1994 with his hometown Kansas City Royals. Additionally, Cone spent parts of two seasons with the Blue Jays.
The Kansas City, Missouri native loved the big stage and also pitched great in October. Cone won his first World Series with the Blue Jays in 1992 and started the game-six clincher against the Atlanta Braves, pitching six innings with one run allowed and six strikeouts. He got the no-decision and the Blue Jays won in extra innings. After 1992, Cone went back to where his career began with his hometown Royals as a free agent.
He was traded back to the Blue Jays after the 1994 strike that canceled the remainder of that season, followed by the Jays getting off to a bad start in 1995 and trading Cone to the Yankees for Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis, and Mike Gordon.
Cone’s best Yankees performance was his perfect game against the Montreal Expos at Yankee Stadium in 1999. He struck out 10 batters and it was fitting since Don Larsen threw out the first pitch to Yogi Berra before the game started.
The final out of David Cone's Perfect Game.
With Don Larsen watching after throwing out the 1st pitch on Yogi Berra Day. pic.twitter.com/J4vhTpwoxG
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 5, 2024
Despite this epic performance, Cone’s personal highlight is his first Yankees championship in 1996.
“The World Series championships by far. Four out of five years the first one in 1996 was the best because it was the first. We broke through to win that first Yankees championship since the 70’s really was a big deal,” Cone said.
Cone and the Yankees were a match made in heaven and his Postseason success carried over with them — compiling a 9-5 overall record across 77 innings, with 68 strikeouts, and had an ERA of 3.86 in the Postseason from 1995-2000.
“It’s great, it’s nice to be remembered all these years later for something I did around 25 years ago,” Cone said.
He retired in 2004, enjoying a nice transition to the YES Network broadcasting booth, and still has that same love for baseball he had as a player. Cone talked about some differences between his generation of baseball and the current generation:
“Every generation players get bigger, stronger, faster and they learn how to train more. I think each generation learns from the previous generation what to do, not what to do and how to do it better,” Cone said.
He then discussed the Yankees pitching staff and if he thought they did enough this offseason.
“Yes, I think the top part is really good. I think we’re gonna see some of the younger kids too. Some of the guys that were in Triple-A and Double-A the last few years that are moving on up the ladder, I think it’s going to be an interesting year to watch those guys.”
Yanks catchers Austin Wells and Jose Trevino attend Pinstripe Pride Event
The two catchers that will handle the majority of the Yankees pitching staff this season will be Austin Wells and Jose Trevino. Both of them were also at the event and spoke to the media.
The 24-year-old Wells made his Yankees debut last season when he was called up in September. He made a positive impact with the Yankees with four home runs, 13 RBI, and an OPS of .743 in 70 at-bats. In 19 games behind the plate, he had a fielding percentage of .994 and threw out 15% of his runners. His lefty bat at Yankee Stadium could be a big plus for years to come. Additionally, Wells has been working hard this offseason going down to Tampa early, and he’s expecting a big year two in the Bronx.
“It’s amazing having all the guys down there. We got a good group of young guys down in Tampa working out as well as our veterans,” Wells said.
Wells shares the same goals as everyone that’s associated with the Yankees and he’s doing everything he can to help deliver the Yankees to the promised land:
“Getting our work together early and building towards our goal of winning a World Series has been great,” he said.
Wells has also been spending extra time talking with the coaching staff and working on his defense behind the plate:
“The coaching staff has done a great job of helping me with what I’ve done well and what I need to improve at. I’m Heading into Spring Training refining some of those things and just continuing to grind through that and think it’s gonna be a great year.”
Wells will compete with veteran catcher Jose Trevino for the starting catching job. It’s also possible that they could platoon the position, with Wells hitting against righties and Trevino against lefties.
Trevino talked about the work Wells has put in this offseason, and mentioned how they have a close relationship despite the fact of competing against each other.
“He’s done a phenomenal job in his preparation for this year. I’ve just watched what he’s been doing this offseason following him back and forth and seeing what his thoughts are,” Trevino said.
Trevino had some time to watch Wells this season because he only played in 55 games, due to a wrist injury that required surgery in the first of the year. He struggled playing hurt while behind-the-plate and in the batter’s box. He had four home runs and 15 RBI in 157 at-bats, while behind the dish, his fielding percentage was .993 and only threw out 26 percent of his runners.
In 2022, the Yankees acquired Trevino from the Texas Rangers before Spring Training for relief pitcher Albert Abreu. Trevino spent four years with the Rangers from 2018-2021. He exceeded all expectations earning his first All-Star appearance, Gold Glove and Platinum Glove, all in his first season in Pinstripes. His numbers were 11 home runs, 43 RBI, and a slash line of .248/.283/.388 in 335 at-bats. His fielding percentage was .993 and he threw out 33 percent of his runners.
Trevino is looking for a bounce-back season, and to be fully healthy. He talked about what it meant to interact with the fans at the event:
“It’s exciting, it definitely gets the blood flowing a little bit more. I’ve been out for a little bit so I’m excited and ready to play some baseball,” Trevino said.
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