After Jeter, Frankie Cervelli was the longest Yankee, in terms of seniority. And this is not a knock on his trade to Pittsburgh: We all knew he needed to be somewhere else, and I'm sure Brian Cashman called every team in baseball and received for Cervelli the most that anybody was willing to give.
Still... Frankie gave us some great memories.
March 2008. In an exhibition game, a rat-faced Tampa Rays thug named Elliot Johnson bodyslams him at home plate, breaking Frankie's wrist. Joe Torre is effing pissed. Rays manager Joe Maddon mealy-mouths about playing the game hard. (I'll never forgive him.) And when the Yankees next play Tampa, Shelley Duncan - forever a hero on this blog - initiates a bench-clearing brawl with this grand slide into second. Take that, Tampons.
May 2009: Posada and Molina are hurt, and the Yankees are struggling. Frankie gets called up, gets a big hit and catches a complete game shutout by CC Sabathia. The Yankees get hot. It's a fulcrum point in their championship season.
March 2010: In another exhibition game, Frankie gets beaned and suffers a concussion. It's a serious one, and he suffers dizzy spells. When he comes back, they give him a massive helmet, which earns him the nickname Gazoo, after a Flintstones character.
March 2012: Hours before the team is to fly to NYC, the Yankees trade for catcher Chris Stewart. Frankie, who was certain to make the team, is sent to Scranton - which doesn't even have a home park. He spends an excruciating season on the bus, traveling across Upstate New York. Disillusioned, he goes into a deep slump. Only after meeting with his parents does he rededicate himself to the game.