New York Yankees: Ten Unsung heroes from the 2000s
By Ryan Doyle
P Shawn Chacon (2005-2006)
Here are general manager Brian Cashman’s comments after news of the Shawn Chacon trade broke, “Saturday we have a starter now. It’s as simple as that.”
That doesn’t exude much confidence, does it?
Well, the Yankees and their fans couldn’t have had much hope for Chacon, he was 1-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 12 starts and a bullpen appearance before the acquisition. Now, the ERA is fairly impressive coming from the hitter-friendly park of Coors Field but he wasn’t an addition that the team would likely need to rely on for the entire season.
In what will go down as the historic “Chacon-Small run” (more on Small next), Chacon would help carry the rotation down the stretch. He posted a 7-3 record with a 2.85 ERA.
Chacon’s heroics wouldn’t end in the regular season. He was on the mound in the ALDS, in the Bronx with the Yanks facing elimination. It would essentially be his swan song in New York (his 2006 campaign was ugly). He went 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on just four hits. The Yanks would hold on for the victory and stay alive for one more game.
P Aaron Small (2005-2006)
Journeyman pitcher Aaron Small was about to call it quits. He spent most of his career in the minors and he wasn’t pitching well enough to be a serious contender for a spot in the New York rotation in ’05.
Then, an injury bug hit and Small found himself with a spot start in July. He would pitch well (5.1 IP, 3 ER) and the Yankees bats would come through to give him his first win of the season. Small would then go on a tear, he ended the year 10-0, with a 3.20 ERA. His best performance came in Oakland where he threw a complete-game shutout.
Small’s 2005 season is straight out of a Disney movie, a 33-year-old career minor leaguer goes undefeated helping his team clinch a division title. He recently spoke with The Athletic and it was a fun look back at his career in the Bronx.