Shane Spencer

At times, Shane Spencer must have felt as if his baseball career was cursed. The burly righty (5′ 7″, 210 lbs.) exploded onto the big-league scene with a display of raw power, slamming a major league record 11 home runs in 81 at bats in September and October 1998. But in of spite his power, strong fielding, and good throwing arm, Spencer’s playing time was limited by injuries and platoon situations that prevented him from developing into a consistent power hitter. The lack of a starting job wasn’t entirely Spencer’s fault. Some might blame a string of bad luck that began right after that 1998 season. He spent 1999 platooned with highly-touted prospect Ricky Ledee, who struggled as much as Spencer. Even when opportunity knocked in the form of two trips to the DL for Ledee, Spencer found ways to keep himself out of the lineup, contracting the stomach flu on one occasion and an irregular heartbeat on another. In June 2000, when the Yankees finally gave up on Ledee (trading him to the Texas Rangers), Spencer held the starting left field position for 10 days before a torn ACL ended his season. In 2001 Spencer had every reason to think he would be the starting left fielder until Chuck Knoblauch‘s throwing problems resurfaced, forcing manager Joe Torre to move Knoblauch to left field.