26 Mar Getting to Know New York Yankees Lefty Pitcher J.A. Happ
During this past offseason the New York Yankees acquired lefty pitcher, J.A. Happ for two years at $34 million, with a $17 million option for the 2021 season. Happ was outstanding for the Yanks last summer after they acquired him prior to the July 31st trade deadline, going 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA. Last season he set a career high in strikeouts with 193 and he did so mostly by pounding the upper part of the strike zone with fastballs.
Name: James Anthony Happ
Born: October 19, 1982 (age 36) in Peru, Illinois
MLB debut: June 30, 2007, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Teams Played for:
Philadelphia Phillies (2007–2010)
Houston Astros (2010–2012)
Toronto Blue Jays (2012–2014)
Seattle Mariners (2015)
Pittsburgh Pirates (2015)
Toronto Blue Jays (2016–2018)
New York Yankees
Are you excited to be a Yankee? I certainly enjoyed my time in New York, the last couple of months of the 2018 season. It was a big reason why I felt comfortable coming back. At this point in my career, I’ve taken a lot of things into account, but the chance to win was high on that list. I feel like this was a place that you come to the ballpark to win every day. I really appreciated that.
Growing up in Chicago which team did you root for? I was a Cubs fan growing up, but at the same time it wasn’t like I hated the White Sox. I went to a lot of White Sox games when I was a kid. My dad took me to go with other family friends. And then when I went to college at Northwestern in Evanston, we’d just jump on the El Train to go to a lot of Cubs games. We’d get some $10 tickets or whatever they were.
Outside of Yankee stadium, what’s your favorite MLB park and city? A lot of them are so unique and so different that it’s tough. I don’t necessarily like pitching in Colorado but Denver is a nice city. I also like the West Coast, going to San Diego, L.A. and San Francisco.
What do you like doing on off days? If we are in a visiting city for an off day, a lot of guys are going to say, ‘I am going to catch up on sleep’ or ‘I am going to go to a movie’ or just relax. Some guys will go golf, but if I am in a different city I will just bum around the streets and get a feel for the city a little bit. If I am in New York, I will rest up, relax and have a nice dinner or something.
You were a pretty good basketball player in High School; In fact I believe I read that you were MVP of the Tri- County Conference tournament one year. Was there ever a debate about which sport was your favorite? My first love was basketball. That is the sport at which I worked the hardest. There are times that I wonder what could have happened if I pursued basketball over baseball, but it’s probably fair to say I made the right choice for the long term.