Tresh died a few days ago, and I note his passing because he was one of my first heroes. I think I wrote a few weeks ago, in the thread about “Yankee Stadium” memories, about wearing his number “15” in Little League (my brother copped 7, and my friend got 9, Mantle and Maris, so I kinda got 15 by default). That was a fantastic outfield, Mantle, Maris and Tresh, and though he was the least of the three, and though that outfield didn’t last very long as a unit (it seemed like eternity when I was 9, though), it was a good one.
One of the most puzzling qualities of the Yankees’ collapse after 1964, that still doesn’t make sense to me, is not that the older players got old (DUH!!) but that the younger players got decrepit too. Those early-sixties Yankee teams had a lot of really good young players who never grew, and most of them just started sucking very young: Tresh (whose knees went on him), Pepitone (who wasted his talent on nightlife), Kubek (who retired young), Richardson (ditto), Bouton (who blew out his arm), Downing (I don’t know why or what, but he never developed after some early promise), Terry, Stafford–all of them were useless after age 27 or 28, which is very weird.
What’s also weird is that the farm teams kept producing talent, which would have complemented these players if they’d been able to play into their 30s: Stottlemyre, Roy White, Bobby Murcer, Thurman Munson, Bill Robinson (who took a long time to develop, when he was long out of a Yankee uniform), Ron Blomberg, Fritz Peterson, Stan Bahnsen and several good young players SHOULD have meant the Yankee dynasty (of which I was no longer a fan) would have stayed strong, but instead it became known as the Horace Clarke Era. I still don’t understand, but Tom Tresh was a symbol to me of the mysterious collapse of a great baseball dynasty.