The red-letter days ~
2000: Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada each hit home runs from both sides of the plate‚ marking the first time in major league history that a pair of teammates switch hit homers in the same game. The Yankees score 7 runs in the fourth inning on their way to a 10-7 win over the Blue Jays. Jose Cruz hits a leadoff homer for Toronto for the second straight game. He had 2 homers yesterday.
1929: The Yankees become the first team to wear numbers on their road uniforms when they invade Fenway Park. (The Red Sox, unimpressed, win 4-2).
1903: Behind the pitching of Harry Howell (below)‚ the Yankee franchise wins its first game, as the New York Highlanders beat Washington, 7-2.
On other 23rds of April…
2011: The Bronx Bombers once again live up to their name, connecting five times in a 15-3 win over the Orioles. Russell Martin goes long twice and is joined by Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez, who hits a grand slam. It is the 22nd slam of A-Rod’s career, moving him past the provisionally retired Manny Ramirez and into second place on the all-time list, one behind Lou Gehrig. CC Sabathia picks up his first win of the year, while Brad Bergesen is the loser.
2007: The injury-depleted Yankees activate Hideki Matsui from the DL. To make room for him, southpaw Chase Wright, coming off the previous day’s home run barrage at Fenway, is returned to AA Trenton.
2006: Jason Giambi has two homers and a double to drive in five runs in the Yankees 7-1 win over the Orioles. O’s shortstop Miguel Tejada is the team’s only offensive producer with 4 hits including a homer. He has all 3 hits that winning pitcher Randy Johnson gives up, plus one more off of Mo Rivera, for all 4 Baltimore hits, tying an MLB mark.
2004: In a preview of game 7 the ALCS later in the year, Derek Lowe silences Bomber bats and his teammates drive Jose Contreras from the mound with a 5-run 4th inning as the Red Sox lambast the Yankees 11-2 at Fenway.
1982: The Yankees trade first baseman /DH Bob Watson to Atlanta for minor leaguer pitcher Bob Patterson. Watson was given the choice of Philadelphia‚ L.A.‚ or Atlanta. In 2 weeks the Yankees will trade their other first baseman‚ Dave Revering‚ who hit .465 in spring training.
1977: Andruw Jones is born. Happy 37th, AJ… Hope you’re enjoying Japan!
1975: Roy White again homers from both sides of the plate‚ this time in an 11-7 Yankee loss to the Red Sox. White last switch-hit home runs on August 13‚ 1973.
1953: At the Stadium‚ Mickey Mantle breaks a 3-3 tie in the 9th with a two out walkoff homer off Red Sox relief ace Ellis Kinder.
1948: On the 25th anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium‚ the Red Sox spoil the ceremonies by stopping New York‚ 4-0. A visibly ill Babe Ruth cheers on the Yanks from the dugout.
1947: At the Stadium, ‘Superchief’ Allie Reynolds shuts out the Red Sox 3-0 on as he bests Boo Ferriss and allows only two hits, both of them to Rudy York.
Off the field, the Yankees release veteran reliever Johnny ‘Grandma’ Murphy, who will sign with the Red Sox.
1941: With Ted Williams on the bench after reinjuring his ankle yesterday‚ the Red Sox fall to the Yankees‚ 4-2‚ in 11 innings. Joe DiMaggio is hitless‚ but Phil Rizzuto provides the offense by hitting his first major league homer‚ a 2-run shot off Charlie Wagner in the 11th‚ to win the contest.
1940: The Yankees dedicate a plaque at the Stadium to former owner Jacob Ruppert before losing to the Philadelphia Athletics 3-0.
1933: Lou Gehrig’s consecutive-game streak is threatened when he is knocked unconscious by an Earl Whitehill pitch in the Yankees-Senators game. He recovers and finishes the game‚ a 5-4 loss to the Nats.
1932: At Shibe Park, Babe Ruth and Ben Chapman both go long for New York. This the 8th straight game in which at least one Yankee has hit a home run, but the A’s outslug them, 16-5.
1927: At Philadelphia‚ Rube Walberg gives up back to back homers to Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the first inning‚ but holds on for a 4-3 A’s win. Yankee shortstop Mark Koenig’s wild throw in the 9th allows the winning run to score.
1925: Yankee ace Herb Pennock holds a 1-0 lead into the 9th when Washington loads the bases. Nats manager Bucky Harris wants Walter Johnson to pinch hit‚ but the Big Train is in the shower when he gets the call. It takes him ten minutes to dress and enter the game‚ with Yankee skipper Miller Huggins screaming all the while about the delay. Johnson justifies the wait by hitting the first pitch for a 2-run single to win the game for Washington‚ 2-1. Six weeks later‚ Ban Johnson will rule that only players on the bench or sidelines may be used as substitutes.
1919: At the Polo Grounds‚ 30‚000 fans watch the Red Sox roll over the Yankees‚ 10-0‚ behind Carl Mays. Babe Ruth bounces a ball over Yankee center fielder Duffy Lewis’s head for an inside-the-park homer in his first at bat and drives in 2 runs‚ while Wally Schang has three doubles and a single. Former Sox star Lewis‚ who missed the 1918 season while serving in the military‚ is hitless in his Yankee debut.
George Mogridge takes the loss‚ allowing six runs in the 9th inning when shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh makes his 2nd and 3rd errors of the game.
1918: Yankee lefty Herb Thormahlen loses his no-hitter when Boston’s Amos Strunk singles with one out in the 9th. A pinch-hit single by Babe Ruth and a walk load the bases and a short fly to Ping Bodie is dropped‚ allowing Strunk to plate the winner‚ 1-0.
The red-letter day ~
1903: The Yankees play their first regular season game.
At Washington‚ before a crowd of 11‚950 at American League Park‚ the new AL franchise in New York (currently named the Highlanders) open their season with a 3-1 loss. Washington elect to bat first (the home team had the option until 1908)‚ but the New Yorkers score in the bottom of the opening inning to take a 1-0 lead. Each starter gives up six hits with Jack Chesbro‚ the NL’s top winner last year (28-6) taking the loss. Al Orth‚ in his second season with Washington‚ is the winner.
On other 22nds of April…
2010: The Yankees turn their first triple play since 1968 but still lose to the Oakland A’s 4 – 2, snapping a 6-game winning streak.
2009: In action at the Stadium, the Oakland A’s scored two 7th inning runs off CC Sabathia, one of them on an RBI from Jason Giambi, to tie the score 7-7. Both teams bat seven times thereafter with no change in the score, until Melky Cabrera launches a shot into the short porch. His home run, which plates Nick Swisher in front of him (the right fielder had reached on a walk, the third time in the game he had battled to a full count) gives the Yankees their first walkoff win of a magical season, 9-7 in 14 innings. Jose Veras comes out of the bullpen and sets the stage for Melky’s heroics by pitching 3.3 innings of no-hit, one-walk, four-strike-out, no-run relief. The loser of the 4h56m battles is ex-Yank Dan Geise.
2007: The Red Sox complete their first sweep of the Yankees at Fenway in 17 years. Manny Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek hit consecutive home runs, making it the fourth instance in MLB history that four straight hitters had gone deep. The victim for all four gopher balls is Chase Wright, who ties the MLB record for home runs allowed in an inning.
Paul Foytack in 1963 had been the only prior pitcher to allow four straight homers in an inning.
2003: The Yankees continue their winning ways with an 8-3 victory over the Angels on the 100th anniversary of their 1st game. New York are off to the best start in their history with a 17-3 record. The team’s starting pitchers are now 15-0 on the year.
1998: The Yankees‚ in first by a half game‚ pound Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte shuts down the Blue Jays‚ as the Yankees prevail‚ 9-1. Scott Brosius has 3 hits and 5 RBI.
Pettitte pitches a complete game and allows 1 run (unearned) on 6 hits and 1 walk‚ with 6 strike outs. Clemens takes the loss allowing 9 runs (6 earned)‚ the 3rd time in Clemens’ great career that he allowed 9 runs in a game and the 2nd time against the Yankees. Clemens K’s 6 and reaches 2900 career strikeouts.
1997: After 4 months of on-and-off negotiations‚ the Yankees acquire the rights to Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu from the San Diego Padres for $3 million. New York send injured outfielder Ruben Rivera and minor leaguer pitcher Rafael Medina to San Diego. The Padres sweeten the deal by sending three minor leaguers to NY: Second baseman Homer Bush and outfielders Gordon Amerson and Vernon Maxwell. Irabu’s team‚ the Chiba Lotte Marines‚ gave the San Diego exclusive rights to the 27-year-old righthander‚ but Irabu refused to sign with the Padres‚ saying he would only go with the Yankees.
1993: Mark Koenig, former Yankee shortstop and last survivor of the starting 8 on the Murderers’ Row team, dies at the age of 88.
1970: The Yankees and Senators battle for 18 innings before the Nats win‚ 2-1. The winning run scores on a walk to Ed Stroud‚ a single by Hank Allen‚ and a sac fly by Mike Epstein. The run‚ off Ron Klimkowski‚ makes a winner of Joe Grzenda.
1967: Fritz Maisel, early Yankee star (and the only player other than Rickey Henderson to have stolen 70 or more bases in a season for the club) dies at age 77.
1961: Jimmy Key, ’90s Yankee pitcher, is born. Happy 53rd, Jimmy!
1960: In the home opener at Yankee Stadium‚ Mickey Mantle socks a 4th inning homer off Hoyt Wilhelm‚ and New York beat Baltimore‚ 5-0.
1959: Whitey Ford goes 14 innings against the Senators, striking out 15 along the way. The Yankees finally win it in the 14th on a Moose Skowron solo homer 1-0‚ the longest contest in Major League history ended by a four-bagger in which a solo home run was the only scoring.
1957: The visiting Yankees overwhelm the Senators‚ 15-6‚ with Mickey Mantle hitting his first homer of the year‚ off lefty Chuck Stobbs. Hank Bauer belts a grand slam in the 7-run 6th inning‚ which also features a triple steal by Billy Martin (on the front end)‚ Yogi Berra‚ and Moose Skowron. The Senators strand 16 while the Yankees have 10 LOB.
1956: Yankee pitcher Don Larsen slams a homer with the bases loaded off Frank Sullivan of the Red Sox‚ as New York win 13-6. Larsen is lifted in the 5th and the win goes to Bob Grim.
1949: The Red Sox have a record-breaking opening-day crowd of 33‚955 who see Governor Paul Dever toss out the first ball. The Yankees then win their 4th in a row‚ 5-3‚ scoring all their runs in the 6th and 7th with the help of six bases on balls. Boston starter Tex Hughson hands out four in the 6th‚ sandwiched around a DP. Allie Reynolds follows with a single. Tommy Henrich‚ who won the first two Yankee games with a home run‚ has four walks before striking out.
1944: The Yankees hand out 1943 World Series rings before beating the Senators 6-3. Manager Joe McCarthy is absent because of illness and is at home on his farm near Buffalo. He is suffering from a severe case of the flu and according to his doctor‚ ‘will be away indefinitely’. Art Fletcher will serve as acting manager.
1943: After a day’s delay because of rain‚ the Yankees open at the Stadium with a 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Senators. Johnny ‘Grandma’ Murphy‚ who relieves starter Ernie Bonham in the 9th and tosses just one pitch‚ is the victor. Roy Weatherly‚ filling in for Joe DiMaggio in center field‚ drives home the tying and winning runs with a double off Owen Sheetz. Mickey Haefner is the losing pitcher. Joe Gordon has the game’s only homer‚ an 8th-inning shot off starter Early Wynn‚ that gives the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Because of meat rationing, no vendors walk among the fans selling hot dogs‚ though the great ballpark meal is still available at the concession stands
1942: At the Stadium, Joe DiMaggio bangs out a homer plus 2 triples to lead the Yanks to an 11-5 win over the A’s. Spud Chandler coasts to his second win.
1931: Babe Ruth collides with Charlie Berry‚ Red Sox catcher and former pro football player‚ while trying to score on a sacrifice fly. Ruth is carried off the field at Fenway Park and taken to hospital. Ruth has 3 hits and 2 runs before being replaced by Myril Hoag. New York win‚ 7-5.
1930: Before 66‚000 at the Stadium‚ the champion A’s edge the Yankees‚ 6-5‚ on Bing Miller’s lead off homer in the 9th. Roy Sherid is the loser while Rube Walberg‚ the 3rd of three hurlers‚ is the winner.
The 1930 Yankees
1923: The first Sunday game at the Stadium draws an estimated 60‚000‚ but the Yankees‚ despite an 8th inning homer by Everett Scott‚ suffer their first loss of the year‚ 4-3 to Washington’s Walter Johnson.
1920: The Yankees open their home season with a 8-6 win over the A’s‚ but lose Babe Ruth to an injury. The $125‚000 batsman pulls a cartilage in his right knee in batting practice and‚ after striking out in the 1st‚ has to be assisted off the field. The team announce that he will be out 2 weeks.
1915: On the eve of the home opener, the now familiar Yankee logo is publicly unveiled for the first time, in banners decking out the Polo grounds.
1905: Having failed to give out rain checks the day before when a storm stopped the game, the Highlanders open the gates for free admission, and 30,000 people jam Hilltop Park for the clash with Washington. It ends with a 5-3 Highlander victory. This is the first time that fans can take the new subway to the ball game.
1904: Jack Chesbro allows one hit‚ by Kip Selbach‚ in beating the Senators 2-0 to avenge the Highlanders’ opening day loss in Washington the previous year.
1881: Neal Ball is born. Ball, who was a middle infielder for the Highlanders from 1907 through 1909, achieved lasting fame by executing the first unassisted triple play in modern MLB history whilst playing for the Indians in 1911.
2012: Displaying very little sense of history, the Red Sox continue to have a highly embarrassing week while celebrating Fenway Park’s centenary. Today, they take a 9-0 lead over the Yankees, only to collapse ignominiously, coughing up 15 unanswered runs to lose the game. 14 of the runs come courtesy of a bullpen that has been horrendous since the season started. With his team trailing 9-1 in the 7th,, Nick Swisher gets the Bronx Bombers rolling with a grand slam off Vincente Padilla; Mark Teixera adds a three-run shot before the inning ends. But that only serves to set up a nightmarish 8th inning, during which three other relievers give up 7 more runs as manager Bobby Valentine is booed heartily every time he comes out to make a pitching change. With two-thirds of their starting outfield on the DL, the reeling Sox make a trade after the game, acquiring CF Marlon Byrd from the Cubs in return for pitcher Michael Bowden and a player to be named later.
2010: Phil Hughes justifies the decision to return him to starting rotation, pitching a no-hitter for 7 innings before Eric Chavez of the A’s bounces a ground ball towards the mound to open the 8th. The ball hits Hughes’s left forearm and lands for a single in front of the pitcher. The Yankees win the game, 3 – 1.
2009: Andy Pettitte picks up the win and Mariano Rivera gets the save as the home side defeat Oakland 5-3 in the first night game played at Yankee Stadium II. It is the 57th time that Rivera has saved a Pettitte win, tying the Oakland A’s duo of Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley of the late ’80s and early ’90s for the highest total in major league history.
2003: The Yankees continue their hot start with a 15-1 win over the Twins. With David Wells’s victory‚ the New York starting rotation are now 14-0. The Twins have played 6 series so far and have either swept‚ or been swept‚ in all six.
1999: The Yankees defeat the Rangers‚ 4-2‚ as Roger Clemens ties an AL record with his 17th consecutive win over 2 seasons. Johnny Allen (1936-37) and Dave McNally (1968-69) previously accomplished the feat for the Indians and Orioles‚ respectively.
1980: Joe ‘The Fireman’ Page, Yankee relief ace of the late 1940s, dies at the age of 62.
Page (in foreground to Casey Stengel’s left) celebrating the Yanks’ win in the 1949 World Series
1977: Manager Billy Martin‚ faced with a 2-8 slump over the past 10 games‚ draws his lineup out of a hat. Chris Chambliss, batting in the eight hole, drives in 5 runs on 2 doubles and a homer and New York beat Toronto 8-6.
Ken Holtzman is the winner.
1967: At Fenway‚ rookie Bill Rohr again tops the Yanks‚ beating Mel Stottlemyre 6-1. Elston Howard’s 8th-inning single drives in the only Yankee score. Rohr will return to the minors after the Gary Bell acquisition and resurface with the Indians next year.
1965: At the Stadium‚ Mickey Mantle puts New York ahead with a two-run homer in the first off Camilo Pascual‚ but the Twins come back to win 7-2.
1958: At the Stadium‚ the Red Sox put 16 runners on base but score just one as the Yanks win their 5th straight‚ 4-1. Don Larsen‚ with 5 innings of shutout ball‚ is the winner. Ted Williams has his first hits of the year‚ a single and homer.
1956: Mickey Mantle homers for the second day in a row against the Red Sox‚ to lead New York to the win in a 14-10 shoot out at the Stadium. Mantle‚ playing with his thigh wrapped tightly after straining a muscle yesterday‚ is 3-for-5.
1954: At the Stadium‚ Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle belt back-to-back homers in the third‚ off Leo Kiely‚ and Gil McDougald adds a solo blast to key the Yankees to a 5-1 win over the Red Sox.
1952: In New York‚ Mickey Mantle’s first-inning homer off Bobby Shantz starts the Yankees on their way to a 5-1 win over the A’s. Led by the middle infield combination of Phil Rizzuto and Jerry Coleman, the Yanks tie a ML mark when they pull off their 12th double play in 3 games; tomorrow they go to 14 in 4 games‚ tying a mark set by the White Sox last year.
1951: Gil Coan of the Senators gets two triples in the 6th inning at Washington‚ the last major leaguer in the 20th century to collect 2 three-baggers in an inning.
The Senators score 7 runs in the frame‚ but it’s not enough as they lose to the Yankees‚ 8-7. Tom Ferrick gets the win
for the Bombers.
1950: In Cleveland‚ before 79‚570 fans‚ the 4th largest paid attendance in MLB history to date‚ the Yankees take two from the Indians‚ winners of 9 out of their last 11. In the opener‚ Joe DiMaggio drives in 6 runs on 2 homers‚ one a grand slam‚ and the Yankees roll 14-5. New York collect 19 hits in the nitecap to win easily‚ 12-4. Eddie Lopat and Allie Reynolds each win their 4th of the year‚ as the Yankees now pace the AL by 2 1/2 games.
1948: At Griffith Stadium‚ Joe DiMaggio launches a 450-foot 3-run shot, but the rest of the Bombers’ offense sputters as the Senators roll, 6-3.
1932: The Yankees drop game 2 in their series with Philadelphia at the stadium‚ as the A’s win 8-6. Mickey Cochrane’s ninth inning grand slam is the deciding blow. Jimmie Foxx adds a single and 2 triples for the Mackmen.
1929: About 40‚000 fans brave a cold rain in New York to watch the Yankees play their first Sunday regular season game. The A’s Bing Miller has a 2-run homer to help Lefty Grove beat the Yanks‚ 7-4.
1887: Joe McCarthy, Yankee manager from 1931 to 1946, is born.
McCarthy managed in the major leagues for 24 seasons. His winning percentage of .614 is the highest in baseball history. His seven World Championships are a record shared only with another Yankee manager, Casey Stengel. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1957.
McCarthy never played in the majors. He grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and broke into pro ball in 1906. He got a taste of managing at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1913 and a few years later made a name for himself as a manager in Louisville, where he developed outfielder Earle Combs. In 1926 McCarthy was named manager of the Chicago Cubs and he led them to the National League pennant in 1929.
Fired by the Cubs following the 1930 season, McCarthy in 1931 assumed the helm of a Yankee team that regarded him as a National League interloper; many of the rollicking Yankee veterans thought babe Ruth should be the manager, a point of view that Ruth himself did not discourage. McCarthy never won Ruth over, but he did win the other players’ loyalty and slowly molded his kind of undemonstrative and proficient team.
In 1932 McCarthy became the first manager to capture pennants in both leagues. In the ensuing World Series, the Yankees
beat the Cubs in four games, a great moment of revenge for their manager. Then came three consecutive second-place finishes – and the unkind tag of Second-Place Joe – before the Yankees’ four consecutive World Championships in 1936-39. The late-1930s teams were arguably the most powerful ever, and their manager was a great proponent of power baseball. In 1941 McCarthy won his sixth
World Series in six tries as the Yankees’ manager, but the following year his streak was broken by the Cardinals. The Yankees won the rematch 1943 Series in five games.
McCarthy’s teams were outstanding. They seldom had a difficult pennant race and, by and large, they overwhelmed their World Series foes. They were so good that some believed the batboy could have taken them to pennants, an insinuation that McCarthy hated. His temper flared when it was suggested he had only to push buttons to win. Many experts consider McCarthy the greatest manager
of all time. He was a great double-play teacher, but his real strengths lay in his mental alertness. He seldom made the same mistake twice, missed little on the field, and had an amazing memory for minute details. Joe DiMaggio said, “Never a day went by when you didn’t learn something from McCarthy.”
McCarthy’s players respected him, most liked him, and some were devoted to him. But he was perceived by the public as dull. Take away the fat little cigars and the long-sleeved uniforms and you were left with air. Squat, square-jawed, tenacious – there was a sour side to this spike-fisted disciplinarian. Yet his heart almost broke when Lou Gehrig became fatally ill.
The war years were tough on McCarthy, and when Larry MacPhail became his boss in 1945, he didn’t have the same rapport he had enjoyed with Ed Barroe. On May 24, 1946, McCarthy resigned. He became the Red Sox’ manager in 1948 and came within a hair of winning a pennant that year and again in 1949, before retiring for good early in the 1950 season.
McCarthy died January 13, 1978 at the age of 90.
The red-letter day ~
1988: Claudell Washington hits the 10,000th home run in Yankee history and Jack Clark hits his first AL home run in the top of the 10th inning to give New York a 7-6 win over Minnesota. The Yankees are the first major league club to hit 10,000 homers.
On other 20ths of April…
2012: The Red Sox celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park by inviting 200 former players and coaches, from Don Aase to Bob Zupcic, to come on the field for pre-game celebrations. In the game that follows (in which both teams wear 1912 throwback uniforms), however, the visiting Yankees spoil the party by hitting five homers, including two by Eric Chavez, on their way to a 6-2 win. For Ivan Nova, it is his 15th consecutive victory, dating back to last season.
2006: According to Forbes magazine, the New York Yankees are the 1st baseball team valued at more than $1 billion.
2003: The Yankees defeat Minnesota 8-2. The win gives New York starting pitchers a 13-0 record, the best mark by any starting staff at the beginning of the season since 1900.
1964: Yankee rookie Bob Meyer makes his major league debut at Fenway Park in a 4-0 loss to the Red Sox. Meyer is the last Yankee rookie pitcher this century to open his career in Boston. Ralph Terry made his debut there in 1956.
1961: Don Mattingly is born. Happy 53rd to Donnie Baseball!
After becoming a regular in 1984, Mattingly established himself as one of the preeminent stars of the 1980s. He hit for average and power, fielded his position at first base with brilliance, and displayed a work ethic and charisma reminiscent of Yankee greats of the past. Actually, his home run power developed after his arrival in the majors, but he went on to set a couple impressive HR records in 1986.
In 1982 Mattingly joined a Yankee team that was reluctant to play kids from its farm system, preferring to trade them for proven players or let them languish on the bench as insurance against injury to regulars. Mattingly saw limited action through 1983, playing primarily in the outfield, the position at which the Yankees originally drafted him. Although his career minor league batting average was .332, there was little in Mattingly’s minor league performance to indicate that he might emerge as a power hitter. However, Mattingly used those first two years in the majors to become a smart two strike hitter and learned to look for the inside pitch that he might drive into Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch. The result was his fine 1984 season, in which he took over the first-base job and hit 23 homers en route to capturing the batting title on the last day of the season with a .343 average that edged teammate Dave Winfield’s .340. He became the first Yankee lefthanded hitter to bat over .340 since Lou Gehrig hit .351 in 1937.
Despite often starting the season abysmally, Mattingly established himself as a dominant hitter from 1984 through 1989. In each of those seasons, he hit over .300, collected more than 186 hits, and, except for 1988, drove in 100 or more runs. During that period, no major league player had more RBI than his 684, and only Wade Boggs (1,269) had more hits than Matingly’s 1,219. Mattingly displayed his power in 1985 when, batting third in the Yankee lineup, he amassed career highs of 35 home runs and a league-leading 145 RBI en route to being named AL MVP.
In 1986 Mattingly set new Yankees marks for doubles (53) and hits (238) in a season, becoming the first Yankee since Lou Gehrig with three consecutive 200 hit seasons. During the 1987 season, Mattingly set or tied five remarkable major league records. He hit six grand slams to set a new single-season mark. (He had never hit one prior to 1987.) He tied Dale Long’s 1956 record by homering in eight consecutive games from July 8 through July 18. His 10 homers during that period were a major league record for total homers in an eight game streak, and his concurrent streak of 10 games with at least one extra base hit broke babe Ruth’s 1921 AL record. The power streak ended on July 20, the night Mattingly tied the major league record of 22 putouts by a first baseman in a nine inning game.
Mattingly matched his hitting with outstanding defense. From 1985 through 1989, he won five consecutive Gold Glove awards at first base. Along with Chick Gandil (1916-1919), Mattingly (1984-1987) holds the record of leading AL first basemen in fielding percentage for four consecutive years. On his retirement his .996 lifetime fielding percentage at first base tied him for the all-time lead. His skills allowed him to play second base and third base on a few occasions despite throwing lefthanded.
From 1990 on, back problems led to a decline in Mattingly’s batting performance as he adjusted his stance to compensate. His season HR high in the ’90s was 17 in 1993, one of only two seasons in double figures in that time, and only in the 1994 strike season did he top .300 in batting average. His fielding prowess usually did not suffer, however; his fielding percentages actually got higher, and he led the AL three straight years (1992-94). He spent time on the DL in 1990, ’93, and ’94, but was so firmly ensconced as a team leader that it was not until after the 1995 season that he was replaced at first base by the Yankees’ acquisition of Tino Martinez, whereupon Mattingly unofficially retired. He had, at least, finally reached postseason play, hitting well in the Yankees’ losing effort that year against Seattle in the division playoffs.
In January 1997 Mattingly officially announced his retirement from baseball, having decided that his back problems would not let him make a comeback. At that time the Yankees announced that his number 23 would be retired, with a ceremony to take place during the 1997 season. Yankee owner George Steinbrenn called vociferously for Mattingly’s election to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible, a move widely perceived as an attempt to deflect criticism for the way the team handled the ending of Mattingly’s career.
1956: In the Yankees’ home opener, Mickey Mantle clouts a three run homer and Whitey Ford goes the distance, allowing 5 Red Sox hits. New York win 7-1.
1945: In the delayed presidential opener in Washington, tribute is paid to the late FDR before House Speaker Sam Rayburn tosses out the first ball.
The Yankees win their fourth straight, pounding 3 Nats pitchers for a 6-3 win.
1939: The Red Sox show off their prize rookie Ted Williams before 30,278 in the opener in New York, delayed two days because of rain. After striking out twice, Williams collects a double off Red Ruffing, who wins 2-0. Gehrig makes an error, goes hitless, and lines into two double plays in the only game featuring the two greats. Other future Hall of Famers in what will become an historic box score include Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Red Rolfe, and losing pitcher Lefty Grove. The Yanks score their first run on a homer by Dickey and their second tally on an error by Foxx. Boston have baserunners in each inning, but Ruffing tosses just the second opening day shut out in Yankee history. Four umpires work the game including third base arbiter George Pipgras, the starting pitcher for the Yankees in the 1929 Opener; his opponent for the Red Sox that day was Red Ruffing.
1932: The Yankees draw the largest paid attendance ~ 55, 452 ~ for any home opener. (Their ‘announced’ attendance, however, when the stadium opened in 1923 was 74,217). Babe Ruth homers, as Lefty Gomez beats Lefty Grove and the Yanks defeat the Athletics 8-3.
1930: In today’s issue of the Chicago Tribune, writer Irwin Howe names his all-time all-star team based on his 42 years of observing baseball, with Babe Ruth in right field.
1926: The Yankees batter Washington 18-5. Among their 22 hits are a home run, 2 doubles, and 2 singles by Babe Ruth, who scores 5 runs and drives in 8. The Babe’s home run is a 2-run shot in the first inning off Walter Johnson.
Rookie Bill Morrell debuts in relief for the Senators and this is noteworthy only because contemporary accounts list his age at 26, and his birth year as 1900. In fact, Morrell was born in 1893, making him off by seven years, a possible ML record. Later encyclopedias will carry his correct birth date.
1924: In Washington, Walter Johnson picks up an easy 12-3 win over the Yankees. Babe Ruth scores 2 of the New York runs on a triple and an 8th inning home run.
1912: The New York Highlanders provide the opposition as the Boston Red Sox play the first game in the history of Fenway Park. The Sox christen their new park with an 11-inning, 7-6 victory over the visitors.
2012: Curtis Granderson has the first three-homer game of his career, and the first of this major league season, as the Yankees defeat the Twins 7 – 6. Granderson homers in his first three at-bats, then collects a pair of singles, to help New York overcome a 4-run 1st inning by Minnesota. Phil Hughes is credited with his first win of the year and Marx Teixera also homers for the Bronx Bombers.
2011: Mariano Rivera is charged with a rare blown save, allowing the Blue Jays a 6 – 5 comeback win at the Rogers Centre. After homers by Mark Teixera and Curtis Granderson turn an early 2 – 2 tie into a 5 – 3 Yankees lead, Yunel Escobar leads off the bottom of the 9th with a double off the legendary closer, who already has seven saves this year. A wild pitch on a walk to Jose Bautista and a perfectly-executed dqueeze bunt by John McDonald tie the game at 5 all. In the 10th, Travis Snider doubles home the winning run against Ivan Nova, pressed into the game as the Yankees’ bullpen is depleted; Snider had gone 0 for 5 on the day and had snapped a bat into pieces in frustration after striking out with the bases loaded to end the 6th inning.
2002: Deja vu all over again?… Mariano Rivera makes yet another error on an attempted sacrifice bunt in the 9th, much like the errant throw he had made in the infamous (to Yankee fans) final inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. But this game, a Stadium affair, has a happier ending, and Mo gets the win, as Alfonso Soriano drives home Gerald Williams with the walkoff base hit in the bottom of the ninth in the 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays.
2001: The Yankees defeat the Blue Jays‚ 6-5‚ in 17 innings and almost 6 hours. Six relievers pitch 11 scoreless innings before Chuck Knoblauch walks and Jeter singles him to second. O’Neill’s 4th hit of the game finally ends it. Both teams total 14 pitchers‚ who throw 538 pitches (336 Ks) and strand 35 runners.
1979: Following a 6-3 loss to the Orioles‚ Goose Gossage and Cliff Johnson brawl in the Yankee clubhouse. Gossage sustains a sprained ligament in his left thumb‚ and will be sidelined until July 12th. After the fight‚ Reggie Jackson predicts that Cliff Johnson’s days as a Yankee are numbered. He is proved correct when Johnson is traded to Cleveland on June 15th for Don Hood.
1974: In action against the Orioles at Baltimore’s memorial Stadium, the Yankees lose 5-3 to the orioles. The key blow for the hosts is Al Bumbry’s 5th inning, two-run, inside-the-park homer off loser Steve Kline.
Off the field, the Yankees obtain Walt ‘No Neck’ Williams and pitchers Ed Farmer and Rick Sawyer from the Tigers for catcher Gerry Moses. Moses had come to New York in the Graig Nettles trade.
1973: New Yankee owner George Steinbrenner replaces Mike Burke with Gabe Paul as General Manager.
1964: Scott Kamieniecki is born.
In a relief appearance against the Orioles at Camden Yards in 1996, his final year with the Yankees, he achieved the unusual feat of retiring the side 1-2-3 despite falling behind all three batters with a 3-0 count. Happy birthday, SK!
1962: Mickey Mantle’s homer in the fourth off Chuck Estrada jumpstarts the Yanks to a 3-1 win over the Orioles.
1960: On Patriots’ Day (editor’s note: for the anniversary of the beginning of the American revolution, not the football team) at Fenway Park‚ Roger Maris makes his debut with the Yankees a smash as he goes 4-for-5‚ including 2 home runs‚ and drives in 4 runs. The Yanks spoil Boston’s Opener with an 8-4 win as Jim Coates goes all the way for New York. Tom Brewer is the loser. Red Sox catcher Haywood Sullivan has his first Major League hit after 5 seasons and 16 at bats. Mayor John Collins‚ wheel-chair bound because of polio‚ tosses out the first ball
1954: On Patriots’ Day in Boston‚ the Yankees sweep a doubleheader from the Red Sox. Boston win the morning game‚ 2-1‚ on Willard Nixon’s five-hitter. In the afternoon game‚ the Yankees top Mel Parnell 5-0 behind Jim McDonald‚ as Mickey Mantle belts his first homer of the year.
1953: In the second game of a doubleheader, Alex Kellner of the A’s blanks the Yankees‚ 3-0 on 2 hits. Kellner shut out the Bombers on Opening Day and is the first pitcher to shutout New York on consecutive starts since Schoolboy Rowe in 1934.
1949: At pregame ceremonies marking the season opener with the Senators at the Stadium‚ a granite monument to Babe Ruth‚ who died on August 16‚ 1948‚ is unveiled in center field. Plaques honoring Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins are also presented. Mrs. Babe Ruth‚ Mayor William O’Dwyer‚ Governor Thomas E. Dewey‚ and the current baseball team from St. Mary’s Industrial School in Baltimore are at the game. Gary Simpson‚ the St. Mary’s captain‚ throws out the first ball.
The Yanks‚ who went just 13-14-1 in spring training‚ tie it at 2-2 in the 7th on Yogi Berra’s 2-out pinch single. New York win 3-2 when Tommy Henrich hits a dramatic 9th inning two-out homer off starter Sid Hudson. Henrich will hit another one out in tomorrow’s 3-0 win. Ed Lopat gives up 8 hits – three by Gil Coan – in going the distance for New York. Gene Woodling‚ the PCL’s leading hitter in 1948 with a .385 average‚ plays center field in place of the injured Joe DiMaggio.
1948: At Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C.‚ President Harry Truman tosses out the first ball.
Fans might have thought Truman had stayed on the mound as the Yankees bat around in the opening inning against Nats starter Early Wynn. The second man up‚ Tommy Henrich‚ belts a two run homer‚ and a few batters later Allie Reynolds hits his first major league homer‚ a three run shot‚ that makes the score 7-0. Wynn gives up 16 hits and all 12 runs before leaving in the 9th for Ramon Garcia. Reynolds wins 12-4‚ allowing 11 hits‚ four by Leon Culberson. The Yanks like what they see in Culberson‚ acquiring the first baseman on May 13th‚ but he will never play another game in the majors.
1946: The Yankees open at home on Good Friday‚ a perceived conflict that is vociferously protested by the New York chapter of the Catholic War Veterans. Because of their objections, Mayor William O’Dwyer (a Dodger fan) passes up the honor of throwing out the first ball. A WW II Medal of Honor winner substitutes‚ and Joe Page and the Yanks beat Washington‚ 7-6.
Today also marks the first public unveiling of the Stadium’s new lights (though the House That Ruth Built will not see its first night game until next month) as well as the switching of the home team’s dugout from the third- to the first-base side, and a corresponding change for the visitors’.
1928: The Yankees are out of first place for the first time since May 1926 when they lose‚ 7-6‚ the morning Patriots’ Day game in Boston. Boston have just one hit in 5 innings off Al Sheeley but the Sox overcome a 6-0 deficit to win. Pat Collins homers for the Sox‚ with Slim Harriss picking up the relief win over Cy Moore. Behind Herb Pennock‚ New York take the nitecap‚ 7-2‚ in a game rained out after 6 innings.
Hooks Wiltse is the losing pitcher, Ken Williams and Babe Ruth exchanging homers.
1919: In the annual Patriots’ Day twinbill in Boston, new Red Sox pitcher Joe Bush debuts with a 2-1 four-hit win over the Yankees’ saliva slinger Allan Russell in the a.m. game. The Red Sox (5-0) complete the sweep in the afternoon with a 9-5 win behind Babe Ruth’s pitching. Ruth further contributes a single and a long sacrifice fly to right that scores Everett Scott from second after the Frank Gilhooley catch. The Yankees help with six errors in the game, three by Del Pratt (below), who offsets them with four hits.
The red-letter days ~
1929: At the Stadium, the Yankees take the field with uniform numbers for the first time. The numbers are assigned according to the player’s spot in the batting order: Combs‚ 1; Koenig‚ 2; Ruth‚ 3; Gehrig‚ 4; Meusel‚ 5; Lazzeri 6; Durocher 7; Grabowski‚ 8.
After two cancellations of their season start, the Yankees open against the Red Sox before 40‚000 at the Stadium‚ winning 7-3. Judge Landis presents diamond-studded watches to the New York players in honour of their championship season in 1928. New York starter George Pipgras allows just 3 hits in 5 1/3 innings‚ but walks 9. Reliever Fred Heimach then pitches hitless ball to preserve the win. In his first at bat against Boston’s Red Ruffing‚ the newly wed Babe Ruth hits a homer and as he rounds 2nd base‚ he doffs his cap to his bride Claire in the stands. Gehrig adds a round tripper in the 6th‚ off Milt Gaston. The win goes to George Pipgras (# 14)‚ with Fred Heimach (#17) picking up the save.
1923: On a balmy spring day‚ the debut of Yankee Stadium I is a huge success, with an announced attendance of 74‚217. Another 25‚000 are turned away. Police arrest two scalpers: one man for trying to sell a $1.10 grandstand ticket for $1.25‚ while another tries to get $1.50. Governor Al Smith throws out the first ball. Bob Shawkey‚ aided by Babe Ruth’s 3-run homer (the venue’s first) in the 3rd inning‚ beats Howard Ehmke and the Red Sox 4-1. Ruth also makes the Stadium’s first error. Shawkey allows 3 hits‚ including an RBI triple in the 7th by former Yank Norm McMillan.
On other 18ths of April…
2010: The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 at the Stadium behind the four-hit, eight-inning pitching of Andy Pettitte and home runs by Mark Teixera and Jorge Posada. Recovering from a bout with cancer, longtime Yankee trainer Gene Monahan throws out the first pitch.
2009: Getting the ball against Cleveland at the new Stadium, Chien-Ming Wang’s problems with injuries and shoulder weakness become apparent from the start of the second inning, and rather than stretch an already spent bullpen, Joe Girardi replaces him him eight runs into the frame with newly promoted (that very day) Anthony Claggett. Somehow surviving the 14-run inning, the rookie right-hander will eventually be charged with eight runs of his own, and the home team fall 22-4.
2005: The Yankees score an AL record-tying (for the inning) 13 runs in the 2nd frame on their way to a 19-8 thrashing of the Devil Rays. Alex Rodriguez leads the 20-hit barrage with 5 safeties‚ including 2 doubles and a pair of HRs‚ and 6 RBI. He scores 5 runs. Tino Martinez also drives home 6 runs for NY. The last time the Yankees scored 13 runs in an inning was in 1945; the team record of 14 in an inning was set in 1920 against the Senators.
After the game, Yankee reliever Tanyon Sturtze is placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle. Injuries will plague the hurler for the remainder of his tenure with the team.
2003: The Yankees beat the Twins‚ 11-4, as Roger Clemens goes 6 innings before giving way to the bullpen. New York starting pitchers have a combined 11-0 record‚ tying the 1990 Milwaukee Brewers for the best start by a rotation in the last 50 years.
1998: The Yankees set a team record for the longest win streak in Detroit as they win their 12th straight‚ beating the Tigers‚ 8-3. It is their 8th straight win overall and David Cone’s first of the year. Greg Keagle takes the loss. The Tigers will beat the Yanks tomorrow‚ 2-1.
1959: ’80s Yankee lefty Dennis Rasmussen is born. Happy 55th, D.R.!
1955: Mickey Mantle’s 2-run homer in the 3rd off Harry Byrd provides all the scoring Whitey Ford needs‚ as the lefty tosses a 3-hitter against the Orioles. New York top the O’s‚ 6-0.
1953: Harry Niles, starting second baseman for the 1908 Highlanders (the first of four Yankee teams to finish in last place, and the first to lose 100 or more games), dies at the age of 72.
1951: Southpaw Eddie Lopat 2-hits the Red Sox‚ as the Yankees win, 6-1.
1950: At Fenway‚ Happy Chandler gives Ted Williams his MVP Award‚ and then Governor Paul Dever tosses out the first ball. To the delight of 31‚822 fans‚ Boston rip Yankee starter Allie Reynolds with a five-run 4th inning to drive the Chief from the game and take a 9-0 lead. But the Yanks answer with four in the 6th off Mel Parnell and then‚ down 10-4‚ New York unload for nine runs in the 8th. Billy Martin (2-for-2) becomes the first player in history to get two base hits in one inning in his major league debut. He doubles against Mel Parnell on his first at bat in the 8th‚ and singles off Al Papai. Walt Masterson gives up Tommy Henrich’s 2nd triple of the game before giving way to four more Sox hurlers. Boo Ferriss‚ pitching in his last game‚ allows the last two runs in the 9th inning as the Yanks chalk up a 15-10 win. The game marks the biggest lead the Sox have ever blown at Fenway to date (on June 4‚ 1989‚ they’ll blow a 10-run lead at home). Joe DiMaggio‚ Yogi Berra‚ Vern Stephens‚ and Bobby Doerr each have three hits. Don Johnson is the winner‚ his last one for New York‚ with Joe Page pitching a perfect 8th and 9th in relief.
1948: Yankee Stadium I accommodates its largest crowd ever for an exhibition game, as 62,369 fans watch the Dodgers edge the home side 5-3.
1944: At Fenway Park‚ Hank Borowy of the Yankees shuts out the Red Sox 3-0 on five hits‚ as New York’s Johnny Lindell hits the first home run of 1944‚ an opposite field shot in the 2nd inning. Lance ‘Yank’ Terry allows 7 hits in 7 innings to take the loss for Boston.
1938: At Fenway Park‚ Boston’s Jim Bagby‚ Jr. becomes the 7th pitcher this century to make his ML debut as an Opening Day starter.
Bagby gives up 4 runs to the Yankees in 6 innings of work‚ leaving with a 4-2 deficit. But in the bottom of the 6th‚ the Sox pound Red Ruffing and reliever Joe Vance for six runs‚ all charged to Red‚ to win‚ 8-4. Bagby is given the win‚ with Ruffing the loser. Archie McKain pitches the last 3 innings allowing just one Yankee hit. Ben Chapman has the game’s only homer in the 2nd inning.
1909: In an exhibition game between the New York Highlanders and the Jersey City Skeeters‚ the 2 teams are concerned about violating the Sunday ‘Blue Laws’. Worried about arrests‚ the Jersey management pass out cards to spectators asking them to keep quiet.
1951: Mickey Mantle makes his Yankee debut. Bob Sheppard also makes his debut as the public address announcer at the Stadium, and will not miss an opener at the venue until 2006.
Rain had cancelled yesterday’s presidential opener in Washington‚ washing out the debut of rookie Tom Morgan. Morgan would have been the first Yankee rookie ever to start an opener. Clad in an army uniform‚ Whitey Ford tosses out the first pitch today at the Stadium‚ and Vic Raschi scatters six singles to shut out the Red Sox‚ 5-0. Bill Wight gives up all the Yankee runs‚ including a two-run homer to Jackie Jensen in the 3rd inning. Mantle‚ playing his first regular season game, before a crowd of 44‚860‚ has one hit and scores a run.
On other 17ths of April:
2010: The Yanks jumped on Texas right-hander Scott Feldman for seven early runs, and hold on to beat the visitors 7-3 despite an 8th inning Nelson Cruz home run off Alfredo Aceves. Jorge Posada’s 3rd inning eighth-inning leadoff single to spark a four-run rally climaxed by a Derek HJeter home run is the 1,500th hit of the Yankee catcher’s career. Also, Robinson Cano has his Major League record hitting streak of 27 straight games in April snapped.
2009: The Yankees win their first game in the new Stadium with a 6-5 come from behind win over the Indians. After Joba Chamberlain fails to get out of the 5th, Brian Bruney gets the win with a scoreless 7th. Derek Jeter contributes the go-ahead run in the bottom of the frame with a solo homer. As is his occasional wont, Mariano Rivera does things the hard way in the 9th, giving up two consecutive singles, but then bears down to strike out the final two Tribe batters.
1965: In Kansas City‚ the Yanks top the A’s‚ 5-2‚ with all of New York’s scoring coming via home runs. With NY ahead‚ 2-1‚ in the 8th‚ Roger Maris walks and Mickey Mantle follows with his 1st homer of the year.
1961: At the Stadium‚ 1‚947 fans brave a freezing rain to watch Whitey Ford shut out Kansas City‚ 3-0. Mickey Mantle drives in all 3 Yankee runs‚ including a solo shot off Jerry Walker in the first inning.
1957: At the Stadium‚ Mickey Mantle leads New York to a 3-1 win over the Red Sox. Mantle hits his first homer of the year‚ off Tom Brewer. Then when Pete Daley lines a ball off the wall in left center‚ Mantle plays the carom perfectly and throws the runner out at second.
1956: President Eisenhower throws out the first ball in Washington - actually two balls‚ both replicas of Spalding’s 1876 ball – and the Yanks and Senators each hit 3 home runs, the only time this has happened on Opening Day. Hitting from the left side, Mickey Mantle has 2 tape measure blasts of over 500 feet to dead center off Camilo Pascual‚ as the Yanks win easily 10-4. Yogi Berra goes 4-for-4 with a double and homer and 5 RBIs to ease the way for winner Don Larsen. Pascual takes the loss. Karl Olson has two homers for Washington (the only time in history a Senator went deep twice on opening day)‚ and rookie Dick Tettelbach hits another‚ his only major league round tripper. All but Mantle take advantage of the new shortened dimensions of Griffith Stadium. For the third consecutive opener‚ President Dwight D. Eisenhower throws out the first ball and stays a full 9 innings.
1945: Steady rain holds the crowd at Yankee Stadium to 13‚923 as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia throws out the first ball for the Opener against the Red Sox.
The Yanks’ lone score until the 7th inning is a homer by rookie Russ Derry in the 3rd off Rex Cecil. Meanwhile the Red Sox jump on Atley Donald for three runs in the 1st inning and another in the 7th on Ben Steiner’s solo homer. But helped by four Boston errors‚ and another homer by Russ Derry – this one a grand slam‚ New York push across seven runs in the 7th frame to finish the scoring at 8-4. Sox first baseman George Metkovich makes a ML record 3 errors in the inning on a missed tag‚ an errant throw‚ and a fumble. Forty-one-year old Jim Turner pitches the last two innings for New York.
1936: Lefty Grove and the Red Sox roll over the Yankees in the pinstripers’ home opener‚ 8-0. A shivering crowd of 22‚256 are on hand for the debacle. Grove pitches a masterful 2-hitter‚ with a pair of Lou Gehrig singles as the only safeties for the home side.
1934: At Shibe Park‚ a crowd of fewer than 10‚000 watch the A’s open against the Yankees. New York score first with two runs in the 5th inning off starter Merritt ‘Sugar’ Cain. The A’s take the lead in the 6th on Eric McNair’s two-run homer off Lefty Gomez into the upper deck in left‚ but the Yankees pull ahead 5-3 in the 8th. The A’s answer with one in the 8th‚ another in the 9th‚ and then‚ with two outs‚ a pinch single by Bing Miller provides the winning run. Rookie Joe Cascarella‚ a native Philadelphian‚ is the winner‚ while Harry Smythe is the losing pitcher.
Meanwhile, at the rebuilt Fenway Park‚ the Red Sox unveil the Green Monster‚ the 18-foot concrete wall that replaces “Duffy’s Cliff‚” the 10-foot-incline named after early Boston star Hugh Duffy. Gone are the wooden bleachers and wooden fences‚ and a warning track is in place for the outfielders. (Editor’s note – this is important in Yankee history because it gave Bucky Dent something to hit a home run over!)
1929: Babe Ruth and actress Claire Hodgson are married at 5 A.M. to avoid crowds. The Yankee home opener with the Red Sox is again rained out so the wedding party continues uninterrupted. It is the Bambino’s second marriage.
1927: At the Stadium, Lou Gehrig has 2 homers and a single to drive in 6 runs as the Yankees roll over the Red Sox‚ 14-2. Jack Tobin homers off winner Waite Hoyt.
1925: With the newspaper headlines continuing to blare ‘The bellyache heard round the world’‚ Babe Ruth undergoes surgery for an intestinal abscess.
1915: In a 9-1 Yankee win over Philadelphia‚ Fritz Maisel steals second, third, and home‚ though not in the same inning.
The Cleveland Indians will spoil the party, however, by administering a 10-2 drubbing to the hosts, including a 9-run 7th inning after the departure of C.C. Sabathia. Cliff Lee, who will return in another uniform to bedevil the Yanks in the World Series, gets the win, while
Damaso Marte takes the loss for the Bombers.
1984: Future blogger & podcaster, fervent Yankee fan, oil industry titan, graduate student and all-around goddess Hiba Thamer (@GoGetMyCoffee on Twitter) is born in the Bronx.
It’s always a comfort to know that she’s out there sharing with me the late-night airwaves that are the life of the displaced Yankee fan…
Happy birthday, Hibs!
1967: The Yankees play the longest regular season game in their history. At the Stadium, the Yanks and the Red Sox struggle for 18 innings before New York wins it‚ 7-6‚ in a game that lasts 5 hours and 50 minutes. Carl Yastrzemski and Tony Conigliaro each have 5 hits for the Sox‚ but it is Joe Pepitone’s two-out single that beats Lee Stange. Al Downing is the winner.
On other 16ths of April…
2010: Boone Logan is recalled from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
2009: Newly injured right fielder Xavier Nady is placed on the 15-Day disabled list retroactive to April 15, with right elbow pain that will not effectively subside. To fill the opening on the roster, David Robertson is recalled from AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, marking the beginning of a season when the young reliever moves from the lower reaches of the depth chart to the eventual status of reliable postseason performer.
2004: The Bombers get off to a rough start at Fenway, making two 1st inning errors to match the equally dubious pitching of Javier Vazquez, who gives up homers in the frame, to Bill Mueller and Manny Ramirez. Quickly up 4-0, the Red Sox roll to a 6-2 win.
1982: At Detroit‚ the Yankees Roy Smalley makes all three outs – in the 3rd inning as the Bombers score 5 times.
Smalley strikes out to start the frame‚ and ends it by lining into a double play. Ron Guidry coasts to his first win of the year‚ 10-2.
1977: Sparky Lyle will have a 13-5, 26-save Cy Young Award-winning season this year, but today is not one of his better days, as the reliever gives up a two-run game tying HR to Cecil Cooper at Milwaukee. A subsequent triple by Sal Bando and a walkoff single by Steve Brye put the game in the win column for the Brewers.
1972: With a rainout yesterday‚ the Orioles and Yankees decide to open the season in Baltimore with a doubleheader. But rain wipes out the nitecap and the O’s win the rain-shortened opener before just 11‚995 fans‚ 3-1. There is one out in the bottom of the 7th when the game is called. The O’s score an unearned run in the 2nd and Brooks Robinson knocks in two more to back Pat Dobson’s pitching. After a long rain delay‚ Doyle Alexander pitched the 7th for the O’s.
1964: At the Stadium‚ Whitey Ford pitches 11 innings in losing to the Red Sox‚ 4-3. Bob Tillman‚ with three singles‚ triples in the 11th‚ and pinch runner Roman Mejias scores on wild pitch. Mickey Heffner pitches the bottom of the 11th‚ with Dick Radatz getting the win.
1962: The Yankees release Robin Roberts‚ signed in the off-season. The Orioles will sign the veteran on May 21st.
1957: At the Stadium‚ Andy Carey’s bases-loaded fly ball single in the 9th gives the Yankees a 2-1 win over the Senators‚ as Whitey Ford bests Chuck Stobbs. Yogi Berra accounts for the other Yankee run with a 7th inning homer. The 0-2 Senators will lose 16 of their next 20.
1946: At Shibe Park‚ Spud Chandler‚ 38‚ allows just 5 hits as the Yankees beat the A’s‚ 5-0.
Chandler spent most of 1944-45 in the Army and appeared in just 5 games in two years. Joe DiMaggio has a two-run homer and Tommy Henrich a two-run double to pace the offense. A’s starter Russ Christopher allows all the runs in his six innings of work.
1945: Former Yankee bench player Chick Fewster dies at the age of 49. After being traded to the Red Sox, Fewster also got the first hit in Yankee Stadium history, a single on the ballpark’s inaugural day of April 18, 1923.
1944: Jack Hand of the Associated Press names the Yankees as the favourite to win the AL pennant. Like most observers‚ he picks the St. Louis Browns to finish last.
1940: Before 20‚187 at Shibe Park‚ Chubby Dean outlasts Red Ruffing as the A’s defeat the defending champion Yankees‚ 2-1‚ in ten innings.
It is Dean’s first complete game in the majors. New York’s only run is unearned in the 3rd inning‚ but the A’s tie it up on a Bob Johnson solo homer. Chubby Dean’s long sac fly in the 10th off Ruffing drives in the winning run.
1937: Joe DiMaggio‚ who has suffered from a lame throwing arm recently‚ has his tonsils and adenoids removed at Lenox Hill hospital. He will miss his second straight Opener.
1935: The Yankees open at the Stadium‚ losing 1-0‚ to the Red Sox. New York get just two hits off winning pitcher Wes Ferrell‚ but also make two throwing errors in the 6th inning‚ one by pitcher Lefty Gomez‚ to allow Bill Werber to score the game’s only run.
Before going on to the Yankees, let fans of every team in baseball take a moment to remember Jackie Robinson, who made his Major League debut on this day in 1947. Until his retirement t the end of last year, Mariano Rivera was the only player in the majors still wearing Jackie’s old no. 42.
…and now… the red-letter day -
1976: Newly remodeled Yankee Stadium is jammed with 52‚613 fans for Opening Day. The 1923 Yankee team are honored‚ and Bob Shawkey‚ winner of the ’23 Stadium opener‚ throws out the first ball. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and the widows of Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth also take part in pre-game ceremonies at the Stadium, which had been closed for the 1974 and ’75 seasons. The Yankees beat the Twins 11-4 on 14 hits‚ but the only home run is hit by Minnesota’s Dan Ford.
On other 15ths of April…
2011: Matt Harrison is helped by some clutch defense as the Rangers defeat the Yankees, 5 – 3, in New York. Harrison’s teammates tie an American League record by turning six double plays behind him, to move his record to 3-0 on the year; the pitcher starts two of the twin killings himself.
2010: Curtis Granderson triples in back-to-back innings in a 6-2 victory at the Stadium over t the Angels. Robninson Cano goes him one better, homering twice..Phil Hughes puts in 5 strong innings five for the win, Derek Jeter goes long, and has two base hits as well, while Marcus Thames makes himself known with two hits in the DH spot. The game is the fifth multi-triple affair in Granderson’s career.
2007: A regrettably familiar refrain sounds, as Carl Pavano is placed on the 15-day disabled list. Fellow righty starter Mike Mussina is also sidelined with hamstring miseries, so Chris Britton is recalled from AAA Scranton to (hopefully) take some of the unfilled innings.
1998: The first-ever interleague doubleheader ends up a good day for New York. The Yankees were forced to come to Shea Stadium after a beam fell into the stands at the Stadium on April 13. The Yanks earn their first victory in Queens in 22 years as they defeat the Angels 6-3. Former Mets star Darryl Strawberry, the all-time home run leader at Shea, adds to his total with a shot into the left field bleachers. In the regularly-scheduled night game, the Mets beat the Cubs 2-1. The Yankees, who played at Shea in 1974-75 while Yankee Stadium was renovated, drew a crowd of 40,743, a dramatic contrast to the gathering of 16,012 who showed up for the Mets game at night.
1980: The White Sox edge the Yankees‚ 4-3‚ in 14 innings‚ scoring the unearned run off Jim Kaat.
ich Wortham is the winner with 4.2 innings of work. The 2 teams strand 25 base runners.
1961: Nick Cullop, who posted an 18-15 record in 40 starts with the 1916-17 Yankees, dies at the age of 73.
1958: In the opener at Fenway Park‚ 35‚223 – the largest crowd ever for a Red Sox season inaugural – watch Don Larsen and the Yankees win‚ 3-0. Governor Foster Furcolo tosses out the first ball. Yogi Berra’s two run homer in the 7th is the first score for New York off Russ Nixon‚ and the catcher’s 4th successive opening day homer. This one is a 302-foot drive down the right field foul line.
1954: In a ceremony at the Stadium before the home opener with the Philadelphia A’s, the Yankees dedicated a plaque to former GM Ed Barrow, who was elected to the Hall of Fame the previous year. The former Red Sox field manager (who piloted the team to its last Word Series title in the 20th century) was responsible for the switch of Babe Ruth from the mound to everyday service in the outfield, raided his former club for stars like Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock, and was in the Yankee front office for the organization’s first 10 title seasons.
In the game that follows, Tom Morgan blanks the visitors 3-0.
1952: At Shibe Park‚ Hank Bauer and Mickey Mantle lead a 14-hit attack against Alex Kellner and Carl Scheib as the Yankees beat the A’s‚ 8-1. Vic Raschi allows two hits in 8 innings and wins his 2nd opener in a row. Bauer has two hits and a homer‚ while Mantle collects three hits‚ two RBIs‚ and a stolen base.
1947: With yesterday’s opener in Washington rained out‚ the A’s open at Yankee Stadium before 39‚344. Under new manager Bucky Harris (below)‚ the Yanks manage just six hits off Phil Marchildon as the A’s win‚ 6-1. Eddie Joost and Elmer Valo pull off a double steal in the 5th when the A’s increase their lead to 3-0. Joost scores on the swipe of home. Former A’s vet George McQuillan‚ playing at first for Nick Etten‚ scores New York’s only run. Spud Chandler takes the loss.
1942: Following a training accident at Jefferson Barracks‚ Missouri‚ Johnny Sturm has two fingers on his right hand amputated‚ an operation that finishes his baseball career. Sturm‚ who started at first base for the Yanks in 1941, his rookie year‚ hit .239 with 4 homers
1938: The Yankees sell outfielder Ernie Koy to the Dodgers.
1930: Weather curtails the AL Opening Day schedule‚ but at Shibe Park the matchup between the A’s and the Yankees features nine future Hall of Famers in the lineups‚ and three more – Herb Pennock‚ Waite Hoyt and Lefty Gomez – on the New York bench.
Minutes before the game‚ Al Simmons ends his holdout‚ signs a contract‚ and homers in his first at bat as the A’s and Lefty Grove defeat the Yankees’ George Pipgras 6-2. Babe Ruth’s clout in the 3rd inning strikes a loudspeaker in deep right center and bounds back onto the field. The tree of amplifiers juts about 5 feet over the playing field and the umps rule it a ground rule double. The Yankees argue that it should be a two-run homer‚ but to no avail‚ though both Mark Koenig and Ruth score when Grove is slow covering first and Jimmie Foxx’s throw misses him.
1928: In Baltimore‚ the Yankees beat the International League Orioles 5-2. Babe Ruth plays first base‚ while Lou Gehrig‚ in right field‚
bangs a homer. Bill Dickey also homers off former Brownie Bob Bolen.
1927: Babe Ruth belts the first of the 60 homers that he will hit this year‚ off Howard Ehmke in the 1st. New York notch a 6-3 victory over the visiting Athletics, Herb Pennock going the distance for the win.
1924: The opener at Fenway Park draws 25‚000 (23‚856 paid) but the Red Sox lose a heartbreaker to the Yankees‚ 2-1. The Sox lead 1-0 after 8 innings‚ with Howard Ehmke driving in the lone run. But two 9th-inning errors by second sacker Bill Wambsganss allow two unearned runs and pin the loss on Ehmke. Bob Shawkey pitches 8 innings and is replaced by Waite Hoyt‚ who registers the win.
1920: The Yanks rally for 4 runs in the last 3 innings to top the A’s‚ 4-1. Jack Quinn gets the win for the visiting New Yorkers, as Babe Ruth goes hitless in 5 at bats.
1918: In the opener in Washington‚ pre-game ceremonies include a biplane scattering thousands of liberty loan cards for the war effort. The Yankees‚ under new manager Miller Huggins‚ rap 11 hits to beat Walter Johnson‚ 6-3. Starter George Mogridge gets the win despite pitching just 3 1/3 innings. Allan Russell relieves and allows just one hit in 5 1/3 innings to save the victory. Johnson strikes out two while allowing 11 hits and will lose again in the 3-game series with New York.
1912: At Hilltop Park, Walter Johnson outduels Highlander ace Jack Quinn for a 1-0 victory.
1886: Len ‘King’ Cole, who was on the mound when Yankee catcher Les Nunamaker became the only catcher in MLB history to throw out three runners on the basepaths in the same inning, in 1914, is born.
The red-letter days:
1955: Elston Howard becomes the first black player to wear the Yankee uniform in a regular season game. He singles in his first at bat‚ against the Red Sox at Fenway‚ as the visitors lose‚ 8-4.
1933: At the Stadium‚ Yankee pitcher Red Ruffing breaks a 2-2 tie with the Red Sox by belting a game-ending grand slam in the 9th inning. It is the first walk-off grand slam in modern major league history (the one previous 9th inning grand slam winner- by Jack Stivett on June 10‚ 1890 – occurred in the top of the inning‚ even though his team was playing at home).
1920: Babe Ruth makes his Yankee debut.
At Shibe Park‚ the Babe laces two hits‚ but drops an easy fly in center that allows two runs to score in the 8th. Scott Perry of the A’s is the beneficiary of Babe’s error‚ winning 3-1 over Bob Shawkey. Each allows 7 hits‚ one homer‚ and a walk. Wally Pipp hits a homer for New York‚ while Cy Perkins connects for the A’s. New York leave its ace pitcher Carl Mays back in New York‚ since there is still a warrant out for his arrest in Philly.
On other 14ths of April…
2011: At a news conference in which he announces that pitcher Pedro Feliciano is lost for the season because of impending shoulder surgery, Yankees GM Brian Cashman lashes out at former manager Joe Torre for his handling of pitchers. He blames Torre for chronically overusing relievers such as Scott Proctor, thereby ruining their careers. Feliciano led the NL in games pitched three consecutive years while with the Mets prior to joining the Yankees, although Torre had nothing to do with that.
2008: Alex Rodriguez moves up to a tie for 15th on the all-time Major League home run leader list, drawing even with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey. A-Rod hits his 521st career homer as part of a 4-for-5 day; Andy Sonnanstine allows the shot. The Yankees top the Rays 8 – 7.
2004: The Yankees defeat the Devil Rays‚ 5-1‚ as Kevin Brown wins the 200th game of his ML career. Together with Mike Mussina‚ they become the first teammates to reach the milestone in the same season‚ doing so in consecutive games.
2000: Ricky Ledee is the man of the match, doubling twice, walking three times, scoring two runs and knocking one in. Roger Clemens survives the 7-5 win over the Royals, while Jorge Posada gets the Yanks going with a two-run blast in the 2nd inning.
1999: The Yankees defeat the Orioles‚ 14-7‚ as Chuck Knoblauch gets 5 hits‚ including his 1st homer of the year‚ for the winners.
Off the field, Darryl Strawberry is arrested in Tampa on charges of soliciting a prostitute and possession of cocaine. Strawberry has been at the Yankees’ extended training camp while he works himself back into shape following colon cancer surgery last October 3.
1978: Former Yankee second baseman Joe Gordon dies at age 63. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2008.
1974: Graig Nettles blasts 4 homers – 2 in each game – during a doubleheader split with his former team‚ the Indians. The Yanks win 9-5‚ then lose 9-6. Bobby Murcer has a homer in each game while Dave Duncan swats a pair in game two. Nettles will go on to tie the MLB record with 11 dingers in the month of April.
1968: New York suffers a 4-3 loss to Minnesota and lose Joe Pepitone, who fractures his left elbow running into an outfield wall.
1967: At the Stadium‚ Red Sox rookie Bill Rohr makes his major league debut, and startles everyone by taking a no-hitter into the 9th inning. But Elston Howard lines a 3-2 pitch for a single to right-center with two outs. Carl Yastrzemski had kept the no-hitter alive with a spectacular grab of a Tom Tresh drive to deep left to open the frame. The Red Sox win 3-0‚ beating Whitey Ford‚ who allows a lead off homer to Reggie Smith and a two-run homer to Joe Foy.
1966: David Justice, outfielder/DH for the 2000-01 Yankees, is born, Happy 48th, DJ!
1947: The Yankees release two veterans‚ relief ace Johnny Murphy and first baseman Nick Etten. Murphy will be signed by the Red Sox while Etten‚ the AL home run leader in 1944 and RBI leader in 1945‚ will catch on briefly with the Phillies.
1942: In D.C., Vice President Henry Wallace fills in for FDR and tosses out the first ball. Then Red Ruffing makes his 5th and final Opening Day start for the Yankees‚ holding the Senators to 3 singles as the Yanks win‚ 7-0. The Yankees tally 3 runs in the 2nd inning off the Senators young righty Sid Hudson for all the scoring they need. For Ruffing‚ it is his 245th career victory‚ tying him with Ted Lyons for most wins by an active pitcher. Helping to keep order at the park are 80 auxiliary police from DC’s 13th precinct- ’40 whites and 40 negroes’ as reported by the Washington Post.
1941: With the only game scheduled in sweltering Washington‚ writers for The Sporting News are picking Cincinnati to repeat in the NL race and Cleveland to win the AL pennant. FDR tosses out the first ball‚ and then the Yankees score single runs in the 1st‚ 4th‚ and 5th innings off Dutch Leonard to win‚ 3-0.
Mario Russo allows three hits and drives in a run with a double to win. Phil Rizzuto‚ like Russo a graduate of New York’s Richmond Hills High School‚ is hitless in his debut‚ but fields flawlessly.
1937: Judge Landis declares minor leaguer Tommy Henrich a free agent‚ voiding his Cleveland contract.
This is another of the cover-up situations Landis hated‚ and the balance of the scale for letting Cleveland keep Bob Feller. In 4 days‚ Henrich will sign with the Yankees for $25‚000.
1936: At Griffith Stadium‚ Vice-President James Garner makes the march to the flagpole for the President.
Then, to a standing ovation from 31‚000, FDR tosses out the first ball (but misses the catcher emtirely) in the Senators opener against the Yankees. Nats starter Bobo Newsom pitches a masterful game‚ surviving a 5th inning beaning when he is hit by a throw to first by third baseman Ossie Bluege‚ to shut out the Yankees 1-0 on 4 hits. Lefty Gomez loses his second straight 1-0 Opener. The President stays till the final out‚ munching peanuts and keeping his own scorecard.
1931: Under new managers ~ Shano Collins for Boston‚ and Joe McCarthy for New York ~ the Yankees open at the Stadium with a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox.
Red Ruffing gives up a leadoff triple and a run in the first‚ but the Yankees respond with two runs in the 2nd off Wilcy Moore. New York’s last score is a 7th-inning solo shot by Babe Ruth‚ off reliever Ed Durham. Boston threaten in the 8th‚ getting a two-run pinch homer from Tom Winsett in his first major league at bat. Winsett is the first player to take advantage of the new fair/foul rule
regarding HRs. He hits a ball that curves foul after leaving the playing field‚ but in the judgment of the umps was a fair ball at the
time it left the field. After the next two batters get on‚ Red Ruffing induces Earl Webb to ground into a 3rd out.
1925: With Ben Paschal filling in for the ailing Babe Ruth in right‚ the Yankees defeat the Senators 5-1 before 45‚000 at the Stadium. Paschal fills the Babe’s shoes by contributing a two-run homer and an RBI single. Urban Shocker (below)‚ back with New York after 7 years‚ is the starter and winner for New York. Because of the cold weather‚ the Nats go with George Mogridge‚ instead of Walter Johnson‚ and he allows 9 hits in 7 innings while taking the loss.
1915: With government offices closed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination‚ many federal employees, including President Woodrow Wilson‚ are among the 15‚556 fans on hand for the Washington Opener against the Yankees. Wilson throws out the first ball and the rest is all Walter Johnson‚ who allows just two singles and issues three walks‚ all to Andy High. High adds two steals. The Senators score 7 runs against Yankee starter Jack Warhop to coast to a shutout win.
1914: Before 22‚000 at the Polo Grounds‚ the Yankees rock the World Champion Athletics‚ 8-2‚ driving Joe Bush from the mound after two innings. With only one starter‚ Roy Hartzell‚ back from last year’s opening lineup‚ New York score 4 in the first and would have scored another in the second but for Jeff Sweeney falling as he rounds third base. When the burly catcher is helped to his feet by coach and manager Frank Chance‚ he is declared out by Billy Evans: a new rule prohibits coaches from helping runners. Sweeney redeems himself when he and pitcher Marty McHale pull off a double steal. New York have seven steals‚ including two by Sweeney and Fritz Maisel‚ who steals second and third in the 4th inning. Maisel will swipe 74 bases on the year (which will stand as the club season record until Rickey Henderson)‚ while Sweeney will pick up 19‚ still tops for Yankee catchers.
1910: In the season opener before 25‚000 at New York’s Hilltop Park‚ the Red Sox‚ sport laced collars (they are the last major league team to wear collars of any kind). Boston send the Highlanders into extra innings before the game is called at the end of the fourteenth with the score knotted at 4. Ed Cicotte starts for Boston‚ with Joe Wood relieving in the 8th inning. Jumbo Jim Vaughn goes all the way for New York‚ retiring the side in the 4th and 12th innings on four pitches each. He needs just three in the 10th.
1908: At Hilltop Park‚ Slow Joe Doyle scatters four hits in edging the A’s‚ 1-0 in 12 innings. The first hit is by A’s left fielder Topsy Hartsell‚ who has his nose broken by an errant pitch during pre-game warmups. Nick Carter‚ making his major-league debut‚ matches Doyle for 11 innings‚ but in the 12th‚ a ground rule double into the crowd and a single put runners at the corners. A line drive to right fielder Jack Coombs then scores Red Kleinow with the winner.
1906: At Hilltop Park‚ former player John Montgomery Ward (below) throws out the first ball before the start of the Highlanders-Boston Americans opener. Veterans Jack Chesbro and Cy Young struggle to a 1-1 standoff through eleven innings before New York push across an unearned run in the 12th.
1904: At chilly Hilltop Park‚ each spectator is given a small American flag as (s)he enters the park for the Highlanders-Boston game. Ex-Judge Olcott tosses out the first ball and then Jack Chesbro (below) pitches and bats New York to an 8-2 victory. He scatters six hits and scores two runs on two hits‚ including a home run. Both Boston runs come on inside the park homers‚ by Buck Freeman in the 7th‚ and in the 9th by Freddie Parent. New York score 5 in the first inning off Cy Young to put the game away.