4/14 in Yankee History

The red-letter days:

1955: Elston Howard becomes the first black player to wear the Yankee
uniform. 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. The A’s Scott Perry 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…

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.



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 43rd, David!



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



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‚ 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.

   Urban Shocker


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 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.

          J.M. Ward

1904: At chilly Hilltop Park‚ each spectator is given a small American
flag as he enters the park for the Highlanders-Boston game. Ex-Judge
Olcott tosses out the first ball and then Jack Chesbro 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.

       Jack Chesbro


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