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…
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 49th 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.
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
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.
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.
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 Steinbrenner
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 distanceâ 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
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
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 Yankees 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 Boston Red Sox play the first game in the history of Fenway
Park. The Red Sox open up with an 11-inning, 7-6 victory over the New
On the 19th of April over the years…
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: 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.
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‚ President Harry Truman tosses out the first
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
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
Hooks Wiltse is the losing pitcher, Ken Williams and Babe Ruth
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, who offsets them with four hits.
The red-letter days –
1929: The Yankees take the field with uniform numbers for the first
time. The numbers are assigned according to the player’s spot in the
lineup: 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
honor 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
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…
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.
2003: The Yankees beat the Twins‚ 11-4. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
1953: In the Yankees’ 7-3 win over the Senators at Griffith Stadium‚
Mickey Mantle clouts what is recognized by the Guinness Book of World
Records as the longest home run in MLB history‚ a 565-foot shot off
lefty Chuck Stobbs. The 5th inning blow‚ with Yogi Berra on first‚
clears the stadium in left center‚ just ticking off the huge Ballantine
scoreboard standing 60 feet higher than the grand stand bleachers. The
ball lands in the backyard of Perry Cool‚ whose house is a block away
from the ball park. The Mick adds a stolen base to his day’s total.
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:
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
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
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 less than 10‚000 watch the A’s open
against the Yankees. New York score first with two runs in the 5th
inning off starter 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
1927: At New York‚ 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
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, fervent Yankee fan, oil industry titan, and all-around goddess Hiba Thamer is born in the Bronx.
Read about her progression to the ultimate stage of Yankee fandom in her own inimitable style at http://prettyinpinstripes.mlblogs.com/archives/2010/03/celebrating-a-yankee-mommy.html (which also serves as a good general introduction to her blog – read it daily, as I do!)
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…
1982: At Detroit‚ the Yankees Roy Smalley makes the first and last outs
– 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
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 vet Robin Roberts‚ signed in the off-season. Orioles will sign Roberts 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
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.
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
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.
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 HR is hit by Minnesota’s Dan Ford.
On other 15ths of April…
1998: The first-ever American League-National League 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.
Rich Wortham is the winner with 4.2 innings
of work. The 2 teams strand 25 base runners.
1958: In the opener at Fenway Park‚ 35‚223 – the largest crowd ever for
a Red Sox opener – 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.
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‚ 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
1912: At Hilltop Park, Walter Johnson outduels Highlander ace Jack Quinn for a 1-0 victory.
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.
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
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
1998: A steel joint weighing several hundred pounds falls through a
roof panel at Yankee Stadium‚ destroying a seat located between third base and home plate. Luckily‚ the Yankees are scheduled to play a night
game‚ and no fans are in the stadium at the time. Emergency inspections
are scheduled‚ and the game against the Angels is canceled. The final
game of the series will be played at Shea Stadium‚ while next week’s
series against the Tigers is switched to Detroit.
1992: The Yankees (5-0) and Blue Jays (6-0)‚ meet‚ marking only the 3rd
time this century that 2 unbeaten teams had met so late in the season.
The Yanks win by a score of 5-2.
1988: Melissa ‘Phantom’ Gaisser, stalwart Yankee fan, mainstay of the 161st-and-river.com Gameday threads and all-around good egg, is born. Happy birthday, Melissa! :->
1978: The Yankees defeat the White Sox 4-2 in their home opener on
‘Reggie!’ Candy Bar Day. Jackson connects for a 3-run homer in the
first inning‚ and the field is showered with candy bars which were
given out free to the fans at the game.
1955: In their home opener‚ the Yanks rout the Senators 19-1. Winner
Whitey Ford gets 3 hits and only allows 2‚ as he knocks in 4 runs.
Mickey Mantle and Bob Cerv also drive home 4 runs.
Mantle‚ Yogi Berra‚
and Bill Skowron crack homers‚ while Cerv and Andy Carey add triples.
Mickey McDermott‚ in 3+ innings of work‚ is the loser‚ as the Yanks
register the biggest margin of victory in an opener in MLB history. The
most runs in an opener were notched by the Indians in a 21-14 win over the Browns in
1954: In the presidential opener in Washington‚ President Dwight D.
Eisenhower is thrilled by Mickey Vernon’s 10th inning 2-run game-ending
homer off Allie Reynolds which beats the Yankees 5-3. Ike skipped last
year’s opener‚ which was rained out‚ and the political hue and cry was
so great he made sure he tossed out the first ball today.
and Whitey Ford start the game‚ but the winning Nats pitcher is
reliever Sonny Dixon. Hank Bauer‚ with two singles‚ drives in all three
1941: In the final pre-season tune-up game with Brooklyn‚ the Yankees
win their third in a row at Ebbets Field‚ 3-0‚ on Sunday afternoon. The
Dodgers had come into the series with an 11-game winning streak‚
including 4 with the Yanks on the way North.
1933: Delayed a day because of a spring storm‚ the Yankees open against
the Red Sox in front of 36‚221 at the Stadium. Lou Gehrig jump-starts
the offense with a three-run homer in the first‚ off former Yank Ivy
Andrews‚ and the New Yorkers score one more in the 4th to win‚ 4-3.
Lefty Gomez is the winner‚ but as in last year’s opener‚ he needs help
getting the last out.
1928: At Philadelphia‚ the Yankees edge the Athletics‚ 8-7‚ on a double
by Babe Ruth. Lou Gehrig hits a long drive off Eddie Rommel that goes
through an open window on 20th Street. Cy Moore allows just 2 hits
through 5 innings for New York before weakening‚ but picks up the win.
Joe Hauser‚ returning to the A’s after a year in the minors‚ collects
two homers and a triple.
1926: At a frigid Fenway Park‚ the hitting is hot as the Yankees and
Red Sox combine for 29 hits in the Opener. The Yankees score 4 runs in
the 1st inning off Howard Ehmke‚ the first of six Boston hurlers. Rudy
Sommers‚ making his first ML appearance in 12 years‚ takes over for
Ehmke in the 5th. He gives up 3 runs on doubles by Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth‚ and
New York stretch their lead to 11-1. A 5-run Boston outburst in the 6th
sends New York starter Bob Shawkey to the showers‚ but New York hang on
to beat the Red Sox‚ 12-11. Ruth and Joe Dugan have three hits apiece
for New York‚ while Ira Flagstead has 4 hits for Boston. Ehmke is the
loser for Boston.
1921: In the season opener for the Yankees‚ warm weather and Babe Ruth
contribute to 37‚000 fans crowding the Polo Grounds. After New York
mayor John Hylan tosses out the first ball‚ the Yankees tear into the
A’s‚ beating them 11-1 as every New Yorker scores at least a run. The
Yanks lead is only 2-1 into the bottom of the 7th‚ but then they unload
against Scott Perry. Bob Hasty gives up the last 6 New York runs. Ruth
is 5-for-5‚ with two doubles‚ and Carl Mays collects as many hits -3-
as he allows. He has now won 11 straight over the A’s.
The red-letter day:
1927: The ‘Murderers’ Row’ Yankees open their campaign.
After Mayor Jimmy Walker tosses out the first ball in New York‚ the
biggest Opening Day crowd in Yankee Stadium history – 65‚000 – watch the
Yankees batter Philadelphia’s Lefty Grove 8-3. After four runless
innings‚ the Yanks score four in the 5th frame and four more in the
6th. In the 6th inning Ben Paschal pinch hits for Babe Ruth and singles
against Grove‚ then goes out to right field. Paschal pinch hit for Gehrig on
several occasions this year. Ruth‚ with 2 strikeouts and a pop up in 3
at bats against Grove‚ will later say he did not feel well. Waite Hoyt
goes all the way for New York‚ walking three and allowing eight hits‚
including a 9th inning pinch single by Zack Wheat‚ longtime Brooklyn
favourite. The Yankees will share or hold first place from the first
day of the race to the last, a feat unmatched in the AL until the 1984
On other 12ths of April…
1990: The Yankees open the season in New York in front of 50,114 with
Billy Martin’s son Billy jr. throwing out the first ball. The Yanks win 6-4 win
over the Indians, scoring twice in the 8th inning to break a 4-4 tie.
Luis Polonia’s hit breaks the tie and the Pinstripers score another run
on an error. Eric Plunk is the winner over Jesse Orosco. Polonia will
be rewarded for his hit by being sent to the Angels in two weeks for
1969: At Detroit‚ the Yanks’ Mel Stottlemyre allows just one hit-a 4th
inning double by Bill Northrup-in beating Denny McLain and the Tigers‚
4-0. For the 3rd time in 2 years‚ Northrup saves the Tigers from being
the victims of a no hitter.
1966: At the Stadium‚ 40‚006 fans watch the Tigers edge the Yankees‚
2-1. The Yankees only score is Joe Pepitone’s 5th inning homer off
Mickey Lolich‚ who strikes out 10 Yankees. Lolich‚ with a career
average of .075‚ leads off the 9th with a single‚ which opens the door
for the Tigers’ winning run off Whitey Ford.
1959: After two rainouts‚ the Yankees and Red Sox open at the Stadium
before 22‚559‚ as the 42°F temperature threatens a third postponement.
Bob Turley allows just two Sox hits and Norm Siebern’s 8th inning homer
provides a 3-2 New York victory. Siebern’s hit is his 3rd of the game
off Tom Brewer.
1949: Joe DiMaggio returns to Johns Hopkins hospital because of
continuing pain in his heel. A bone spur is diagnosed and he will miss
65 games this coming season.
1948: The Yankees give veteran Spud Chandler his release. Chandler won
109 games in 11 seasons as a Yank‚ the only ML team he played for. He
was 9-5 last season‚ and finishes his ML career with a winning
percentage of .717 (109-43).
1932: At Shibe Park‚ bitter cold and the Depression limit the crowd to
16‚000 for the Opener with the Yankees‚ a 12-6 slugfest won by New
York. New York rack up five home runs-two each by Babe Ruth and Sammy
Byrd‚ and another by Lou Gehrig. Gehrig adds a triple and single‚ as
the Yankees score ten runs and hit four homers off ace George Earnshaw.
Ruth clouts a three-run shot in the first that lands on a roof across
20th street and a two-run homer in the 4th that travels even farther.
The longest round-tripper of the day‚ however‚ is Jimmie Foxx’s blast
to center in the 7th. Jack Saltzgraver and the A’s Max Bishop each walk
four times and Gehrig‚ with an 11-4 lead in the 9th‚ steals home with
Ben Chapman swiping second. Al Simmons answers with a two-run homer‚
the 7th of the game‚ off Lefty Gomez. With the bases full of A’s‚ Red
Ruffing gets the last out.
1922: President Warren G. Harding throws out the first ball in
Washington‚ and the Senators beat the Yankees 6-5.
Former Yank George
Mogridge starts for the Nats against Sad Sam Jones‚ making his Yankee
debut‚ as rookie manager Clyde Milan passes over Walter Johnson as
starting pitcher. The Nats star has been ill most of the spring. Both
Babe Ruth and Bob Meusel are out of the Yankee lineup‚ suspended by the
league for barnstorming‚ and the Babe watches the game from the
presidential box. Washington outhit New York‚ 15-9‚ and comes from
behind to win in the 8th.
1916: Before 20‚000 at the Polo Grounds‚ the Yankees and Senators
battle 11 innings before the Nats push across an unearned run against
starter Ray Caldwell to win 3-2. Walter Johnson strikes out 10 and
walks none in the win. Frank Baker‚ after sitting out last season in a
salary protest‚ has two of the five hits for New York‚ while Clyde
Milan homers for Washington.
1912: At Hilltop Park‚ the Red Sox send Buck O’Brien‚ 5-1 last year
after leading the Western League in strikeouts‚ against the
Highlanders’ Russ Ford and the Sox prevail‚ 5-2 Buck allows 6 hits as
he heads towards 20 victories.
1909: At Washington‚ the Highlanders open the season under new manager
George Stallings‚ losing to the Senators‚ 4-1.
The Nationals score
three runs in the first off journeyman Doc Newton to pave the way for
Charlie Smith. Smith allows just 4 hits and strikes out 10.
The red-letter day –
1912: Playing the Red Sox in the opener at Manhattan’s Hilltop Park‚
the New York Highlanders wear pinstripes for the first time.
Boston score a run in the first against Ray Caldwell‚ and the home team
respond with two runs in the bottom against Joe Wood. That is all the
scoring until the ninth‚ when the Sox score four runs‚ including two on
a Smoky Joe single. Boston win‚ 5-3‚ on Wood’s seven hitter.
On other 11ths of April…
2006: In the Yankees home Opener, the Bronx Bombers use a 5-run 8th to
upend the Royals, 9-7. Derek Jeter’s 3-run homer is the big blow in the
frame. Jason Giambi hits a 3-run homer in the 1st to start the Yankee
scoring. Yankee Stadium public address man Bob Sheppard misses the game
due to a hip injury – it’s the first time that Sheppard has missed an
opener since he began his announcing gig in 1951, a period of 55 years
or 20,083 days.
2004: Mike Mussina records his 200th career victory as the Yankees defeat the White Sox.
1998: Andy Pettitte pitches the Yankees to a 3-1 win against the A’s‚
to put the team over the .500 mark for the first time in the season.
Pettitte earned his 1st win of the year‚ beating Tom Candiotti. Derek
Jeter has 2 hits‚ 2 runs‚ and 2 steals.
1982: At the Stadium‚ the Yankees finally open, with a 7-6 loss to
Chicago in 12 innings followed a 2-0 defeat in the nitecap. The
groundskeepers are feted because of their efforts in getting the
snow-covered field ready‚ and crew chief Walt Esposito tosses out the
first ball. Jerry Koosman and Ron Guidry are the starters but Koosman
gives up 6 runs in 5 2/3 inning and Guidry 4 runs in 4 innings to earn
showers. Goose Gossage‚ the last of 4 pitchers‚ gives up a leadoff
triple to Bill Almon in the 12th and Ron LeFlore drives him home with
one of his 3 hits on the day. Kevin Hickey wins with an inning of
1980: Mark Teixeira is born. Happy 30th, Tex!
1961: At the Stadium‚ the Yankees‚ led by new manager Ralph Houk‚ are
shut out by Minnesota’s Pedro Ramos‚ 6-0. Ramos has a two-run single
and allows just three singles in beating Whitey Ford. The Chairman of
the Board, however‚ will finish the season at 25-4.
1954: The Yanks obtain veteran Enos Slaughter in a trade with the St.
Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds, who are making room for promising rookie
outfielder Wally Moon, also give up 4 players to be named later. In
what turns out to be a good deal for both teams‚ the Cards get center
fielder Bill Virdon‚ pitcher Mel Wright, and outfielder Emil Tellinger
in return. Virdon will become the NL Rookie of the Year in 1955‚
following Wally Moon‚ and Slaughter will help the Yankees to win 103
Enos Slaughter in the 1946 World Series
1928: 25‚000 fans are on hand for the coldest Opener ever in
Philadelphia as the A’s drop an 8-3 decision to the Yankees. Starter
Herb Pennock drives in the first two New York runs against Lefty Grove
in the 2nd‚ and the Yanks score three more in the 3rd to knock Grove
out of the game. Babe Ruth has a triple and scores three runs‚ while
Bing Miller is 3-for-3 for the A’s.
1917: In pregame drills before Opening Day at the Polo Grounds‚ the
Yankees impress General Leonard Wood by marching in drills. The Sox‚
who haven’t practiced‚ decline‚ but then drill New York 10-3 in the
game. Boston break a 3-3 tie with four runs in the 7th‚ three coming
home on round tripper by Dick Hoblitzell. Tilly Walker adds a double‚
two triples and 4 RBIs for Boston‚ while Babe Ruth allows just three
hits‚ all singles‚ in beating Ray Caldwell.
General Leonard Wood
1910: Against Princeton University‚ 22-year-old Jumbo Vaughn strikes
out eight Tigers in six innings‚ and impresses Highlander George
Stallings enough that Jumbo will get the Opening Day assignment.