5/08 in Yankee History
2009: In his first game of the season after missing six weeks because of hip surgery, Alex Rodriguez hits the first pitch he sees from Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie for a three-run home run in a 4-0 Yankees win that ends a five-game losing streak. CC Sabathia pitches a four-hit shutout in his best performance since signing a free agent contract over the winter.
2003: The Yankees jump on the Mariners for 10 runs in the 3rd inning, Alfonso Soriano topping off a barrage of singles with a two-run homer, on their way to a 16-5 victory. David Wells now goes to 5-0.
1994: Jose Tartabull‚ Mike Stanley‚ and Gerald Williams go deep back-to-back-to-back for the Yankees in the 6th inning of NY’s 8-4 win over Boston.
1991: Howard Spira is found guilty of trying to extort money from George Steinbrenner. Spira had already received $40‚000 from the Yankee owner.
As reported by Dick Heller in the New York Times:
‘Though the George Steinbrenner-Howard Spira association has been
overshadowed in public memory by Pete Rose’s ongoing ban for gambling,
it remains one of the less savory episodes in recent sports history.
Dave Winfield (above, left) and Steinbrenner (right) became mortal enemies after the Yankees signed him to a 10-year, $15 million contract as a free agent in 1981. When Winfield failed to spark the Yankees to pennants, as Reggie Jackson had as the legendary “Mr. October” in the late 1970s, Steinbrenner derisively tagged him “Mr. May.”
That didn’t bother Winfield as much as Steinbrenner’s refusal to honor a contractual agreement to pay $300,000 to Winfield’s charitable foundation. This set off a series of lawsuits between owner and player, but Steinbrenner clearly overstepped his bounds when he hired Spira to do his dirty work.
As a 21-year-old go-fer for Winfield, Spira once had unlimited access to the slugger. But after Winfield refused to loan Spira $15,000 to pay off sizable gambling debts, his former aide approached Steinbrenner.
The Yankees’ owner, meanwhile, had tried various tactics to discredit Winfield, a quiet man who was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001 after a superb 22-year career. Once he forced an audit that purportedly showed the foundation spent $6 for every $1 it gave away. The two men continued to haggle in court and the media. Steinbrenner apparently figured Spira would give him more ammunition.
Steinbrenner later claimed in a Playboy magazine interview that he paid Spira $40,000 because “he was harassing my family; my daughters were scared; he was harassing people who were close to me.”
The interviewer asked Steinbrenner whether he had been afraid.
“You’re [darn] right I was! And after that, there was a death threat at my hotel. … Now, everybody says, ‘Yeah, but look at Howard Spira. He’s a little guy.’ But Sirhan Sirhan was a little guy. Lee Harvey Oswald was a little guy…I was scared stiff… I told him to take the $40,000 [and go away].”
1964: In Cleveland‚ there are tornado warnings‚ but New York supply all the damage when Mickey Mantle connects for a 3-run homer off Tommy John in the 4th inning to lead New York to a 10-3 win.
1956: Mickey Mantle clouts an Early Wynn pitch in the 6th to tie the Indians at 2-2‚ and New York edge the Tribe 4-3
1953: After 13 straight losses to the Yankees‚ the Red Sox win a dramatic 11-inning 2-1 thriller at Fenway. Billy Goodman’s homer off starter Johnny Sain gives starter Hal Brown the win. Dick Gernert’s 2nd inning HR is the other Boston score. In Boston’s last win over New York‚ August 9‚ 1952‚ all the scores came on solo homers.
1949: Behind the 2-hit pitching of Tommy Byrne‚ the Yanks roll over Detroit 12-0. Gene Woodling scores 5 runs
1927: A game with the Yankees draws a record 52‚000 to Comiskey Park but Waite Hoyt spoils the party by winning one of his league-leading 22 games‚ 9-0‚ the 2nd straight shutout of the Sox. Batterymate Pat Collins homers in the 7th‚ while Lou Gehrig adds a pair of triples.
1926: The Yankees score 7 in the 2nd but lose to Detroit 14-10‚ knocking themselves out of the lead; Washington move into first.
1915: The NY Times headlines: “BALL GRABBERS, READ THIS. Guy Clarke Fined $3 for Taking Ball Hit Into Polo Grounds Bleachers. “It isn’t safe to try to get away with a ball when a home run is hit into the bleachers at the Polo Grounds. Yesterday in the ninth inning Peckinpaugh of the Yankees hit a home run into the left field bleachers and the ball was grabbed by Guy Clarke, a chauffeur, of 68 West Ninety-eighth Street, who tried to get away with the prize. Tom Kelly, one of the park policemen, tried to persuade Clarke to give it up but he refused, so he was arrested by a policeman who was summoned from outside of the park.” “In the Night Court, Magistrate Sims told Clark that he had no more right to take a baseball at the Polo Grounds than he had to take his (the magistrate’s) watch. James McIlravy of the park police stated to the court that between twenty-five and thirty balls were lost at the grounds each week.” “Clark was fined $3.”