4/12 in Yankee History
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
1970: Plaques honouring Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle are dedicated at Yankee Stadium (They will later be upgraded to monuments). The Bombers
split with the Indians in the doubleheader that follows, with Mel Stottlemyre falling 2-1 to ‘Sudden’ Sam McDowell game one, and Jack Aker getting the nightcap win 5-4 when Ron Hansen walks in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded.
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.