4/05 in Yankee History
The red-letter day:
1913: The Yankees play for the first time under their new name (from 1903 to 1912, the franchise was known as the New York Highlanders). 25,000 fans are on hand in Flatbush to watch them play an exhibition game with the Brooklyn Dodgers (who are also
christening Ebbets Field on this day). Brooklyn beat the Yankees, 3-2, with Dodger outfielder and future Yankee manager Casey Stengel hitting the venue’s first home run, an inside-the-parker.
On other 5ths of April…
2005: Carl ‘American Idle’ Pavano appears ready to register his first Yankee win as his teammates take a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning on Hideki Matsui’s two run home run off Matt Clement but Jason Varitek reaches Mariano Rivera for a game-tying homer. Derek Jeter’s lead-off, full-count blast to right center off Keith Foulke in the bottom of the ninth, however sends the crowd home happy.
2001: Paul O’Neill puts his side up 1-0 with a 1st-inning home run off KC’s Dan Reichert, and Mike Mussina holds on to win 1-0 with some closure from Mariano Rivera. This is one of only two games in Yankee history in which the club won 1-0 in a game in which a 1st-inning solo homer was the only scoring (the other occasion was in 1941, with future Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto proving the firepower).
1995: The Yankees acquire closer John Wetteland from the Montreal Expos for Fernando Seguignol and cash. Wetteland will help the Bombers to their first World Championship in 18 years in 1996.
1993: The Yankees provide the opposition in the final Opening Day game at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (AKA the Mistake by the Lake). The out-of-towners spoil the party with a 9-1 pummeling of the Tribe, with Jimmy Key getting the win. The Indians will move into Jacobs Field the following season.
1979: At the Stadium, 52,719 fans see Milwaukee jump on Ron Guidry for four runs in the sixth inning en route to beating the Yankees 5-1. It’s the most runs the Cy Young Award winner has allowed in a game since 1977. New York get singles from their first three hitters, but manage to score just one run, in the first inning off Mike Caldwell.
1977: Over the objections of manager Billy Martin (who is entirely happy with the services of his current starting shortstop Fred ‘Chicken’ Stanley), the Yankees acquire shortstop Bucky Dent from the Chicago White Sox for outfielder Oscar Gamble, pitcher La Marr Hoyt, Bob Polinsky and an estimated $200,000. Dent will solidify New York’s middle infield and help the Yanks reach the World Series in 1977 and ’78. hitting one of the most celebrated home runs in Major League history along the way.
1972: For the first time in MLB history, the regular season fails to open due to the player strike which started on April 1st. 86 games will be lost before the labor dispute is settled.
1934: Babe Ruth, sponsored by Quaker Oats, agrees to do three 15-minute broadcasts a week over NBC. The total of $39,000 for 13 weeks is $4,000 more than his Yankees contract.
1925: ‘The bellyache heard round the world’. At spring training, the Yankees whip the Dodgers, 16-9, but all the headlines are about Babe Ruth. The Bambino collapses in the railroad station in Asheville, NC, and winds up in an NYC hospital. Ruth will undergo an operation for an ulcer on April 17 and will be bedridden until May 26.
1877: William ‘Wid’ Conroy, starting third baseman for the Highlanders’ first six seasons, is born.