4/14 in Yankee History

The red-letter days:

1955: Elston Howard becomes the first black player to wear the Yankee uniform in a regular season game. 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.




2000: Ricky Ledee is the man of the match, doubling twice, walking three times, scoring two runs and knocking one in. Roger Clemens survives the 7-5 win over the Royals, while Jorge Posada gets the Yanks going with a two-run blast in the 2nd inning.



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.

Joe Pepitone (f).jpg


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 46th, 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 flawlessly.




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 (below)‚ 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 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 (below) 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.




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