4/18 in Yankee History
The red-letter days -
1929: At the Stadium, the Yankees take the field with uniform numbers for the first time. The numbers are assigned according to the player’s spot in the batting order: 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 honour 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 the save.
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…
2010: The Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 at the Stadium behind the four-hit, eight-inning pitching of Andy Pettitte and home runs by Mark Teixera and Jorge Posada. Recovering from a bout with cancer, longtime Yankee trainer Gene Monahan throws out the first pitch.
2009: Getting the ball against Cleveland at the new Stadium, Chien-Ming Wang’s problems with injuries and shoulder weakness become apparent from the start of the second inning, and rather than stretch an already spent bullpen, Joe Girardi replaces him him eight runs into the frame with newly promoted (that very day) Anthony Claggett. Somehow surviving the 14-run inning, the rookie righthander will eventually be charged with eight runs of his own, and the home team fall 22-4.
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.
After the game, Yankee reliever Tanyon Sturtze is placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle. Injuries will plague the hurler for the remainder of his tenure with the team.
2003: The Yankees beat the Twins‚ 11-4, as Roger Clemens goes 6 innings before giving way to the bullpen. 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.
1959: ’80s Yankee lefty Dennis Rasmussen is born. Happy 53rd, D.R.!
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.
1953: Harry Niles, starting second baseman for the 1908 Highlanders (the first of four Yankee teams to finish in last place, and the first to lose 100 or more games), dies at the age of 72.
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 5-3.
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.
Bagby 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.