8/03 in Yankee History
The red-letter day -
1914: Yankee backup catcher Les Nunamaker establishes a unique record in the annals of Major League baseball.
In the 7th inning of a game against the Tigers at Navin Field in Detroit, the hosts are coasting along behind starter Harry Coveleski with a 4-0 lead. The Tigers threaten to pad their advantage when Yankee hurler Len ‘King’ Cole walks Hugh High (who is substituting for an injured Ty Cobb) on four straight pitches. On Cole’s next offering to batter Sam ‘Wahoo’ Crawford, High takes off for the keystone cushion, and is gunned down by Nunamaker’s perfect strike to New York second baseman Luke Boone. Cole’s control problems continue, and he walks Crawford, who also takes off for second at the first opportunity, this time successfully. Bobby Veach then comes up for Detroit, and in the course of his at bat, the Yankee backstop notices that Crawford is taking a larger and larger lead off second. When he pegs a throw to second, Crawford is caught high and dry for the second out. Finally, Veach walks, and, himself no slouch on the basepaths, decides to attempt a theft as well. He races towards second, but meets the same fate as his teammate High. It is the first and only time in post-1900 MLB history that a catcher has thrown out three runners in one inning. It is also the only inning ever recorded in a Major League contest in which the side was retired without a single batted ball having been put into play. Nunamaker’s feat is erroneously listed in many record books as having occurred in the 2nd inning; also‚ he is listed as throwing out three runners in the frame when in fact he only threw out 2, and picked off 1.
The Tigers ultimately prevail 4-1, the Yankees’ lone score coming on a double steal with Nunamaker on the front end and Fritz Maisel behind him. Harry Heilmann, normally an outfielder, plays second base for the Tigers, replacing Marty Cavanagh‚ who ‘played like a clown’ yesterday according to Bengal manager Hughie Jennings.
On other 3rds of August…
2003: At Oakland, Miguel Tejada of the A’s reaches Mariano Rivera for a three-run, one-out walkoff home run in the 9th ninth to beat the Yanks 3-1, denying Andy Pettitte a win and giving the victory to Mark Mulder.
2001: Andy Pettitte and Jarrod Washburn of the Angels do battle in the Bronx, each allowing four hits and no runs through six. David Eckstein plates two with a two-base hit in the seventh, but the Yankee reply of a Bernie Williams RBI double and home runs by Tino Martinez and Alfonso Soriano trumps the Angels rally. The Bombers win the game 4-2 and Williams’s eighth-inning, two-out, bases-loaded diving catch of an Izzy Molina line drive saves the day
1998: Leading off for the Yankees‚ Chuck Knoblauch lines a hit off Mike Oquist (below)‚ and the Yankees continue to connect off the Oakland pitcher for 15 more hits‚ including 4 homers‚ in 5 innings. New York win‚ 14-1‚ scoring all 14 earned runs off the starter – it is the most runs allowed by a pitcher in one game since the Brewers’ Bill Travers in August 1977. Orlando Hernandez picks up the win.
1986: At Cleveland‚ the Yankees set a Major League record by scoring 10 runs in the 5th inning. They have 5 walks‚ a HBP‚ and 6 hits including 2 homers to rack up the score. New York win 10-6 behind the pitching of Al Holland, Rod Scurry and Brian Fisher.
1982: The White Sox sweep a doubleheader from the Yanks at the Stadium 1-0 and 14-2‚ prompting George Steinbrenner to fire manager Gene Michael and replace him with pitching coach Clyde King. King is the Yankees’ third field boss this season.
1979: The day after the death of Thurman Munson, before the start of the Yankees’ four-game series with Orioles at the Stadium, the team pay tribute to their deceased captain in a pre-game ceremony in which the starters stand at their defensive positions, save for the catcher’s box, which remains empty. Following a prayer by Cardinal Terence Cooke, a moment of silence and a performance of America the Beautiful by Robert Merrill, the fans (announced attendance 51,151) burst into an eight minute standing ovation. Jerry Narron, the man who will replace Munson behind the plate that night, remains in the dugout and does not take the field until Bob Sheppard announces: “And now it is time to play ball. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen for your co-operation.”. The game that follows is a tense pitching duel between Baltimore ace Scott McGregor and recent Yankee acquisition Luis Tiant. The Orioles win, 1-0.
1978: Boston and New York pick up where they left off last night‚ and the Red Sox score 2 runs in the 17th to win‚ 7-5‚ on RBIs by Rick Burleson and Jim Rice. Ex-Yankee Mike Torrez then stops New York‚ 8-1 in a rain-shortened game. Jim Rice‚ with only one homer in his last 33 games‚ hits a 3-run shot off Jim Beattie. Fred Lynn belts a 3-run homer in the 7th and Bob Bailey follows with a shot off the facade in left. Boston now lead Milwaukee by 6 games and the Yankees by 8 1/2.
1967: The Yankees ship veteran catcher Elston Howard to the Red Sox in exchange for pitchers Pete Magrini and Ron Klimkowski, and cash. Howard will hit just .147 for Boston but provide a steady hand with the pitchers. In a codicil to the deal‚ the Sox will sell catcher Bob Tilman to the Yanks on August 8th.
1956: In a 10-4 loss to Detroit‚ Whitey Ford is struck on the pitching hand by a 1st-inning line drive off the bat of Ray Boone. The Chairman of the Board will be sidelined until the 15th. The Yankees also lose Bob Cerv after he crashes into the wall chasing Frank Bolling’s double.
1941: Browns’ knuckleballer Johnny Niggling gets Joe DiMaggio in 4 at bats to stop the Yankee Clipper’s streak of 74 games in a row reaching base. DiMag is 0-for-8 on the afternoon‚ as the first place Yanks lose two to the Browns‚ 6-2 and 5-0. Niggling wins the opener and Harris allows 2 hits in the game 2 whitewash.
1937: Even though it’s a Tuesday, almost 67,000 fans find the time to throng the Stadium for a doubleheader with the White Sox. The Yanks sweep, 7-2 and 5-3. In the latter contest, Lou Gehrig plays in his 1,900th consecutive game.
1933: The Yankees are shut out 7-0 by the A’s and Lefty Grove (below) for their first scoreless game since August 2‚ 1931. In the 8th
inning‚ Grove loads the bases with one out‚ then strikes out Babe Ruth and gets Lou Gehrig to fly out. The New Yorkers had tallied in 308 games in a row‚ during which they scored 1‚986 runs (6.5 per game) to 1‚434 for the opposition‚ which New York hurlers blanked 22
1927: At the Stadium, the Yanks split a mid-week twinbill with the Tigers, losing 6-5 and then winning 8-6. Lou Gehrig goes long in each game, and now leads Babe Ruth for the league home run lead, 37 to 34. The Bambino will hit his his 35th in two days’ time.
1914: Contracts are let to dismantle Hilltop Park, the New York Highlanders’ former home, between Broadway and Ft. Washington Avenue from 165th to 168th Streets. The park has not been used for baseball for two years. A street will be cut through the property.