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 Tigers.
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 Claudell Washington.
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 Saltzgaver 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 (below)‚ 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.