2001: On Opening Day, Roger Clemens becomes the all-time American
League career strike out leader, passing Walter Johnson. Kansas City
Royals infielder Joe Randa is his 3,509 Junior circuit victim. In
overtaking Johnson, Clemens now moves into the seventh spot on the
all-time major league list.
And on other 2nds of April…
2011: The Commissioner’s office demands that the Yankees stop relaying hand signals from the stands to their hitters at their home park, something which is expressly prohibited by a directive from Major League Baseball. GM Brian Cashman apologizes to Joe Garagiola Jr. and says the team will comply.
2003: Todd Zeile hits a home run in his first at-bat for the Yankees, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams. In addition to homering with the Yanks, Zeile had also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies. In the game, Mike Mussina gets the 9-7 win for the Bombers.
2008: After a rain-out of the scheduled daytime opener the previous day, the Yankees begin their final campaign in the House that Ruth built with a night game. Reggie Jackson throws out the ceremonial first pitch, George Steinbrenner becomes the first of 81 honorary guests to advance the home games left counter, from 81 to 80, in the fifth inning. The Yanks prevail over Toronto 3-2 in a scintillating pitchers’ duel between Roy Halladay and Chien-Ming Wang. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera preserve the win in the 8th and 9th inning.
2003: The Yankees defeat the Blue Jays 9-7 as Toronto shortstop Mike Bordick’s record streak for games without an error ends at 110. He boots Bubba Trammel’s grounder in the 3rd inning for his error after 544 chances without a miscue. Andy Pettitte picks up the win for the visiting Bombers.
1999: In one of his less dignified moments, George Steinbrenner flies into a rage when Hideki Irabu fails to cover first on a ground ball hit during an exhibition game‚ and calls the portly pitcher a “fat p***y toad.” Steinbrenner will later apologize to Irabu.
1998: The Angels put together a 4-run rally in the 4th to hand the Yankees a 4-1 opening day loss Matt Walbeck’s 2 run triple is the big hit in the game. Chuck Finley earns the win as he gives up a run on 4 hits and 6 walks in 7 IP‚ with 7 K’s. Chuck Knoblauch enters the record books as he plays his 1000th game at 2B and sets the AL record for highest career fielding percentage.
1996: Snow postpones the Yankee opener in Cleveland
1933: Babe Ruth makes his third appearance in Memphis and like the last 3 opening games‚ the Chicks defeat the Yankees, winning 5-4. Tomrrow the Yanks will win 6-0 behind Lefty Gomez. The Babe goes hitless, getting no good pitches to swing at.
2011: The Yankees have a successful opening day, beating Detroit 6-3 at the Stadium. Curtis Granderson, whose health was a concern before the start of the game because of a strained right oblique muscle, makes a diving catch of a Will Rhymes liner in the 1st, then breaks a 3 – 3 tie with a solo homer off Phil Coke in the 7th. Mark Teixera had earlier hit a three-run blast to tie the score in the 3rd. New Yankee starting catcher Russell Martin scores twice in his debut in pinstripes as Joba Chamberlain picks up the win and Mariano Rivera the save.
2006: The ball that Babe Ruth hit for his last home run at Yankee Stadium is sold for $86,250 at auction. The ball was hit off fellow Hall of Famer Walter Johnson in a war effort fund-raising exhibition game on August 23, 1942.
2004: The Yanks get a win in Tokyo and even their season record at 1-1 with a 12-1 demolition of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Two-run bombs from Tony Clark and local hero Hideki Matsui followed by the first of two Jorge Posada solo homers, stake Kevin Brown to a 6-1 lead.
2003: In the first of two consecutive Opening Day games played outside the United States, Roger Clemens rides a two-run Robin Ventura blast and an Alfonso Soriano grand slam to an 8-4 Yankee win in Toronto. The victory will come at a price, though, as Derek Jeter suffers a badly damaged shoulder in a collision with the knee pads of Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby at third. base. El Capitan will spend six weeks on the bench.
1992: Ken Silvestri, switch-hitting Yankee backup catcher of the ’40s, dies at the age of 75.
1980: Chien-Ming Wang is born. Happy 34th to the former Yankee, and all the best to a man who has had some tough breaks.
On the 29th of March down through the decades…
2005: The Yankees send pitcher Bret Prinz to the Angels in exchange for catcher Will Nieves
1997: The Yankees help the Braves open Turner Field in Atlanta with an exhibition game on falling to the hosts 2-0.
1996: The Yanks and Mets play home-and-home exhibitions in New York for their last two preseason games. The Bombers prevail in the opener today at the Stadium, 7-3.
On the 27th of March over the years…
2008: Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom are among the prospects reassigned by the Yankees to minor league camp.
2005: In a spring training game, Andy Pettitte, now in an Astros uniform, faces his former teammates for the first time. The veteran lefty allows but one hit the first time through the lineup, but Derek Jeter triples and Alex Rodriguez homers with two down in the third. The Yanks take the ballgame 7-4.
1948: Bill Sudakis, who was platooned at first base with Chris Chambliss in 1974 and also shared DH duties for the Yanks, is born. Happy 66th, Bill!
1941: The Yankees sell pitcher Steve Sundra to the Senators on his 30th birthday. Sundra‚ 11-1‚ in 1939‚ slipped in 1940 to 4-6.
1879: Miller Huggins is born.
…and on the 28th…
2001: The Yankees trade 36-year-old Glenallen Hill‚ who hit .297 with 29 homers last season‚ to the Angels for minor-league outfielder Darren Blakely. Hill‚ taking the place of the just-released Jose Canseco‚ will go 9-for-66‚ spend 5 weeks on the DL‚ and get his release on the 1st of June.
1986: The Yankees and Red Sox swap designated hitters: Mike Easler goes to New York for Don Baylor.
Also, Phil Niekro is waived four days before his 47th birthday. The veteran knuckleballer, who posted a 32-20 mark with the 1984-1985 Yanks, will catch on with the Indians on April 3.
1985: Former Yankees pitcher Mark Melancon is born. Happy 29th, MM!
1981: Former Yankee reliever Edwar Ramirez is born. Happy 33nd to the Broomstick!
1934: In a collision with Yankee catching prospect Norman Kies‚ 42-year-old Rabbit Maranville breaks his left leg sliding home on a double steal in an exhibition game against the Bombers. The Braves veteran is out for the season and will play just 23 games next year. He had broken his right leg in spring training of 1926. Meanwhile, Kies, who is only shaken up, will be released in a few days.
1927: In a final exhibition match between last year’s series opponents‚ the Yanks score 4 in the first off the Cards Grover Cleveland Alexander. Then Old Pete shuts down the Yanks until leaving in the 8th‚ and the Cards score 2 in the 9th to win 6-4. Both teams use their regular lineups‚ the only clubs to make no starting changes from last year’s rosters.
1919: Vic Raschi is born.
On the 25th of March over the years…
2012: The Brewers send outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Yankees in return for pitcher Sergio Mitre, who is expected to take the place of the injured Zack Greinke in the Brewers’ rotation when the season begins. Dickerson serves as insurance for the Yanks, who are concerned over a rib injury to starting center fielder Curtis Granderson, but unfortunately, he will pull a muscle in his first game for his new team. Mitre’s departure means that three pitchers are now competing for the last two spots in the Yanks’ starting rotation ~ rookie Ivan Nova, and veterans Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. They also sign veteran hurler Kevin Millwood to a minor league contract as further insurance in case the trio fail to perform up to expectations, but his services will not be required as all three will prove up to the task.
2010: The Yanks release pitcher Chad Gaudin, who was competing for the team’s fifth starter position, and, failing that, was expected to make the staff as a long reliever. Phil Hughes, who shone as a set-up man in 2009, is announced as the winner of the fifth starter competition, while Joba Chamberlain. Gaudin will sign a minor league deal with Oakland on March 28th.
2004: The Yankees ship infielder Mike Lamb to the Astros in exchange for pitcher Juan DeLeon. Lamb had originally been acquired to compete for the starting job at third base after Aaron Boone damaged his knee in a pickup basketball game, but became trade bait once Alex Rodriguez was signed.
1955: Lee Mazzilli, who spent one season with the Yankees before going on to serve with the team as a first base coach after his playing days, is born. Happy 59th, Mazz!
1937: Babe Ruth signs an endorsement deal with Quaker Oats worth $25,000 annually.
1920: In a spring training match between the Yankees and Dodgers‚ a sweeping inside curve ball by Brooklyn’s Jeff Pfeffer beans Chick Fewster, striking the Yankee shortstop behind the ear and flattening him. Fewster comes to 10 minutes later but soon loses the ability to speak. Taken to the hospital with a skull fracture and a blood clot on the brain‚ Fewster will recover slowly and return to play in mid-season.
…and on the 26th:
2005: Robinson Cano is reassigned to minor league camp and appears destined for another year in AAA.
Marius Russo, pitcher for three Yankees championship teams in the late ’30s and early ’40s, dies at the age of 91.
1968: Jose Vizcaino is born. Happy 46th to the man who delivered the game-winning hit in game 1 of the 2000 World Series!
1952: The Yankees sell future longtime MLB manager Gene Mauch to the Cardinals.
1951: In an exhibition game at USC‚ rookie sensation Mickey Mantle launches a homer that travels an estimated 660 feet. The shot clears Bovard Field and then goes the width of a practice football field before landing. The Mick has two homers‚ a bases loaded triple‚ and 7 RBI on the day as the Yanks flunk the Trojans 15-1.
1937: Joe DiMaggio tells the Sporting News that he is going to take Ty Cobb’s advice to use a 36- or 37-oz. bat rather than the 40-ouncer he had been swinging. Joe will hit .346 this year, and his 46 homers will be his highest season total in the bigs.
1936: Red Ruffing ends a holdout by signing with the Yankees for $12,000 this year.
1935: The Yankees acquire Pat Malone from the Cubs. Working out of the bullpen, the former Chicago ace will go 19-13 with 18 saves over the next three seasons, picking up three World Series rings in the process.
On the 23rd of March over the years…
2012: Joba Chamberlain dislocates his ankle while playing on a trampoline with his son. Already recovering from Tommy John surgery, he undergoes an emergency operation for an open dislocation. Doctors report that he lost so much blood that there was concern for his life and that he will need to stay hopitalised for several days. The injury precludes any return this year, and there is speculation as to whether or not it will be career-ending
2009: In what became a regular rite of spring during the Japanese lefty’s troubled tenure with the team, the Yankees reassign Kei Igawa to Minor League camp.
1990: Gambler Howard Spira is arrested for extorting money from George Steinbrenner, who paid Spira $40,000 in January to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. (Spira is shown holding of the cheque that he received from the Boss). MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent will suspend Steinbrenner because of his relationship with the unsavory character.
1988: Dellin Betances is born. Happy 26th, DB ~ hope to see more of you in the Bronx this year!
1974: The Yankees purchase outfielder Elliot Maddox from the Rangers for $60‚000. Maddox will prove to be a great defensive outfielder as well as hitting .303 over the ’74 campaign.
1972: The Yankee ownership agree in principle to continue playing in the Bronx. Later this year, they will put it in writing by signing a 30-year lease contingent on renovations to be completed in time for the 1976 season. Old-school Yankee fans point to this renovation as the true end of the original ballpark, though younger fans refer to the final home game of the 2008 season.
1952: Late ’30s Yankee pitcher Steve Sundra dies of cancer at the age of 41.
1944: George Scott, who played most of his career with the Red Sox and Brewers but finished his career with the ’79 Yankees as a free agent, is born. Happy 70th to the Boomer!
1941: Joe DiMaggio, a hold out and late arrival in spring training‚ plays his first Grapefruit League game of the year.
..and on the 24th…
2010: Former Cy Young Award winner and member of the 1996 Yankees Championship team Dwight Gooden is back in trouble with the law. He faces charges of driving under the influence of drugs, child endangerment, and leaving the scene of an accident, after a 9 AM crash in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Gooden’s problems with substance abuse in the ’80s and ’90s were well-publicized, but he had apparently turned his life around in recent years, serving as a senior vice-president of the Atlantic league’s Newark Bears until last November.
1996: The battle for the starting Yankee shortstop job in ’96 comes to an end when veteran Tony Fernandez fractures a bone in his right elbow in a game with the Astros. The injury gives Derek Jeter the unexpected opportunity to start on a notoriously rookie-phobic Yankee team,
1983: Chad Gaudin is born. Happy 31st to a two-time Yankee who is now a free agent.
1937; Late ’60s Yankee backup catcher Bob Tillman is born. Tillman will be the player whom the Yanks give up in order to bring third baseman (and future iconic Braves manager) Bobby Cox from Atlanta to the Bronx.
1933: Babe Ruth signs his final Yankee contract. In an austerity move occasioned by the Depression times, he will take a considerable pay cut, agreeing to 2 years at $52,000 a year.
On the 21st of March down through the decades…
2009: The Yankees option six righthanders the Yankees to AAA, AA or Minor League camp. Anthony Claggett, Phil Hughes and Sergio Mitre will pitch the big-league team this year, while Steven jackson, Humberto Sanchez and Jason Johnson will not.
2001: The Yankees reobtain third base prospect Drew Henson‚ along with outfielder Michael Coleman, from the Reds for hot outfield prospect Wily Mo Pena and cash. Henson agrees to a 6-year $17 million dollar contract that calls for him to leave the University of Michigan football program and to bypass the NFL. The 21-year-old Henson‚ a QB‚ had been projected as a #1 draft choice. Henson will break his hand in April and be out of action till June 14.
1986: The Yankees announce that their most heralded off-season acquisition‚ 26-year-old pitcher Britt Burns‚ will not pitch at all this season because of a chronic deteriorating hip condition.
936: Joe DiMaggio runs his spring training record to 12-for-20‚ in an 11-2 Yankee victory over the Boston Braves. Before the next game is played‚ the prize rookie is left unattended with his foot in a diathermy machine. The resulting burn is severe enough to end his spring training and delay his ML regular season debut until May.
1897: ‘Broadway’ Bill Lamar, backup outfielder for the Yankees in 1917-18, is born.
1892: Bill Stumpf, all-purpose bench player for the 1912 Highlanders and 1913 Yankees, is born.
…and on the 22nd…
1992: George Steinbrenner’s son in law Joseph A. Molloy is elected a general partner in the yankee organization. Molloy will remain a prominent figure in the Bomber boardroom until his divorce from Jessica Steinbrenner in 1997.
At Sotheby’s in New York, a 1952 Topps card of Mickey Mantle is auctioned off for $49‚500‚ tripling the pre-auction estimate‚ while a baseball‚ signed by 12 players (including Babe Ruth) at the 1939 Hall of Fame induction ceremony‚ sells for $20‚900.
1972: One of the greatest trades in Yankee history goes through, as New York send 1B/OF Danny Cater to the Red Sox for relief pitcher Sparky Lyle. In 7 seasons with the Yanks‚ Lyle will post a 57-40 record with 141 saves and a 2.41 ERA‚ win a Cy Young award‚ and help the team to 3 pennants and two Championships. The deal is completed when the Yanks toss in backup shortstop Mario Guerrero.
Also on this day, Cory Lidle is born. R.I.P.
1965: Glenallen Hill, part-time DH for the 2000 Championship team, is born. Happy 49th, GH!
1960: Early ’30s Yankee pitcher Gordon Rhodes dies at the age of 52.
1931: American League founder and first president Ban Johnson dies at the age of 67. Although his relationship with the Yankee ownership was sometimes strained over the years, Johnson spearheaded the effort to bring an American League team to New York to compete with the Giants, resulting in the Baltimore Orioles’ move to Gotham in 1903 to become the NY Highlanders.
On the 19th of March over the years…
2006: After Randy Johnson throws 6 shutout innings in a grapefruit league game against the Astros, reliever Al Leiter pitches to one batter before leaving. He will announce his retirement at a press conference after the game.
2003: The Yankees trade outfielder Rondell White (below) to the Padres for outfielder Bubba Trammell and pitcher Mark Phillips.
1989: With Dave Winfield sidelined‚ the Yankees trade catcher Joel Skinner and a minor leaguer to the Indians for outfielder Mel Hall. Winfield will miss all of the 1989 season after undergoing back surgery next week for central disc herniation.
1974: In a 3-team deal involving the Indians, Tigers and Yankees. Pitcher Jim Perry joins his brother Gaylord in Cleveland. Pitcher Ed Farmer and outfielder Walt ‘No Neck’ Williams end up on the Yankees, while former Thurman Munson backup Gerry Moses goes to the Motor City.
1871: ‘Iron Man’ Joe McGinnity is born. McGinnity pitched for the Baltimore Orioles in 1901-02. When the Orioles moved to New York in 1903 to become the Highlanders, he would jump to the Giants, with whom he achieved his Hall of Fame credentials.
…and on the 20th…
1984: Hall of Fame pitcher Stan Coveleski dies in South Bend, Indiana at the age of 94. Coveleski pitched for the Philadelphia A’s, the Indians, and the Senators before finishing his career with the 1928 Yankees Championship team. Over a 14-year career, he won 215 games, which included five 20-win seasons.
1961: The Yankees announce that the team will oppose any plan that would enable the new National League expansion franchise in the city to share Yankee Stadium. This decision leaves the old Polo Grounds as the only viable option for the NL’s new team, the Mets.
1958: The Yankees sell first baseman Joe Collins to the Phillies. Collins decides to retire rather than report‚ thereby cancelling the deal.
On the 17th of March over the years…
1988: Newly acquired Yankee Jack Clark tears a tendon in his calf while delivering a home run swing in a spring training game against the Orioles, and will miss the start of the regular season.
1978: The Yankees take to the field for a St. Patrick’s Day exhibition game against the Reds,who don green uniforms rather than their traditional red‚ starting an annual ritual that will last until the end of the ’80s. The good luck works and the Reds win‚ 9-2. The Cardinals will be the next to follow suit.
1949: At St. Petersburg, the Tigers and Yankees slog through 17 innings before agreeing to call the game a 2-2 tie. The two sides issue 28 walks and leave 42 runners on base.
1936: Much-heralded prospect Joe DiMaggio makes his spring debut with the Yankees, collecting 4 hits including a triple. The day is marred only by the Cardinals’ 8-7 win.
1921: The Yankees, training in Shreveport‚ Lousiana, journey to Lake Charles to play a game against the Cardinals‚ who are based in Orange‚ Texas. The game is proclaimed ‘Ruth-Hornsby Day‚’ but the Rajah hits only a single while the Babe launches a home run the short right field fence. The Yanks win 14-5.
…and on the 18th…
1985: Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstates Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, who had been banned from association with organized baseball by Bowie Kuhn because of their employment by Atlantic City casinos.
1962: Mid ’80s Yankee reliever Brian Fisher is born. Happy 52nd, Brian!