September 25 in Yankee History

  • September 25, 2014, put an exclamation point on the career of Hall of Famer-to-be Derek Jeter, Yankee captain and shortstop, who manned that infield position for the last time on that day, his final home game in pinstripes. Derek was honored by ex-teammates Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Gerald “Ice” Williams, Tino Martinez, and Bernie Williams, and manager Joe Torre, in pregame ceremonies. Baltimore threatened to run away with the game on this prized occasion, rocking starter Hiroki Kuroda with back-to-back leadoff home runs from Nick Markakis and Alejandro de Aza to begin the game, but Jeter would not hear of it; his rbi double deep to left off young Kevin Gausman keyed the tying rally in the inning’s bottom half. The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh when the Yanks scored three, two on a Jeter grounder mishandled at short and one on a sac fly. Though key to the tying rally, and in the middle of the go-ahead one, it was a bit of a letdown that it was on an error and not a hit that Derek knocked in the lead run. Then amazingly, closer David Robertson gave up a two-run and then a singleton home run, to Adam Jones and Steve Pearce, respectively, to tie the game in the ninth. The stuff of legend followed, as Jose Pirela singled to start the bottom half, pinch runner Antoan Richardson was sacrificed to second, and “Derek Jeter, Derek Jeter” singled in Richardson on the next pitch, 6-5 Yankees! Continue reading
  • September 24 in Yankee History

  • We who stood outside the Stadium’s gates for two hours-plus knew that no good was to be expected on the night of the — cue the dramatic organ flourish! — Mariano Bobblehead Disaster of ’13. Blaming the problem on a traffic mishap in poor ridiculed New Jersey, the Yanks were not ready to present the much-desired Mo tributes to thousands who showed up hours early for them, and eventually arranged a strange and unending collection line for the late-arriving replicas on the Stadium’s ramps in the later innings of the game, long after a Matt Joyce first-inning leadoff homer keyed a three-run Tampa first. The visitors tacked on two runs each in the sixth and ninth innings in their 7-0 win, and 43,407 fans went home convinced they had lived through one of the most stressful and least satisfying giveaway experiences ever. Continue reading
  • September 23 in Yankee History

  • Righty rental Brandon McCarthy had a rare, relative stinker pitching for the Yanks against first place Baltimore in the stadium on September 23, 2014, though the home team fought back gamely before falling, 5-4. Doing what they did best that year, the O’s relied on the long ball, as Kelly Johnson (who had worn pinstripes much of the ’14 season), Nick Markakis, and Nelson Cruz homers off McCarthey had the visitors up 5-1 in the fifth. The Yankees responded with a Stephen Drew sac fly and a Brian McCann two-run jack, but that was all they could muster. Continue reading
  • September 22 in Yankee History

  • The details on the incredible life and career of the larger than life Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra will be talked about lower in this column where this sad aspect of the game is covered, but there can be no way to start a Yankee history post on September 22 than to share that it was on this day in 2016 that Lawrence Peter Berra passed away. Continue reading
  • September 21 in Yankee History

  • September 21, 2008, will be bittersweet to this Yankee fan as long as they continue to play the game, as it was the day they played the last game in old Yankee Stadium. The ballpark was open all day, with fans circling the infield and paying their final respects in Monument Park. In the pregame ceremonies Yankee employees, dressed as old-time ballplayers, portraying the starting nine from the opener in 1923, took the field along with Manager Miller Huggins. Then players from yesteryear were honored position by position. Several were invited to take to the field at their old positions, with Yankee widows and children taking the place of their deceased fathers and husbands in several spots. The bat that Babe Ruth used to hit the game-winning home run that day was laid across home plate, and Derek Jeter was presented with a silver bat in honor of his having eclipsed Lou Gehrig‘s record for most hits stroked in the old Stadium just weeks before. Ageless emcee Bob Sheppard greeted the fans from home on the video board several times, and recited a poem in honor of the old place. Broadcaster Michael Kay appeared on the Scoreboard in the fifth inning when it came time to reduce the games remaining in the old Stadium counter from the “1″ displayed, changing it to Forever because the magic would be moving across the street to the new Stadium. Although not at his sharpest, Andy Pettitte got the start and the win. Johnny Damon‘s third-inning three-run home run wiped out an early 2-0 Birds lead, and once the visitors scored for a tying tally, unlikely offensive hero Jose Molina hit the last home run in the old Stadium for a 5-3 lead. Later, Jason Giambi stroked the last hit, and Brett Gardner scored the last run in the Cathedral pinch-running, on a sac fly by Robbie Cano, the last rbi in Yankee Stadium, in a 7-3 win. Aside from Gardner, other reserves Manager Joe Girardi let play in the historic game were Melky Cabrera, Wilson Betemit, Cody Ransom, and Ivan Rodriguez. Relievers who pitched in the game were Jose Veras, Phil Coke, and Joba Chamberlain, with the game started by Pettitte being finished by the one and only Mariano Rivera, of course. Once the game was over, Captain Jeter led the players around the field, and he exhorted us to bring our memories to the new Stadium in 2009. People just hung out until well after midnight, as some just did not want to leave. Sitting in the Upper Deck at the new place across the street, I still can’t believe they have torn down the old structure, the House That Ruth Built, with its upper deck hanging right over the field, and not hundreds of feet back from the field like in the new place. Continue reading
  • September 20 in Yankee History

  • Roger Maris blasted his 59th home run of the 1961 season off Milt Pappas on September 20 in a 4-2 win over Baltimore. Because this was the Yanks’ 154th game of the year, AL Commissioner Ford Frick had determined that Roger neither tied nor broke Babe Ruth‘s single-season home run record of 60, because Roger would hit numbers 60 and 61 in the eight games that were to come, while Ruth had hit his during a season composed of just 154 tilts. It is worth adding, I think, that Rajah came close to no. 60 in this tilt, and that he lost a tater earlier that season in a Baltimore four-inning-plus rainout. The Yankees, meanwhile, clinched their 26th AL pennant with the win. Continue reading
  • September 19 in Yankee History

  • If he hadn’t been totally embraced in the Bronx before September 19, 2012, Ichiro Suzuki earned his pinstripes in Yankee Stadium that day, as the Yanks swept a day/night doubleheader from Toronto, 4-2 and 2-1. First, he scored twice while going three-for-four in the opener. But that was nothing. In the nightcap, Ichiro went four-for-four with a double, stole four bases, and the run he knocked in in the bottom of the eighth was a game winner. Playing left field in both tilts, he made a fine running catch in each. The twin killing restored the Yanks to first place. Continue reading
  • September 18 in Yankee History

  • With a great view of the field, but virtually no chance of ever getting a foul ball again, I’m relatively happily resigned to my grandstand seats in new Yankee Stadium, but I was pretty happy on September 18, 2014, having won two tickets to the Delta Suite low and behind home plate in a fan cheering contest. And it was a hard night to top, as the soon-to-retire Yankee Captain Derek Jeter‘s last big league home run (and 1,919th career run scored) off R.A. Dickey increased an early Yankee lead over the Jays to 2-0. But after getting two quick outs in the eighth, Shawn Kelley gave up a single and then a Jose Bautista home run. Walkoff win, however, as Chris Young singled in the bottom of the ninth; pinch runner Antoine Richardson stole third after Brett Gardner bunted him to second, with two strikes; and Chase Headley delivered the game winner with a bouncer to first base. Continue reading
  • September 17 in Yankee History

  • In a September 17, 2007, 8-5 win over the Orioles in Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter singled and doubled and passed Bernie Williams to take fourth place on the all-time Yankees hits list, roughly two years before he matched Lou Gehrig‘s all-time Pinstriped mark. After allowing three hits and two runs to the first three O’s batters, Phil Hughes went 5.7 innings with three more hits and no runs allowed for the win, and Baltimore’s Daniel Cabrera brought his usual game, hitting Jason Giambi and Robbie Cano back-to-back with pitches in the Yankee two-run second. Doug Mientkiewicz doubled them both in. Continue reading
  • September 16 in Yankee History

  • With the Yanks one up on Baltimore in a month where one or the other of the division/wild card opponents seemed perpetually within a game of first place, and one in that spot, Russell Martin‘s three-run third-inning homer finished off a five-run outburst that carried the home team to a 6-4 win over the Rays on September 16, 2012. Yankee righty Hiroki Kuroda and Tampa southpaw Matt Moore fashioned between them the first nine outs of the game on strike outs. Continue reading