October 26 in Yankee History

  • Perhaps we treasure it more because we spent more than 36 hours on line (physically, not virtually) to purchase the tickets, but the clincher in 1996 on October 26 will always hold a very special spot in this Yankee fan’s heart. Despite our long wait, we settled for great Tier tickets right behind the plate for Game Six rather than getting seats on the wings for Games One or Two in the Stadium. The spine-tingling 3-2 Jimmy Key win over Greg Maddux and the Braves, largely behind Joe Girardi‘s booming triple, is a dear memory indeed. Continue reading
  • October 25 in Yankee History

  • A rainout the night before kept the Anaheim Angels still alive in the 2009 ALCS, but their string ran out on October 25, even if Gary Matthews, Jr.‘s swing and miss at Mariano Rivera‘s cutter that ended the game actually occurred at one minute past midnight (and therefore technically October 26). Andy Pettitte pitched into the seventh for the win, Johnny Damon‘s fourth-inning two-run double gave the Yanks a lead they would not relinquish, and Mark Teixeira crowned a two-run eighth with a sac fly in the 5-2 Yankees win. Chuck Mangione played the National Anthem before the game, and Bernie Williams threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Continue reading
  • October 24 in Yankee History

  • Yesterday we described Game Four in the 1996 World Series as one of the biggest contests in the 13-year Yankee run that ended in 2008. Perhaps its toughest competition was the game that immediately followed it, as Andy Pettitte outpitched Braves ace John Smoltz in a 1-0 victory and a Yankee sweep of the three games in Atlanta, on October 24. Paul O’Neill made a fine running grab on ex-Yankee Luis Polonia‘s drive to the right-centerfield gap to close the game. With Turner Field due to open the next April, the Braves fully expected to end their days playing in Fulton County Stadium on a victory tour. The best-laid plans… Continue reading
  • October 23 in Yankee History

  • Jim Leyritz went yard off Mark Wohlers in what may have been the most famous game of the amazing, 13-year, in-the-playoffs string that just ended for the Yanks in 2008. The Yanks and Kenny Rogers fell behind the Braves early, 6-0, but The King’s shot capped the second three-run inning the Yanks posted to get even, and they scored two in the 10th for the 8-6 win. They won back-to-back games in Atlanta and evened a Series they had been given little chance to win, on October 23, 1996. Continue reading
  • October 22 in Yankee History

  • On October 22, 2001, the Yanks confronted the Seattle Mariners in Yankee Stadium after the M’s had played a season better than the one New York had put together in 1998, but the Bombers sent them home one round short of the World Series. Andy Pettitte got the 12-3 win over Aaron Sele, and Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Tino Martinez went yard. My favorite sign from that night in The Big Ballpark graced the Tier facade on the first base side in Section 11:

    1998 New York Yankees 125 wins
    2001 Seattle Mariners 120 wins
    Continue reading

  • October 21 in Yankee History

  • There is no choice but to lead off once again with a birthday, and how odd but wonderful it is that the Yanks and their fans can celebrate the birthdays of Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford (1928), the “Chairman of the Board,” on back to back days. Whitey is one of two Yankee pitchers who were born October 21, and the two share the day with two Yankee catchers. Ford’s 236-106 record computes to the best winning percentage in the 20th Century, he holds the record at 10 World Series game victories, and Whitey’s 33-inning consecutive-scoreless-inning streak in the World Series that surpassed the one Babe Ruth had posted is still intact. In a 1961 known for Yankee offense he won the Cy Young Award and was the Series MVP. He topped the League in wins three times, in win/loss percentage three times, and in innings pitched twice. Furthermore, I spent a year of my youth erroneously convinced he was my cousin. Continue reading
  • October 20 in Yankee History

  • We’ll depart the usual history template today by leading off with a birthday, perhaps the biggest Yankee birthday ever, at least to this fan. Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle (1931) was born on October 20, and to our delight, found his way to the roster of the New York Yankees. He amassed 536 homers and 1,509 rbi’s in the Bronx from 1951 through 1968, sadly experiencing his superb career batting average dip below .300 to.298 in his final years, slowed by injury and age. Some of us found the admitted problems with alcohol that led to his death from liver disease, and the way he dealt with that in his final days, to be as inspirational as his marvelous playing career, if not more so. A three-time AL MVP, Mickey was proud of his plaque in Monument Park indicating that he was “a great teammate.” Continue reading
  • October 19 in Yankee History

  • A shutout the day before notwithstanding, the Yanks’ 10-3 loss to Texas in Game 4 of the 2010 ALCS on October 19, 2010, was probably the most frustrating loss, because behind A.J. Burnett, the Bombers led 1-0 and then 3-2 through five innings. But when Bengie Molina turned the game with a three-run sixth-inning home run, New York had to try to fight back from a three games to one deficit. Also of note: Mark Teixeira was lost to injury in the fifth inning. Continue reading
  • October 18 in Yankee History

  • He wasn’t “Mr. October” until the 18th of the month in 1977. The Yanks had fallen behind the Dodgers, but not for long. Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three pitched balls on October 18, 1977, and the Yankees prevailed over the Dodgers, 8-4, to win the game and the Series. Despite the return to near glory the year before, it was the first Yankee Championship in 15 years. Continue reading
  • October 17 in Yankee History

  • It looked like anything but a sweep, as the Yanks were down in the seventh inning of Game One at the Stadium vs. the San Diego Padres on October 17, 1998. But Chuck Knoblauch hit a three-run homer near the left-field foul pole to tie it, and Tino Martinez, after taking a close pitch from Mark Langston to go to 3-2, blasted a grand slam. The Yanks won the game, 9-6 behind David Wells. Yankee fans were happier with the work of the loser Kevin Brown that day than in most of the days he would wear the Pinstripes six years later. Continue reading