If you could have written up how a successful bullpen day started by an Opener would go, you could look at the 4-1 Yankee victory over the Rangers in the Stadium on September 4, 2019. Two innings from Chad Green, then three from Luis Cessa, got the Yankees past midgame with a 3-0 lead, on Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres home runs, both off ex-Yankee Lance Lynn.
Righthander Luis Severino had another impressive start in a 5-2 win over visiting Tampa Bay on September 4, 2015. And as for the offense, not only did Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez, and Greg Bird homer in this one, among them they both scored and drove in all five tallies.
“There is nothing like coming from behind,” one of my favorite baseball sayings, is true, and it had better be, because it often involves spending long excruciating innings with your team poised to lose. So if the retribution is quick and decisive, it becomes doubly joyful, and that is what happened in the Yanks’ 5-4 win over the Red Sox on September 4, 2014. Behind 4-3 for five innings on two David Ortiz home runs and one from Brock Holt, all off Chris Capuano, the home team got the tie in the ninth on Mark Teixeira‘s leadoff, full-count jack off Boston closer Koji Uehara. One out later, again on a full count, Chase Headley sent the crowd happily on their way with his long tater to right.
One of the soon-to-be-retired Mariano Rivera‘s few four-out 2013 saves became necessary when neither starter CC Sabathia nor setup man David Robertson could put a stop to the four-run eighth inning rally by the visiting White Sox in Yankee Stadium on September 4. Leading 6-1 largely on two rbi’s each from Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano, the Yanks needed Mo’s strike out of Alejandro De Aza to escape the visitor rally in a Yankee 6-5 win.
The final 9-3 score over Toronto of a much closer game is misleading due to a four-run Yankee eighth, but the offensive stars were Derek Jeter, with a three-run homer and five rbi’s, and Brett Gardher, who walked three times and scored twice in Yankee Stadium on September 4, 2011. CC Sabathia pitched into the eighth for the win.
The 12-3 Yankee win over Seattle in the Stadium on September 4, 2007, began an onslaught where the Yanks took firm control of the Wild Card lead from the pretenders from the West. Chien-Ming Wang allowed just one run on five hits pitching into the eighth, the first of two Jorge Posada homers gave him an early lead, and the home team jumped on Horacio Ramirez and the Mariners bullpen for 10 runs in the sixth and the seventh. Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez contributed home runs as well.
Two Yankee no-hitters were thrown on September 4. Few perhaps ever knew that Yankee Sam Jones no-hit the Athletics, 2-0, on this day in 1923. But many more remember the moment, exactly 70 years later, that Jim Abbott threw his, a 4-0 whitewashing of the Indians in Yankee Stadium.
When the Yankees beat the White Sox 11-6 on September 4, 1998, it set the record for the earliest any AL team had ever recorded 100 wins. Bernie Williams starred with two homers and four rbi’s.
Andy Pettitte earned his 20th win in 1996, 10-3 over the A’s, backed by Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill home runs, on September 4.
Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard homered back-to-back in the Yankees’ 9-7 win over the A’s on September 4, 1964. They overcame the two homers hit by Ken “Hawk” Harrelson on his 23rd birthday (see below).
Captain Derek Jeter pounded Barry Zito‘s first pitch to right center for a home run and 1-0 lead on September 4, 2005, and Mark Bellhorn doubled the lead with a second-inning blast to left. Shawn Chacon went seven for the 7-3 win in Oakland in the ESPN Sunday night game, with ex-Yank reliever Jay Witasik donating the final New York tally with three straight walks in the eighth.
Neither Joe Girardi (despite protestations to the contrary) nor many in the Yankee fanbase expected much to come of it when the Yankees recalled outfielder Melky Cabrera from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on September 4, 2008, and not much did come to pass. But Melky proved a lot of people wrong with a strong 2009 season on both sides of the ball, and a 2013-2014 comeback as well. The Yanks sent lefty Billy Traber outright to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that day as well.
Manny Ramirez singled in a first-inning run off Andy Pettitte in Yankee Stadium on September 4, 2002, but third-inning rbi’s by Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada, and Juan Rivera against Derek Lowe gave the Yankees the 3-1 win.
The 7-0 Orioles win over the Yankees behind Sidney Ponson over Mike Mussina on September 4, 2004, was actually something of a pitcher’s duel. But the visitors poured on five ninth-inning tallies on a Rafael Palmeiro home run against Mariano Rivera and a Brian Roberts blast off Bret Prinz.
Jeffrey Hammonds recorded six putouts early (some on great plays), and also nailed a runner for an assist playing left field for the Orioles in a 5-2 win over the Bombers at Yankee Stadium on September 4, 1997. The Yanks tried but failed to shake the malaise that enveloped the team during the just-concluded three-game Phillies sweep in Veterans Stadium. And Hammonds had a bat in his equipment bag along with the outfielder’s glove, as he plated two runs on a sac fly and a home run as well.
The Yankees clinched their 12th pennant, and set the record for the earliest clinch ever to that time, on September 4, 1941, when they beat the Red Sox, 6-3. The Bombers’ mark after 136 games was 91-45.
Mickey Mantle sat out the 1961 Labor Day doubleheader with a painful forearm, but the Yanks swept two from Washington anyway, 5-3 and 3-2. Subbing for Mantle, Johnny Blanchard broke a 3-3 tie in the opener with his eighth-inning home run.
The only silver lining for the Yankees in a double loss to the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium on September 4, 1965, was Mickey Mantle‘s home run off Dennie Bennett in the second tilt. Boston won by 1-0 and 7-2 scores.
On September 4, 1991, an eight-man committee removed the asterisk from Roger Maris‘s one-season, at-the-time record home run total of 61, set in 1961. Roger held this record even longer than Babe Ruth, and his accomplishment takes on greater heft, perhaps, in light of revelations about recent player behavior.
Perhaps it is a coincidence, but the Yankees and the Red Sox split doubleheaders on September 4, 1916, 1917, and 1920. The Sox won the Opener the first two times, with New York winning it in ’20. Babe Ruth stroked his 45th tater to carry the Yanks 5-3 in that one, but he beat the New Yorkers from the mound 4-2 in ’17.
Roberto Kelly tied a major-league record when he reached first base safely on a call of catcher’s interference for the seventh time in 1992 during a 6-3 Yankee win over Texas on September 4.
The Yankees allowed long-time batting practice pitcher Paul Schreiber to take the mound in a 10-0 loss to Dizzy Trout and the Tigers on September 4, 1945. Schreiber, who had last pitched in the majors in 1923, acquitted himself very well, allowing no hits over 3.3 innings.
The three-run shot that Mickey Mantle drove over the wall in the first inning on September 4, 1955, was his last home run that year. Given a quick lead, Bob Turley pitched the Yankees to an 8-3 win over the Senators.
Frustration on both sides of the Boston/New York divide on September 4, 1922. Aggravating the Sox fans, both New York teams (Yankees, Giants) led their leagues; both Boston teams (Red Sox, Braves) occupied last place. But fortunes turned, as the Red Sox knocked the Yanks out of first with a 6-5, 4-3 sweep in the Polo Grounds. In the process, Babe Ruth hit his last Polo Grounds home run off Herb Pennock, who would pitch in Yankee Stadium for the Bombers the next year.
The 9-1 win over the Tigers in the first of two on September 4, 1978, was Ron Guidry‘s 20th of the year. The Yanks crammed seven runs into their seventh-inning rally, but the Detroit 5-4 victory in the nightcap kept the Yanks five games back of Boston.
The fact that the Yanks finally broke a 30-inning scoring drought in a September 4, 1960 game vs. the Orioles did not signal the end of their offensive woes, as Chuck Estrada held them hitless until Moose Skowron‘s seventh inning single in a 6-2 New York loss.
Robin Ventura was batting for the White Sox when he became the eighth player in history to hit two grand slams in a single game in a 14-3 win over Texas on this day in 1995.
When the Phillies lost 6-5 to the Reds on September 4, 1993, they set the NL record for not being shut out in 151 consecutive games. The AL record sits with the Yankees, at 308 games.
The Yanks took a rare spanking as Andy Pettitte lasted three innings in a 14-0 loss to the Blue Jays on September 4, 2001.
Christy Matthewson and Mordecai Three Finger Brown closed out their respective careers by facing each other on September 4, 1916, with Matthewson’s Reds (his only game thrown that wasn’t for the Giants) prevailing, 10-8.
Washington’s Walter Johnson came out on top in a duel with New York’s Jack Chesbro in Hilltop Park on this day in 1908, shutting out the Highlanders 3-0 on six hits.
Back-to-back shutouts of Boston (7-0, 1-0) on September 4, 1906 propelled New York to a fifth straight doubleheader sweep in a streak that would extend to 15 victorious games.
National League President Ford Frick granted Babe Ruth, no longer playing for the Braves in his only NL year, a lifetime pass to all League games on September 4, 1935.
Babe Ruth played first base in a charity game for Philadelphia’s Ascension Catholic Club on September 4, 1923. Ruth scored their only run in a 2-1 loss.
After 1939 Labor Day games played on September 4, the Reds led the Cards by four games, and the Yanks were in front of the AL by 14.5.
On September 4, 2019, the Yankees sent lefthander Jordan Montgomery on a rehab assignment to the AA Trenton Thunder; and also signed free agent third baseman Enger Castellano to a minor league contract.
On September 4, 2017, the Yankees recalled shortstop Tyler Wade from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Having waited for weeks for first baseman Mark Teixeira to recover from what was thought to be a right shin bone bruise (it was a break), the Yankees placed him on the 15-day disabled list on September 4, 2015, retroactive to August 27. The team filled the roster by recalling righthander Nick Rumbelow from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On September 4, 2012, the Yankees recalled Casey McGehee, whom they had signed earlier, from the Charleston RiverDogs to play in the Bronx.
The A’s eclipsed the AL record of the 1906 White Sox and the 1947 Yankees when they won their 20th in a row on September 4, 2002. Kansas City took an 11-0 lead and incredibly lost 12-11.
Above we reported that Ron Guidry had won his 20th, 1978 game on September 4, and that Andy Pettitte had done the same in 1996. Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox won his 20th, 4-0 over Seattle in 1999; Cinncy’s Danny Jackson notched his in a 17-0 romp over the Cubs on this day in 1988; and the Giants’ Carl Hubbell matched that same number in a 6-4 win over the Reds in 1935. Better yet, Christy Mathewson gathered his 25th in a Giants 11-6 triumph in the second of two over Philly on September 4, 1905; Dazzy Vance of the Brooklyn Robins reached 24 with his 4-1 decision over the Braves in 1924; and the 10-3 win by Urban Shocker of the Browns over Cleveland was his 23rd of the 1922 campaign.
Ex-Yankee catcher Mike Stanley went five-for-five, with a homer, double, and five rbi’s in the A’s 10-0 shutout of the Blue Jays on September 4, 2000.
First baseman Babe Dahlgren (1996) easily earns first mention among the two Yankee players who have died on September 4, not only for the 27 home runs and 163 rbi’s stroked in New York from 1937-1940, but also because he inherited the first base position when the ill Lou Gehrig was forced to walk away. Dahlgren, who barely played during his first two New York campaigns but was a full-time starter in the latter two, played from 1935-1946, accumulating 82 long balls and 569 runs driven in playing mostly with the Yanks, the Red Sox, the Cubs, and the Pirates. Portsided first baseman Butch Schmidt (1952) played all of his position play with the Braves from 1913-1915, for whom he hit four home runs and knocked in 145 runs. Schmidt’s only Yankee appearance was as a pitcher with the 1909 team, for whom he pitched one game (not a start). He did not win, lose, or save the game, and he allowed 10 hits and four earned runs over five innings.
Hall of Fame Detroit first baseman Hank Greenberg (1986), who cleared 331 fences good for 1,276 rbi’s between 1930 and 1947, is the first of many nonYankee significant players who have died this day. Infielder Buck Herzog (1953) hit most of his 20 home runs with 445 runs driven in from 1908-1920 with the Giants; righty Gus Weyhing (1955) posted the greater part of his 264-232-4 record from 1887-1901 with the A’s and the Phillies; and fellow righthander Pat Ragan (1956) won 77, lost 104, and saved six games from 1909-1923 mostly with the Braves and the Dodgers. Lefty-hitting outfielder Ward Miller (1958) reached eight fences and drove in 221 with the Reds, the Cubs, the Terriers, and the Browns from 1909-1917; outfielder Hal Lee (1989) hit 33 long balls and drove in 323 with the Phillies and the Braves from 1930-1936; and third baseman Pinky May (2000) played just for the Phillies from 1939-1943, for whom he hit four homers with 215 rbi’s.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Reliever Darrell Einertson (1972), 0-0 in 13 games for the 2000 Yanks, is one of five September 4 Yankee birthdays. Darrell was drafted by the Yankees in the 11th round of the 1995 amateur draft.
Ken Wright (1946) went 0-0 in three games for the 1974 Bombers after four seasons with K.C., who traded him with Lou Piniella to New York for Lindy McDaniel in December 1973. The Yanks shipped Wright to the Philadelphia Phillies for Mike Wallace in May 1974.
And second baseman Kelly Heath (1957), who played one game with the 1982 Royals, spent a bit of time with the Yanks once they got him from Kansas City before the 1984 season. Heath was released in October 1985.
Likewise, first baseman Bryan Morrow (1976) was a member of the Yankee organization once they purchased his contract from Winnipeg of the Northern League in 2001, though he did not play in the Bronx. Morrow was sent to the Dodgers in May 2004 to acquire the surprisingly effective reliever Tanyon Sturtze. Brian stroked four hits in 20 at bats for the 2005 Dodgers.
A little discussion is in order when dealing with the fifth Yankee celebrant. Perhaps the Pinstripers were misled by the 10-5 mark Doyle Alexander (1950) had recorded with them in 1976 once he was acquired from the Orioles with Jimmy Freeman, Ellie Hendricks, Ken Holtzman, and Grant Jackson for Rudy May, Tippy Martinez, Dave Pagan, Scott McGregor, and Rick Dempsey that June (although he was allowed to declare free agency after that campaign). But they certainly did not get what they expected when they got him back from the San Francisco Giants for Andy McGaffigan and Ted Wilborn in March 1982. Through May 1983, Alexander’s New York numbers included a 1-9 mark before he broke his pitching hand in a fit of pique after an early exit. The 46-28 record he compiled with the Blue Jays once the Yanks released him then, and the first place finish he helped Toronto to in 1985, were especially galling to frustrated Yankee fans.
Other birthdays: Tilly Walker (1887); Ken “Hawk” Harrelson (1941), who is mentioned in a Yankee highlight above; Frank White (1950); Mike Piazza (1968); Luis Lopez (1970); Aaron Fultz (1973); Sun-Woo Kim (1977); Pat Neshek (1980); Jason Donald (1984); David Herndon (1985); Jordan Schafer (1986); Michael Stutes (1986); Adam Duvall (1988); Andrelton Simmons (1989); Cody Martin (1989); Chris Beck (1990); Kyle Finnegan (1991); Aaron Slegers (1992); Willy Garcia (1992); Erik Swanson (1993); and Andres Gimenez (1998).
Players Born This Day