Whistle a Happy Tune

Bronx, N.Y., October 1, 2017; Toronto 2, Yankees 1 — The Yankees dropped a game that didn’t really matter Sunday afternoon while, in the silliest way possible, won one too. With their Wild Card position already settled, they lost 2-1 to the visiting Blue Jays, even though four pinstriped hurlers allowed but two hits. On the other hand, for those of us trying to find things that mattered about the 2017 season’s final day, consider this: With all 15 games starting at roughly the same time, the one in the Bronx was over first. Continue reading

October 1 in Yankee History

  • It sounds memorable enough to simply call it the 240th home run of the Yankees’ record-breaking 1961 season. But it was “61 in 61,” and the greatest significance of Roger Maris‘s 61st home run of that season off Boston’s Tracy Stallard on October 1 was that it finally put an end to the Yankee right fielder’s tortured race to surpass Babe Ruth‘s 1927 record. And it was “big” in another way too, the only score in a 1-0 Yankee win. All these many years later, with contested numbers, the number is bigger than ever. Continue reading
  • Bang a Gong

    Bronx, N.Y., September 30, 2017; Yankees 2, Toronto 1 — In a season expected to be a stepping stone to future success, this 2017 Yankee team surprised friend and foe alike, copping their 91st victory in a 2-1 win over visiting Toronto Saturday afternoon, with one game to go. That’s a seven-game improvement over the 2016 team’s win total of 84, the same number second Wild Card Minnesota had when today’s action began. Baseball being baseball, however, that’s no guarantee the Bombers will best the Twins in the WC game Tuesday night, a do-or-die affair that will fray the nerves of every fan. Continue reading

    September 30 in Yankee History

  • Babe Ruth gets top billing in a September 30 Yankee history column. He stroked legendary home run no. 60 off Tom Zachary this day in 1927, breaking a 2-2 tie with the Senators and carrying the Yankees to a 4-2 victory. Amazingly, the game also featured the last appearance of early-century pitching phenom Walter Johnson, winner of 417 career games. Johnson pinch-hit for Zachary and flied out to Ruth. Continue reading
  • Masahiro’s Grand Game

    Bronx, N.Y., September 29, 2017; Yankees 4, Toronto 0 — With the Yankees’ hopes of winning the AL East division title hanging by the thinnest of threads, one-time ace Masahiro Tanaka posted a truly unique first inning Friday afternoon. He struck out the side, but it wasn’t on nine straight pitches, something that would have piqued the attention of both statheads and history buffs alike. But what would set this outing apart was that none of the nine strikes (of 13 pitches) hit a bat, a trend that would coninue through a delightful, cool afternoon in the Bronx. Continue reading

    September 29 in Yankee History

  • It was a bittersweet day in the Bronx on September 29, 2016, as the Yankee 5-1 victory over Boston both completed a three-game sweep, and prevented the Red Sox from celebrating clinching the AL East crown on our team’s field for the second straight day. On the down side (at least from my perspective, but apparently not Mariano Rivera‘s, as he spoke for the retiring DH), David Ortiz was honored, with some giving him a standing ovation. But more to the point, at 9:45 (39 minutes before our game would be completed) the scoreboard flashed the update that Baltimore had won their game, making certain that the Yankees would not be participating in postseason play. Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks doubles knocked in two of the runs, and CC Sabathia pitched into the eighth to get the win. Continue reading
  • September 28 in Yankee History

  • Brian Mitchell and Boston’s Clay Buccholz put up zeroes through seven innings in a September 28, 2016, battle in Yankee Stadium, but things looked bleak when the Red Sox plated three in the eighth on an error and Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts doubles. Closer Craig Kimbrell came on in the ninth to not only finish the win, but also give the visitors the opportunity to celebrate clinching the AL East title on the Stadium field. But Brett Gardner reached on a single, and Kimbrell walked the next three to force in a run. Once he was replaced by Joe Kelly, things looked bad again when the hard thrower got two quick outs on six pitches. But then in the defining moment of his final year, the retiring Mark Teixeira sent what was left of 35,000 fans dancing and cheering like we had just won the World Series with a grand slam home run to right field, 5-3 Yankees! Continue reading
  • September 27 in Yankee History

  • Surprisingly, journeyman righty Paul Byrd delayed the almost relentless Yankee march to the 2009 AL East title for almost six innings in a rain-soaked Yankee Stadium on September 27, 2009, against a game Andy Pettitte who, because he completed six innings, got the win. After Byrd allowed two, two-out singles in the sixth, Hideki Matsui singled in two runs three pitches after a Takashi Saito wild pitch to give the Bombers a 3-2 lead. Mark Teixeira homered for the final run in the 4-2 win in the eighth, Melky Cabrera went yard earlier, and the Yanks earned the division crown at exactly 5:00 pm New York time. Continue reading
  • September 26 in Yankee History

  • New Supreme Court Justice, child of the Bronx, and Yankee fan Sonia Sotomayor threw out the first pitch in Yankee Stadium on September 26, 2009, and in the game that followed, the superb CC Sabathia reduced the Bombers’ magic number to clinch the AL East title to one with a 3-0 win over Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox. Robbie Cano broke a scoreless duel with a sixth-inning home run, and Johnny Damon singled in two in the eighth, but not until after pinch runner Brett Gardner escaped a rundown between home and third on a short almost wild pitch by diving back into third under an errant throw. Continue reading
  • A Bronx Prince

    Bronx, N.Y., September 25, 2017; Yankees 11, Kansas City 3 — In a sudden rash of power hitting, Aaron Judge has recaptured the attention of all of baseball, as his two home runs in an 11-3 win over Kansas City Monday afternoon, and four long balls in two days, have vaulted him to the all-time rookie season record of 50. The mark seemed out of reach a few weeks ago, but the young slugger has rediscovered his mojo. And he was not alone in his super shenanigans, as fellow young’uns Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird went yard as well. Continue reading