Nothing like a home opener, and April 10, 2017, was no different. It was warm and sunny, and the Yanks beat the Rays 8-1. Michael Pineda could hardly have pitched better: 20 of 25 first-pitch strikes through 7.67 dominant frames, 11 K’s and no walks, and just two hits, the latter a Logan Morrison home run on Mike’s 93rd — and last — pitch. By then the home team led 3-0 on a Jacoby Ellsbury rbi double, an Aaron Judge home run (the buzz began!), and a Chase Headley bomb as well. The Bombers put it away with a five-run eighth featuring a Matt Holliday double, Chris Carter triple, and Starlin Castro home run. Willie Randolph, Tino Martinez, and Joe Torre tossed out ceremonial first pitches in front of 47,000 delirious fans. Baseball was back!
A heartbreaking loss on April 10, 2015, had me and many fans consoling ourselves with the (quite true, as it turned out) observation that, as opposed to the lifeless ’14 squad, the new season’s team was resilient, flashing a gutsy determination to come back from most deficits, but the ordeal was just so long that you had to be depressed at the outcome. Getting off the mat three times, the Yanks rallied to tie the Red Sox 3-3 on a two-out, bottom-of-the ninth Chase Headley home run, then extended the game to 4-4 with a Mark Teixeira bomb with one down in the 16th, and again on a one-out rbi double by Carlos Beltran in the 18th, 5-5. But a single, stolen base, John Ryan Murphy passed ball, and Mookie Betts sac fly was one deficit too many, and the Bombers fell, 6-5, in 19 innings, a seven-hour ordeal. Soon to be released long man Esmil Rogers allowed all three runs in extra innings and took the loss, but you had to feel for the guy, who had pitched 2.33 innings the night before, and another 4.67 in this one.
Motor City Meets the Bronx! On April 10, 1999, Smokey Robinson sang the National Anthem in Yankee Stadium before a game where the Bombers played host to the Tigers. Singleton jacks by Chili Davis and Scott Brosius and Derek Jeter‘s two-run triple in the game that followed complemented Roger Clemens‘s three-hit, eight-strike out pitching, and Jeff Nelson closed the 5-0 win.
On April 10, 1913, the Yankees played their first official game with that team name, as they were formerly known as the Highlanders until that time. They were the opponents on Opening Day in Washington, as President Woodrow Wilson threw out the first pitch, and Walter Johnson beat the visiting New York club 2-1.
During an exhibition game in Ebbets Field on April 10, 1947, it was announced that Jackie Robinson would “report immediately.” Baseball’s color line was about to be broken.
Mickey Mantle homered, along with teammates Roger Maris and Bill Skowron, in a come-from-behind Opening Day win over Baltimore, 7-6, on this day in 1962. The tater was Mantle’s 375th of his career.
And a year later Mickey Mantle homered yet again on April 10, 1963, in a 5-3 win over Kansas City. It was a bitter cold day and the Yanks would lose both starter Bill Stafford and The Mick to muscle injuries that day.
Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts continued to handle Yankee pitching and the Orioles contributed to the Yankee poor start in a 6-2 Baltimore win in Yankee Stadium on April 10, 2005. Rodrigo Lopez bested Carl Pavano while allowing six singles over eight, and Roberts walked, homered, and scored twice.
Things looked pretty bleak on Opening Day in the Bronx on April 10, 1998. David Cone had nothing and the Yanks trailed the A’s, 12-5, in the fourth. But Bernie Williams would score four times without ever hitting the ball out of the infield, and Tino Martinez scored four and drove in five on a homer, a double, and a single. Young Mike Buddie would get the “W” in the 17-13 record-setting win.
On April 10, 1976, Yankee reliever Dave Pagan, failing to hear first baseman Chris Chambliss‘s time-out call, delivered a ninth-inning pitch to the Brewers’ Don Money, who hit it for a grand slam and an apparent Milwaukee 10-9 win. The time-out nullified the homer, Money hit a sac fly on the subsequent pitch, and the Yanks prevailed, 9-7.
The Yanks traded Ron Davis and Greg Gagne to the Twins for Roy Smalley on this day in 1982.
It was a particularly painful Yankee loss that took place in Arlington Stadium on April 10, 1980. In the 12th inning of a game where Ron Guidry and Jon Matlack had put up zeroes for nine, Goose Gossage relieved in the 12th with Mickey Rivers on third and Richie Zisk at the plate. If you’ve been reading this history for the last few days, you know that the Zisk mention is not a happy one. Goose’s first offering was a game-losing wild pitch.
On April 10, 1968, rookie Yankee catcher Frank Fernandez homered in Mel Stottlemyre‘s tight 1-0 victory over George Brunet of the Cal Angels. Mel allowed but four hits on the day; George only three.
A year later, the two homers by young Frank Fernandez (one of them a grand slam) weren’t enough as Frank Howard blasted two off Fritz Peterson in Washington’s 9-6 win.
Scott Sanderson pitched the Bombers to a one-hit, 4-0 win over the Tigers in his first ever Yankee appearance on April 10, 1991.
It was the season opener in the nation’s capital on April 10, 1967, but the Yanks showed no respect. Mel Stottlemyre allowed but two hits in the 8-0 win, and the Yanks pounded Pete Richert for seven runs in the third frame.
The Yanks fell victim to Dave Stieb‘s third one-hitter in four starts (dating back to the September before) on April 10, 1989, as they fell to the Blue Jays, 8-0. Jamie Quirk‘s fifth-inning single was the Yanks’ only safety.
Lefty-hitting first baseman Dick Kryhoski (2007)’s 54-game 1949 debut in the Bronx qualifies him as the lone Yankee player to have died April 10. After reaching one fence and driving in 27 that year, Kryhoski increased those numbers to 45 and 231 playing from 1950-1955, mostly with the Tigers and the Browns.
Righty Tom Seaton (1940) posted a 93-65 mark with 11 saves from 1912-1917 with the Federal League’s Tip-Top’s and Pepper, and the Phillies and the Cubs. Mike Griffin (1908), the first of two lefty-hitting outfielders to pass this day, hit 42 long balls good for 719 rbi’s from 1887-1898, mostly with the Bridegrooms; and Ginger Beaumont (1956) hit 39 home runs with 617 rbi’s with the Pirates and Cubs from 1889-1910. Second baseman Fred Pfeffer (1932) cleared 94 fences good for 1,109 rbi’s from 1882-1897, playing with several teams including the White Stockings, the Colonels, and the Colts. And shortstop Billy Myers (1995) played mostly with the Cubs from 1935-1941; he hit 45 long balls and drove in 243.
Players Who Have Died This Day
A reverse chronological approach to former Yankees whose birthday is April 10 would start with Al Reyes (1971); and follow with Mike Humphreys (1967); Ken Griffey, Sr. (1950); Bob Watson (1946); and Bob McGraw (1895). Reyes pitched to no record in 13 games for the 2003 Yankees; his 10-year record is 15-8 with three saves.
Humphreys hit a homer with nine rbi’s and four steals once he was retrieved from the Padres for free-swinging Oscar Azocar in 1991. Griffey hit 49 dingers with 251 rbi’s for the Yanks in five seasons after he was acquired from the Reds for Freddie Toliver in 1981. The Yanks traded Griff with Andre Robertson to the Braves for Claudell Washington and Paul Zuvella in June 1986.
Watson contributed 19 taters and 83 rbi’s to the cause from 1980-1982 and served as GM in the glorious 1996 Championship season. The Yanks inked Watson as a free agent in November 1979; they traded him to the Atlanta Braves for minor-leaguer Scott Patterson in April 1982.
McGraw won one game and lost two for the Bombers once he got his start in 1917, until he was traded to the Red Sox for the infamous Carl Mays in 1919. McGraw appeared in nine games for New York, three of them starts.
Outfielder Chris Dickerson (1982) joins this list by what was the most tenuous of links, as he was selected by the Yankees in the 32nd round of the 2000 amateur draft, but did not sign. He did sign with the Reds after they selected him in the sixteenth round in 2003, and he hit six home runs with 15 rbi’s playing 31 games in the Cincinnati outfield in 2008. But in 2011, Dickerson finally joined the Yanks in a trade where the Bombers sent hurler Sergio Mitre to Milwaukee to get him. Chris was welcomed to the Yankee roster having amassed eight home runs and 35 rbi’s in 173 games over three years, then smacked a home run with seven rbi’s serving mostly as a defensive replacement in Pinstripes in 60 games in 2011. Just when the Yankee outfield had some holes with Brett Gardner‘s yearlong injury in 2012, Dickerson was also injured much of the time.
Yet another tenuous connection to this list goes to infielder Jonathan Diaz (1985) by virtue of the extended play he received in 2016 Spring Training in Tampa following the five games with Boston and 30 with Toronto over the previous three seasons before New York signed him as a free agent on New Year’s Eve, 2015. Jonathan drove in six runs and scored six during the aforementioned 35 big-league games, but hit at a paltry .145 over 65 at bats, which tells you that he was often in games just for his defense.
Some non-Yankee birthdays of note: Hall of Fame Giants outfielder Royce Youngs (1897); Detroit hurler Frank Lary (1930), known as “The Yankee Killer” and rightfully so; former Dodger and TV star Chuck Connors (1921); Wes Stock (1934); Joe Gibbon (1935); Leroy Stanton (1946); Lee Lacy (1948); Marvin Freeman (1963); Mike Devereaux (1963); Rob Butler (1970); Mike Lincoln (1975); Andre Ethier (1982); Clayton Mortenson (1985); Corey Kluber (1986); Chris Heston (1988); lefthander Chris Dwyer (1988), who was drafted by the Yankees in 2008 but did not sign with them, joining the Royals a year later; and Charley Culberson (1989).
Players Born This Day