Following a so-so 2-4 mark on their season-opening road trip, the 2017 Yankees first started to open eyes when they came home and had an 8-1 homestand. The fourth of seven straight wins came on April 14, a 4-3 decision against St. Louis. Once Masahiro Tanaka was reached for a first-inning two-run home run by Matt Carpenter, a two-run shot by Starlin Castro equaled matters right away. Austin Romine‘s second-inning blast the other way to right field off Michael Wacha, the first of just two by the backup Yankee catcher (starting for the injured Gary Sanchez) on the year, gave New York a lead they would not relinquish. Dellin Betances struck out the side around a walk in the eighth, but the Cards got the tying run to third base in the ninth before Aroldis Chapman closed it out.
Perhaps ballplayers don’t dread ESPN Sunday night games as much as fans do, because the Yanks and Orioles played a great pitchers’ duel on April 14, 2013, to a 3-0 final win for the home team. Baltimore lefty Wei-Yin Chen allowed just six hits, but the one to Brett Gardner in the fifth hit the right field foul pole, and capped the only scoring half inning of the night. But the star of this one was righthander Hiroki Kuroda, who scattered five singles and no walks to go the nine-inning distance on 113 pitches. Gathering 18 ground-ball outs, Hiroki needed just five strike outs, three of them by O’s slugger Chris Davis.
Jorge Posada continued to show that his presumptive last season in Pinstripes would have its moments when he homered in the ninth inning in Yankee Stadium on April 14, 2011, tying the game against the Orioles 5-5 and sending it into extra innings. Showing the depleted fast ball that dogged his whole season, Phil Hughes gave up all five runs, but rbi’s by Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Russell Martin got it close. And in the 10th inning, Nick Swisher drove Tex in with a sac fly for the first celebratory pie of 2011.
April 14 is a good day to pay tribute to former Yankee All Star catcher Elston Howard. It was on this day in 1955 that he became the first black to wear the Yankee Pinstripes. He singled in his first at bat as the Yanks beat the Red Sox, 8-4.
Then on this day in 1967, young Red Sox hurler Bill Rohr threw no-hit ball at the Yanks for 8.7 innings in Yankee Stadium in his major league debut. Elston Howard singled on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the ninth to rescue the Yanks from the no-no, although they did fall 3-0.
Righthander Phil Hughes made his first 2012 Yankee Stadium start a stinker by giving up home runs to Chris Iannetta and Howie Kendrick and an Albert Pujols double for six runs in a 7-1 loss to Anaheim. Current new Yankee Vernon Wells homered off David Phelps, making his Yankee Stadium debut, for the last run by the visitors.
Ricky Ledee had one of those nights on April 14, 2000, everyone thought he was capable of, as he doubled twice, walked three times, scored two runs, and knocked in one. Roger Clemens survived the 7-5 win over the Royals, and Jorge Posada got the Yanks going with a two-run, second-inning tater.
Hard-luck starter Lefty Gomez lost his second consecutive Opening Day 1-0 game when Bobo Newsom of the Washington Nationals bested him, allowing but four hits in Griffith Stadium on this day in 1936.
If you were trying to verify by the calendar that the 27-time Champs didn’t make it to their first World Series until 1921, and win one until two seasons later, April 14 is not the day to check; it was good to the New Yorkers so many years ago. In 1910, they tied the Red Sox, 4-4, in 14 innings with Hippo Vaughn going the distance.
Jack Chesbro threw a six-hitter and homered in an 8-2 win over the Boston Pilgrims on April 14, 1904. On a chilly day in New York’s Hilltop Park, the Highlanders pounced on Cy Young for five runs in the first inning. Then two years later, Chesbro outlasted the immortal Young and the same club in a 2-1 win in 1906. They played to a 1-1 tie through 11, and New York plated an unearned run in the 12th.
On April 14, 1905, the Highlanders won yet again, with Jack Chesbro beating Washington, 4-2.
Finally the run of early Highlander April 14 wins culminates with a 1-0, 12-inning shutout of the A’s in 1908 behind Slow Joe Doyle. Nick Carter matched Doyle through 11, and Highlander right fielder Jack Coombs drove in Red Kleinow to win it. On that same day Boston’s AL team played their first game using the name “Red Sox.”
He arrived in the Bronx with some fanfare coming off the Yankee victory over the Phillies (for whom he pitched) in the World Series in 2009, but when the Yankees assigned newly signed righthander Chan Ho Park to the 15-day disabled list on April 14, 2010, it was the first of several signs this partnership would not work out. Park would be released a few months later.
The Yanks released first baseman Nick Etten and bullpen stalwart Johnny Murphy on April 14, 1947. Ten years earlier, a judge freed Tommy Henrich from his contract with Cleveland, and he signed with the Bombers four days later. He became known as “Old Reliable,” and would star in the Bronx for 11 seasons, blasting 183 roundtrippers with 795 rbi’s during that time.
Joe McCarthy managed his first Yankee regular-season game on April 14, 1931, a 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.
On hand as an insurance policy they did not end up needing, the Yankees optioned righthander Shane Greene back to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on April 14, 2014.
There was concern all around when the Yankees placed righty Joba Chamberlain on the Major League bereavement list on April 14, 2008, with his father doing quite poorly, but thankfully he would recover. Also, infielder Wilson Betemit was placed on the 15-day disabled list with conjunctivitis. Their spots were filled by recalling catcher Chad Moeller and righthander Jonathan Albaladejo from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Finally, righty hurler Humberto Sanchez was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
The big blow in the Yanks’ 11-8 victory over the Blue Jays on April 14, 2003, was Hideki Matsui‘s three-run jack in the sixth, but the game was more about poor pitching than good hitting. Nineteen walks were issued, and the two teams amassed 95 plate appearances between them in a nine-inning game.
President Taft became the first president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Opening Day on April 14, 1910. He attended a lot of games, and would have thrown out the first pitch on April 14 in 1912, but he was dealing with the sinking of the Titanic, which occurred on that same date.
Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles hit four home runs in a doubleheader split with the Indians (his former team) on April 14, 1974. The New Yorkers took the opener 9-5, then fell in the nightcap 9-6. Nettles would tie the major league record with 11 April home runs that year.
On this day in 1968, the Yanks lost to Minnesota 4-3, and lost Joe Pepitone with a fractured elbow.
Yankee leadoff batter Chuck Knoblauch wasted no time on April 14, 1999, driving Scott Erickson‘s first pitch over the short porch in right for a 1-1 tie. He followed with four consecutive singles, scored a second run and drove in another one in a 14-7 win over the Orioles.
After President Woodrow Wilson threw out the first pitch in the Washington Opener on April 14, 1915, Walter Johnson held the Yankees to two singles and three walks, all by Andy High, who stole three bases too. The Senators did all their scoring against Yankee starter Jack Warhop in their 7-0 win.
White Sox hurler Ed Cicotte pitched an 11-0 no-hitter over the St. Louis Browns on April 14, 1917.
The only April 14 highlight featuring a future Yankee player we’ll share this day is the 6-2 six-hitter future Pinstriped bullpenner Lindy McDaniel used to beat the Dodgers in their home opener in 1959, their second year in L.A. The magic that ensued from the three-team New York would never happen again.
Longtime (1938-1946) Yankee second baseman Joe Gordon (1978), who posthumously made the Hall of Fame roster in 2008, is clearly the more famous of two Yankee players to have died April 14. Joe hit 153 long balls with 617 rbi’s in debuting with the Bombers, numbers he increased to 253 and 975 after playing for the Indians from 1947 through 1950. Hurler Frank Kitson (1930) ended his 1898-1907 career pitching 12 games (four starts) for the 1907 Highlanders; he went 4-0-0. Kitson’s overall 128-117 mark with eight saves was earned largely with the Dodgers, the Tigers, the Senators, and the Orioles.
Cleveland’s Hall of Fame hurler Addie Joss died unexpectedly from tubercular meningitis on April 14, 1911. He compiled a career era of just 1.88 over nine seasons, with a 160-97-5 record. And he is rightly grouped in this category with Hall of Fame first baseman Cap Anson (1922), who cleared 97 fences and drove in 1,879 runs with the White Stockings and the Colts from 1876-1897. Two righthanded pitchers and two outfielders of note also passed this day. Cy Falkenberg (1961) posted most of his 130-123 mark with eight saves from 1903-1917 with Cleveland and Washington; while Al Benton (1968) won 98, lost 88, and saved 66 largely with Detroit from 1934-1952. The majority of the 30 long balls good for 517 rbi’s outfielder Ned Hanlon (1937) hit from 1880-1892 came with the Wolverines; and switch-hitting Danny Moeller (1951) inflicted most of his damage with one club too, with most of the 15 homers with 192 rbi’s from 1907-1908 and from 1912-1916 coming with Washington.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Before David Justice (1966) arrived in New York via a June 2000 trade with the Indians for Ricky Ledee, Jake Westbrook, and Zach Day, the only Pinstriper born April 14 who actually played in the Bronx was second baseman Kal Segrist (1931). Kal drove in one run in 13 games with the 1952 club. Justice accounted for 38 taters with 111 rbi’s for the Yanks in a season and a half until he was sent to the Mets for Robin Ventura in December 2001. Justice reached 305 fences good for 1,017 rbi’s in 14 big-league seasons, and he won a Series-clinching 1-0 game for the Braves with a home run in 1995.
Other birthdaying players with a Yankee connection include Brad Ausmus (1969), a 1987 Bomber draft pick whom they lost to Colorado in the 1992 expansion draft — he skippers Detroit in 2014; and righty Chris Welsh (1966), who was drafted by the Bronx club 10 years before Ausmus. Welsh, who posted a 22-31 mark in five big-league seasons, was traded with Ruppert Jones, Joe Lefebvre, and Tim Lollar to the Padres for Jerry Mumphrey and John Pacella in 1981. Ausmus has stroked 70-plus homers with almost 600 rbi’s in multiple seasons with San Diego, the Tigers, and most notably with the Astros.
With the 2006 season, we add a player to the Yankee April 14 birthdays. Signed as a free agent over last offseason, righty reliever Kyle Farnsworth (1976) took over Tom Gordon‘s place as setup man to Mariano Rivera. Playing with an often struggling team, Farnsworth posted a 22-37 record with four saves with the Cubs from 1999 through 2004. But in Detroit and Atlanta in 2005, Kyle went 1-1 with 16 saves. He posted a 3-6 Yankee mark in 2006, with six saves, and slipped to 1-1 with no saves in ’07. He performed better under new manager Joe Girardi in 2008 until he was traded late for Ivan Rodriguez.
Stretching the Bronx connection a bit further, there is veteran hurler Greg Maddux (1966), who verbally agreed to a Yankee contract and then reneged and signed with the Braves in 1993; and lefty Carlos Perez (1966), whose brothers Melido Perez and Pascual Perez (both righties) pitched in Pinstripes.
Due to his being signed as a Yankee free agent in January 2014, and his solid work in Tampa in March, we’ll add Chris Leroux (1984) to the Yankee April 14 list, even though it’s unlikely he’ll head North initially with this team. Drafted in 2005 by the Marlins, Chris has pitched 23 games for them and 24 for the Pirates since, to a 1-2 record with no saves. He pitched in two games for the Yanks in 2014 to a high era and an 0-1 record, was released, and signed with Milwaukee in January, 2015.
The controversial 4,000-hit man Pete Rose (1941) leads the list of other April 14 birthdays. Also: Joe Lahoud (1947); Greg Myers (1966); Mike Trombley (1967); Jesse Levis (1968); Steve Avery (1970); Gregg Zaun (1971); Paul Hoover (1976); John Van Benschoten (1980); Josh Whitesell (1982); Jeff Fiorentino (1983); Adam Russell (1983); Cory Gearrin (1986); Jacob Barnes (1990); and Brandon Finnegan (1993).
Players Born This Day