April 19 in Yankee History

  • Newspapers reports the following day did not address what Phil Hughes may have done for teammate Curtis Granderson following his 7-6 victory over Minnesota in the Bronx on April 19, 2012, once the latter applied much of the thunder with three home runs good for four rbi’s and three runs acored in a 5-for-5 day. The visitors jumped Hughes for four first-inning tallies on rbi hits from Ryan Doumit and Danny Valencia, but the Yanks earned a split in the two teams’ four-game set by responding with six quick runs. Mark Teixeira hit a two-run shot as well.
  • The Yanks were able to split their first series in their new ballpark on April 19, 2009, but it wasn’t easy. With American Idle Carl Pavano frustrating Yankee bats and fans to distraction, he left after six with a 3-1 lead over a good but wild A.J. Burnett (just three hits into the seventh but three runs too partially thanks to seven walks, three wild pitches, and a hit by pitch), in his first home start for his new team. But Jorge Posada‘s seventh-inning two-run shot got the Yanks the lead and one of the few hits the struggling, then hurt Cody Ransom, subbing for the injured Alex Rodriguez, managed was the three-run eighth-inning double that had the Yanks winning 7-3 going away.
  • Next on this day is a recent highlight when celebrating Yankee things that happened on April 19. On that day in 2001, the Yankee Warrior Paul O’Neill got his fourth hit in a marathon game, sending Chuck Knoblauch home and beating the Blue Jays in a 6-5, 17-inning game where the pen held Toronto scoreless for the last 11 frames.
  • And April is filled with historic Yankee moments, but not all of them are happy. The 1979 season took a decidedly bad turn on April 19, when newly enshrined (now) Hall of Famer Goose Gossage and Cliff Johnson fought in the clubhouse. The resulting sprained ligament in Goose’s thumb kept him out of action until July. Not surprisingly, Cliff was gone from the Yankees before Goose’s return, but so were the Yankees’ playoff hopes.
  • Roger Maris got his MVP 1960 season with the Yanks off to a great start in his first game, on this day in Fenway Park. Two homers were among Roger’s four-for-five day at the plate, leading to four rbi’s, as the Yanks spoiled the Red Sox opener, 8-4.
  • The other half of the M&M Boys carried the action two years later, as Mickey Mantle‘s fourth-inning homer off Chuck Estrada got the Yanks’ 3-1 win over Baltimore started on April 19, 1962.
  • It was Mickey Mantle, again, who carried the Yanks to victory in the second of two in Boston on Patriot’s Day, April 19, 1954. The Mick’s first fence-clearing blast of the year off Mel Parnell carried the Bombers to a 5-0 win. They swept two as Jim McDonald had tossed a one-hitter in the earlier tilt and the visitors prevailed, 2-1.
  • As reported yesterday, the Yanks failed to build on the 13-run, second-inning hurt they had put on the Devil Rays the day before, and lost 6-2 to Hideo Nomo on April 19, 2005. Eduardo Perez did all the damage, homering twice for three runs against Randy Johnson.
  • While he wasn’t very happy about it, lefty reliever Buddy Groom honored his 2005 free agent contract with the Yankees and agreed to play with Triple-A Columbus through April, a victim of a Spring Training numbers game in the Yankee pen. It speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the Bombers’ relief pitching from the port side in ’05 that on April 19 Groom got the call to pitch in the Bronx that few expected was coming.
  • The key blow in the Yankees’ 5-3 loss to the Orioles on April 19, 1974, was Al Bumbry‘s fifth-inning, two-run, inside-the-park home run off loser Steve Kline. Ross Grimsley recorded the win.
  • On that same 1974 day, the Yankees acquired Walt “No Neck” Williams and pitchers Ed Farmer and Rick Sawyer from the Tigers for backstop Gerry Moses, who had arrived in the Bronx in the same trade that installed Graig Nettles at the Stadium’s hot corner.
  • Short in the pen in a long season just getting underway, the Yankees selected the contract of righthander Matt Daley from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on April 19, 2014.
  • The Yankees recalled righty reliever Cody Eppley from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on April 19, 2012.
  • The Yanks made some minor moves on April 19, 2009, sending the unfortunate righthander Anthony Claggett to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre following his ineffective relief of Chien-Ming Wang in a 22-4 loss the day before. Fellow righty Steven Jackson was recalled from Scranton-Wilkes Barre to take his spot on the 25-man roster.
  • The 1974-1975 work on Yankee Stadium was not the first serious renovation, as it was on April 19, 1946 that the team unveiled a ballpark lit for night games, and with the home team’s dugout switched from the third- to the first-base side. They beat the Browns 7-6 in that season’s Home Opener.
  • The Yankees activated righthander Joba Chamberlain from the Major League bereavement list once his father recovered from a life-threatening illness on April 19, 2008, and optioned reliever Edwar Ramirez to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room. Joba would pitch the ninth inning in Baltimore that night, a 6-0 Ian Kennedy start and loss.
  • It was with a creepy feeling of deja vu that Yankee fans witnessed Mariano Rivera make yet another error on an attempted sacrifice bunt in the Stadium on April 19, 2002, much like the errant throw he had made in the losing inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. But this game would have a happier ending, and Mo would get the win, as Alfonso Soriano drove home Gerald Williams with the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth in a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.
  • On April 19, 1973, new Yankee owner George Steinbrenner replaced Mike Burke with Gabe Paul as Yankees president. Unfortunately, George finally passed away in 2010.
  • In a 7-6 loss to the Red Sox in the Patriot’s Day morning game in Boston on April 19, 1928, the Yankees fell out of first place for the first time in the young season, but they came back to win the second game, 7-2.
  • Eddie Lopat got the 3-2 win over the Senators in the Yankee Stadium Opener on April 19, 1949, the same day the club unveiled a granite monument to Babe Ruth in center field, along with plaques honoring Lou Gehrig and Miller Huggins.
  • The more painful of two blows the Red Sox felt in a contest vs. the Yankees on April 19, 1945, occurred when 39-year-old Joe Cronin suffered a playing-career-ending fracture of his right leg on second base. The followup came when Mike Ryba decided the 4-3 game in the Yankees’ favor by hitting Johnny Lindell with a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth. Even though his playing days were over, Cronin would continue as Red Sox manager.
  • As a Sunday season plan holder at Yankee Stadium, I applaud the April 19, 1919 bill that legalized playing baseball on Sundays in New York City.
  • The 1902 Baltimore Orioles team that was the precursor to the one that would become the Yankees the next year in New York lost, 7-6, to Cy Young and the Red Sox in front of 15,000 fans at Boston’s Huntington Avenue Grounds on April 19.
  • It was a different game back then, as our first of two highlights featuring future of former Yankee players illustrates. When the Phillies outlasted the Boston Beeneaters (today’s Braves) 19-17 on April 19, 1900, future Yank Al Orth went the distance for the win despite all those runs allowed.
  • Former Yankee (and earlier Red Sox) hurler Carl Mays was pitching for the Giants when he beat the Phils 14-5 on this day in 1929. It was his 13th and last win versus that franchise, against whom he never lost.
  • Fans are weird beings sometimes, like on this day in 1996, when actor Charlie Sheen purchased 2,615 seats for his group of four for an Angels game in which they prevailed over the Tigers 4-3 in Anaheim. Sheen hoped he was paying for a home-run-ball piece of memorabilia with his $6,500 outlay, but no such opportunity presented itself.
  • Hall of Fame entrepreneur Bill Veeck was a lightning rod for baseball as the owner of the Indians, the Browns, and the White Sox. His exploding scoreboard began operating in Chicago on April 19, 1960.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • By virtue of catcher Rip Collins (1969)’s career-ending three games with the club, he is the only Yankee player to have died on April 19. Collins went 1-for-3 with a walk, with no homers or rbi’s in New York, but he did clear one fence and knock in 14 runs in 47 games with the 1940 Cubs.
  • “The Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant!” Russ Hodges‘s call of the Giants 1951 victory over the rival Dodgers in a playoff is one of the most singular calls in baseball broadcasting history. Hodges passed away on this day in 1971. Three righthanded pitchers are the only other players of note to have died this day. Tommy Bridges (1968) pitched for the Tigers only from 1930-1946, to a 194-138 record with 10 saves. And most of the 68 wins, 72 losses, and 20 saves Jack Wilson (1995) garnered from 1934-1942 came with the Red Sox. And most recently to have passed, Milt Pappas (2016) pitched from 1957 until 1973, mostly with Baltimore, but with NL stops with the Cubs, Reds, and Braves too. Of his 520 appearances, 465 were starts, to a 209-164 record with four saves. A threat with a stick, Milt had 20 career home runs and drove in 67 runs; he stole one base.
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    Players Born This Day

  • Of four Yankee players whose birthday is April 19, Scott Kamieniecki (1964) is both the most recent (not anymore) to have played with the team, and the guy with the most experience. I remember him fondly as a link between the bad teams and the good, as he finished his time with the Bombers early in the 1996 season. Pressed into relief in the game in Camden Yards where the visiting New Yorkers took over first place in that turnaround year, he accomplished a feat I hadn’t seen since Little League. He retired the side in his only inning, one-two-three, despite falling behind all three batters with a 3-0 count. Scott, who won 36, lost 39, and saved one in the Bronx from 1991-1996, was a 14th round amateur draft pick by the team in 1986.
  • There are four other April 19 Yankee birthdays: Third baseman Spike Owen (1961), whose two homers and 20 rbi’s for the 1993 team were certainly disappointing, was signed as a free agent in December 1992, and was traded to the Angels one year later for minor leaguer Jose Musset.
  • Righty John Wyatt (1935) was 0-2 in seven games for the 1968 squad. He played six years with the KC A’s, and two with the Red Sox, before splitting that 1968 season among Boston, New York, and Detroit; he then finished up with the A’s in Oakland in 1969.
  • And shortstop Jack Martin (1887) played his first 71 big-league games in New York, accumulating 17 rbi’s and 14 steals, then split the 1914 season between the Boston Braves and the Phillies.
  • Joining the fold in 2014, with potential to help in 2015 and going forward, righthander Bryan Mitchell (1991) turned some heads (mine, certainly) in 2014 Spring Training, and later in the Bronx. The major league numbers (0-2, high era) were not pretty from his four appearances, three of them starts, but the 12 K’s in 12 innings pitched bespoke a hard thrower who was not afraid to pitch. A 16th-round pick by the Yanks in 2009, Mitchell initially pitched well in 2015, but he struggled badly after being struck in the face by a batted ball facing the Mets, finishing the year 0-2 with a high era, but one save. Toward the end of a great 2016 Spring Training, he broke his toe covering first base. He returned at the end of the year, started five games, and went 1-2 with a 3.24 era; he is in the 2017 bullpen.
  • Other birthdays: Bucky Walters (1909), who posted a 198-160 mark with Cinncy and Philly from 1934-1950, and who played quite a bit of outfield too; third sacker Whitey Kurowski (1918), who accounted for 106 taters, 529 rbi’s, and 19 steals, all for St. Louis from 1941-1948; Rick Miller (1948); Frank Viola (1960); Brent Mayne (1968); Heath Murray (1973); Jose Cruz, Jr. (1974); Dennis Reyes (1977); George Sherrill (1977); Joe Beimel (1977); Zach Duke (1983); Curtis Thigpen (1983); Alberto Callaspo (1983); Joe Mauer (1983); Ambiorix Burgos (1984); Jackie Bradley (1990); and Brian Flynn (1990).