April 27, 1947, was Babe Ruth Day in all major league parks. It’s ironic, and anticlimactic, that the Yanks were shut out, 1-0, on the day all of baseball honored the greatest power hitter there ever was. The Babe’s words to the 58,339 in attendance at Yankee Stadium were broadcast throughout the country and into every major league park. Let’s face it. The man is the greatest icon in modern American sport, and always will be.
The Yankees survived a war of attrition with the Tigers in Yankee Stadium on April 27, 2012, 7-6, in a game started by Justin Verlander and Ivan Nova. Catcher Russell Martin hit a two-run bomb, and Alex Rodriguez passed Bernie Williams on the all-time Yankee home run list with his 288th. A Mark Teixeira eighth-inning sac fly tied the game, and the Yanks, strangely, prevailed in the bottom of the ninth when Derek Jeter walked and scored on three willd pitches from reliever Brayan Villareal.
The Scoreboard at Yankee Stadium revealed that to that point Derek Jeter‘s teams had a 1,391-922-2 record as the home team took the field trying to avoid three straight losses at the hands of the White Sox on April 27, 2011. And Robinson Cano immediately took care of business with a three-run home run in the first inning off Mark Buehrle. Veteran righty Bartolo Colon took care of the rest, holding the Chisox to one run over eight innings in a 3-1 Yankee victory.
Surviving a four-run Yankee outburst on April 27, 2004, Oakland A’s righty Tim Hudson turned an 8-4 lead over to his bullpen in the eighth inning. But the first six Yankees up reached and scored in a 10-8 Yankee win in Yankee Stadium. Ruben Sierra plated the winner with a two-run double pinch-hitting for Miguel Cairo.
Culminating a seven-game losing streak that had begun with a three-game sweep in Fenway Park the week before, the Yanks and Andy Pettitte fell 11-4 to the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium on April 27, 2007. Adding to the frustration was that despite another uneven performance from Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Bombers failed to beat him again. The home team took a 4-2 lead once the Japanese import walked the bases loaded with none down in the fourth inning, but Pettitte and the pen failed to hold Boston going forward.
A salute to former Yankee (and current Chicago Cubs) lefthander Ted Lilly follows in our April 27 highlights. This was the day in 2002 that the hard-luck starter did not give up a hit until Desi Relaford‘s eighth-inning single in Seattle, and that lone hit beat him and the Yankees in a 1-0 loss.
I like to sprinkle a few weird things I’ve seen myself in with the baseball data recorded for posterity. But first I’ll report that on this day in 2001, Orlando “el duque” Hernandez outdueled Oakland lefty Mark Mulder 3-2 on a pleasant Friday night in the Bronx. The A’s took the lead on a Miguel Tejada homer, but rbi singles by Scott Brosius and Derek Jeter and a long home run by Tino Martinez carried the day. Although it had no effect on the outcome of the game, in the seventh inning someone threw a ball from the left field tier at Derek Jeter as Mike Stanton was striking out the A’s Terrence Long.
The Yanks are as willing to throw a party in their ballpark as anyone, but it almost cost them a game on April 27, 2006, when Tampa’s Joey Gathright was in celebrating his 25th birthday (see below). While lefty Mark Hendrickson was mesmerizing Yankee bats, Gathright stole a first-inning home run off the bat of Gary Sheffield and gave the Rays a 1-0, fifth-inning lead with an rbi double. But Shawn Chacon pitched well too, and the Yanks came from behind to win 4-1 on rbi doubles by Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter.
It seemed to me that no team suffered more from the teaming of the two Robinson’s in Baltimore than the Yanks. April 27, 1969, is a case in point as Frank Robinson drove in eight tallies with two taters and four singles and the Orioles swept the Yanks in two, 6-0 and 10-5.
Not only did the Yankees beat the Philadelphia A’s 9-8 on April 17, 1935, they did so after pulling off a triple play in the first inning.
Jeff Weaver and Chan Ho Park struggled to a 4-4 tie after four innings in Yankee Stadium on April 27, 2003. But Weaver allowed singles to the first four Rangers batters in the fifth and finished his day by hitting Carl Everett with an 0-2 pitch in a 10-6 Texas win. Weaver took the loss that night, but Park pitches for the Yanks in 2010.
When Mike Mussina fell 5-1 to the Angels on April 27, 2005, leadoff hits by no. three hitter Vladimir Guerrerro led to all the damage. He scored on a three-run Steve Finley home run in the fourth, and then again on a Garret Anderson two-run dinger two frames later. Alex Rodriguez accounted for the Yankee run with a homer of his own.
To experience truly joyous seasons, your team needs to come back from adversity. Yankee fans were optimistic in 1996 after having finished the strike-shortened 1994 season with the best record in the AL and having just tasted postseason play against Seattle in 1995 after a long drought. But things looked bleak when staff ace David Cone had to miss his April 27 start against the Twins after experiencing numbness in his fingers. Although Doc Gooden pitched well in his stead, the bullpen imploded, with Bob Wickman allowing four runs in the 10th inning in an 8-6 loss.
Jimmy Key held the Cal Angels to Gary DiSarcina‘s sixth-inning single in a 5-0, one-hit shutout of the West Coast club on April 27, 1993.
On April 27, 1979, the Yanks succumbed to pinch home runs in the eighth inning by Seattle’s Dan Meyer and Bob Stinson, losing 6-5.
Needing more help in the rotation than in the pen due to injury, the Yanks returned right bullpenner Colter Bean to Columbus and called up Chien-Ming Wang on April 27, 2005. Bean had pitched two innings in one game, allowing a run on a hit and two walks; he notched two strike outs as well.
A three-run pinch-hit homer by Frank Crosetti in the eighth inning wasn’t enough, and the Yanks fell 6-4 to the Senators on April 27, 1945. Washington’s George Myatt walked, stroked four hits, stole three bases, scored twice, and knocked in two to lead the way.
Current all-time home run leader (?) Henry Aaron tied Babe Ruth‘s rbi mark of 2,209 (Ruth’s total has since been revised to 2,213) with a double off Dick Tidrow in the first of two between the Brewers and Yanks on this day in 1975. Milwaukee won that tilt 7-0 but the Bombers bounced back to take the finale, winning 10-1.
Two big Yankee trades took place on this day in the 70s. The New Yorkers sent pitcher Dock Ellis, infielder Marty Perez, and outfielder Larry Murray to the A’s for pitcher Mike Torrez in 1977. Mike pitched just the remainder of that year in New York, but he posted a 14-12 win/loss record and won two games in the World Series against the Dodgers. Three years earlier, on April 27, 1974, Fritz Peterson, Steve Kline and two other pitchers were shipped to Cleveland for Chris Chambliss, reliever Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw (see birthdays below).
The Highlanders suffered their first ever shutout as they fell to the Philadelphia A’s 6-0 on this day in 1903.
On April 27, 1918, both a nine-game winning streak for the Giants and a nine-game losing streak for the Dodgers came to an end. With the two playing each other in the season’s 10th game, Brooklyn cashed in a 5-3 victory.
Boston Brave Jim Tobin not only no-hit the Dodgers on this day in 1944, he walked Paul Waner to lead off the game, retired the next 26 batters, walked Waner again, and then got out no. 27. Other April 27 no-hitters were turned in by Tom Phoebus of the Orioles over the Red Sox in 1968; KC Royal rookie Steve Busby against the Tigers, 3-0, in 1973; and Minnesota’s Scott Erickson turned the trick on the Brewers by a 6-0 score in 1994. And Derek Lowe, then of the Red Sox, held Tampa Bay hitless in a 10-0 win on April 27, 2002.
Los Angeles was taken by storm by a 20-year-old rookie in 1981. And Fernando Valenzuela pitched his fourth shutout in five starts in a 5-0 win over the Giants on April 27 of that year.
Highlights in April 27 news items concerning future or former Yankee players include the 1,300th stolen base of Rickey Henderson‘s career on this day in 1999, in a 6-2 Mets loss to the Padres. Also former Yankee DH Don Baylor was playing for Boston when he stroked the 2,000th hit on his resume with a single off Curt Young in a 5-2 Red Sox loss to the A’s on April 27, 1987.
It seems unlikely looking back, but when Nolan Ryan notched his 3,509th strike out on April 27, 1983, to move past Walter Johnson all time, few expected him to exceed the number Steve Carlton would achieve when all was said and done. And Carlton would have the lead at the end of that season. Ryan, of course, easily outdistanced “Lefty” in the years that followed.
NBA players Gene Conley and Dave DeBusschere played in the same major league baseball game on this day in 1963. Eventual Boston Celtic Conley threw four innings in Boston’s 9-5 win over the White Sox, for whom future New York Knick DeBusschere would throw two-thirds of an inning.
Catcher Truck Hannah (1982), who played only with the Yankees from 1918-1920, was the only Pinstriper to have died on April 27 until Bill “Moose” Skowron passed in 2012. Truck hit five home runs with 66 rbi’s during his time. Moose played first base from 1954-1962, hitting 175 home runs with 672 rbi’s. Those numbers grew to 211/888 playing from 1963-1967, mostly with the White Sox.
There are two right-handed pitchers and a third baseman among non-Yankee players to have passed this day. Tommy Thomas (1988) pitched mostly for the White Sox and Senators from 1926-1937 to a 117-128 record with 12 saves; and Lawrence Brooks (2000) won 69, lost 62, and saved 22 from 1954-1960, most of it pitching for the Reds. Finally, third sacker Harlond Clift reached 178 fences good for 829 rbi’s from 1934-1945, playing 10 years with the Browns and two with the Senators.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Four guys who played for the Yankees were born on April 27. Lefty-hitting Hall of Fame outfielder Enos “Country” Slaughter (1916) stroked most of his 169 homers and 1,304 rbi’s with St. Louis from 1938-1953, but he poked 16 taters and drove in 101 with the Yanks in two tours between 1954 and 1959. The Yanks got Slaughter from St. Louis for Bill Virdon, Mel Wright, and minor-leaguer Emil Tellinger in 1954, and sent him with Johnny Sain to Kansas City for Sonny Dixon and cash in May 1955.
Lefthander Bob MacDonald (1965) went 1-1 in 33 games with the 1995 club and pitched three years with the Blue Jays, one with the Tigers, and finished up in one with the Mets. McDonald, whose career mark was 8-9 with three saves, was signed by the Yanks as a free agent in February 1995, and released that October.
The only 46 games catcher Bob Williams (1884) ever played were with the Yanks from 1911-1913; he drove in 11 runs and stole one base. And lefty-hitting outfielder Orth Collins (1880), who went 6-for-17 while playing five games in the Yankee outfield in 1904, also pitched and played the field for eight games with the 1909 Senators.
Willie Upshaw (1957) was a 1975 draft pick by the Yankees in the fifth round before being plucked by the Blue Jays in 1977 in the rule-V draft; he never played for the Yanks. And similarly, outfielder Kite Thomas (1923) hit seven home runs with 32 rbi’s with the ’52-’53 A’s and ’53 Senators. Philly had selected him from the Yanks in the 1951 rule-V draft.
Other birthdays: Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby (1896), who blasted 301 homers with 1,584 rbi’s from 1915-1937, mostly with St. Louis; Brian Giles (1960); Tony Eusebio (1967); Patrick Lennon (1968); Chad Zerbe (1972); Frank Catalanotto (1974); Chris Carpenter (1975); Pedro Feliz (1975); Orber Moreno (1977); Runelvys Hernandez (1978); Joey Gathright (1981); and Luis Perdomo (1984).
Players Born This Day