Improving on their dispiriting shutout defeat to Houston southpaw Dallas Keuchel in the 2015 Wild Card game, the Yanks and Masahiro Tanaka battled him to a 2-2 tie through seven innings in the home opener on April 5, 2016. But Dellin Betances had a disappointing eighth, loading the bases on two walks and his own error, and Luis Valbuena plated the second and third runs of the inning on a double to right. Play up the middle showed early promise that would continue, as Starlin Castro stroked a two-run double in the second, and Didi Gregorius‘s eighth-inning home run was too little too late in the 5-3 loss. Hideki Matsui threw out the ceremonial first pitch on a cold, windy Tuesday in the Bronx on the day after the scheduled opener had been rained out.
Two of the most beloved Yankees share at least one thing more than the adulation in which they’re held by the Yankee Stadium faithful. On April 5, 2001, Paul O’Neill put the Yankees up 1-0 with a first-inning home run off KC’s Dan Reichert, and Mike Mussina held on to win 1-0. The Bombers won a game in the same fashion in 1941 with Phil “the Scooter” Rizzuto, of all players, providing the first-inning power. These are the only two Yankee 1-0 wins in history where they took that lead on a first-inning home run.
Today we have a highlight in honor of Andy Pettitte‘s 2011 retirement, and his retuen to the team in 2012. In the home opener on April 5, 2002, Andy notched his 1,000th career strike out when he whiffed Tampa Bay first baseman Steve Cox to end the first inning in a 4-0 Yankee triumph.
The only person more unpopular in the Bronx on April 5, 2011, than Manager Joe Girardi for having left an ineffective reliever on the mound too long was the pitcher in question, as newly signed setup man Rafel Soriano wasted a 4-0 lead over the visiting Twins by giving up three walks and a single around two outs in the eighth inning. Making matters worse, Nick Swisher‘s ill-advised shoestring attempt on Delmon Young‘s opposite-field bloop double into no man’s land in short right off David Roberston tied the game. The Twins scratched out a run off Boone Logan in the 10th, and Joe Nathan got one of very few 2011 saves to close out the 5-4 Minnesota win. This was Derek Jeter‘s 2,300th career game.
Carl Pavano looked to be ready for his first Yankee win as the Bombers took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning on Hideki Matsui‘s two-run home run off Matt Clement on April 5, 2005, but Jason Varitek reached Mariano Rivera for a game-tying homer. But Derek Jeter‘s lead-off, full-count bomb to right center off Keith Foulke in the bottom of the ninth sent most of the packed house home happy.
When the Brewers tallied four times off Ron Guidry in the sixth inning on April 5, 1979, they beat the Yanks 5-1 and scored more runs off Louisiana Lightning than he had given up since 1977.
Another tough Gator Day, as Yankee Opening Day nemesis Richie Zisk hit a two-run fourth-inning dinger off Ron Guidry on April 5, 1983, and it was enough to overcome Yankee blasts by Dave Winfield and Steve Kemp in a 5-4 Mariners win.
The Yankees punctuated the long, mostly frustrating history of Cleveland’s “Mistake by the Lake” when they pummeled Charles Nagy and the Tribe, 9-1, behind Jimmy Key in the last opener in Municipal Stadium on April 5, 1993. The Indians moved into Jacobs Field the following season.
Behind home runs from Mike Pagliarulo and Rickey Henderson and three safeties apiece from Roberto Kelly and Willie Randolph, Rick Rhoden bested Minnesota’s Frank Viola and blanked the Twins, 8-0, on April 5, 1988, in front of a big crowd in the Bronx.
In what would be a disappointing return year from wrist surgery for him, the Yankees placed first baseman Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list on April 5, 2014, with a right hamstring strain. The club filled the roster spot by recalling catcher Austin Romine from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On April 5, 2016, outfielder Jake Cave was returned to the Yankees from the Cincinnati Reds.
Amid a flurry of minor late March and early April moves, the Yanks made a big one on March 5, 2009, when they placed third baseman Alex Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. With Alex’s just completed hip surgery, there was doubt about when and how much he would be able to contribute to the team’s success again.
Lefty starter Andy Pettitte actually had a quite representative first half of the season once the Yankees activated him from the 15-day disabled list on April 5, 2008, though he would tail off quite a bit down the stretch. They cleared a spot for Pettitte on the 25-man roster by optioning Jonathan Albaladejo to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The righty reliever would make that back and forth trip several times that month before ending up on the disabled list (from which he would not return to the Bronx in 2008) with a bad elbow in early May.
The fanbase said, “Who?” and swore we wouldn’t see him in the Bronx when they heard the news that the Yankees had claimed submarining righty reliever Cody Eppley off waivers from the Texas Rangers on April 5, 2012, then sent him to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre. He would pitch to a 1-2 record and a .333 era in 59 games for the Yanks that season.
Yankee deals that took place on April 5 include the 1995 trade of minor leaguer Fernando Seguignol and cash to Montreal for closer John Wetteland. (Seguignol was back and made a splash with the Yanks in Tampa in 2003, but he played in just five games with the parent club before being released.) On the same day in 1977 they sent Oscar Gamble and eventual ace of the White Sox staff Lamar Hoyt to Chicago for Bucky Dent. It is not a bad trade; most Yankee fans would agree that Bucky’s feat in Fenway on October 2, 1978, made the loss of both guys worthwhile. Last, the Yanks traded shortstop Frank Baker to the Orioles for infielder Tom Matchick on April 5, 1973.
The newly christened Yankees helped the Brooklyn Superbas (soon to be the Dodgers) open Ebbets Field, losing to the home team, 3-2, in an exhibition game on April 5, 1913. Brooklyn’s Casey Stengel hit the first homer, an inside-the-park shot, and the Yanks lost shortstop Claud Derrick to a spike on the wrist by Zack Wheat.
A big man with large appetites, Babe Ruth must have kept himself in better shape than the stories would have one believe. His collapse in a train station on April 5, 1925, and subsequent ulcer surgery that kept him out until late May precipitated the only season in the first 15 he played in Pinstripes that he was in the lineup in less than 100 games. He hit 25 taters with 66 rbi’s in 98 tilts that year.
The Sultan of Swat also made news this day in 1934 when Babe Ruth signed a contract to do commercials for Quaker Oats that would pay him more than his hefty baseball salary. Also on April 5, 1934, eventual legendary Yankee broadcaster Red Barber was hired to cover Cincinnati Reds games on the radio.
The Yankees assigned outfielder Edwar Gonzalez and third baseman Marcos Vechionacchi to AA Trenton on April 5, 2010.
The Yankees swept the Mayor’s Challenge Series against the Mets when they beat the Flushing nine 6-5 in Shea Stadium on April 5, 1992.
Former and future Yankees dotted the sports headlines across the country on April 5, 1999. On the plus side, Charlie Hayes‘s go-ahead three-run home run carried the Giants to an 11-8 win over the Reds; Chris Widger hit Jason Phillips‘s first major league pitch for a home run in the Expos’ 9-2 win over the Pirates; and Raul Mondesi followed his game-tying, two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth dinger with a two-out, two-run, 11th-inning game winner in the Dodgers’ 8-6 win over the D’backs. On the minus side, Jaret Wright allowed home runs on consecutive pitches to Tim Salmon and Garrett Anderson in Cleveland’s 6-5 loss to Anaheim. Finally, Mike Morgan broke a record for which he had been tied when he pitched for his 11th team in the Rangers’ 11-5 loss to the Tigers, all on April 5, 1999.
Current Yankee broadcaster Ken Singleton, who never played in Pinstripes, was traded by the Mets to the Expos for Rusty Staub on April 5, 1972.
First baseman Fred Curtis (1939), who had two hits and two rbi’s in nine at bats for the 1905 Highlanders in his only two major league games, is the only Yankee player to have died on April 5.
Noteworthy non-Yanks in this category include righty Paul Erickson (2002), who posted most of his 37-48 mark with six saves from 1941-1948 with the Cubs; and outfielders Jack McGeachy (1930) and Fred Snodgrass (1974). McGeachey hit most of his n1ne long balls with 276 rbi’s from 1886-1891 for the Hoosiers; and a preponderance of Snodgrass’s 11 taters with 351 rbi’s from 1908-1916 came playing for the Giants.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Born on April 5, 1877, was Wid Conroy, who played the first six years (1903-1908) for the Yankee franchise (then the Highlanders), mostly in the infield; he hit 12 homers with 266 rbi’s for New York. After a career that spanned another five years, Wid’s numbers rose to 22 and 452. He arrived on the team after jumping to it from the Pirates before the 1903 season.
Another Yankee birthday: Ron Hansen (1938), who played infield also, in 1970 and 1971. Ron was an All Star and Rookie of the Year for Baltimore in 1960, and as a member of the Chicago White Sox he played all 162 games in 1965. He pulled off one of baseball’s rarest feats playing for the Senators in 1968: an unassisted triple play. Ron hit six long balls with 34 rbi’s for the Yanks. The Bombers purchased Hansen’s contract from the White Sox in February 1970, and they released him two years later.
And righthander Bobby Hogue (1921) posted a 4-5 record with four saves in the Bronx from July 31, 1951, when the Yanks got him from the St Louis Browns along with Lou Sleater, Tom Upton, and Kermit Wahl for outfielder Cliff Mapes, until the Browns got him back via waivers in August 1952.
Other birthdays with a Yankee twist include lefty Ryan Carp (1970), who went 1-1 with the Phillies in 1995 and 1997. A 1992 Yankee draft pick, Carp was traded to Philadelphia with Kevin Jordan and Bobby Munoz for Jeff Patterson and Terry Mulholland in February 1994. Also, southpaw Matt Blank (1978) was a 1994 Yankee amateur draft pick who was drafted again by Florida in ’95 and then Montreal in ’97. Blank won two and lost three with the 2000 and 2001 Expos. Finally, righthander Winston Abreu (1977), who had an 0-1 record after pitching with Baltimore in 2006 and Washington in 2007, signed as a free agent with New York in November 2002 until he was released the following March.
Also: Bill Dineen (1876), who won 170 while losing 177 from 1888-1909, mostly in Boston; the wonderfully named Sugar Cain (1907), a righthander for Philly; Rennie Stennett (1951); Cris Carpenter (1965); Ryan Drese (1976) Russ Gload (1976); Winston Abreu (1977); Brandon Backe (1978); Jorge de la Rosa (1981); Lastings Milledge (1985); Ian Stewart (1985); Hector Olivera (1985); Steve Clevenger (1986); Jung Ho Kang (1987); and John Curtiss (1993).
Players Born This Day