One highlight stands above all others on August 12 (with not such good news, after a few good items, to follow tomorrow). On this day in 1974, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Only Nos. 7 and 16 stopped this memory from August 12, 2016, from ascending into first place on the day’s history. The baseball part is quick and easy: Once the visiting Rays had tied the Yanks at 3-3 in the top of the fifth, home runs from Starlin Castro in the sixth, and Aaron Hicks in the seventh, carried the good guys and CC Sabathia to a 6-3 victory. But the baseball was not the day’s biggest story, as a pregame ceremony honoring DH Alex Rodriguez marked this as the last Yankee game in which he would play, part of an agreement that would see him continued to be paid through ’17 on the one hand, while allowing the Yanks to use the roster spot in a concerted effort to get the team younger on the other. And there was drama, of course, as the very end of the ceremony had to be rushed when a sudden thunderstorm sent all in attendance scurrying in a failed attempt to find a dry place to wait it out. There was good news for Alex too, as his ringing double in the first inning scored the first Bombers run. Also, the Yankees handed out a replica 1996 World Series Trophy to fans before this one.
On August 12, 1964, Mickey Mantle homered from each side of the plate in the same game for the 10th time in his career in a 7-3 win over the White Sox, with one of the bombs traveling more than 500 feet.
The Yanks used Hiroki Kuroda‘s strong start (three hits allowed over eight innings), small ball (singles by speedy Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner around a fielder’s choice grounder), and a long ball (a seventh-inning jack by Curtis Granderson) to defeat Anaheim 2-1 in Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2013. Bad luck played a hand in denying Boone Logan his only save of the season, as J.B. Schuck‘s leadoff ninth-inning grounder glanced off the first base bag for a hit. Two walks around a single plated one, but between the two of them, Logan and David Robertson struck out the side to cash in the win. The cast of Broadway’s Motown, the Musical treated the crowd to a rousing National Anthem before the first pitch.
David Price and Tampa got the best of what was to be a southpaw pitcher’s duel in Yankee Stadium against CC Sabathia and the Bombers on August 12, 2011. Three guys who would not be with the Rays in 2012, Casey Kotchman, Kelly Shoppach, and Johnny Damon, went yard in the third, Elliot Johnson also homered in the fifth, and Evan Longoria capped the 5-1 final with his 100th career homer in the eighth.
On August 12, 2005, the Yanks solved (at the time) Texas starter Chris Young with a third-inning, five-hit, four-run barrage capped by a Bernie Williams home run as the Bombers and Al Leiter survived one of Al’s ugliest starts for a 6-5 win. Derek Jeter capped the scoring with a homer off ex-Yank Mike Stanton.
On August 12, 1985, knuckleballer Phil Niekro threw a complete-game, 10-4 victory against the White Sox, the 295th win of his career. Catcher Ron Hassey hit a two-run home run and an rbi single in the seven-run seventh inning, as the Bombers broke the game open.
I truly believed that there was a reason that the August 11 game in Yankee Stadium in 1994 went 13 innings. Sad to say, Toronto prevailed over the Yankees, 8-7, on an Ed Sprague homer off Yankee reliever Joe Ausanio. The reason for the extra play? The horrible work stoppage that would befall the next day. There I was on August 12 with a first-place team that hadn’t seen postseason play in 14 years, with no more games to come.
Yankee third baseman Scott Brosius drove in five runs on a single, double, and home run in an 11-2 defeat of the Minnesota Twins in Yankee Stadium on August 12, 1998. Latroy Hawkins allowed five of the runs pitching into the sixth, and David Cone surrendered both of the visitors’ tallies in seven. Certainly no save situation, this game was closed by Yankee righty Joe Borowski, who would surface as the closer for the Cubs in 2003.
Third baseman Dean Palmer went yard and drove home four runs as the Royals spanked the Yankees 6-4 on August 12, 1997, ending a three-game Yankee win streak. While notching the save, Jeff Montgomery retired his 32nd consecutive batter, one short of the club record, but Bernie Williams then broke the spell with a single.
The Yankees ganged up on Washington pitching on August 12, 1953, with 28 hits in a 22-1 win.
The Yanks were coasting over the A’s with a six-run, seventh-inning lead on August 12, 1973, when the wheels fell off. Oakland stormed back from behind for a 13-12 win.
August 12, 1951, is a good date to begin the story that culminated in The Miracle at Coogan’s Bluff, as the Giants began their inexorable climb toward the first-place Brooklyn Dodgers. Starting the day 13 games back, they swept a doubleheader from the Phillies, 3-2 and 2-1.
Allie Reynolds threw the Yankees to a 7-2 win over the A’s on August 12, 1950, and chipped in with a bases-loaded single as well.
Changing times, changing mores, changing laws. The Yankees dropped the second of two to the Indians on August 12, 1951, in a manner more patently unfair than any delaying tactic Earl Weaver ever pulled. After the visiting Bombers had rallied from a 7-4 deficit to surge ahead 9-7 in the eighth, that inning’s top half was wiped out by a Sunday Blue Law in Cleveland against post-7:00 pm play. With a 9-5 win in Game One already in their pockets, the Indians would win the second by the reverted score, 7-4.
Yankee first baseman Joe Pepitone went AWOL from the team on August 12, 1969, citing “personal reasons.”
Nolan Ryan struck out 19 Red Sox on this day in 1974 in a 4-2 California Angels win; he only walked two.
The Yanks fell to the Senators by a 5-1 score on August 12, 1961, despite Roger Maris‘s 43rd home run, off Dick Donovan. A Gene Green pinch-hit grand slam off Luis Arroyo was the big blow.
Babe Ruth made his final appearance in Fenway Park on August 12, 1934, singling and doubling in a first-game Yankee loss to the Sox, 6-4. The almost 47,000 fans (with a reported 20,000 turned away) gave him a standing ovation when he left Game Two, a 7-1 Yankee win.
The Yankees suffered a loss without even taking the field of play on August 12, 1932. That day AL President Will Harridge found in favor of Detroit in their protest of a Yankee win on August 1, ruling that the game would have to be replayed in September. The protest involved a too-late switch of the batting order places of Tony Lazzeri and Ben Chapman.
Playing for Boston, one-time Yankee DH Don Baylor set an American League record by being hit with a pitch for the 25th time in a season on this day in 1986.
The Yankees recalled young righty Luis Severino from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on August 12, 2016.
On August 12, 2015, the Yankees recalled righthander Nick Goody from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; selected the contract of lefthander Chris Capuano from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; and optioned righty Branden Pinder to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
On August 12, 2012, the Yankees activated righthander Ryota Igarashi and recalled him from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Hall of Fame inductees on August 12, 1984 were Harmon Killebrew, Will Ferrell, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese, and Luis Aparicio. The naming of Brooklyn’s Reese while rival Yankee shortstop for so many years Phil Rizzuto continued to be denied was frustrating for the Scooter and his fans.
Clearing a move they had started two days before the Yankees outrighted righty Josh Towers to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre on August 12, 2009.
Eventual one-time Yankee hurler Marty Bystrom threw a Perfect Game toiling in the Carolina League on this day in 1978.
But a bigger highlight for a present Yankee occurred 20 years later in a Seattle 11-5 loss to Toronto. Alex Rodriguez hit his 100th career home run on August 12, 1998. As we can see, it would not be the last century mark Alex would pass.
Although he spent the greatest part of his 1938-1959 career with the Cardinals, Hall of Fame, lefty-hitting outfielder Enos Slaughter (2002) is the lone Yankee ballplayer to have died on August 12. Slaughter went 168-for-481 good for 16 home runs and 107 rbi’s playing 350 games in two Yankee stints between 1954 and 1959. His overall numbers: 169 homers and 1,304 runs driven in.
Brooklyn righthander Rex Barney (1997) is the lone hurler among nonYankee noteworthy players to have died this day. Rex won 35, lost 31, and saved one game for the Dodgers only between 1943 and 1950. Of the position players, outfielder Ed Andrews (1934) hit most of his 12 long balls with 278 rbi’s from 1884-1891 with the Phillies; lefty-hitting shortstop/infielder Johnny Burnett (1959) reached nine fences good for 213 runs driven in playing eight years for the Indians and one for the Browns from 1927-1935; and lefty-hitting third baseman Lew Riggs (1975) accounted for 28 long balls with 271 rbi’s playing mostly for the Reds and the Dodgers from 1934-1946.
Players Who Have Died This Day
When I updated this column a few years ago, part-time back-of-bullpen guy Dave Pavlas (1962) was the only Yankee August 12 birthday. Dave, who pitched to no record during 20 games for the Yanks in 1995 and 1996 with one save, also pitched two years for the Cubs earlier in his career. The Yanks signed him as a free agent in early 1995 and again in February 1996, releasing him each October after the season.
But after appearing in five games as a backup catcher in the Bronx in 2003, Michel Hernandez (1978) made the list too. Michel was snatched from the Yankee organization on waivers by the Red Sox in January 2004. Hernandez went 1-for-4 in his 2003 Yankee stay, and he toiled with AL East rival Tampa Bay after Boston.
Although he never made the bigs with the Yanks, 2004 draft choice Jose Tabata (1988) makes the Yankee birthday list by virtue of his elevation in 2010 to the roster of the Pirates, for whom he has become at least a semi-regular outfielder on the resurgent Buccos, with 100-plus games played three times, 90-plus once, and 60-ish in 2014. As of this writng, Jose has hit 17 home runs good for 119 rbi’s with the Pirates. The Yanks shipped Jose along with Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, and Ross Ohlendorf for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady in 2009.
Two Hall of Famers are featured in a short list of other ballplayers born this day: Ray Schalk (1892), who caught for the White Sox for 17 years; and legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson (1880), who went 373-188 with 28 saves during 17 years at the turn of the 20th century, mostly with the New York Giants. Others: Manager (and one-time Detroit pitcher) Fred Hutchinson (1919); Bob Buhl (1928); Reggie Harris (1968); Matt Clement (1974); Luis Ordaz (1975); Lew Ford (1976); Jhonatan Solano (1985); Zack Cosart (1985); Jake Dunning (1988); Jhan Martinez (1988); Kyle Lobstein (1989); Ryan Weber (1990); Chris Owings (1991); Ian Happ (1994); and Julio Urias (1996).
Players Born This Day