Just the other day we commemorated the death of the great teammate and Yankee, Mickey Mantle. On August 16, 1948, the legendary Babe Ruth, the greatest to ever play the game and the true Athlete of the Century in any clear-eyed vote, passed away, succumbing to throat cancer at the age of 53. The Bambino’s body was made available for viewing at Yankee Stadium where more than 100,000 fans paid their respects.
Once Masahiro Tanaka began his August 16, 2018, start against visiting Tampa by allowing four straight hits and two runs, he turned his game around. But the damage was done. The teams exchanged singleton runs in the eighth, with Giancarlo Stanton doubling in a run, but Tampa prevailed, 3-1.
In a painfully shocking loss on August 16, 2016, Michael Pineda was removed up 6-0 after five against the Blue Jays, but Anthony Swarzak immediately gave back four runs in the sixth. Which was nothing compared to the damage that Adam Warren and Chasen Shreve did in the top of the eighth, in which 13 Toronto players came to bat, and eight of them scored. Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez homers that built the early lead went to waste, and the home team fell, 12-6.
Perhaps the best way to remember the game in which the Yanks beat the White Sox, 11-10, on August 16, 1977, is Chris Chambliss‘s two-run, come-from-behind, walk-off, ninth-inning home run, and not the fact that the Yanks had a 9-4 lead until Chicago scored six in the top of that frame.
Another M&M 1961 headline occurred on August 16, 1961, as Roger Maris homered twice in a 5-4 win over the White Sox. He tied a then-AL-record by homering in his sixth straight game, bringing his season total to 48, three more than teammate Mickey Mantle.
In what could have been an inspiring come-from-behind win, the Yankees fell 10-6 to the Rangers in the Stadium on August 16, 2012, when a spectacular bullpen failure doomed the home team to defeat. Ivan Nova was removed down 4-0 in the top of the sixth, but the Bombers stormed back with a five-run rally on four singles, an error, and an Andruw Jones home run. But Cody Eppley, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, and Clay Rapada had no reply, as the visitors scored six runs going away.
Righthander Esteban Loaiza, who would be briefly acquired by the Yanks for the 2004 stretch run, pitched to a 5-5, six-inning tie vs. David Wells, as the Yankees and the Rangers battled in Yankee Stadium on August 16, 1998, two months before the two clubs would face one another yet again in the playoffs. Ramiro Mendoza and Mariano Rivera held Texas off the board into the ninth, and Bernie Williams sent the fans home happy when he slugged a one-out, ninth-inning, walk-off home run against ex-Yankee Xavier Hernandez (see birthdays below).
Turnabout, fair play. Two years later on August 16, 2000, the Rangers blanked the Yanks 5-0, as hurler Brian Sikorski held the Yanks off the board into the eighth inning in his major league debut. Later Red Sox player Gabe Kapler, then with Texas, had his 28-game hitting streak snapped in the contest.
He’ll need to complete his recovery from surgery the team knew he would need before the Yankees and their fans learn what they got for their money when they signed 2007 draft pick and righty pitcher Andrew Brackman to a major league contract on August 16, 2007. Alas, it was not to be.
The highlights (and low ones) in the Yankees’ 5-4, 12-inning victory over the Orioles on August 16, 2003, are almost too numerous to list. The Orioles batted Tony Batista and Jay Gibbons out of order in the first, but the Yanks failed to notice in time. Derek Jeter singled for his 1,500th career hit in the fifth inning, and backup catcher John Flaherty homered twice. But Luis Matos handed Mariano Rivera a blown save by homering leading off the home bottom of the ninth. The Yanks took the lead on a Jason Giambi homer in the 12th, and only held on after Oriole pinch-hitter Jack Cust was tagged out several feet from home plate on a 9-4-5-2-5 blown rundown play, because the rookie stumbled and fell once his path to the plate was clear.
The Yanks fell to the Mariners 6-5 on August 6, 1996, when Mark Whiten pinch-hit a homer in his first at bat for his new team in Seattle. Whiten’s last hit had been a three-run, game-winning, pinch-hit homer for the Braves in a 5-2 win over the Phillies. In this ’96 tilt, former Yankee Sterling Hitchcock got the win, with southpaw reliever Dale Polley taking the loss for the Bombers.
Don Zimmer and Jean Carol Bauerle were married at home plate in a minor league stadium in Elmira, New York, on August 16, 1951.
Submarine Yankee hurler Carl Mays struck Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman in the temple with a pitch on August 16, 1920. Chapman would pass away the next day, as will be covered tomorrow.
Just one of those many bad headlines the Yanks got in the woeful days of the eighties was August 16, 1989, when outfielder Luis Polonia was arrested in Milwaukee for having sex with a 15-year-old girl in his hotel room.
The rival Red Sox have their bad press days too, as on this day in 2001, when Manager Jimy Williams was fired and replaced with then pitching coach Joe Kerrigan. Not only had Williams done a creditable job, once he was let go, the team responded by going into a tailspin that all but eliminated them from the pennant race. Kerrigan served as the Yankee bullpen coach in 2006.
On August 16, 2018, the Yankees optioned righthander Luis Cessa to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and recalled righty Tommy Kahnle from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take the spot. The team also signed four free agents to minor league contracts: righthanders Nolberto Henriquez, Yorlin Calderon, and Luis Nova; and outfielder Felix Negueis.
On August 16, 2017, the Yankees sent first baseman Greg Bird on a rehab assignment to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On August 16, 2015, the Yankees sent righthander Michael Pineda on a rehab assignment to the AA Trenton Thunder.
On August 16, 2014, the Yankees sent righty Chris Leroux outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On August 16, 2013, the Yankees continued to address infield and pitching roster issues, designating third baseman Luis Alfonso Cruz for assignment, optioning righty reliever Preston Claiborne to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and signing free agent first baseman Mark Reynolds.
On August 16, 2012, the Yankees outrighted righthander Ryota Igarashi to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Taking care of both some business and future opportunities, the Yanks signed right-handed pitchers Daniel Burawa, Zachary Nuding, and David Triplet; lefty Evan Rutckyj; outfielder Mason Williams; and infielder Rob Segedin on August 16, 2010.
On August 16, 2011, righty reliever Jeff Marquez had his roster status changed by the Yankees, as after several tries his time was about done. The team also assigned veteran righty Scott Proctor to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And finally, once the Bombers claimed lefty Raul Valdes off waivers from the Cardinals, they optioned him to Scranton/Wilkes–Barre as well.
The Yanks made a small flurry of minor moves on August 16, 2006, first reinstating recovering reliever Octavio Dotel to their 25-man roster after clearing a spot by sending Jose Veras to AAA Columbus. Dotel’s recovery from arm surgery prevented him from having much of an effect in the Bronx, but he was snatched by Atlanta from Kansas City at the trade deadline to help their tired bullpen in 2007. And in another move that would reverberate one year later, New York released nonroster first baseman Carlos Pena. Carlos has revitalized his career playing with Tampa Bay in 2007 through 2009.
Confronted with difficulty trying to play on a Sunday, the Tigers played a home game in Toledo, Ohio on August 16, 1903, hosting the Highlanders, who pounded George Mullin for eight runs. But the Tigers answered with 12, and Sam Crawford went 5-for-6 at the plate, in the 12-8 “home” team win.
After the Giants suspended second baseman Burgess Whitehead on August 16, 1939, he showed up in full uniform at Yankee Stadium asking to work out. But Yankee Manager Joe McCarthy refused to allow it.
When Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx stroked two home runs in a Boston victory over Washington on August 16, 1940, he bypassed Yankee immortal Lou Gehrig on the all-time list with number 495.
In the first of two August highlights featuring future or former Yankee players, Tim Raines went 5-for-5 and hit for the cycle in a 10-7 Expos win over the Pirates on this day in 1987. And later to pitch for the Yanks, Luis Tiant won his 200th major league game pitching for the Red Sox in a 4-2 victory over Nolan Ryan and the Angels on August 16, 1978.
K.C.’s Alex Main no-hit Buffalo in Federal League play on August 16, 1915.
In an item that led off this column, Babe Ruth (1948) is the most famous Yankee player to have died on August 16, as he would be on any day he passed. He hit 661 home runs with 1,971 rbi’s for the Yanks from 1920-1934, numbers that jump to 714 and 2,213 when the 1914-1919 Red Sox years and the one with the Boston Braves in 1935 are included. Further embellishing his record as the best ballplayer ever is the 94-46-4 record he posted as a pitcher. Lefty batting, righty throwing second baseman Jerry Lumpe (2014) joins the Babe on this list. Lumpe debuted with the Yanks between 1956 and 1959, hitting three long balls and driving in 49 runs. Capping his career from 1959 through 1967 with Oakland and Detroit, the overall numbers increase to 47 and 454.
Fellow Hall of Famer and lefthanded outfielder Earl Averill (1983) leads a long list of noteworthy nonYankee players to die this day. Averill hit most of his 238 home runs with 1,164 rbi’s playing for Cleveland from 1929-1941. Shortstop Ed McKean (1919) hit most of his 66 long balls with 1,124 runs batted in from 1887-1899 with Cleveland; third baseman Jerry Denny (1927) played more often than not with the Grays from 1881-1894 and hit 74 homers with 667 rbi’s; and lefty outfielder Beals Becker (1943) hit most of his 45 roundtrippers with 292 runs knocked in from 1908-1915 with the Giants, the Phillies, and the Doves. Righthander Al Javery (1977) pitched to a 53-74-5 mark from 1940-1946 with the Bees and the Braves; first baseman Tommie Aaron (1984), Hammerin’ Hank Aaron‘s brother, cleared 13 fences and knocked in 94 for the Braves between 1962 and 1971; lefty-hitting second baseman/outfielder Bama Rowell (1993) hit 19 home runs with 217 rbi’s from 1939-1941 and 1946-1948 with the Braves and the Bees; and lefty-hitting catcher Johnny Roseboro (2002) cleared 104 fences good for 548 runs mostly for the Dodgers from 1957-1970.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Six Yankees were born August 16, though the ones who played most recently did not particularly distinguish themselves. The Yanks got Michael Coleman (1975) in March 2001 from Cincinnati with Drew Henson for Wily Mo Pena after Coleman hit two booming homers to beat them in a spring game in Sarasota. Michael did hit a huge game-winning shot against K.C. early in the 2001 season. But with opportunity knocking in the circumstance of Bernie Williams‘s absences due to the illness of his father, Coleman did not play well.
Much was expected when the Yanks traded Domingo Jean and Andy Stankiewicz to Houston for reliever Xavier Hernandez (1965) for the ’94 season, but he went only 4-4 with six saves. Lefty reliever Al Holland (1952) went 1-0 in 28 games in 1986 and 1987 after being signed to one-year free agent contracts both of those years.
Lefty-hitting outfielder Gene Woodling (1922) is remembered fondly for his work in the Bronx from 1949 through 1954, during which time he hit 51 homers with 336 rbi’s. Gene was part of a blockbuster package in November 1954, traveling to Baltimore with Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Willy Miranda, Hal Smith, and Gus Triandos for Bob Turley, Don Larsen, and Billy Hunter.
Few remember the work of Tiny Bonham (1913), 79-51 for the Bombers in the forties with six saves, before finishing up with three years in Pittsburgh after his October 1946 trade to Steel Town for Cookie Cuccurullo. And I dare say no one recalls Hank Robinson (1889), who went 2-4 for the 1918 Yanks, after five years in Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The Yanks purchased Robinson’s contract from the St. Louis Cardinals in June 1918.
Other birthdays: outfielder Baby Doll Johnson (1890, given name William Chester), who notched more than 800 rbi’s mostly for the St. Louis Browns from 1915-1927; catcher and then manager Buck Rodgers (1938); Mike Jorgensen (1948); former Philly Manager Nick Leyva (1953); Rick Reed (1964); Terry Shumpert (1966); Bret Barberie (1967); Damian Jackson (1973); Roger Cedeno (1974); Ryan Hannigan (1980); Matt Harrison (1985); Daric Barton (1985); Yu Darvish (1986); Martin Maldonado (1986); Justin Grimm (1988); J.C. Ramirez (1988); Adrian Sanchez (1990); Connor Joe (1992); and Texas outfielder Delino DeShields (1992), who carries the same name as his father, a second baseman with the Expos, Dodgers, Orioles, and Cubs roughly a decade and a half ago.
Players Born This Day