Ask a number of Yankee fans with a sense of history individually about 1978, and two arcs will emerge. In light of the day held in his honor in Yankee Stadium in 2003, we’ll mention the incredible 25-3 Cy Young season of Louisiana Lightning, Ron Guidry first. And hand in hand with that, of course, was the stirring comeback from 14 games behind, with the Yanks finally wresting the pennant from their Boston rivals in the playoff game that has made “Bucky Dent” two thirds of a three-word epithet in much of Massachusetts and New England ever since. But what should be obvious to even the most casual fan is that you can’t mount a comeback drive like that on the strength of just one starting pitcher. Catfish Hunter beat the Oakland A’s, 6-2, on August 27, 1978, to complete a six-win/no-loss August that helped propel the Bombers on their way. Utilizing a spin windup he may have copied from the wily Luis Tiant (with the Sox at the time, but who would pitch for the Yanks too), Hunter brought to mind the old saw that has it that a flashlight burns brightest just before the light goes out. Guidry’s brilliance would have gone for naught without him.
A set of double/single groupings, separated by a walk and back-to-back errors, gave the Bombers a 6-1 first-inning lead over the Mariners in Yankee Stadium on August 27, 2017, in an eventual 10-1 win. A brilliant Masahiro Tanaka struck out 10 over seven, and the surprising big hit on back-to-back days was delivered by Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Yanks looked to be in a battle when Chris Davis hit his first of two jolts off Chad Green in the Stadium on August 27, 2016, but Baltimore righty Dylan Bundy was in deeper trouble, and out of the game down 6-2 after a Gary Sanchez homer in the fourth. Home runs from Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks highlighted more Yankee onslaughts, and they cruised to a 13-5 win.
The Yanks seemed to have a victory locked up against Toronto in Yankee Stadium on August 27, 2013, with a 6-4 lead and the seemingly automatic Rafael Soriano in for the save, but the Jays took a sudden lead on a Colby Rasmus three-run home run, 7-6. The heroics were not over, however, as Derek Jeter homered in the bottom half for the tie, but Derek Lowe surrendered a leadoff hit, then made a key error in the top of the 11th, and Toronto came away with an 8-7 win. The Yanks fell despite a home run from Nick Swisher and two from Robinson Cano.
Roger Clemens had it going in a Yankee Stadium game against the Mariners on August 27, 1999, as he struck out nine while allowing four singles over eight frames and shut out Seattle 8-0. Batting second, Derek Jeter singled his first three times up, scored two and drove in two. He teamed with leadoff hitter Chuck Knoblauch and third-in-the-order Paul O’Neill as the trio reached safely nine times.
Surprisingly, journeyman Sydney Ponson pitched well in the August 27, 2008, contest vs. the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium, but the Sox broke the 2-2 fifth-inning tie on a bases-loaded walk and a sac fly. But it got worse. With Jose Veras toeing the rubber in the top of the eighth, the first nine Boston players delivered seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a sac fly in the 11-2 Red Sox win. Hall of Famer Goose Gossage moved the games left in the old Stadium counter down from 15 to 14.
The Yankee victory in the 1999 tilt mentioned above was largely achieved on the strength of a four-run Yankee rally in the home fourth. Another four-run rally, this one in the top of the fifth in an August 27, 2002 game in Fenway, got the Yanks started on a 6-0 shutout of Casey Fossum and the Red Sox. Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, Raul Mondesi, and Shane Spencer had two hits apiece, and Jason Giambi singled, blasted a sac fly, and walked twice. David Wells went eight for the win.
The Yankees had a doubly fine day on August 27, 1938, both in that they swept a pair from the Indians, and because they had both their offense and pitching to thank. Joe DiMaggio led the way by stroking three triples in the 8-7 win in the first game, and Monte Pearson won his 10th straight game and fashioned a no-hitter to boot in the 13-0 Yankee victory in Game Two.
On August 27, 1982, Oakland’s Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock‘s single-season stolen-base record of 118, as he swiped four for 122. Minnesota beat the A’s, 5-4, but Rickey broke the record in the third despite a pitch out fashioned by the battery of Doc Medich and Ted Simmons.
The highlight of the Yankees’ 2-1 win over Chicago on August 27, 1950, was Allie Reynolds‘s two-hitter.
Former Mets third baseman Dave Magadan collected five hits including a home run as the DH for Oakland in an 8-7 victory over the Yankees on August 27, 1997.
The Yanks and White Sox split a pair on August 27, 1935, with the Bombers outslugging their opponents, 13-10, in Game One, and Chicago prevailing, 4-3, in the capper despite Lou Gehrig‘s record-tying five walks.
On this day in 1922, the Yanks outlasted the Browns 2-1 in 11 innings on Bob Meusel‘s game-winning sac fly.
After the Yanks picked up veteran lefty Dutch Ruether from the Senators on August 27, 1926, he only managed to win two of five decisions down the stretch, but his 13-6 mark in 1927 was a big plus.
Bobby Meacham, who made the birthday list the other day, hit two homers including the game-winner in the eighth inning of a 7-6 Yankees win over Oakland on August 27, 1984, despite Dave Kingman‘s homer and double.
Jack Chesbro appeared in his final Yankee game on this day in 1909, in a 17-6 loss in Detroit.
When Highlanders (Yankees) hurler Jack Warhop stole home plate in the sixth inning in the first of two vs. the White Sox on August 27, 1910, he scored the game-winner in a 4-3 Yankee victory. The two teams played the nightcap to a 6-6 tie.
The fact that it was only their second loss in 14 games made it a bit easier to swallow the Yanks’ 8-2 defeat to Texas on August 27, 1977, but the manner of their undoing was bizarre. Toby Harrah and Bump Wills belted inside-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches from Yankee righty Ken Clay.
Steve Carlton won his 20th game in 1980 by beating the Dodgers 4-3 on August 27. Charlie Root of the Cubs won his 200th in his career on the same day back in 1941 by besting the Reds 6-4; and Chicago’s Ed Walsh no-hit the Red Sox 5-0 on August 27, 1911. Fred Frankhouse of the Dodgers held the Reds hitless in a 5-0 shutout on August 27, 1937, but rain stopped the game with two down in the eighth inning.
David Cone earned a reputation as an arm for hire through a series of negotiations that began when the Mets traded the righthander to the Blue Jays for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson on August 27, 1992. Cone and Thompson had Pinstripes in their future, but Cone’s stay would be significant.
Hitting .314, Matty Alou was traded from the Cardinals to the A’s for Bill Voss and minor leaguer Steve Easton on August 27, 1972. Matty would move on to his next team three months later, as the Yanks traded for him that November.
On August 27, 2015, the Yankees optioned righthander Nick Goody to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; and sent utility player Dustin Ackley on a rehab assignment to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Although he would contribute one game-winning home run in an otherwise totally forgettable Yankee stay, it was a minor transaction when the Yanks acquired outfielder Matt Lawton from the Cubs for minor league righthander Justin Berg on August 27, 2005.
We’ll honor two guys who wore the Pinstripes for the first time in the 2006 season in our list of August 27 highlights involving one-time Bombers in other uni’s. Lefty Ron Villone stopped the 31-game hit streak of Montreal’s Vladimir Guerrero in a 4-1 Reds win on this day in 1999. And New York rightfielder Bobby Abreu not only homered twice in the Phillies’ 2-1 win over the Giants on August 27, 2000, he won the game with a 10th-inning, walk-off, inside-the-park tater. I’ve always felt a home run in those circumstances should be called a “run-off.”
Outfielder and pitcher Johnny Lindell (1985) is one of three Yankee players who have died on August 27. Lindell cleared 63 fences good for 369 runs batted in for the Yanks in his 1941-1950 debut, and he won two games, lost one, and saved one in 23 appearances on the mound (two starts). The hitting stats grew to 72 and 404 after a year with the Cardinals, one with the Pirates, and two with the Phillies. And in 55 overall pitching appearances (28 starts), he posted an 8-18-1 record. Switch-hitting second baseman Frank Truesdale (1943) drove in 13 runs, with no home runs, in 77 games for the 1914 Yankees. He played with the Browns in 1910-1911, and the Red Sox in 1918, for one homer and 40 rbi’s overall. And southpaw Charlie Shields (1953) makes the Yankee list by virtue of having debuted with the 1902 Baltimore Orioles, who would move to New York as the Highlanders the next year. In 23 games (15 starts) he went 4-11-1, numbers that became 7-13-1 after pitching the rest of 1902 with the Browns and in 1907 with the Cards.
The only noteworthy nonYankee to have died this day is lefthanded outfielder Willie Crawford (2004), who cleared most of his 86 fences with 419 rbi’s from 1964-1977 with the Dodgers.
Players Who Have Died This Day
There are five Yankee August 27 birthdays, but don’t be surprised if the names fail to bring a smile of recognition to your face. Righty Jim York (1947) played for the Bombers a mere 30-some years ago, but he only pitched in three games for the ’76 team, to a 1-0 mark, finishing up in the Bronx after five years pitching in Kansas City and Houston. The Yankees purchased York from the Astros in January 1976, and sent him to the White Sox in an unknown transaction that August.
Lefty-hitting catcher Ed Hermann (1946) had 200 ab’s in 80 games for the 1975 Yanks, collecting six homers and 30 rbi’s, after seven years with the White Sox and before three more seasons with various clubs in both leagues. The Bombers got Ed from Chicago for minor-leaguers Fred Anyzeski, John Narron, Ken Bennett, Terry Quinn, and cash in April 1975. The Angels purchased his contract from New York the following February.
If you don’t remember Jim or Ed, good luck with infielder Baldy Louden (1885), who made the most of his chances, scoring four runs while garnering one hit and two walks with the 1907 Highlanders. Lefty-hitting outfielder Ed (“Noodles”) Hahn (1875), who acounted for 12 rbi’s in 54 games for the ’05 and ’06 clubs, finished up with five years in Chicago once they purchased him from the New York Highlanders in May 1906. And finally we’ll include Willie Smith (1967), who posted a 1-1 mark with the 1994 St. Louis Cardinals in his only big-league service. Smith was acquired by the Yankees from the Pirates with Jeff Robinson for Don Slaught in December 1989, but the Bombers released him in April 1992.
Other birthdays: Cubs and Cardinals outfielder Peanuts Lowrey (1917); Buddy Bell (1951); Mike Maddux (1961); Brian McRae (1967); lefthanded power-hitting first baseman/DH; with the Indians, the Phillies, and now the White Sox Jim Thome (1970); Jose Vidro (1974); Trent Durrington (1974); Justin Miller (1977); Tommy Murphy (1979); Billy Buckner (1983); Jordy Mercer (1986); Mike Olt (1988); A.J. Achter (1988); Josh Vitters (1989); Nick Tropeano (1990); Patrick Wisdom (1991); and Sam Travis (1993).
Players Born This Day