Giving the lie to all the claims floating around Yankee Stadium in 2009, Robbie Cano sent a soaked fanbase home happy on August 28, 2009, when his 10th-inning three-run walkoff bomb against Chicago lefty Randy Williams gave the Yankees a 5-2 win. Rumor had it that Cano could only hit in non-rbi situations, and the game only went into extras because Nick Swisher made a great throw to nail a runner at home in the top of the seventh. Brian Bruney pitched the top of the 10th and got the win.
A new character joined the ages-old Yankees/Red Sox rivalry in Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2007, as a squirrel treating the right field foul pole as its very own tree captivated fans on both sides during a 5-3 Yankee win behind Andy Pettitte. Jorge Posada‘s first-inning double gave the Yankees a quick lead, but once the Sox tied it at 2-2, a Derek Jeter fifth-inning homer restored the lead, and Johnny Damon provided breathing room with a seventh-inning two-run jack. Actress Cameron Diaz was one of a group of celebrities that flocked to the Stadium for the huge three-game series, in which the Yanks got some necessary wins after a disastrous 2-5 road trip to Anaheim and Detroit.
While Hurricane Harvey was drowning Houston in rain, the Yankees lost 6-2 to Cleveland in the Stadium on August 28, 2017, where in the sixth inning this was anyone’s game to win. Jose Ramirez broke a 2-2 tie that frame with his second homer off Luis Severino, and Carlos Santana scored two runs late, one of them on a dinger of his won.
Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman outdueled CC Sabathia 5-0 in Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2016. This one was scoreless into the sixth until Steve Pearce reached CC for a home run, and a 1-0 lead. It may have been a different story but for a poor baserunning play by young star Yankee Gary Sanchez, who hit the first of three consecutive singles in the home fourth, but was easily pegged out at third on the Mark Teixeira one-base hit to right that followed. Chalk it up to growing pains for the rookie, as the Yanks failed to score when Didi Gregorius followed with yet another single. Young Ben Heller surrendered a two-run home run to Mark Trumbo in the eighth.
The Yankees knew they had themselves something special with Ron Guidry when he had a 16-7 year in 1977. But few of those starts were as emblematic of the fabulous seasons that were to follow than the 1-0 shutout of the Rangers on August 28. He surrendered just two hits and faced only 28 batters, and Graig Nettles scored the game’s only run after hitting a triple.
Ricky Romero of the Jays and Phil Hughes could hardly have thrown a more evenly pitcher’s duel than the one the Yanks won 2-1 in Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2012. They each tossed seven innings, walked two, and struck out five; Romero threw 106 pitches, Hughes 110. And contrary to the norm, Toronto had the lone homer, Adeiny Hechavarria in the fifth. But Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson rbi’s in the third and fourth, respectively, carried the day, and Hughes not only allowed one less run, but one less hit as well, four to Romero’s five.
He’s pretty low on the baseball list today, after a difficult, injury-plagued season and being released, but visions of the superb Mark Teixeira notwithstanding, there are still some great Jason Giambi moments to recall in New York, as in the 3-2 win over the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium on August 28, 2008. First, he hit a two-run, two-out game-tying pinch home run against Hideki Okajima in the seventh inning. Two innings later, he singled the other way to drive in the winner against Jonathan Papelbon. Various veteran Yankee front-office personnel got the honor of moving the game counter of contests left in the old Stadium from 14 to 13.
More Mickey Mantle highlights, as he provided all the offense in a 2-1 win over Mudcat Grant and the Twins in Yankee Stadium on August 28, 1962, going yard off the Minnesota righty with a man on in the fourth inning.
Two years earlier on August 28, 1960, the Commerce Comet was the man again. The Yanks and Tigers were tied 3-3 in the fifth when Mickey Mantle hit a two-run homer, and Yogi Berra followed with a solo blast, in an 8-5 Yankee win.
After a disappointing start to his 2005 season, Jason Giambi had totally turned it around by August 28. But Jason didn’t skip a beat after blasting a three-run, third-inning bomb off Zach Greinke of the Royals, a safety that gave him both his 1,500th career hit and 1,000 rbi in the bigs. He followed with another homer and a two-run single, driving in seven runs in the 10-3 Yankee win.
The 7-5 loss to the Yankees in the Bronx on August 25, 2003, may have cost White Sox Manager Jerry Manuel his job. With the Yanks reeling after 13-2 and 11-2 losses in the series’ first two games, Manuel pushed ace Mark Buehrle back one day and gave this beautiful Thursday afternoon start to Neil Cotts. But the young southpaw walked four of the first eight batters he faced, and once the first five Yankees he pitched to reached safely, they all scored. Mike Mussina and the Yanks held on for the win.
When Jerry Reuss of the Cards bested Don Sutton of the Dodgers, 1-0, on August 28, 1970, the offense came from recent Yankee Manager Joe Torre, who homered in the ninth inning.
Three homers by the Mariners in an August 28, 1998, game with the Yanks allowed them to become the first team to slug 200 homers over three straight years, but that was all they did, as the Yanks whipped them, 10-3, behind Orlando “el duque” Hernandez.
Johnny Sain would go 33-20 for the Yankees after they purchased him from the Braves for $50,000 on August 28, 1951. But the story sours quickly thereafter, as the Yanks also parted with young Lew Burdette in the deal. He would become a mainstay of the Braves’ staff, and haunt the Yankees in the future in the postseason.
Meanwhile, on that same ’51 day, the Yanks were winning a 10-inning contest in St. Louis by a 7-5 score, maintaining their one-game deficit to Cleveland who beat the A’s 1-0 on an Early Wynn shutout.
On August 28, 2017, the Yankees sent first baseman Garrett Cooper on a rehab assignment to the AA Trenton Thunder.
On August 28, 2015, the Yankees sent lefthander Chris Capuano outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and activated righty Bryan Mitchell from the 7-day disabled list.
In two more of Brian Cashman‘s late-season tweaks in a failed attempt to get the Yankees into the playoffs, the team traded the legendary Player To Be Named Later to the Cleveland Indians for lefthander Josh Outman; and signed free agent outfielder Chris Young to a minor league contract, on August 28, 2014. The latter move has been a boon in two seasons so far.
Jockeying the guys near the end of their bench and backing up on the edges of the infield, the Yankees activated Steve Pearce on August 28, 2012, creating space on the roster for him by optioning Casey McGehee to the Charleston RiverDogs.
The Yankees purchased the contract of righthander Alfredo Aceves from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on August 28, 2008. “Ace” became a key bullpen member that year, and also piled up some wins. The team optioned righty Dave Robertson to AAA to clear room on the roster back in ’08. Aceves would later pitch for the Red Sox, then return to the Yanks in 2014, where he was in the minors until recently getting a 50-game suspension.
It was a minor bullpen shuffle when the Yankees recalled righthander Chris Britton from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned lefty Sean Henn to AAA on August 28, 2007.
A Yankee down the stretch in 2004, Esteban Loaiza took the loss for the Blue Jays when Mike Mussina went eight in a 4-0 shutout of Toronto on August 28, 2001, in Yankee Stadium. The “Bombers” pestered Loaiza with eight singles along with a Paul O’Neill double and a Tino Martinez home run through five.
The ugliest thing about the Yanks’ 10-2 loss to the Mariners on this day in 1996 was not that score, but the bench-clearing brawl in the eighth. Mariners rookie Tim Davis brushed Paul O’Neill back, and Jeff Nelson opened the frame’s bottom half by plunking Joey Cora. O’Neill, Nelson, and Seattle’s John Marzano all received fines and two-game suspensions.
August 28 is a day on which Babe Ruth did well, but to no avail. On that day in 1921 he started a streak where he would get at least one extra base hit in nine straight games when he doubled three times, but the Tigers prevailed over New York, 7-3.
And on the same day three years later, the Senators beat the Yanks, 11-6, despite Babe Ruth‘s two home runs.
It was hardly Bronx-Bomber-like when the Yanks came from behind to beat the Indians, 3-2, on August 28, 1948. Tribe starter Sam Zoldak was replaced in the ninth by Gene Bearden, who hit Joe DiMaggio and followed with two wild pitches. Ed Klieman followed, and after walking Yogi Berra, he then issued an intentional walk to Phil Rizzuto following a successful sac bunt. The ensuing free pass to Cliff Mapes forced in the tying run, and then a ground ball won it.
Mickey Welsh of the New York Gothams struck out the first nine batters he faced on this day way back in 1884. And Sam Jones of the Red Sox garnered his 20th victory of the 1921 season on August 28 by beating the White Sox 6-5 in 11 innings.
Rocky Colavito and Al Kaline blasted first-inning home runs, and the Tigers beat Washington 7-3 on August 28, 1961, cutting the Yankee lead to a half game.
William “Dolly” Gray of Washington set a record on August 28, 1909, by walking eight batters in an inning, seven of them in a row, in a 6-4 loss to Chicago.
If one looks at the current steroids controversy in the right light, it can even further legitimize the accomplishments of the players of yesteryear. Consider that when Sammy Sosa hit his 52nd homer on August 28, 2001, he tied Babe Ruth for most home runs (343) in seven consecutive seasons. Mark McGwire had hit five less from 1995 through 2001. Thus with steroid use likely among those two recent power hitters, the best they could do was to tie The Babe, even though today’s ballparks feature consistently shorter home run distances than those that challenged the Sultan of Swat 70-80 years ago.
After Cy Young beat the Yanks, 5-3, in the first game of an August 28, 1907, doubleheader, John “Tacks” Neuer retaliated by shutting down the Red Sox, 1-0, in the nightcap. In the next month, Neuer would pitch six complete games, winning four, three of those by shutouts. Then he would disappear from major league baseball.
In honor of the achievement Jason Giambi had for the Yanks on August 28, 2005, and in 2008 (see above), we’ll acknowledge his big day for the A’s on this day in 1998. His three-run blast was the key blow in an eight-run 10th inning that gave Oakland a 14-6 win over Cleveland.
Both Yankee players who have died on August 28 were pitchers, one throwing from each side, starting with righthander Bill Piercy (1951), who started off in the bigs by throwing in 15 games (11 starts) for the 1917 and 1921 Yankees, to a 5-5 record with no saves. Stints with the Red Sox from 1922-1924 and the Cubs in 1926 gave him an overall mark of 27-43-0. Southpaw Harry Smythe (1980) lost two and saved one in eight games (0 starts) for the 1934 Yankees. Following a 1929-1930 stint with the Phillies, he finished 1934 with the Red Sox for a career mark of 5-12-4.
There are two righthanded pitchers and two position players that comprise the list of nonYankee noteworthy players to have died this day. Jean Dubuc (1958) won 85, lost 76, and saved 13 games from 1908-1919, mostly with Detroit, but also the Reds, the Red Sox, and the Giants; and Larry Jackson (1990) pitched to a 194-183-20 mark with the Cardinals, the Cubs, and the Phillies from 1955-1968. Catcher Bill Rariden (1942) reached nine fences good for 272 rbi’s from 1909-1920 with the Giants, the Doves, the Braves and the Reds; and lefty-hitting outfielder Al Zarilla (1996) hit 61 home runs and drove in 456 runs from 1943-1953, mostly with the Browns and the Red Sox, and shortly with the White Sox too.
Players Who Have Died This Day
The inestimable Ron Guidry (1950) leads off the day’s Yankee birthdays, plenty of reason for Yankee fans to rejoice. But gutsy former outfielder and hitter extraordinaire Lou Piniella (1943), who managed the (Devil) Rays, the Mariners, and the Cubs after his playing and managing career in New York, claims this day as his birthday too, as does Mike Torrez (1946), who helped the Yanks win the 1977 World Series, before losing to them in the 1978 playoff game that got the Bombers back to the October Classic. Guidry was selected by the Yankees in the third round of the 1971 amateur draft. He posted an outstanding 170-91 record in the Bronx, and actually managed to record four saves. In any other season his 25-3 1978 Cy Young Award-winning season would have netted him a League MVP as well. He led the AL in wins twice, and in complete games and shutouts once apiece. And until recently he coached the Yankee pitchers, with impressive results.
The Yanks got the bombastic Piniella along with Ken Wright on Pearl Harbor Day of 1973 in a trade with the Kansas City Royals for Lindy McDaniel. The 1969 AL Rookie of the Year with Kansas City, Piniella hit 102 home runs with 766 rbi’s over parts of 18 seasons, the last 12 in New York. Like his teammate Guidry, “Sweet Lou” won two World Series in Pinstripes, and later managed the 1990 Reds to a Series Championship.
The Yanks sent disgruntled starter Dock Ellis along with Marty Perez and Larry Murray to the Oakland Athletics for Mr. Torrez in April 1977. Mike signed as a free agent with Boston following the ’77 season. He went 14-12 for the Yanks, and won two games over the Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. His 18-year big-leagues mark: 185-160.
We have a new invitee to the Yankee August 28 birthday party with 2006 righty reliever T. J. Beam (1980). Beam failed to sign with Philadelphia once they selected him in the 2002 free agent draft; the Yanks drafted him in 2003. He pitched to a 2-0 mark but a quite high era in 20 games for the 2006 Yankees.
Less well known are outfielder Billy Cowan (1938), who chipped in with one homer and three rbi’s to the ’69 team; infielder Aaron Ward (1896), with 45 homers and 390 rbi’s from 1917 through 1926 playing in New York; outfielder Braggo Roth (1892), who provided two dingers and 10 rbi’s in 43 games in 1921; and utility guy Joe Yeager (1875), whose 1905-1906 contribution was 54 rbi’s. The Yanks drafted Cowan from the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1968 rule-V draft, and sold his contract to the California Angels in July 1969. After starting with the Yanks, Ward was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Johnny Grabowski and Ray Morehart in January 1927. Roth, on the other hand, finished up in New York after the Bombers traded Duffy Lewis and George Mogridge to Washington for him in January 1921.
Unfortunately, I need to finish the list by acknowledging the birthday of reliever Jay Witasik (1972), whose 2001 work in the Bronx is much better remembered than that of the four guys in the paragraph above this one. Jay was acquired from San Diego in a trade of d’Angelo Jimenez in July 2001. Despite the deceiving 3-0 record Witasik posted in New York, one hopes Jay’s stay will be forgotten some day soon. He was a disaster.
Other birthdays: Charlie Grimm (1898), who played 20 years and managed 19, both of them mostly with the Cubs; Joel Youngblood (1951), whose greatest claim to fame is that he stroked hits as a member of two different teams on the same day around a trade; Darren Lewis (1967); Shane Andrews (1971); Ryan Madson (1980); Yuniesky Maya (1981); Carlos Quentin (1982); Randy Wells (1982); Will Harris (1984); Tommy Hanson (1986); Matt Dominguez (1989); and Matt Andriese (1989).
Players Born This Day