That Didi Gregorius homered for the second run on Didi Bobblehead Night, and that Masahiro Tanaka pitched the Yankees to a 3-2 win over Carlos Carrasco and the visiting Indians, should have made for more than enough drama, excitement, and “buzz” in the Bronx on August 7, 2016. But those stories all became subplots to what took place earlier that day, when Alex Rodriguez announced his retirement from the team as a player, though he would continue to be paid through the 2017 season.
“A Long Day’s Journey into Night,” is how YES TV’s Michael Kay describes the instant classic the Yankees played against the Red Sox on August 7, 2009. Neither Josh Beckett nor A.J. Burnett disappointed with seven mutual scintillating innings of shutout ball, and the two bullpens continued the mastery until Alex Rodriguez sent the home crowd home happy with a 15th-inning, two-run shot off Boston’s Junichi Tazawa.
The rejuvenated Toronto Blue Jays stormed from behind to overtake the first-place Yanks down the stretch in 2015, and they began a three-game weekend sweep in the Stadium with a 2-1 win on August 7. R.A. Dickey and Nate Eovaldi battled to a 1-1 tie through seven, with the runs coming on home runs by Josh Donaldson in the first and Mark Teixeira (batting righty against the righthanded knuckleballer) in the second. Yankee fans were frustrated that the team would not score over the next eight frames until Jose Bautista won it with a 10th-inning homer off Branden Pinder; little did they know that Tex’s shot would be the team’s lone tally of the whole weekend.
In a stunning outing that probably got him eventually relocated to the Motor City, Yankee rookie righthander Shane Greene shut out the Tigers 1-0 through eight innings in Yankee Stadium on August 7, 2014. Consecutive two-out singles by Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley, and Stephen Drew off Rick Porcello in the home fourth produced the game’s only run, and David Robertson cashed in the save after Greene allowed a leadoff single in the ninth inning.
CC Sabathia pitched eight strong innings, and rbi base hits by Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, and Ramiro Pena in the fifth and sixth innings made the difference in a 5-2 win over the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium on August 7, 2010. It’s become somewhat routine now, but this was the first time I noticed that, in a dramatic overshift against David Ortiz, Pena moved from third base to the right side of second base with Derek Jeter basically retaining the position he generally plays at shortstop.
Even though it eventually hasn’t worked out for Shane Spencer in two New York boroughs, it’s great to think back to his ’98 season, which actually got off to a great start way before September. Shane doubled twice, homered twice and singled in a 14-2 Yankees shellacking of Kansas City in the second of two on August 7, 1998, after the Yanks had already won Game One, 8-2. Spencer knocked in three and scored four times himself.
The other day, we reported that the Yanks had celebrated a Lou Piniella Day on the fifth in 1984. Almost exactly one year earlier, August 7, 1983, was Bobby Murcer Day in the Bronx. The Bombers fell, however, in the game that followed, 8-5 to Dan Petry and Detroit, with Matt Keough taking the loss. That day takes on special meaning in 2009 with Murcer’s death just about a year removed.
More good than bad on the transaction wire on August 7, 2007, as the Yankees purchased the contract of righthander Joba Chamberlain from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, as he became a dynamite setup man in the pen. In addition, the club activated first baseman/DH Jason Giambi, who enjoyed a 2008 resurgence, from the 15-day disabled list. On the down side, righty Brian Bruney was optioned to Scranton; and longtime backup infielder Miguel Cairo was designated for assignment.
Oh for the days when Yankee fans, and the team, looked forward to playing the weaker teams in the West. Their 7-1 win over Seattle behind Mike Torrez on August 7, 1977, began a streak during which they won 20 of 23 vs. the AL Western teams.
The Yankees were bidding for a doubleheader sweep on August 7, 1968, after having taken the opener over Oakland 3-0. But Joe Keough of the A’s made his major-league debut by homering in his first at bat in a 4-3 win over New York.
On an early August day in 2004, Alex Rodriguez both homered and scored by stealing home on the front end of a double steal. On August 7, 1948, Joe DiMaggio stole home in the same manner, doubled twice, and knocked in three in a 5-0 win over the Indians. Vic Raschi got the win and allowed only four singles to run his record to 14-4.
The Yankees fell 3-2 to the Washington Senators on August 7, 1957, despite Hank Bauer‘s second leadoff homerun in two games.
The Yanks won the second game of a doubleheader against the White Sox 7-0 behind Ron Guidry‘s 13 strike outs on August 7, 1984. And Jim Deshaies became the 1,000th man to play for the Yankees as he pitched in the first game. He lost to Lamar Hoyt and the Chisox, 6-3.
The Yanks played the Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown against the Dodgers on August 7, 1972, beating them 8-3 behind three home runs from Ron Allen. And among those inducted that day were Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Gomez, and Early Wynn.
Also inducted on August 7, in this case in 1978, were players Eddie Matthews and Addie Joss, and baseball exec Larry MacPhail. MacPhail was in the Yankee front office when the team copped the 1947 World Series.
In a four-team pennant race, the Yanks had the bad luck to run into Tigers Yankee killer Frank Lary in the first of two on August 7, 1955. Given Lary’s record against the Bombers, the 4-2 loss is no surprise. All of which made Mickey Mantle‘s 10th-inning game winner off Babe Birrer in a 3-2 nightcap win that much bigger.
Enrique Wilson hit a grand slam home run off Texas righty Joaquin Benoit in Yankee Stadium on August 7, 2003, in a 7-5 Yankee win. Even more rare than a Wilson grand slam was the sight of new Yankee Aaron Boone signing autographs down the right field line before the game.
It was a key late-season move when the San Diego Padres traded Chad Gaudin to the Yankees on August 7, 2009. The team cleared two spots on the roster when they optioned righty Anthony Claggett and outrighted utility player Cody Ransom to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and recalled third basenan Ramiro Pena.
The love affair between Yankee fandom and southpaw Denny Neagle was heading south, as Neagle took the 8-5 loss to John Halama and the Mariners on August 7, 2000, in Yankee Stadium. Late in the game, Joe Torre had to keep home plate umpire Angel Hernandez away from Yankee reliever Jeff Nelson once the righthander shouted something to Hernandez while stomping off the mound after the top of the eighth.
The Yankees optioned lefthander Jordan Montgomery to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on August 7, 2017.
On August 7, 2010, the Yankees first signed young righty Thomas Kahnle, on his birthday no less (see below), and then assigned him to the Staten Island Yankees.
The 1901 Baltimore Orioles, 18 months removed from their future move to New York as the Highlanders and then the Yankees, split a pair with the Boston Red Sox on August 7 of that year. Boston pulled off a triple play in their 10-5 Game One victory, and Baltimore responded with a 10-4 win in the nightcap.
First baseman Burt Hart, one of the players on that 1901 Baltimore team, was suspended by American League founder Ban Johnson on August 7 that year for having struck an umpire in a game the day before.
The short-lived 1990 run at stardom by Yankee first baseman Kevin Maas had another successful chapter on August 7, 1990, as he became the quickest rookie to reach 12 homers (92 at bats) in a 3-1 win over Seattle at the Kingdome. Mike Witt earned the win, and Erik Hanson took the loss.
It’s fitting in a period of time where so many Americans are serving in the active military that we point out Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek‘s achievement on August 7, 1962, when he homered in his first at bat after returning from military service in a 14-1 Yankee win over Minnesota.
The Yankees not only lost a game 2-0 to Steve Barber, Harvey Haddix, and the Orioles on August 7, 1964. They lost first place to Baltimore too.
Greg Maddux extended the mark for consecutive innings without a walk allowed to 70.3 on this day in 2001, thereby breaking the record shared by Christy Mathewson (in 1913) and Randy Jones (in 1976) of 68 innings.
In a lesson that looms for several teams entering August of any season, the Yanks added Jose Canseco to a team already three deep in DH’s on August 7, 2000, when they made a claim to prevent the home run hitter from going to the Red Sox and ended up stuck with him themselves.
Reacting to a slew of injuries to regulars by doing a lot of lineup juggling, Casey Stengel had 13 different Yankees score in Game One of two with the Browns on August 7, 1949. The Yanks won that one, 20-2, while the nightcap ended in a 2-2 tie.
George Pipgras won the first of two against the A’s on August 7, 1929, 13-1, behind the second Babe Ruth grand slam home run in as many days. The A’s won Game Two, 4-2.
When Bobby Ojeda hurled two innings in a Cleveland 8-6 loss to the Orioles on August 7, 1993, it marked his return to action following the horrific March boating accident that injured him severely and took the lives of teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews.
Wade Boggs homered for the Devil Rays on this day in 1999, gathering his 3,000th career hit one day after Tony Gwynn of the Padres had reached that same lofty pinnacle. Boggs became the first player to reach the number with a home run.
First in a list of August 7 highlights featuring one-time Yankee players in other uni’s, Dave Winfield singled off Tom Bolton for his 2,500th career hit in an Angels 6-3 loss to Boston on this day in 1990. Also, in a 17-0 Reds demolition of the Brewers on August 7, 1998, Aaron Boone and teammates Reggie Sanders and Sean Casey all hit bases-loaded doubles in a 12-run sixth innning. And finally, when former Yankee Jay Buhner joined teammates Darnell Coles, Alvin Davis, Jim Pressley, and Rey Quinones in stroking sac flies in a 12-7 Seattle win over Oakland on this day in 1988, the five run-scoring fly outs set a new American League record.
In an August 7, 1992, statistical rarity, the averages of the top three hitters in each of the two leagues were the same: Edgar Martinez and John Kruk, .341; Kirby Puckett and Andy Van Slyke, .331; and Shane Mack and Gary Sheffield, .329.
Lefty-hitting outfielder Bobby Veach (1945) is one of three Yankee players to have died on August 7. Veach went 41-for-116 in 56 games for the 1925 Yankees, for 15 rbi’s and no home runs. In a 1912-1925 career mostly spent with Detroit, he cleared 64 fences and drove in 1,166 runs. Southpaw Mickey McDermott (2003) won two and lost six in 23 games (nine starts) with the 1956 Yankees. In a 1948-1961 career largely spent with the Red Sox, McDermott won 69, lost 69, and saved 14 games. Outfielder, first baseman, and DH (he would play a defensive position in just 13 of 420 games in the Bronx) Don Baylor (2017) hit 338 home runs and drove in 1,276 from 1970 through 1988 playing six seasons each with Baltimore and Anaheim, three with the Yankees, two with Boston, two with Oakland, and one in Minnesota. He hit 71 long balls good for 265 rbi’s in pinstripes from 1983-1985. Also a manager in the major leagues for nine years, Baylor was the NL Manager of the Year in 1995, piloting the Rockies.
Think lefty when thinking of the group of August 7 noteworthy nonYankee player deaths, as there are two lefty-hitting outfielders, a portsided-hitting catcher, and a southpaw pitcher. Emmett Seery (1930) patroled outfields mostly for the Hoosiers and the St. Louis Maroons and hit 27 long balls with 300 rbi’s from 1884-1892; and Johnny Rucker (1985) hit all 21 of his long balls good for 214 runs driven in from 1940-1946 with the Giants. Backstop Hal Wagner (1979) hit most of his 15 roundtrippers and 228 rbi’s with the A’s. And lefty-throwing, righty-hitting hurler Wilber Cooper (1973) posted most of his 216-178 mark with 14 saves with the Pirates.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Don Larsen (1929), author of the only Perfect Game in World Series history, is the first of five Yankee August 7 birthdays, plus one almost Yankee. He went 45-24 with six saves in the Bronx from 1955 through 1959. Larsen both arrived in and left the Bronx as a part of blockbuster deals. He was traded to New York by the Baltimore Orioles with Billy Hunter and Bob Turley in November 1954 for Gene Woodling, Harry Byrd, Willy Miranda, and others. The Yanks shipped Larson with Hank Bauer, Norm Siebern, and Marv Throneberry to the Kansas City Athletics for Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri, and Kent Hadley in December 1959.
Bill McKechnie (1886) made the Hall of Fame as a manager, but he also played 45 games for the 1913 Yanks once he was selected off waivers from the Boston Braves. He jumped to the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the Federal League before the 1914 season.
Steve Kemp (1954) hit 19 homers with 90 rbi’s for the 1983-1984 Yanks after having already played 10 years, mostly with Detroit. He was signed as a free agent with New York in December 1982, and was traded two years later with Tim Foli and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dale Berra, Alfonso Pulido, and Jay Buhner.
Jason Grimsley posted a 10-4 record with two saves for the 1999-2000 Yanks, after 10 years with Philly and Cleveland, and before stops in K.C. and Baltimore. Jason was signed as a free agent with the Yankees in October 1998, and he was released in November 2000. Mr. Grimsley is unfortunately deeply involved in the steroids controversy now, and not in the game.
Lefty Wade LeBlanc (1984), a journeyman, was selected from the Angels and appeared in one game for New York in 2014, then was designated for assignment. Wade, drafted in 2003, then in 2006, pitched for the Padres from 2008-2011, and the Marlins, the Astros, the Angels, the Mariners, and the Pirates since. As of this writing, he had a 29-35 record with three saves in 164 games, 79 of them starts.
The final listing includes a prospect who had not played with the Yanks but happily is with them now. Righthander Tom Kahnle (1989), drafted by New York in the fifth round of the 2010 draft, looked good, but was lost to the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 rule-5 draft, a victim of a numbers game. After two years with the Rockies and one and a half with the White Sox, Kahnle was 3-6 with three saves in 156 games, all in relief. Then the Bombers reacquired him, along with ex-Yank David Robertson and third baseman Todd Frazier for prospect Blake Rutherford, setup man Tyler Clippard, and two other minor leaguers, in July 2017. Kahnle posted a 1-1 mark in 32 games in ’17, and a 1-0 mark in eight appearances in 2018 before he went down with a shoulder injury. It appears it is taking considerable time for Tommy to rebuild arm strength, and he lingers in AAA as of this writing.
Other birthdays: righthander Art Houtteman (1927), who posted most of his 87 wins, 91 losses, and 20 saves with Detroit and Cleveland from 1945-1957; Jerry McNertney (1936); Rich Croushore (1970); Danny Graves (1973); Edgar Renteria (1975); Geronimo Gil (1975); Tyler Yates (1977); Jordan Danks (1986); Rafael Ynoa (1987); Ryan Lavarnway (1987); Kirk Nieuwenhuis (1987); Josh Smith (1987); Brock Stassi (1989); Andy Burns (1990); Carter Capps (1990); Tony Zych (1990); Jose Dominguez (1990); Mike Trout (1991); Jose De Leon (1992); and Michael Perez (1992).
Players Born This Day