Nine days after his 80th birthday, New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner passed away on July 13, 2010. The uber-owner and “Boss” purchased the team in 1973 and owned them until his death, a time during which the Yanks won seven crowns and 11 AL pennants. Coming just two days after Yankee fans were devastated by the death of Bob Sheppard, it was making for a bad year in the Bronx.
It was the two-year anniversary of Mr. Steinbrenner’s death on July 13, 2012, and the Yanks and Hiroki Kuroda hosted Anaheim in the Stadium, a game the Yanks led 2-1 until Mark Trumbo reached the Bombers’ veteran righty for a three-run home run in the top of the seventh. One more Angels run later, Derek Jeter got the home eighth off right with a leadoff double, and one batter later, Mark Teixeira‘s three-run jack off Scott Downs tied the game. Two outs later, Dewayne Wise, pinch running after Nick Swisher‘s walk, stole second, and Russell Martin delivered the game decider in New York’s 6-5 win with a with a single to right. New Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson threw out the first pitch, while his coach (briefly, sadly) Avery Johnson hung out with the right field Bleacher Creatures early in the game.
Yankee lefty J.A. Happ had a rare 2019 start on July 13 in that he did not surrender any long balls (just one double and four singles into the sixth), but the visiting Blue Jays pitched better. Adam Ottavino relieved Happ with two on in the sixth, and got a strike out, but Yankee killer Randal Grichuk then delivered a two-run single in the 2-1 Toronto win. A walk and singles by DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge halved the visitors’ lead in the bottom of the ninth but, exhibiting a trait that would become all too common down the season’s stretch, Luke Voit, returned from the IL that day, took a third strike, ending the rally, and the game.
Yankee starter Phil Hughes deserved a better fate in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota in the Stadium on July 13, 2013. The Yanks took an early, first-inning, 1-0 lead on an Ichiro Suzuki double and a Robinson Cano single, but couldn’t touch Samuel Deduno thereafter. Home runs, as usual, were the cause of Hughes’s demise, first on a game-tying blast from Trevor Plouffe in the second. But Phil held tough from then until Ryan Doumit and Pedro Florimon drives in the seventh and eighth carried the visitors to victory.
It was his first year in Pinstripes, and the phenomenon from which the AL team in New York and its fans have never recovered (Hallelujah!) was building. Babe Ruth‘s home run numbers were mounting, with 12 coming in June, and the secret was out. When the Browns and Yankees split a double dip on July 13, 1920, they did it in front of 38,823 in the Polo Grounds, their third record-breaking crowd of the year. St. Louis eked out a 7-6 win in Game One, and the Yanks recovered to beat them 7-2 in the nightcap.
Mel Stottlemyre notched his 39th shutout in beating the rival Royals 5-0 on July 13, 1973. But the name in lights on this day belongs to Bobby Murcer, who homered three times and knocked in all of the runs.
Nine years earlier the Yankees beat the Indians 10-4 in Cleveland with four home runs on July 13, 1964. Clete Boyer and Mickey Mantle hit one apiece and Tom Tresh cracked two.
On July 13, 1985, there were big doings going on in the Bronx. First, the Yankees retired the numbers 9 and 32, for Roger Maris and Elston Howard, respectively. Then the Yankees beat Mike Mason and the Texas Rangers 3-1 behind Phil Niekro, with the save going to Dave Righetti.
Nolan Ryan took a 6-0 no-hitter to the ninth inning against the Yankees on July 13, 1979, but Reggie Jackson singled to break it up and send Thurman Munson, on via an error, to third. From there, the Yankee catcher scored on a Lou Piniella sac fly. The Yanks were beaten 6-1, but were neither no-hit nor shut out.
Poor Early Wynn was the pitcher against whom Mickey Mantle homered the most often (13). The Mick and Roger Maris went yard back-to-back on July 13, 1961, sending Wynn to an early shower in the 6-2 Yankees win.
But Early Wynn finally managed his 300th (and last) win by struggling through five innings on the same date two years later in 1963, and then waiting out a 7-4 win over Kansas City.
The Red Sox bashed the Yanks 13-3 on July 13, 1959. When Gene Stephens pinch-ran for Ted Williams in the pivotal sixth inning, Boston batted around, and Stephens hit a grand slam to put the game away in the same frame.
The Yankees hit all day in a doubleheader win (11-1, 12-2) over the Tigers on July 13, 1952, but the pitching hero was Vic Raschi, who threw a one-hitter in the first game.
Vic Raschi was also a hitting star earlier on this day, as he drove in the winning run with a fourth-inning, bases-loaded single and was the winning pitcher in the American League’s 5-2 win over the National League in the 1948 All Star Game.
Detroit Tigers righty Willie Blair bested Doc Gooden and the Yankees by a 3-1 score in Yankee Stadium on July 13, 1997. Bobby Higginson notched all three rbi’s, the first on a first-inning home run.
The Yanks’ trade for Bobo Newsom on July 13, 1947, was a good one, as Bobo’s 7-5 record during the rest of the season helped them to the title.
Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run on this day in 1934 in a 4-2 win over the Tigers. On the Yankee downside, Lou Gehrig suffered a bout of lumbago, and was helped from the field.
On July 13, 2020, the Yankees signed second baseman Trevor Hauver.
As alluded to in a game report near the top of this column, the Yankees activated first baseman Luke Voit from the 10-day injured list on July 13, 2019. The team created roster space by optioning second baseman Breyvic Valera to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Addressing a few infield problems on July 13, 2017, the Yankees traded lefthander Tyler Webb to Milwaukee for first baseman Garrett Cooper. The team also sent second baseman Starlin Castro on a rehab assignment to the AA Trenton Thunder.
The Yankees signed free agent righthander Curtiss Pomeroy to a minor league contract on July 13, 2013.
On July 13, 2015, the Yankees signed lefthander Jeffrey Degano.
A sad, several-day, failed experiment in the Bronx came to an end on July 13, 2013, when first baseman Travis Ishikawa elected to become a free agent, rather than remain with the Yankees in a nonroster capacity.
More roster moves on July 13, 2014, as the Yankees optioned both righthander Matt Daley and outfielder Zoilo Almonte to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The team also recalled righty Bryan Mitchell from the AA Trenton Thunder.
On July 13, 2012, the Yankees signed righthanders Ty Hensley and Charles Haslup, and catcher Dalton Smith.
Boston’s Harry Frazee shipped controversial Carl Mays to the Yankees for pitchers Bob McGraw and Allen Russell and cash on July 13, 1919. The submarine pitcher had quit the mound after two frames in Chicago, blaming his Red Sox teammates for a lack of support afield.
The Highlanders temporarily purchased the contract of catcher Mike “Doc” Powers from the Philly A’s on July 13, 1905. Powers would be sold back to Philadelphia in August.
On July 13, 2010, the Yankees signed left-handed pitcher Kramer Sneed, and assigned him to the Gulf Coast League Yankees in Tampa the next day.
I take pleasure in reporting that the Yanks traded two pitchers to Washington for Al Orth on July 13, 1904, not because he amassed a 72-73 record in New York the next five-plus years, but because of his great nickname: “The Curveless Wonder.” As you’ll see in a week, this trade has also been reported to have taken place seven days later.
When the Marlins used an eight-run fourth inning to blast the Phillies 9-3 on July 13, 1887, 2004-2006 Yankee Gary Sheffield hit two homers in the frame, a solo shot and a three-run blast.
Oakland A’s slugger Reggie Jackson was also a future Yankee when he blasted a tape-measure home run that struck a transformer on the Tiger Stadium roof in a 6-4 American League All Star victory over the Nationals on this day in 1971.
Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie blasted a major-league record three triples as Cleveland outclassed the Highlanders 16-3 on July 13, 1904.
When Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, and Gregg Olson of the Orioles combined for a 2-0 no-hit win over the A’s on July 13, 1991, it marked the second time in mlb history that four hurlers combined on a no-no.
We’ll add just one July 13 highlight featuring future or former Yankee players, but it involves two one-time Yanks. In the third meeting between the knuckleballing brothers, Joe Niekro of the Padres bested Phil Niekro of the Braves 1-0 on this day in 1969. The victory gave Joe a two-to-one lead in victories between the two.
July 13 was already a heartbreaking day in light of the loss that happened on this day in 2008, a report that follows this one. Stars in the Yankee pantheon passed away both two years and two days before the loss of George Steinbrenner on July 13, 2010.
Yankee fans lost one of their most beloved stars when Bobby Murcer passed away due to complications from brain cancer on July 13, 2008. The numbers (252 home runs and 1,043 rbi’s from 1965 through 1983, most of it in two tours with the Yankees) are impressive enough, but Bobby is remembered as the only player who played both with Mickey Mantle and Don Mattingly, and in addition, who can ever forget his stirring performance in the game following Thurman Munson‘s tragic death in 1979? Also, Bobby had become a much-beloved figure on YES broadcasts, telling great stories and bringing his down-home Oklahoma (another link to The Mick!) perspective. Until 2008, the only Yankee player who had died on July 13 was lefty-hitting second baseman Jimmie Reese (1994), who batted 124-for-433 good for six long balls and 44 rbi’s in debuting playing 142 games with the 1930-1931 Yankees. A 90-game stretch with the 1932 Cardinals increased those numbers to eight and 70.
NonYankee players to have passed this day include a lefty-hitting first baseman, a southpaw pitcher, and catcher Mickey Owen (2005), who cleared 14 fences good for 378 rbi’s between 1937 and 1954 playing for the Cardinals, the Dodgers, the Cubs, and the Red Sox. First sacker Art Shires (1967) did most of his 1928-1932 playing, good for 11 home runs and 119 runs driven in, for the Cubs. The Cubs were the only club Vern Olsen (1989) pitched for, to a 30-26 record with two saves from 1939-1942 and in 1946.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Righthander and Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski (1889) merits mention as the first of six Yankee July 13 birthdays with a 5-1 record in the Bronx in 1928. But he did much of his pitching for the A’s, the Indians, and the Senators, to a career mark of 215-142.
We’ll place the birthdaying 2007-2008 Yankee hurler Kei Igawa (1979) next on the list in hopes he drives his name to the top of the heap some day upon returning from AAA Scranton. Kei had a 2-4 mark in 16 games (13 starts) with the 2007-2008 teams in New York with an era over 6.00. He has excelled in AAA, where he recently set a franchise record for most wins (a double-edged honor; you don’t accumulate the most wins if you are brought up to the bigs).
Jack Aker (1940) was a Yankee bullpen stalwart from ’69-’72, winning 16 of 26 decisions with 31 saves. Jack was traded to New York by the Seattle Pilots for Fred Talbot in May 1969. The Yanks sent Aker to the Chicago Cubs in May 1972 as compensation for Johnny Callison, whom they had received in January of that year. Aker’s final numbers: 47-45, 123 saves.
Frank Hiller (1920) went 5-6 with one save for the Yanks during three years in the forties before pitching three years with the Cubs and one with Giants. The Chicago Cubs sent Hiller to the Cincinnati Reds for Willie Ramsdell, and the Reds traded him to the Giants for Gail Henley. Hiller’s 30 career wins were two less than his 32 losses.
Outfielder Ken Hunt (1934) had 34 at bats during a 1959-1960 Yankee stay, and played four years for the Angels and Senators afterward. He was a 1952 amateur free agent Yankee signing, whom they lost to the Los Angeles Angels in the 1960 expansion draft. Of the 33 homers with 111 rbi’s Hunt posted, just two of the the runs driven in came with the Yanks.
Infielder and 2019 MVP candidate DJ LeMahieu (1988) took the Bronx by storm once he arrived that year as a free agent signer. A low-round amateur unsigned dratee in 2007, DJ was chosen in the second round by the Cubs in 2009. After playing 37 games on the North side of Chicago in 2001, he was traded to Colorado, and had hit 49 home runs with 349 rbi’s by the time he signed with New York. He has made three All Star teams and won four Gold Gloves now, and his 26-homer and 102-rbi 2019 while playing second, third and first base in the Bronx made him the team MVP. He followed up with solid work in the bizarro shortened 2020 season, leading all of baseball with a .364 batting average, with 10 home runs and 27 rbi’s. Signed to a six-year deal prior to the 2021 season, he has struggled thus far, with a .271 ba, seven long balls, and 33 rbi’s as of this writing. His defensive flexibility, playing second, third, and first base, has been pivotal to any success the team has had.
Bill Caudill (1956), who posted a 35-52 mark for the Cubs, Mariners, A’s, and Blue Jays from 1979 to 1987, was a Yankee for part of April 1 (April Fools?), 1982. He arrived in New York from the Cubs as payment for Pat Tabler, received in a trade the August before, and was sent out that same April day to Seattle as part of the package that brought Shane Rawley to the Yankees.
Other birthdays: Lefthander Gene Packard (1887), who won 85 while losing 69 for the Reds, the K.C. Pepper (Federal League), the Cubs, and the Cardinals from 1912-1919; Mike Fitzgerald (1960); Pat Rapp (1967); Rich Aude (1971); Clint Sodowsky (1972); Ryan Ludwick (1978); Yadier Molina (1982); Shin-Soo Choo (1982); Tyler Cravy (1989); Casey Sadler (1990); Tyler Skaggs (1991); Seth Brown (1992); Ty France (1994); Kyle Lewis (1995); Alec Bettinger (1995); and Cody Bellinger (1995).
Players Born This Day