It was Moose Skowron‘s big day on July 14, 1957. The Yanks had already lost the first game to the White Sox, 3-1, and things were bleak as they entered the ninth inning of Game Two trailing 4-0. But Moose supplied the highlight of the Yankee rally as his pinch-hit grand slam home run keyed the winning rally and the 6-4 victory. It was his second pinch-hit grand slam of the season, a record at the time. Yankee fans were suitably distraught when Moose passed away in April 2011.
After having stumbled through the first half of the 2006 season, the Yanks went a long way toward legitimizing their year when they swept the World Champion White Sox in the Bronx coming out of the All Star Break. Randy Johnson got the July 14 start, and the Yanks got even at 2-2 in the fourth on a Bernie Williams sac fly, but it was the unlikeliest of heroes that sparked this Yankee win. Selected after his release by Kansas City weeks before, Aaron Guiel got the home team their first lead when he homered off Jose Contreras in the sixth. Melky Cabrera, Miguel Cairo, and Johnny Damon eighth-inning rbi’s thankfully stretched the Yankee lead, and the Bombers hung on for a 6-5 win.
In one of CC Sabathia‘s worst (and shortest) starts of his career, the Twins battered him for eight runs on eight hits in four innings in a 10-4 loss on July 14, 2013. With a series of little hits, and one big one — a three-run homer from Aaron Hicks — Minnesota reached him for two, then three, then three runs in the second through fourth innings.
The Yankees beat the Florida Marlins 6-2 in a July 14, 2000 interleague contest in which it took the two teams 36 minutes to slog through the first inning. After Luis Castillo led off with a single, Roger Clemens needed 28 pitches (9, 10, 9) to sandwich strike outs of Cliff Floyd and Mike Lowell around a walk to Preston Wilson. In the bottom half the Yanks pounded Ryan Dempster for three runs on Bernie Williams and David Justice homers. Later, when Yankee second baseman Jose Vizcaino beat out an infield single after Ryan Thompson‘s three-run jack in the third, it was Jose’s 1,000th career base hit.
It was pretty devastating news to the Yankee faithful as the team headed into the All Star break on July 14, 2005, as Chien-Ming Wang was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 9, with inflammation of the right shoulder. Almost as bad as that news to a young hard thrower was the initial response to the loss, as the team purchased the contract of righthander Tim Redding from AAA Columbus.
It was hard not to crack a smile at the umpires’ expense, although it became a very serious matter, as it was on this day in 1999 that Union head Richie Phillips hatched his ill-advised strategy in their labor war with baseball: They’d all resign as a group.
Baltimore Oriole Bob Johnson set a record as he bashed his sixth straight pinch hit when he appeared in that role in a July 14, 1964 game vs. the Yanks, but the Yankees won the game anyway, 4-3.
With one of his unexpected heroics mentioned above, the 2006 pickup of Aaron Guiel was one Brian Cashman move that surprisingly paid off. On the other end of the spectrum was the July 14 signing of ex-Oriole and Giant righthander Sydney Ponson. He would get a few starts, to no beneficial effect, either for him or the club. He performed better, but not overly so, after becoming a mid-season 2008 free agent pickup.
It turns out that sports apparel maker Wilson was at fault when Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter appeared on the field with a uni top that spelled the city that hosted his team thusly: “Torotno,” on July 14, 1994.
The Yankees tied a record (at the time) for lowest number of assists in a complete game (with one) when they beat the Tigers, 8-3, on July 14, 1939. Newly honored with a plaque in Monument Park on a recent Old Timers Day, the righthander Red Ruffing earned the victory.
The National League prevailed in the 1970 All Star Game 5-4 when Pete Rose crashed into friend and houseguest and Cleveland Indian catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run on Jim Hickman‘s single. Fosse was injured and would never be the same.
Third baseman Mike Schmidt of the Phillies moved ahead of beloved Yankee star Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list when he hit his 537th in a 7-5 Phillies loss to the Astros on July 14, 1988.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Detroit slugger Walt Dropo‘s 5-for-5 day at the plate in a Tigers 8-2 win over the Yankees on July 14, 1952, is that all five hits were singles.
I suppose Yankee fans can consider themselves lucky that Billy Martin was not yet managing in New York on July 14, 1974. In a doubleheader split on that day between Billy’s Texas Rangers and the Milwaukee Brewers, he became the first American League field boss to be tossed by the umpires from two games on the same day.
Mel Parnell threw a no-hitter at the White Sox at Fenway on July 14, 1956, winning 4-0. And Pedro’s brother, Ramon Martinez, allowed just one walk when he no-hit the Florida Marlins 7-0 for the Dodgers on this day in 1995.
In perhaps a little-known fact, Lou Gehrig extended his games-played streak on July 14, 1934, by hitting leadoff when listed as the shortstop, and then taking the rest of the day off. Things may have ended differently had he played the whole game, as the Yanks came out one run short to the Tigers, 12-11.
I guess the New York Times can be forgiven for the inaccuracy of their July 14, 1934 prediction that nobody would ever match the number 700 in home runs that Babe Ruth had achieved the day before. Henry Aaron‘s eventual accomplishment was truly an amazing one.
On July 14, 2017, the Yankees optioned first baseman Rob Refsnyder to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; recalled southpaw Jordan Montgomery from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; placed righthander Michael Pineda on the 10-day disabled, list retroactive to July 11, with a right UCL injury; selected the contract of first baseman Garrett Cooper from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; and activated DH Matt Holliday from the 10-day disabled list. The club also signed free agent catcher Jhoiner Rodriguez to a minor league contract.
Preparing for a move or two, the Yankees optioned righthander Bryan Mitchell to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on July 14, 2014, then released left fielder Alfonso Soriano, who unfortunately was unable to provide the big bat he had brought with him on his return to the Bronx the year before.
The New York AL club assigned newly signed righty Sean Black to the Staten Island Yankees on July 14, 2009.
Future Yankees played big roles in the 1993 All Star Game in which the American League bested their National League rivals 9-3 on July 14. Gary Sheffield hit one of three home runs, and Jack McDowell took the win. But the image that stuck with most fans was the Randy Johnson strike out of Phillies lefthanded batter John Kruk.
Another July 14 highlight affecting a future Yankee star was the 17-inning scoreless tie between the Red Sox and the Browns in 1916. Lefty Ernie Koob went the distance for St. Louis while eventual Yankee Carl Mays lasted “just” 15 for Boston.
Two more July 14 highlights featuring future or former Yankee players: First, Rickey Henderson stole his 1,200th career base in a 5-3 Padres win over the Giants on this day in 1997. In the same game, by the way, long-time San Diego star Tony Gwynn lifted his average to .402 while hitting a single, a double, and a triple.
And another one-time Yankee with plenty of base-stealing prowess makes the list as Tim Raines went three-for-three including a two-run, 13th-inning triple on July 14, 1987, carrying the National League to a 2-0 victory in the All Star Game.
A 500-home run club anomaly: Eddie Matthews hit his 500th as an Astro on July 14, 1961, and Hank Aaron joined him while playing for the Braves exactly one year later.
Although he may shine the least among the three Yankee ballplayers who have died on July 14, we’ll list lefty-hitting outfielder and shortstop Whitey Witt (1988) first because he alone did most of his baseball work in the Bronx. Witt hit 11 home runs and drove in 132 runs for the Yanks in 464 games from 1922-1925, numbers that grow to 18 and 302 when six years with the A’s and one with the Dodgers are added in. Witt played center field in the first game played in old Yankee Stadium in 1923. A one-time AL MVP with Boston, outfielder Jackie Jensen (1982) cleared nine fences good for 32 rbi’s in debuting with the 1950-1952 Yanks, but retired with 199 roundtrippers and 929 runs knocked in after two years with the Senators and six with the Red Sox. Outfielder and utility player Cesar Tovar (1994) drove in two runs in New York in ending his career with the 1976 Yankees. In a career mostly spent with Minnesota, but the Phillies, the Rangers, and the A’s too, from 1965-1976, Tovar totaled 46 long balls and 435 rbi’s.
One old-time nonYankee notable and one who played almost 50 years later have died on July 14. Switch-hitting righthanded pitcher Orval Overall (1947) won 108, lost 71, and saved 12 games from 1905-1913 with the Cubs, plus two years with the Reds. And catcher Matt Batts (2013) cleared 26 fences and drove in 220 runs from 1947 through 1956, playing most of his games with the Red Sox, the Tigers, and the Reds.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Johnny Murphy (1908), birthdaying today, was a Yankee bullpen star. He played 15 of his 16 years with the Yanks, won 53 of 93 decisions, and amassed 104 saves from 1932 through 1946. Johnny also served as the general manager of the 1969 Miracle Mets World Champions before succumbing to a heart attack.
Lefty old-timer Jesse Tannehill (1874) threw most of his innings for Pittsburgh and Boston in a career that spanned 1894-1911, compiling a 197-116 record during that time. But he went 15-15 for the 1903 Highlanders. He jumped from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Highlanders before the 1903 season, and was traded by New York to the Boston Pilgrims for Tom Hughes the following December.
Outfielder Danny Walton (1947) played much of his time in Houston, Milwaukee, and Minnesota, but the two hits he smacked in 14 at bats during five games for the 1971 Yankees included a home run and two rbi’s.
Finally, Yankee third baseman during the 2002 and 2003 seasons Robin Ventura (1967) enjoyed much of his success when playing for the White Sox, but he did contribute 36 home runs and 135 rbi’s to the Yankee cause. Ventura arrived in the Bronx via a Yankee swap of David Justice to the Mets.
Although Ventura is the most recent Yankee player birthdaying July 14, infielder Bernie Castro (1979) was a Yankee signee even if he hasn’t played for them. A 1997 amateur free agent draft selection by New York, Castro was traded to San Diego in December 2001 for Kevin Reese, who saw some play in the Yankee outfield a few years ago. Castro appeared in 190 games for the Orioles and then the Nationals in 2005 and 2006, and he notched 17 rbi’s in that time.
Other birthdays lead off with former Commissioner (but not a player) and Hall of Famer Happy Chandler (1898); the real Crash Davis (1919), a catcher in the film Bull Durham, but a Philly second baseman in real life who hit two home runs and 43 rbi’s from 1940-1942; righthander Bob Purkey (1929), who won 129 while losing 115 from 1954-1966 with the Pirates and the Reds; Steve Stone (1947); Earl Williams (1948); John Dopson (1963); Darrell Hall (1964); Derrick May (1968); Jose Hernandez (1969); Tim Davis (170); Mark Brandenburg (1970); Tim Hudson (1975); Mike Burns (1978); Enrique Gonzalez (1982); Juan Guttierez (1983); Rob Brantly (1989); Jack Leathersich (1990); Tim Locastro (1992); Carson Kelly (1994); Alexander Velazquez (1994); Lucas Giolito (1994); and Tyler Alexander (1994).
Players Born This Day