If you could get past exactly why July 16, 2010, was such a special game, and even if you couldn’t, it may have been the most scintillating regular-season game in the new baseball palace in the Bronx; it was certainly one of the most emotional. Following Taps at 6:45, the Yanks hosted a short service to honor both Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner, both of whom had passed away within the previous five days. Tampa’s James Shields and CC Sabathia battled to a 3-3 tie through six including back-to-back home runs from Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada, but CC surrendered run No. 4 in the seventh. Still, Nick Swisher to the rescue, via a game-tying home run off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth, and then a walkoff rbi single in the ninth to drive in Curtis Granderson, who had reached on a single off one-time Yankee southpaw Randy Choate.
Well, emerging from the All Star Break, it’s a good time to pause and take a look at some ongoing feats that would become records. On July 16, 1987, Don Mattingly hit his fourth of six grand slam homers on the season in a 12-3 victory over the Texas Rangers, with Ron Guidry getting the win over Charlie Hough. It was also the sixth consecutive game that Donnie homered, and he would tie Dale Long‘s record shortly.
It sounds silly to be talking about setting new full single-season records in the middle of the season, but that’s what Babe Ruth did when he connected on home run no. 30 on July 16, 1920, in a 5-2 Yankee loss to the Browns. It was a new high in homers for a season, and the number would reach 54 before the year was over.
Nobody has ever developed a foolproof blueprint for rescuing a lost season, but the approach the Yanks made in mid-July 2007 was a pretty good one. Their 6-4 win over Toronto on July 16 was Game One in the second of four straight four-game series, all of which they took by a three-games-to-one margin. Early home runs from Hideki Matsui, Robbie Cano, and Alex Rodriguez gave them a 4-2 lead through three innings, one that Kei Igawa predictably squandered by surrendering long balls to Troy Glaus and Alex Rios. But Andy Phillips subsequently doubled home two, and the Yanks won 6-4.
Mickey Mantle delivered both runs when the Yanks beat Baltimore and Steve Barber 2-1 on July 16, 1961.
When the Yanks completed a three-game sweep of the at-the-time World Champion White Sox on July 16, 2006, first-inning home runs by Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez off Freddy Garcia staked them to a 3-0 lead. Jaret Wright got the win and the home team prevailed 6-3.
The visiting third inning started quietly in Fenway on July 16, 2005, with Matt Clement retiring the first two, but a Gary Sheffield thumper off the Green Monster preceded an Alex Rodriguez one over it. The next six Yankees reached safely, with Derek Jeter capping the six-run uprising with an rbi single. Randy Johnson was the beneficiary in the 7-4 Bombers win.
Less than a week after narrowly missing out on acquiring Ugueth Urbina from the Rangers for prospects Jorge DePaula and Alex Graman, the Yankees did the unthinkable on July 16, 2003, sending young righties Jason Anderson, Anderson Garcia, and Ryan Bicondoa to the crosstown Mets for closer Armando Benitez, to serve in the Bronx as righthanded setup for Mariano Rivera. Benitez had gaudy save numbers in Shea, but a reputation for failing in big games. Furthermore, he was largely despised in the Bronx for having drilled Tino Martinez in the back with a pitch years before after allowing a big home run while pitching for the Orioles.
The Yanks jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves in an interleague contest on July 16, 1999, but Orlando “el duque” Hernandez just did not have it that night, and Atlanta rode one homer each by Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones and two by Ryan Klesko to a 10-7 win.
As a young hurler for Tulsa in the Texas League, future Yankee star Dave Righetti struck out 21 Midland batters in nine innings on this day in 1978. Tulsa would lose 4-2 in extra innings, and Rags would get no decision.
The St. Louis Browns tied one record when Clint Courtney, Dick Kryhoski, and Jim Dyck homered back-to-back-to-back in the first inning of an 8-6 victory over the Yankees on July 16, 1953. The five singleton St. Louis jacks in the first three frames set a new mark.
The Yankees knocked the Indians out of first place on July 16, 1959, by sweeping two. Yogi Berra tied the first game with a ninth-inning home run, and Mickey Mantle won it in the 10th, 7-5, with a two-run shot; Bobby Schantz threw a 4-0 shutout in the later tilt.
The Baltimore Orioles regained first place on this day in 1964 as Steve Barber bested Jim Bouton and the Yanks, 6-1.
The Yankees rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to tie the Phillies at 7-7 after regulation in an interleague contest on July 16, 2000 on three singles, three walks, and an error, only to see Brian Hunter reach Mariano Rivera for a two-run homer in the 10th. But a walk and a hit batsman set it up, and consecutive singles from Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, and David Justice scored the three to win it 9-8 for the home-standing Bombers in the bottom half.
One of the four hits the Yankees managed against the Orioles in 14 innings on July 16, 1967, was a solo Mickey Mantle home run off Bill Dillman, but that was the offense, and they lost, 2-1.
The Yankees sent young, struggling outfielder Mickey Mantle to AA Kansas City on July 16, 1951. Mickey initially slumped in the minors, going 0-for-22, but then took off, and the rest, as they say, is history. And speaking of history, Art Schallock, who took Mickey’s place on the roster that day, pitched right away and gave up seven hits to the Tigers in just 2.3 innings. Despite the poor performance, however, the Yanks prevailed, 8-6.
Bob Dillinger and Cliff Fannin of the Browns combined to thrash Allie Reynolds and the Yankees 10-4 on this day in 1948. Dillinger notched five rbi’s on a bases-loaded triple and three singles while stealing two bases. And Fannin held the Bombers in check until Phil Rizzuto homered in the eighth inning.
Things on the Yankee pitching staff improved markedly when the team acquired southpaw Al Leiter from the Florida Marlins in exchange for a player to be named on July 16, 2005, making room by designating righty Tim Redding for assignment.
Two recent Yankee starters turned in one-hit victories earlier in their careers on July 16. Kevin Brown threw his first career one-hitter in the Marlins’ 1997, 5-1 win over the Dodgers, just five weeks after throwing a no-hitter against the Giants. One year later, Randy Johnson allowed just one hit in a 3-0 Seattle shutout of the Twins. The Unit struck out 11.
Two Yankee transactions took place on July 16, 2010, as infielder/outfielder Kevin Russo was optioned to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and young hurler Dustin Hobbs was assigned to the Gulf Coast Yankees in Tampa.
Although the immediate result of Giants owner Andrew Freedman‘s purchase of the American League Baltimore Orioles on July 16, 1902, was that players were released, with stars Dan McGann, Roger Bresnahan, Joe McGinnity, and Jack Cronin jumping to the Giants and others to the Reds. But the few players left, with some key assistance from other teams, helped the O’s play the ’02 season out, and a few remained with the club when it relocated to New York as the Highlanders in 1903.
When adding a few July 16 highlights affecting future or former Yankees, we include coach for the 1996 team Jose Cardenal, who became the fourth outfielder in baseball history to complete two unassisted double plays in the same season when he pulled the feat off in a 2-1 Cleveland win over the Angels on this day in 1968. In a similar vein, Roger Bresnahan, who played with the 1901-1902 Orioles teams that would move to New York as the Highlanders in ’03, started a bases-loaded triple play for the Giants against the Pirates on July 16, 1903.
Players Who Have Died This Day
No Yankee players have died on July 16.
The seven noteworthy nonYankee players to have passed this day consist of four outfielders, a third baseman, and two righthanded pitchers. Outfielders: Mike Mitchell (1961) reached 27 fences good for 514 rbi’s mostly with the Reds from 1907-1914; and Earl McNeely (1971) hit four home runs and drove in 213 runs from 1924-1931 with the Senators and the Browns. Lefty thrower, righty fielder Tuck Turner (1945) hit seven long balls with 213 rbi’s with the Phillies and the Browns from 1893-1898; and lefty-hitting outfielder Jimmy Ripple (1959) collected most of his 28 roundtrippers and 251 runs driven in from 1936-1943 with the Giants, with stops with the Dodgers and Reds too. Third baseman Milt Stock (1977) played from 1913-1926, garnering 22 home runs and 696 rbi’s largely for the Cardinals and the Phillies, but with the Dodgers and the Giants too. Righty Fred Blanding (1950) played for Cleveland only from 1910-1914, to a 45-46 record with four saves; and Whit Wyatt (1999) won 106, lost 95, and saved 13 games with the Dodgers, the Tigers, and the White Sox from 1929-1945.
Players Born This Day
There are three different guys born July 16 who have been with the Yankee organization, though only two of them played for the Bombers in the field. Righthander Floyd Newkirk (1908) threw his only major league game for the 1934 club, with no decision. Relatively speaking then, the eight games in which fellow righty Tom Metcalf (1940) appeared in for the 1963 Yankees make him quite the veteran. Tom, whom New York signed as an amateur free agent before the 1961 season, won one game and lost none. The eight Yankee games represented his entire big-league body of work as well.
The Yankees shipped Nate Oliver to the Cubs for Lee Elia (1937) in April 1969, but it turned out that Elia’s playing days were over. A shortstop, Lee hit three home runs and drove in 25 runs divided between the 1966 White Sox and the 1968 Cubs, but is more known as a coach. He also managed the Cubs and the Phillies for two seasons apiece, and recently took over the GM job with Seattle.
There are no Hall of Famer birthdays on July 16, though to many it is a travesty that “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (1887) is not enshrined. The lefty hitter had a .356 career batting average from 1908-1920, stroking 54 homers, with 785 rbi’s and 202 steals for the Athletics, the Indians, and the White Sox. He is barred from the Hall for his part in the Black Sox scandal. Other birthdays: Righty Hi Bell (1897), who won 32 while losing 34 for the Cardinals and the Giants from 1924-1934. Also: Larry Jansen (1920), 122-89 mostly with the Giants from 1947-1956; knuckleball pitcher Eddie Fisher (1936), who won 85 while losing 70 with the Giants, the White Sox, and the Angels from 1959-1973; Terry Pendleton (1960), a 140-homer man with 946 rbi’s with the Cardinals and the Braves, etc., from 1984-1998; William Van Landingham (1970); and Jonathan Johnson (1974).