Righty journeyman Sydney Ponson seemed headed for a loss when two-run, sixth-inning homers by Milton Bradley and Kris Davis gave the Rangers a 7-6 lead in Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2008, but the first five Yanks to bat in the seventh scored and an eight-run seventh and three-run eighth carried them to an 18-7 win. Jason Giambi drove in six with a grand slam and a two-run double, Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez delivered three rbi’s each, and Johnny Damon had three hits, scored three times, and drove in two. Retired switch-hitting Yankee outfielder Roy White moved the games-left in the old Stadium counter from 39 to 38.
Having had more time to think about this than most, I’m still of several minds about what kind of loss is the most disheartening to sit through when attending a game live, but the 6-1 loss to Toronto in Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2010 would be hard to beat. Birthdaying Blue Jays lefty Brett Cecil and pinstriped right-hander A.J. Burnett both pitched well into the seventh, with the Yanks making Cecil pay for back-to-back walks to start the first with an eventual sac fly by Alex Rodriguez for the lone run of the game. But a walk bit the Yanks too, as Juan Batista tied matters on an Adam Lind eighth-inning single following a one-out free pass from Joba Chamberlain. It stayed 1-1 until the Jays reached David Robertson for three singles and a walk in the 11th, and Chan Ho Park threw some gas on the fire by allowing a walk and a three-run triple. Agony.
On July 2, 1978, Ron Guidry posted the best start in Yankee history by going 13-0, as he bested the Tigers, 3-2, but not without some controversy. Assuming a fan interference call that never came, Tiger outfielder Mickey Stanley failed to field Mickey Rivers‘s long drive, and Mick the Quick legged out an inside-the-park home run to tie the game at two.
The Yanks seemed in for another long night on national TV on July 2, 2006, following an hour rain delay on the already late-starting ESPN Sunday night battle vs. the Mets. Once Jose Reyes capped a four-run second that drove Jaret Wright from the game with a two-run homer, the Yanks answered with a second-inning Jorge Posada tater off Alay Soler, and the home team drove him from the mound with an eight-run third. Four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth followed, Alex Rodriguez drove in seven on grand-slam and three-run dingers, and light-hitting Nick Green blasted a shot to dead center as well. The home team completed the 16-7 shellacking that won the series for them well after midnight.
One could find fault with the A’s for walking Mickey Mantle three times on July 2, 1962, unless you saw the Upper Deck blast to right he hit in his other at bat in an 8-4 Yankee win.
One year earlier, the M&M race was beginning to heat up as Mickey Mantle hit his 28th homer, and Roger Maris hit nos. 29 and 30. It was part of a five-homer barrage actually that carried the Yanks to the 13-4 win over the Senators.
After having suffered through a miserable three days in Veterans Stadium when the Yanks were swept in the first interleague series between the two teams in 1997, I passionately rooted for the Yanks to return the favor to the Phillies in the Bronx in ’98. But after victories in the first two, things looked beak as the Phils’ lead in the third game stretched to 7-2 after seven on July 2. But Paul O’Neill‘s homer highlighted a three-run eighth, and Tino Martinez tied it on a three-run jack with two down in the ninth. Mike Buddie, the only Yankee hurler to throw more balls than strikes, got the 9-8 win when Ricky Ledee plated O’Neill with a single in the 11th.
The other side of interleague haunted the Yanks on July 2, 1997, as Greg Maddux stormed back strong after having lost Game Six of the ’96 Series in the Bronx. The crafty Braves righty used a measly 84 tosses to subdue Doc Gooden and the Yanks 2-0. He faced but 28 batters, as the first two of three bingles he allowed were removed on double plays.
The good news on July 2, 2009 in new Yankee Stadium was that following a violent storm and rain delay a huge rainbow lit up the Bronx night sky, and Jack Nicholson was in attendance. The bad news: CC Sabathia had a rare bad night, allowing six runs into the sixth, Franklin Guttierez homered, and Ichiro Suzuki doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in two in the Seattle 8-4 win. Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan followed three strike outs and a walk by blasting a home run to deep center in the ninth, becoming the first (and only) player to hit one off the dark plexiglass that fronts the Mohegan Sun Lounge. Hideki Matsui homered for the Yanks.
The two tallies the Yanks scored against Jason Johnson and Baltimore in the third inning of their July 2, 1999 contest in Yankee Stadium on Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Tino Martinez singles were just enough as David Cone got the 2-1 win. Cal Ripken scored Jeff Conine with a sixth-inning single, and Mariano Rivera got the save.
I’m sure it was a day of agony for Spud Chandler and the 69,000-plus in the Stadium when Spud walked nine in four innings on July 2, 1946, but he gave no hits until a Bobby Doerr single with one out in the ninth, and the Yanks prevailed over the Red Sox, 2-1.
On July 2, 1941, Joe DiMaggio homered off Boston’s Dick Newsome at the Stadium in an 8-4 Yankee win, extending his hit streak to 45, eclipsing the Wee Willie Keeler long-standing record that he had tied the day before.
The Yankees fell 12-6 to the Mariners on July 2, 1994, as Ken Griffey, Jr., stroked five singles.
A healed Bartolo Colon was returned to the roster by the Yankees on July 2, 2011.
Always on the lookout for players to improve their team, the Yanks are as likely as any team to give a vet a tryout, though they rarely find a match. In that light, they released Erubiel Durazoafter a minor league tryout on this day in 2006.
In other moves that have shown no long-term effects, the Yankees sent right-hander Oneli Perez outright to AA Trenton on July 2, 2008. They also sent catcher Chris Stewart outright to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. By refusing the assignment, Stewart became a free agent.
The Yankees beat the A’s 9-3 on July 2, 1922, but outfielder Tilly Wallker hit two homers (and four in two days). His 37 for the ’22 season would exceed Babe Ruth‘s total by two.
On July 2, 2010, the Yankees optioned southpaw reliever Boone Logan to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Milwaukee outfielder Robin Yount notched the 2,500th hit of his career in a 10-2 Brewers’ win over the Yankees on July 2, 1989.
The Yanks won their first ever game that was decided by a forfeit in a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Athletics on July 2, 1906.
It would have been a good day without the disastrous fourth inning, as the Indians scored all 12 of their runs during that frame in a 12-0 win over the Yankees on July 2, 1943.
Of the three consecutive taters hit by Carl Reynolds of the White Sox in a 15-4 second-game Chicago victory over the Yanks on July 2, 1930, two were of the inside-the-park variety. The Yanks took the first game, 5-1.
July 2, 2005, provides a cautionary tale for Yankee fans who proclaim that changing anything would be preferable to the status quo. On that day they shipped inconsistent reliever Paul Quantrill to San Diego for lefty Darrell May, righty Tim Redding and cash considerations. Things got worse, and in a hurry.
Washington’s Mike McCormick threw a complete-game, 10-4 victory over the still winless (that season) Whitey Ford and the Yankees on July 2, 1966. Frank Howard, Don Lock, and Ken McMullen hit back-to-back-to-back homers with two outs in the sixth, and Mickey Mantle hit one for the Yanks in the ninth.
Driving in a run for the 11th consecutive game on July 2, 1931, Babe Ruth homered in a 12-1 shellacking of Detroit.
In a rough year for catchers and injuries, the Yanks sent Jose Molina on an injury rehab assignment to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre on July 2, 2009. They also signed catcher Gary Sanchez.
Managers need to be careful what they say. Indians skipper Jeff Torborg announced on July 2, 1979, that he would resign at the end of the season. Ownership had other ideas, and he was replaced within three weeks.
On this day in 2003, the Yanks sent minor league pitcher Scott Wiggins to Toronto for rightfielder Raul Mondesi.
It may not sound like much of a highlight that Yankee second baseman Horace Clarke broke up Tigers knuckler Joe Niekro‘s no-hitter on this day in 1970, but it was the third time Horace had spoiled a no-hitter party in a month. The Tigers prevailed, 5-0.
Speaking of Joe Niekro, he won his 200th game pitching for Houston against San Diego on July 2, 1985, and he and his brother Phil joined Jim and Gaylord Perry as the only brother-pitcher combos where both had reached that figure. Both Niekros and Gaylord half of the Perry tandem pitched for the Yanks at one time.
Playing first base, Johnny Mize provided the offensive spark in a 15-9 win over Boston on July 2, 1950. Mize’s home run and single allowed New York to split a four-gamer with the Red Sox.
Washington’s Walt Masterson allowed just three hits in a route-going, 12-inning, 2-1 win over the Yankees on July 2, 1948. Senators leftfielder Tom McBride‘s 12 putouts in an extra-inning game established an American League record.
The Baltimore Orioles team that would be relocated to New York as the Highlanders in 1903 was trailing Boston 5-2 in the sixth inning of a July 2, 1901 contest, but they scored two off starter George Guppy and two more once Ted Lewis relieved in a 7-5 Orioles win. Although Lewis inherited the runners that scored off him, he took the loss as was the rule at that time.
Harvard’s Walter Clarkson, highly touted and the brother of two major leaguers, made an effective major league debut in limiting Washington to eight hits on July 2, 1904, but the Highlanders managed only four hits of their own, and the Senators won 3-2.
Also on July 2, 1904, the Boston Pilgrims acquired the Senators’ Kim Selbach for infielder Bill O’Neill. Selbach would have been traded to the Highlanders two months earlier, but new Washington Manager Patsy Donovan objected.
Long-time Yankee radio and TV announcer Red Barber premiered his sports show, Red Barber’s Clubhouse, on CBS (later NBC) on July 2, 1949.
Giants starter Carl Hubbell went the distance in an 18-inning, 1-0 win over the Cardinals on July 2, 1933. Opposing starter Tex Carleton lasted 16 frames.
The Yanks prevailed over Boston on this day in 1912, 9-7, despite Larry Gardner‘s two inside-the-park home runs.
July 2 highlights involving future or former Yankee players are all about offense. On this day in 1996, Jason Giambi went 5-for-5 in a game in which Oakland plated five ninth-inning runs to beat Seattle 11-6. In 1977 on the second of July, Jim Spencer‘s two home runs in a 13-8 Chicago victory over Minnesota included a grand slam; Spencer tied the club record with eight rbi’s. And on July 2, 1975, Baltimore’s Don Baylor homered his first three times up in a 13-5 win over Detroit. This gave him four consecutive over two games to tie the major league record.
Players Who Have Died This Day
No Yankee players have died July 2.
Ed Stroud LH/RT 1966-71 M CWS WSN 14/100
Five outfielders lead off a bunch of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died this day, led off by Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty (1903), who hit 101 home runs good for 1,464 rbi’s for the Phillies from 1888-1901, and the Senators from 1902-1903. Chick Hafey (1973) reached 164 fences and drove in 833 runs with the Cardinals and the Reds from 1924-1937; Peanuts Lowrey (1986) hit most of his 37 dingers and drove in 479 runs from 1924-1945 with the Cubs, the Reds, and the Cardinals; the 24 long balls and 501 rbi’s Tommy Dowd (1933) contributed from 1891 through 1901 came with the Browns with two years playing with Washington as well; and lefty-hitting outfielder John Cassidy (1891) did most of the damage in a four-home run, 184-rbi career from 1876-1885 with the Trojans. Closing out this list will be two righthanded pitchers after we mention shortstop George McBride (1973), who played primarily with Washington from 1901-1920, contributing seven home runs and 447 runs driven in along the way. Hank O’Day (1935) posted a 73-110 mark with four saves for the Senators and the Giants from 1884-1890; and Guy Bush (1985) won 176, lost 136, and saved 34 games from 1924 through 1945, mostly with the Cubs.
Players Born This Day
We’ll talk up four Yankee July 2 birthdays, even though just two of them played in Pinstripes. Let’s begin with pitcher Hal Reniff (1938), who was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent before the 1956 season, and who was sold to the Mets in June 1967. Reniff toiled much of his career (1961-1967) in the Bronx, where he won 18 games while losing 20.
The Yanks selected Jose Canseco (1964) off waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in August 2000, and released him three months later. The waiver claim was reputed to have been made just to keep him from the Red Sox. Of his 462 career home runs, Jose hit six of them during 37 games for the Yanks that year.
The Yanks drafted Jose’s twin Ozzie Canseco (1964) in January 1983 in the second round of the amateur draft, but released him in July 1986 before he ever played with them. Similarly, Tom Gilles (1962) went 1-0 while pitching his only two big-league games with Toronto in 1990, but he was drafted by the Yankees in the 47th round of the 1984 amateur draft. The Bombers released Gilles two years later.
Other birthdays: Grover Hartley (1888), a catcher from 1911-1934, mostly with the Giants; Chuck Stobbs (1929), who went 107-130 for Boston and Washington from 1947-1961; Tony Armas (1953); Joe Magrane (1964); knuckleballer Steve Sparks (1965); Tim Spehr (1966); So Taguchi (1969); Sean Casey (1974); Richard Hidalgo (1975), who actually got a look in the Yankee minors in 2006; Greg Dobbs (1978); Jermaine Van Buren(1980); Nyjer Morgan (1980); Angel Pagan (1981); Wladimir Balentien (1984); Rene Tosoni (1986); Brett Cecil (1986); and Chris Marrero (1988).