Coming from behind, beating the Red Sox, and the exploits of Mickey Mantle are three of my favorite things in baseball, so you know I’m delighted to report that the team went to the bottom of the ninth in a July 7, 1966, game vs. Boston losing 2-0; that the Yanks managed to tie them with two outs; and then that The Mick broke a 1-for-17 slump by blasting a three-run walk-off home run.
The Friday, July 7, 2011 game hosting Tampa Bay got off to a decent start, even if Ben Zobrist tripled leading off and scored in the first, because Derek Jeter singled to left for the 2,998th hit of his career in the bottom half. As thoughts that the Captain might creep closer to 3,000 before the upcoming All Star break faded over four following groundouts, the Rays scored four more times against Bartolo Colon, while all the Yanks could muster was a Robinson Cano singleton home run in a 5-1 Yankee loss. Things would become tense the following day as rain cancelled play, and the Rays refused to play a double header the next day.
All the sevens make it sound like I’m reporting something otherworldly or preternatural, but the Yanks trailed the Twins, 7-0, on July 7, 1987. They then scored seven runs in the seventh inning to tie matters. Mike Pagliarulo and Rickey Henderson homered and Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Claudell Washington, and Gary Ward singled in succession. A Washington home run highlighted the five-run eighth that followed and the Bombers emerged with a 12-7 victory.
Aside from the fact that the Yanks fell to the Orioles 5-3, everything else was totally on target when Bernie Williams debuted on July 7, 1991, as he displayed his strengths by driving in one run from each side of the plate. After delivering one tally on a sac fly off lefty starter Jeff Ballard, he stroked an rbi single off righthanded closer Greg Olson in the ninth inning.
The unquestioned highlight of the 61st Annual Old Timers’ Game in Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2007, was the first appearance at one of these affairs of 1998 World Series MYP Scott Brosius, who joined Paul O’Neill, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Jim Leyritz, and Brian Doyle in a string of hits that netted the Bombers a 4-0, three-inning win over the Clippers. The game that followed was entertaining as well, but long and ultimately frustrating. In one of his best ’07 starts, Roger Clemens matched Anaheim ace John Lackey by allowing one run on five hits through eight frames. But in the top of the 12th, Brian Bruney surrendered a leadoff double to Howie Kendrick, and a double error by Miguel Cairo at first on a bunt play netted the deciding run in a 2-1 loss.
When Jim Catfish Hunter four-hit the Indians 8-2 for the Yanks on this day in 1977, it completed a three-game series sweep by the New Yorkers.
Milwaukee’s Mike Caldwell ended Ron Guidry‘s historic 1978 winning streak to start the 1978 season when he shut out the Yankees 6-0 on July 7. It was the second of three shutouts Mike would record against the Bombers that year, and sent Gator’s record “plummeting” to 13-1.
The Yanks jumped out to an early lead on Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi home runs in a 7-2 victory over Cleveland in Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2005, with Mike Mussina winning over Kevin Millwood. On the down side, setup man Tom Gordon tweaked something, and had to leave after striking out Rafael Belliard in the eighth inning.
When the AL All Stars beat their NL counterparts 8-3 on July 7, 1937, the hitting star was Lou Gehrig, with a home run, double, and four rbi’s.
The Yanks had a busy transaction day on July 7, 2005 as they placed righthander Carl Pavano on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, and transferred backup infielder Rey Sanchez from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. And although his initial two-week stay in the bigs would not be good, the purchase of the contract of outfielder Melky Cabrera from AAA Columbus should be looked on as a positive in light of his success since.
Mel Stottlemyre was all too familiar with results like the no-decision he received on July 7, 1970 against the Orioles pitching for an undermanned Yankee team. He left a game tied at two in the eighth, and Lindy McDaniel allowed a Brooks Robinson 10th-inning grand slam for a 6-2 Orioles win.
Yet another grand slam defeated the Yanks on July 7 in Fenway Park in 1951. Clyde Vollmer collected the blast in the first frame, and Ellis Kinder got the complete-game 10-4 win, despite Mickey Mantle‘s ninth-inning home run.
The baseball world was stunned and the Indians were unfairly criticized when they signed 42-year-old Satchel Paige on July 7, 1948, but Paige got the win in relief the next day, and he posted a 6-1 record that year.
In early July 2005 young Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman bested Yankee ace Randy Johnson in Detroit 10-2. Ironically, Bonderman’s Tigers mates put 10 runs up in a win over New York on July 7, 2004 too. Bonderman prevailed in the 10-5 Tigers win over young lefty Brad Halsey, who was one of several players the Yanks would be sending to Arizona to get the Big Unit.
Above we reported about Ron Guidry taking a loss in a magical 1978 season on July 7. On the same day way back in 1904, Yankee hurler Jack Chesbro was bested by the Red Sox 4-1 in Hilltop Park in a season where he would establish a record with 41 victories.
It was a steal when the Yanks got Bob Shawkey from the A’s on July 7, 1915, for $18,000. Shawkey would win almost 175 games for the New York AL team.
The Highlanders lost a July 7, 1903 decision to the White Sox, 3-2, but they had a better day than first base umpire John Sheridan, who was locked up on charges of disorderly conduct after he hit Chisox outfielder Danny Green with his mask in a dispute over a call.
The Yankees assigned shortstop Jose Rosario to their minor leagues on July 7, 2009.
In July 7 items affecting future or former Yankee players, David Wells became the second pitcher in 12 years to record victory number 15 before the All Star break in Toronto’s 6-3 win over the Expos on July 7, 2000. And two one-time Yankees shared in a record with another outfielder and catcher Marc Hill when the latter tagged out three Cardinals on throws from the outfield in an 8-6 Giants loss on this day in 1975. The one-time Yankee outfielders were Bobby Murcer and Gary Thomasson.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Of the four Yankee players who have died on July 7, three are outfielders and one a third baseman. Ben Chapman (1993) debuted in New York from 1930-1936, during which time he homered 62 times good for 589 rbi’s. He retired with numbers of 90 and 977 after playing with the Senators, the Red Sox, the Indians, the Dodgers, and the Phillies from 1936-1941 and from 1944-1946. Unfairly looked to as one who could fill the shoes of the retiring Mickey Mantle, Bill Robinson (2007) hit 19 long balls and drove in 90 teammates in New York from 1967-1969, and accumulated 166 home runs with 641 rbi’s playing largely with the Pirates and the Phillies from 1966-1983. Lefty outfielder Harry Wolter (1970) hit 10 homers and drove in 122 runs with the 1910-1913 Highlanders/Yankees; playing with five different teams in 1907, 1909, and 1917, he increased those numbers to 12 and 167. And third sacker Joe Dugan (1982) cleared 22 fences and accounted for 320 runs playing for New York from 1922-1928. Playing with the A’s and Red Sox earlier, and the Braves and Tigers afterward, his career yielded 42 long balls and 571 rbi’s.
Notable nonYankee players to have died this day include two lefty-hitting first basemen, and second baseman Dick Egan (1947), who played mostly for the Reds from 1908-1916 when he was hitting four roundtrippers with 292 rbi’s. The first sackers: Deacon White (1939), who hit 18 home runs and knocked in 756 runs with the Bisons, the Reds, and the Wolverines from 1876-1890; and Vic Wertz (1983), who reached 266 fences and collected 1,178 rbi’s from 1947-1963 mostly for Detroit, but with stints with the Indians, the Red Sox, and the Browns too.
Players Born This Day
Yankee second baseman for four very good years Chuck Knoblauch (1968) celebrates a birthday today. Let it be said of Chuck that he twice hit multiple-run home runs to bring his team from behind to even the score in World Series play, in contests both won by the Yankees. Chuck stroked 49 homers with 202 rbi’s while stealing 112 bases in the Bronx from 1998 through 2001, once he was acquired in a trade with Minnesota for Brian Buchanan, Cristian Guzman, Eric Milton, and Danny Mota. Knoblauch retired following a brief stop in K.C. after leaving the Yanks with 98 career round-trippers good for 615 rbi’s.
The only other Yankee birthday this day belongs to righthander Bill Kunkel (1936), who was 3-2 in 22 games for the 1963 team. He ended his three years in the bigs in New York once the Bombers claimed him from the Milwaukee Braves in November 1962 in the rule-V draft. Career-wise, Kunkel went 6-6 with four saves.
Two Hall of Famers lead the list of other July 7 birthdays. The legendary Satchel Paige (1906) deserves to be remembered for so much more than what he achieved in the majors once he signed with Cleveland late in his career, as mentioned above, but for now let’s just think of his oft-quoted advice, “Don’t look back. Someone might be gaining on ya.” And Billy Herman (1909) hit 47 taters while driving in 839 while playing second base for the Cubs and the Dodgers from 1931-1947. Other birthdays: White Sox third baseman Bill Melton (1945), with 160 dingers and 591 rbi’s; Len Barker (1955), who beat the Blue Jays by pitching a Perfect Game for the Indians in 1981; Dan Gladden (1957); Tim Teufel (1958); Glenn Hoffman (1958); Jeff Shaw (1966), who recorded 203 career saves; Dave Burba (1966), whose 111 wins are 28 more than his losses; Matt Mantei (1973); Jose Jimenez (1973); Andy Green (1977); John Buck (1980); Brandon McCarthy (1983); and Alfredo Figaro (1984).