Even though the scheduled game pitting the Yankees against the visiting Rays on Friday night, July 8, 2011, was called due to rain, a mini-drama erupted when the Rays players voted against playing a day/night double header the following day. With Yanks shortstop Derek Jeter hovering at 2,998 career hits, the Yankees and their fans were hoping to get in the game before the weekend ended so Jeter would have the opportunity to stroke his 3,000th hit before the All Star Break, which was to arrive on Monday. Stay tuned.
A superb Andy Pettitte blanked Scott Kazmir and the Rays 5-0 in Yankee Stadium on July 8, 2008, allowing just four hits and no walks while striking out five in eight frames. Melky Cabrera homered, and Derek Jeter, one of five Yankees with multiple hits, doubled in two. Reggie Jackson got the game counter honors, moving the indicator of contests remaining in old Yankee Stadium from 34 to 33 in the fifth inning.
On July 8, 2000, the pitching-short Yankees activated former Mets phenom and returner-to-the-Yankee-fold Doc Gooden, who then beat his old team in Flushing, 4-2, in the day game of a two-borough, day/night doubleheader. Then Roger Clemens beat the Mets by that same score in the evening game in the Bronx. It was in this second game that Roger first leveled Mike Piazza with a pitch off the batting helmet, igniting some bad blood between the teams, and their fans. David Justice, Shane Spencer, and Scott Brosius singled for one fifth-inning run, and then Chuck Knoblauch, on the day after his 32nd birthday, followed with a homer off Glendon Rusch for the winner.
An ace in Cincinnati, Don Gullett‘s time in the Bronx was negatively affected by some health issues, but he won his seventh game of the year on July 8, 1977, as Thurman Munson and Graig Nettles homered in a 7-5 win over the Orioles.
Young lefthanders Glendon Rusch and Randy Keisler pitched shut-out ball into the sixth in an interleague game in Yankee Stadium on July 8, 2001, and both left that frame after allowing singleton jacks, by the Mets’ Todd Zeile and the Yanks’ Derek Jeter. But Alfonso Soriano and Jeter triples highlighted the three-run seventh that carried the Yankees to a 4-1 victory in the Sunday night ESPN contest.
Hideki Matsui‘s big July carried on as he homered in the first inning for a 4-0 lead over Ervin Santana on July 8, 2007, and Alex Rodriguez helped put Anaheim away with a three-run fourth inning jack. The Yanks prevailed in the Bronx going into the All Star Break with a 12-0 win behind Chien-Ming Wang.
The good news on July 8, 1982, is that Billy Martin earned his 1,000th career managerial victory. The bad is that he achieved that round number at the helm of the Oakland A’s, who presented him with the landmark win at the expense of the Yankees, 6-3.
A few years back, the Mets shipped Robby Alomar to Chicago where he (briefly) rejoined his brother, Sandy Alomar, Jr. On July 8, 1974, the Yanks purchased the contract of infielder Sandy Alomar, Sr., the two siblings’ father.
Meanwhile on the field, Yankee shortstop Jim Mason tied a major-league record on July 8, 1974, when he doubled four times in a 12-5 win over Texas.
That Yankee highlight (the four doubles by Jim Mason) was trumpeted on the Stadium Scoreboard as the Yanks were beating the Devil Rays 7-1 on July 8, 2004. Victor Zambrano notched seven strike outs, but the seven walks and seven hits allowed more than made up for it to the tune of five Yankee runs. Derek Jeter stroked one-run doubles in the second and the fourth and Gary Sheffield blasted the game’s only home run.
Although young Chien-Ming Wang allowed a Grady Sizemore home run on his first pitch on July 8, 2005, a four-run Yankee third-inning rally off Cliff Lee carried Wang and the team to a 5-4 victory on July 8, 2005. In more ominous news, however, the club purchased the contract of southpaw starter Darrell May from AAA Columbus after the win, making room by optioning outfielder Bubba Crosby to Columbus. May would get the sorry start the next day, the day of the Old Timers Game.
On July 8, 2002, new Yankee Jason Giambi outhomered Sammy Sosa in the All Star Home Run Derby.
The Yankees regained first place, a position they held the rest of the year, when they swept the Twins in three once they squeaked by in the last game, 9-8, on July 8, 1962.
The Orioles posted a come-from-behind win against the Yanks on July 8, 1970, as Frank Robinson‘s home run and Don Buford‘s single in the ninth plated three for a 9-8 win.
Mickey Mantle homered in both games against the Senators on July 8, 1966, and the second-game blast off Jim Hannan carried over the Monuments into the bleachers in center, to a measured 461 feet. The teams split the two games, 7-6 Washington, then 7-5 New York. Unfortunately, Mantle injured a hamstring in the second game, and would be out two weeks.
In the midst of a feud between Manager Casey Stengel and his star center fielder, Casey replaced Joe DiMaggio in center with Jackie Jensen in the second inning of a July 8, 1951 game with the Red Sox. Red-hot Clyde Vollmer hit a two-run homer and Boston prevailed, 6-3.
Poor Tracy Stallard. Little did he know that when he gave up a homer to Mickey Mantle in the Yanks’ July 8, 1961, 7-5 win over the Red Sox, that it was only a precursor to the one he would give to Roger Maris, the other M&M boy, later that season. It would be one for the history books.
On July 8, 2009, the Yankees activated catcher Jose Molina from the 15-day disabled list, and optioned Francisco Cervelli to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
When the AL beat the NL in the All Star Game 4-3 on July 8, 1958, Yankee third baseman Gil McDougald knocked in the game winner.
On the other side of the All Star glory sheet, Yankee Tommie John took the 4-2 loss to the National League on July 8, 1980. Two years removed from a Yankee stint of his own, Cinncy Red Ken Griffey was named the MVP after going 2-for-3 with a solo home run.
Responding to the threat of defections the Mexican League presented, one of the moves major league baseball made on July 8, 1946, was to name a player rep for each league, with the AL honor falling to Yankee reliever Johnny Murphy.
Behind a triple and a single off the bat of Kip Selbach, Boston beat the Highlanders 12-3 more than 100 years ago on this day, July 8, 1904.
Ending a brief feel-good story the type of which rarely occurs in the Bronx, the Yankees released free agent journeyman hurler Brian Gordon on July 8, 2011. The veteran righty got the Yankee call when they were in desperate straits, and made two starts, taking the loss in one. But his good pitching kept them in his first long enough for the team to get a much-needed win. Brian’s only other big-league experience came in three games in relief for the 2008 Texas Rangers.
The July 8, 1994 baseball history moment most worthy of mention is the unassisted triple play turned in by John Valentin in a 7-4 Red Sox win over the Mariners, but Yankee fans will also want to know that young Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-3 in his major league debut in this game.
In one memorable July 8 highlight featuring a future or former Yankee player, Babe Ruth‘s blast over the wall that delivered Amos Strunk in a 1-0 Red Sox win over Cleveland on this day in 1918 was ruled to be just a triple because the Sox won the game when Strunk crossed the plate. Ruth would tie for the AL lead in home runs that season with 11, although he only appeared in 95 games.
On July 8, 1967, as Tom Seaver was pitching the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Braves, a fan interfered with Bud Harrelson‘s hopper over third, and Bud was awarded a ground rule single, a scoring decision you don’t see every day.
On this day in 1995, the Astros and Padres each scored a run in the first inning, then scored a run apiece again — 14 innings later. The Astros won it, 3-2, with a run in the 17th.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Lefty-hitting third baseman Red Rolfe (1969), who spent his entire 1931-1942 career playing for the Yankees, is one of three Yankee players to have died on July 8. Rolfe hit 69 home runs and drove in 497 runs. The six games (two starts) Roy Sanders (1963) threw in debuting with the 1918 Yanks represented almost half of his big-league career. Sanders lost two games in New York, then won one and lost one in eight games for the 1920 Browns for an overall mark of 1-3-0. A lefty-throwing pitcher who won 34, lost 44, and saved six for the Braves from 1921-1930, Johnny Cooney (1986) played just 10 games in the outfield for the 1944 Yankees. He went 1-for-8 and knocked in one run.
Outfielder Jim Busby (1996), who drilled 48 homers and knocked in 438 runs mostly for the White Sox, the Senators, and the Orioles from 1950-1962, leads off the list of nonYankee players who have passed this day. Lefty thrower Bill Hallahan (1981), who threw primarily for the Cardinals from 1925-1938 to a 102-94 record with eight saves, is the only pitcher on the list. Catcher Bill Carrigan (1969) hit six long balls good for 235 rbi’s in Boston for the Americans and the Red Sox from 1908-1916. Second baseman/shortstop Skeeter Webb (1986) reached three fences and drove in 166 runs for the White Sox, the Tigers, and the Indians between 1932 and 1948; and third baseman Frank Ellerbe (1988) hit his four long balls and 152 rbi’s from 1919-1924 for the Browns and the Senators.
Players Born This Day
A very small family of Yankee July 8 birthdays grew by one in 2010 with the arrival in the Bronx of infielder/outfielder Kevin Russo (1984), whom the team drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 amateur draft, signing him June 13, 2006. Russo contributed nine hits, four rbi’s, and five runs scored in 31 games backing up mostly at third base and in left field in 2010. The latter was surprising because he had played infield almost exclusively in the minors.
Before Russo’s arrival, the only Yankee July 8 birthday was that of Zach Monroe (1931), who posted a 4-2 record with one save in 24 games over the 1958 and 1959 seasons, his only years in the bigs.
But worthy of mention is Ken Patterson (1964), a selection of the Yankees in the third round of the 1985 amateur draft. Southpaw hurler Patterson won 14 while losing eight in seasons with the White Sox, the Cubs, and the Angels. Although the trade of Ken to the Chicago White Sox for Jerry Royster in August 1987 was not a blockbuster, the swap by the Chicago White Sox of Patterson along with Sammy Sosa to the Cubs for George Bell in March 1992 was.
In addition, both southpaw Jim Ollom (1945) and righty George Culver (1943) were signed as Yankee amateur free agents in 1963. Both were lost that year in the first-year draft, Ollom to the Twins and Culver to the Indians. Ollom lost one game among the 24 in which he appeared for the 1966-1967 Twins; Culver’s experience was considerable, however. George won 48 and lost 49 for the Indians, Reds, Astros, and Phillies from 1966-1974.
Other birthdays: Cincinnati catcher Ivey Wingo (1890); pitcher Clint Brown (1903), with 89 wins and 93 losses for the Indians and the White Sox from 1928-1942; Lerrin LaGrow (1948); Alan Ashby (1951); Terry Puhl (1956), whose shining moment was probably the classic 1980 NLCS with his Astros against the Phillies, as he hit .591 over five games; Bob Kipper (1964); Jerome Walton (1965); Ernie Young (1969); Bobby Ayala (1969); Danny Ardoin (1974); Renyel Pinto (1982); John Bowker (1983); Jaime Garcia (1986); Josh Harrison (1987); and Christian Friedrich (1987).