Veteran free agent signee Bartolo Colon had one of his best Yankee starts of the 2011 season on June 11 in a 4-0 win in Yankee Stadium against the visiting Cleveland Indians. Singleton home runs by Alex Rodriguez (the first score, in the fourth), Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira, and a Jorge Posada rbi double accounted for the scoring, but Colon, who struck out six while allowing just two hits two outs into the seventh, takes first star in this one.
The 4-3 Yankees win over the visiting Astros on June 11, 2010, features some treats for one of the oldest Yankees, and one of the youngest. When Andy Pettitte retired Jeff Keppinger on a fly to center for the second out of the first inning, it gave him 3,000 career innings, and when Mariano Rivera closed out his victory by striking out Hunter Pence and Jason Michaels back to back, the veteran southpaw starter became the third pitcher with 200 wins as a Yankee. In the bottom of the first inning, young catcher Francisco Cervelli did something he was to repeat quite often early in the season, stroking a two-out, two-run single to crown the three-run Yankee rally that set the tone of the game.
June 11 is the day in Yankee history for the three-numbers game, and the numbers are 11, 19, and 20. Even though Babe Ruth and Roger Maris took widely different paths to their single-season home run records in 1927 and 1961, respectively (e.g., the Babe hit more than 15 in September to close strongly!), they both hit their 19th and 20th of those seasons on June 11. In an eery proof that things don’t change much, Cleveland catcher Luke Sewell demanded that the Babe’s bat be checked after he stroked his (it was fine, and the Yanks won, 6-4). Back in 1961, Mickey Mantle hit his 19th before Roger chimed in with his two in the 5-1 Yankee victory in Game Two. The Yanks completed the sweep they had begun behind Yogi Berra‘s two singleton dingers in the 2-1 first-game win over the Angels.
Also on June 11, 1961, Norm Cash became the first Tiger to hit a ball out of Tiger Stadium.
“One is the loneliest number,” classic rock group Three Dog Night sang years ago, but to Yankee fans, zero seemed the more painful a few years ago this day. Astros relievers Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner finished when injured starter Roy Oswalt could not continue, carrying the Astros to an 8-0, June 11, 2003, victory and the first no-hitter against the Yankees since Hoyt Wilhelm pulled it off in 1958.
More distressing than the 10-2 drubbing the Yanks took at the hands of the Padres on June 11, 2004, was the loss of Mike Mussina to injury after three innings. Moose left a 1-1 tie after three as Alex Rodriguez homered in the first, and Felix Heredia got the loss despite not pitching badly in emergency relief. It was still something of a game until Gabe White allowed a double, single, single, walk, fielder’s choice, and home run for five quick San Diego runs in the ninth in a 10-2 loss.
Yankee pitcher Ray Caldwell played a numbers game all his own on June 11, 1915. He pinch-hit a home run for the second consecutive day in the Yanks’ 10-9 squeaker over the White Sox (although his blast the day before had failed to alter the outcome and the Yanks fell to the Sox, 5-4). He actually homered in the June 12, 9-5 win over the Browns that followed too, but he pitched that day so it was not achieved via the pinch hit.
Mickey Mantle homered twice off Bill Monboquette on June 11, 1964, as the Yanks spanked the Red Sox 8-4 in Fenway.
Starting pitcher Rick Rhoden batted seventh as the Yankee designated hitter on June 11, 1988, ahead of Rafael Santana and Joel Skinner, when he became the first pitcher to start a game in that role since the DH was adopted in 1973. He notched a sac fly in the Yankee 8-6 win over Baltimore.
The Yankees designated Scott Erickson for assignment to make room for Shawn Chacon to return from the DL on June 11, 2006, but Shawn’s 2005 Mojo was gone. He started against the A’s, but one home run by Nick Swisher and two from Dan Johnson carried Oakland to a 6-5 win.
Ex-Yankee prospect Doug Drabek came back to haunt the Bombers on June 11, 1997, but the Yankee faithful who attended that evening were treated to a happy ending on an eighth-inning Mark Whiten double that scored one and set up two in a 7-5 Yankee win. Pitching for Chicago, Drabek had a 5-0 lead after five, but a Bernie Williams double and a three-run Cecil Fielder bomb chased him and brought the Yanks to within one in the sixth. Ramiro Mendoza, Mike Stanton, and Mariano Rivera retired the last 13 White Sox batters, and all three Yankee tallies in the eighth were scored by pinch-runners. Andy Fox, Scott Pose, and Pat Kelly were running for Fielder, Paul O’Neill, and Luis Sojo, respectively.
Journeyman Doug Bird had a 12-game win streak going until the White Sox beat him and the Yankees 3-2 on June 11, 1981. Bird had last lost in August 1978.
Southpaw Brian Anderson fell victim to three lefty Yankee batters as Jason Giambi, Nick Johnson, and Robin Ventura reached him for home runs in a 6-4 Yankee win over the Diamondbacks in Yankee Stadium on June 11, 2002.
The Yankees beat stalwart Browns starter Urban Shocker 8-4 on June 11, 1922, after amazingly having just defeated him the day before. Despite missing three weeks with an injury, Shocker would accumulate 348 innings that year, second in the American League.
Two Mets relievers allowed 10 runs apiece and Von Hayes of the Phillies became the first major league batter to homer twice in the first inning in a 26-7 rout of the team that calls Flushing home on June 11, 1985.
The Yanks reacquired Mike Easler from the Phillies for two minor leaguers of no note on this day in 1987.
They must have been hometown sea gulls who swooped down on the field at Milwaukee’s County Stadium on June 11, 1993, delaying the game in search of fresh grass-borne morsels. The Yanks eventually prevailed 5-4 despite the gulls’ finest efforts to devour whatever kind of larvae were hatching, though the feeding delayed the game for some time.
There is a decent Yankee trivia question buried in the fact that Nolan Ryan threw his unprecedented sixth no-hitter, a 5-0 shutout over the A’s on June 11, 1990. He retired three ex-Yanks (all of some note for one thing or another) to close out the win. Although Ken Phelps is known because he arrived in New York via a bad trade, Rickey Henderson is the all-time stolen-base and walks leader, and Willie Randolph anchored second base for the Yanks for many years. All three were wearing Oakland uni’s when Ryan retired them that day.
Johnny Vander Meer threw a no-hitter on June 11, shutting out the Braves 3-0 in 1938, and setting the stage for greater highlights to come.
Not all noteworthy Yankee days are happy ones. Mel Stottlemyre set an AL record by making his 272nd consecutive start with no relief appearances when he took the mound against the Angels on this day in 1974, but he lost the game to Dick Lange, 5-4.
And Yankee Stadium swelled with a Bat Day crowd of 62,582, the 1967 season’s largest crowd in the American League, on June 11 of that year. But the White Sox swept a pair, 2-1 and 3-2, to regain first place from the Tigers.
When Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella hit his 237th career home run in a 7-2 loss to the Braves on June 11, 1957, he surpassed the career marks of Hall of Fame catchers Gabby Hartnett and our very own Yogi Berra.
You win some, you lose some, and some are rained out. In what was undoubtedly the most frustrating year of his career, David Cone held the Mets hitless and led them 1-0 through three innings on a Chris Turner rbi in an ESPN Sunday night game in the Bronx on June 11, 2000. But the rains came and wiped out one of Cone’s few effective starts in a 4-14 nightmare season. The game would end happily for the Yanks when made up in a two-ballpark double header in a few weeks. As for Cone, he would have to settle for getting one big out in Game Four of that year’s World Series.
We’ll close the pre-birthday and player deaths section of the column with two noteworthy June 11 accomplishments featuring future or fomer Yankee players. Danny Cater‘s fourth-inning single was the only thing standing between Minnesota’s Dean Chance and a no-hitter in a Twins 8-0 win over the Royals on this day in 1967. And Rondell White achieved the fourth Expos cycle in team history among his six hits in a 10-8 victory over the Giants on June 11, 1995.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Pitchers from either side of the plate are the only Yankee players to have died on June 11. Lefty Kemp Wicker (1973) posted a 9-5 record with no saves in starting his career in 24 games (10 starts) with the 1936-1938 Yankees. The 16-game (two start) stint with the 1941 Dodgers brought the mark to 10-7-1. Righty Jim Konstanty (1976) won eight, lost three, and saved 15 with the Yanks from 1954-1956 in 62 games (no starts). In a 1944-1956 career spent largely with the Phillies, his overall record was 66-48-74.
Dave Boswell 1964-71 68-56-0 M MIN
The two nonYankees we’ll list as having passed this day were position players. Second baseman Bill Renna (1968) hit 18 home runs with 292 rbi’s for the Red Sox and the Pirates from 1926-1931; and lefty-hitting outfielder Harry Anderson (1998) cleared 20 fences good for 242 runs driven in for the Phillies and the Reds from 1957-1961.
Players Born This Day
Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan (1879), who displayed his versatility in playing infield and outfield, and even pitching a little, mostly for the Giants, Cardinals, and Cubs, is the first of two Yankee players born June 11. Roger spent 1901-1902 with the Baltimore Orioles team that would become the New York Highlanders in 1903. He delivered five homers and 66 rbi’s during that time, and 26 and 530, respectively, in his career. Bresnahan jumped from the Chicago Orphans to the Baltimore Orioles before the 1901 season, and jumped to the New York Giants in 1902.
Claud Derrick (1886) played third base in 23 games for the 1913 Yanks in a five-year career, and he hit one home run with seven rbi’s for the Bombers. Derrick was purchased from the Philadelphia Athletics in November 1912. And although he never played for the Yanks, righty reliever Yhency Brazoban (1980) was a New York prospect until he was traded to L.A. with Jeff Weaver for Kevin Brown before the 2004 season.
“The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant!” Legendary Giants announcer Russ Hodges, who made that historic call in 1950, was born on June 11, 1911. Other birthdays: the other (non-”Big Hurt”) Frank Thomas (1929), a streaky power hitter with the Pirates, the Mets, and the Astros who hit 286 career home runs with 962 rbi’s; Jimmy Stewart (1939); Dave Cash (1948); Mike Davis (1959); Bill Selby (1970); Odalis Perez (1977); Yhency Brazoban (1980); Josh Newman (1982); Jose Reyes (1983); and Ezequiel Carrera (1987).