It is a day often commemorated on YES and enshrined in the memories of a whole generation of Yankee fans. Ron Guidry‘s magical 1978 was so overwhelming and his outing on June 17 was no different, as his 4-0 win over California pushed his record to 11-0. And that’s not even the best number. Next time you are seated in Yankee Stadium and are engulfed in fans standing and rhythmically clapping when a Yankee pitcher gets two strikes on a batter, be aware that the practice started on this day in 1978 in response to Louisiana Lightning’s 18 strike outs.
It was yet another eye-opening start for Michael Pineda on June 17, 2015, a 2-1 win over visiting Miami. The big righty carried a no hitter and nine strike outs into the seventh inning, when lefty outfielder Christian Yelich homered for the lone safety Pineda would allow, as he was relieved two outs later. With Jacoby Ellsbury out with an injury, Chase Headley surprisingly batted second, reached twice, and scored both runs. Two Alex Rodriguez singles scored him once, and got him to third later, where he was driven in by a Carlos Beltran one-base hit.
Following a leadoff home run from Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes, Yankee righty Masahiro Tanaka got busy, shutting down the Blue Jays on four additional hits, interspersed among 10 strike outs, over six innings, in a 3-1 Yankee win on June 17, 2014. Derek Jeter scored his 1,900th career run in the fifth after his second of two hits, and Brett Gardner had a two-run home run.
On a night when the visiting Phillies got a little payback for having lost the World Series in the Bronx in 2009, at least veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte had a decent night when he tied, then passed Ron Guidry for second place on the all-time Yankee strike out list with Nos. 1,778 and 1,779. Kyle Kendrick got the win as a Shane Victorino home run gave the visitors a 3-1 lead, which the Phils stretched to a 7-1 win by scoring four runs off ex-Phillie Chan Ho Park in the ninth.
Ever the overbearing hosts, the Yankees greeted the Cubs back into Yankee Stadium for their first game since the Bombers swept them in the 1938 World Series on June 17, 2005, by beating them 9-6. Hideki Matsui homered and Robinson Cano ignited a two-run rally when he singled to right in the eighth after flying out to left fielder Todd Hollandsworth four straight times.
Reading this as you are after the Yanks won No. 27, you’re sure to think the direness of my report overblown, but things were not good when the Yanks lost a home series to the lowly Washington Nationals team, as the bats went disturbingly quiet. After eking out a 5-3 come-from-behind the night before, the Pinstripers mustered but two hits against lefty John Lannan through eight innings on June 17, 2009, in a 3-2 loss. An earlier Robbie Cano home run and one by Johnny Damon in the ninth made it close, pinch runner Brett Gardner stole second and third with one out, but Cano bounced into a 6-4-3 after an Alex Rodriguez walk to end it. A bad Larry Vanover call at first base when Alex Rodriguez‘s throw clearly beat Jose Guzman to the first base bag in the fifth led to the Nats’ third and game-deciding run. The largely lifeless home squad played in front of a crowd happy to have both Peyton and Eli Manning in their midst, along with Justin Tuck and Tom Coughlin. Fans thinking the two-hit, one-run ninth was a sign that the Yank “O” was pulling out of its doldrums would be proven quite mistaken by what befell the team and crowd during the following “longest day.”
On a much more pleasant night than they would have one year later, the Yanks and Chien-Ming Wang bested the Mets and Orlando “el duque” Hernandez 8-2 in Yankee Stadium in the Sunday night ESPN game on June 17, 2007. The Yanks jumped to a 4-0 lead after two and 6-0 after five on an Alex Rodriguez two-run home run, a Miguel Cairo rbi double, and Johnny Damon‘s singleton shot leading off the fifth. Before the game, the Yanks announced that had eclipsed the 4,000,000-ticket-sales mark yet again.
One year later, another Chien-Ming Wang “high”light was disastrous news in New York. Following the partial tear of a tendon in his right foot that he experienced running the bases in an interleague game in Houston two days earlier, Wang was placed on the 15-day disabled list, a stint from which he would not return that year. It was a fatal blow to the team’s playoff chances in yet another year where they needed to charge from behind to make it, and he is just now recovering his pitching feel. The team recalled lefty Billy Traber from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Wang’s roster spot.
Karma? Biorhythms? Voodoo? I can’t say why some days are filled with Yankee victories and others are like June 17, with one painful loss after another, as in the post above. For instance, the Red Sox battered Catfish Hunter for four first-inning bombs in an 11-1 win in Fenway Park on this day in 1977.
As if to illustrate the point I just made about this day, the Yanks started the ugliest two-day span in the 2006 season on June 17, the day that sealed Shawn Chacon‘s fate as a soon-to-be ex-Yankee. Beneficiary of a 9-2 fifth-inning lead on a seven-run rally capped by Johnny Damon‘s grand slam home run, Chacon walked the leadoff man and gave back four of the runs in an eye blink. Five relievers followed but failed to stem the tide and the Nationals beat the Yanks 11-9 in RFK Stadium in Washington. Hard to believe, but the outcome of the next day’s game might even be more painful.
At least losses like the one the Yanks suffered to the Red Sox on June 17, 1964, are somewhat mitigated by individual performances, like the eighth-inning bomb Mickey Mantle reached Dick Radatz for to cut Boston’s 3-1 lead in half. The Bombers tied it in the ninth too, but the Red Sox prevailed 4-3 in 12.
Bill Veeck was an entrepreneur extraordinaire, but that spirit was shared by many of the Yankees who played against the White Sox on June 17, 1960, the first day Comiskey Park was equipped with a new $300,000 exploding scoreboard (to be set off when a White Sox player homered). When Yankee third baseman Clete Boyer returned to his dugout after going yard in the second inning of a 4-2 Bomber win, his Yankee teammates, not to be outdone, greeted him holding lit sparklers in celebration.
June 17, 1961: Another Yankee loss, but another Mickey Mantle highlight too. The Mick went yard for three in the ninth inning vs. the Tigers, and Elston Howard followed with a solo shot, but the rally fizzled and the Bombers fell, 12-10.
Pitching for the Highlanders, Jack Warhop beat the Tigers 3-2 on this day back in 1911, holding Ty Cobb to an infield single in the process.
It was Detroit’s day on June 17, 1925, and their inning in the sixth, as they tallied 13 runs on seven walks and six hits in a 19-1 victory in the Bronx.
The Yankees got Patsy Dougherty in a June 17, 1904, trade with the Boston Pilgrims for Bob Unglaub.
I really thought I was witnessing history in the making at the Stadium on June 17, 1999, after arriving just on time and with no scorecard to record it. Sitting in the Tier my anxiety grew as Roger Clemens‘s strike out total mounted, threatening record proportions (eight in three innings!). And then it happened, the incident for which this game would be known. Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez were off and running on the 2-0, no-out pitch when Chili Davis lined to second, into a triple play. Roger did get 12 strike outs in the 4-2 loss to Texas, but Davis (who actually lined into a double play also later in the game) was the history maker.
Getting a 3-0 green light on this day in 1959, Mickey Mantle smashed a bp fastball from Ray Moore 470 feet into the Stadium’s right field bleachers in a 7-3 win over the White Sox.
Joe DiMaggio extended his streak to 30 games on a bad-hop single off the shoulder of Luke Appling on June 17, 1941, but the White Sox edged the Yankees 8-7.
When Seattle’s Ken Griffey, Jr., stroked his 30th homer in a 5-1 June 17 victory over the Royals in 1994, he became the first ballplayer since Babe Ruth to have reached the 30 mark before June 30. The Babe achieved the feat in both 1928 and 1930.
On June 17, 1937, Joe Cronin of the Red Sox hit a pinch-hit home run in each game of a doubleheader sweep over the White Sox.
Bernie Williams supplied seven rbi’s via four hits, including a homer, but the White Sox held on to beat the Yanks on this day in 2000, 10-9.
Ted Williams hit the 500th home run of his storied career in a 3-1 Boston win over Cleveland on June 17, 1960.
On June 17, 2017, the Yankees signed free agent outfielder Cody Brown to a minor league contract.
On June 17, 2016, the Yankees signed righthander Brooks Kriske; catcher Keith Skinner; third baseman Mandy Alvarez; first baseman Dalton Blaser; and center fielder Timmy Robinson.
In minor bullpen moves, the Yankees recalled southpaw Jose De Paula from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and optioned righty Jose Ramirez to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 17, 2015. The team also signed free agent righthander Andrew Schwaab to a minor league contract.
On June 17, 2014, the Yankees activated catcher Francisco Cervelli from the 60-day disabled list; and optioned backstop John Ryan Murphy to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders to create a roster spot. The team also signed lefthander Justin Kamplain.
On June 17, 2013, the Yankees signed a draftee, lefthanded pitcher Ethan Carnes. The club also signed free agent DH Randy Ruiz to a minor league contract.
On June 17, 2011, the Yankees assigned Matthew Tracy, Robert Paullus, Mark Montgomery, Philip Wetherell, Zachary Arneson, Corey Maines, Jose Ortegano, Robert Rinard, and Branden Pinder to the Staten Island Yankees. The team also signed free agent righthander Cory Cowsert.
The twisted legend of “Marvelous” Marv Throneberry was assured on June 17, 1962, in an 8-7 Mets loss to the Cubs when, on an apparent triple, he was called out for missing second base. The laughs come from the fact that he missed first too. And the chuckles almost alleviate some of the pain, as the Yankees were dropping two to the Indians the same day, 6-1 and 6-3.
In a 6-2 Orioles victory over the Yankees that occurred this day in 1984, an entrant in a bank sweepstakes in Maryland won $1 million when Gary Roenicke hit an eighth-inning grand slam.
Young Juan Brito hit three home runs in limited play with the 2003 Royals and the 2004 Diamondbacks, but one of them broke the 1-1 seventh-inning tie the Yanks had forged in Arizona on June 17, 2004 via an Alex Rodriguez home run. The D-backs closed the Yanks out 6-1.
The Yanks out-tripled the Tigers 6-3 for a record nine on this day in 1922, but Detroit prevailed in the game, 9-8.
It was a big post-draft signing day when the Yankees inked righthanders Mike Gipson, Nathan Forer, Michael Recchia, Chase Whitley, Zachary Varce, Preston Claiborne, and Bryant Cotton; catcher Nick McCoy; lefthander Fred Lewis; first baseman Kyle Roller; infielder Casey Stevenson; and outfielders Shane Brown and Michael Ferraro on June 17, 2010.
“Wild Thing, you make my heart sing…” Former Phillies closer Mitch Williams was released by the Angels on June 17, 1995. He became the only pitcher in major-league baseball history with more than 250 innings service who allowed less hits (526) than walks (537).
In a flurry of post-amateur draft activity the Yankees had third baseman Robert Lyerly assigned to them and signed lefty Trenton Lare, righty Benjamin Watkins, Hector Rabago, and outfielders Deangelo Mack and Neil Medchill on June 16, 2009.
The crosstown Mets were involved in three consecutive one-hitters culminating in a combined effort by Jay Seo and two relievers over the Marlins on June 17, 2003. Steve Trachsel one-hit the Angels 5-0 on June 15, and Carl Willis held the Mets to a lonely hit in a 1-0 Florida victory over them on June 16.
When John Montgomery Ward of the Provincetown Grays pitched a Perfect Game in his 7-0 shutout over the Buffalo Bisons on June 17, 1880, it was the second major league Perfecto, fashioned just five days after the first one.
We’ll fete Braves Manager Bobby Cox here for having copped his 1,000th career victory in a 6-5 Atlanta win over Cincinnati on June 17, 1994. Cox’s only big-league service on the diamond was two years as a third baseman in the Pinstripes before moving to the pilot position.
Former Yankee player and manager Dick Howser, much beloved as the skipper in Kansas City too, died a tragic brain-cancer-caused death on this day in 1987. Howser’s 1980 Yankees won 103 games and the AL East. He won the World Series piloting the 1985 Kansas City Royals. As a shortstop, Dick had no homers with 13 rbi’s for the 1967-1968 Yankees, and 16 long balls with 165 runs driven in mostly for the A’s and the Indians from 1961-1968. Lefthanded outfielder Duffy Lewis (1979) is the only other Yankee player to succumb June 17. Lewis reached 11 fences with the Yankks good for 150 rbi’s in 1919-1920, and in a career that spanned 1910-1921 largely spent with the Red Sox, he totaled 38 long balls and 793 runs driven in.
There are two pitchers, a catcher, and two outfielders among the noteworthy nonYankee players to have died this day. Righty thrower and switch hitter Allen Sothoron (1939) posted a 91-100 record with nine saves for the Browns and the Indians from 1914-1925. Newest to this list, righthander Phil Hennigan (2016) pitched for the Indians from 1969 through 1972, and for the Mets in 1973, posting a 17-14 record with 25 saves over those years. Backstop Jim Hegan (1984) cleared 92 fences and knocked in 525 runs mostly for Cleveland from 1941-1960. Outfielder Sid Gordon (1975), who played some third base too, hit 202 home runs with 805 rbi’s for the Giants, the Braves, and the Pirates from 1941-1955; and lefty hitter Bruce Campbell (1995) hit 106 long balls and delivered 766 runs for the Indians, the Browns, the White Sox, and the Tigers from 1930-1942.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Yankee June 17 birthdays: Lefty pitcher Ben Shields (1903) toiled two of his four years in the Bronx, posting a 3-0 record in 1924-1925 before pitching for the Red Sox in 1930 and the Phillies in 1931. Shields won just one game and lost none after leaving the Bronx.
The preponderance of outfielder Vic Mata‘s (1961) appearances with the Yanks after they signed him as an amateur free agent in March 1978 came in the 1984 season, though he played a few games in 1985 too. Vic’s only big-league service came with the Bombers in those two seasons, during which time he homered once, drove in six runs, and stole one base in 36 games.
Finally, although Luis Peraza (1942) only appeared in eight major league games, all with the Phillies in 1969, he was initially signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent before the 1961 season.
Other birthdays: righty Phil Douglas (1890), with a 94-93 mark with eight saves for the Cubs and Giants from 1912-1922; Willard Nixon (1928), who compiled his entire 69-72 record with the Red Sox from 1950-1958; Cincinnati Big Red Machine shortstop Dave Concepcion (1948); Cleveland power hitter and flash in the pan Joe Charboneau (1955), whose big-league stay barely spanned three years despite his having won the 1980 Rookie of the Year Award with 23 homers and 87 rbi’s; Mike Magnante (1965); Manuel Lee (1965); Shawn Abner (1966); Donnie Sadler (1975); David Pauley (1983); Andrew Chafin (1990); and Matt Barnes (1990).
Players Born This Day