In light of what follows, what happened in Yankee Stadium on June 18, 2010, has me building toward “just a bad day in Yankee history” rap. Javier Vazquez had a rare good day in his second Yankee tour and his 400th career game, holding the Mets to three hits and one lonely run through seven innings, but Takahashi Hisanori, pressed into the start by a stretched Mets rotation, pitched six innings and, followed by a strng of four relievers (ironically including 2011 supposed Yankee Jose Feliciano), blanked the Yankees in the Stadium 4-0. The Mets got the only run they would need when Ike Davis drove in David Wright in the first inning.
Yesterday I described what befell the Yankees in the new Stadium on June 18, 2009, as the “longest day,” not an exaggeration I think you’ll agree when I tell you that the Yanks, the Nationals, and an announced crowd of 45,000 sat through a 5.5-hour rain delay before the nondescript Washington righty Craig Stammen and four relievers held the “Bombers” to seven hits and no runs in a 3-0 loss to the lowly visitors. Joba Chamberlain was the hard-luck starter and loser, and Brett Gardner had those of us left worried when he laid on the field for five minutes after making a great catch and slamming into the wall in the eighth inning on an Austin Kearns drive. Ryan Zimmerman doubled twice, with an rbi and a run scored, and Adam Dunn reached safely four times with an rbi. The few hearty enough to last the whole day were invited to watch the game from the field level seats, and ticket holders were awarded an upcoming free game, which more often than not became half price on a more expensive ticket, an offshoot of the quickly sold out Grandstand level throughout the Stadium all year.
One of my favorite — and shortest — Yankee Stadium full-game experiences occurred on June 18, 1996. Kenny Rogers managed to hold the Twins scoreless as Brad Radke threw perfect baseball at the Yanks into the seventh. But Paul O’Neill doubled into the left field corner as the Yanks’ 21st batter, and Tino Martinez hooked a homer around the right field foul pole. I got former Yankee Roberto Kelly‘s autograph and shook his hand before the game, and the 2-0 Yankee win was over in little more than two hours.
Tino Martinez also provided the game winner one year later as the Yanks took the third game of their first interleague series with the Mets, at Yankee Stadium on June 18, 1997. Chad Curtis and Cecil Fielder homers gave the Yanks the lead, but the Mets tied it against the superb David Cone on a balk. But Tino’s 10th-inning single to left field plated Paul O’Neill and won it (and that series two games to one) for the Yanks, 3-2.
The hitting stars in a Yankees 8-5 win over San Diego in Yankee Stadium on June 18, 2008 were Alex Rodriguex (3-for-4, home run, two rbi’s, two runs scored), Wilson Betemit (two doubles, two runs scored, one driven in), and Johnny Damon (three hits, a run, and two rbi’s). Darrell Rasner survived five for the win, but in a span of four batters in the seventh and eighth innings, Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez (off Edwar Ramirez) and Chase Headley hit home runs, the last off Kyle Fransworth. Wade Boggs had moved the games-left counter in the old Stadium from 48 to 47, but this was one of a half dozen nights when MetLife VPs took the honor, decreasing the number to 46.
He spent 10 years becoming the best player on the best team in baseball, and Yankee fans knew there was absolutely nothing missing from the package. Still, the annoying stat lingered, reported incessantly anytime the Yanks appeared on national TV. Derek Jeter finally put it all to sleep on June 19, 2005, when he exploded a 3-1 Yankee lead over the Cubs in Yankee Stadium, and removed his name from the “longest streak of at bats until grand slamming from the onset of a career” list. Derek drilled his first salami to the deepest part of the Stadium, and carried the Bombers to an 8-1 win as he did.
I’ll shoehorn another good highlight in here before some grimmer stuff, as the Yankees scored in every inning but the eighth as they beat the Indians, 19-3, on June 18, 1916.
First we’ll acknowledge the beginning of Billy Martin‘s second (of five) tours as Yankee manager on this day in 1979. But two years earlier (during the first tour), Billy and Reggie Jackson had one of their worst days, as Martin, while he was taking starter Mike Torrez out of the game, also removed his right fielder for loafing on a soft fly. They almost came to blows in the dugout on national TV. Meanwhile, the Red Sox used five homers to beat the Bombers 10-4 that afternoon, June 18, 1977.
One year before that, on June 18, 1976, both the Red Sox and Yankees were incensed with Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, as he voided the sales by Charley Finley (of the A’s) of Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers (to the Red Sox) and Vida Blue (to the Yanks) as not being “in the best interests of baseball.”
Mentioned in yesterday’s history, June 18, 2006, represented the tail end of as difficult a two-day stretch in the Yankee fan experience as has happened in some time. After having totally burned out their bullpen the day before in losing an 11-9 decision in RFK in Washington in a game they led midway 9-2, a strong Chien-Ming Wang battled southpaw Mike O’Connor in the heat of the nation’s capital to a 1-1 tie through seven. Things looked great when Alex Rodriguez doubled in Melky Cabrera for a 2-1 lead in the eighth. But as Wang’s pitch count went to three digits in the bottom of the ninth, a glance at the pen found nobody warming, even after a one-out single. Young third baseman Ryan Zimmerman cheered the home crowd and crushed the Yanks with a two-run walk-off home run.
Two of my heroes (and one of many disappointments) punctuate the next two highlights. First Don Mattingly‘s fifth-inning double delivered the game winner in Phil Niekro‘s three-hit, 2-1 victory over the Tigers on June 18, 1984. Kirk Gibson‘s first-inning homer was the only Tiger scoring.
And Mickey Mantle used the first inning too, to hit a grand slam in a 10-2 win over the Twins, on June 18, 1965. His replacement Ross Moschitto gave fans hope for the future as he followed with a homer too, but the hope that Ross would star in New York was short-lived.
Roger Clemens and Victor Zambrano fired blanks at their respective teams for eight innings on June 18, 2003, with the Rocket whiffing nine Devil Rays while six Yankees went down swinging. Finally the Yanks loaded the bases with no one out in the 12th on walks to Robin Ventura and Raul Mondesi around a Ruben Sierra single. Todd Zeile struck out with the outfield and infield in, but Alfonso Soriano punched a single to center for the 1-0 Yankee win.
The Yankees bested the Angels 4-1 on June 18, 1999, with defense making the difference. The Yanks scored on a Derek Jeter, Chili Davis double steal when former Yank Randy Velarde mishandled the throw, and they added two more in the sixth on miscues by centerfielder Garret Anderson and catcher Matt Walbeck. Andy Pettitte got the win, with Chuck Finley taking the loss.
In July 2003, the Yankees sent minor league lefthander Charlie Manning to the Reds (along with prospect Brandon Claussen) in a deal for Aaron Boone, then acquired Gabe White from Cincinnati for cash considerations later in the afternoon. As White’s 2004 season continued to be a horror show, the Yanks sent him to Cincinnati on June 18, bringing Manning back to the Yankee system in return.
Back on June 14 we reported on the finale of a five-game series sweep over the White Sox in 1964. On June 18, 1960, the Yanks used a 12-5 win to sweep a four-gamer over the Palehose. Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Moose Skowron homered in the win.
Some losses are memorable because of their scale. My game brother-in-law and nephew (to their credit) sat through a rainy ninth inning with me even though the 17-4 whipping the White Sox put on the Bombers this day in 2000 was really over early. The first nine White Sox players up in the game reached and scored against Orlando “el duque” Hernandez.
The highlight of Scott Kamieniecki‘s 4-2 win over Mike Timlin and Toronto on this day in 1991 was that the Yankees picked off three Blue Jays on the bases.
New York Yankees signed free agent RHP Ricky Orta.
RHP Charles Basford assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Eric Erickson assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
James Pazos assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Nick Goody assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Matthew Snyder assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Taylor Garrison assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Derek Varnadore assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Taylor Dugas assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Dietrich Enns assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
RHP Andrew Benak assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Saxon Butler assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Danny Oh assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
Timothy Flight assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
RHP Stefan Lopez assigned to Staten Island Yankees from New York Yankees.
On June 18, 2011, the Yankees signed outfielder Cody Grice. They also signed third baseman Dante Bichette.
The first two of three Yankees June 18, 2008, moves would have no future bearing on that season, as they claimed righthander Oneli Perez off waivers from the Cleveland Indians and optioned him to AA Trenton; and then transferred reliever Jonathan Albaladejo from 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. The signing of starter Sidney Ponson to a minor league contract would figure in the days ahead.
The last decent streak in Kevin Brown‘s Yankee stay came to an end when he was placed on the DL on June 18, 2005. Southpaw Sean Henn was recalled from Columbus to take Brown’s spot on the roster.
The Yankees blanked the light-hitting Browns in both ends of a doubleheader, 5-0 behind Eddie Lopat and 3-0 with Jim McDonald on the mound, on June 18, 1953.
But the Browns did the shutting out on this day way back in 1917. Yankee hurler Ray Fisher walked Burt Shotton leading off the game, and he subsequently scored the game’s only run. Bob Groom got the 1-0 win with a six hitter.
But in yet one more Yankees/Browns June 18 tilt, Lou Gehrig smacked his 16th and 17th homers of the year in an 8-3 Yankee win in 1927, with Myles Thomas getting the win.
In another day for draft/minor league business, the Yanks assigned Mike Gipson, Nathan Forer, Fred Lewis, Chase Whitley, Nick McCoy, Michael Recchia, Zachary Varce, Bryant Cotton, Preston Claiborne, Kyle Roller, Michael Ferraro, Casey Stevenson, and Shane Brown to the Staten Island Yankees on June 18, 2010. The Yanks also signed shortstop Chris Culver that same day.
Yankee outfielder Darryl Strawberry was suspended for 120 days on June 18, 1999 for violating major league baseball’s substance abuse policy.
Babe Ruth was signed to be a Dodgers coach for the remainder of the season on June 18, 1938.
Former Yankee outfielder and Hall of Famer-to-be Reggie Jackson collected his 2,000th career hit off Dennis Lamp in the Cal Angels’ 7-2 win over the White Sox on June 18, 1982.
Tom Seaver shut out the Expos, 6-0, in his first post-Mets start, for the Cincinnati Reds, on June 18, 1977.
Roger Clemens became the 21st in baseball history to win 300 games in 2003, as reported just the other day, following fellow Texan Nolan Ryan, who was the 20th. The 19th? California’s Don Sutton, who earned his way into the 300-win club via a 3-1 win over the Rangers on this day in 1986.
Veteran ump Al Clark was fired by baseball on this day in 2001. The wide speculation was that he was making money off player autographs and memorabilia. Some of this came to the fore in the wake of all the balls he had David Wells sign after his 1998 perfecto, at which Al officiated.
Giants player Roger Bresnahan, a member of the Yankee family by virtue of having played with the 1901-1902 Baltimore Orioles team that would move to New York as the Highlanders in 1903, had a near brush with death on June 18, 1907, when hit on the head by an Andy Coakley pitch, as Roger was even given the last rites. He spent his convalescence developing a primitive form of protective headgear.
A major-league record four sons of former players participated during an interleague tilt between the Giants and the Mariners on June 18, 1997. Stan Javier homered in the Giants 4-2 win, and Ken Griffey, Jr., Jose Cruz, Jr., and Barry Bonds also played.
In more post-draft news, the Yankees signed lefthander Gavin Brooks on June 18, 2009, and then assigned righty Benjamin Watkins, catcher Hector Rabago, third baseman Robert Lyerly, first baseman Luke Murton, outfielder Deangelo Mack, and left fielder Neil Medchill to the Staten Island Yankees.
There were two major league no-hitters tossed on June 18, 20 years apart. Houston’s Don Wilson overpowered the Braves 2-0 in the latter in 1967. On June 18, 1947, Ewell Blackwell of the Reds pulled the trick in a 4-0 win over the (Boston) Braves.
In June 18 news affecting future and former Yankee players, two one-time Pinstriped catchers were traded for one another on June 17, 1996. The Padres shipped John Flaherty (with shortstop Chris Gomez) to Detroit for Brad Ausmus and Andujar Cedeno (also a shortstop). And one-time Yankee reliever Tim Stoddard hit a home run in a Padres 6-3 loss to the Giants on this day in 1986. It was Stoddard’s first career home run, and came in his last big-league at bat.
Players Who Have Died This Day
As was the case with the near death from a beaning that happened with Roger Bresnahan this day (mentioned above), we list righthander Jack Katoll (1955) as the first of two Yankee players to have died June 18 by virtue of his career-ending 15-game (13 starts) stint with the 1902 Baltimore Orioles. (The team would become the 1903 New York Highlanders.) Katoll’s 5-10 record with no saves in Baltimore grows to 17-22-0 when his 1898-1901 time playing with the Orphans and White Stockings is added in. And lefty-hitting catcher Honey Barnes (1981) played his only big-league game with the 1926 Yankees. He went 0-for-1 with a walk at the plate, and recorded no assists or putouts in the field.
Hall of Fame lefty-hitting outfielder Larry Doby (2003), the first African Anerican player in the American League, leads a list of four noteworthy nonYankee players to have passed June 18. Portsided outfielder Johnny Frederick (1977) hit all of his career 85 roundtrippers with 377 rbi’s from 1929-1934 with the Dodgers; and lefty-hitting first sacker Hal Trosky (1979) cleared 228 fences and knocked in 1,012 runs between 1933 and 1946 with the Indians and the White Sox. Lastly, brainchild of entrepreneur Bill Veeck, midget and pinch-hitter Eddie Gaedel, who walked in his only major league at bat, died of a heart attack at age 36 on June 18, 1961.
Players Born This Day
Yankee southpaw reliever in 2003 and 2004 Felix Heredia (1975) is the only Yankee player to be born on June 18. Heredia struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 2004, and in 12 appearances in the Bronx in 2003. His Yankee record was 1-2, and career-wise he posted a 28-19 mark with six saves by the end of 2005. A November 1992 amateur free agent signee with Florida, he pitched three years with the Marlins, three with the Cubs, one with the Blue Jays, and most of the 2003 season with Cincinnati before arriving in New York.
Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1966), has never played for the Yanks, but we’ll list him here as well in honor of his father’s three years in the Yankee infield from 1974-1976, and because he wears the no. 15 on his back in honor of his favorite player as a kid, late Yankee catcher Thurman Munson.
Other significant June 18 baseball birthdays include southpaw Taylor Phillips (1933), who went 16-22 with six saves from 1956-1963 with the Braves, Expos, and Phillies; Hall of Famer Lou Brock (1939); Andres Galarraga (1961); Dave Leiper (1962); Jeremy Powell (1976); Ben Johnson (1981); Fernando Rodriguez (1984); Chris Coghlan (1985); Steve Cishek (1986); Jason Castro (1987); and Matt Moore (1989).