Perhaps the man most famous for being classified as a Yankee Killer, Detroit’s Frank Lary, shut the boys out 1-0 on June 21, 1958, beating Duke Maas. His partner in crime was Hall of Famer Al Kaline, who threw Maas out at the plate and also accounted for the scoring with a home run.
But the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford, turned the tables on Lary exactly two years later, beating him and the Tigers 6-0 in Detroit. A guy with a little Hall pedigree of his own, Mickey Mantle, chipped in with three hits, including two homers.
Some startling baseball took place in Yankee Stadium on June 21, 2005, starting with the lowly Devil Rays annnouncing once again that they were not the Yankees’ doormats with 10 runs in the first four innings, reaching Randy Johnson for the first seven on home runs by Damon Hollins, Kevin Cash, and Jonny Gomes. It goes a long way toward describing the kind of offensive team the Yankees fielded, though, when I add that the 13-run rally they posted in the eighth frame was their second time scoring that many tallies in one inning in the young season. The Yanks, who won 20-11 going away, blasted four home runs in the inning, with Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui going back-to-back-to-back.
On that same 2005 day, the Yanks operated the Columbus Shuttle, bringing righty Scott Proctor up at the expense of outfielder Bubba Crosby.
Baseball fans one and all dream of the home-team star hitting that come-from-behind home run in the late innings. Can there be anything more deflating than when they come through, only to have victory snatched from their grasp by a great catch at the end? On June 21, 1966, Frank Robinson leaped over the short fence in Yankee Stadium with two outs in the ninth inning and caught what would have been a three-run, game-winning home run off the bat of Roy White, as the Orioles survived in Game One, 7-5. He would do the same deed on a drive by Clete Boyer in a similar circumstance two months later. On June 21, thankfully, the home team at least salvaged Game Two, 8-3.
As painful as the loss in that first game on this day in 1966 was, the humiliation the Yanks suffered at the hands of Bartolo Colon and the Indians on June 21, 1998, was over early and therefore more painless. The Cleveland righty shut them out, 11-0.
More frustrating, one would suspect, was the 2-0 blanking by Rube Foster of the Red Sox on the same day back in 1916. The Yanks fell in the first no-hitter in Fenway Park history.
According to some sources, it reportedly was on June 21, 1904, in an article in the Boston Herald, that the term “Yankee” was first used for a player on the AL team playing baseball in New York, as they referred to a trade of one of the Boston players in this manner: “Dougherty as a Yankee.” The Highlanders would not officially take the name until 1913.
A Stadium crowd of almost 69,000 witnessed the Yanks drop both ends of a double dip to the Indians on June 21, 1959, 4-2 and 5-4.
June 21, 1973, was a memorable day for two guys who would play for the Yanks, though neither wore the Pinstripes at that time. Former Yankee starter Stan Bahnsen fell two short of the hits allowed in a shutout record when he gave up 12 in the White Sox 2-0 win over Cleveland. Meanwhile, as Lee May‘s three bombs were carrying Houston to a 12-2 win over San Diego that day, future Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield hit his first big-league tater off Ken Forsch.
White Sox hurler Ted Lyons was both making history and preparing for some more when he took his 250th win in a 6-5 victory over the Red Sox on June 21, 1942. In a week he would match Yankee Red Ruffing at 251 wins when he beat Red and the Yanks.
World leader and former victim of racial persecution Nelson Mandela, newly freed from prison and visiting New York, attended a rally at Yankee Stadium on June 21, 1990. There he donned a Yankee cap and proclaimed, “I am a Yankee!”
Visiting as a member of the White Sox, Carlton Fisk chose Yankee Stadium as the place for his 307th career tater as a catcher, breaking the American League record in that regard, in a 7-3 Chicago win on June 21, 1989. Future Yankee righty Don Pall got the win with Yankee “anchor” Andy Hawkins taking the loss.
June 14 we talked about the Yanks having swept five from the White Sox in three days in 1964. The Bombers finished the job with four more, this time in the Windy City, sweeping a doubleheader on June 21 that gave them nine wins over the Hose in 11 days. Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard homers carried Jim Bouton to the Game 1 victory, 2-0, and the Yanks outlasted the home team in the later tilt, 2-1, in 17 innings.
That was Father’s Day in 1964, and as the Yanks were taking two in Chicago, baseball history was happening in New York too. Jim Bunning threw the first Perfect Game in the NL since 1922 (excluding Don Larsen in the Series and Harvey Haddix‘s 1959 loss in 13 frames, 12 of them perfect) in Shea Stadium, subduing the Mets, 6-0, on a mere 90 pitches.
When Minnesota notched 11 runs in the 10th inning of a 14-4 win over Oakland on June 21, 1969, it matched the record for runs in an extra inning by one team that the Yankees had scored in the 12th inning in July 1928, in a 12-1 win over the Tigers.
The Yanks had taken the first three of four against the Tigers in 1935, but could not complete the sweep as Detroit blanked them 7-0 behind Preacher Rowe on June 21.
In other June 21 losses of note, Manny Ramirez‘s six rbi’s and grand slam led the Indians to a 13-4 rampage over Andy Pettitte and the Yanks in 1997; and Detroit’s Alan Trammel also blasted a slam in the Tigers’ 7-6 win over the Yanks in 1988.
We passed (and acknowledged) the 100th birthday of Lou Gehrig on June 20 just a few years ago. It was 66 years ago today on June 21, 1939 that the Yankees announced the Iron Horse’s retirement, based on the amyotropic lateral sclerosis diagnosis, though Lou would remain with the team as captain.
Joe Torre and GM Bob Watson knew they had a good team in 1996, but that the Yanks were short lefty relief in the pen. Steve Howe was no longer effective and was released, and Graeme Lloyd would be shaky when he was acquired for Bob Wickman and Gerald Williams. Two other guys got a look, Dale Polley and Billy Brewer. The Yankees picked up the latter on June 21 of that year.
The Yankees designated veteran catcher Chad Moeller for assignment on June 21, 2010.
In more post-draft news the Yankees signed righthanded pitchers Julian Arballo, Paul Heidler, Dan Miller, and Shane Greene, outfielders Justin Milo and Isaiah Brown, catchers Buck Afenir and Jeffrey Farnham, Issac Harrow, and infielder Kevin Mahoney on June 21, 2009.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Southpaw Ambrose Puttmann (1936), who won six, lost seven, and saved one game in debuting with the New York Highlanders from 1903-1905, is one of two Yankee players to have died June 21. He posted that record in 29 games (22 starts), and added two wins and two losses pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1906. Lefty-hitting outfielder Bud Stewart (2000) got one hit in five at bats while playing six games with the 1948 Yankees. In a 1941-1942 and 1948-1954 career where he played the preponderance of his games with the White Sox and the Senators, Bud cleared 32 fences and drove in 260 runs.
Of two nonYankee players who have passed this day, second baseman Al Campanis‘s (1998) fame sadly does not come from his two hits in 20 at bats for the 1943 Dodgers, but in the unfortunate racist diatribe he uttered as an excecutive with the same team years later. Also, shortstop Monte Cross (1934) hit 31 home runs with 621 rbi’s with the A’s, the Phillies, the Browns, and the Pirates from 1892-1907.
Players Born This Day
Eddie Lopat (1918), 113-59 with the Yanks (and 4-1 during the 1949-1953 string of World Series victories), is the more famous of three Yankee lefties born on June 21. The Yanks acquired Lopat from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Bill Wight, Fred Bradley, and Aaron Robinson on February 1948, and shipped him to Baltimore for Jim McDonald in July 1955. Lopat’s career record was 166-112.
Fellow southpaw Russ Van Atta (1906) threw for the Yanks from 1933 through 1935, and went 12-4 in 1933. A Yankee signee, Van Atta was sold to the St. Louis Browns in May 1935. Russ’s overall mark: 33-41 with six saves.
The hometown birthday list and the lefthander list grew by one in 2004, as Donovan Osborne (1969) came to the Yanks in Tampa with a 47-46 career mark from 1992-2002, most of it in St. Louis with skipper at the time Joe Torre. Osborne posted two wins in nine games for the ’04 Yanks; he started two of them.
Infielder Spencer Adams (1898) played 28 games for the 1926 team, contributing one rbi and one stolen base to the cause. The Yanks got him from the Senators the January before. Southpaw Ray Tift (1884) posted no record in four games (one start) with the 1907 Highlanders, his only service in the bigs. He went 0-for-5 at the plate, but was hit by a pitch. And finally, there is Billy Gilbert (1876) who was a second baseman for much of his seven other years in the majors, but who played short for the 1902 Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that moved to New York as the Highlanders the following season. He hit two homers and notched 38 rbi’s that season.
Other birthdays: Jackie Collum (1927); catcher Charlie Moore (1953); Rick Sutcliffe (1956); Jeff Musselman (1963); Garrett Jones (1981); and Jeff Baker (1981).