June 23 in Yankee History

  • Despite the unfortunate work of the weatherman, mlb, and the Yankees, who joined to delay the game’s start for almost two hours (8:47 first pitch) while it did not rain, fans were treated to a scintillating pitcher’s duel as closely watched in Japan as it was in New York on June 23, 2017. Masahiro Tanaka (three hits, nine K’s, zero runs over eight innings pitched) matched Texas’s Yu Darvish (two hits, 10 K’s, zero runs over seven innings pitched) as the pair delivered on all the pregame predictions, but things became slightly more “offensive” once they left. The Rangers scored against Aroldis Chapman in the top of the ninth on a single, a hit by pitch, stolen base, and passed ball, but Brett Gardner homered off Matt Bush in the bottom half. Then, following one-out Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singles in the 10th, little Ronald Torreyes came through with the game winner with a single up the middle, 2-1 Yanks. It rained lightly over the sixth and seventh innings.
  • The Yankees battled gamely in a June 23, 2015, game vs Philly in Yankee Stadium as CC Sabathia was reached for six runs in four innings, eventually tying the contest on homers from Garrett Jones, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, and Alex Rodriguez. But Dellin Betances had his worst outing of the year and the visitors rode a five-run ninth to an 11-6 victory. Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, Cameron Rupp, and Andres Blanco went yard for the Phillies.
  • On a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon, the voice of Bob Sheppard welcomed 46,000 fans to Old Timers Day in Yankee Stadium on June 23, 2013. Two third-inning rbi’s from Rickey Henderson of the Bombers overcame the lone tally driven in the second by Brian Doyle of the Clippers in the 2-1, four-inning game. In the tilt vs Tampa Bay that followed, fans nervously watched as a 1-1 tie forged in the first remained that way until the seventh, as Chris Archer and Ivan Nova, recalled that day from AAA, did battle. But a weak frame cost the Yanks as Nova was removed after allowing a walk and a hit by pitch with two down in the seventh, Shawn Kelley allowed a walk, and James Loney reached Boone Logan for the two-run single that decided the 3-1 Yankee loss.
  • The 16 strike outs David Cone recorded in a 5-2 win over the Tigers on June 23, 1997, were the most he had thrown in six years. Cecil Fielder‘s three-run home run against his old club highlighted the offense. Bob Hamelin and Damian Easley home runs accounted for the Detroit scoring.
  • The 10-2 win over Kansas City on this day in 1959 was attained with the help of two-run homers from Mickey Mantle, Hank Bauer, and Gil McDougald.
  • Recovering from an injury, Mickey Mantle returned to the Yankee lineup on June 23, 1962 in style, homering off Detroit’s Paul Foytack, but the Tigers prevailed 5-4.
  • Lou Gehrig‘s four hits in an 11-4 whipping of the Red Sox in Fenway on June 23, 1927, included three home runs for four rbi’s. Lou picked on Boston hurler Danny MacFayden that day, and Dutch Ruether was the beneficiary of all the offensive support.
  • In one of Yogi Berra‘s worst days behind the Yankee bench, Charlie Lau recorded two pinch hits in the eighth inning as the Orioles racked up seven tallies to beat the Yankees 9-8 on June 23, 1964. Yogi took some heat for having removed starter Bill Sheldon in favor of rookie Pete Mickelson, who could not hold a 7-2 lead.
  • On June 23, 1932, Lou Gehrig earned the nickname the Iron Horse as he played his 1,103rd consecutive game in a Yankee uniform in a 14-10 loss to the Browns. With that number, he equaled Joe Sewell‘s record with one team.
  • The Yankees not only brought Toronto first baseman John Olerud‘s 26-game hitting streak to an end on June 23, 1993, they also overcame the Blue Jays 4-3.
  • Yankee fans were introduced to the dark side of starter Jon Lieber on June 23 in 2004, as few of his pitches reached Jorge Posada‘s glove. In a 13-2 destruction in Camden Yards, the Birds plated three in the first when Lieber yielded five hits and a sac fly to the first seven batters. Then five hits and an error leading off the home fourth netted Baltimore four more.
  • The Yankees’ two-game split with the Browns on June 23, 1933, wasn’t good enough to withstand the hard-charging Senators’ drive for first place once Washington beat the White Sox. The Bombers took the opener 10-6 in St. Louis but fell 5-4 in the nightcap.
  • George Steinbrenner fired Billy Martin, ending Billy V, on June 23, 1988, replacing him with Lou Piniella. Piniella had been replaced by Martin in ’85. As often happens, the team went out and won Piniella’s first game, breaking a four-game losing streak in a 4-3 victory over Cleveland.
  • But even had the team lost that day, the firing would not be the day’s lowlight. That, in my opinion, came some years ago today on June 23, 2001, when the Yankees shipped young infielder d’Angelo Jimenez to San Diego for reliever Jay Witasik, who was a disaster in the Yankee pen. As reported a little more than a week ago, the Stadium crowd thrilled when a four-run uprising off Witasik, pitching for the Padres yet again, gave the Bombers a come-from-behind win in 2004.
  • The other day we mentioned the visit of Nelson Mandela to the Stadium. On June 23, 1957, Prime Minister Kishi of Japan donned a Yankee cap in the Bronx while watching the Yanks split two with the White Sox, winning 9-2 before falling, 4-3. Mickey Mantle went 6-for-9 on the day. The big day put The Mick atop the American League in batting average and home runs, and one behind Washington’s Roy Sievers in rbi’s.
  • Recently we alluded to a 10-9 Yankee win over the Tigers. On June 23, 1950, it was the Tigers’ turn, as the 11 homers accumulated by the Yanks and Tigers accounted for all the runs in a 10-9 Detroit win.
  • Bobo Newsom of the Tigers increased his winning streak to nine games as he bested the Bombers 9-2 in Tiger Stadium on June 23, 1940.
  • A new walks-allowed record was established on June 23, 1915, as the A’s Bruno Haas walked 16 Yanks and threw three wild pitches in a 15-7 Yankee win.
  • Despite their league-leading position, the Yanks lost their third contest in a row when Cleveland overcame them 6-5 on June 23, 1935. They allowed the Tribe to tie it in the eighth on Red Rolfe‘s error, and helped set up the Indians’ ninth-inning game winner on two Lefty Gomez wild pitches.
  • In certainly the best relief appearance ever, Boston’s Ernie Shore relieved Babe Ruth after the Babe had been ejected after allowing a walk with no one out in the first. Shore picked the runner off and retired the next 26 for a 4-0 win on June 23, 1917.
  • Known more for his bat, Boston’s first sacker Dick Stuart (laughingly referred to as “Dr. Strange Glove”) received a standing ovation in Fenway when he and hurler Bob Heffner tied a record on June 23, 1963, when Dick fielded all three first-inning grounders and tossed to Heffner for the out each time. The Yankees, however, beat the Red Sox 8-0.
  • On June 23, 2016, the Yankees signed outfielders Jordan Scott and Edel Luaces, and righthander Nolan Martinez. The team also signed free agent righties Timothy Holmes, Chase Hodson, and Kyle Halbohn; and free agent infielder Aaron Bossi, to minor league contracts.
  • On June 23, 2015, the Yankees placed second baseman Stephen Drew on the paternity list and optioned outfielder Ramon Flores to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; and filled the spots on the roster by recalling infielder Jose Pirela and righthander Bryan Mitchell from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
  • On June 23, 2014, the Yankees signed outfielder Mark Payton.
  • To make room for Ivan Nova, recalled from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders that day to start in the Bronx, the Yankees optioned Thomas Neal to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 23, 2013.
  • On June 23, 2011, the Yanks searched for some magic from the minor-league free agent pool of former major leaguers, as they signed third baseman Terry Tiffee and assigned both him and veteran first baseman Mike Lamb to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
  • Stan Musial‘s two home runs in a 10-5 Cards win over the Giants on June 23, 1961, slipped him past Lou Gehrig on the all-time extra-base-hit list, while Babe Ruth remained in first.
  • Bob Fosse, choreographer for the Broadway show Damn Yankees, was born on June 23, 1927.
  • As the Yankees’ star was setting, Baltimore’s Jim Palmer‘s was rising. The Oriole righty beat the Bombers 5-2 in Yankee Stadium on June 23, 1966.
  • Jimmie Piersall of the Mets ran around the bases backwards after hitting his 100th career home run on June 23, 1963.
  • Former Yankee bench coach Don Zimmer received the second serious head injury of his career on thrown pitches when Hal Jeffcoat of the Reds broke his cheekbone on June 23, 1956. Don would be out the rest of the year.
  • The Yankees assigned outfielder Isaiah Brown to the Gulf Coast League Yankees on June 23, 2009. Also assigned to the Tampa-based club were Jeffrey Farnham, Issac Harrow, Kevin Mahoney, Geber Suniaga, Julian Arballo, Shane Greene, Paul Heidler, Justin Milo, and Buck Afenir.
  • It was June 23, 1981 that Pawtucket finally beat Rochester 3-2 in 33 innings in the longest game in professional baseball history. The teams played 32 frames on April 19, but it took Pawtucket only one inning to decide things when they resumed play on this day.
  • When the A’s hit back-to-back-to-back homers in the second inning of a 10-6 win over the Royals on June 23, 1999, two of them were hit by ex-Yankee Randy Velarde and recent Bomber Jason Giambi, with the third from former Devil Ray Ben Grieve.
  • Two other June 23 highlights by former or future Yankee players: Seattle’s Jay Buhner hit for the cycle in an 8-7, 14-inning Mariners win over the A’s on this day in 1993. And one-time Yankee hurler Ken Brett set a record for pitchers when he went yard in his fourth consecutive game in a 7-2 Phillies win over the Expos on June 23, 1973.
  • Rick Wise no-hit the Reds, 4-0, on this day in 1971, and hit two home runs as well.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • The 141 games lefty first baseman “Marvelous” Marv Throneberry (1994) played while debuting with the Yanks in 1955 and 1958-1959 give him the longest tenure of three Yankee players to have died on June 23. Marv hit 15 home runs good for 44 rbi’s in Pinstripes, numbers that grew to 53 and 170 after he played with the A’s, the Orioles, and the Mets from 1960-1963. Catcher Bob Tillman (2000) hit two long balls and knocked in nine runs in 22 games with the 1967 Yanks, and reached 79 fences with 282 rbi’s in his 1962-1970 career spent largely with the Red Sox and the Braves. And righthander Rick Anderson (1989) pitched 2.3 innings in just one game (not a start) with the 1979 Yanks, allowing a hit, four walks, and one earned run. His record remained 0-0-0 after pitching 9.7 innings with the 1980 Seattle Mariners.
  • We’ll lead the list of nonYankee players to have died this day with the recently deceased reliever Rod Beck (2007), who went 38-42 with 286 saves for the Giants, the Red Sox, the Cubs, and the Padres from 1991-2004. Two righthanders who have died come next: Lon Warneke (1976) posted an impressive 192-121 record with 13 saves for the Cubs and the Cards from 1930-1945; and Joe Dobson (1994) went 137-103 with 18 saves mostly for the Red Sox, but also the White Sox and Indians, from 1939-1943 and 1946-1954. We’ll end the list with one catcher after mentioning first baseman/third baseman Bert Haas (1999), who hit 22 long balls good for 263 rbi’s for the Reds, the Phillies, and the Dodgers from 1937-1943 and 1946-1951. Backstop Malachi Kittridge (1928) hit 17 roundtrippers with 390 rbi’s for the Colts, the Senators, the Beaneaters, and the Colonels from 1890-1906.
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    Players Born This Day

  • Nine Yankee June 23 birthdays start with a tribute to Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens (1967), simply because his name is so familiar to many fans today. Sometimes you love the players just as much when they fail. His best year was 1991 when he hit six of his 12 career homers and notched 29 of 46 rbi’s, in 96 games. Meulens was signed as an amateur free agent in October 1985, and the Yanks released him eight years and one month later.
  • Of course, we rightly should have led off with Hall of Fame baseball exec George Weiss (1894). George was one of the game’s most successful front office figures. In 1929, he joined Baltimore of the International League and then earned a job with the Yankees, where he developed a fertile farm system. As the Yankees’ general manager from 1947 to 1960, his teams won 10 pennants and seven World Series, including five in a row. He concluded his career as the first president of the Mets.
  • Houston starter Jim Deshaies (1960) debuted in New York in ’84, going 0-1. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 21st round of the 1982 amateur draft, and was traded with minor-leaguers Neder Horta and Dody Rather to the Astros for Joe Niekro in September 1985. One memorable thing about Deshaies’s numbers are that 84-95 describe both his career win-loss record and the years (starting with 19__ of course) that he played.
  • Lefty-hitting catcher Aaron Robinson (1915) stroked 29 homers with 120 rbi’s with the Yankees from 1943 through 1947. He was shipped with Fred Bradley and Bill Wight to the White Sox for Eddie Lopat in February 1948. Robinson played through the 1951 season with the Palehose, the Tigers, and the Red Sox, hitting 61 long balls with 272 rbi’s before he was done.
  • Outfielder Dusty Cooke (1907) hit seven homers and 35 rbi’s from 1930 through 1932 in the Bronx. Here are his closing numbers after four years with the Red Sox and one with the Reds: 24 taters, 229 rbi’s.
  • The following three guys on the Bomber birthday list did all their big-league playing for the Yanks only. First baseman Harry Williams (1890) hit two homers with 29 rbi’s and nine steals for the Yankees in 1913 and 1914. Lefthander Harry Shaeffer (1924) went 1-2 in five games (two starts) for the 1952 club. And second baseman Johnny Priest (1886) played 10 games, splitting his time between second base and third base, for the team in 1911-1912.
  • Southpaw Jerry Nops (1875) finished his five years in the majors with the 1901 Baltimore Orioles franchise that would be relocated to New York and become the Highlanders/Yankees in 1903. Nops won 12 games while losing 10, and notched one save that year, with career numbers of 72-41.
  • Righthander Matt Daley (1982) joined the Yankee June 23 birthday list officially when he signed a free agent contract with them in December 2011 following 94 games pitched for Colorado from 2009-2011, with a 2-1 record. Matt made his Yankee debut in the waning days of the 2013 season, where he won a game while pitching in seven tilts. Daley was designated after one 2014 appearance, but he was back in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre afterward. Matt lost one game in 13 appearances with the 2014 team with an era hovering around 5.00.
  • Remaining birthdays follow with: Dave Bristol (1933); Tom Haller (1937); Dave Goltz (1949), who went 113-109 from 1972-1983, mostly with the Twins; Marty Barrett (1958); John Rabb (1960); Chris Beasley (1962); Mark Hendrickson (1974); Deck McGuire (1989); and Tim Anderson (1993).