It was a little disconcerting, as the Yanks held Mickey Mantle Triple Crown Night on Friday, June 24, 2016, a gorgeous night in the Bronx, because ex-Yank Eduardo Nunez promptly put the visiting Twins up 2-0 with a double in the top of the third. But Masahiro Tanaka righted the ship, and the home team prevailed 5-3, with five different pinstripers scoring, and five knocking in a run apiece as well. The only players to notch one of each were Carlos Beltran and Aaron Hicks, the latter by stroking the game’s lone home run.
The Yanks got yet another so-so start out of Luis Cessa in a loss to the visiting Texas Rangers on June 24, 2017, though he did strike out eight batterrs; he allowed but three hits, but each of two walks scored, one in front of Carlos Gomez‘ two-run shot in the fourth. The Yankees were able to reach righthander Austin Bibens-Dirkx for five hits through seven, and only Aaron Judge‘s singleton seventh-inning home run did any damage in the 8-1 loss. Lefthander Tyler Webb, who would later be traded to Milwaukee for first baseman Garrett Cooper, had an encouraging major league debut, retiring four straight once he entered in the seventh, but Tyler Clippard suffered yet another meltdown in the ninth, surrendering two walks, a single, two doubles, and four runs.
The Yankees lost a 19-inning battle to Boston in 2015, and played a 17-inning game with the Tigers in 2003, and I attended an 18-inning battle with them in 1988 and another 17-inning contest a few years back. But they all pale in comparison to the 22-inning battle the Yanks won against the Bengals on June 24, 1962, the longest in innings in Yankee history. Jack Reed, who replaced Joe Pepitone in the 13th, stroked his only career major-league home run to win it for Jim Bouton and his weary teammates, 9-7.
The Yankees battered Phillies lefty Cole Hamels in a 10-2 laugher on June 24, 2015, as Ivan Nova allowed just three hits and no runs through seven. Coming off three straight losses, manager Joe Girardi was tossed once he became incensed that first base ump Alan Porter missed what seemed an obvious swinging strike call against Maikel Franco in the third. Hamels allowed eight of the 15 hits and five of the runs. Nova had been activated from the 60-day disabled list after Tommy John surgery earlier that day, taking shortstop Brendan Ryan‘s spot after Ryan was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 22, with a right thoracic strain.
The other day we shared the crushing defeat that resulted from Frank Robinson stealing what would have been a three-run walk-off homer by Roy White. It was a full house on June 24, 1977, when the worm turned, so to speak, as Roy’s two-out, two-run, game-tying dinger off Bill Campbell knotted things at 5-5 with the Red Sox. Reggie Jackson‘s bases-loaded single in the 10th won it for the Yanks.
Recent YES announcer and Yankee favorite Bobby Murcer, who unfortunately died a few years ago, had his most famous day on June 24, 1970, as he stroked four home runs in four at bats (though five plate appearances) in a doubleheader split with the Indians. Bobby hit a ninth-inning shot off “Sudden” Sam McDowell in the first game, a 7-2 loss. Murcer then homered, walked, and homered twice, the last one tying Game Two at 4 in the eighth, and the Yanks pulled it out in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4. Steve Hamilton unleashed his “Folly Floater” to devastating effect twice on first baseman Tony Horton and struck him out in this game too.
All things being equal, the 4-2 loss to Ubaldo Jimenez and the Rockies by A.J. Burnett and the Yanks in the Stadium on June 24, 2011, wasn’t too painful, first because it was home runs – one by ex-Yank Jason Giambi, and Troy Tulowitski too – and not wild pitches or batters hit by pitches that led to Colorado scores; and because the Yanks made the most of almost no offense, plating Curtis Granderson after walks in the first and third innings on a night where they only produced five singles with their bats. And even better, Burnett became the first Yankee pitcher to ever strike out four guys in an inning (OK, there was one wild pitch).
Young Javier Vazquez recovered after David Newhan hit a two-run dinger off him in the first inning of a Yankee/Orioles contest on June 24, 2004. Javy pitched seven, and the Yanks prevailed 5-2 behind two-run homers by Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter off Sydney Ponson. Vazquez, back for his second Bronx tour in 2010, was very good for a while after a difficult start to the year, but both tours in New York ended up being disappointing.
The Yankee highlights in a June 24 interleague battle with the Mets in Yankee Stadium in 2005 were a lead-off, first-inning Derek Jeter home run, and a Tino Martinez two-run bomb in the ninth. But the Mets’ three-run, second-inning rally was crowned by Bernie Williams and Mike Mussina errors, and Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran added solo jacks in a 6-4 Mets win.
You could pick almost any May or June day in 1941 for a Yankee highlight as Joe DiMaggio fashioned his unequaled 56-game hitting streak, but when he homered in a 9-1 Yankee victory over the Browns on June 25 of that year, he broke the record set by Wee Willie Keeler in 1897 by running the streak to 45 consecutive games.
Chad Curtis drove in five to Tino Martinez‘s four in a 12-9 win over the Tigers on this day in 1997, but Tino took offensive honors with his five hits and two home runs.
The Yankees tried to squeeze the 2006 Old Timers Game into a very damp Saturday afternoon on June 24. The group celebrated in ceremonies that included 11 players from the 1956 Championship team in its 50th anniversary year. But the rains came once one and all were announced, and a game was not played. Then the Marlins and Yanks gave it a try, but play was stopped after the top of the first with Florida up, 1-0. It was almost three hours later that that game was postponed too.
Before sharing some bad Yankee times, I need to tell you that the crosstown New York Mets hit bottom, perhaps, on June 24, 1993. Their 8-5 loss to the Cardinals tied an 86-year-old record as they failed to win two straight games for the 61st consecutive time.
The celebrations were few and far between for the ninth-place 1967 Yankees, but Mickey Mantle did break up a 3-3, ninth-inning tie with a walk-off over Fred Gladding and the Tigers on June 24 of that year.
Mickey Mantle and Jerry Lumpe homered off Early Wynn in a 6-2 Yankee win over the White Sox on this day in 1958. Ryne Duren ensured Bob Turley‘s win by striking out six of the last nine White Sox batters.
Ex-Chisox stalwart Richard Dotson took the 7-5 loss to the Indians for the Yanks on June 24, 1988, but the big number on the day was the 14th consecutive save Doug Jones recorded on this, his 31st birthday (see birthdays, below).
Joe DiMaggio homered twice in the 10-run fifth inning in an 18-4 win over the Browns on this day in 1936, tying two major league records, and his four extra base hits (he added two doubles) tied another.
Scott Erickson of the Twins (later, the Orioles, and even the 2006 Yankees) allowed just two hits to the Yankees when he won his 12th straight with a 5-0 win over Jeff Johnson on June 24, 1991.
The Yankees posted a 5-0 win over the White Sox in Yankee Stadium on June 24, 1934. Babe Ruth broke a 21-at-bat hitless streak with a grand slam for the game-winning blow.
Invariably, the best thing about reporting Yankee losses, even, in the fifties, is that it seems one can always find a Yankee highlight. Thus, on this day in 1950 the Yanks fell 4-1 to Art Houtteman and the Tigers with the lone New York score coming on Yogi Berra‘s home run.
On June 24, 2017, fans of all stripes silently uttered the word, “Finally!” when the Yankees designated first baseman Chris Carter for assignment, filling the spot by recalling first baseman Tyler Austin from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The team also sent center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on a rehab assignment to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Finally, the club signed righthanders Matt Sauer and Clarke Schmidt.
The Yankees signed lefthander Trevor Lane on June 24, 2016.
On June 24, 2014, the Yankees signed first baseman Connor Spencer.
On June 24, 2013, the Yankees sent shortstop Reid Brignac outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On June 24, 2012, the Yankees signed free agent righty Jon Meloan.
The Yanks assigned draftee Freite Marte to the Yankee minor leagues on June 24, 2011.
Although the Yankees activated third baseman Cody Ransom from the 60-day disabled list on June 24, 2009, he would soon share the same fate as the other three players on that day’s transaction list: He would not be with the Yanks much longer. The team also assigned right fielder Xavier Nady to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, designated infielder Angel Berroa for assignment, and traded righty Jose Veras to the Cleveland Indians.
Of the four player moves the Yankees made on June 24, 2008, the one that would play the biggest part on the remainder of that season was the purchase of the contract of outfielder Justin Christian from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; they optioned lefty Billy Traber to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room. They also activated righthander Ian Kennedy from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Single-A Tampa. Lastly, the team outrighted righthander Steven White to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It surprises no one that Rickey Henderson stole a base in his major league debut on June 24, 1979, in a 5-1 Oakland loss to Texas.
New York Highlanders Manager Clark Griffith resigned in protest over the owners’ refusal to spend on the club, and Kid Elberfeld took over on June 25, 1908. The team proceeded to drop precipitously in the standings.
Two lowlights of the Yankees portion of Steve Howe‘s career occurred on June 24. In 1992, Commissioner Fay Vincent banned Howe for life after his seventh infraction against the league’s substance abuse policy, though the ban would be limited later. And then two days after Steve was released by the Yanks on June 24, 1996, he was arrested at Kennedy Airport for carrying a loaded gun in his luggage.
Former Giants second baseman Rob Thompson has been helping the Yanks out in Tampa now for a few years, and he even subbed for Luis Sojo as third base coach after a family emergency and then after surgery a few seasons ago as well. In one of his playing career highlights, Thompson had five hits and he homered twice for the second day in a row in the Giants’ 17-2 thumping of the Rockies on June 24, 1993.
Two former or future Yankee players hit for the cycle on June 24. First, Bob Watson cycled in Houston’s 6-5 win over the Giants on this day in 1977. And Dave Winfield managed a cycle in his five-for-five day in California’s 9-4 victory over Kansas City on June 24, 1991.
Tom Seaver homered off Montreal’s Bill Stoneman in the eighth inning on this day in 1971, winning his own game at 2-1.
Milwaukee’s Don Sutton became the eighth pitcher in major league history to notch his 3,000th strike out when he did so in whiffing Alan Bannister in a 3-2 win over Cleveland on June 24, 1983.
The only Yankee player to have died on June 24 is southpaw Roy Castelton (1967), who debuted by throwing three games (two starts) for the 1907 Highlanders, to a 1-1 record without a save. After eight games with the Tigers in 1909 and 1910, his record stood at 2-3-0.
Two righthanded pitchers are the only noteworthy nonYankee players to have died this day. Johnny Humphries (1965) posted most of his 52-63 record with 12 saves from 1938-1946 for the White Sox and the Indians. And Fred Newman (1987) won 33 and lost 39 with no saves pitching for the Los Angeles Angels only from 1962-1967.
Players Who Have Died This Day
The Yanks celebrated a hopefully big, but ultimately disappointing, addition to their June 24 birthday list in 2007 when hard-throwing phenom Philip Hughes (1986) joined the club. Phil pitched well in a loss in his debut, then almost threw a no hitter in a win, but he injured a hamstring before he could finish. He pitched well to a 5-3 record at the end of 2007, but struggled in early 2008, at 0-4. Phil excelled with the team as a reliever in 2009, won 19 games as a starter in 2010, but had an enigmatic start to his 2011 season, with a dip of four to five mph off his fastball. He had some dominant starts in 2012, but suffered through 4-14 2013 season in 2013, his free-agent year, and the Yanks cut him free. Phil, who has signed a three-year contract to pitch for the Twins, posted a 56-50 record with three saves in the Bronx. Maddeningly, Phil had a monster 16-10 year in 2014, his first toeing the mound for the Minnesota Twins; he came down a little to earth in 2015, and struggled badly before injuring his knee in ’16. Phil was finally traded to San Diego for a minor leaguer in May 2018.
Two old-time Yankee outfielders share June 24 as a birthday. Rollie Hemsley (1907) played much of his ball from 1928-1947 with the Pirates, the Browns, and the Indians, collecting 31 homers and 555 rbi’s during that time. He hit four of those taters and garnered 65 of the rbi’s with the Yanks from 1942-1944, and was sold by them to the Phillies in March 1946.
Lefthanded player Doc Cook (1886) spanned 1913 through 1916 with the Yanks in his only major league service. He amassed three homers and 75 rbi’s in 288 games in those years. Doc was hit by a pitched ball 17 times in 1914 and 1915.
The fourth and last Yankee June 24 birthday belongs to Jack Katoll (1872), who posted a 5-10 record with the 1902 Baltimore Orioles. That franchise would relocate to New York as the Highlanders/Yankees the next year. Jack posted 17 wins with 22 losses in a five-year big-league career. The Orioles purchased Katoll’s contract from the White Sox in May 1902.
Also worthy of mention in the Yankee column is southpaw Al Gerheauser (1917), who won 25 while losing 50 and saving one for the Phillies, the Pirates, and the Browns from 1943-1948. Though Al never played for the Yanks, he was traded by them along with Tom Padden and cash to the Philadelphia Blue Jays for Nick Etten in January 1943.
We’ll add infielder Doug Bernier (1980) to the Yankee list, even though we don’t know if he’ll ever play for them. After playing two games with the Rockies in 2008, Doug signed a free-agent contract with the Yanks. He had lots of playing time in 2009 Spring Training games, and again in 2011, and 2012. Doug played 33 games with Minnesota in 2013.
Other birthdays: George Harper (1892); Minnesota slugger Don Mincher (1938) with 200 dingers and 643 rbi’s from 1960-1972; Ken Reitz (1951); George Vukovich (1956); Doug Jones (1957), who earned most of his more than 300 career saves with the Indians and the Brewers until he retired about a year ago; Jason Romano (1979); Juan Francisco (1987); Sam Freeman (1987); and Robbie Ross (1989).
Players Born This Day