You don’t earn a name like the Bronx Bombers lightly, but putting up numbers like the Yanks did on June 28, 1939, sure helps. The eight home runs they hit in the first game of that day’s doubleheader was a record. When they made it 13 on the day with five more in the second game, that was another, as were the 53 total bases they earned in the two games. Joe DiMaggio, Babe Dahlgren, and Joe Gordon each hit three home runs as the Yankees swept the A’s, 23-2 and 10-0.
Despite an unfortunately long ferry trip home the night of Sunday, June 28, 1998, and a frustrating Yankee loss in an unfriendly atmosphere, the game the Yanks lost to the Mets that night in Shea was really quite gripping. Joe Torre amazingly allowed Orlando “el duque” Hernandez to throw 143 tosses over eight innings, and he left a 1-1 tie as his mound opponent Masato Yoshii (over seven innings) threw perhaps his finest game as a Met. Both starters allowed but two hits, with a 10/4 walk/strike out ratio for Yoshii, and 9/5 for The Duke. Carlos Baerga led off the bottom of the ninth with a double off Ramiro Mendoza, and scored the winner on Luis Lopez‘s sac fly, 2-1 Mets.
True gentlemen that they are, the Yanks paid their respects to ex-Royals righthander Zach Groenke, now with the NL Milwaukee Brewers, by pounding him for seven runs over two innings in a 12-2 Yankee win in the Stadium on June 28, 2011. A Curtis Granderson triple and three-run Nick Swisher bomb did the early damage, and Mark Teixeira, who shared rbi honors with Swish at four apiece, added a late home run.
It was the 3,000th game in which Ty Cobb appeared on this day in 1928, but Babe Ruth stole his thunder with two home runs in the Yankees’ 10-4 win over the Athletics. Cobb capped his long career in Detroit with two years playing for the Philly AL franchise.
It’s anybody’s guess if David Wells‘s reverence for Babe Ruth is genuine, but on at least one occasion it got him into trouble. On June 28, 1997, He wore a Bambino-autographed 1934 cap in the first inning of a Yankee contest with the Indians. The Yanks grabbed a 3-0 lead, but when he was forced to remove it for not matching the current uniform, Boomer’s game fell apart, and Cleveland battered him 12-8. Marquis Grissom stroked five hits and Matt Williams homered twice and knocked in six.
In a Yankee victory over Atlanta on June 28, 2006, Chien-Ming Wang battled John Smoltz to a 2-2 tie with Jason Giambi tying the game on an eighth-inning home run, but Marcus Giles homered off Kyle Farnsworth in the top of the 12th. Alex Rodriguez went yard after a Giambi walk for a 4-3 Yankee win, making Rodriguez the toast of the town…for about a week.
Yankee outfielder Lee Magee notched four assists in a 3-2 win over the Senators on June 28, 1916.
Detroit’s Mark “The Bird” Fidrych overcame the Yankees 5-1 in front of a national TV audience on this day in 1976. The charismatic Fidrych mesmerised the crowd with his enthusiasm and his kooky behavior, including his habit of talking to the ball.
The Yankees and Twins stood at 0-0 in the fourth when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle hit back-to-back jacks in a 4-2 win on June 28, 1962.
Mickey Mantle knocked in all three Yankee runs with a two-run tater in the first and an eighth-inning, opposite-field fly into the left-field screen in Fenway on June 28, 1966, but the Bombers fell 5-3 due to their five errors.
Who can explain why the pain in Joe DiMaggio‘s heel went away on June 28, 1949, or the timing? But after missing the season’s first 69 games, his single and homer helped beat the Red Sox in Boston, 6-4. His homer total would climb to four by the time the Yankee sweep in Fenway was over in a few days.
Branch Rickey earned his way into the Hall of Fame as a manager and owner, and not as a player. On this day in 1907, the Washington Nationals stole 13 bases on catcher Rickey, toiling for New York, as the Highlanders fell 16-5.
With Lou Gehrig leading the way with a two-run homer, his 100th hit of the year, the Yanks built a 9-0 lead over the A’s and then barely survived the eight-run, ninth-inning rally to win, 9-8, on this day in 1927.
Waite Hoyt matched Walter Johnson inning for inning in a Washington/New York contest on June 28, 1922, as he held the Senators to two hits over eight while Johnson whiffed nine Yankees. But Earl Smith plated the game winner on a double in the ninth, and Hoyt and the Yanks fell, 1-0.
Playing for the Mariners, ex-Yankee coach and beloved good luck charm Luis Sojo stroked five hits on June 28, 1996, in a 19-8 win over the Rangers.
Don Baylor was a great DH in the Bronx, but he was playing for the Red Sox on his 38th birthday (see below) when Yankee Rick Rhoden hit him with a pitch in a 6-2 Yankee loss to Boston on this day in 1987. It moved Baylor past Ron Hunt on the career hbp list at 244.
He would be playing in New York shortly, but on this day in 1919, Carl Mays threw both ends of a doubleheader for Boston vs. the Yankees, blanking them 2-0 in the first game, but falling 4-1 in the second.
Ryne Duren came back to haunt his ex-teammates as he struck out 12 over eight frames to give the Angels a 5-3 win on June 28, 1961. Mickey Mantle drove in all three New York tallies, two of them on a home run.
Ex-Red Sox (et al) player Kevin Millar hit a ball that landed on a Trop Dome catwalk and stayed there in a 4-0 Marlins loss to the Devil Rays on June 28, 2002. Interestingly, four of the five other players who have hit balls that have become lodged in Stadium obstructions have Pinstripes on their resumes: Jose Canseco, Ruppert Jones, Dave Kingman, and Alvaro Espinosa, with Seattle Mariner Rickey Nelson being the only Yankee-free player in the group.
Spitballer Jack Quinn, who debuted with and pitched seven seasons with the Yankees, lost his final career decision (6-5 to the Dodgers) pitching for the Reds on June 28, 1933, one week short of his 50th birthday.
New York Yankees called up Adam Warren from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
New York Yankees placed LHP Andy Pettitte on the 60-Day disabled list. Fractured fibula in his left ankle.
In a move that has been duplicated several times since they signed him, the Yankees optioned southpaw Kei Igawa to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 28, 2008. They filled the roster spot in New York by purchasing the contract of righty reliever David Robertson from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. They also designated righthander Oneli Perez for assignment.
Hall of Famer Joe Tinker became the first player to steal home twice in one game in a Cubs 11-1 win over the Reds on June 28, 1911. That team would set the season mark of 17 steals of home that year, but the Yankees would better it with 18 in 1912.
It is historically significant that the New York Giants were able to reopen the Polo Grounds for baseball business on June 28, 1911. The Giants had had to share Hilltop Park with the Highlanders during the two and a half months it took to reconstruct the bleachers after a fire. When the Yanks’ (Highlanders) lease on their park lapsed, the Giants would return the favor, and the two shared the Polo Grounds until the animosity between the teams made it a must that they no longer play in the same park.
In one more June 28 highlight featuring a one-time Yankee player, Minnesota starter Bob Tewksbury beat the A’s 3-2 on this day in 1998, using a mixture of slow pitches that included one clocked at just 44 mph.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Lefty-hitting third baseman and Hall of Famer Frank “Home Run” Baker, who spent part of his career in New York, is the only Yankee player to have died on June 28. Baker ended his career with the Yanks hitting 48 long balls good for 207 rbi’s from 1916-1922, capping a 96-homer, 987-rbi tour in which he played for the Philly A’s from 1908-1914.
The significant nonYankees to have passed away this day start off with Philadelphia Phillies President Israel Durham (1909); and Hall of Fame lefty-hitting catcher Mickey Cochrane (1962), who hit 119 home runs and drove in 832 runs with the A’s and the Tigers from 1925-1937. The name we know from the movie, but the real Bull Durham (1960) was a pitcher who won two, lost none, and saved one in a handful of games for Brooklyn (1904), Washington (1907), and New York (the Giants, 1908-1909). Switch-hitting catcher Joe Sugden (1959) hit three roundtrippers with 283 rbi’s with the Pirates and the Browns from 1893-1905 and in 1912; and righthander Cy Morgan (1962) pitched to a dead-even 78-78 with three saves for the A’s, the Browns, and the Red Sox from 1903-1913.
Players Born This Day
And there are six Yankee birthdays, starting with the above-mentioned DH Don Baylor (1949). Don actually has at least a triple Yankee connection, counting the 81 dingers and 275 rbi’s he collected for the Yanks during 1983-1985 as the most important. In March 1986 he arrived in Boston on an even-up trade for the Yanks next DH, Mike Easler. And before all of that history, Don was shipped by the Orioles to the A’s to pry Reggie Jackson out of Oakland before the 1976 season. Jackson would sign a free-agent contract with the Yankees the next year.
Southpaw starting pitcher Al Downing (1941) posted a fine 72-57 win/loss record in New York during the 1961 through 1969 seasons, but his greatest claim to fame is that later in his career he surrendered Hank Aaron‘s record-breaking 715th career home run. Al was signed by the Yankees before the 1961 season as an amateur free agent, and was traded by New York with Frank Fernandez to the Oakland Athletics for Danny Cater and Ossie Chavarria in December 1969. Downing retired in 1977 with a 123-107 record.
Fred Talbot‘s (1941) 1966-1969 work in the Bronx produced a 14-14 record. He was acquired from the Kansas City Athletics with Billy Bryan for Gil Blanco, Roger Repoz, and Bill Stafford in June 1966. Then in May 1969, he was traded to the Seattle Pilots for Jack Aker. Talbot’s career numbers: 38-56.
Len Boehmer (1941) got into 67 games as a backup infielder during the ’69 and ’71 seasons, contributing no homers but seven rbi’s during that time. The Yanks got him from the Cincinnati Reds for Bill Henry in September 1967. Clay Christiansen (1958) had two saves to go with his 2-4 record for the 1984 Yankee team in his only big-league service. The Yanks drafted him in the 15th round of the 1980 amateur draft, and sent him to the Minnesota Twins in June 1986; the Twins swapped him for Eric Bullock of the Houston Astros one year later.
Lastly, first baseman Burt Hart (1870) drove in 23 runs for the 1901 Baltimore Orioles in 58 games. That team would become the New York Highlanders in 1903. Honorable mention to Super Bowl-winning quarterback John Elway (1960), whom the Yankees did spend a draft pick on before he made the expected move and opted for football.
Also, catcher Kevin Polcovich (1970) was a spring invitee to Yankee camp a few years ago, but he did not go north. Kevin hit five home runs with 35 rbi’s for the Pirates in 1997 and 1998, and has also played with the Jersey Jackals of the Independent Norheast League. Finally, bullpenner Chris Spurling (1977), most recently with Milwaukee in 2007 who has also pitched with Detroit, was signed by the Yanks in 1998 after they selected him in the amateur draft the year before. Spurling was traded to Pittsburgh in 2000 so the Yanks could re-acquire Luis Sojo, who is mentioned in a highlight above.
Other birthdays: Lefty-hitting outfielder Ken Williams (1890), who blasted 196 dingers with 913 rbi’s from 1915-1929, mostly with the St. Louis Browns; righthander Fred Gladding (1950), 48-34 with Detroit and Houston from 1961-1973; Chris Speier (1950), with 112 homers and 720 rbi’s over 19 seasons with the Giants and the Expos; southpaw Joe Sambito (1952), who saved 84 games for Houston (primarily) from 1976-1987; Kevin Reimer (1964); Mark Grace (1964), who hit most of his 173 homers with 1,146 rbi’s from 1988-2003 with the Cubs. Also, Ron Mahay (1971); Greg Keagle (1971); Corey Koskie (1973); Richard Hidalgo (1975); Kevin McGlinchy (1977) who, after spending time with the Braves, played with the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks in 2003; Brandon Phillips (1981); and Clay Zavada (1984).