I would place this feat in third place to his incredible consecutive-games-played streak and the lofty rbi totals and hits totals he amassed: Lou Gehrig stroked four consecutive home runs in one game on June 3, 1932. The Yanks prevailed over the Athletics in a slugfest, 20-13, as Tony Lazzeri hit for the cycle as well. (That leaves the Iron Horse’s lead in career grand slams that has stood for eight decades now fourth on his all-time performance numbers, by the way!)
Playing against the Yankees in New York exactly one year later (June 3, 1933), the A’s took charge with an 11-run second inning. But their scoring ended there as Yankee Jumbo Brown closed the door with some great relief work. He whiffed 12 A’s in 6.3 innings, and when the Yanks put together a 10-run fifth, they ended up winning the game, 17-11.
When veteran Yankee southpaw Andy Pettitte got off to a slow start vs. the Texas Rangers in new Yankee Stadium on a rainy Wednesday night on June 3, 2009, the team couldn’t recover. An rbi double by Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada‘s singleton home run were all the Bombers could muster, so first-inning rbi’s by Nelson Cruz, Marlon Byrd and Kris Davis and a single run driven in by Ian Kinsler in the second carried Texas to the 4-2 win.
It was just step one of a long, gradual evolution when Joba Chamberlain made his first major-league start vs. the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium on June 3, 2008, as his pitch count (62) matched his number. He left ahead 2-1 after 2.3 innings, though an unearned tally tied matters before the inning was through. Dan Geise, whose contract the Yankees purchased from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the game, allowed one more run through the sixth, but Toronto battered Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez for a six-run seventh and a 9-3 win. The club optioned righthander Scott Patterson to AAA to clear a roster spot for Geise, and ex-NFL quarterback and current native New Yorker Boomer Esiason reduced the games-left counter to 54 in old Yankee Stadium in the bottom of the fifth.
Many amateur draft days can be sadly recounted by Yankee fans as we find no recognizable Yankees being chosen, but sadder still is the selection that they made on June 3, 1991. The Yankees opted for lefthanded fireballer Brien Taylor as the first player in the entire draft, and then signed him for a record $1.55 million. Brien would hurt his precious left shoulder in a bar fight and never throw a pitch in the major leagues.
The Yanks plated three seventh-inning runs on a Gary Sheffield double and a Hideki Matsui single in a 5-2 win over the Orioles in Yankee Stadium on June 3, 2004. Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada were presented with 2003 Silver Slugger Awards before the game.
To most fans, the comebacker that shattered Darrell Rasner‘s index finger in the first inning in May 2007 was one in a series of catastrophic pitching injuries the club suffered that season, but it’s likely Darrell is cursing a longer streak of bad luck. He was placed on the DL with a sore shoulder about 11 months earlier on June 3, 2006, after just one start in the Bronx. Lefty Matt Smith was recalled from Columbus to take his place.
The Yankees stood tied 10-10 with the White Sox after 12 innings on this day in 1972, when Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson each hit three-run homers in an eight-run 13th inning. Murcer had four hits and scored five times in the 18-10 final.
Following a game against Boston in which he broke his wrist, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was sent to the Disabled List on June 3, 2007.
Public relations man Rick Cerrone (not the ex-catcher) announced in the Baseball Cathedral in place of an under-the-weather Bob Sheppard on June 3, 2001. It was a great game as Charles Nagy and Andy Pettitte carried a 1-1 tie into the eighth on singleton homers by Roberto Alomar and Derek Jeter. But Einar Diaz scored in the eighth and hit a two-run double off Carlos Almanzar in the ninth, making Scott Brosius‘s two-run jack in the bottom of the ninth too little too late. Amazingly, Joe Torre then sent Henry Rodriguez up to pinch-hit for a young Alfonso Soriano and Henry struck out, as he did almost every time up in the brief Yankees part of his major-league career.
But Scott Brosius‘s heroics did not go for naught on this day in 1998, as his two, two-run doubles carried the Yanks to a 7-1 win over the Devil Rays, in support of Orlando “el duque” Hernandez. Derek Jeter tripled and singled twice, and Jorge Posada notched two rbi’s.
The greatest of the Negro Leagues’ power hitters, Josh Gibson is credited with hitting a ball that almost cleared the Yankee Stadium facade on June 3, 1937. Some have estimated that the ball would have traveled 700 feet.
The Yanks evened things with the Orioles at three with a two-run rally off Sidney Ponson in the bottom of the eighth in the Yankee Stadium on June 3, 2002, but veteran shortstop Mike Bordick reached Mariano Rivera for an rbi double in the ninth and the Orioles took a 4-3 victory.
White Sox starter Dick Donovan would never retire a batter on June 3, 1958, as Mickey Mantle‘s three-run homer in the first would lead the Yanks to a 13-0 victory.
Braves righthander Greg Maddux allowed base hits to the first four Yankees in a game on June 3, 2000, but Roger Clemens was ineffective too, and neither got a decision in the 11-7 Atlanta win. Derek Jeter got four hits off Maddux, only the sixth player to ever do so, and he walked twice too, but Brian Jordan took offensive honors with four rbi’s.
It was a rare day when the Yankees chased Detroit pitcher and Yankee killer Frank Lary, but that’s exactly what they did with a five-run third on June 3, 1959, as the Pinstripers won, 6-5. Mickey Mantle‘s ninth-inning home run off Ray Narleski was the game winner.
The Yanks lost 4-3 to the Twins on June 3, 1968, despite the fact that they turned a triple play.
Stan Musial got the 300th home run of his career on June 3, 1955. Hall of Famer Eddie Collins, serving as a player/manager on this day in 1925, notched his 3,000th hit.
Current Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez was the first player chosen overall in the amateur draft on June 3, 1993, going to the Seattle Mariners. Former Yankee infielder Randy Velarde was chosen in the 18th round by the White Sox on this day in 1985.
Wade Boggs was still annually pushing 200 hits for the Red Sox back in 1988 when he was sued on June 3 by Margo Adams for palimony.
The classic poem “Casey at the Bat” was first published in the San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888.
Baseball uniforms were reportedly first worn on June 3, 1851, when the New York Knickerbockers wore a straw hat, a white shirt, and long blue trousers.
A Montreal Expo at the time, Pedro Martinez retired the first 27 Padres on June 3, 1995, but Bip Roberts doubled in the 10th. The Expos won in 10, but Pedro is credited with neither a no-hitter nor a Perfect Game.
I got to witness one of the “noteworthy items affecting one-time Yankee players” features when I made my first-ever visit to Dodgers Stadium in Chavez Ravine on June 3, 2005. It was the day the Dodgers surpassed the games total they had amassed in Ebbets Field, and ex-Yank starter Jeff Weaver struck out seven Milwaukee players while allowing just three hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, Carlos Lee hit a grand slam with the third of those hits to give Milwaukee a 4-0 lead just four batters into the game.
We have two more of these highlights affecting former or future Yankee players. When the Cubs and Astros set a record with three grand slams in the same game in the Chicago 22-7 rout on June 3, 1987, Brian Dayett hit one of the four-run jolts. And when Paul Waner, who would just finish his great career with the Yanks, homered in the Pirates’ 11-1 destruction of the Phils on this day in 1927, it began a streak of 14 straight games in which “Big Poison” delivered an extra-base hit.
Boston lefty Hub Leonard pitched his second no-hitter as he shut out the Tigers on this day in 1918.
Players Who Have Died This Day
We have two Yankee players who have died on June 3, and three other noteworthy nonYankees we’ll cover in the bext paragraph as well. Catcher Roxy Walters (1956) debuted with the Yanks from 1915-1918; in 193 games he hit no home runs, but drove in 49 runs. The home run number continued to hold at zero following a 1919-1923 stay with the Red Sox and 1924-1925 with the Indians, but his rbi total grew to 116. Righthander Harry Billiard (1923) also got his start in New York when he posted no record in six games (0 starts) in 1908. Later he won eight, lost eight, and saved three games in the Federal League in 1914-1915, one year each with the Indianapolis Hoosiers and the Newark (N.J.) Pepper.
The nonYankees to have passed this day include one hurler from each side of the plate and an infielder. Righty George Hemming (1930) posted a 91-82 mark with six saves from 1890-1897 with the Colonels and the Orioles; lefty Jakie May (1970) went 72-95-19 with the Reds, the Cards, and the Cubs from 1917-1932; and third baseman Billy Shindle (1936) hit 31 long balls with 758 rbi’s for the Bridegrooms, the Orioles, and the Wolverines from 1886-1898.
Players Born This Day
Until the Yanks shipped minor-league pitcher Jeff Kennard to Anaheim in July 2007 for catcher Jose Molina (1975), no player who had taken the field with the club in a major league game had been born on June 3. Jose supplied solid “D” and one home run with nine rbi’s and a .318 average backing up Jorge Posada at catcher in 2007, but his offense suffered with Posada’s long absence from the lineup with a bad shoulder in 2008. A major-leaguer when he got his start with the Cubs in 1999, Molina had spent the intervening years with Anaheim, where he accumulated 15 home runs with 98 rbi’s by the time he arrived in New York. Jose played 100 games for the ’08 Yanks and, although he only cleared three fences good for 18 rbi’s, he did manage to become the last player to homer in the old Yankee Stadium.
Although Molina is the only guy who has played a regular-season game with the Bronx Bombers born on June 3, there are two who have spent time with the team. Carl Everett (1971) was rated a five-tool player when he was drafted by the Yankees in the first round (10th pick) of the 1990 amateur draft, but he did not prosper in the organization so he was made available in the 1992 expansion draft that stocked the Marlins and the Rockies. Taken by the Marlins with their second pick, he did not take the team change well. And the Yanks let one get away when they granted Izzy Molina (1971) free agency in October 1999. They had gotten him from the Diamondbacks with Ben Ford for reliever Darren Holmes the June before.
Other June 3 birthdays: Jim Gentile (1934); “Psycho” Steve Lyons (1960); Barry Lyons (1960); Nelson Liriano (1964); Aaron Ledesma (1971); Bryan Rekar (1972); Robert Machado (1973); Travis Hafner (1977); Munenori Kawasaki (1981); Lucas Harrell (1985); and Zach Lutz (1986).