Joba Chamberlain almost ruined what was one of the finest David Phelps starts on June 4, 2013, when he relieved in the seventh, allowing a walk, single, and Drew Stubbs‘s home run, but the Yanks held on for a 4-3 win. Phelps allowed just one hit while striking out seven through six innings, but the four walks contributed to a mounting pitch count. For the second (and only) game in a row, New York was carried by a Mark Teixeira home run, as his three-run. third-inning blast crowned the Bombers’ four-run rally.
Yesterday’s highlights included the sad story of a potential great career that never happened, and a franchise in need of a boost not getting one with the Yanks drafting Brien Taylor. The expectations weren’t nearly as high for the 1990 draft, which took place on June 4. But the Yanks landed a couple of winners in the lower rounds, with Andy Pettitte in the 20th round, and Jorge Posada in the 24th.
The Yanks supplied southpaw Vidal Nuno with a 4-0, third-inning lead on June 4, 2014, with a rally featuring Jacoby Ellsbury‘s three-run jack, but the lefthander failed to hold on. Oakland tied it on a Yoenis Cespedis long ball, then won 7-4 going away with Josh Donaldson going yard.
In a June 4, 1958 battle with Chicago, Mickey Mantle‘s moon shot into the left center field bleachers off White Sox hurler Billy Pierce carried a measured 478 feet, but Chicago snapped out of a 32-inning scoreless streak in the third and went on to beat the Yanks 7-4.
With the Yanks playing their final season in the original Yankee Stadium, June 4, 2008, was a day where two of their players moved up the career lists of pinstriped accomplishments. In a 5-1 win over Toronto in Yankee Stadium, Mike Mussina first tied Jack Chesbro in 11th place among hurlers in Yankee starts; later he passed Bob Shawkey to take seventh place on the list of strike outs by Yankee pitchers. Also, Derek Jeter‘s third-inning rbi single off Jesse Litsch moved the captain and shortstop past Mickey Mantle into third place on the all-time Yankees hits list.
The June 4 draft including Jorge Posada mentioned above notwithstanding, it was not a good day in the beloved catcher’s career in 2008, as he was activated from the Disabled List in hopes that his shoulder would be OK, if not enough to catch, then at least to DH. Alas, it was not to be, and he would wisely make the choice to undergo shoulder surgery and try again in 2009. Righthander Dan Giese was optioned to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to clear the way for Posada’s abortive attempt to rescue his 2008 season.
Jason Grimsley got the win in relief of David Cone as the Yanks edged the crosstown rival Mets 4-3 in the Bronx on June 4, 1999, the first year the New York version of interleague play was extended to a six-game, home-and-home ordeal. Scott Brosius broke up the seventh-inning tie by knocking in left fielder Tony Tarasco on a pitch from Rick Reed for the win.
An opposite-field homer by Mickey Mantle into the right field bleachers was all the offense the Yanks could muster in a 3-1 loss to Baltimore ace Steve Barber on June 4, 1963.
As magical as the brief callups journeyman Yankees infielder Cody Ransom had in 2008, he had no such luck in 2009. He lost his roster spot in the Bronx on June 9, and was assigned to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
The Yankees found no magic when they reactivated righthander Matt DeSalvo from AAA Scranton on June 4, 2007, to make a start in Chicago. DeSalvo did not survive the second inning, allowing four hits, a walk, and three runs while retiring just four White Sox batters in a 6-4 Yankees loss.
The Yanks came up with an eight-run sixth inning on June 4, 2002, and went on to crush Baltimore, 13-5. Scott Erickson, who spent time in the bullpen in the Bronx in 2006, whiffed Rondell White on three pitches to start the frame, but Rondell would cap it with a homer off Calvin Maduro. Shane Spencer, Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, and Bernie Williams singled in the inning, and Jason Giambi and Robin Ventura would homer too.
The two bases Rickey Henderson swiped in a 7-6, 14-inning loss to the Orioles on June 4, 1988 gave him the club record, with 249 as a Yankee. At 5:46, it was the longest game in Memorial Stadium history.
On June 4, 2001, adoring Yankee fans witnessed some more Luis Sojo magic in the Bronx. Manny Ramirez‘s homer had just tied things in the top of the ninth. Sojo and David Justice had subbed for defense for Alfonso Soriano and Paul O’Neill in the eighth, with Luis hitting third and David ninth. Rod Beck walked Justice to start the bottom of the 10th, Chuck Knoblauch sacrificed him to second, Derek Jeter walked, and Luis singled just fair past first on a 3-2 pitch for the game winner.
Cleveland distributed 15,000 lucky rabbit’s feet for Beat Eddie Lopat Night in Municipal Stadium on this day in 1951, and despite the Yankees’ hurler’s 11 straight wins over the Tribe, the ploy worked. A three-run Bob Kennedy homer highlighted a five-run Indians first inning, and the home team went on to cash in an 8-2 win.
The three-run home run to right by Babe Ruth was almost a footnote to the Yanks’ 8-3 win over the A’s in the Polo Grounds on June 4, 1922, as Carl Mays was the star. He came up with three hits and beat Philly for the 21st straight time.
Yankee pitcher Red Ruffing managed to put a stop to the streak of eight consecutive safeties by slick-fielding, light-hitting St. Louis shortstop Oscar Melillo on this day in 1931, but the Browns battered Red and the New Yorkers for an 8-6 win.
Pitching for the Yankees, Joe Niekro no-hit the Angels for 7.7 innings on this day in 1986, when Gary Pettis doubled. Joe and Al Holland finished an 11-0 one-hitter, and Dave Winfield homered twice.
Two tough June 4 games in the post-Mickey Mantle/Whitey Ford years: Already ahead of the Yanks 3-2 in the eighth, the Twins loaded the bases and then pulled off their second triple steal of 1969, capping the scoring in a 4-2 win. And on the same day in 1972, Dick Allen connected for a walk-off three-run homer off Sparky Lyle in a 5-4 White Sox win.
The Yankees squeaked by the Braves 7-6 on June 4, 2000, but the bigger headline on the day was that Atlanta lefty reliever John Rocker confronted Sports Illustrated reporter John Pearlman regarding the bigoted quotes from Rocker that Pearlman had included in his offseason article.
The Yanks evened things against the Orioles at seven on Charlie Hayes‘s pinch grand slam, but Rafael Palmeiro drove in the winning run of a 9-7 Baltimore victory in Camden Yards on June 4, 1997.
For the second time in Yankee hurler Ray Caldwell‘s career, he fell victim to a Ty Cobb steal of home in a 3-0 Detroit victory on June 4, 1915. Caldwell was so incensed by the safe call that he threw his glove in the air, and he was immediately ejected from the game by umpire Silk O’Loughlin.
On June 4, 2016, the Yankees placed first baseman Mark Teixeira on the 15-day disabled list, with a right knee cartilage tear. Filling Mark’s spot, they selected the contract of first baseman Chris Parmelee from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. But to create troom on their 40-man roster so they could make that move, the club transferred outfielder Dustin Ackley, who had undergone right shoulder surgery, from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
On June 4, 2015, the Yankees signed free agent righthander Cory Jordan to a minor league contract.
Replacing one chronically ineffective veteran reliever with another, the Yankees activated lefty Wade LeBlanc; and designated righty Alfredo Aceves for assignment on June 4, 2014. The team also recalled righthanded reliever Jose Ramirez from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
The Yanks have had many disappointing amateur baseball draft days, not surprising for a team that often finishes with a winning record. But the June 4, 1980 failure was different. Bereft of choices the first two rounds, they selected 18-year-old college athlete Billy Cannon, Jr. in round three. But they lost the pick when other teams complained that Cannon’s father had misled them into believing his son would reject their overtures and play football. The Commissioner upheld the teams’ complaint that the father had deceived them just so he would still be available when the Yanks made their first choice.
Speaking of amateur draft day, eventual dominant Yankee closer and recent Hall of Fame inductee Rich “Goose” Gossage was taken by the White Sox in the ninth round of the 1970 draft on June 4.
Playing on the Seventh Army team, Joe DiMaggio blasted a 435-foot home run against Navy on June 4, 1944. But the midshipmen prevailed 6-2 on former major-league pitcher Bob Harris‘s four-hitter.
The Indians were forced to forfeit what was a 5-5 tie in the ninth to the Texas Rangers on Ten-Cent Beer Night in Cleveland on June 4, 1974, due to fan rioting.
Reliever Jim Konstanty, who had been released by the Yankees, was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals on June 4, 1956.
Sandy Koufax threw his third no-hitter in blanking the Phillies 3-0 on June 4, 1964.
Despite leading the Blue Jays 10-0 in the seventh inning on June 4, 1989, Boston fell to Toronto 12-11. Better than that, though, is the fact that future Yankee (briefly) Felix Jose delivered the two-run 11th-inning home run that clinched the Jays win.
And in one more June 4 item involving a future Yankee player (and coach), Lee Mazzili tied a minor-league record when he stole seven bases in one game for the Visalia Oaks of the California League on June 4, 1975.
Just a bit of comic relief for fellow Yankee fans who suffered through two Darrell May 2005 appearances (13 earned runs in seven innings) involves one of his outings while still pitching for San Diego before he arrived in New York. May was down 4-0 to the Cubs through five on June 4, 2005, where the Padres celebrated the “Dog Days of Summer” in Petco Park with a pregame Puppy Parade. But he received “May”-like relief when he was replaced by Brian Falkenbourg: seven batters, six hits, one walk, a seven-run frame. The 11-5 Cubs win finished my two-game, West Coast, NL tour.
Famed Little League Baseball creator Carl Stotz passed away at the age of 82 on June 4, 1992.
Defensive whiz at third base Clete Boyer (2007) leapt to the top of the list of Yankee players to have died on June 4 when he sadly passed on. Clete cleared 95 fences and drove in 393 runs playing for the Yanks from 1958-1966. Adding in his stats from a brief debut with the K.C. A’s beforehand and the five years in Atlanta after he was stupidly traded away, his numbers grow to 162 and 654. Although he never played for the team, it’s a no-brainer to slide Don Zimmer (2014), former bench coach and right-hand man for Joe Torre during a magical stretch in Yankee history, into the Yankee list. As an infielder, mostly for the Brooklyn, then LA Dodgers from 1954 through 1965, Don hit 91 home runs and drove in 352 runs. He was married on a minor league diamond to a wife of longer than 50 years, survived two serious beanings, and served as a coach and manager for several teams for most of five decades. Switch-hitting righthander George Davis (1961) debuted with the 1912 New York Highlanders, posting a 1-4 record with no saves in 10 games (seven starts). After pitching for the Braves from 1913-1915, his record became 7-10-0.
There are only two nonYankee June 4 deaths, one of them a new entry in 2012. First, there is righthander Tony Kaufmann (1982), who pitched to a 64-62-12 record with the Cubs and Cardinals from 1921-1935. But relief pitcher Pedro Borbon (2012), who did most of his pitching from 1969-1980 with Cincinnati, doubles the list. Pedro posted a 69-30 record with 80 saves.
Players Who Have Died This Day
We’ll begin a long list of June 4 Yankee birthdays with old-timers. Bobby Vaughn (1885) played five games in the 1909 Highlander (Yankee) infield; he had two hits in 14 at bats, scored a run, and stole a base. Another player born in the 19th Century, Lee Magee (1889) played 180 games in the 1916-17 Yankee outfield, in a career that spanned 1911-1919. He jumped to the New York Yankees from the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the newly defunct Federal League before the ’16 season, and was traded to the Browns for Armando Marsans a year later. He was then returned to the Yankees in April 1918 by the St. Louis Browns for Tim Hendryx. Magee smacked three home runs and drove in 53 rbi’s in New York.
More contemporary, but unknown to most of today’s fan are the names Billy Hunter (1928), who backed up at shortstop in 1955 and 1956; and Phil Linz (1939) of the notorious harmonica episode, who was primarily an infield backup during the 1962 through 1965 seasons in the Bronx. Linz contributed 10 taters and 67 rbi’s after being signed as an amateur free agent before the 1957 season, and was traded to the Phillies for Ruben Amaro in November 29, 1965 after the aforementioned musical incident on the Yankee team bus. Hunter reached the fences in New York three times and sent 31 runs across the plate, and he both arrived in the Bronx and departed from it in blockbuster deals. He came to the Yanks in November 1954 with Don Larsen and Bob Turley in the trade that sent Gene Woodling, Harry Byrd and others to Baltimore. He then accompanied Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Irv Noren, etc., to Kansas City in February 1957 in the big swap that netted Art Ditmar and Clete Boyer (see Yankee May 15 deaths, above), among others.
And finally Robert Perez (1969), who signed as a free agent with the Yankees in November 2000, played six games in the outfield for the 2001 team. He stroked four hits in 15 at bats and scored a run. And although recently deceased Metropolitan Opera baritone Robert Merrill (1917) was never a professional ballplayer, much less a Yankee, he regularly wore a no. 1-1/2 Pinstriped jersey to sing the National Anthem before the Old Timer’s Game; today would have been his birthday too.
We would have been tempted to give recent Yankee first base coach, now bench coach Tony Pena (1957) his own paragraph even before he joined the team based on this surprising answer to a 2004 YES trivia question: Who caught the second-most Roger Clemens starts behind leader Jorge Posada? The answer is Pena, of course. He hit 107 home runs with 708 rbi’s in an 18-year career that started in Pittsburgh, and also had stops in St. Louis, Boston (obviously), and Cleveland. Tony managed the KC Royals from 2002-2005.
Other birthdays: righthander Bob Klinger (1908), who posted a 66-61 record from 1938-1947, mostly with the Pirates; former manager John McNamara (1932); Art Mahaffey (1928); Terry Kennedy (1956); Kurt Stillwell (1965); Rick Wilkins (1967); Scott Servais (1967); Darin Erstad (1974); J.C. Romero (1976); Cia Meredith (1983); Aaron Nola (1993); Jorge Bonifacio (1993); and Freddy Peralta (1996).
Players Born This Day