The first week in June has included the date for many amateur draft nightmares over the years, and just a few successes. When early-round prospects don’t pan out, clubs hope to find gold among their later choices, and the Yankees did that in the 19th round on June 6, 1979. Don Mattingly was good enough to allow the team to forget some less successful picks.
Mike Mussina and Texas righty Ryan Drese hooked up in a beaut on a messy, wet Sunday afternoon in the Bronx on June 6, 2004, and Moose allowed only two fly balls and three hits through eight innings in a masterful performance. But Drese did well too, and when Jason Giambi doubled the 1-0 Yankee lead they had taken on a Bernie Williams fourth-inning jack with a homer of his own with two down in the bottom of the eighth, it looked like the home team wouldn’t need it. But catcher Rod Barajas chased Mussina with a lead-off ninth-inning triple to left, and Mariano Rivera closed the 2-1 Yankee win.
The beloved Melky Cabrera had a seesaw career in the Bronx, and did not play well after his trade to Atlanta to start the 2010 season (KC, another story?), but let’s take a look back at what was probably his biggest defensive moment in Pinstripes. Chien-Ming Wang pitched the Yanks to a 2-1 lead over Boston through seven on June 6, 2006. David Ortiz had homered for the lone Red Sox run in the third, and Manny Ramirez blasted Kyle Farnsworth‘s two-out, eighth-inning fastball toward the visiting bullpen with Cabrera and Johnny Damon in hot pursuit. It was Damon’s unbridled jump for joy that confirmed the great catch to one and all, as the Scoreboard celebrated the Yankee rookie’s transcendent moment thusly: The Melky Way!
His crushingly disappointing 2008 season notwithstanding, Darrell Rasner actually pitched well when he joined the rotation, as in the disappointing 2-1 loss he and the Yanks suffered against Kyle Davies and the Royals on June 6. The Yanks amassed 10 hits, and hit safely twice in an inning three times, but Robbie Cano‘s sixth-inning double produced the lone Yankee score. A Mark Teahen double-play grounder produced the second KC run.
New York Yankee Tom Tresh homered from both sides of the plate in a single game three times in his career, but the best of the lot occurred during a June 6, 1965 doubleheader sweep of the White Sox (6-1, 12-0, in Yankee Stadium) when he hit four home runs, three in the nightcap.
The Yankees got all their offense from the catching position in a 7-4 win over the Orioles on this day in 2001. Watching the action from a loge box adjacent to the A/V room where Cotton Eye Joe does his eighth-inning dance, we witnessed Todd Greene blast his only Yankee homer for three quick runs in the fifth. But Joe Torre didn’t hesitate to pinch-hit Jorge Posada for him with the sacks full in the eighth and the star Yankee catcher hit a grand slam to right field.
Mike Piazza doubled and homered off Roger Clemens in the first three innings in front of a full house and an ESPN Sunday night national audience on June 6, 1999, as the Mets salvaged a 7-2 win in the last of three in the Bronx. In so doing the Flushing bunch ended Clemens’s 20-game winning streak, and also stopped Derek Jeter‘s streak of successfully reaching base safely in 53 straight contests to start the season.
Over the 2008 season, the Yankees got more than expected from righthander Dan Giese, whom they recalled from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 6 of that year. The roster spot became available when the team placed reliever Chris Britton on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left ribcage.
The Yankees sent outfield prospect Marcus Thames, currently with the Tigers, to Texas and welcomed Ruben Sierra back on June 6, 2003.
One of the first 2006 Yankee attempts to restock their banged-up oufield came to a close on June 6 when the club released veteran Terrence Long. Second baseman Nick Green would take his place on the roster.
A Cecil Fielder home run and a Derek Jeter triple were the big blows in a June 6, 1997, 6-3 win over the Brewers. Lightly used Scott Pose, playing left field and leading off, reached base his first three times up.
Yankee lefthander Herb Pennock allowed the Red Sox 11 hits in a contest on June 6, 1933, but he shut out Boston anyway, 4-0.
Despite successfully turning a triple play in a June 6, 1931, game against the Indians in Yankee Stadium, the Yanks fell to Cleveland by a 7-5 score.
Player-manager Tris Speaker, with a career batting average of .350, startled the crowd on this day in 1926, as he sent good-hitting pitcher George Uhle up to pinch-hit for himself. Uhle flied out, and the Yanks prevailed, 6-5.
The New York Yankees played their 13,000th game on this day in 1987. They were edged by the Brewers, 7-6.
The Yankees beat the Indians, 6-5, on June 6, 1958, highlighted by two Mickey Mantle home runs, a singleton in the first and a three-run shot that tied the contest at 4-4 several innings later.
On June 6, 1934, when Yankee Myril Hoag tied the AL record with six singles in six at bats, he was subbing for Babe Ruth. The Yanks beat Lefty Grove and the Red Sox 15-3 in the first game, but fell 7-3 in the second.
Rabbit Maranville made his living with his legs, but the former Boston Brave had a bad day on June 6, 1913, as he was thrown out trying to steal home three times. On the same day, the Yankees’ winless streak extended to 13 (12 losses and a tie), as they fell to Cleveland 2-1.
Not only did Boston’s John Valentin hit for the cycle in a win vs. the White Sox on this day in 1996, the White Sox also executed a triple play. It was the first time in 65 years those two rarities (a cycle and a triple play) occurred in the same game.
Feeling short of lefthanded bats, the Yanks traded Joe Niekro for catcher Mark Salas on this day in 1987 due to an injury to Don Mattingly.
On June 6, 1993, the Tigers accomplished a group cycle during four consecutive at bats as Travis Fryman singled, Cecil Fielder homered, Kirk Gibson doubled, and Chad Kreuter followed with a triple.
Eddie Murray passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time rbi list by a switch hitter on June 6, 1992, when he added his 1,510th.
The Yankees replaced Manager Bucky Dent with Stump Merrill on this day in 1990, thus ushering in a depressing time in Yankee history sometimes referred to as “The Stump Years.”
In a few noteworthy June 6 items affecting one-time Yankee players, Cecil Fielder became the fourth AL player ever to hit three homers in a game twice in the same season when he went yard thrice in a Tigers 6-4 win over the Indians on June 6, 1990. Star Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison, who would finish his career in Pinstripes, homered three times on June 6 too, in a 10-9 Philly win over the Cubs on this day in 1965.
Bill Gatewood of the Detroit Stars threw the first no-hitter in Negro Baseball League history in a 4-0 shutout of the Cuban Stars on June 6, 1921.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Of the first two (of three) Yankee players to have died on June 6, outfielder Bert Daniels (1958) started his career with the Yanks, while first baseman Charlie Mullen (1963) ended his in New York. Daniels hit four home runs with 11 rbi’s playing in 455 games with the Highlanders from 1910-1913, and added one long ball and 19 rbi’s with Cincinnati in 1914. Mullen drove in 69 runs in New York from 1914-1916, which added to his total with the White Sox in 1910-1911 (he had no home runs for either team) brought his up to 87. Finally, C.B. Burns (1968), listed as having played no position in his one game with the 1902 Baltimore Orioles, went 0-for-1 in his only at bat. Because that team would play in New York as the Highlanders the following year, he is listed with the Yankees.
The two nonYankee players who passed this day we’ll mention both played shortstop, though Chippy McGarr (1904) played even more games at third base. McGarr recorded most of his nine home runs with 388 rbi’s from 1884-1896 with the [Cleveland] Bronchos, the Browns, and the A’s. Topper Rigney (1872) reached 13 fences good for 315 runs driven in for the Tigers and the Red Sox from 1922-1927.
Players Born This Day
Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey (1907) is the Yankee born this day deserving of the most attention, as Bill blasted more than 200 home runs and collected 1,000 rbi’s in his 19 years in Pinstripes. After his playing career, Dickey managed the Yankees to a third-place finish and a 57-48 mark in 1946.
Dave Bergman (1953) was drafted by the Yankees in the second round of the June 1974 amateur draft. He notched one rbi while playing 12 games in the Bronx in ’75 and ’77 before finishing his career with Houston, San Francisco, and Detroit. He was traded to Houston with Randy Niemann and Mike Fischlin for Cliff Johnson in June 1977, not an insignificant pickup in a Yankee Championship year.
The Bombers drafted Jim Deidel (1949) in 1967, and he would play but two games in the bigs, both with the 1974 Yanks. Deidel went hitless in two at bats. And first baseman Bill Mellor (1874) played for this franchise only too. He knocked in five runs with one stolen base in 10 games for the 1902 Baltimore Orioles the year before that team would be shifted to New York.
Other birthdays: Merv Rettenmund (1943); Bud Harrelson (1944); Max Venable (1957); Jeff Williams (1972); Brooks Kieschnick (1972); Tony Graffanino (1972); David Lamb (1975); Mark Ellis (1977); Jeremy Affeldt (1979); Matt Belisle (1980); Irving Falu (1983); Junichi Tazawa (1986); and Colin Balester (1986).