There were 60,096 fans in the crowd on June 8, 1969, when the Yankees held Mickey Mantle Day. The Mick’s No. 7 was retired and he and Joe DiMaggio exchanged plaques to be hung on the wall, with Joe Di’s coming as a surprise. The team put a fine cap on the day by sweeping the White Sox in two, 3-1 and 11-2.
Nine years earlier in 1960, Mickey Mantle homered twice behind the three-hit pitching of Bob Turley in a 6-0 win over the Chisox. When Roger Maris went yard in the eighth right after Mickey’s second bomb, it marked the first time the M&M Boys homered back to back.
The lone good news coming out of an 11-6 loss to Boston in Yankee Stadium on June 8, 2011, was that Derek Jeter picked on Tim Wakefield, his favorite Red Sox target (31 career hits) for an rbi double in the home fifth, the 2,989th hit of his career. AJ Burnett was battered for eight runs, seven of them earned, pitching into the sixth, David Ortiz stroked a two-run home run early, and Carl Crawford hit a singleton shot in a tack-on three-run ninth.
The “best” (most poignant, anyway) moments of the June 8, 2007 game vs. Pittsburgh in the Bronx came early and late. First, the untimely death of ex-Yank third baseman Clete Boyer was honored, as he had succumbed several days before when the team was on the road. The game that followed featured lefties Tom Gorzelanny and Andy Pettitte, and the Yanks twice came from behind, one of them on a Hideki Matsui two-run, sixth-inning home run. Mariano Rivera replaced Pettitte after eight in a 4-4 tie, and he got the win when long-time teammate Derek Jeter delivered Robbie Cano with an rbi single in the bottom of the 10th.
Chapter Two of the transfer of Joba Chamberlain from reliever to starter took place in a contest pitting the hard thrower against Zach Greinke and the Royals in Yankee Stadium on June 8, 2008. A Jose Guillen home run had Joba down 3-2 when he left in the fifth, but Bobby Abreu‘s third rbi in the bottom half tied the game. Dan Geise was the beneficiary of a Jason Giambi homer and an Alex Rodriguez two-run double that accounted for the 6-3 final, a Yankee win.
It was down time yet again in the up-and-down Yankee 2005 season, as a 3-9 road trip, begun with a sweep at the hands of the lowly Royals, sapped much of the good the team had accrued by winning 10 straight 10 days before. But the Yanks had one of the few highlights on the ugly trip as Alex Rodriguez stroked career home run numbers 399 and 400 in a 12-3 Yankee win in Milwaukee on June 8, 2005. Mike Mussina prevailed over Chris Capuano.
How things change in baseball. Kevin Brown was feted as the Modell’s Pitcher of the Month of May before a June 8, 2004 game with the Colorado Rockies in Yankee Stadium that marked the beginning of the interleague portion of the season. But it was Javier Vazquez who beat the Rockies 2-1 that day. Jason Giambi drove in both runs with a two-run fourth inning single, plating the number one and two Yankee batters in the order, who that night were a surprising pair, Bernie Williams and Hideki Matsui.
Mike Torrez beat the Brewers 9-2 on June 8, 1977, moving the Yankees into first place.
On that same 1977 day, Nolan Ryan notched his fourth career 19-strike-out game. It came in the midst of a record seven straight games with 10 or more strike outs.
Present among the celebrity-dotted crowd that watched the Yankees host the Red Sox on June 8, 2006 was veteran CBS newsman Mike Wallace, but it was a bad night for the home team. All four hits Curt Schilling surrendered went for extra bases (Johnny Damon, Bernie Williams, and Robinson Cano home runs and a Damon double) but Boston battered Jaret Wright and Scott Proctor for eight runs in the sixth and seventh, and the Yanks fell 9-3.
Mickey Mantle is so often revered for his offensive play, and did tie an eventual 4-2 win on this day in 1951 with a single, but his biggest contribution was throwing out the White Sox’s Nellie Fox at the plate as he tried to score on a Minnie Minoso fly to right.
A year earlier, on June 8, 1950, although the Yanks battered the Tigers, 11-4, Phil Rizzuto‘s record string of 238 errorless chances came to an end.
The third of Tony Lazzeri‘s three homers on June 8, 1927, tied the White Sox, 11-11, as the Yanks rallied for five in the ninth. Tony was walked after Cedric Durst‘s triple in the 11th, and Ray Morehart delivered the game winner, in a 12-11 Pinstripers win.
The Phillies slapped the Yankees around in a nine-run seventh inning on June 8, 1999, and defeated the Bombers, 11-5.
David Cone held the Brewers to one run on six hits through seven on June 8, 1997, and the Yanks cashed in Paul O’Neill‘s two-run homer and Tino Martinez‘s singleton blast for a 3-1 win in Yankee Stadium.
Sounding like a story right out of the movies, Babe Ruth was arrested for speeding, fined, and held until 4:00 pm on June 8, 1921. Dressing at the station in a uniform brought to him, he followed a police escort to the Stadium, entered the game with the Yanks losing, 3-2, and the home team rallied for a 4-3 win.
It was their 10th straight win when the White Sox beat the Yanks 5-4 on this day in 1937, and by doing so they slipped past New York into first place.
We have spoken often about the 1901-1902 Baltimore Orioles, whose two seasons actually represent the first two in Yankee history, as this team would fold its tent and relocate to New York in 1903. With a winning battery of Tom Hughes and Wilbert Robinson, this club bested Cleveland 6-2 in Dayton, Ohio, on June 8, 1902.
It was the longest nine-inning game in American League history at the time, and few fans of either team will be surprised to hear that it pitted the Orioles and the Yankees. Baltimore doubled up the Yankees 18-9 in 4:16 on this day in 1986. Lee Lacy starred with four hits in six at bats, three home runs, and six rbi’s. The game featured nine pitchers, 16 walks and 36 hits.
It looked like a laugher as the Yanks used Bernie Williams and Scott Brosius jacks to build a 7-0 lead over Tom Glavine and the Braves bullpen on June 8, 2001, but the Braves tightened it up with two runs each in the eighth and the ninth. Andy Pettitte went seven in the 7-4 Yankee win.
A’s pitcher Bobby Coombs allowed a home run to his first major league batter, but Philadelphia came back strong on Jimmie Foxx homers in his first three at bats on June 8, 1933, and the Athletics prevailed over the Yanks, 14-10.
Lou Gehrig went 3-for-3 with four rbi’s in a Yankee 13-6 win over Boston in the first of two on June 8, 1935, but he left the game after colliding with Carl Reynolds on a play at first. He played in the nightcap to preserve the streak, but Lefty Gomez walked eight and wild-pitched home two in a 4-2 Red Sox win.
The strange early baseball practice of the “courtesy runner” came into play in a 7-2 Highlanders loss to the White Sox in Hilltop Park on this day in 1911. Yankee pitcher Russ Ford hit shortstop Roy Corhan in the head with a pitch. Ping Bodie, already in the lineup, ran for Corhan. He could have played defense the next inning by the way the rule was applied, but the Sox substituted a player for him.
The Kansas City Athletics stroked three consecutive triples in a five-run third inning on this day in 1961, as KC bested the Yanks 9-6 after falling to the Bombers 6-1 in the first game. Moose Skowron‘s homer in the opener extended the Yanks’ total to 32 in 17 straight games, but former Yankee draft pick Jim Archer put an end to that streak in the second contest.
In an injury-stoked series of moves on June 8, 2011, the Yankees placed righthander Joba Chamberlain on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his right elbow retroactive to June 6, 2011; transferred third baseman Eric Chavez from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list; optioned righty Hector Noesi to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; claimed righthander (and former Yankee) Jeff Marquez off waivers from the Chicago White Sox; and recalled righty Amauri Sanit from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
You have to give the Yankee front office credit for trying. On June 8, 1981, they used their first-round pick to draft Stanford quarterback John Elway. Obviously, he opted for the other sport.
Don Drysdale threw four scoreless innings on this day in 1968 before finally allowing a run, ending his record streak (to be broken 20 years later by Dodger Orel Hershiser) at 58.7 straight scoreless innings.
The Braves set the record for most homers in an extra-inning game on June 8, 1965, as Joe Torre, Eddie Matthews, Hank Aaron, and Gene Oliver all went yard in the 10th inning of an 8-2 win at Chicago. Coincidentally the June-8-loving Braves also made home run news that day four years earlier. Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, and Frank Thomas hit four consecutive taters in the seventh inning of a 10-8 loss to the Reds on June 8, 1961.
The Yanks had three first-round picks in the 1978 amateur draft that took place this day, but only Rex Hudler (chosen along with Matt Winters and Brian Ryder) made any significant major league contribution.
Former Yankee third baseman Mike Pagliarulo made the record books when playing with Texas on June 8, 1995, as one of four Rangers to stroke hits (all singles) as pinch hitters in the seventh inning of a 10-9 win over the Royals.
Steve Howe, who perished in a car accident in early 2006, received his seventh suspension from major league baseball on June 8, 1992.
In one more June 8 highlight involving a one-time Yankee player, Ken Holtzman lost a no-hitter when Detroit’s Tom Veryzer doubled with two down in the ninth inning of a 4-0 A’s win over the Tigers on this day in 1975.
The Red Sox demolished the Browns on June 8, 1950, in the most lopsided major league game ever, 29-4.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Righthander Ownie Carroll (1975), who lost one while not winning or saving any of 10 games (one start) for the 1930 Yankees, is one of two Pinstriped players who have died June 8. In a career that spanned 1925-1934, Carroll posted a 64-90-5 record, mostly with the Tigers, the Reds, and the Dodgers. Outfielder Ken Hunt (1997) debuted in New York in 1959-1960, hitting 10-for-34 good for two rbi’s (no home runs) in 31 games. After spending the next four years with the Angels and the Senators, he finished up with 33 long balls and 111 rbi’s.
It almost qualifies as an injustice to post numbers for Hall of Famer Satchel Paige (1982), one of four noteworthy nonYankee players to have passed this day, because the 28-31 record with 32 saves in the major leagues would be so dwarfed by the accomplishments of the superb Paige in the Negro Leagues. He was well into his forties before pitching for the Indians in 1948-1949, and the Browns in 1950-1952. He was almost 60 in his last game, a three-inning appearance for the 1965 Kansas City A’s. Other players who have died this day: Lefty-hitting catcher Earl Smith (1963), who homered 46 times with 355 rbi’s for the Giants, the Pirates, the Cardinals, and the Braves from 1919-1930; lefthanded outfielder Bibb Falk (1989), who cleared 69 fences with 784 rbi’s for the White Sox and the Indians from 1920-1931; and lefty-hitting outfielder Mack Jones (2004), who rocked 133 home runs good for 415 runs driven in mostly for the Braves and the Expos from 1961-1971.
Players Born This Day
June 8 is a fine birthday day for ballplayers, but although there were four Yankee players on the list pre-2010, they played but 72 games for the club among them. Infielder Lenn Sakata (1954), who finished his 11-year career by playing 19 games for the Yanks in 1987, signed as a free agent with them in December 1986. He hit two homers and knocked in four runs in Pinstripes in 45 at bats. In his 10 years in the bigs (six with the Orioles), Sakata hit 25 home runs with 109 rbi’s.
Lefty-hitting third sacker Del Paddock (1887) was purchased from the White Sox in 1912 after having played one game in Chicago. He hit one tater, drove in 14 runs, and stole nine bases while finishing his time in the bigs in 46 games that year for the Yanks. Southpaw Tex Neuer (1877) went 4-2 in seven games (six starts) for the 1907 Highlanders, his only major-league service.
Britt Burns (1959) was acquired to be a 1986 Yankee starter, but his degenerative hip condition ended any chance of that. The Yanks got him with minor-leaguers Glen Braxton and Mike Soper for Ron Hassey and Joe Cowley in December 1985. Burns went 70-60 with the Sox from 1978-1985.
Finally, righthander Pete Magrini (1942) appeared in three games for the 1966 Red Sox to an 0-1 record. The Yanks received Magrini along with Ron Klimkowski for Elston Howard in August 1967, but Pete did not play in New York.
Other birthdays: Colorfully named character Van Lingle Mungo (1911), who won 120 and lost 115, mostly for Brooklyn; three-foot seven-inch tall Eddie Gaedel (1925), who walked in his only major-league at bat; Phillies outfielder Del Ennis (1925), with 288 dingers and 1,284 rbi’s from 1946-1959; Mark Belanger (1944), a gold-glove shortstop with the O’s from 1965-1981; Don Robinson (1957); Carmen Castillo (1958); Kevin Gross (1961); Kevin Ritz (1965); Dave Mlicki (1968); Matt Whisenant (1971); Matt Perisho (1975); Kenjo Johjima (1976); and Pete Orr (1979).