Despite all the concern about the early-season effects, the Yanks actually got off to a good start in their earliest ever Opener, vs. the Devil Rays in the Tokyo Dome on March 30, 2004. Hideki Matsui doubled with one out and Jason Giambi homered (to left center, no less!) for the 2-0 lead in the first. Mike Mussina scattered three singles through three, but the Rays plated back-to-back fourth-inning walks. Then leadoff, sixth-inning, extra-base hits from Jose Cruz, Tino Martinez, Julio Lugo, and Toby Hall sent Moose to the showers and the Yanks to an 8-3 loss.
Say what you will about “the Boomer,” David Wells, who pitched a bit at home in San Diego after having spent some times on the other side in the Yankees/Red Sox war, should be given credit that he was “wise” enough to be operating with a no-trade clause a few years ago when he had a contoversial book about his Yankee experiences published while he was signed to a contract. Twenty-plus years ago today, on March 30, 1984, beloved defensive wiz and clubhouse wit Graig Nettles was traded to San Diego for young starting pitcher Dennis Rasmussen. Graig’s controversial new book Balls wouldn’t hit book stores until April 30, but the contents (critical of The Boss) were well known around the league. Ironic that Wells toiled in the same city (could he have gotten further away?) to which Nettles was banished.
Sadly six games from 200 wins, Doc Gooden retired as a player from baseball on March 30, 2001. At 194-112 in his career, he would win 24 while losing only 14 for the Yankees, and he gave the club a huge lift by replacing David Cone (out with aneurysm surgery) during the ’96 Championship season. Gooden threw a no-hitter in the Bronx that marvelous year as well. Sad, too, is the report that had Doc likely headed to prison for another bout with substance abuse in 2006.
It was actually very exciting on March 30, 1991, when we attended the first-ever Spring Training game played in Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, though the Orioles beat the Yanks that day despite a rare opposite field home run from Kevin Maas. Few suspected that 16 years later, Miami would have its own team with two Championships under its belt on the one hand, and still be playing in the same built-for-football structure on the other, a problem they solved largely on the public dime in 2012 with Marlins Park.
As reported yesterday, few fans recall that the Yankees and Mets closed their 1996 Spring schedule by playing home-and-home exhibitions in New York for their last two preseason games. Having already won the first of these two, the Bombers fell to the Mets 5-3 to even the series on March 30, 1996.
This late March day is historically filled with player trades, including the deal that sent righty reliever Darren Holmes from the Yanks to Arizona for catcher Izzy Molina and pitcher Ben Ford in 1999. (And no, although a catcher, Izzy is not yet another brother to Bengie, Jose, and Yadier.) Although all three of Holmes’s decisions in his Pinstriped 1998 season were losses, he did manage two saves, and ate up 50-plus innings in the pen. Molina never played for the Yanks, but Ford, originally a Yankee draft pick before the D’backs grabbed him, went 0-1 in four games before being swapped for Glenallen Hill.
The Yanks sold pitcher Stan Williams to Cleveland on March 30, 1965. With a 10-14 record in two seasons with the Yanks, Williams would win 25 and save 29 for the Indians over the next five years. And 10 years to the day before that trade, the Yanks sent pitchers Ewell Blackwell and Tom Gorman and first baseman Dick Kryhoski to KC for cash as well. Blackwell would soon retire, and Kryhoski would be a backup, but Gorman contributed 26 wins and 33 saves to the A’s cause over five seasons.
On March 30, 2016, the Yankees optioned righthanders Branden Pinder and Nick Goody; and lefthander Tyler Olson, to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
The Yankees outrighted catcher Craig Tatum to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on March 30, 2012, and also signed free agent lefty Lee Hyde on the same day.
A slew of Yankee moves designed to set the roster for the regular season on March 30, 2011, starts out with a list of Disabled List entries. Placed on the 60-day list were left fielder Colin Curtis, retroactive to March 22, 2011, with a dislocated right shoulder; second baseman Reegie Corona, retroactive to March 22, 2011, with a fractured right elbow; and lefthander Damaso Marte, retroactive to March 22, 2011, with left shoulder labrum inflammation. And on the 15-day list the Yankees placed catcher Francisco Cervelli, with a fracture in his left foot, and lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano, retroactive to March 22, 2011, with a left rotator cuff strain. In addition the Yankees designated righthander Romulo Sanchez for assignment, and optioned outfielder Chris Dickerson to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Finally, the club called up starting pitchers Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia; reliever Luis Ayala; and catcher Gustavo Molina from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. And in news regarding a Yankee from years ago, Milwaukee activated Erick Almonte from the Nashville Sounds the same day.
Catcher Jeffrey Farnham, right-handed pitchers Ryan Flannery and Cory Arbiso, and ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte were assigned to the Yankees on March 30, 2010.
The Yankees placed lefthander Sean Henn on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21, with left shoulder tendinitis on March 30, 2008.
It was startling to see Chris Basak playing with the in a 2008 contest in Legends Field; he played a big roll in 2007 Yankees Spring Training, and a tiny one during the regular season that followed. The Yankees sent infielders Andy Phillips and Basak to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and released catcher Todd Pratt on March 30, 2007; the latter resulted in the backup catcher position going to Wil Nieves, where he unfortunately did not excel. Righthanded pitchers Colter Bean and Chris Britton were also sent to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Two years before Jay Witasik‘s unfortunate visit to the Bronx he was traded from Oakland to Kansas City, on this day in 1999. And on that same day, current Yankee third sacker Alex Rodriguez sustained an injury to his knee. April 8 surgery would sideline the at-the-time Mariners shortstop for six weeks.
In other March 30 news affecting future or former Yanks, Rickey Henderson would join Ted Williams as the only two players to have stolen bases in four separate decades when he swiped a sack in the Cubs/Mets opener in Japan in 2000. (Another former Yankee outfielder, Tim Raines, would subsequently join that club.) Also future Yankee middle infielder Jose Vizcaino was traded to the Mets by the Cubs for pitcher Anthony Young on March 30, 1994; and former Yankee prospect Ken Patterson accompanied Sammy Sosa as the two were sent across town from the White Sox to the Cubs for George Bell on March 30, 1992.
Hall of Fame Manager and GM Branch Rickey played 52 games for the Yanks in 1907 to end his playing career, and Sal “The Barber” Maglie threw in just 13 tilts before finishing his career in 10 games for St. Louis in 1958. They’re joined in this thought by Vida Blue, who played for the Bombers not at all once sold there because the baseball commissioner nixed his sale to New York. All three round out the category as guys with some Pinstriped history featured in March 30 news. Mr. Rickey suggested a major-league pool of players not drafted into the armed forces this day in 1944, and Maglie hit the news two years earlier by signing with the Pasquels of the Mexican League when that entity tried to raid big-league clubs for players. And Blue was traded from the Giants to the Royals on March 30, 1982.
Until recently, no Yankee players had died on March 30, until we lost “Bullet” Bob Turley (2013), a righthander who posted 82 wins and 52 losses of his overall 101-85 record with the Yanks from 1955-1962. The 1958 AL Cy Young Award winner, Turley went 21-7 that year, then went on to win, save, and win the last three games of that World Series, as the Yanks came from behind against the Braves, who had beaten them the year before.
Two position players and three righthanded pitchers comprise the March 30 list of noteworthy nonYankee players to have passed away. Third baseman/shortstop Billy Cox (1978) played between 1941 and 1955, more often than not with the Pirates or the Dodgers; he hit 66 home runs and knocked in 351 runs. Lefty-hitting outfielder Davy Jones (1972) reached nine fences good for 289 rbi’s playing for the Cubs and the Tigers from 1901 through 1915. George McQuillan (1940) pitched mostly for the Phillies to an 85-89 record with 14 saves from 1907-1915; and Deacon Philippe (1952) not only went 189-109-12 from 1899-1911 for the Pirates, he also starred (on the losing side) in the first World Series. Bill Bernhard (1949) pitched on both Philadelphia teams and also the Blues from 1899-1907 to a 116-82-3 mark.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Righthander Dick Woodson (1945) is the only Yankee March 30 birthday. They acquired him in 1974 from the Twins for Mike Pazik. Dick ended his big-league career in the Bronx in eight games (three starts) in 1974 after pitching in Minnesota for six years. He was 1-2 with the Yankees.
March 30 birthdays: Lefthanded player George Van Haltren (1866), who posted a 40-31 mark as a pitcher, but also slugged 69 homers with 1,014 rbi’s as an outfielder from 1887-1903, mostly with the Giants; Ripper Collins (1904); Dick Fowler (1921); formerly the Boston manager who skippered the Dodgers (until Joe Torre took his place) Grady Little (1950); Wilson Heredia (1972); Jason Dickson (1973); Jeriome Robertson (1977); Josh Bard (1978); Jose Arredondo (1984); Dan Runzler (1985); Barry Enright (1986); Shairon Martis (1987); Mike Broadway (1987); Chris Sale (1989); Jake Marisnick (1991); and Alex Bregman (1994).
Players Born This Day