When Babe Ruth signed a three-year deal on March 6, 1922, he more than tripled the yearly salary of teammate Frank “Home Run” Baker, the second-highest on the team. But it was only fair. He had outhomered him in 1921 by better than 7-to-1; The Babe hit 59 to Baker’s eight.
The Yankees actually outscored the Phillies 5-0 in eight of the nine innings of a game in Brighthouse Field in Clearwater on March 6, 2016, but fell 6-5 because righthander Chad Green had a miserable sixth inning, sadly helped along by a brief appearance by Branden Pinder. Green allowed two walks, three singles, and two sac flies before getting last-out “help” from Pinder, whose fourth pitch was blasted over the wall in right center by Phillie DH Andrew Knapp. Among the good news on the day was the bat of Yankee catcher Austin Romine, who, though he did not enter the game until the sixth inning, doubled twice to drive in three runs, and scored once as well.
Chris Capuano got the start in a spring matchup with the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field on March 6, 2015, and the two-run homer he surrendered to backup catcher Tony Sanchez (DH’ing that day) in the second proved to be the difference in a 3-1 Yankee loss. But Capuano did get four strike outs in two frames. We got our first look at David Carpenter, Chris Martin, Jacob Lindgren, and Chasen Shreve pitching for the Yanks that day, and outfield prospect Jake Cave got the Yankee rbi in the eighth inning.
A visit to Osceoloa County Stadium on March 6, 2011, resulted in the Yanks’ second consecutive 10-8 ballgame, but this one they won on the strength of five two-run frames. Alex Rodriguez and Greg Golson hit home runs, and young David Phelps preserved the win by recording back-to-back strike outs with the tying runs on base.
While righthander Amaury Sanit enjoyed the Yanks’ one bright spot in a 9-1 loss to Toronto on March 6, 2010, by coming on and snuffing out an end to a rally for the second time in three days, Jonathan Albaladejo‘s spring training continued to spin out of control, as he allowed seven hits and a walk and recorded one out in a five-run Jays fifth inning. Tall prospect Andrew Brackman pitched the seventh inning, but allowed a two-run home run to utility player J.P. Arencibia.
Yankee pitcher Pascual Perez was suspended for one year on this day in 1992 for violating baseball’s drug policy.
Fans were treated to what would have been a midseason classic matchup when the Tigers came to play the Yanks in Tampa on March 6, 2009, as Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia got the respective starts. Detroit scored first once Placido Polanco scored after a bloop double in front of Shelley Duncan in right, but Cody Ransom tallied on a passed ball, and Ramiro Pena, Brett Gardner, Johnny Damon, and Nick Swisher keyed a three-run rally in the third that led to the 7-3 Yankee victory.
Becoming too invested in the final score of Spring Training games can drive a fan to distraction. When the Tigers batted around and scored four in the first inning against Sterling Hitchcock on March 6, 2002, the Yanks fell meekly. But when the Yanks bashed the Blue Jays 13-5 in Legends Field on March 6, 2004, fans went wild as Yankee catcher Jorge Posada collected three extra base hits and six rbi’s in the second, third, and fourth innings.
On the other hand, recent experience of early March Spring Training games indicates that the wise fan should not overlook early opponents. Kenny Rogers, who played a pivotal role in the Tigers’ three-games-to-one 2006 ALDS victory over the Yanks, beat them in the preseason’s first week that year. And on March 6, 2007, the Bombers faced a young hurler, one whose success in the coming season would peak in his ALDS win over New York. But when Fausto Carmona and the Indians bested the Yanks 6-5 in the heat of Winter Haven, Florida, no flying vermin did the Tribe’s best work for them, as would be the case seven months later.
On March 6, 2015, outfielders Michael O’Neill and Taylor Dugas; third basemen Dante Bichette Jr. and Eric Jagielo; righthanders Jaron Long, Mark Montgomery, and Caleb Cotham; lefthander Matt Tracy; and catcher Alvaro Noriega were assigned to the Yankees.
On March 6, 1906, the Cubs traded for third baseman Harry Steinfeldt. If you are ever asked the question, “Who was the fourth infielder who played with the famed double play combination of ‘Tinkers to Evers to Chance?’,” Steinfeldt is the answer.
Two groups of players had the honor of Hall of Fame membership bestowed upon them on March 6: Enos “Country” Slaughter, who spent parts of six seasons with the Yanks in the latter part of his career, joined Arky Vaughn on the dais in 1985. And Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski, whose 10th-inning homer defeated the Yankees in the seventh game of the 1960 Series, was honored, along with with Negro League pitcher Hilton Smith in 2001.
Minnesota Twins player Larry Hisle became the first designated hitter in major league history in an exhibition game vs. the Pirates on March 6, 1973. But both that story and this March day have a Yankee twist too. Originally referred to as the DPH (designated pinch hitter), the big leagues experimented with it during Spring Training on March 6 and March 7, 1969. In the first game on the sixth of the month, both DPH’s went 0-for-4. But when the Yanks took on the Senators in the next contest under the new rule, New York’s John Orsino (who would not go north with the club) got the first hit as a DPH.
The Yankees beat the Mets 6-4 in an exhibition game on March 6, 1989, their first game against one another since 1985.
Former and future Yankees in the news March 6 include Tim “Rock” Raines playing in an exhibition game with his son, Tim Raines, Jr., for Baltimore on this day in 2001; Dodgers Manager Leo Durocher being tossed from an exhibition game vs. the Cuban All Stars in Havana on March 6, 1942; and Brooklyn’s Larry MacPhail purchasing Philly’s slugging first baseman Dolph Camilli on the same day back in 1938. Durocher broke into the game as a shortstop with the Yanks, and MacPhail would serve as Yankee president in 1946-1947.
Free agent Andre Dawson offered to sign with the Cubs for a figure of their choosing in 1987 because he was so eager to get his fragile knees away from the Montreal artificial turf. Once he agreed on a $650,000, one-year price on March 6, he followed it with a 49-home run season, and won the NL MVP Award. And now, 24 years later he’s in the Hall of Fame, once again primarily due to that move.
In another Spring Training experiment, the A’s and Brewers played a game where three balls merited a walk on March 6, 1971. The 13 free passes and 13-9 score essentially ended the experiment.
Of seven significant player deaths on March 6, three played parts of their careers in New York. Switch-hitting third baseman Jimmy Austin (1965) hit one home run with 39 rbi’s in 136 games while debuting with the Highlanders in 1909-1910. He spent much of his 18 years that extended his play until 1929 with the St. Louis Browns, finishing with 13 long balls and 390 rbi’s. Another switch hitter, catcher Wally Schang (1965) hit 16 home runs good for 213 runs driven in with the 1921-1925 Yankees. After spending most of his 1913-1931 career with the Philly Athletics and the St. Louis Browns, his numbers climbed to 59 and 710. And Hall of Fame shortstop and third baseman Joe Sewell (1990) did most of his 49-homers, 1,055-rbi damage with Cleveland from 1920-1930, but he did hit the last 19 long balls and 136 rbi’s with the Yanks from 1931-1933.
The noteworthy non-Yanks: Third sacker Rube Lutzke (1938), who hit all four of his home runs with 223 rbi’s from 1923-1927 with Cleveland; third baseman Jimmy Collins (1943), who cleared 65 fences good for 983 runs with the Boston Beaneaters and the Boston Americans from 1895-1908; and lefthanded outfielder Danny Gardella (2005), who hit just 24 bombs with 85 rbi’s for the Giants and Cardinals in three seasons between 1944 and 1950, but made the headlines as one who attempted to jump to other leagues. Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett‘s (2006) unhappy 11-year post-career life came to an end after a happy 1994-2005 stint with the Twins that produced 210 home runs with 1,085 rbi’s.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Yankee 1996 draft pick and outfielder Marcus Thames, who hit a home run off Randy Johnson in his first major league at bat, was born on March 6, 1977. Marcus played for Texas in 2003 once the Yanks traded him there for Ruben Sierra in June, and he has played with the Detroit Tigers since. Thames went 2-for-13 in seven games with the Yankees in 2002, with two rbi’s. Thames reached Johnson again for a ninth-inning grand slam in a Yankee win in 2006, and he went 5-for-15 with two doubles against the Yanks in the ALDS Tigers win that year. But there was a new chapter in the Thames-in-the-Bronx story, as he made the team as a DH and extra outfielder as a free agent signing in 2010. He had 12 home runs with 33 rbi’s, and took a career 113 long balls with 294 rbi’s to LA when he signed a 2011 free agent deal with the Dodgers.
The March 6 Yankee birthday list had an addition in 2008 when catcher Francisco Cervelli (1986) had no hits in five at bats during three games. The race to replace long-time star Jorge Posada in the coming years is wide open, but Cervelli came a long way when pressed into 41 games in 2009 when both Jorge and Jose Molina were injured. He showed a good arm, that he was a decent backstop, he ran well, and homered once with 11 rbi’s and 13 runs scored. He soared early in 2010, racking up impressive numbers of rbi’s, but as the season progressed his offense, and then his defense, suffered. His 38 rbi’s as a backup were impressive however. Concussions ruined much of 2011 season, when he hit four homers with 22 rbi’s in 43 games, and he spent much of the 2012 season in AAA. Injuries returned in 2013, and then suspension for PED use. Missed some of 2014 hurt too, then was traded to the the Pirates, for whom he had a very solid 2015 season, for southpaw Justin Wilson that November. Cervelli has played well in ’16 and ’17 too, but has missed significant time due to injury.
One-armed outfielder Pete Gray, who played during World War II, was born March 6, 1915. Hall of Famers Lefty Grove and Willie Stargell were born on April 6, Lefty in 1900, “Pops” 40 years later. Other birthdays: Ted Abernathy (1933); Cookie Rojas (1939); Anthony Telford (1966); Scott Stahoviak (1970); Roger Selkeld (1971);Terry Adams (1973); Gabe Alvarez (1974); Clint Barmes (1979); Eric Bedard (1979); Cristhian Martinez (1982); Jake Arrieta (1986); Ross Detwiler (1986); Leonys Martin (1988); and Eduardo Paredes (1995).
Players Born This Day