The Yankees displayed some great pitching in George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on March 7, 2016, but the bats were lacking in a 1-0 loss to the Astros. Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, and Andrew Miller pitched six scoreless among them, but despite recording his signature two strike outs, Dellin Betances gave up the lone tally on back-to-back doubles in the seventh. Pinch hitter Chris Parmalee got the crowd amped with a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth, but died on base when Cesar Puello grounded into a game-ending double play.
In front of 4,444 fans in Kissimmee, Florida, on March 7, 2015, Mark Teixeira actually got a second-inning single off southpaw Dallas Keuchel, but by then the visiting Yanks were already behind the Astros 3-0 on five straight hits leading off the bottom of the first off veteran free agent Scott Baker, with the team in a long-shot bid to make the Yankee rotation. But a Jake Cave home run and Jose Pirela triple in the eighth got the game close, and the visitors blew the doors off with a six-run ninth, climaxed with a three-run Greg Bird bomb to right field, in a 9-4 win.
The Yanks pounded Roy Oswalt for five runs in 2.3 frames on March 7, 2011, in a 7-1 win over the Phillies in George M. Steinbrenner Field. A.J. Burnett turned in three hitless innings with one strike out. Eduardo Nunez hit a three-run homer, Curtis Granderson a two-run shot, and Jorge Posada doubled, all off Oswalt. Then that evening in Sarasota, a split squad of Yankees managed just three singles and a double in a nine-inning 0-0 contest with the Orioles.
On February 7, 2014, the Yankees signed free agent righty Andrew Bailey to a minor league contract. The former Oakland standout and Red Sox reliever was expected to recover from surgery in the coming year. There was thought to retaining him through that, but he was released, then would be re-signed one year later. A healthy Bailey could be a big addition to a bullpen.
The Yankees signed Orlando “el duque” Hernandez on March 7, 1998. He was a starter before the season was out, and won the biggest game of that season’s postseason in Jacobs Field in Cleveland. After an injury-plagued season in Montreal in 2003, he eventually re-signed with New York in the spring in 2004. Not much was expected, but he came through for a decimated staff, saving the season before tiring entering the playoffs. Alas, he signed with the White Sox for 2005, where he had a middling year, with one electric outing vs. the Red Sox in the playoffs. A proven winner, The Duke signed with the D’backs in 2006, but following a trade he was briefly a mainstay in the Mets’ rotation on the other side of New York next.
A couple of Jim Abbott facts, in honor of the one-handed lefthander who threw a no-hitter for the Yankees. On March 7, 1988, Jim was awarded the James E. Sullivan Award in amateur baseball. And while we’re at it, Jim was one of only three pitchers in the eighties to win their first game at the major league level. One of the other two was 2004-2005 Yankee with the hard sinker and no love for the game, apparently, Kevin Brown.
We’re delighted to report highlights (and lowlights) of Spring games in this history as we’re as hungry for real play as anyone else. But not only is the final score of these games not to be trusted; sometimes even the veteran performances aren’t either. Witness the three solid innings from Yankee starter Chieng-Ming Wang in a 3-1 loss to Atlanta in Tampa on March 7, 2009. The Yankee offense continued to struggle aside from a tally on Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, and Justin Leone fourth-inning singles, but Wang’s performances would deteriorate going forward. As it was, he allowed just a Casey Kotchman home run this day.
Little did we expect when we lined up a two-city doubleheader of Spring Training games on March 7, 2001, that the “Yankee” highlights would come in the game pitting the Devil Rays and Rangers. After watching Tampa eke out a 2-1 win on rbi’s by eventual Yankees John Flaherty and Russ Johnson, the Bombers put up no fight at all in a 6-0 loss to Bartolo Colon and the Indians that evening.
The March 7 night game with the Yanks hosting the Reds in 2007 was highlighted (to this fan) by the sight of Derek Jeter warmly chatting up ex-Yank Bubba Crosby in short center field before the game. To others it may have been the tossing of the ceremonial first pitch by new Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, lately seen restoring the ownership of this country to corporate America. The game that followed featured either good pitching or bad hitting as it took a one-out, ninth-inning, run-scoring single by Bronson Sardinha to prevent a 1-0 loss. The teams called it quits as a 10-inning 1-1 tie.
In further March 7 Spring Training action, the Yanks fell to the Devil Rays 8-5 in 2002 due to a bad five-run seventh allowed by Mark Thurmond, but beat the Twins 6-5 in 1999 by virtue of a ninth-inning two-run walk-off home run by Jorge Posada.
On March 7, 2015, righthander Zach Nuding was assigned to the Yankees.
Lots of minor paperwork on March 7, 2011, as first baseman Luke Murton; left-fielder Raymond Kruml; outfielders Jack Rye, Neil Medchill, Taylor Grote, and Damon Sublett; shortstops Jose Pirela and Rey Navarro; second basemen Justin Snyder and Corban Joseph; and catchers Mitch Abeita and JR Murphy were assigned to the Yankees.
The only March 7 news affecting future or former Yankee players occurred when Dodgers Manager Leo Durocher (who broke in with the Yanks as a shortstop) reassigned pitcher Van Lingle Mungo to minor league camp once Lingo over-celebrated a 15-0 exhibition win over Cleveland in Havana in 1941.
Two sets of entrants have received Hall of Fame election on March 7. In 1979, the Special Veterans Committee honored Warren Giles and slugger Hack Wilson. The same committee elected former major leaguers Richie Ashburn and Vic Willis, former NL President William Hulbert, and Negro Leagues star Leon Day on the same day in 1995. Mr. Day would succumb to a heart attack six days after he learned of this honor.
In the mid-19th Century, baseball games were played to nine runs; the rule establishing nine innings was passed on March 7, 1857.
And in another early baseball pivotal ruling, the addition of the pitching rubber at a distance of 60 feet six inches from home plate happened on March 7, 1893.
March 7, 1990, was a dark day in baseball history, although we wouldn’t learn that until later. Wayne Huizenga, who would sell his team piece by piece once they won the 1997 World Series, bought his way into part ownership of Joe Robbie Stadium (eventually Pro Player Park) on that day. Despite his shameful sell-off of the Marlins, Huizenga made lots of money off the 2003 World Series too. The dysfunctional history of baseball in that city and in that stadium continues, as the team has sold off its nucleus yet again.
Most of the players of interest to die on March 7 did not play with the Yanks, but four did, one of them passing in 2016. Righthander Tom Rogers (1936) finished his four-year career by losing and saving one game each of the five he pitched for the Yanks in 1921; much of the overall 15-30 record was earned with Brooklyn and with the Philly A’s. Also a righty, Al Shealy (1967) debuted with the 1928 Yankees with an 8-6-2 mark in 23 games (12 starts); 24 relief appearances with the 1930 Cubs did not alter his career record. The one long ball and 22 rbi’s lefty-hitting shortstop Pee-Wee Wanninger (1981) contributed while debuting during 117 games with the 1925 Yankees are not his claim to Yankee history fame. Although Lou Gehrig became the Iron Horse once he took the first-base Yankee job from Wally Pipp, Lou’s long games-played streak actually began the day before he subbed for Pipp, when he took over for Wanninger. Pee-Wee’s numbers topped out at one long ball with 31 rbi’s after brief stints with the Browns and Reds in 1927. The five games southpaw Steve Kraly (2016) pitched in for the 1953 Yankees comprised his entire career. He started three of them, posted an 0-2 record, and recorded one save.
Cinncy Reds Manager Pat Moran died during Spring Training of Bright’s Disease on March 7, 1924. As a catcher for the Beaneaters, the Cubs, and the Phillies from 1901-1914, Moran hit 18 long balls with 262 rbi’s. Righty Hall of Famer Pud Galvin (1902) is one of the biggest names in early baseball history; he pitched to a 361-308-1 mark with Buffalo and Allegheny from 1879-1892. A lefthander, two righthanders, and an outfielder fill out the March 7 significant ballplayer death list. Southpaw Lady Baldwin (1937) posted most of his 73-41-1 record from 1884-1890 with the Wolverines; Bill Carrick (1932) won 63 games, lost 89 and saved none with rhe 1898-1900 Giants and the 1901-1902 Senators; seven of the 12 years it took righty Jack Sanford (2000) to win 137, lose 101, and save one game from 1956-1967 were played with the Giants; and in 10 years from 1949-1962 outfielder Steve Bilko (1978) reached 76 fences good for 276 runs, much of the time playing with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Mike Armstrong (1954), who went 3-3 for the Yanks in 1984 through 1986, is the first of five born March 7 that we will mention. An interesting sidelight to Mike’s story is that he was actually traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the San Diego Padres for a minor leaguer named Paul O’Neill in 1979. The Yankees traded Steve Balboni and Roger Erickson to Kansas City for Armstrong and minor-leaguer Duane Dewey in December 1983.
Outfielder Joe Gallagher (1914) poked two homers with nine rbi’s and a steal in his 14-game bow-in with the 1939 Yanks before he was traded to the St. Louis Browns for Roy Hughes and cash that June. All 45 at bats that lefty outfielder Frank Gleich (1894) managed in the bigs came with the Yankees in 1919 and 1920; in 29 games, he knocked in four runs.
Charlie Fallon (1881) not only played with no team but the Yanks, in his one game, he recorded no at bats or plate appearances, and was listed without a position. And last comes Jose Cano (1962), who was signed by the Yanks as a 1980 free agent, although the club released him six months later. Cano fashioned a 1-1 mark in his only big-league season, in 1989 with the Astros. He had six appearances and started three games.
Anytime a player is accused of not playing hard, or “dogging” it, it’s hard not to think back to the tragic case of J.R.R. Richard, who was born this day in 1950. Few believed the overpowering Astros starter when he complained of fatigue and numbness during the 1980 season, unitl he suffered a debilitating stroke from which he never fully recovered.
Other birthdays: Ed Willett (1884), who pitched to a 102-99 record from 1906-1915, mostly with Detroit; lefthander Dave Danforth (1890), a 71-66 pitcher with the A’s, the White Sox, and the Browns from 1911-1925; Galen Cisco (1936); Jeff Burroughs (1951); Albert Hall (1958); Joe Carter (1960); former all-around first-round draft pick with the 1987 Reds Jack Armstrong (1965); Mauro Gozzo (1966); Jeff Kent (1968); Scott Munter (1980); Drew Macias (1983); Taylor Tankersley (1983); Joel Carreno (1987); and Tyler Ladendorf (1988), who not only was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 34th round of the draft in 2006, but was also drafted in the 34th round (again!) by the Giants in 2007, though he signed with neither team. Ladendorf played in nine games for Oakland in 2015.
Players Born This Day