May 1 in Yankee History

  • Blunting Yankee fan abuse for the second straight game, Robinson Cano knocked in the first two runs in a 4-2 Mariners win in the Stadium on April 1, 2014, twisting the knife in the wound on the second tally by beating out a potential double play grounder by busting it down to first base. Southpaw Roenis Elias bested Hiroki Kuroda in this one, and Jacoby Ellsbury‘s leadoff home run in the bottom of the first was blasted in vain.
  • Having already been embarrassed by hopeless Houston’s win in their first AL game in the Bronx two days before, the Yanks had to scramble to come up with a 5-4 win on May 1, 2013, avoiding a series loss to the former dregs of the NL Central. Things started promisingly, as the home team rode an Ichiro Suzuki triple and homers by Robinson Cano and Ben Francisco — the latter the only home run and rbi garnered from Francisco in 21 games — to a 4-0 lead. But the visitors “pounded” David Phelps for four fourth-inning tallies on a double, three singles, back-to-back hit by pitches, and a fielder’s choice. The Yanks pulled it out on a sixth-inning Eduardo Nunez double and an Ichiro rbi.
  • A Mark Teixeira first-inning home run and a three-run Curtis Granderson shot in the fifth carried Ivan Nova and the Yanks to a 5-2 win over Jesse Litsch and the Blue Jays in the Bronx on May 1, 2011.
  • Derek Jeter had a three-hit day when Baltimore came to town on May 1, 2012, but he was the only Yankee who did well. Home runs by Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy put Phil Hughes in trouble, and a Curtis Granderson home run was the only home team score in a 7-1 loss.
  • The May 1, 2009, 10-9 win over Anaheim in new Yankee Stadium stands out, but not because it was a classically played ballgame. Andy Pettitte looked to be in good shape for a “W” early when Jered Weaver walked the first two Yankee batters he faced, and four hitters and a Jorge Posada home run later, the Yanks had a 4-0 lead. Moments before when the crafty Yankee southpaw had picked Torii Hunter off first, he passed Kenny Rogers with his 95th career pickoff. But the good times did not last, and Pettitte, Mark Melancon, and Jose Veras were reached for nine tallies in the sixth and the seventh. But the Yanks plated four in the eighth, and Posada struck again, singling for two runs for the second Yankee walkoff of the young year off Brian Fuentes in the bottom of the ninth.
  • May 1, 1996, was the second day of my best trip to Baltimore ever, as the Yanks beat the Birds in 15 innings and five hours and 43 minutes, grabbing a first place position in the AL East they would never relinquish. Andy Pettitte, hammered in his start the day before, got the win in relief, Tino Martinez finally overcame Yankee fans’ reluctance to accept a Don Mattingly replacement at first with the game-winning grand slam, and Bernie Williams and Gerald Williams collected five and six hits, respectively. Jim Mecir whiffed Brady Anderson after going 3-0 with no outs and the bases loaded in the 10th, but none of those stories were much discussed in the next morning’s Baltimore newspapers. They focussed on the fact that Cal Ripken had to sit for seven innings once Manny Alexander pinch-ran for the Iron Man in the eighth and was promptly picked off.
  • Far bigger news, really, was Mickey Mantle‘s first major league homer, off Randy Gumpert of the White Sox, on this day in 1951. Minnie Minoso became the first black to play for the Palehose, as he homered off Vic Raschi in his first at bat, but the Yanks won, 8-3, as Mickey drove in three.
  • Mike Mussina‘s mastery of the Twins came to the fore on May 1, 2001, as he blanked them, 4-0, on three hits. David Justice homered and Jorge Posada had two run-scoring singles.
  • After blasting Barry Zito the day before, the Yankees and their fans were looking forward to facing young Oakland hurler Eric Hiljus on the Stadium mound on May 1, 2002. Funny game, baseball. The far-less heralded righthander struck out nine Yanks through five innings and only surrendered one run. Hard-luck loser Mike Mussina gave up but five hits through seven, but he took the 4-1 loss.
  • Exactly one year later Mike Mussina gave up six hits but only one run and bested the Mariners in the Stadium, 2-1, behind singleton homers from Jorge Posada and Alfonso Soriano. Moose allowed a score on two-out fifth-inning singles by Mark McLemore, Jeff Cirillo, and Dan Wilson, but his teammates led off the next two innings with bombs, and Mike handed the game to Mariano Rivera after eight crisp frames.
  • What was supposed to be a daring Yankee experiment to go forward with young and inexperienced starting pitching took yet another hit on May 1, 2008, after Bobby Abreu had given them an instantaneous lead with a three-run first-inning home run. Righty Ian Kennedy was reached for back-to-back, third-inning doubles good for three rbi’s by Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera in an 8-4 Tigers win. The games-left counter in old Yankee Stadium was reduced from 70 to 69 by ex-Yank DH Ron Blomberg in the fifth inning.
  • Joe DiMaggio got three hits as he made his first start after missing six games on May 1, 1937, against Rube Walberg and the Red Sox in a 3-2 Yankee win.
  • Part Two of righthander Aaron Small‘s 2005-2006 stint in the Bronx continued to head south on May 1 of the latter season. He actually pitched two scoreless though threatened innings in relief in a 3-3 tie with the Red Sox in Fenway, but he allowed the first three batters to reach in the home eighth. Tanyon Sturtze then gave up an rbi single to Mark Loretta and lefty specialist Mike Myers a three-run bomb to David Ortiz in a 7-3 Red Sox win.
  • When Cleveland’s “Sudden” Sam McDowell took a 1-0 victory over the White Sox on this day in 1966, he became the first starting pitcher to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Whitey Ford had done it 11 seasons before.
  • The rumblings about newly signed starter Carl Pavano began in the Bronx in earnest on May 1, 2005. Behind the Blue Jays 3-2 in the fifth, his teammates handed him a healthy lead by scoring four in the fifth on Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada rbi’s, but the righty gave it up immediately on three hits and two walks. The Blue Jays prevailed 8-6 after plating two against Mike Stanton in the seventh inning.
  • It was Whitey Ford‘s third complete-game win of the 1956 season on May 1 when Mickey Mantle homered off Detroit’s Steve Gromek in the first and Hank Bauer went yard too in a 9-2 Bomber win.
  • Mickey Mantle homered off Baltimore’s Skinny Brown on this day in 1960, once again in the game’s opening frame, but that was the Yanks’ only hit as Brown prevailed, 4-1, and Ron Hansen went yard for the Birds.
  • When the Highlanders spanked the Boston Pilgrims 8-0 on May 1, 1906, it began a 19-game Boston slide.
  • Yankee hurler Danny MacFayden failed to hold the three-run lead his mates had given him in the first inning against Washington on May 1, 1934, and left a 3-3 tie game in the seventh. George Uhle would benefit and get the 10-5 win as the Yanks scored five in the ninth. By leaving early MacFayden failed to break a 14-game personal losing streak vs. the Senators.
  • The Yanks brought back reliever Wilcy Moore when they traded Dusty Rhodes to the Red Sox for him on May 1, 1932. Although Moore’s 7-6 mark with 12 saves in the following two seasons did not match his 29 wins, 15 losses and 23 saves in his first Yankee tour from 1927-1929, the trade was a good one. Rhodes, 7-9 in the Bronx from 1929-1932, won only 27 while losing 45, with four saves, over four seasons in Beantown.
  • Yankee rookie outfielder Earle Combs suffered a broken leg on May 1, 1924, an injury that would keep him out most of the year.
  • Babe Ruth cleared the roof of the Polo Grounds with his first Yankee home run in a 6-0 win over the Red Sox on May 1, 1920. It was the 50th homer of The Babe’s career; many more would follow.
  • In a more than lost season for him, and for the catching position in the Bronx, the Yankees transferred backstop Francisco Cervelli from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list on May 1, 2013.
  • In 1987, Yankee Ron Guidry was one of several free agents to re-sign with their old teams on May 1, the first day they were allowed to do so by rule.
  • Babe Ruth homered twice and Lou Gehrig once as the Yanks took over first place on May 1, 1927, in a 7-3 win over the Athletics.
  • May 1 was a big baseball day in 1991. Nolan Ryan became both the oldest to ever throw a no-hitter and the first pitcher to post seven of the beauts. And by stealing the 939th base of his career against the Yanks, Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock‘s all-time mark. Rickey would steal no. 1,000 exactly one year later.
  • In other May 1 no-hitters, John Lush of the Phillies threw one in blanking Brooklyn 1-0 in 1906; and Houston Astro Don Wilson held Cincinnati hitless in a 4-0 win in 1969.
  • One-time Yankee Dock Ellis of the Pirates hit three consecutive batters with pitches in the first inning of a game on May 1, 1974, and later admitted he was on “pep pills” at the time.
  • In other May 1 items affecting future or former Yankees, Rickey Henderson stole the 1,000th base of his career (as mentioned above) in the A’s 7-6 win over Detroit in 1992; Phil Niekro earned his 200th career win in a 5-2 Braves victory over the Pirates in 1979; and on May 1, 1913, eventual legendary Yankee manager (he never played for them) Casey Stengel hit two inside-the-park home runs in a Brooklyn 4-2 win in Boston.
  • The longest game in major league history was played between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers to a 1-1, 26-inning tie on May 1, 1920. Making matters worse, the Dodgers lost to the Phils at home in 13 innings the following day, then returned to Boston and lost the next day in 19 frames.
  • Writer Bernard Malamud, who authored the novel The Natural, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for his novel The Fixer on May 1, 1967.
  • At 19 years old, Satchel Paige played his first professional game in the Negro Southern League on May 1, 1926.
  • Elmer Valo of the A’s hit two bases-loaded triples on May 1, 1949, an AL first.
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    Players Who Have Died This Day

  • We’ll start a list of four Yankee players who have died this day with one of many third basemen famed for their futility once New York traded away Clete Boyer: Celerino Sanchez‘s (1992) only big-league experience was the 105 games he played the hot corner in the Stadium in 1972 and 1973; he hit one home run and knocked in 31. Lefty Ed Wells (1986) had the best Yankee career, a 37-20 record with four saves from 1929-1932; the numbers grow to 68-69-13 when an earlier Tigers tour and a later Browns one are added in. Shortstop Ernie Johnson (1952) capped a nine-year career with the White Sox and Browns with nine long balls and 37 rbi’s playing for New York from 1923-1925. Career numbers: 19 home runs, 256 rbi’s. Lefty thrower Jim Hanley (1961) pitched but one game in the majors, to no record with the 1913 Highlanders; he allowed five hits and three runs over four innings.
  • Bobo Holloman (1987) makes the noteworthy list not because of his 3-7 record with the 1953 Browns, but because he threw a no-hitter in his first start. First baseman Kitty Bransfield (1947) reached 13 fences and drove in 637 runs with the Phillies and the Pirates from 1898-1911; and outfielder Hy Myers (1965) hit 32 homers with 559 rbi’s for the Dodgers and the Cards playing 14 seasons between 1909 and 1925.
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    Players Born This Day

  • The most recent Yankee birthday, and the only one who played with the team in the last 100 years, belongs to lefty Brandon Claussen (1979), who got one start against the Mets in 2003 and won it before being traded to Cincinnati for eventual ALCS hero Aaron Boone. Claussen has gone 15-27 in Cinncy since.
  • A baseball birthday report composed three years ago would have had only one Yankee player in its sights: Lefthander Frank Foreman (1863). Frank finished his 19 years in pro ball by going 12-8 with one save with the 1901-1902 Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that would move to New York and become the Highlanders in 1903. Following Frank’s trek from his days with the Chicago/Pittsburgh franchise of the Union Association (UA) in 1884 to the Orioles is like a primer in old-time baseball, as he moved to the Kansas City Cowboys (UA), to the Baltimore Orioles of the American Association (AA), to the National League (NL) Cincinnati Reds, to the Washington Statesmen, then Senators (both AA), the Baltimore Orioles (NL), the New York Giants (NL), the Cinncy Reds (NL) again, the Boston Americans (AL), and finally back to Baltimore in the AL.
  • There’s two more new names on this list. Lefty Stephen Randolph (1974), a Yankee selection in the 1995 amateur draft, was lost to Arizona in the 1997 rule-V draft. He went 10-6 with the D’backs in 2003-2004, and 0-1 with Houston in 2007, his only big-league service so far. In similar circumstances, 1998 Yankee amateur draft selection Manny Acosta (1981) subsequently signed as a free agent with Atlanta in 2003. He won one and lost one for the Braves in 2007, and was in their 2008 pen too.
  • We’ll close the Yankee segment of the birthday discussion with that of third baseman Phil Hiatt (1969), who signed as a free agent with the Yanks in January 1998 but was released that April. In part-time duty with Kansas City, Detroit, and Los Angeles (the Dodgers) from 1993 through 2001, Hiatt cleared 13 fences and drove in 55 runs.
  • Other birthdays: righty George McQuillan (1885), who won 85 while losing 89 with the Phillies and the Pirates from 1907-1918; Von Joshua (1948); Roy Lee Jackson (1954); Ray Searage (1955); Charlie O’Brien (1960); Jose Lind (1964); Armando Reynoso (1966); Bobby Chouinard (1972); Rich Butler (1973); Manny Acosta (1981); Ivan de Jesus, Jr. (1987), son of Ivan de Jesus, a major league infielder from 1974-1988, including seven games with the 1986 Yankees; Maikel Cleto (1989); Scooter Gennett (1990); and Marcus Stroman (1991).