It has to be a special highlight to top what happened on May 14, 1996, in this Yankee fan’s report, and it is, as today’s lead item is that Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run off Baltimore’s Stu Miller on this day in 1967 in a 6-5 Yankee win. With that shot, The Mick became the sixth member of the 500-home run club.
Onto 1996. Still smarting from the playoff loss to Seattle in ’95, my friends and I immediately opted for the first Mariner visit to New York after the Yanks offered free tickets to one of three games for those who sat through an Opening Day snowstorm. The reward? Free front-row Tier tickets to Doc Gooden‘s no hitter on May 14 of that year! The Yankees only managed seven singles of their own, but they bunched three into the sixth inning off former teammate Sterling Hitchcock, plating two runs on Tino Martinez and Jim Leyritz rbi’s. Gerald Williams made a great catch on Alex Rodriguez‘s drive to dead center in the first and doubled Darren Bragg, the first of six walks Gooden would allow, off first. Two free passes in the ninth with the Yankees holding a 2-0 lead made things tense before Derek Jeter finally squeezed Paul Sorrento‘s infield pop, and 31,025 fans went crazy!
While Ivan Nova had a fine start in the Yankee 2-1 victory over southpaw Jose Quintana and the White Sox in Yankee Stadium on May 14, 2016, the most memorable item in this contest was the dominant work of the Yankee bullpen over the final 3.33 innings. Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, and Aroldis Chapman recorded eight of the 10 outs on swinging strike outs, with Betances whiffing all four hitters he faced. Aaron Hicks‘s two-run homer in the second bested Todd Frazier‘s singleton blast in the fourth in this crisp, two hour, 28 minute battle, on Bat Day in the Bronx.
This fourth highlight could have vied for first in position if not for what happened in the 2013-2014 offseason. Hosting the Mariners in the Bronx on the 17th anniversary of Doc Gooden‘s no-hitter, the Yanks beat a team featuring a No. 1 starter the old-fashioned way; they outlasted “King” Felix Hernandez, beating Seattle 4-3 on a three-run seventh-inning rally off the visitors’ bullpen. And they did it, not with iconic shortstop Derek Jeter squeezing a ninth-inning popup, but rather with incomparable Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano doubling for two runs in the critical rally, and climbing up all-time Yankee offensive-achievement lists as he did so. The double, his 345th, moved him past Mickey Mantle into eighth in that regard, and the 740th rbi outpaced Tino Martinez for 19th on that list. In other news, while walking Kendry Morales in the top of the seventh, CC Sabathia threw his 50,000th major league pitch since debuting in 2001. Finally escaping the disabled list, outfielder Curtis Granderson made his first 2013 appearance, news that has to be dampened by the revelation that he would be back on the DL after another broken bone from a hit by pitch in 10 days. But for this fan, the most bittersweet aspect of this game is the achievement of Cano, combined with his tragic departure from the Yankee team after the season.
The highlight from the Yankee 8-4 win over Minnesota on May 14, 2010, was that Alex Rodriguez had the big hit, while the downside was that the poor Twins lost yet another game in which they had a late lead in the Bronx. A Brett Gardner home run and rbi single from Robinson Cano gave the Yankeees a fourth inning lead, but Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau seventh-inning rbi’s gave the Twins the lead, until A-Rod’s grand slam off Matt Guerrier carried the Bombers to victory.
The warrior Paul O’Neill had a big day on May 14, 1997, as he doubled in the tying run in the ninth and homered for the winner in the 12th, in a Yankee 6-5 victory at Minnesota.
One of two highlights of the Yanks/A’s game on Sunday, May 14, 2006 in Yankee Stadium was venerable Bob Sheppard leading the 52,000-plus in singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” on Mothers Day. Otherwise, Randy Johnson held Oakland to four hits from the second through the sixth innings. Unfortunately, the three-run A’s first led by Mark Kotsay‘s home run was more than enough for righthander Dan Haren to cash in a 6-1 win by the visiting ballclub.
The 6-0 loss to Boston in Yankee Stadium on May 14, 2011, was doubly tough to take, because Josh Beckett pitched like an ace for the visitors, with nine K’s and only two hits allowed over six, while southpaw CC Sabathia struggled for the Yanks. Recovering to whiff three straight once two Red Sox batters reached to start the game, CC was nicked for two runs in the fifth and four more in the seventh, three of them on an Adrian Gonzalez home run.
That at-the-time Mariners righty Gil Meche failed to survive the first inning in Yankee Stadium on May 14, 2004, was more his own doing than anything else, as he walked in two of the three runs he allowed. But Mike Mussina had to withstand a five-single, three-run, fifth-inning outburst to come through with the 9-5 win. Meche was not the only wild Seattle pitcher, as the Yanks received 10 free passes on the day.
But that bout of wildness couldn’t touch the one the Yanks benefited from in a game against the Royals on May 14, 1980. The Bombers rode the 14 walks to a 16-3 win, and Bucky Dent chipped in with an inside-the-park home run.
Don’t be fooled by the seeming good news that el duque Hernandez and Jason Grimsley struck out the side between them in the fourth inning of a May 14, 1999 contest vs. the White Sox in the Stadium. They also walked five, and threw 59 pitches during the fateful frame, netting the Sox four tallies in an 8-2 win over the Yanks. But in the “you don’t see that everyday” category, fans did eyewitness White Sox shortstop Mike Caruso run into his own batted ball for an out: The scoring on that is 2 unassisted.
Following a severe shoulder injury in the opening game of the 2003 season, Derek Jeter was on a program of rest and rehab for six weeks. Once he then underwent a several-game stint with the AA Trenton Thunder, the Yankee Captain was activated from the disabled list on May 14. And he singled twice and scored twice in his first game back, although the Yanks lost 5-3 in Anaheim.
In the first Sunday professional baseball game ever played in Cleveland, the Naps pounded the Highlanders 14-3 on May 14, 1911, as George Stovall collected four hits.
Wally Pipp did more in baseball than just lose his job to Lou Gehrig. On this day in 1923 his grand slam was part of the eight-run 11th inning the Yanks used to beat the Tigers, 16-11.
Texas left fielder Rusty Greer‘s two-run blast in the 13th inning carried the Rangers to a 7-5 win over the Yanks on this day in 1998. Greer notched six rbi’s in the game.
With the need to re-arm their bullpen on May 14, 2016, the Yankees made a series of moves, first optioning righty J.R. Graham to the AA Trenton Thunder; transferring righthander Bryan Mitchell from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list, with a left great toe tear; doing the same with first baseman Greg Bird, who was recovering from February 2016 right labrum surgery; and optioning catcher Gary Sanchez to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Having created room with those moves, the team selected the contracts of Conor Mullee and Chad Green from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; and changed the roster status of Luis Severino.
As alluded to above in the May 14, 2013 game report above, the Yankees activated outfielder Curtis Granderson from the 15-day disabled list on that day. The team also sent righthander Joba Chamberlain on a rehab assignment to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders; and assigned the recovering-from-arm-injury lefty Cesar Cabral to the Tampa Yankees. Making room for Granderson, and more, on their roster, the Yankees also optioned second baseman Corban Joseph, outfielder Brennan Boesch, and lefthander Vidal Nuno to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On this day in 1920 there was some friction over the Yankees’ lease that entitled them to share the Polo Grounds as a home ballpark with the New York Giants. It contributed to the decision for the Yanks to relocate to a new ballpark across the Harlem River, which would become a reality in three short years.
On May 14, 2013, the Yankees optioned southpaw Justin Thomas, claimed off Boston the day before, to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
John Vander Wal‘s two-run third-inning blast was enough, but Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada followed with back-to-back blasts the next frame and the Yanks tacked on six in the eighth in a 10-1 win over the Devil Rays on this day in 2002.
Despite back-to-back jacks by Gil McDougald and Mickey Mantle in the fourth, Bob Lemon of the Indians topped the Yankees, 3-2, on May 14, 1956 for his second win over the Bombers in four days.
Jim Coates pitched the 11th inning of the Yanks’ Game One 5-4 win over Baltimore on May 14, 1961, then threw another five frames in the nightcap. The Yanks completed the sweep with an 8-6 victory, and Coates was awarded both wins.
On May 14, 1933, the Yankees split two in St. Louis, losing the first game 5-1 to the Browns, and recovering to take the nightcap, 9-5.
It was the Browns vs. the Yanks in St. Louis again three years later on May 14, 1936. Joe DiMaggio led the visitors to a 6-1 win by smacking three doubles.
On May 5, 2010, the Yankees claimed Shane Lindsay off waivers from the Colorado Rockies, then optioned him to the Tampa Yankees. To make room, the squad released righthander Christian Garcia.
A guy who would retire as a Yankee, Mike Mussina, playing for the Orioles, had his nose broken on May 14, 1998, on a line drive off the bat of Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar.
Walter Johnson extended his scoreless innings streak to 56 on this day in 1913. He chose the same day seven years later to record his 300th victory.
On May 14, 1914, White Sox hurler Jim Scott threw a nine-inning no-hitter, only to lose in the 10th. But KC Royal Jim Colburn finished the job, as he threw a no-no at Texas on May 14, 1977, winning 6-0.
With but two World Championships since (and the first of the two roughly 90 years ago), perhaps it was an omen when the the flagpole at the White Sox Park broke when they raised the pennant for their 1906 season 101 years ago today. But after the 2005 Championship, no one on the south side of the Windy City was feeling cursed.
The Yanks sold the contract of hurler Al Cicotte to the Senators on May 14, 1958.
Former Yankee Reggie Jackson homered in an A’s loss to the Red Sox on this day in 1986, moving him past Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list with 537.
Because enjoying a win in the Baseball Cathedral would not be complete without hearing his crowning anthem, I add that it was May 14, 1998, that “Old Blue Eyes” Frank Sinatra passed away.
Even A Yankee fan can appreciate that there have been some magical non-Yankee baseball moments in New York over the years. It was Mothers Day on May 14, 1972, when Willie Mays played his first game as a Met against his former team, the Giants. Willie scored on a Rusty Staub grand slam in the first, and his fifth-inning poke broke a 4-4 tie in the 5-4 Mets win.
The most recent of two memorable May 14 moments for future or former Yankee players we’ll include is the 16-15 Cubs loss to the Expos this day in 2000 despite Cubbies outfielder Henry Rodriguez‘s two home runs and seven rbi’s. Anyone who caught Henry’s brief, painful 2001 stint in the Bronx would be shocked. And once Chick Gandil stroked a 10th-inning single to ruin the no-hit bid by Jim Scott of the Chisox on May 14, 1914, Howard Shanks made Scott a loser with his followup hit. Shanks, who would crown his career with 66 games with the 1925 Yankees, drove in the only run in Washington’s 1-0 win.
There are four one-time Yankee players who have died May 14, but we’ll start this list White Sox pitcher Dave DeBusschere (2003) in honor of his long high-quality service with the NBA’s New York Knicks. A righthander, Dave pitched in 36 games (10 starts) for Chicago in 1962-1963, to a 3-4 record with no saves. Fellow righthander Harry Byrd (1985) went 9-7-0 in 25 games (21 starts) with the 1954 Yankees, part of his overall 46-54-9 mark from 1950 through 1957, largely with the Philly A’s. Catcher Lou Criger (1934) went 13-for-69 for four rbi’s (with no homers) for the 1910 Yanks; between 1896 and 1912 he reached 11 fences good for 342 rbi’s, mostly with the AL teams in Boston and Cleveland. And there are two southpaw-throwing Yanks to have died this day. Doc Newton (1931) finished up in New York by going 20-28-1 from 1905-1909, with an overall mark of 54-72-3 including 1900-1902 with Brooklyn and Cincinnati; and Rip Coleman (2004) started his big-league career by going 5-6-3 in 39 games (15 starts) for the 1955-1956 New Yorkers, and retired with a 7-25-5 mark after spending 1957 through 1960 with the A’s and the Orioles.
The group of nonYankee but notable players to have died this day includes two catchers, an outfielder, a first baseman, a third baseman/infielder, and three righthanded pitchers. The catchers: Red Dooin (1952) reached 10 fences and knocked in 344 runs from 1902-1915, mostly with the Phillies; and Luke Sewell (1987) hit 20 home runs with 696 rbi’s mostly with the Indians and the White Sox from 1921-1939. Outfielder Jim Lemon (2006) reached 164 fences and drove home 529 runs from 1950-1963 with the Senators amd the Twins. Infield: Lefty-hitting first baseman Vic Saier (1967) played for the Cubs for most of his 1911-1919 career, with 55 long balls and 395 rbi’s; and third baseman/infielder Frank O’Rourke (1986) collected most of his 15 homers with 430 runs driven in with the Browns and the Tigers in 1912, and from 1917-1931. On the mound, Bert Cunningham (1952) posted a 142-167-2 record for the most part with the Colonels from 1887-1901; Cincinnati’s Elmer Riddle (1984) won 65, lost 52, and saved eight games from 1939-1949, with the last two campaigns spent with the Pirates; and Detroit’s Joe Sparma (1986) threw to a dead-even 52-52 record with no saves from 1964-1970; his last uni signified the Montreal Expos.
Players Who Have Died This Day
From a Yankee perspective (and that’s what we’re here for), the first of three Hall of Famers to be born May 14 is one in a string of great Yankee center fielders. “The Kentucky Colonel” Earle Combs (1899) played his entire 1924-1935 career in Pinstripes. A defensive whiz, Combs hit 58 homers with 632 rbi’s.
Other Yankees birthdaying include Dave LaRoche (1948), perhaps most famous for “La Lob.” Father of current Pirates players Adam LaRoche and Andy LaRoche, Dave signed free-agent contracts with the Yankees in 1981, 1982, and 1983, and finished his career in the Bronx by going 8-3 for the Bombers. LaRoche posted a fine career mark of 65-58 with 126 saves from 1970-1983.
Dick “Dirt” Tidrow (1947) posted an excellent 42-33 mark with 23 saves with the Yanks from 1974-1979 once he was acquired in April 1974 with Chris Chambliss and Cecil Upshaw from the Indians for Fritz Peterson, Steve Kline, Fred Beene, and Tom Buskey. The Yanks traded Dick to the Cubs in May 1979 for Ray Burris. Tidrow enjoyed a fine career too, winning an even 100 games while losing 94 with 55 saves from 1972-1984.
Arriving in New York in a December 1966 trade with the Cleveland Indians for minor leaguer Gil Downs, Dick Howser (1936) played for the Yanks for two years and managed them for one. He hit a home run and knocked in 13 playing in the Yankee infield in 1967-1968 and managed the team to the 1980 AL East crown. After falling to George Steinbenner‘s axe in a battle over one of his coaches, Howser then managed the rival KC Royals to three pennants and the 1985 World Championship; he died tragically several years back.
And rounding out the Yankee list is catcher Mike Dallesandro (1968), who the Bombers signed as a free agent in ’96 after the Angels, who had drafted him in 1990, released him. He never made the Yanks, but Mark hit three home runs with 17 rbi’s and a stolen base in 79 games in Anaheim and in Toronto.
Other Hall members birthdaying May 14 are Old-time Chicago White Sox outfielder Ed Walsh (1881), and relative newcomer Tony Perez (1942). Tony stroked 379 homers with 1,652 rbi’s from 1964-1986, mostly with the Reds, and on his 30th birthday in 1972, he drove in all the Reds runs in a 4-3, 2-0 Reds doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals. Other May 14 baseball celebrants: Dennis Martinez (1955); Pat Borders (1963), who recently played with the Mariners; Joey Cora (1965); Larry Sutton (1970); Brian Lawrence (1976); Brad Rigby (1976); Roy Halladay (1977); Luke Gregerson (1984); Jackson Williams (1986); Efren Navarro (1986); Christian Colon (1989); Roman Quinn (1993); and Kyle Freeland (1993).
Players Born This Day