On May 19, 2013, the Yanks hosted their second annual “photo day” for season ticket holders before the 1 pm tilt vs. Toronto. Ringing the outfield warning track, a few thousand fans were able to greet, shake hands with, and have pictures taken with a host of Yankee players, and this one was made most special because Mariano Rivera was allowed to make his way around long beyond the expected time frame, greeting every fan who wanted to in his goodbye season. In the game that followed, David Phelps held the visitors to one run on six hits over seven innings in a 7-2 win. The source of the Yankee offense was no surprise, as Robinson Cano reached hard-throwing Brandon Morrow for two, two-run home runs; Travis Hafner added a two-run shot in the eighth.
Four early runs driven in by Mark Teixeira (2), Brian McCann, and Brett Gardner base hits on May 16, 2014, were just enough for Hiroki Kuroda to best the visiting Pirates, 4-3. Home runs from Neil Walker and backup catcher Tony Sanchez were too little, too late.
The fourth-inning rbi fielder’s choice grounder Alex Rodriguez delivered against old friend Bronson “Brandon” Arroyo was enough for Andy Pettitte, who surrendered just four singles in a 4-0 win over visiting Cincinnati on May 18, 2012. But the eighth-inning Robinson Cano and Raul Ibanez home runs were welcome nonetheless.
The Yanks lost another tough home game early in the 2010 season when they fell to the Red Sox 7-6 on May 18. CC Sabathia handed a 5-1 lead to his bullpen after seven innings, but pen cogs Joba Chamberlain (a four-run eighth) and Mariano Rivera (two-run ninth) failed. In the third inning, DH Juan Miranda homered, and Robinson Cano, who earlier had a two-run double, drove in another run in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough.
The Yankee road show was led into Chicago on May 18, 1956, by the two current (at the time) AL home run leaders, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. They combined for 20 bases between them, and The Mick homered from both sides of the plate in the same game for the third time, eclipsing the record of Jeff Russell. The Yanks prevailed, 8-7, in 10 innings.
The other day, Mark Teixeira equaled a Lou Gehrig highlight when he homered three times in Fenway Park. When the first baseman went yard the first time in Yankee Stadium vs. the Twins on May 18, 2009, few in the park expected another. Tex and Alex Rodriguez homered in a six-run first in the only game of the four-contest Yankee sweep in which they did not come from behind (except in the first after the Twins had scored two). But Minnesota fought all the way back, and it took Mark’s second bomb in the seventh inning to ensure the home 7-6 win. The first shot was hit right-handed, the second from the left side.
Tino Martinez went 4-for-5 with a homer and four rbi’s as the Yanks stopped the Mariners’ eight-game win streak on this day in 2001. John Halama took the loss in the Yanks’ 14-10 victory.
The big blow in the Yanks’ 11-6 win over the White Sox on May 18, 1955, was Mickey Mantle‘s eight-inning grand slam off Mike Fornieles.
The Yankees were shut down by dominating pitching performances in two recent May 18th’s, and they wasted great outings by their own moundmen as well. In 2002, Alfonso Soriano doubled off the Rangers’ John Thomson leading off the bottom of the first and scored on a double play grounder. The Yanks went quietly the rest of the way on just three more hits and Texas beat Mike Mussina and the Yanks 5-1 on a Juan Gonzalez two-run bomb and a Rafael Palmeiro rbi double, for a disturbing Texas three-game sweep in the Bronx.
And on May 18 in 2004, the Angels benefited from a rare effective Aaron Sele start against the Yanks. Sele and Yankee starter Javy Vazquez were both gone before Designated Hitter Adam Riggs singled in the game-winner off Paul Quantrill in a 1-0, 11-inning Yankee loss in Anaheim.
In yet another Sunday night ESPN subway battle, enigmatic Mets lefty Oliver Perez totally dominated the home-standing Yanks in an 11-2 Mets win on May 18, 2008. The case for instant replay on home run calls gained traction when a Carlos Delgado three-run eighth-inning jack was incorrectly changed to a foul ball call. Hideki Matsui‘s two-run fourth-inning home run was one of just three Yankee hits. After David Cone had reduced the games-remaining in the old Stadium counter to 62 the day before, a Rochester-based Yankee fan and friend of Hal Steinbrenner moved it down to 61 this day.
On May 18, 2016, the Yankees signed free agent righthander Alexander Vizcaino to a minor league contract.
Joe Torre was very appreciative of the welcome he received from the Fenway faithful on this day in 1999, as they greeted him back warmly after his return from prostate cancer treatment. The Red Sox beat the Yanks 6-3 that day.
It would be foolish not to acknowledge the accomplishments of current Yankee stars before they put on the Pinstripes, which is why we now acknowledge the perfect game Randy Johnson, pitching for the D’backs, threw in Atlanta on May 18, 2004. The Unit struck out 13 in the 2-0 win, and became the 17th pitcher to throw a perfecto. He also became the oldest hurler to pitch perfection, accomplishing the feat at age 40. Interestingly, Randy shared a one-hitter with teammates Byung-Hyun Kim and Bret Prinz in a 4-0 win over the Cubs exactly three years before.
The Yankees vacated a strange and thankfully unfamiliar place when they climbed out of last place on May 18, 1940, by beating the White Sox 3-0 behind Monte Pearson‘s two-hitter.
Bobo Newsom of the Browns had his moment on May 18, 1938, as he tied a record in punching out six straight Yankee batters on strikes, but Joe DiMaggio ended the streak with his second dinger of the game. Joe knocked in five and winning pitcher Lefty Gomez three in the Yankee 11-7 win.
It was a bad day in the Bronx on this day in 1962, and the 4-3 loss to the Twins was the least of the problems. Mickey Mantle pulled a groin muscle, tore muscles in his right thigh, and injured his left knee trying to beat out an infield roller. He would miss a month.
Babe Ruth always enjoyed playing well in Boston, so we can assume that he took particular pleasure in blasting the bomb he struck off Ed Morris over the right-field bleachers in Fenway in an 11-0 win on May 18, 1930. Yankee starter George Pipgras tossed his third shutout of the young season.
Speaking of the long ball, some history-makers were blasted on May 18, 1968. First, Al Kaline‘s pinch-hit homer off Steve Jones was the 307th he hit in a Tigers uniform, besting the career mark of Hank Greenberg. Then in the same 24-hour period the not-so-gentle (at least with a bat in his hands) giant Frank Howard of the Senators tied an AL mark by homering in his sixth consecutive game (a mark since surpassed). It was his 10th round-tripper in the same six games, another record, as is the fact that he hit them in a calendar week (Sunday through Saturday).
Adjusting the back of the pen on May 18, 2014, the Yankees sent righthander Bruce Billings outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and then recalled righty Jose Ramirez from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as well.
Continuing a losing battle to supply Joe Girardi with worthy infield replacements, the Yankees designated Alberto Gonzalez for assignment, ending his second tour in pinstripes, on May 18, 2013.
Former Yankee Mike Blowers was playing with the A’s on May 18, 1998, when he became the second player since that team’s move to Oakland to hit for the cycle in a 14-0 win over the White Sox.
The Yankees sent pitcher Ken Brett and outfielder Rich Coggins to the White Sox for outfielder Carlos May on May 18, 1976.
It was just the beginning of bad things to come for the conflicted slugger when Darryl Strawberry‘s wife Lisa filed for divorce on May 16, 1989.
Three homers by Mark McGwire on May 18, 2000, were enough to move him past our beloved Mickey Mantle into eighth place on the all-time list with with 539.
We’ll give recent Yankee swingman Aaron Small credit for hitting Albert Belle with a pitch in a White Sox 10-4 victory over his Oakland A’s on May 18, 1997, once Belle had thrown an elbow at A’s catcher George Williams while scoring after reaching in his previous at bat. Also, former Yankee Ryne Duren struck out four White Sox players in the seventh inning in a 6-4 California loss to Chicago on May 18, 1961. Duren had been traded from the Yanks to the Angels 10 days earlier.
On May 18, 2010, the Yankees optioned outfielder Greg Golson to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, and recalled reliever Mark Melancon from AAA.
It was announced on May 18, 1933, that the first major league All Star Game would be held in Comiskey Park as part of the World’s Fair in two months.
Several factors contributed to the 14-minute at bat that Kansas City outfielder Bip Roberts had on May 18, 1997. He did his part by fouling off enough balls to see 18 pitches, the same amount that LA shortstop Alex Cora saw in a 2004 at bat before homering against the Cubs. But Bip’s home-plate tenure was extended too because Felipe Lira tried nine pickoff throws to first trying to keep Tom Goodwin close. And Goodwin, for his part, attempted to steal six times during that span.
In the “Year of the Balk,” Oakland A Dave Stewart was called for his record-breaking 12th in a 4-1 loss to the Red Sox on this day in 1988. He improved his performance, however, as he got through the season with only four more.
When Larry Herndon of the Tigers homered his first three times to bat in an 11-9 victory over Oakland on May 18, 1982, it made him the 14th player in major league history to blast four taters in a row. He had cleared the fence to give Detroit a 7-6 win over Minnesota two days before.
Yankee owner Dan Topping passed away on May 18, 1974.
“Prince Hal,” lefthanded first baseman Hal Chase (1947) is easily the first of three Yankee players to have died on May 18. A conflicted figure in early baseball, Chase was a good defender, and one of the first Highlander stars as he hit 20 home runs with 494 rbi’s in starting his playing career with New York from 1905-1913. But he was the victim of rumors about thrown games too, which was why no team would sign him beyond the 1919 season. After playing with the White Sox, the Buffalo Buffeds, and the Reds between 1913 and 1919 his final totals were 57 and 941. Second baseman/oufielder/first baseman John Hummel (1959) hit no homers and drove in four runs in ending his career with the 1918 Yankees; the 1905-1915 stint in Brooklyn gave him overall numbers of 29 and 394. And righthander Jack Kramer (1995) won one and lost three in 19 games (three starts) in finishing up with the 1951 New York club. A 1939-1951 career spent mostly with the Browns netted him an overall mark of 95-103-7.
Three noteworthy nonYankee players to have died this day include a righty and a lefty pitcher and an outfielder. Righthander Jumbo McGinnis (1934) posted most of his 102-79 mark from 1982-1987 with the Browns; and southpaw Gene Packard (1959) won 85, lost 69, and saved 13 games with the Reds, the Packers, the Cubs, and the Cardinals from 1912-1919. Finally, outfielder Ray Blades (1979) hit all of his 50 home runs with 340 rbi’s from 1922-1932 with the Cardinals.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Sit back, stir your drink, and unwrap that candy bar treat. May 18 birthdays lead off with that of Mr. October, former Yankee and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson (1946). Mr. Jackson cracked 563 homers with 1,702 rbi’s from 1967-1987; he was signed as a Yankee free agent in November 1976, and was lost to free agency when he inked a contract with California in January 1982. Reggie, who blasted 144 of the bombs with 461 rbi’s for New York, will always be remembered for his three-home run performance in the deciding game of the 1977 World Series against the Dodgers.
Three other Yanks are on the birthday list: Cy Barger (1885) got into three games with the 1906 and 1907 club before making his mark in Brooklyn, though he did manage one save with the Yanks. Art Jorgens (1905) caught 300-plus games for the Pinstripers from 1929 through 1939 with four homers, 89 rbi’s, and three stolen bases. He was often inserted for defense apparently as he averaged but two at bats per game.
Mike Jerzembeck (1972) put up an 0-1 mark in three games for the 1998 team, two of them starts. An unfortunate victim of a freak Spring Training accident in Tampa years ago when he was struck on the pitching arm by a Jorge Posada attempt to throw a player out stealing, Jerzembeck was a fifth-round amateur free agent choice by the Bombers in 1993.
And in the category of birthdaying players who have a Yankee connection but did not play with them is righthander Adam Peterson, who was selected by New York in the eighth round of the 2001 amateur draft, but did not sign with them. Peterson’s career so far consists of three appearances with no record for the 2004 Toronto Blue Jays.
The other Hall of Famer celebrating a birthday today wasn’t a bad ballplayer himself, although his exploits were rarely as pleasing to Yankee fans: Brooks Robinson (1937). Brooks hit 268 long balls with 1,357 rbi’s himself, but he did most of his damage with his glove.
Other birthdays: Pitcher Babe Adams (1882), who played mostly with Pittsburgh, where he won 194 while falling but 140 times; Jack Sanford (1929), who posted most of his 137-101 mark with the Giants from 1956-1967; Jim Sundberg (1951); Eric Hanson (1965); second baseman Eric Young (1967), who has to be one of very few major league baseball stars who attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey; Rich Garces (1971), nicknamed “El Guapo”; Felix Martinez (1974); Nelson Figueroa (1974); Marcus Giles (1978); Luis Terrero (1980); Juan Dominguez (1980); Joakim Soria (1984); David Patton (1984); Andrew Carpenter (1985); Jared Hoying (1989); and Giovanni Soto (1991).
Players Born This Day