There is plenty of note that took place in the Yankee 5-1 win over Seattle on May 2, 2008, but I was shook to see that the games-left counter in the Stadium was reduced from 69 to 68 by none other than the beloved Bobby Murcer, whose subsequent passing shook the most stoic of Yankee fans to their emotional core. In the game, Chien-Ming Wang threw a beauty, allowing the run on just three hits and one walk through six. Melky Cabrera had a two-run double.
The only sour note to a resounding 12-3 Yankee victory over the White Sox in Yankee Stadium on May 2, 2010, is that laboring relief prospect Mark Melancon allowed all three Chicago runs in the ninth inning on an error, a single, and Paul Konerko‘s three-run bomb. Earlier the Yankee offense carried Phil Hughes, who allowed just four singles and a walk through seven frames, to victory on Robinson Cano‘s three-run home run, and two rbi’s from Nick Johnson, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner.
In a struggle that would continue all year, the visiting Orioles took their second straight in the Bronx on May 2, 2012, as Jake Arrieta blanked the Yanks over eight innings on five hits, 5-0. Matt Wieters drove in two with a home run and a double, and Nick Markakis homered off Ivan Nova as well.
In a foreshadowing of things to come, David Cone was suffering from numbed fingers on his pitching hand early in the 1996 season. After skipping a start due to the problem, he came back and beat the White Sox 5-1 in a complete game on May 2. Cone, who that day was backed by Jim Leyritz and Paul O’Neill home runs, would need aneurysm surgery before long, costing him much of the season.
On May 2, 1939, Lou Gehrig benched himself “for the good of the team,” ending his consecutive game streak at 2,130. But confronting his problem like the hero he was, Lou didn’t hide in the clubhouse, but carried out the scorecard to the umpires. Babe Dahlgren homered and doubled in his place as the Yanks routed the Tigers 22-2 for Red Ruffing.
Mike Mussina and young KC rookie lefthander Jeremy Affeldt battled to a 2-2 tie through six on May 2, 2004, a Sunday afternoon where the Yankees received their rings for having won the 2003 AL Pennant. Carlos Beltran scored for the Royals after tripling in the first and after doubling in the third, and the Yanks knotted matters on a Hideki Matsui double and a Jason Giambi home run. Jorge Posada doubled leading off the home seventh and Matsui delivered him in a 4-2 Yankee win.
The original Washington Senators relocated to Minnesota for the 1961 season, and the Yankees topped them in their first appearance there on this day, 6-4, on Mickey Mantle‘s 10th-inning grand slam off Camilo Pascual. The five Yankees who had hit extra-inning slams before The Mick were Wally Pipp (1923), Babe Ruth (1925), Bob Meusel (1929), and Joe DiMaggio and Tommy Henrich (both in 1948).
On May 2, 1992, Yankee starter Scott Sanderson tied 11 other guys in a record he had no desire to earn, as he surrendered four homers in an inning. The Twins would need them all in an eventual 7-6 win; the four guys who cleared the fences: Shane Mack, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, and Randy Bush.
The offensive heroics were largely supplied by spot starter at third base Todd Zeile when the Yanks beat the A’s, 5-3, on May 2, 2003, a wet Friday night in the Bronx. Todd homered off ex-Yank Ted Lilly, singled twice, scored twice, and knocked in two, as David Wells grabbed the win.
Don Mattingly saved the Yankees from being no-hit with an opposite-field single off Lamar Hoyt in the seventh inning of a May 2, 1984 game. Donnie was promptly removed on a double dip, and Hoyt faced only 27 Yanks in his 3-0 win.
The Yankees scored all eight of their runs in the fourth inning of an 8-2 victory over Cleveland on this day in 1946. Nick Etten hit a grand slam and Spud Chandler won his fourth straight.
The Yankees placed center fielder Curtis Granderson on the 15-day disabled list on May 2, 2010, with a strained left groin. To take Curtis’s spot, the club recalled Mark Melancon from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
The Yanks added to their pen on May 2, 2008 by recalling righthander Jose Veras from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Formerly teammates at Seton Hall University and then again in 1995 with the Red Sox, John Valentin and Mo Vaughn hit grand slams in back to back innings on May 2 of that year to throttle the Yanks, 8-0. It was the first time ever that two grand slams accounted for all the runs in a game.
Allie Reynolds posted the 12-4 win in the first of two between the Yanks and the Tigers on May 2, 1954, with the home-standing Bombers putting up a six-spot in the third frame. In a five-inning, rain-shortened second game, however, it took an Andy Carey 5th-inning double to prevent Detroit’s Bill Hoeft from posting a no-hitter in the 4-0 Tigers win.
Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter reached safely four times, had three hits, and scored twice in a 9-2 win over Oakland in the Stadium on this day in 2002. Robin Ventura‘s three singles and homers from Bernie Williams and Jason Giambi carried Roger Clemens to the victory.
The only silver lining to yet another Frank Lary victory over the Yanks on May 2, 1956 was that Mickey Mantle homered in the ninth inning of the 8-1 Yankee loss. The Detroit Tiger starter once again earned his nickname as the “Yankee Killer.”
If it seems impossible that a team with as many good hitters as populate the current lineup of the Yankees can struggle at the plate, consider the fact that when the Bombers prevailed in a 3-2, May 2 win over the Senators in 1938, it was with a rejuggled lineup that had Lou Gehrig batting sixth while Joe DiMaggio provided the cleanup duties. Team slumps are nothing new.
It is well known that Cal Ripken eclipsed the consecutive-games-played record of Lou Gehrig (see above), but whose record did Lou break? It was none other than Yankee shortstop Everett Scott, who on this day in 1923 received a gold medal from the American League for playing in his 1,000th game in a row, a streak he began in June 1916. But Walter Johnson fashioned some impressive numbers of his own, and in this game picked up his 100th career shutout as the Senators beat the Yanks, 3-0.
A TV war was barely averted in 1958, as on May 2 of that year the Yankees threatened to show their games nationwide in response to the National League plan to broadcast the games of the Giants, the Dodgers, both newly relocated in California, and other NL games into New York.
When the Braves blasted the Astros 12-4 on May 2, 1987, much of their offense was provided by two grand slams, one each by ex-Yank Graig Nettles and Yankee-to-be Dion James.
In other May 2 items of interest affecting future or former Yankee players, one ex-Yank player was replaced by another as Texas manager on this day in 2001 when the late Johnny Oates resigned and Jerry Narron took the post on an interim basis. Further, when Washington and Kansas City exchanged 1-0 victories in their double dip on May 2, 1967, Catfish Hunter earned the “W” in the nightcap. And lastly, future Yanks Roger Clemens and Paul Quantrill teamed on a one-hitter in Toronto’s 7-0 victory over the A’s on this day in 1998.
St. Louis’s Stan Musial became the first player to stroke five home runs in one doubleheader on this day in 1954.
Former Padres outfielder Mike Cameron was playing for Seattle on May 2, 2002, when he stroked four singleton home runs in a 15-4 victory over the White Sox.
The first game of the National Negro Baseball League took place in Indianapolis on May 2, 1920.
There was nothing routine about the 1-0, no-hit win Fred Toney of the Reds threw at the Cubs on this day in 1917. Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs matched Toney in denying the Reds a run or a hit through nine, then allowed the winner in the 10th.
No Yankee players have died May 2.
Two other ballplayers of note who have passed this day are position players. Lefthanded outfielder Jack Smith (1972) hit 40 long balls good for 382 rbi’s for the Cardinals and the Braves from 1915-1929. A shortstop with the Reds and the Cards from 1947-1952, Virgil Stallcup (1989) hit 22 homers and drove in 214 runs.
Players Who Have Died This Day
The seniority leader among four Yankee players celebrating their birthdays May 2 is righthander Bill Piercy (1896), who posted a 5-5 record in starting his big-league career with the 1917 and 1921 Yanks. He was traded in December 1921 with Rip Collins, Roger Peckinpaugh, and Jack Quinn to the Red Sox for Everett Scott (see the 1923 highlight above), “Bullet” Joe Bush, and Sam Jones.
Felix Jose (1965) was signed as a Yankee free agent in April 2000 once he showed he could help in the spring. He batted .241, and lashed one homer with five rbi’s for the Yanks that year. Jose also played with the A’s, the Royals, the Cards, and the D’backs, and accumulated 54 home runs with 324 rbi’s.
Drafted in the fourth round in 1967, righty Larry Gowell (1948) tossed the only two games of his big-league career with the 1972 Yankees, finishing up with an 0-1 mark.
Jim Walewander (1962), originally a utility player in Detroit, was a Yankee free agent signing in 1990. Jim got only five ab’s in nine games playing in that team’s infield. A switch-hitter, he managed one double, and drove in one run.
Finally, Mark J. Johnson (1975), whose only big league experience was in pitching nine games (three starts) for the 2000 Tigers to an 0-1 mark, was received by the Yankees with Todd Noel and Ed Yarnall in a February 1999 trade of Mike Lowell to Florida. The Tigers took Johnson in the rule-V draft.
Other birthdays: Righthanded pitcher Larry Cheney (1886), who won 116 while losing 100 for the Cubs and the Dodgers from 1911-1919; Hall of Fame second baseman Eddie Collins (1887), who played 25 seasons on American League teams in Chicago and Philadelphia, and who hit 47 homers with exactly 1,300 rbi’s; Eddie Bressoud (1932); Gates Brown (1939); Clay Carroll (1941); Keith Moreland (1954); Luke Hudson (1977); Jose Ascanio (1985); Jarod Saltalamacchia (1985); Neftali Feliz (1988); and Erasmo Ramirez (1990).
Players Born This Day