New York became baseball bizarro world during the last week of May 2013 as the Yanks, after incredulously losing two nailbiters in the bullpen at CitiField against the Mets the two days earlier, dropped a 9-4 decision to their crosstown rivals in Yankee Stadium on May 29. A few minutes after the Scoreboard revealed that he was the 10th Missouri-born pitcher in Yankee history, David Phelps proceeded to have his worst outing, surrendering five runs on four hits, two walks, and an error while recording one out before being relieved by Preston Claiborne. The silver lining was that Ivan Nova pitched the fifth through ninth, striking out six with one walk and allowing just five hits and one run, with four of the hits and the run coming in the ninth as he was tiring.
Watching AL play in early 2011, what befell the Yankees in the Stadium on May 29, 2010, isn’t so surprising, as the visiting Indians, despite having a bad year, battered the Bomber bullpen for a seven-run seventh inning in a 13-10 win. CC Sabathia handed a 10-5 lead over after six, much of it built on a six-run fourth inning by the Yanks on just three hits. But David Robertson and Damaso Marte had an evening neither will want to remember and the home team went down in defeat.
As reported on history.com, “On May 29, 1922, the United States Supreme Court rules that organized baseball did not violate antitrust laws as alleged by the Baltimore franchise of the defunct Federal League in 1915. The Supreme Court held that organized baseball is not a business, but a sport.”
Andy Pettitte righted a listing Yankee ship and opened a three-gamer with the A’s in Yankee Stadium on Monday, May 29, Memorial Day of 2000, with a two-hit, 4-1 victory. Andy’s stellar performance and the game’s score softened the blow of the day’s big history moment, as ex-Yankee Randy Velarde turned in an unassisted triple play. Randy tagged Jorge Posada (on his way to second) for the second out, and stepped on second to retire Tino Martinez for the third, all after he had speared Shane Spencer‘s liner up the middle for the inning’s and play’s first out.
Amazingly enough, the Yanks also won a May 29, 1982 contest in Minnesota despite a base-running comedy of errors that led to a triple play turned against them. Bobby Murcer was tagged out trying for third and Graig Nettles heading back to first on a play that began with Roy Smalley being punched out taking on a borderline outside pitch. But the Yanks won the game 6-4 behind Shane Rawley.
It was good news indeed when the Yankees were able to activate catcher Jorge Posada from the 15-day disabled list on May 29, 2009. To clear roster space, they optioned backstop Kevin Cash to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees.
Kevin Brown wilted after seven strong innings in Tampa Bay on May 29, 2004, but Tom Gordon struck out Fred McGriff to close the home eighth with the tying run on second. Bernie Williams and Ruben Sierra homered in the 5-4 Yankee win.
On a busy May 29, 1997, Tino Martinez hit his 20th homer in a 4-0 David Cone victory over Seattle. Cone whiffed 12, and Jeff Nelson followed with three more. Meanwhile in New York, the Yanks and Hideki Irabu agreed on a four-year, $12.8 million contract.
In the hot and cold 2005 season in the Bronx, May 29 was in the middle of a bad period. Coming off an embarrassing 17-1 home drubbing at the hands of the hated Red Sox in a national Fox broadcast, the Yanks took the field Sunday night vs. Boston on ESPN. David Ortiz put the Sox up quickly with a two-run blast off Mike Mussina in the first, but Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield cleared the fence against ex-Yank David Wells in the bottom half. But “Boomer” pitched into the ninth allowing just four more hits, and back-to-back Edgar Renteria and Ortiz third-inning jolts provided the difference in the 7-2 Red Sox win.
The first homer off the bat of Mickey Mantle in two weeks on May 29, 1961, was all the offense the Yanks could muster in Fenway, as Ike Delock whipped Whitey Ford and the visiting New Yorkers 2-1.
Weak-hitting Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez, who hit no more than 11 safeties in any but three of his 14 seasons, smacked four hits during his own 16-1 victory over Washington on May 29, 1942.
Camilo Pascual prevailed in a 6-2 Senators win over the Yanks in a May 29, 1957 game in Washington despite solo homers from Mickey Mantle and Hank Bauer.
The Yanks swept two from the same Senators Bronx-Bombers style on this day in 1928. After Leo Durocher‘s bases-loaded triple plated all three in a 3-2 win in the first game, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both homered twice (and Earle Combs once) in the 12-3 second-game victory.
One year earlier, the Yanks blew open an eventual 15-7 win over the Red Sox with an eight-run eighth on May 29, 1927.
On the other hand, credit where credit is due: It was on May 29, 1984, that the Red Sox retired the numbers of Ted Williams (No. 9) and Joe Cronin (No. 4).
Mickey Mantle ended the Willard Nixon (of the Red Sox) Perfect Game bid with a walk in the seventh inning, and then Mantle’s two-run homer in the ninth killed hopes for a shutout, but Nixon did manage to cash in a 7-3 win over the Yanks in the Stadium on May 29, 1956.
After years struggling to return from injury, the Yanks let Steve Karsay go in May 2005. But he garnered the win against the White Sox on this day in 2002 when the Yanks followed three hits and a walk in the ninth inning with a Jason Giambi three-run bomb, as the Bombers came from behind to win 6-3 in Comiskey.
David Cone outdueled Derek Lowe and the Red Sox 6-2 on May 29, 1998 in the Bronx. The Yanks scored three runs on four singles in both the third and the fourth innings.
Two hopeful developments that would not pan out for the battered 2013 Yankee infield occurred when the team sent both third baseman Kevin Youkilis and first baseman Mark Teixeira on rehab assignments to the AA Trenton Thunder on May 29, 2013.
On May 29, 2012, the Yankees created room on their 40-man roster by transferring righthander Brad Meyers from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list, and then claimed righty Ryota Igarashi off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Then they optioned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Former Yankee Robin Ventura set the collegiate record with a hit in his 57th straight game on this day in 1987.
Sevens were wild as the Yanks plated seven in the seventh inning vs. the A’s on May 29, 1922, in a 7-4 victory. Yankee starter Carl Mays notched his 20th straight victory over the Philly-based team without a loss.
On May 29, 1952, the Braves signed young Henry Aaron off a Giants farm team. Good thing. Can you imagine a Giants outfield containing both Willie Mays and Hammerin’ Hank for double-digit years?
Two players who would later become Yankees had historic moments on May 29. Frank “Home Run” Baker hit the first shot to which his nickname refers as a member of the Philly A’s in 1909, and Tim Raines swiped his 700th base with the White Sox in 1992.
Both knuckleballing Niekro brothers served a stint in the Bronx, and they share a weird May 29 game moment. On this day in 1976 Joe Niekro hit the only home run of his 22-year career, and he hit it off brother Phil Niekro in the Astros’ 4-3 win over the Braves.
There’s a slew of other noteworthy May 29 reports involving one-time Yankees, starting with the bonehead decision by Hall of Fame A’s Manager Connie Mack to waive his opening day starter Herb Pennock on this day in 1915. The Red Sox picked him up. But it would be Pennock’s 164-90 mark in the Bronx that snared him entrance into the Hall once they traded for him from the Sox in 1923 just in time for Yankee Stadium to open up.
In the same category is the end of eventual Yankee Dale Long‘s record streak of homers in eight straight games in Brooklyn’s 10-1 win over his Pirates on May 29, 1956. Current Dodgers manager and long-time Yankee star Don Mattingly and Cinncy outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr., later tied Long’s long streak. Also we’ll include the swap of two ex-Yankee outfielders for one another on this day in 1994. The Braves shipped Deion Sanders to the Reds in exchange for Roberto Kelly.
Lefthander Hippo Vaughn (1966) is the first of two Yankee players to have died on May 29. He debuted with the Yanks from 1908-1912, during which time he won 23, lost 29, and saved one in 73 games (53 starts). Traded to Washington, Vaughn was quickly moved again to the Cubs where he blossomed and starred through 1921. His overall record: 178-137-5. Infielder Mike McNally (1965) hit one home run and drove in 40 runs for New York from 1921-1924. Adding in five previous years with the Red Sox and one with Washington afterward, he stiil had just the one home run, with 85 rbi’s.
The nonYankee notables include a righty, a shortstop, and an outfielder, but we’ll start this group with catcher Mo Berg (1972), who is more famous for having been a spy for the U.S. government against Japan. Berg hit six homers with 206 rbi’s for the White Sox, the Red Sox, and the Senators from 1926-1939. Righthander Doc Scanlan (1949) won 65, lost 71, and saved five games for the Dodgers and the Pirates from 1903-1911; shortstop Doc Lavan (1952) reached seven fences and drove in 377 runs from 1913-1924, mostly with the Cardinals and the Browns; and outfielder Carl Reynolds (1978) hit 80 home runs good for 699 rbi’s from 1927-1939 playing with the White Sox, the Cubs, the Red Sox, and the Senators.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Let’s look at Charlie Hayes (1965), the first of five Yankee May 29 birthday celebrants, through the prism of a statistical anomaly. Hayes was acquired from the Phillies in February 1992 for young hurler Darrin Chapin, and was lost to the Rockies in the expansion draft following that season. The Bombers then got him back in 1996 to pair with Wade Boggs at third by shipping minor-leaguer Chris Corn to Pittsburgh. They then got Chris Singleton and minor leaguer Alberto Castillo from the Giants for Hayes the following November. Now to the “numbas”: Hayes hit 24 homers in 142 games in the Bronx in 1992, then 13 in 120 games in 1996-1997. But in both stints, he knocked in exactly 66 runs, and stole three bases.
Other ex-Yankees sharing May 29 as a birthday include those of Highlander Dave Fultz (1875), an outfielder who notched two homers and 99 rbi’s in New York from 1903 though 1905; and first baseman George McGuinn (1910), who stroked 24 dingers with 121 rbi’s for the Yanks in 1947 and 1948. After the Highlanders (Yankees) got Fultz from the Philadelphia Athletics in 1903, he capped a six-year career with the Phillies, the Orioles, and the A’s in New York, with a total of three home runs and 223 rbi’s. McGuinn ended up in the Bronx too, although after a longer career. George finished with 135 long balls and 794 runs batted in.
John Kennedy (1941) played 78 games in the Bronx infield in 1967. Kennedy arrived via an April 1967 trade with the Dodgers for Jack Cullen, John Miller, and cash, and his contract was sold to the Seattle Pilots the following November. His homer and rbi totals in New York (4/14) grow to an overall 32/185 after 12 years played mostly in Washington, Los Angeles, and Boston.
Added to the May 29 Yankee birthday list was utility player Jerry Hairston, Jr. (1976), who played in 45 games for the Yanks once they picked him up from Cincinnati for minor leaguer Chase Weems on July 31, 2009. He collected two home runs with 12 rbi’s in Pinstripes, and got one hit each in the season-ending ALCS and World Series Yankee victories.
We’ll lead off the other prominent birthdays with that of ex-Commissioner Fay Vincent (1938), following with these players: first baseman Ferris Fain (1921), who hit 48 homers with 570 rbi’s with the A’s and the White Sox from 1947-1955; Blue Moon Odom (1945), 84-85 mostly with the A’s from 1964-1976; Clyde Mashore (1945); Dyar Miller (1946), 23-17 with the Angels, Mets, and Orioles from 1975-1981; Eric Davis (1962); Bill Risley (1967); Toby Borland (1969); Trever Miller (1973); John Rheinecker (1979); Cha Seung Baek (1980); Matt Macri (1982); Trevor Rosenthal (1990); Tyler Pill (1990); Joe Biagini (1990); Nick Wittgren (1991); Steven Matz (1991); and D.J. Snelten (1992).
Players Born This Day