On May 5 (Cinqo de Mayo), 2001, Andy Pettitte beat the Orioles 5-2 by holding them to two hits and no earned runs over seven. Derek Jeter became the first Yankee to steal home in eight years when he accomplished that feat in the fourth inning.
Mammoth home runs and Mickey Mantle — the two just go together, and none more so than the bomb that almost went out of Yankee Stadium altogether until it struck the right field facade just inside the foul pole on May 5, 1956. The Mick hit another prodigious bomb the same day, Yogi Berra homered, and Hank Bauer delivered an inside-the-park job as the Yanks topped the A’s, 5-2.
The one year young righthander Joba Chamberlain devoted to being a starter in 2009 had a bad day on May 5, as Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay‘s three-run first-inning home run in Yankee Stadium gave the visitors a 4-0 lead before an out was recorded. Chamberlain came back strong, however, striking out 12 of the next 18 Boston batters, and Johnny Damon made it a game with a three-run jack in the third. But the Yankee offense stalled there, and Boston added some late runs in a 7-3 Yankee loss, one of the eight losses the Yanks suffered against the Sox before coming back with a vengeance.
Reporting big ninth innings at home can be a good news, bad news scenario. Home ninth innings aren’t even played if your team is winning, so an ugly number indicates that the home team was probably behind (because a simple number would easily resolve a tie). The Yanks scored four runs in the ninth inning in the Bronx on May 5 in both 2000 and in 2002. In the latter contest, two rbi’s by Alfonso Soriano (on a triple) and by Bernie Williams (on a homer) off Paul Abbott in a mopup role turned a 10-2 Seattle laugher into a more respectable-sounding 10-6 loss.
But the closing-frame four-spot on this day in 2000 was a different matter. Paul O’Neill homered on Mike Timlin‘s eighth pitch leading off the frame (after fouling off four in a row) to cut the Yanks’ 10-8 deficit to the Orioles in half. B.J. Ryan came on after Bernie Williams singled, but he allowed a walk to Clay Bellinger and then Jorge Posada‘s dramatic walk-off home run to left field on the very next offering. It is certainly not coincidental that five protesters chose Cinqo de Mayo to delay play for several minutes in the top of the fifth. They ran on the field waving the flag of Puerto Rico to express their unhappiness with American bombing on the island of Vieques.
The Yankees went through a 2009 period where they couldn’t keep their catchers healthy, starting with May 5, when they placed Jorge Posada on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. The bonus was the fine play of backup Francisco Cervelli, who was called up from the AA Trenton Thunder that day.
The Yankees recalled righty Darrell Rasner from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned reliever Colter Bean to AAA to make room on May 5, 2007. Rasner would have one of his best Yankee games the next day.
The Yankees activated Tanyon Sturtze from the 15-day disabled list and optioned lefthander Sean Henn to AAA Columbus on May 5, 2005. Henn had just made and lost the first of three starts (all losses) he would get in during the campaign, losing the day before 11-4 to Tampa Bay. He allowed seven hits and six runs in 2.33 innings.
Bobo Newsom and the Tigers caught the Yanks with superstar Joe DiMaggio in a rare extended slump on May 5, 1941, and blasted the Bombers, 10-1. After being held hitless yet again, the Yankee Clipper had gone 7-for-43 in his last 12 contests.
The Yanks beat the Browns’ Bob Turley 4-2 on this day in 1954. Walks did Bob in as he gave up only two hits.
The Senators took on the Yanks in the fourth of four on May 5, 1927, without their two biggest stars, Sam Rice and Goose Goslin, but evened the series by taking the New Yorkers, 6-1. Hod Lisenbee allowed but six hits, three of them by Bob Meusel.
On May 5, 1953, the Bombers scored eight runs in the fourth off Bob Lemon in Cleveland in an 11-1 romp. Winner Whitey Ford scored twice, and was removed once Wally Westlake spoiled his shutout bid with a dinger in the eighth.
Cal Ripken ended his consecutive-games streak voluntarily, and Lou Gehrig was driven from the Yankee lineup by catastrophic illness. But Yankee shortstop Everett Scott‘s run of playing 1,307 games in a row (the third longest after those two) was stopped when Yankee Manager Miller Huggins benched him on May 5, 1925. Pee Wee Wanninger played short that day, but the Yanks fell to the A’s, 6-2.
On that same 1925 day, the Yanks shipped pitcher Ray Francis to Boston for outfielder Bobby Veach and pitcher Alex Ferguson, both of whom would be waived later that year. Forty years later, the Yanks lost catcher Elston Howard to elbow surgery, on May 5, 1965.
Yankee Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez won his first-ever start on May 5, 1930, going the distance in besting Red Faber and the White Sox 4-1 on a five-hitter.
On May 5, 1952, Mickey Mantle lost his father to Hodgkin’s Disease. He would miss six games dealing with the arrangements and mourning his loss.
A temporary chicken-wire fence the White Sox had installed in left field to shorten the home run distance by 20 feet was removed before the May 5, 1949, game against the Yanks. Yankee left fielder Johnny Lindell proceeded to catch two Chisox-struck balls that would have cleared the five-foot barrier while Tommy Henrich hit the only homer in the Yanks 7-5 win. Allie Reynolds got the win, with relief help from Joe Page.
The infamous Carl Mays relieved the illustrious Babe Ruth in the ninth inning of a game vs. the Yanks on May 5, 1916, with the Red Sox ahead, 4-2. But the Yanks tied the contest on a two-out error by third baseman Larry Gardner, and came back to prevail, 8-4, in 13 innings.
When Highlanders hurler Lew Brockett blanked the Boston Pilgrims 2-0 on this day in 1909, he did much of the damage with his glove, as he recorded nine assists.
A 400-plus-foot home run by Tampa Yankee designated hitter Edwin Salcedo on May 5, 1994, was disallowed when umpires ruled that he had missed first base on appeal. Salcedo would never play in the bigs.
May 5, 1922, is a pivotal day in New York baseball history, as it was the day the Yanks began building their Baseball Cathedral in the Bronx.
When Wally Moses of the White Sox stole home in a 5-2, second-game win over Cleveland on May 5, 1943, he tied the record of Yankee Tony Lazzeri by doing so for the second time in extra innings. And Babe Ruth made headlines on this day in 1935, the year after he left the Yanks, when he faced young superstar hurler Dizzy Dean. Dean held the aging slugger hitless in the 7-0 Cardinals’ win.
The Rockies beat the Cubs 13-6 on May 5, 1999. They became the first team in 35 years to score in every inning, and only the third in the whole century.
Angels rookie Bo Belinsky pitched a no-hitter this day in 1962. But it doesn’t touch the masterpiece the legendary Cy Young tossed against the Athletics on May 5, 1904, in a 3-0 Boston Pilgrim win. The second of three no-no’s for Young, this one was a Perfect Game. And finally, Ernie Koob of the St. Louis Browns held the White Sox without a hit in a 1-0 victory on this day in 1917.
The musical Damn Yankees opened at the 46th St. Theatre on Broadway on May 5, 1955.
Second baseman Charlie Gehringer of the Tigers was honored with Hall of Fame selection on this day in 1949.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Southpaw Vito Tamulis (1974), who debuted with the 1934-1935 Yankees to an 11-5 record with one save in 31 games (20 starts), is the only Yankee player to have died on May 5. Spending most of the time from 1938-1941 with the Dodgers, he boosted his overall numbers to 40-28-10.
The only other noteworthy player to have passed on this day was righthander Eddie Cicotte (1969), who won 208 games, lost 149, and saved 25 games from 1908-1921, most of it with the White Sox and the Red Sox.
Players Born This Day
Former outfielder Bob Cerv (1926) is the most noteworthy of four Yankees born on May 5. He smacked 18 homers with 118 rbi’s and five stolen bases over three tours of duty with the club between 1951 and 1962. An amateur free agent signing before the 1950 season, Cerv’s circuitous big-league route got moving when he was sold to the Kansas City Athletics in December 1956. The Yanks reacquired him in May 1960 for Andy Carey. Then after the season, he was lost to the Los Angeles Angels in the 1960 expansion draft, but the Yanks maneuvered to get him back, along with Tex Clevenger, for Lee Thomas, Ryne Duren, and Johnny James in May 1961.
Juan Acevedo (1970) managed six saves for the 2003 Yanks before his season went south and he was released with an 0-3 record. Juan filled in as closer with Mariano Rivera on the disabled list.
Third baseman Andy Oyler‘s (1880) only big-league experience netted one tater, six rbi’s, and three steals in 27 games for the 1902 Baltimore Orioles franchise that would become the 1903 New York Highlanders.
And finally, guys who have a little Pinstriping on their resumes, but no time on the field of play. Joe McClain (1933), whose only big-league play netted him eight taters with 22 rbi’s for the 1961-1962 Washington Senators, was acquired by the Yanks from the Cardinals in June 1958 for Sal Maglie. Lefty Chad Bentz (1980), who has gone 0-3 with Montreal and Florida in 2004-2005, was drafted by the Yanks in 1999, but not signed.
Hall of Fame pitcher Chief Bender (1884) leads the other May 5 birthdays. Also: Jose Pagan (1935); Tommy Helms (1941); Larry Hisle (1947); Ron Oester (1956); Reggie Williams (1966); Charles Nagy (1967); Mike Redmond (1971); Keith Ginter (1976); and Chris Duncan (1981).