May 9, 2012, was not a happy day in the Bronx, but it was a significant one. The Yanks grabbed a 1-0 lead over the Rays the moment Robinson Cano doubled in Derek Jeter in the bottom of the first. David Phelps, Boone Logan, and Cory Wade held the lead through seven, Rafael Soriano got through a one-hit, one-error eighth, but, in his second opportunity, former setup man David Robertson had a four-run meltdown as closer. Two singles and a walk set it up, and a sac fly and Matt Joyce three-run homer finished off the 4-1 loss.
The Yanks jumped on Texas righty Robinson Tejada with four straight hits and a walk for four quick tallies in the bottom of the first in an eventual 6-2 win on May 9, 2007. Mike Mussina scattered three hits through six frames for the win, and Derek Jeter carried the 1,300th run of his career when he crossed with run number two. Jeter added a two-run double in the home fourth.
On May 9, 2009, the Yankees legitimized a brief relationship with a veteran pitcher that did not work out very well for either party. First they needed to clear room on both their 40-man squad (they designated righthander Eric Hacker for assignment) and on their 25-man active roster (they optioned reliever David Robertson to the AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees). At that point they were able to call up righthander Brett Tomko from Scranton-Wilkes Barre, but Tomko felt he never got a chance before being released later that season and on the one hand. He was able to extract a little revenge later that year, as he got the W in a shutout vs. the Yanks while pitching for Oakland.
On May 9, 1999, Yankee reliever Mike Stanton made his first career start, and gathered the win in a 6-1 victory over Seattle. He set a major league record by relieving in 552 games prior to his first start. Interestingly, the pitcher whose record he broke (at 443 appearances) was Gary Lavelle, who has served as pitching coach for the Yankees’ AA affiliate Trenton Thunder. In Stanton’s win, Derek Jeter reached Jeff Fassero for a two-run homer in the first, and Bernie Williams stroked three hits and drove in two.
May 9 was a bad day in the 2006 Yankee season, a campaign that had a few low points. First, slugger Gary Sheffield was lost, virtually for the whole year, once he was placed on the Disabled List with a wrist injury that day.
Things started well in that day’s game, as Jason Giambi reached Boston righty Josh Beckett for a two-run, first-inning homer in support of Randy Johnson in Yankee Stadium on May 9, 2006. But Johnson withered, allowing three runs in the third and four in the fourth. Aaron Small was ineffective in reief and Boston won the game 14-3.
In 1958 when so many day games were played, the Yanks played their sixth home game (all in the afternoon) on May 2, then sat through six consecutive rainouts before playing the first night game of the year in Yankee Stadium on May 9. They beat Washington 9-5, as Mickey Mantle broke a 2-2 tie in the third with an inside-the-park home run off Pedro Ramos.
That is just the first of three Mickey Mantle highlights this day. The second: He hit a homer and was robbed of another on a great catch at the Sox bullpen in right center by Jimmy Piersall in a 6-4 win over Boston on May 9, 1953.
The Senators’ Pedro Ramos makes a second of these Mick highlights as he surrendered four homers to the visiting Yanks on this day in 1964 in a 6-2 loss to the Bombers. Mickey Mantle was joined in homering by Tony Kubek, Joe Pepitone, and Hector Lopez.
Few current Yankee fans would have any trouble predicting the immediate result when the Yankees recalled lefthanded starter Kei Igawa from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 9, 2008, optioning righty reliever Chris Britton to AAA to make room. Igawa took the mound vs. the Tigers in Comerica Park that night and allowed six runs on 11 hits in three innings. A spirited Yankee rally fell short in the 6-5 loss.
In the midst of an electifying hot streak with the bat, veteran Yankee first baseman Tino Martinez‘s two-run home run gave Randy Johnson a lead over the Mariners on May 9, 2005, but Adrian Beltre tied matters with a sixth-inning homer of his own. The starting second sacker for just a few games, Robinson Cano was pinch-hit for by Rey Sanchez in the home eighth. Sanchez singled, Derek Jeter sacrificed, and Tony Womack delivered the game-winner in a 4-3 Yankee victory.
It was a truly agonizing loss the Yanks suffered to KC on May 9, 1997. Umpire Dale Ford‘s miscall caused the loss, and Joe Torre was so incensed that he forced the umpires to toss him from games on back-to-back days afterward. Jay Bell was stranded 15-20 feet off third base with the ball in an infielder’s hand when Ford became confused. Seeing the already tagged out Jose Offerman leave the field behind the spot where following runner Bell had crossed, he called Bell (who was about to be tagged) out for passing the runner. Once he realized his mistake, he awarded Bell third base (a base he would have had to run through a tag to reach). Given undeserved life, fellow Royal Chili Davis promptly drove two home on a single. The gift runs got the game to extra innings, and the Royals won it, 7-5, in 12.
On May 9, 2003, in Oakland, Jeff Weaver actually battled Tim Hudson to a 2-2 draw through seven behind a Jason Giambi two-run tater. But Weaver wilted in the eighth and the A’s pounced for a 7-2 win. And facing his first batter, southpaw reliever Chris Hammond showed that he wasn’t a good fit as situational lefty (he was more effective against righties) when he allowed Terrence Long‘s bomb to dead center on an 0-2 pitch, a blast that crowned Oakland’s five-run rally in the eighth.
When the A’s beat the Yanks 2-1 in 11 innings on May 9, 1990, behind Rick Honeycutt, they scored their first run when Rickey Henderson raced all the way home from second base on an infield out.
Three big bats carried the Yanks to a 3-2 win in Minneapolis on May 9, 1966. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle homered for the first two Yankee tallies, but Joe Pepitone stroked the game-winner in the ninth inning.
When Mariner Tom Paciorek hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth in a 6-5 win over the Yanks on May 9, 1981, it was a painful deja vu. He had homered in the bottom of the ninth the day before to send the fans home happy in a 3-2 win over the visiting New Yorkers.
On May 9, 1979, the Yanks released center fielder Paul Blair.
Both Ted Gray of the Tigers and Vic Raschi of the Yanks allowed but five hits in a game on May 9, 1949, but Detroit made their hits count, as they prevailed in a 4-1 victory. Dick Wakefield homered.
If you ever listened to the Scooter Phil Rizzuto call a game, you have heard of legendary Yankee skipper Joe McCarthy. After missing Spring Training and much of the early season to illness, Joe returned to the Yankee bench on May 9, 1944.
The Highlanders were beaten 12-5 by the Boston Pilgrims on this day 1903 in a game where the home plate umpire tossed New York starter Jesse Tannehill for arguing balls and strikes.
Former A’s pitcher Harry Byrd allowed a grand slam home run to Athletics catcher Wilmer Shantz, brother of pitcher Bobby Shantz, in a Yankee/A’s contest on May 9, 1954. But Byrd stiffened and the Yanks won the first of two, 7-4. The nightcap ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Yankees and the Tigers set an American League record that still stands when between them there were only two outfield putouts in a nine-inning game on May 9, 1930. George Uhle of Detroit whiffed eight and got the 5-4 win, while Henry Johnson and George Pipgras pitched for New York.
Newspapers were abuzz with the rumored sale of the Yankees by Jacob Ruppert to political bigwigs Jim Farley and Jesse Jones on May 9, 1940, but the deal would never take place.
In significant May 9 events involving future or former Yankee players, both shortstop Kevin Elster of the Mets and Boston’s Rick Cerone lost extended game-errorless strings on this day in 1989. Shortstop Elster had played 89 straight until his bobble, while catcher Cerone had gone 159. And back on May 9, 1961, Jim Gentile equaled the mark shared by one-time Yank Johnny Mize, Jim Tabor, and Rudy York when he slugged two grand slams in a win over Twins. Only Gentile went one better. He was first to stroke the two for eight runs in back-to-back innings.
The eight hours and six minutes it took the White Sox to beat the Brewers, 7-6, in 25 innings on May 9, 1984, made it the longest (in time) American League game in history. The teams struggled to a 3-3 suspended tie score after 17 innings on May 8, then each scored three runs in the 21st after the game was resumed. Harold Baines homered off Chuck Porter to end it, as Tom Seaver got the win for one inning’s work; he then started and won the game scheduled for May 9, 5-4.
A lover of baseball names and nicknames, I have to report that Sheldon “Available” Jones got the win on May 9, 1949 as the first-place Giants defeated the Cubs, 7-2. Although the nickname’s origin was a character in the “Li’l Abner” comic strip, it was apt, as he was rubber-armed and ready to pitch as long as needed as often as needed. In a four-year stretch, he started 88 games while relieving in 90.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Major league baseball in general has suffered few May 9 player deaths, and the Yankees none at all.
One noteworthy player who passed this day was catcher Charlie Hargreaves (1979), who accumulated four home runs with 139 rbi’s with the Dodgers and the Pirates from 1923-1930.
Players Born This Day
There are but two Yankees who share May 9 as their birthday. First baseman Eddie Tiemeyer (1885) ended his career by playing in three games for the 1909 club. He had three hits in eight at bats, and played with Cincinnati in 1906 and 1907. Even after limited NL play, Eddie failed to record a home run, an rbi, or a stolen base.
And catcher Lew Drill (1877) stroked two hits and scored two runs in two games with 1902 Baltimore Orioles (the franchise that would relocate to New York and become the Highlanders, then Yankees). Drill also played with Washington and Detroit, ending in 1905 with two career dingers, 100 rbi’s, and 21 stolen bases.
Catcher Tommy Clarke (1888) hit six homers with 191 rbi’s from 1909-1918, mostly with the Reds. Though he never played with the good guys, Clarke was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Yankees for Lee Magee in April 1918.
Other May 9 birthdays: shortstop for 17 years (mostly with the Cubs) Billy Jurges (1908); Ray Katt (1927); Floyd Robinson (1936); Jerry Buchek (1942); Sam Mejias (1952); ex-player and current Texas Rangers Manager Ron Jackson (1953); future Hall of Famer and hitting machine Tony Gwynn (1960); Aaron Harang (1978); Brandon Webb (1979); Bill Murphy (1981); Chase Headley (1984); ex-Tiger and Yankee Cecil Fielder‘s boy, Prince Fielder (1984); Daniel Schlereth (1986); and Oswaldo Arcia (1991).