It was Ron Guidry‘s year, and he got the Yanks’ first World Series victory of the 1978 season, 5-1 over the Dodgers, on October 13. But what will (rightly) most be remembered from this game is the incredible defense Graig Nettles provided at third base, saving multiple Dodgers’ runs with one outstanding play after another.
Although Mike Mussina had some struggles in the postseason afterward, he earned his Yankee credentials in a win-or-go-home game vs. Oakland on October 13, 2001, a day when Jorge Posada plated the only run of the game on a fifth-inning homer off Barry Zito. Derek Jeter protected the slim lead on his fabulous relay play to nip Jeremy Giambi at home plate. It has come now to be known simply as “The Flip.”
Writing about yesterday, I called it the last best Yankee postseason game, a reality that came this close to being erased on October 13, 2012. A game Andy Pettitte kept the visiting Tigers off the board through five, but at the cost of 106 pitches. Detroit reached Derek Lowe for two runs in the sixth, and the Yankee pen for two more in the eighth, while the Yanks arrived in the ninth not having threatened. But Tigers closer Jose Valverde got just two outs in the ninth while surrendering two-run home runs to Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez, enjoying a postseason for the ages. But the offense went right back into the deep freeze after tying the game 4-4, and Detroit took the ALCS opener 6-4 in 12 on a Delmon Young rbi double where right fielder Nick Swisher appeared to lose the liner in the lights. Making matters worse, Derek Jeter crumpled to the ground on a next-play Johnny Peralta infield single, immediately making what could have been an inspiring night into a horrible and tragic one.
We had already been on line at Yankee Stadium for World Series tickets for some 12 hours by the time the Yanks beat the Orioles, 6-4, on October 13, 1996, to capture the American League pennant. All six Yankee runs were scored in the third inning, when Jim Leyritz, Cecil Fielder, and Darryl Strawberry homered.
In the opening game of the 1999 ALCS with Boston on October 13, the Yanks came from 3-0 down to tie, and then Bernie Williams sent everyone in the Bronx home happy with his 10th-inning walk-off homer off Rod Beck. Scott Brosius had homered for two, then scored the equalizer on Derek Jeter‘s seventh-inning single.
Bernie Williams was at it again in Game Three of the 2000 ALCS vs. Seattle, going yard back-to-back with Tino Martinez in the second inning, with David Justice knocking in three. Mariano Rivera surpassed Whitey Ford‘s postseason consecutive scoreless inning streak (but not his World Series one) by achieving 33.3 innings of his own in the 8-2 Yankee win on October 13.
Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski broke a 9-9 tie and whipped the Yanks in the ninth inning of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series with his homer on October 13. Losing player and Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson won the Series MVP, but many believe, myself included, that Mazeroski assured his eventual elevation to the Hall of Fame with the tater. It’s extremely rewarding being a Yankee fan and playing for the team, but the best way to earn offseason honors is to do something dramatic to beat them in the postseason.
The Yanks took a two to nothing lead in games in the 2004 ALCS over Boston behind seven innings of three-hit ball from Jon Lieber on October 13 in a 3-2 win. Gary Sheffield plated Derek Jeter with a single off Pedro Martinez in the first and John Olerud stretched the lead with a two-run home run in the sixth. Lieber would pitch well but lose in the Stadium six days later.
But although the October 13 ALCS contest vs. the Red Sox was less successful in 2003, the story would have a better ending three days later. On the 13th the Yanks had trouble hitting vs. knuckleballer Tim Wakefield yet again, reaching him for just one run over seven-plus. Todd Walker and Trot Nixon home runs gave Boston a lead, but the run the Sox scratched in the seventh was the decider once Ruben Sierra reached Scott Williamson for a home run in the ninth of a 3-2 Yankee loss.
The Yanks did all their scoring on Graig Nettles‘s first-inning three-run double, and Tommy John, Ron Davis, and Goose Gossage made it stand up in the Bombers’ 3-1 opening-game ALCS victory over Oakland on October 13, 1981.
Five years earlier, however, two homers by Graig Nettles were not enough as the Royals tied the Yanks in the 1976 ALCS at two games apiece on October 13. K.C. shortstop Freddie Patek knocked in three runs, and the Royals won, 7-4.
The Yankees belatedly entered the modern era on October 13, 1953, when they purchased the contracts of Elston Howard and Vic Power from the Kansas City Blues. Catcher Howard would be the first Black to play in the Pinstripes.
The Yankees escaped a scary six-game ALCS with the Indians on October 13, 1998. David Cone pitched the Yanks to a seemingly comfortable lead, but Jim Thome‘s grand slam made things tense before the Bombers prevailed in a 9-5 final. Scott Brosius provided a Yankee home run. The late and beloved organist Eddie Layton and long-time Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard threw out honorary first pitches before the game.
Following a 2004, 22-0 debacle at the hands of the Indians and a few humiliations from the bats of the Red Sox in 2005, I was reflecting on how worse, really, it is to lose a one-run game. Imagine the anguish of the fans of the Yankees’ fledgling franchise on October 13, 1921. They not only lost the deciding game of the World Series (their first postseason trip) to the crosstown rival Giants that day, they did so by a 1-0 score, with the only tally coming in the first on a Roger Peckinpaugh misplay. Going on two days’ rest, Waite Hoyt took the loss, giving him three complete games in that Series without allowing an earned run. The Giants took a scheduled nine-gamer five games to three.
Two years later on October 13, the Yanks turned the tables on the Giants, battering three NL hurlers in a six-run second inning on the way to an 8-4 win to even the Classic at two games apiece. Whitey Witt had three hits with two rbi’s in support of shaky Yankee starter Bob Shawkey, coming off a very good 16-11 season. Frank Frisch had two hits for the Giants for the third time in this loss, and Ross Youngs had four, including the game’s only home run.
In early New York baseball, a City Series was held at season’s end. On October 13, 1910, the Highlanders’ rookie sensation Russ Ford squared off against the legendary Christy Mathewson of the Giants, battling to a 1-1 tie in the eighth. But two Giants singles and an error loaded the bases, and the Giants took the lead when Ford walked Al Bridwell. The National Leaguers plated three more for a 5-1 win.
The major league baseball transactions list Cody Eppley as having his roster status changed by the Yankees on October 13, 2012, adding him to the ALCS roster after wearing out their pen in the just concluded ALDS.
On October 13, 2011, the Yankees outrighted second baseman Reegie Corona to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankee front office was in turmoil for much of the time between playoff appearances in the late 80s. On October 13, 1989, General Manager Bob Quinn jumped ship to take the same job with the Cincinnati Reds.
On the one hand, the Yanks didn’t lose much when they traded light-hitting outfielder Jimmy Lyttle for Chicago White Sox hurler Rich Hinton on October 13, 1971. But Hinton would only pitch seven games for the Yanks, to a 1-0 record.
Yankee reliever Ryne Duren was given a $250 fine by major league baseball on October 13, 1958, because he had given an umpire the “choke” sign during the World Series.
In a truly weird pregame injury, the Cardinals lost Vince Coleman for the postseason when his left leg became caught in the automatic tarpaulin as it unrolled across the infield in St. Louis on October 13, 1985.
Lee MacPhail was named General Manager of the Yanks on October 13, 1966.
The irascible Billy Martin was fired as manager of the Twins on Oct. 13, 1969, despite winning the pennant with a 97-65 record.
Few could suspect that a minor Mets transaction on October 13, 1974, would eventually have a profound effect on Yankees fortunes. Joe Torre was acquired for pitchers Ray Sadecki and Tommy Moore. Torre did not have much success in Flushing, but they gave him his first managing job three years later.
The Highlanders took part in a three-team trade on October 13, 1907. They received first baseman Jake Stahl from the White Sox and sent infielder Frank LaPorte to the Red Sox. Completing the circle, Boston moved shortstop Fred Parent to Chicago.
Ex-Yankee hurlers Scott Kamieniecki and Jimmy Key delivered the 4-2 Orioles win over Cleveland in the ALCS on October 13, 1997. Kammy got the start and the win, and Key threw three hitless innings in relief.
Center fielder Bobby Del Greco became the first Yankee to have died this day in 2019. He played 20 games with the Yanks in 1957 and 1958, mostly as a defensive replacement, as his just 12 at bats shows. He had no homers or rbi’s. In a career that spanned 1952 through 1965, he spent three years with both the A’s and the Phillies, two with the Pirates, and made two other stops; he hit 42 home runs with 169 rbi’s.
Of the two pitchers and two position players who make up the list of noteworthy nonYankee who have died on October 13, first baseman George Kelly (1984) has the most compelling numbers: 148 home runs and 1,020 rbi’s from 1915-1932 playing mostly with the Giants (11 years) and the Reds (four). On October 13, 1974, Hall of Fame Senators lefty-hitting outfielder Sam Rice passed away. Not much of a power hitter, Rice found a way to deliver 1,078 rbi’s over 20 seasons while hitting just 34 home runs. Rice played all but one year of his 1915-1934 career with Washington. Righthander Jack Knott (1981) won 82 games, lost 103, and saved 19 games pitching for the Browns, the White Sox, and the Phillies between 1933 and 1946; and righty Fred Mitchell (1970) posted his 31-49-1 mark with the Americans, the A’s, the Phillies, and the Superbas (Dodgers) from 1901-1905.
Players Who Have Died This Day
George Frazier (1954), who was the spitting image (though taller) of teammate Ron Guidry, is one of nine Yankee players who share October 13 as their birthday. George went 8-9 with 12 saves from the 1981 through 1983 seasons, and pitched also in St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago (with the Cubs), and Minnesota. Frazier arrived in New York in June 1981 from the Cardinals to complete the earlier deal that sent shortstop Rafael Santana to St. Louis. (Santana would return to play shortstop in 1988 after a couple of decent years with the Mets.) Frazier was traded with Otis Nixon to the Indians for Toby Harrah in February 1984. Frazier is unhappily recalled as having garnered three of the four losses the Yanks absorbed in their six-game defeat by the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series.
Outfielder Lou Clinton (1937) finished up in New York by striking five homers good for 23 rbi’s in 1966 and 1967 after spending six years with a variety of other AL clubs once he arrived from Cleveland in January 1966 in a trade for Doc Edwards. Catcher Charlie Silvera (1924) contributed a homer and 50 rbi’s in a backup role for the Yanks from 1948 through 1956 until he was purchased by the Cubs in December 1956.
Third baseman Mike Gazella (1896) played only for the Yanks, in 1923, and again in 1926-1928, with no homers and 32 rbi’s. In his only postseason plate appearance, Mike was hit by a pitch in the 1926 Series vs. the Cardinals. Outfielder Ben Paschal (1895) slugged 24 taters and 133 rbi’s for the 1924 through 1929 Pinstripers, after one year in Cleveland and one with the Red Sox; and catcher Walter Blair (1883) got his start with the 1907 through 1911 Yanks with a homer and 53 rbi’s before finishing up with Buffalo of the Federal League in 1914 and 1915.
(Wild) Bill Donovan (1876) both managed the Yanks from 1915-1917 (with little success, finishing fifth, fourth, and sixth), and did a little pitching for the club in the first two seasons, with an 0-3 record. In his 1898-1918 career he played outfield, second base, and pitcher, mostly with Brooklyn and Detroit. He went 186-139 on the mound, and hit seven homers with 93 rbi’s.
Switch-hitting third baseman Heinie Odom (1900) made his only big-league at bat count, as he got a hit for the 1925 Yanks. And southpaw Jim Hanley (1885) also plied his trade for the Yanks only, allowing three runs in four innings in one game for the 1913 club. And no. 10 Yankee birthday would be singer/songwriter Paul Simon (1942), whom I saw “play” in Yankee Stadium’s center field on Opening Day after the passing of Joe DiMaggio.
Other birthdays: Hall of Famer and lefty pitcher Rube Waddell (1876), with a 193-143 mark from 1897-1910; third baseman Eddie Yost (1926), “the Walking Man,” who earned 1,614 free passes over 18 years, mostly with Washington; Hall of Fame third baseman Eddie Mathews (1931), who hit most of his 512 career homers with the Braves; Bob Bailey (1942); Randy Moffitt (1948); Chris Gwynn (1964); Trevor Hoffman (1967); Scott Cooper (1967); Damian Miller (1969); Tim Crabtree (1969); Taylor Buchholz (1981); Chris Seddon (1983); Stephen Lerud (1984); and Hayden Penn (1984).
Players Born This Day