A miraculous and stirring three days in the Bronx began with an 8-1 thrashing of Charlie Morton and the Astros in Game Three of the ALCS (they had gone 0-2 in Houston) on October 16, 2017. Three-run home runs from Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge propelled the offense, and CC Sabathia surrendered three singles, four walks, and no runs through six. The beloved Bernie Williams threw out the first pitch on a cool, becoming cold, and breezy Monday night in the Bronx.
How do we begin? Let’s see. Jason Giambi earned his salary beginning the Yankee comeback with fifth- and seventh-inning singleton jacks. Mike Mussina relieved an ineffective Roger Clemens with two on and none out in the fourth with the Yanks down 4-0 on Trot Nixon and Kevin Millar homers. A strike out and double play got Moose started on three scoreless, and Boston scored but one more through the eighth. Then Grady Little left Pedro Martinez in during a three-run Yankee game-tying rally on four straight hits, by Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Hideki Matsui, and Jorge Posada. Mariano Rivera held the Red Sox for three until Aaron Boone joined Yankee/Red Sox lore with his home run on Tim Wakefield‘s first pitch of the bottom of the 11th. The Series-bound Yanks won 6-5 in Game Seven of the ALCS on October 16, 2003.
Although CC Sabathia‘s eight innings of four-hit, one-run, and seven-strike-out pitching in Game 1 of the 2009 ALCS on October 16 was scintillating, it doesn’t rise quite to the level of the “Aaron Boone” game we just described, as the Yankee ace continued his impressive first season (and postseason) in the Bronx. Alex Rodriguez‘s sac fly in the first off John Lackey scored Derek Jeter, and Hideki Matsui came through with two rbi singles. David Cone threw out the ceremonial first pitch, while the last one, thrown by the one and only Mariano Rivera, counted in the Yanks 4-1 win over the Angels.
The big blows in Houston’s 8-3 win in Game 4 of the 2019 ALCS in the Bronx on October 16 were three-run home runs by George Springer and Carlos Correa. Gary Sanchez‘s two-run sixth-inning jack was far too little, far too late.
On the one hand, the Yankees hit an exhilarating peak with a 19-8 destruction of the Red Sox in Game Three of the 2004 ALCS on October 16. The most damage-causing culprits against “Brandon” Bronson Arroyo and five relievers were Alex Rodriguez (3-for-5, five runs, home run), Gary Sheffield (4-for-5, four runs, four rbi’s, home run), and Hideki Matsui (5-for-6, five runs, five rbi’s, two home runs). The 19 runs and 15 extra base hits set Yankee postseason records, but the Series was about to take a very bad turn.
Don Sutton pitched a complete game, and Steve Yeager and Reggie Smith homered, as the Dodgers staved off elimination on October 16, 1977, in a 10-4 win over the Yanks in Game Five.
It wasn’t done in “Bomber”-like fashion, but the Yanks won the 1962 World Series in a Game Seven 1-0 game behind the pitching of Series MVP Ralph Terry on October 16. Second sacker Bobby Richardson speared Willie McCovey‘s screaming liner with two outs in the ninth to close it out with Willie Mays standing on second as the winning run, with Matty Alou on third. A great play by Roger Maris had held Willie to a double, and the only run of the game scored when Tony Kubek grounded into a fifth-inning double play.
Jerry Koosman completed the Mets’ 1969 Miracle with a five-hitter in their 5-3, Game Five win over the Orioles on October 16. Cleon Jones scored in front of Donn Clendenon‘s homer, light-hitting shortstop Walt Weiss‘s homer the next inning tied it, and the Amazin’s won it in the eighth on Ron Swoboda‘s double and two Baltimore errors.
Few expected much when the Yanks signed Doc Gooden, back from his drug-abuse suspension, on October 16, 1995, but he tossed a no-hitter in the Bronx the following May, and filled in admirably in the Yankee 1996 rotation while David Cone was out for months with his aneurysm surgery.
Perhaps more was expected when the Yanks inked veteran hurler Robin Roberts on October 16, 1961, but Roberts was released the following April without ever pitching an inning for the Yanks. Baltimore swooped in and signed the vet, and were rewarded with 42 wins over three seasons.
Roger Clemens pitched brilliantly in Fenway in a brawl-filled battle in the 2003 ALCS, but that was not the case the first time he was sent to the mound for a postseason start in his old stomping grounds. In Roger’s October 16, 1999 duel in Fenway, Pedro Marinez got the win, Nomar Garciaparra, John Valentin, and Brian Daubach homered, Nomar got four safeties, Valentin knocked in five, and the Red Sox prevailed, 13-1.
The 1976 Yankees ride was all about getting back to the World Series, a Fall Classic in which they would be swept. The Reds won Game One 5-1 on October 16, 1976, behind Don Gullett and Pedro Borbon; Joe Morgan went yard.
The times change. Neither Lou Gehrig nor Babe Ruth were eligible for the AL MVP that Mickey Cochrane was awarded on October 16, 1928, because repeat winners were not allowed. But after the rules changed, Gehrig won his second on the sixteenth in 1936 once he had hit .354 while amassing 49 homers, 152 rbi’s, and 167 runs scored. It was in honor of Cochrane, by the way, that Mickey Mantle‘s father chose the switch-hitting slugger’s given name.
The Reds acquired aging Yankee star Bob Meusel on October 16, 1929.
Babe Ruth defied a Kenesaw Mountain Landis order and launched a baseball barnstorming tour with Bob Meusel and Bill Piercy on October 16, 1921. But Landis meant business with his posted ban, and Ruth would be fined his World Series share and sit out a suspension until May 20 of the next season.
Perhaps the first “multi-tasker” in the 20th Century, insurance agent Harry Heilman, whose .403 batting average for the Detroit Tigers edged out the Bambino’s a week before, sold Babe Ruth a $50,000 life insurance policy on October 16, 1923. The Babe was able to make the purchase because he had just pocketed a winner’s share in the Yankees’ first World Series victory.
When the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 9-5 on October 16, 1993 behind John Olerud and Devon White home runs, Al Leiter earned his first postseason decision in relief in the win. He would double his relief victory total almost 12 years later when he beat the Angels for the Yankees in Game Four of the 2005 ALCS.
Righthander Jimmy DeShong (1993), who won 10, lost eight, and saved six games for the 1934-1935 Yankees in 60 games (15 starts), is the lone Yankee player to have died on October 16. A brief 1932 stop with A’s beforehand, and his 1936-1939 stint in Washington afterward, increased DeShong’s overall numbers to 47-44-9.
There are two righthanded pitchers and four position players in the group of six noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 16. Dave Davenport (1954) won 73, lost 83, and saved 12 games from 1914 through 1919 mostly with the Browns and the Terriers; and Larry Boerner (1969) posted a 102-71-102 record pitching most of his 1946-1957 career with the Red Sox (eight years), the Browns (two), and the White Sox (two). “The Walking Man,” Washington (mostly) third baseman Eddie Yost (2012) hit 139 home runs with 683 rbi’s from 1944 through 1962, with two-year stints at the end with Detroit and the LA Angels, but most famously, walked 1,614 times. Outfielder Possum Whitted (1962) stroked most of his 23 career homers with 451 rbi’s from 1912-1922 with the Phillies, the Cardinals, and the Pirates; lefty-hitting outfielder Ray Powell (1962) cleared 35 fences with 276 runs driven in for the 1913 Tigers and the 1917-1924 Braves; and middle infielder Johnny Rawlings (1972) knocked 14 long balls and delivered 303 runs playing more often than not with the Braves, the Pirates, and the Packers between 1914-1926.
Players Who Have Died This Day
There are six Yanks who share October 16 as their birthday, starting with Bill Skiff (1895), who played six games for the 1926 club after one year in Pittsburgh, and who would later sign Jerry Coleman among others as a scout for the Yanks. Bill managed a very respectable 11 rbi’s in those six games.
Nick Cullop (1900) started in New York by getting one hit in two games for that same ’26 team before enjoying a five-year career playing outfield with the Tribe, with the Dodgers, and with the Reds. Cullop was traded with Garland Braxton to the Senators for hurler Dutch Ruether in October 1926.
Lefty Don Hood (1949) pitched two years for the Orioles and four for the Indians before posting a 3-1 mark with a save in 27 games for the 1979 Yanks. He was acquired from the Indians in June 1979 for Cliff Johnson in a trade that needed to be made once Johnson had ruined the Yankee season by hurting Goose Gossage‘s pitching hand in a locker room fight.
Switch-hitting shortstop Rodney Scott (1953) finished up his eight years in the bigs, mostly with the Expos, by gathering five hits in 26 ab in the Bronx in 1982. The Yanks signed him as a free agent that June and released him 10 weeks later.
Journeyman Josias Manzanillo (1967) posted no wins, losses, or saves in 11 games pitching for the 1995 Bombers, one of eight big-league clubs for which he has toiled, most significantly with the Pirates. The Yanks plucked him off the roster of the crosstown Mets in June 1995.
Whatever fame former outfielder Darren Reed (1965) has also ties into a Yankee/Mets connection. A 1984 Yankee amateur draft choice, Darren was traded with Steve Frey and Phil Lombardi to the Mets for Rafael Santana and minor leaguer Victor Garcia in December 1987.
Utility player Rosell Herrera (1992) never made the 2020 lineup despite numerous reps in Spring Training, and time spent at the alternate site in that most bizarre of baseball years, once he was signed as a free agent in early February. Playing outfield primarily, Rosell hit three home runs with 31 rbi’s playing for both Cincinnati and Kansas City in 2018, and for Miami in 2019.
Other birthdays: Hall of Fame Baseball Executive Will Harridge (1883); Hall of Famer and 1928 AL Batting Champ Goose Goslin (1900); Boom-Boom Beck (1904), with the great name and the 236-236 career mark; righthander Jack Baldschun (1936), who went 48-41 with 60 saves for the Phillies, the Reds, and Padres; Dave Debusschere (1940), more famous for his roundball for the New York Knicks, and who notched three wins in seven decisions with the ’62-’63 White Sox; lefty-hitting catcher and announcer Tim McCarver (1941); Kevin McReynolds (1959); Brian Harper (1959); Billy Taylor (1961); Anthony Reyes (1981); Enerio del Rosario (1985); Jonathan Schoop (1991); Edgar Santana (1991); and Bryce Harper (1992).
Players Born This Day