I used the word “stirring” to describe the Yankee victory in Game Three of the ALCS over Houston yesterday, but it really rightfully applies to the come-from-behind gem they pulled out of a hat on October 17 in Game Four. Fans may be surprised to read that Sonny Gray matched zeroes with Lance McCullers, Jr. through five, but a leadoff walk and catcher’s interference in the sixth were the first two of three runs to score on a Yuri Gurriel double off David Robertson. Carlos Beltran doubled off Chad Green in the seventh to make it 4-0, but that’s when the fun began. An Aaron Judge home run started a two-run rally in the bottom half, then his double and one off the bat of Gary Sanchez propelled the four-run rally in the eighth that brought home the 6-4 victory. Didi Gregorius tripled and singled in the two rallies as well.
A three-run home run off Masahiro Tanaka in the third and another against Chad Green in the sixth, by George Springer and Carlos Correa, respectively, decided the 8-3 Houston win over the Yanks in the Stadium on October 17, 2019, putting the Astros up three games to one in the ALCS. Gary Sanchez‘s two-run sixth-inning home run was far too little.
It looked like anything but a sweep, as the Yanks were down in the seventh inning of Game One at the Stadium vs. the San Diego Padres on October 17, 1998. But Chuck Knoblauch hit a three-run homer near the left-field foul pole to tie it, and Tino Martinez, after taking a close pitch from Mark Langston to go to 3-2, blasted a grand slam. The Yanks won the game, 9-6 behind David Wells. Yankee fans were happier with the work of the loser Kevin Brown that day than in most of the days he would wear the Pinstripes six years later.
Brian Doyle collected another three hits as did Series MVP Bucky Dent, and the Yanks won the 1978 Classic on October 17 by taking their fourth straight game over the Dodgers, this one by a 7-2 score.
Yankee fans got to see both sides of the good A.J. Burnett in 2009 ALCS Game 2 in Yankee Stadium on October 17, as he blanked the Angels on one hit through four innings, only to allow two runs in the fifth on two hits, a hit by pitch, a stolen base, and a wild pitch for a 2-2 tie. A.J. recovered to retire the next four before the game went to the bullpens. Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Mariano Rivera held it right there through the 10th, but Alfredo Aceves surrendered a run following a leadoff walk in the 11th. But this was the year of A-Rod, and Alex Rodriguez promptly tied it with a home run on an 0-2 pitch from closer Brian Fuentes. Anaheim threatened off David Robertson the next two frames. Jerry Hairston, Jr., pinch hitting for Freddy Guzman, who had run for Hideki Matsui in the ninth, led off the bottom of the 13th with a single, Brett Gardner sacrificed him to second, and following an intentional walk Hairston scored on a throwing error by Angels second baseman Maicer Izturis. It was a 4-3 Yankee win, and they went up 2-0 in games.
It was the beginning of the end of a great ride when Boston’s Bill Mueller tied ALCS Game Four 4-4 in the ninth, driving in the speedy Dave Roberts, who had stolen second base as a pinch runner. Rather than sweeping the Red Sox in four on October 17, 2004, the Yankees fell 6-4 on a 12th-inning David Ortiz home run.
In another call I can’t improve on, Michael Kay invited Yankee fans to “take a ride on the subway” on October 17, 2000, as David Justice‘s three-run bomb to the upper deck in right was the crippling blow in a 9-7 ALCS-clinching win over the Seattle Mariners. It set up a Yankees vs. Mets confrontation in a Subway Series.
Before the Leagues divided into divisions, mid-October fell after the Series, and was a prime time for either extending or ending managerial contracts, or to shop for replacements too. But that is not to say the events of October 17, 1964, were commonplace. The Yankees fired Manager Yogi Berra after the seven-game loss to the Cardinals. Further, St. Louis skipper Johnny Keane resigned his position, and then he was hired by the Yankees.
On October 17, 1929, the Yankees named former hurler Bob Shawkey to manage the 1930 club following the death of Miller Huggins just weeks before. While the third-place finish Shawkey achieved in his only year piloting the Bombers was not horrible, he is dwarfed in Yankee lore by 11-year manager Huggins before him and the 16-year Joe McCarthy regime that followed.
In further October 17 Yankee Manager transactions, Lou Piniella was named the pilot on this day in 1985, and in 1988, Dallas Green replaced Lou on the very same day.
Coming off a 13-1 spanking of Roger Clemens behind Pedro Martinez that gave the Red Sox their first win in three, Boston was rocking as the Sox inched in front of the Yanks 2-1 in Game Four in Fenway on October 18, 1999. But the Yanks slipped ahead, then exploded for six more in the ninth for a 9-2 win, and a three to one lead in games.
Game Three of the 1989 World Series had to be postponed when host city San Francisco was hit by a significant earthquake on October 17. Down in games 2-0 at the time, the Giants would be swept by the A’s once the Series was resumed a week later.
Former Yankee third baseman Robin Ventura, who was with the crosstown Mets at the time, hit what is referred to as a grand slam single when he was mobbed by teammates after hitting his bottom-of-the-fifteenth, bases-loaded blast on October 17, 1989. He did not have the opportunity to round the bases on the home run in an NLCS contest with the Braves, as the Mets won the game 4-3 when the runner from third base scored.
The “We Are Family” 1979 Pirates closed out their seven-gamer over the Orioles on October 17 with a 4-1 win behind Willie Stargell‘s third homer of the Series.
Paul O’Neill hit a two-run bomb and Andy Pettitte got the win, as the Yanks took the first game of the ALCS, 4-2 over Seattle, on October 17, 2001.
The Yanks’ loss to Cincinnati on this day in the 1976 World Series was particularly painful, because they had rallied to tie after falling behind, 3-0, only to fall in the ninth on a Fred “Chicken” Stanley error on a routine play.
Reds outfielder Billy Hatcher‘s 4-for-4 in a 5-4 World Series victory over the A’s on October 17, 1990 extended his Classic hit streak to seven, tying the mark that Yankee Thurman Munson had set in the 1976 World Series.
When the A’s closed out the Dodgers four games to one in the 1974 World Series on October 17, they became the only club to win three years in a row other than the Yankees.
The third baseman would spend his last seven seasons playing for the Yankees, and in 15 seasons stroked just 96 homers, and never more than 12 in a season. But Frank “Home Run” Baker earned his famous nickname not for clearing fences often, but for picking his moment. Playing for the A’s, Baker homered off his second eventual Hall of Fame pitcher in two days in the 1911 World Series on October 17, leading Philly to a 3-2 win. He had helped beat Rube Marquard 3-1 the day before, and this day’s blast bested Christy Mathewson. The A’s beat the Giants four games to two in that Series.
On October 17, 2018, the Yankees signed free agent center fielder Jose Cairo to a minor league contract.
The 2012 Yankee team was decreased by one on October 17 when the Toronto Blue Jays claimed righthander Cory Wade off waivers from the Yankees.
A future Yankee player October 17 tidbit is found in Johnny Mize‘s second place finish to Bucky Walters in the 1939 NL MVP race, announced this day, a decade before Mize would don the Pinstripes.
For the second day in a row, there is just one Yankee player who has died on October 17, although that player was joined by one of the best fans ever in 2010. Righthander Jack Powell (1944), won 31, lost 32, and saved one game for the 1904-1905 Highlanders in 84 games (68 starts). From 1897-1912, Powell pitched two-year stints with New York, with Cleveland, and with St. Louis (the Cardinals), and 10 years with the Browns, to an overall 245-254-15 record. But “Freddy Sez,” Freddy Schuman (1925) was mourned by Yankee fans the world over on this day in 2010. The sight of the one-eyed Freddy with his pan, spoon to bang on the pan, and tricolored inspirational signs he created anew for every game made everyone feel good. I’m proud that Freddy was a friend, and that he told me that I was the only one who solved his color scheme on every sign: that only words that referred to the team itself (Yanks, Yankees, Bombers, Our Boys, etc.) were colored in blue, with all the other wording being in alternating lines of green and red.
All five noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 17 were position players. Hall of Fame, switch-hitting shortstop George Davis (1940) played 10 of his 1890-1909 years with the Giants, six with the White Sox, and three with Cleveland, and he hit 73 home runs and drove in 1,437; and infielder Ray Boone (2004), patriarch of the baseball Boone family, played six years each with the Indians and the Tigers, and two years each with the White Sox and Braves in between 1948 and 1960, with 151 long balls and 737 rbi’s. Lefty-hitting outfielder Carson Bigbee (1964) blasted all 17 of his homers with 324 runs driven in with the Pirates from 1916-1926; lefty-hitting catcher Johnny Peacock (1981) collected most of his one home run with 194 runs knocked in from 1937-1944 with the Red Sox; and catcher Bob Swift (1966) homered 14 times and drove in 238 runs playing with the 1940-1942 Browns, the 1942-1943 A’s, and the 1944-1953 Tigers.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Four Yankees share October 17 as their birthday. Lefty hitting power hope (for a time) Dan Pasqua (1961) smacked 42 homers and garnered 112 rbi’s in Pinstripes, from 1985 through 1987, and added 88/278 respectively to form his final career numbers while playing from 1988 through 1994 for the White Sox. The Yankees selected Danny in the third round of the draft in June 1982. They traded him with Steve Rosenberg and Mark Salas to Chicago for Richard Dotson and Scott Nielsen in November 1987.
Third baseman Red Rolfe (1908) spent his entire major league career with the Yanks (1931, 1934-1942), and had 69 homers and 497 rbi’s. Rolfe played on six Yankee World Series teams; they won five. In 1939, he was first in the league in hits, runs, and doubles, and sixth in batting at .329.
Lefty-hitting first baseman Pop Dillon (1873) played two games for the 1902 Baltimore Orioles franchise that would be moved to New York as the Highlanders the following year, with no home runs or rbi’s. In a six-year career that included stints in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Brooklyn, Dillon smacked one home run with 116 rbi’s. And lastly, although outfielder Bob Christian (1945) never played in Pinstripes, he was originally drafted by the Yankees in 1964. The Tigers drafted him from New York the following November.
Other birthdays: Hall of Fame catcher for the Giants and the Reds Buck Ewing (1859); career Dodger third baseman Jim Gilliam (1928); John Mabry (1970); John Rocker (1974); Seth Etherton (1976); Abe Alvarez (1976); Gil Velazquez (1979); Edwin Maysonet (1981); Mitch Talbot (1983); Carlos Gonzalez (1985); Dan Butler (1986); Stefen Romero (1988); Chris Mazza (1989); Rafael Montero (1990); Hanser Alberto (1992); and Myles Straw (1994). Also William “Candy” Williams (1848), credited by many with inventing the curve ball.
Players Born This Day