Perhaps we treasure it more because we spent more than 36 hours on line (physically, not virtually) to purchase the tickets, but the clincher in 1996 on October 26 will always hold a very special spot in this Yankee fan’s heart. Despite our long wait, we settled for great Tier tickets right behind the plate for Game Six rather than getting seats on the wings for Games One or Two in the Stadium. The spine-tingling 3-2 Jimmy Key win over Greg Maddux and the Braves, largely behind Joe Girardi‘s booming triple, is a dear memory indeed.
The Yanks won the 26th World Championship when they beat the Mets, four games to one, in 2000. We watched the game with a great group of Yankee fans in an uptown, West-Side Manhattan apartment. The Yanks won the game in the top of the ninth on Luis Sojo‘s rbi single on which both Scott Brosius and Jorge Posada scored for a 4-2 Yankee win on October 26. Both Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter homered to account for the first two Bombers runs, and the latter took home the World Series MVP award. Jeter thereby copped the Series MVP and All Star Game MVP awards in the same season.
It looked to be the game in which the Braves would avoid being swept on October 26, 1999, when they took a 5-1 lead in Yankee Stadium in Game Three. Tino Martinez and Chad Curtis homered to start the comeback, and the magical bat of Chuck Knoblauch contributed its second multi-run, come-from-behind, game-tying World Series home run in as many years in the eighth. Then Mr. Curtis led off the bottom of the 10th with his second tater to send 57,000-plus home delirious after a 6-5 Yankee win.
It was announced on October 26, 1960, that the Washington Senators franchise would be uprooted from the nation’s capital and planted in Minnesota as the Twins.
A League-leading 72 appearances and a 13-5 record, 26 saves, and a 2.17 era garnered New York Yankee Sparky Lyle the 1977 American League Cy Young Award on October 26. The current manager of the Independent Atlantic League (New Jersey) Somerset Patriots became the first relief pitcher in the AL to be so honored.
The baseball writers awarded Yankee shortstop Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto with the American League MVP Award on October 26, 1950, a winning vote that becomes just a bit more poignant in light of the beloved Yankee’s recent passing.
After having piloted the St. Louis Cardinals to a third-place finish in the just concluded season, Miller Huggins was hired by Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert to manage the Yanks on October 26, 1917.
The crosstown Mets signed catcher Mike Piazza to a seven-year deal on October 26, 1998.
Treating the great Willie Mays as shabbily as he later would the incomparable Mickey Mantle, Baseball Commisioner Bowie Kuhn warned the Giants outfielder on October 29, 1979, that if he accepted a position with Bally Manufacturing — in the Casino Gaming Industry — he would be banned by major league baseball. The commisioner did not address the question as to how the underpaid stars of yesteryear should make a living. How misdirected was a commish who actually thought the sport would be better off disassociating itself from the likes of Mays and Mantle?
Left-hander Steve Carlton won his at-the-time unprecedented fourth NL Cy Young Award on October 26, 1982. And on this day back in 1971, both Leagues gave out the Cy Young’s. Vida Blue edged out Mickey Lolich in the American League; Ferguson Jenkins took the National League honor.
Detroit outfielder Hank Greenberg outpointed Cleveland’s Bob Feller for the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award on October 26, 1940.
Pre-1903 World Series are regarded as little more than exhibitions looking back, but in the only one to be played to 15 games, the National League Detroit Wolverines beat the St. Louis Browns of the American Association 10 games to five in a battle that ended on October 26, 1887.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Lefty-hitting, righty-throwing outfielder Russ Derry, who debuted with the 1944 Yankees, collected 17 homers with 59 rbi’s the next two years with 13/45 of those coming in 1945. Russ added 14 rbi’s but no home runs playing 1946 with the Philadelphia Athletics and 1949 with the St. Louis Cards. Derry, who passed away on October 26, 2004, is the first of two Yankee players to have died October 26. Righthander Bill Bevins (1991) played only with the Yanks, appearing in 96 games (84 starts) from 1944-1947. He won 40, lost 36, and did not record a save.
A pervasive force in early baseball history, White Sox owner and pioneer player Charles Comiskey passed away on this day in 1931. Although some considered him the victim of the Black Sox Scandal, later research reveals that he was probably the biggest villain in the whole sad affair, driving his players to cheat by his unfair dealings with them. As a first baseman, Comiskey hit 29 home runs and drove in 883 runs playing mostly with the Cardinals and the Reds from 1882-1894. The list of additional noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 26 includes just position players: two catchers, a second baseman, and a lefty-hitting outfielder. Backstop Gus Mancuso (1984) hit 53 long balls and drove in 543 runs with the Giants and Cardinals from 1928-1945; and Bob Scheffing (1985) cleared 20 fences and knocked in 187 runs between 1941-1942 and 1946-1951, mostly with the Cubs. Lefty-hitting outfielder Jimmy Ryan (1923) homered 29 times good for 883 rbi’s from 1885-1903 playing mostly with The Colts and Orphans, the White Stockings, and the Senators; and second baseman Bobby Avila (2004) hit most of his 80 roundtrippers and drove in 467 runs from 1949-1959 with the Indians.
Players Born This Day
Toby Harrah (1948), who averaged 16 homers a year in the 11 seasons before playing for the 1984 Yanks, but hit only one with 26 rbi’s in the Bronx, is one of five Yankees born October 26. Texas, Cleveland, and Washington are the cities he played in while hitting the taters. He arrived in New York in February 1984 with minor-leaguer Guy Elston in a trade with Cleveland that cost the Yanks George Frazier, Otis Nixon, and minor-leaguer Rick Browne. The Yanks sent Harrah to Texas the following February for outfielder Billy Sample and minor-leaguer Eric Dersin.
All Star second baseman Snuffy Stirnweiss (1918) hit 27 homers and knocked in 253 runs while playing much of his 10-year career with the 1943-1950 Bombers, before spending part of a season with the Browns and two with the Senators.
Lefthander Doc Newton (1877) posted an 18-23 mark with a save for the 1905-1909 Highlanders after throwing two years each in Cincinnati and Brooklyn.
Yankee righty prospect Ryan Bradley (1975), who failed in his attempt for the brass ring, went 2-1 in five games for the 1998 Bombers in his only big-league play. New York got Bradley in the first round (the 40th pick) of the 1997 draft.
Lastly, southpaw Steve Adkins (1964) went 1-2 in five games (all starts) for the 1990 Yankees. A fifteenth-round 1986 amateur draft choice, Adkins was traded to the Chicago Cubs for minor-leaguer David Rosario in June 1991, but those five 1990 Yankee starts represented his only big-league play.
Other birthdays: Steve Rogers (1949); Mike Hargrove (1949); Wayne Garland (1950); Steve Ontiveros (1951); Frank Willis (1958); Ed Vande Berg (1958); Gil Heredia (1965); Mark Sweeney (1965); Jaime Cerda (1978); Francisco Liriano (1983); and Jesus Flores (1984).