It was a kinder, gentler time for Yankees fans on October 27, 1999. After a season that can best be described as a struggle for star and fans alike, Roger Clemens took a 4-1 four-hitter into the eighth inning in a Series-sweeping Yankees win over the Braves, Mariano Rivera came on for the save — and the World Series MVP — and Jim Leyritz hit the last major league home run of the 1900s (which is not to say the Millennium, which, of course, technically would include the 2000 season).
The Yankees and Diamondbacks were delayed in starting the 2001 “October Classic” until the 27th by the events that happened on 9/11/01. And Mike Mussina had too much rest and a tough outing as Curt Schilling and the home-standing D’backs walloped the visitors, 9-1, behind home runs from Craig Counsell and Luis Gonzalez. The Yanks scored first as Bernie Williams drove in Derek Jeter, but Counsell tied it with his jack and it was all downhill from there.
It was the fourth (but not the last) time Billy Martin was fired from the job of managing the Yankees on October 27, 1985. He was replaced by the hitting coach Lou Piniella (in the first of two stops for him in the position). Piniella had been coaching the Yanks in batting since retiring as a player in 1984.
Trying to maintain an objective stance as a committed American League fan, I must report that October 27 was the day of one of the most extraordinary individual performances ever in a World Series game on the one hand, but a stinging and undeserved loss also befell the St. Louis Cardinals on that day on the other. Umpire Don Denkinger had erred in extending Game Six the day before by ruling a clearly out Kansas City Royal Jorge Orta safe at first base, and the Royals rallied for two runs to beat the Cards. Then the Royals destroyed the dispirited St Louis club in Game Seven, 11-0, on this day in 1985.
Jack Morris threw a masterful complete-game, 10-inning, 1-0, Game Seven win over the Cardinals (again) on October 27, 1991. Lonnie Smith had been “deked” into not scoring from first on a double in the late innings, and the Twins made the visitors pay. Gene Larkin‘s single off reliever Alejandro Pena plated Dan Gladden with the game’s only run.
Yankee fans were OK with it when Ralph Houk took the Tigers’ managing job after his stay in New York as field pilot, and later as GM. But many bristled when he came out of retirement on October 27, 1980, to take the managing job with the Red Sox.
The Yanks traded Danny Walton to the Twins for catcher Rick Dempsey on October 27, 1972. Serving as Thurman Munson’s backup, Dempsey stroked three homers with 25 rbi’s in Pinstripes until a subsequent 1976 move to Baltimore in a multi-player blockbuster that would not pan out particularly well for the New York club.
Teresa Wright, beloved of many Yankee fans for her luminous performance as Mrs. Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees, was born on October 27, 1918.
On October 27, 2011, the Yankees activated lefthander Pedro Feliciano from the 60-day disabled list. This was just a paper move. The ex-Met, signed as a free agent prior to that season but injured all year, would also fail to recover enough to take part in the 2012 season.
The baseball world was shocked when Astros owner John McMullen replaced President and General Manager Tal Smith with Al Rosen on October 27, 1980. Smith would shortly be named the NL Executive of the Year. Rosen made his reputation as an executive by being George Steinbrenner‘s team president with the 1978 Yankees.
Knuckleballer Joe Niekro, brother of fellow flutter ball aficionado Phil Niekro, posted a 14-15 record with the Yankees from 1985-1987 once they got him from Houston for Jim Deshaies. He would be traded to Minnesota, his last stop in a 22-year career, for Mark Salas in June 1987, and had a lifetime mark of 221-204. Joe died on October 27, 2006. Former Yankee manager and player Clark Griffith passed away on October 27, 1955. As skipper, Clark led the Highlanders to two second-place finishes from 1903 through 1908, posted a 32-24 mark with three saves pitching in New York, and blasted one home run with 14 rbi’s too. Griffith piloted the 1901 Chicago White Sox to the American League Pennant. After playing mostly with the Colts and Orphans from 1891-1914 his overall mark was 237-146-6, and he hit eight home runs with 166 rbi’s too. The third and last Yankee player death on October 27 goes to lefty-hitting outfielder and third baseman Bill Bailey (1967), who played all five of his big-league games with the 1911 Highlanders. Bailey managed one hit in nine at bats, but recorded no home runs or runs driven in.
The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on October 27 included one pitcher from each side, a catcher, a third baseman, and an outfielder until a 2013 addition of some note. Righty Scott Perry (1959) won 40, lost 68, and saved five games from 1915 through 1921, mostly with the A’s; and southpaw Rube Walberg (1978) posted a 155-141-32 mark pitching 11 years with the A’s and four with the Red Sox from 1923-1937. Lefthanded outfielder Charlie Jamieson (1969) cleared 18 fences and drove in 552 runs from 1915-1932, mostly with the Indians, the Senators, and the A’s; third sacker Bill Kuehne (1921) hit 25 long balls and knocked in 404 runs from 1883-1892 with the Alleghenies, the Colts, and the Colonels; and lefty-hitting catcher Bennie Tate (1973) hit four home runs and had 173 rbi’s from 1924-1934 with the Senators and the White Sox. Newest to the list is righthanded pitcher Eddie Erautt (2013), who not only threw to a 15-23 record with two saves, mostly for Cincinnati, from 1947 through 1953. Eddie, at 100 years of age, also had the distinction of being the oldest surviving major league player when he died.
Players Who Have Died This Day
In a tragedy for Boston that in this case only lasted for one season for the most part, they traded popular speedy outfielder Patsy Dougherty (1876) to the Highlanders (Yankees) for catcher Bob Unglaub midseason in 1904. Dougherty, the only Yankee player who was born on October 27, until 2014, had a huge hand in three New York victories over Boston in the remainder of that campaign. The lefty-hitting Dougherty would smash nine homers and deliver 55 rbi’s for New York. He would also steal 28 sacks and score 139 runs for the New Yorkers before they sold his contract to the White Sox in June 1906.
Although Dougherty was the only Yankee player born October 27, honorable mention goes to journeyman catcher Tom Nieto (1960), as he served as the Yankee catching coach in 2001, a role held by Gary Tuck more recently. Bench coach Tony Pena does double duty with the catchers in 2009. Nieto hit five home runs with 69 rbi’s with St. Louis, Montreal, Minnesota, and Philadelphia from 1984-1990.
But new to the Yankee October 27 birthday list in late 2014 was utility player Martin Prado (1983), one of several pickups designed to deal with a very poorly performing offense. And until a late problem with his appendix, Martin did supply a spark, blasting seven home runs and driving in 16 runs while playing five positions over 37 games in the Bronx. Though much missed in 2015, Prado was traded with David Phelps to Miami in December 2014 for a very effective Nathan Eovaldi and Domingo German. Prado played seven years with Atlanta since 2006, then parts of two years with Arizona, and has delivered 87 long balls good for 489 rbi’s through the 2015 season.
Other birthdays: Hall of Fame Pittsburgh outfielder and home run hitter, and long-time voice of the New York Mets, Ralph Kiner (1922); Lee Stange (1936); Mike Lum (1945); Pete Vukovich (1952); Bill Travers (1952); U.L. Washington (1953); Bill Swift (1961); Bip Roberts (1963); Brad Radke (1972); Jason Johnson (1973); Dennis Stark (1974); Kelvin Jimenez (1980); Brent Clevlen (1983); Kyle Waldrop (1985); Jonathon Niese (1986); Pedro Beato (1986); Ben Paulsen (1987); T.J. Rivera (1988); Ruben Tejada (1989), who was signed by the Yankees as a free agent in December 2016 but never played for the parent club; Carlos Perez (1990); and Francisco Mejia (1995).
Players Born This Day