When Reggie Jackson launched his 41st home run of the 1980 season in the first of two on October 4, it moved him into a tie with Milwaukee’s Ben Ogilvie for the AL home run crown and lifted the Yanks to their fourth AL East title in five years. The Yanks won the game, 5-2.
After he had defeated Philadelphia 24 straight times, the A’s finally prevailed over Carl Mays of the Yankees 7-6 on October 4, 1923. With a bad streak at season’s end, Mays would not appear in any games in the soon-to-follow Series. In this loss, Babe Ruth would hit his 39th tater of the season while filling in for Wally Pipp at first.
Joining some great company, Dave Righetti broke the season record for saves (45) shared by Bruce Sutter and Dan Quisenberry with his 46th when he saved both games in a doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox, 5-3 and 3-1, on October 4, 1986, the next-to-the-last day of the season.
The 2006 ALDS turned, really, when Mike Mussina failed to cash in a 3-1 Yankee fourth-inning lead forged on a Johnny Damon home run on October 4. The Yanks failed to score and left five on base against hard-throwing Justin Verlander in the first two innings, and it came back to haunt them when Curtis Granderson scored the go-ahead and game-winning run with a seventh-inning triple, in the 4-3 Tigers win.
Jim Lonborg had a good year in a comeback in 1972 in Milwaukee after a skiing injury following his spectacular 1967 season for Boston had derailed his career, and broken hearts in Beantown. His three-hit, 1-0 win over the Yankees on October 4, 1972, crowned a 14-win campaign.
With extra layers of playoffs being a relatively new phenomenon, the list of big Yankee ALDS and ALCS games pales in comparison to a record of their October 4 World Series achievements, a discussion of which will follow shortly. We’ll start a look at recent playoffs experiences with the Yanks’ first revisit to postseason ball after 14 years in 1995. On October 4, the Bombers took a two to nothing lead in games over the Mariners when Jimmy Leyritz blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the 15th inning, giving the Yanks a 7-5 win in Yankee Stadium.
Although Game One in the 2005 ALDS ended happily for the Yankees and their fans, the seeds of coming defeat were perhaps sown in the 4-2 Mike Mussina victory that October 4. Robbie Cano and Jason Giambi gave the Yanks a nice lead after two with rbi doubles as the visitors jumped on Bartolo Colon for four runs on six hits, but from that point on Colon and the Angels pen held the Yanks to no runs on just three more hits.
One of the things that made it tough to say good-bye to Andy Pettitte after 2003 was the fine job he did as a stopper in his last playoffs with the team that year. But the gritty southpaw had shown this side before, as in his start vs. the A’s on October 4, 2000. He went 7.7 innings in a 4-0 shutout that evened the series at one game apiece.
Smacking 16 hits off three different Yankee hurlers, Kansas City evened the 1978 ALCS with the Yankees at a game apiece on a 10-4 victory on October 4. Diminutive shortstop Freddie Patek‘s sixth-inning home run solidified the Royals’ win.
The Yankees won 3-1 in Minnesota in the 2004 ALDS on October 4 as Roger Clemens bested Kyle Lohse. Hideki Matsui‘s two-run second-inning home run was the big blow.
The pesky Juan Gonzalez homered yet again in the third game of the ’96 ALDS, his fourth of the series, and Darren Oliver shut the Yanks down until the ninth, but then the Bombers rode a two-run rally to a 2-1 win, on October 4.
After a disappointing late loss to the Angels in the second game of the 2002 ALDS in the Bronx evened matters at a game apiece, the Bombers blew a 6-1 lead to fall behind Anaheim two games to one in Game Three. Homers by Tim Salmon and Adam Kennedy were huge, as was the relief work of Francisco Rodriguez in the 9-6 Angels win on October 4.
Paul O’Neill blasted a fourth-inning grand slam in a 6-1 win over the Indians on October 4, 1997, behind David Wells‘s five-hitter, giving the Yanks a two to one lead in a series in which they would lose in the next two.
There are a lot of Yankee World Series wins of note that fell on October 4. Bob Meusel homered and Lou Gehrig had two rbi’s as the Yanks beat the Cards 4-1 in 1928.
Monte Pearson pitched the Yanks to a 5-2 win over the Giants in 1936, as Lou Gehrig was the offensive key.
Bill Dickey knocked in the winner in the ninth of a 2-1 Bombers win over the Reds on this day in 1939.
The Yanks won by the same score and by a late rally yet again, scoring two off Hugh Casey to beat Brooklyn on October 4, 1941.
The Yanks got another 2-1 win over the Dodgers in 1947 behind Frank Shea‘s four-hitter and Joe DiMaggio‘s home run.
Breaking the 2-1 string, Vic Raschi beat Jim Konstanty and the Phils 1-0 on this day in 1950.
Allie Reynolds‘s victim in 1952 was the Dodgers again, winning 2-0 behind Johnny Mize‘s hits.
And Mickey Mantle hit a grand slam against the Dodgers on this day in 1953 in an 11-7 win.
Scheduled for October 4, Game Two of the 1956 October Classic between the Dodgers and the Yankees was postponed by rain.
Don Larsen and Ryne Duren shut out the Braves 4-0 on October 4, 1958.
Whitey Ford topped the Reds 2-0 on this day in 1961.
And Whitey Ford won yet again one year later, beating the Giants 6-2, even if his October Classic scoreless innings streak was stopped at 33.7.
As you can see, the fourth of October has been a very good early fall day in New York. But there were some failures in the World Championship as well. In another eventual Series win over Brooklyn, they fell 5-1 to Dave Koslo‘s complete game in the Bronx on October 4, 1951. Monte Irvin led the way with four safeties and a first-inning steal of home. And with Bobby Thomson playing first base, the Giants fielded the first ever all-black outfield with Irvin, Hank Thomson, and Willie Mays.
It is unique that the 2004 team got through the season with almost no lefthanded starts. The Bombers fielded an all-righty staff in their last-year before the opening of the House That Ruth Built, with the short porch in right, in 1922. The Yanks met the crosstown Giants for the second straight year, and fell to the NL Champs in Game One 3-2 on October 4. The Giants rallied for three eighth-inning runs on Irish Meusel‘s single and Pep Young‘s sac fly.
And St. Louis beat the Pinstripers in a high-scoring battle on Octber 4, 1942. The Cards erupted for six in the fourth, but the five Yankee tallies in the sixth tied the game. In a 22-hit contest, St. Louis took the game 9-6 on three runs in the ninth.
Who knows who will be the stars of tomorrow? We weren’t particularly fearful when the young but unfamiliar, huge, lefty-hitting first baseman strode to the plate in Yankee Stadium in the ninth inning with a man on and the Yanks leading, 3-2, on October 4, 1991. We learned better as Jim Thome hit his first major-league homer deep to right to beat the Yanks. Steve Olin, who would die tragically in a speedboat accident along with teammate Tim Crews 18 months later, stopped the Yanks in the ninth for the save.
True baseball fans can appreciate attending a great and pivotal game even if it doesn’t involve their team. My better half will never forget the last game of the 1987 season on October 4 in Detroit, where the Tigers, who had needed a three-game sweep to wrest the AL East title from the Blue Jays, did exactly that. Detroit won the decider with Frank Tanana besting Jimmy Key on a second-inning Larry Herndon line drive that cleared the left field Tiger Stadium wall by perhaps a foot, 1-0. That was the score in the second inning and it stayed that way through another seven very tense frames.
On October 4, 1958, The Sporting News named two Rookies of the Year in each league. One of those in the junior circuit was hard-throwing Yankee Ryne Duren.
Former Yankee and crowd favorite Tim Raines, Sr., played left field flanking his son, Tim Raines, Jr., in a 5-4 Orioles loss to the Red Sox on October 4, 2001.
When the Cubs scored their 116th win on October 4, 1906, they set a 60-15 road record for an .800 percentage that has never been equaled.
The crosstown Mets fired Manager Joe Torre and his staff on October 4, 1981.
Phillies Mike Schmidt bested Eddie Matthews‘s 1953 single-season home runs by a third baseman mark when he hit his 48th on October 4, 1980. And Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees equaled Schmidt with the same number in 2005. A-Rod claimed the record by himself with 52 in 2007.
In honor of his brief service with the 2006 Yanks, we’ll list Terrence Long‘s home run in the Oakland 6-3 ALDS win over Minnesota on October 4, 2002 in a group of achievements by one-time Yanks in other uni’s. Former Yank Rickey Henderson took the all-time runs scored lead with a home run in San Diego’s 6-3 win over the Dodgers on this day in 2001. Al Leiter‘s complete-game, two-hit, 5-0 win over the Reds on October 4, 1999, made the Mets the NL Wild Card winner; and Jim Leyritz hit yet another postseason home run in the Padres’ 6-1 win over the Astros on this day in 1998.
Easily the longevity leader among the three Yankee players who have died on October 4, righthander Jack Warhop (1960) was a rotation stalwart on some not very good teams in New York from 1908-1915. Pitching nowhere else, Warhop posted a 69-93-7 record in 221 games (150 starts). Next is lefty-hitting outfielder Ed Barney (1967), who debuted in the bigs by gathering eight rbi’s (no home runs) hitting 7-for-36 for the 1915 Yankees. The 1915-1916 stop with the Pirates that closed his career brought his rbi total to 22, but left his home run number at 0. Finally, southpaw Lee Grissom (1998) posted no record in five games (0 starts) with the 1940 Yankees. Spending most of his 1934-1941 career pitching for Cincinnati, Grissom won 29, lost 48, and saved seven games overall.
As was the case yesterday, two hurlers, who threw from opposite sides, make the list of noteworthy nonYankee players to have died this day, along with a catcher, a third baseman, and an outfielder. Southpaw Joel Hoerner (1996) posted most of his 39-34-99 record from 1963-1977 with the Cardinals and the Phillies; while righty Nixey Callahan (1934) won 99, lost 73, and saved two games pitching more often than not for the Orphans and the White Stockings from 1894-1903. Catcher Mike Tresh (1966) cleared just two fences but knocked in 297 runs playing almost all of his 1938-1949 career with the White Sox; third baseman Freddie Lindstrom (1981) homered 103 times and drove in 779 from 1924-1936, most of it with the Giants; and outfielder Joe Marty (1984) hit 44 home runs and posted 222 rbi’s playing for the Cubs from 1937-1939 and the Phillies from 1939-1941.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Frank Crosetti (1910), who played for the Yanks only (1932 to 1948), mostly at short, and who also served as a third base coach for years, is the first of three October 4 Yankee birthdays. “Crow,” as he was known, hit 98 home runs with 649 rbi’s with New York.
Ray Fisher (1887) went 76-78 with five saves in the Bronx from 1910 through 1917. He was selected from the Bombers by Cincinnati on waivers in March 1919, and played with the Reds for two seasons. His overall record was 100-94.
Lefty thrower Harry Ables (1884) went 0-1 in three games for the 1911 Highlanders. And although he never played with the Pinstripers, hurler Don Bradey was acquired from Detroit before the 1957 season and was sold to New Orleans of the Southern Association two years later. Don went 0-2 in three games for the 1964 Astros.
Other birthdays: Jimy Williams (1943); Tony LaRussa (1944); John Wathan (1949); Charlie Liebrandt (1956); Billy Hatcher (1960); Mike Sharperson (1961); Chris James (1962); Dennis Cook (1962); Bruce Ruffin (1963); Mark McLemore (1964); Steve Olin (1965), whose tragic death in March 1993 is mentioned above; and Roger Pavlik (1967); Kyle Lohse (1978); Joe Thatcher (1981); Jered Weaver (1982); Tony Gwynn (1982), who is not listed as a Junior even though he is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and nephew of Chris Gwynn; Ryan Sadowski (1982); Kurt Suzuki (1983); Drew Stubbs (1984); Stephen Fife (1986); Lonnie Chisenhall (1988); Casey Kelly (1989); and Alec Asher (1991).
Players Born This Day