September 11 is a tough day to write about, in any sense. I’ll just share one meaningless and one poignant Yankee memory. I was looking forward to going to the Stadium THAT day because I had sat through a two-hour-plus rain delay on the evening of 9/10/01. After a long wait above a very wet field on which no new rain fell during most of the delay, they called the Yankee game vs. the Red Sox. Needless to say, I never got to the 9/11 Yankees/White Sox tilt. And one of the most touching “Portraits of Grief” from the Times that I read was of the gentleman who was from Chicago, but had married and started his family in New York. He imbued a love of the game into his four daughters and was scheduled to take all four to that night’s game against his beloved White Sox before he perished in the World Trade Center.
The Yankees and CC Sabathia were down 1-0 to an Adeiny Hechavarria second-inning rbi triple as the Rays hosted them at CitiField on September 11, 2017, as severe weather drove them from Florida. But things collapsed for Jake Odorizzi in the five-run Yankee fourth, a frame that had one walk, one single, one sac fly, one infield error, one double, one catcher’s interference call during a Jacoby Ellsbury at bat, and, most important of all, Todd Frazier‘s three-run home run. The Yanks were outhit nine to four, but walked away with a 5-1 victory.
Luis Cessa pitched pretty well in a contest with the visiting Rays on September 11, 2016, but he lost 4-2 because three of the five hits he allowed into the sixth inning were home runs by Corey Dickerson, Logan Forsythe, and Brad Miller. In ceremonies remembering the events of 9/11/01, Rays players Forsythe, Kevin Kiermaier, Mikie Mahtook, and Nick Franklin posed with umpires Chad Whitson, Mike Everitt, Scott Baker, and Tim Timmons.
I’ve heard that people experiencing shock from traumatic events often don’t remember what befell them, but I always thought that was only with painful occurrences. How then can I explain my less-than-clear recollection of the walkoff win the Bombers pulled off in Yankee Stadium on September 11, 2014? Starter Michael Pineda actually pitched decently to eight of nine Rays batters, but the dreary night reached the eighth inning with the hometown team down 4-0 on two Yunel Escobar home runs. Then suddenly a Chris Young double, Martin Prado homer halved the deficit with one frame to go. Bottom of the ninth, a hit by pitch and double set it up, then Young cleared the bases and the Stadium with a dramatic one-out home run, 5-4 Yankees. Unbelievably, Alex Cobb had held the Yanks without a hit until the eighth inning.
The loss of the Yanks’ big lead in the AL East in 2015 may have had its most ugly span when Toronto thrashed the Yankees in the first three of four in the Stadium on September 11. Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak first-inning dingers off Luis Severino staked the visitors to a 5-0 lead. The home team struggled to fight back, eventually scoring five of their own keyed by a Didi Gregorius three-run jack, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Edwin Encarnacion added a homer, and ex-Yank Russell Martin cleared the fences twice in the 11-5 Blue Jays victory.
The Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees in new Yankee Stadium seven weeks before Championship No. 27, 10-4 on September 11, 2009. A beastly night where the start of the game was held up for 90 minutes, and there was another extended rain delay later, but none of that is important (not even the score). That is because Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for most hits by a Yankee with a one-base hit in the fourth (at 9:23 p.m.), then broke the all-time Pinstriped hits record with an rbi single in the fifth (at 10:00 p.m.). Amazingly, there were other Yankee highlights, as Alex Rodriguez gave Andy Pettitte an instant lead with a three-run bomb in the first, but it was all O’s thereafter (except for the Jeter all-time record). Baltimore sent eight, then nine, then eight batters up in the fifth, sixth, and seventh and scored 2, 4, and 3 runs respectively. The home run was Alex’s 577th.
Randy Johnson just barely outpitched Tim Wakefield in a tense sparkler in Yankee Stadium on September 11, 2005. Jason Giambi reached the front rows in right against a Wakefield knuckler in the first inning and that was all the scoring in the 1-0 win over the Red Sox. Johnson allowed one hit and struck out eight, but Wakefield dominated Yankee bats in the middle innings, at one point striking out 12 of 17 Yankee batters.
One of my favorite Yankee memories fell on September 11, 1988. At six hours, it was the longest game I had ever attended both in time and innings, until a loss to the Red Sox that went one inning longer in 2015. The Tigers scored a run to go ahead, 4-3, in the top of the 18th inning, but Claudell Washington hit a two-run homer to win it for the Bombers in the bottom half.
Mickey Mantle went 3-for-4 with four rbi’s in a game in K.C. on September 11, 1963, but his first-inning homer would have been enough for friend Whitey Ford to get the 8-2 win.
Well, you heard it for years at Yankee Stadium before the Red Sox made it back to Baseball Nirvana in October 2004: “1918! 1918!” It was on September 11 of that year that the Red Sox won their last World Series before this Millennium, with the early scheduling mandated by the war effort (WWI).
Yankee second baseman Alfonso Soriano‘s three-run bomb into the black seats in Yankee Stadium’s center field on September 11, 2002, gave the Yanks a 4-0 lead over the Orioles. But Jay Gibbons crowned Baltimore’s four-run sixth-inning counter attack with a three-run jack of his own. The day had a happy ending as Nick Johnson singled in Jorge Posada for a 5-4 Yankee win in 11 innings. Earlier the team had a 65-inning string of no walks allowed broken when Orlando el duque Hernandez was charged with one when he went to his mouth on the mound with a 3-2 count on the batter.
Jack McDowell shut out the Indians for the Yankees at Jacobs Field 4-0 on September 11, 1995, but the thing that sticks out is the statistical rarity that the Bombers recorded no assists that day.
September 11, 1985, was the day that Pete Rose singled off San Diego’s Eric Show, passing Ty Cobb to become the all-time major-league hits leader with 4,192. On the same day the Yanks had an 11-game winning streak snapped by the Brewers, 4-3. Even with the loss, the Yanks had managed to close the gap between themselves and the first-place Jays to 2.5 games.
Dave Righetti got his 31st save on September 11, 1990, and the Yanks snapped Texas Ranger Bobby Witt‘s 12-game winning streak, as they scored two in both the seventh and eighth innings to come from behind, 5-4.
The Yanks’ Bob Meusel tied a record that Don Mattingly would also equal one day when he hit three sac flies on this day in 1926 in a 10-8 win over the Tigers.
The Yanks whipped the A’s 9-5 on September 11, 1956, and Yogi Berra tied the major-league career record for home runs as a catcher when he stroked his 236th.
Ex-Cuban compatriots squared off on September 11, 2000 in the makeup of a rained out game between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Boston’s Rolando Arroyo hasn’t enjoyed the same success as mound opponent Orlando Hernandez in the bigs, but that day was his, as he shut out the Yankees 4-0. Light-hitting Manny Alexander‘s two-run home run was the big blow.
Youth was served as 21-year-old Whitey Ford won his sixth in a row and 23-year-old Jackie Jensen had three hits including his first big-league homer in a 5-1 and 6-2 doubleheader sweep of Washington on September 11, 1950.
September 11 was another bad day on Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter‘s 2013 calendar, as the team placed him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to September 8, 2013 with a left ankle injury. The Yankees also designated righty reliever Jim Miller for assignment.
Former Yankee prospect Eric Milton no-hit the Angels 7-0 for the Twins on September 11, 1999. And Atlanta’s Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers, and Alejandro Pena collaborated on a 1-0 no-hit win over San Diego on the same day, in 1991. Also, on the same 1999 day as Milton’s no-no, Doug Jones recorded the 300th save of his career in a 5-4 Oakland win over Tampa Bay.
During a 4-2 win over the Red Sox on September 11, 1966, John Miller became the first Yankee to homer in his first major league at bat, his only homer in Pinstripes. Three years later he hit his only other home run in his last major league at bat too, this time for the Dodgers.
The Yankees clinched the 1932 pennant on September 11 with their 100th victory of the season, a 9-3 win over the Indians hurled by George Pipgras.
If anyone tells you that no one has approached the back-to-back no-hitters thrown by Johnny Vandermeer, tell them about Howard Ehmke. After having no-hit the A’s four days before, he faced and retired 27 straight Yankees on September 11, 1923, in a 3-0 win. The Yankee crowd protested the official scorer’s decision that Whitey Witt‘s grounder off third baseman Howard Shanks leading off the game was a hit, and that the call should be reversed, but to no avail.
The Yanks do not “always win,” no matter what you’ve heard. On September 11, 1940, their 3-1 victory over the Indians in the first of two moved them into first place, but the 5-3 Game Two loss ended their stay, the only Yankee visit to the top spot that season.
On September 11, 2017, the Yankees reassigned outfielder Clint Frazier to the minor leagues.
The Yankees recalled righthander Chris Martin from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on September 11, 2015.
On September 11, 2012, the Yankees recalled outfielder Melky Mesa from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees called up catcher Austin Romine from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on September 11, 2011.
The Highlanders (Yankees) parted company with two of their best pitchers from their very early years on September 11. After they sold Jack Powell to the Browns in 1905, he recorded almost 90 more victories by 1912. But not to worry that they lost Jack Chesbro on waivers to the Red Sox in 1909. Chesbro pitched and lost one game for the Sox before ending his career.
Also a waiver deal, the Yanks picked up St. Louis pitcher Gerry Staley on this day in 1955 for the stretch run, but he would only pitch in three games for the Yanks, one of them the following year, with no decisions.
Speaking of Jack Powell, the Highlanders prevailed over him and the Browns in a 5-4 win on September 11, 1912. But even though Powell was removed from a game start with his team down, and St. Louis never tied the score, reliever George Baumgartner was officially saddled with the loss.
Even though he failed to impress me with his professionalism when he played with the Yanks, and he did a horrible job with the Mets before that, Tony Fernandez was much beloved in five different stints with Toronto. On this day in 1998, he homered for two and drove in a third run with a single in a 6-4 Blue Jays victory over the Yankees.
The Yankees defeated the A’s 5-3 behind Hank Johnson on September 11, 1928 in a game in which Ty Cobb made his last appearance as a batter. Cobb popped out to shortstop Mark Koenig in the ninth after Babe Ruth‘s two-run eight-inning homer had sealed the win for New York.
One year earlier, after losing the first 21 games between the clubs, the Browns finally beat the Yankees in their last 1922 contest on September 11, 1927. Milt Gaston collected the 6-2 win on a five-hitter.
The Yanks hosted NFL analyst John Madden in the Guiliani seats next to the Yankee dugout on September 11, 2003, and players wore patches while all the flags were at half mast. Roger Clemens bested Nate Corneijo of the Tigers 5-3 behind Nick Johnson and Bernie Williams home runs.
When Johnny Marcum of the A’s pitched his second shutout in just his second major league game in an 8-0 win over the White Sox on September 11, 1933, he equalled the record that had been set by Slow Joe Doyle of the Highlanders back in 1906.
Babe Ruth hit the 50th of his record 60 1927 home runs in a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Browns in Yankee Stadium on September 11 of that year.
Jose Lima won his 20th game of the 1999 season in the Houston 5-3 defeat of the Cubs on September 11, in the year before homer-friendly Minute Maid (originally Enron) Field was opened; and former Yankee prospect LaMarr Hoyt won his 20th over the Angels for the White Sox on September 11, 1983.
When eventual Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter played right field in his 2,000th game for the A’s on September 11, 1955, he was in between two stints with the Yankees that spanned five seasons.
Johnny Damon‘s 5-for-5 with two doubles and a home run in a 6-3 Kansas City win over Seattle in 2000 is the first of two September 11 highlights featuring future or former Yankee players that we’ll cover today. Three years earlier, John Olerud only had four hits in five at bats, but he hit for the cycle in a 9-5 Mets win over Montreal on September 11, 1997.
Third baseman Mike Gazella (1978) shares the fact that he ended his career with the club with the other two Yankee players who have died on September 11, but in Mike’s case, he played his only ball in New York. He had 85 hits in 352 at bats good for 32 rbi’s (no homers) playing 180 games with the Yanks between 1923 and 1928. Lefty-hitting first baseman Ham Hyatt (1963) managed 30 safeties in 131 ab’s, with two home runs and 10 runs driven in, playing 53 games with the 1918 team. A 1909-1914 stint with Pittsburgh and a 1915 stop in St. Louis bring his umbers up to 10 and 146. Outfielder Braggo Roth (1936) also hit two home runs with 10 rbi’s in New York, managing those numbers by getting 43 hits in 152 at bats in 43 games for the 1921 Yankees. Playing much of the time from 1914-1921 with the Indians and the White Sox, Roth reached 30 fences overall, good for 422 runs knocked in.
Two noteworthy nonYankee players to have died this day spanned the 19th and 20th centuries. Second baseman Bill Hallman (1920) hit most of his 21 long balls and drove in 769 runs with the Phillies from 1888-1903; and portsided outfielder Jack McCarthy (1931) hit seven home runs and knocked in 474 runs from 1893-1907 with the Blues, the Cubs, the Reds, the Pirates, and the Dodgers.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Some fans will remember catcher Don Slaught (1958), so we’ll list him first among the six Yankees born on September 11. Don hit 14 homers and got 81 rbi’s for the Yanks in 1988 and 1989, but those were hard days to root for the team, and what I remember of his work most was that no baserunner could steal center field, because that was where most of his throws ended up. Don played several years in K.C. for the Royals and in Texas for the Rangers, from whom the Yankees got him for Brad Arnsberg in November 1987. Then once New York sent Don to Pittsburgh for Jeff Robinson and Willie Smith in December 1989, he played there for a few years before finishing up with quick stops with the Angels, White Sox, and Padres.
Righthander Bill Hogg (1881) posted a 37-50 record while pitching for the 1905 through 1908 Highlanders, his only service in the big leagues. Frank Kitson (1869) had thrown a ton of innings for several clubs, including Brooklyn, Detroit, and Washington, by the time he finished up with the Hilltoppers (Yankees) in 1907, but he had a bit left, as he went 4-0 in 17 games, seven of them starts. The Highlanders purchased Kitson’s contract from the Washington Senators in July 1907.
The fourth Yankee birthday to which we referred is lefthanded hitting outfielder Steve Brodie (1868), who hit two home runs with 41 rbi’s for the 1901 Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that would move to New York and become the Highlanders in 1903.
Yankees 2007 rookie Matt DeSalvo (1980) has now become the fifth September 11 Pinstriped birthday celebrant. Pressed into action perhaps sooner than he should have been due to a string of bizarre injuries to the Yankee starting staff, the young righthander posted a 1-3 2007 record in seven games, six of the starts. He has one appearance with Atlanta in 2008.
And with the promotion of AAA third baseman Brandon Laird (1987) to the Yanks in 2011, the birthday list grows one more. Originally drafted by Cleveland in 2005, Laird did not sign, but did once the Yanks drafted him in 2007. Laird had four hits playing 12 games with the Yanks in 2011, but was designated to clear roster space in 2012. He has since added three home runs and nine rbi’s to the one run batted in he collected in the Bronx playing for the 2012-2103 Houston Astros.
Based on his 2014 performance alone, Jacoby Ellsbury (1983) deserves to leapfrog Slaught at al, now that he has joined the Yankee family. Following a second place finish in MVP voting and three AL stolen base titles during seven seasons in Boston (65 homers, 314 rbi’s), Ellsbury was a hitting, fielding, and baserunning spark plug for the 2014 Yankees. A late first-round pick for the Red Sox in 2005, Jacoby has been a disappointment in pinstripes, however, particularly offensively, and he has proven incapable of staying on the field and playing due to a litany of injuries.
Lefthander Nik Turley (1990) did not make his majpr league debut until 2017 with Minnesota, but we’ll list him among the Yankees because he was originally drafted by New York in the 50th round of the 2008 draft. He was released, then re-signed in 2014, but has been signed by several teams since his second release. Nik made 10 appearances with the 2017 Twins, three of them starts, to an 0-2 record.
Other birthdays: Larry Bearnarth (1941); Dave Roberts (1944); Ellis Burks (1964); Eduardo Perez (1969); Tom Davey (1973); Frank Francisco (1979); Bobby Cassevah (1985); Kyle Blanks (1986); Andrew Cashner (1986); Brandon Laird (1987); Mike Moustakas (1988); Zeke Spruill (1989); Shawn Armstrong (1990); Andrew Suarez (1992); and Evan Phillips (1994).
Players Born This Day