September 12, 2015, was the day most Yankee fans turned from the expectation that they would wrest the AL East title from Toronto — who had blown past them to take a 2.5 game lead the night before after the Yanks had been in front of the division for months — and started to root for a Wild Card slot. With the home team up 4-1 in the middle innings of the first of two, Ben Revere and Edwin Encarnacion reached Michael Pineda with fifth-inning homers that tied the game 4-4. The game went to extras 5-5, until, in a disastrous frame, Bryan Mitchell and Chasen Shreve allowed four scores on one lone single, a slew of walks, and a hit by pitch. After dropping that one 9-5, the Bombers lost the nightcap 10-7, this despite two 3-run home runs off the bat of Brett Gardner.
September 12 has not been a kind day to Bryan Mitchell, who one year removed from that dreadful relief appearance against the Blue Jays, gave up six runs (just two earned though) while getting seven outs while starting an 8-2 loss to the visiting Dodgers. I’ll add that Yasiel Puig and Jason Turner homered for L.A., but both came late long after the Dodgers had taken control of the game. Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge provided the Yankee offense with a singleton jolt apiece.
It was a joy watching Bernie Williams climb the all-time Yankee list in a slew of offensive categories his last few years before he did himself and Yankee fans a great favor by refusing to play anywhere else in 2007. But Bernie’s great stats come not only from success over a long stretch of years, but some big days with his bat too. He chipped in two home runs and a single to the Yanks’ 12-3 win over the Tigers on September 12, 1996. His eight rbi’s gave David Cone a lot more support than he needed that day.
Bobby Abreu was pretty new to Pinstripes when he had his best Yankee inning in a 12-4 demolition of the Devil Rays in Yankee Stadium on September 12, 2006. The new Yankee right fielder homered and doubled in the first for six rbi’s. He settled for seven on the night with a third inning sac fly, which was just a few feet short of being a grand slam home run.
Another development from that September 12, 2006 win over Tampa Bay deserves to stand as its own highlight. It was that day that Hideki Matsui was finally activated from the disabled list after his horrific wrist break from several months before. Matsui batted ninth as Joe Torre‘s DH that night, and he went 4-for-4, scored two runs, and knocked in one.
Pedro Ramos gave up the second-most home runs to Mickey Mantle in his career (12), despite the fact that the two would eventually spend time as teammates. On September 12, 1962, Mickey reached the Indians’ righty for a three-run homer in the fifth inning, helping Whitey Ford to a 5-2 win.
On September 12, 1999, the Red Sox posted a 4-1 win in the Bronx for their first three-game sweep there since 1986.
Nick Johnson‘s three-run home run off Sean Douglass capped the Yanks’ five-run first against the Orioles on September 12, 2002 in a 7-3 Yankee win. Rookie outfielder Juan Rivera had three singles in as many at bats, and David Wells went eight innings for the win.
Wade Boggs and Bernie Williams led the way with four hits apiece when the Bombers broke through early against Roger Erickson with a five-run second in a 13-5 Yankee win over the Orioles in Yankee Stadium on September 12, 1997. Ramiro Mendoza went seven innings for the win.
The first eight innings were excruciating as Boston rookie (and eventual Met) Bobby Ojeda no-hit the Yankees for 24 outs in a game on September 12, 1981. Then Rick Cerone and Dave Winfield led off the Yankee ninth with back-to-back doubles. Alas, Mark Clear relieved, and preserved the 2-1 Red Sox win.
The Mets really did have a magical season back in 1969, evidenced by days like September 12, when they swept the Pirates in a double dip by identical 1-0 scores. The starting and winning pitcher in each game, Jerry Koosman and Don Cardwell respectively, each knocked in that lone deciding run.
Cecil Cooper, Ted Simmons, and Ben Ogilvie went back-to-back-to-back against the Yankees on September 12, 1982, the second time they accomplished the feat that year. But the Yanks prevailed, 9-8, giving Curt Kaufman his only Yankee win.
Cleveland had a big day on September 12, 1954. They drew the biggest crowd to Municipal Stadium (86,000-plus), and swept the visiting Yankees, 4-1 and 3-2.
Washington Senator Tom Cheney struck out 21 Orioles in a 16-inning game on September 12, 1962. The Senators outlasted the O’s, winning on Bud Zipfel‘s home run, 2-1.
Joe Torre removed Roger Clemens from the Yanks’ Opening Day 7-3 victory over Kansas City after the fireballer had struck out Joe Randa for the first out in the ninth inning on April 2, 2001. The strike out was Roger’s 3,509th, edging him past the total of the legendary Walter Johnson. Or did it? In a 2-0 win against the Highlanders (Yankees) on September 12, 1907, Johnson was only credited with four K’s when he apparently struck out five. With his new record in doubt, six days after whiffing Randa, Clemens struck out Shannon Stewart to lead off the April 8 game, to finally make the debate academic.
New York Met Dwight Gooden set a new rookie season strike out record when his 16 on September 12, 1954, increased his total to 251, six better than Herb Score‘s mark of 245, set 29 years earlier.
When Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski singled off Jim Beattie in a 9-2 Red Sox win over the Yankees on September 12, 1979, it was his 3,000th hit. He became the first AL player to collect both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
Hall of Famer “Iron Man” Joe McGinnity won most of his 246 games with the Giants, but he won 39 with the 1901 and 1902 Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that would move to New York as the Highlanders in 1903. Joe showed the reason for the nickname on September 12, 1901, as he hurled two complete games against Philadelphia. He won the first 4-3, but fell in the nightcap, 5-4.
Some losses are more painful than others. The Yankees blew a six-run lead over the Indians on September 12, 1950, as the Tribe plated four in the ninth off Allie Reynolds for an 8-7 Cleveland win. Luke Easler‘s three-run dinger was the big blow and the loss knocked New York out of first place.
On September 12, 2017, the Yankees sent first baseman Garrett Cooper on a rehab assignment to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On September 12, 2015, the Yankees recalled catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Slade Heathcott from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On September 12, 2014, the Yankees activated righthander David Phelps from the 15-day disabled list.
When Ralph Kiner of the Pirates hit his eighth home run in four games in a Pittsburgh 4-3 win over the Boston Braves on September 12, 1947, his achievement eclipsed that of Yankee Tony Lazzeri, who had reached the fences seven times in four games back in 1936.
When Tom Hughes pitched the Red Sox to a 10-1 win over the Highlanders on September 12, 1903, it was his 20th victory of the season.
And speaking of hurlers reaching the magical number 20 in victories, three other guys won their 20th games (or more) on September 12. Cincinnati’s Joey Jay got his in a 1-0 victory over the Braves in 1961; New York Giant Sam Jones beat the Phillies in 1959 for his; Mort Cooper of the Cardinals stopped the Dodgers for his no. 20 in 1942; and Dizzy Dean did them all six better by winning no. 26 in a 5-2 win over the Giants for the Cardinals on September 12, 1935.
The good news is that Yankee Steve Adkins gave up no hits in his major league debut against Texas on September 12, 1990. But he walked three, then retired the side in the first, coaxed an outfield fly to start the second, and then walked five in a row until he was removed. The Rangers won the game, 5-4.
Yankee shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh replaced Frank Chance as manager of the club on September 12, 1914, becoming at 23 the all-time youngest field boss.
First baseman Eddie Murray of the Orioles smacked career hit no. 2,000 during a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox on September 12, 1988, the same day that Atlanta’s Dale Murphy collected his 1,000th career rbi in another losing cause, 5-4 to Los Angeles.
White Sox Designated Hitter Minnie Minoso singled off Sid Monge during a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Angels on September 12, 1976. At 53, Minoso became the oldest ever to get a hit in the bigs.
The continuing sad saga of suspended Yankee outfielder Darryl Strawberry‘s career (and life) took another downward turn when he was sentenced to two years’ house arrest on September 12, 2000, after admitting he drove under the influence of medication and for leaving the scene of an accident.
One additional September 12 highlight involving two (in this case) future Yankee players took place in the deciding game of the 1920 World Series. Future Hall of Famers took the win and the loss for the Indians and the Dodgers respectively, and both guys would finish their careers in Pinstripes. Stan Coveleski outdueled Burleigh Grimes in the 3-0 win.
One of four Yankee players to have died on September 12, infielder Rollie Zeider (1967) stroked 37 hits in 159 at bats playing 50 games for the 1913 Yankees, with no homers and 12 rbi’s. But his greatest claim to fame is that he played for Chicago teams in three leagues, collecting overall numbers of five long balls and 253 driven in playing for the White Sox, the Whales (Federal League), and the Cubs in addition to the Yanks from 1910-1918. Lefty-hitting first baseman Pop Dillon (1931) makes the list based on the two hits he managed in two games (with no rbi’s or home runs) with the 1902 Baltimore Orioles team that would move to New York as the Highlanders the next year. Playing in Pittsburgh, in Detroit, and in Brooklyn from 1899-1904, he managed one long ball and drove in 116 runs. The other two Yanks played with this team only: Righty Cy Pieh (1945) pitched 43 games (12 starts) to a 9-9-0 record 1913-1915; and catcher Homer Thompson (1957) had no at bats in his only major-league game, with the 1912 Highlanders.
There are also four noteworthy nonYankee players who have died this day, a lefthanded and a righthanded pitcher, and two infielders who often played both second base and shortstop: Southpaw Sherry Smith (1949) won 114, lost 118, and saved 21 games from 1911-1927 playing with the Pirates, the Dodgers, and the Indians; and Bernie Boland (1973) posted a 68-53-12 mark from 1915-1921 with the Tigers and the Browns. Danny Richardson (1926) played more often at second, reaching 32 fences good for 558 rbi’s mostly for the Giants from 1884-1894; while shortstop was the position of choice of Granny Hamner (1993), who hit 104 home runs between 1944 and 1962, with 708 rbi’s, almost all of it with the Phillies.
Players Who Have Died This Day
I’ll begrudgingly include Pat Listach (1967) on my list of September 12 Yankee birthdays, even though he never played in Pinstripes, because I assume he was not culpable in the questionable trade in which the Yankees acquired him and Graeme Lloyd in 1996 from Commisioner Bud Selig‘s Milwaukee Brewers for Gerald Williams and Bob Wickman. Not able to appear in even one play because of a broken foot, Pat never took the field with the Bombers.
Lefty-hitting outfielder Keith Hughes (1963) debuted with the Yanks by going 0-for-4 with two K’s as a pinch hitter for the ’87 team, finishing up with the Phillies, Orioles, Mets, and Reds through 1993. The last two of those teams share the distinction with the Yankees of being clubs for whom Hughes played while never getting a hit. The Yankees got Keith from the Phillies with Marty Bystrom in a June 1984 trade for Shane Rawley. The Yanks shipped Hughes back to Philadelphia with Shane Turner for Mike Easler in June 1987.
Two other Yankee birthdays belong to All Stars and guys who spent almost all of their time in the Bronx. Lefty-hitting outfielder Charlie “King Kong” Keller played 12 of his 14 years (1939-1949, 1952) for the aptly named Bombers, as he contributed 184 homers and 723 rbi’s to the Yankee cause; righty Spud Chandler (1907) utilized his big-league baseball talents exclusively for the Yanks, fashioning a very respectable 109-43 mark with six saves from 1937 through 1947. The Yanks re-acquired Keller in September 1952 by signing him as a free agent, and released him the next month. Chandler’s 20-4 mark in 1943 netted him the league lead in wins and era, and the MVP Award.
Lefthander Steve Garrison joined the Yankee September 12 birthday club when he made one appearance early in the 2011 season. Steve was drafted by Milwaukee in 2005, was traded to the Padres in 2007, but the Yanks selected him off waivers in 2010, good timing for Steve. With Damaso Marte still working his way back, and the signing of Pedro Feliciano a total injury bust, the Bombers were short of lefties, which got Garrison into a game.
And finally, the Yanks signed outfielder Rich Barry (1940) as an amateur free agent before the 1958 season, and sent him to the Philadelphia Phillies in an unknown transaction in 1966. Barry never played for the Yankees, but he did get six hits in 32 at bats for Philadelphia in 1969.
I’ll lead off the other birthdays of note with that of lefty thrower Mickey Lolich (1940), whose greatest moment to me (and to him, I would imagine) was his 3-0 mark for the Champion Tigers in the 1968 World Series, the third win on two days’ rest; his worst moment (in my mind) came in that Series too, when he attributed his surrender of a couple of early-innings runs in his first start to Jose Feliciano‘s stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner before the game. Here’s some more: Mark L. Johnson (1975); Luis Castillo (1975); Sean Burroughs (1980); Macier Izturis (1980); Franquelis Osoria (1981); Clayton Richard (1983); Kyle Weiland (1986); Freddie Freeman (1989); Jose Urena (1991); Matt Wisler (1992); Andrew Faulkner (1992); Keynan Middleton (1993); and Tyler Danish (1994).
Players Born This Day