We who stood outside the Stadium’s gates for two hours-plus knew that no good was to be expected on the night of the — cue the dramatic organ flourish! — Mariano Bobblehead Disaster of ’13. Blaming the problem on a traffic mishap in poor ridiculed New Jersey, the Yanks were not ready to present the much-desired Mo tributes to thousands who showed up hours early for them, and eventually arranged a strange and unending collection line for the late-arriving replicas on the Stadium’s ramps in the later innings of the game, long after a Matt Joyce first-inning leadoff homer keyed a three-run Tampa first. The visitors tacked on two runs each in the sixth and ninth innings in their 7-0 win, and 43,407 fans went home convinced they had lived through one of the most stressful and least satisfying giveaway experiences ever.
The final home stand of the 2015 season got off to a good start, a trend that would not continue, in a 3-2 win over the White Sox on September 24. Carlos Beltran reached ace lefty Chris Sale for a three-run jolt in the third and Michael Pineda kept the visitors off the board until Trayce Thompson homered in the sixth. Thompson would walk with the bases loaded in the seventh for the game’s final score.
It was with a sense of being resigned to our no-playoffs fate that Yankee fans attended the September 24, 2014, tilt, knowing it could — but wouldn’t — be Derek Jeter‘s last ever home game, with rain threatening the following game. It was a good thing the next one would be played, because Derek went 0-for-4 with a strike out in a 9-5 loss to the Division champion Orioles. Things started out well, as a Mark Teixeira rbi double, and singleton homers from Stephen Drew and Chase Headley, accounted for one run in each of the first three innings for a 3-0 lead, while rookie Shane Greene surrendered just one hit. But the two walks to load the bases in the third bespoke trouble to come, and six hits and a walk, mixed in with two strike outs, added up to a six-run O’s fourth. Tex’s two-run, eighth-inning jack could have made it interesting, but the visitors had scored three off Chase Whitley and David Phelps in the top half. Outfielder Eury Perez, selected off waivers from Washington two days before, made his Yankee debut (four games down the stretch) playing defense in the late innings.
The Yankees dedicated the Saturday, September 24, 2011, midafternoon game in Yankee Stadium to the memory of Roger Maris, hosting Roger’s grown children; his widow, Pat; three surviving sons of Mickey Mantle; along with Sal Durante, who caught Maris’s 61st home run in 1961; retired players Bob Cerv, Bobby Richardson, and Moose Skowron; Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra; and 1961 batboy Frank Prudenti in a pregame ceremony marking the 50-year anniversary of his feat, which would be achieved that year in one week. Paul Simon and Michael Jordan were in the stands as the Yanks drove Boston’s John Lester from the mound with eight runs in the second and third innings, keyed by a Derek Jeter three-run homer. Rookie Jesus Montero had three hits with a home run and four rbi’s in the 9-1 win.
Duane Kuiper collected both Indians hits in a 4-0 loss to the Yankees on September 24, 1978, as Ron Guidry threw his third two-hit shutout in a matter of weeks. Guidry, who had held the rival Red Sox to just a pair of safeties twice earlier in September, garnered his ninth shutout of the year, a new Yankee record, and one short of the AL southpaw season record set by Babe Ruth way back in 1916.
The Yanks swept both ends of a double dip from Cleveland on September 24, 1972, 5-4 and 8-3. In the first game they scored two unearned runs in the 11th on five Indians’ errors, all started when Thurman Munson kicked the ball out of second baseman Frank Duff‘s glove. Sparky Lyle set an AL record and tied a major league one when he earned his 35th save in Game Two. Another historical tidbit: The Stadium Scoreboard would play Pomp and Circumstance as the Yankee closer entered the game in those days. Lyle would notch the AL Cy Young in 1977.
The Yanks continued to struggle down the stretch in 2010, following dropping a home set vs. Tampa by falling to the Red Sox 10-8 in Yankee Stadium on September 24, 2010. Boston battered Andy Pettitte and Jonathan Albaladejo to a 10-1 lead through five, then withstood a furious comeback highlighted by one home run from Nick Swisher and two each from Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
Nothing went as planned in Yankee Stadium on September 24, 2007. First, the last scheduled regular-season game had taken place the day before, and the place was largely empty for a Monday day game makeup of a rainout from way back in April. Second, it was greeted as good news that Toronto co-ace A.J. Burnett could not go, and softer-throwing Jesse Litsch took his place. The Jays jumped on Andy Pettitte for four runs in the second and the third, while Litsch baffled the Yanks all day with a killer change of pace. The 4-1 Litsch five-hitter did feature one of the more bizarre plays of the year when Jorge Posada ripped a liner off first baseman Curtis Thigpen‘s body in the second. The unlucky carom went right to Aaron Hill at second, and Jorge was retired on a rare 3-4-1 groundout.
The Yanks set an AL high in number of wins in a season when they beat the Tigers 6-0 for their 106th, on September 24, 1927.
The 110 victories they eventually achieved that year stood as a franchise high until the same day in 1998, when they earned their 111th in a 5-2 win over Tampa Bay. That victory was keyed by Shane Spencer‘s grand slam, his eighth homer in 57 at bats. David Wells got the win over fellow lefty Wilson Alvarez.
Among my favorite memories is the 11-inning, 4-3 win the Yanks managed over Tampa Bay on September 24, 1999. We took my better half’s niece to her first game, and the Yanks rallied with two ninth-inning tallies on Darryl Strawberry and Chuck Knoblauch rbi singles off Roberto Hernandez. Better still, an 11th-inning walk-off home run against Norm Charlton by a Yankee rookie was his first major-league hit, rbi, and home run all at the same time. The youngster’s name? Alfonso Soriano.
The Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-5 in front of roughly 67,000 fans on Johnny Mize Day in the Bronx, September 24, 1950. Phil Rizzuto copped a single, double, and home run; Yogi Berra‘s four safeties included a triple; and Joe DiMaggio extended his hit streak to 15 games.
Mike Mussina was masterful in a September 24, 2002, 6-0 shutout of the Devil Rays in Yankee Stadium, striking out 12 and allowing just two singles. Bernie Williams‘s third-inning double was his 200th hit of the season. Two innings later, young Rays shortstop Felix Escalona made a fabulous play on Bernie’s fielder’s choice. The Yanks were so impressed they acquired him, and in 2005 he provided some valuable middle-infield backup on a team that uses little.
One year later, Mike Mussina had it going yet again, holding the hard-hitting White Sox to two hits and no runs through five innings, but then the roof caved in. Nine of the first 10 Palehose players stroked hits in the sixth, and eight of them scored, in a 9-4 Chicago win, on September 24, 2003.
The idle Yankees clinched their 23rd pennant when the A’s beat the White Sox 6-5 on September 24, 1957. It was the eighth flag under Casey Stengel.
Hall of Fame Tigers outfielder Al Kaline smacked his 3,000th hit on this day in 1974.
Mickey Mantle brought his whole game to the ballpark on September 24, 1960. His 11th-inning tater off Ted Wilks of the Red Sox gave the visiting Yanks the 6-5 victory, but he also accounted for the first Yankee run of the day on a drag bunt.
It was the Yanks over the Red Sox in Fenway two years earlier on September 24, 1958, 7-5, and Mickey Mantle‘s 42nd homer of the year was the big blow.
Much of the Shea Stadium sod was lost to the postgame celebration when the Miracle Mets clinched the NL East by beating Steve Carlton and the Cards 6-0 on September 24, 1969. They prevailed behind Gary Gentry‘s four-hitter and homers from Donn Clendenon and Ed Charles. Mr. Clendenon passed away in mid-September 2005.
When the Red Sox beat the Yankees 5-0 on September 24, 1934, in Yankee Stadium, the idle Detroit Tigers were guaranteed the pennant. It was also Babe Ruth‘s last ever home game in the “House That Ruth Built.”
When you go to ballgames in the South Bronx, one of the great things you experience is the voice of Bob Sheppard. Sometimes it’s just the everyday game and promotional announcements and player introductions; sometimes it’s something special. On September 24, 2000, we got the following phrase of mini tribute to the former Detroit Tiger, Aurelio Rodriguez, who had suddenly lost his life in an accident: “Outstanding third baseman and highly respected human being.” It carries more weight when Sheppard says it. Fitting that the Yankees hosted the Tigers that day. In the day’s game, the Yanks and Andy Pettitte beat the Tigers and a young righthander named Jeff Weaver (!) 6-2 on two Tino Martinez two-run home runs.
September 24, 20-game winners start with Dean Chance, who turned the trick for the Twins in a 9-2 win over the Yanks in 1967.
Other 20-game winners on the day: former Yankee Carl Mays for the Reds in 1924; Dave Stewart of the 1988 A’s; and Mike Cuellar of the Orioles and Al Downing of the Dodgers, both in 1971. Higher-number wins on the day start with the Reds’ Jim Maloney with 23 in 1963; Lefty Grove‘s 24th for the A’s in 1933, and that portsider’s 31st two years earlier; Christy Mathewson of the Giants, with his 25th in 1913; and Mathewson again with his 32nd in 1904. And Murry Dickson of the Phillies lost his 20th on September 24, 1954.
Yankee Tom Zachary earned an unequaled 12th win without a loss when he beat the Red Sox 5-3 on September 24, 1929.
The 1949 Yankee/Red Sox race was one of the closest ever, with the outcome undecided until the season’s last day. Boston closed to within one game of New York with a 2-0 Ellis Kinder shutout on September 24. The Red Sox righthander allowed just six hits, and Ted Williams smacked his 42nd home run.
On September 24, 2014, the Pirates claimed righthander Chaz Roe off waivers from the Yankees, and the Yanks signed free agent righty Yoel Espinal to a minor league contract.
On September 24, 2012, the Yankees signed free agent lefthanded pitcher Abel Mora.
Johnny Cooney of the Boston Bees hit the first home run of his already 15-year career in the Polo Grounds on September 24, 1939. He would stroke another the next day. These two taters on back-to-back days were the only ones he managed from 1920-1944.
Harvard alum Charlie Devers bested BC’s Eddie Gallagher on September 24, 1932, as the former won in his major-league debut for the Yanks over the Red Sox, 8-2. Babe Ruth hit his 41st homer, Lou Gehrig his 34th.
When George Caster of the Philly A’s allowed the Red Sox six homers in a 16-8 loss on September 24, 1940, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, and Jim Tabor all hit theirs in the sixth inning. Foxx’s was his 500th career tater.
Cardinals starter Stoney McGlynn threw a no-hitter in a seven-inning 1-1 tie against Brooklyn on September 24, 1906.
In a Yankee split of two with the Senators on September 24, 1920, Babe Ruth hit his 50th homer off Joe Acosta in the first inning of the early game, a 3-1 Washington win. But the Babe’s 51st dinger, and his 4-for-4 line in the second tilt, carried the Yanks to a 2-1 victory.
The Brooklyn Dodgers played and won their last game in Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957, a 2-0 victory over the Pirates.
It sounds like a negative highlight (or lowlight perhaps) when I report that in a Yankee/Red Sox contest on September 24, 1919, Red Sox star Babe Ruth set a new season home run mark with his 28th off Bob Shawkey and that Waite Hoyt threw nine perfect innings against the Yanks. But the 27-up, 27-down game segment Hoyt fashioned against the New Yorkers took place from the fourth through the 12th innings, and then the Yanks beat the Sox, 2-1, in 13.
Although the club was disappointed with their third-place AL finish in 1946, the 2,300,000-plus attendance they announced on September 24 once they finished their home schedule the day before smashed the old record.
Former Yankee Dave Winfield became the first 40-year-old big-leaguer to drive in 100 runs in a season when he stroked a two-run double off Baltimore’s Ben McDonald in Toronto’s 8-2 win on September 24, 1992.
The Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants held a round-robin New York playoff that concluded on September 24, 1931, with proceeds going to the unemployed in the wake of the Great Depression. The Dodgers lost to both inner-city rivals. Babe Ruth bested a distance record in hitting a home run batting righty in a fungo-hitting contest.
Late 2006 season pickup Craig Wilson is featured in the first of two additional September 24 highlights involving future or former Yankee players with other teams. On this day in 2001, Wilson tied the major-league record for pinch hitter home runs in a season with his seventh in a Pirates 7-6 win over the Cubs. And on September 24, 1998, future Yankee setup man Tom Gordon set a major league record with his 42nd consecutive save in a 9-6 Boston win over Baltimore.
“Turkey” Mike Donlin (1933), a lefty-hitting outfielder who hit 51 home runs and drove in 543 runs between 1899 and 1912 playing for the Perfectos, the Cardinals, the Reds, the Giants, the Rustlers, and the Pirates, makes the list of four Yankee players who have died on September 24 because he played 121 games for the 1901 AL Baltimore Orioles, the franchise that would be moved to New York as the Highlanders in 1903. Of those overall numbers, Mike hit five of the long balls with 67 rbi’s while getting 162 hits in 476 at bats for Baltimore. Catcher Sherm Lollar (1977) and two righty throwers at or near the end of long careers before donning the Pinstripes comprise the rest of the list. Lollar hit one home run and knocked in 10 runs batting 15-for-70 for the 1947-1948 Yanks, and reached 155 fences good for 808 rbi’s in a 1946-1963 career spent largely with the White Sox. The 24 games (18 starts) good for a 7-10-1 record Ernie Shore managed for the 1919-1920 Yankees crowned a nine-year stay spent largely with the Red Sox that netted an overall 65-43-5 mark. Red Embree (1996) won five and lost three in 20 games (eight starts) with the 1948 Yanks, and posted a 31-48-1 overall record from 1941-1949 career mostly spent with Cleveland.
Of three noteworthy nonYankees to die this day, righty Jeff Tesreau (1946) won 115, lost 72, and saved nine pitching for the Giants from 1912-1918; and lefty-hitting outfielder Dick Porter (1974) hit most of his 11 home runs with 282 rbi’s from 1929-1934 with Cleveland. Finally, I include lefty-hitting outfielder Lyman Bostok (1978), not just because of his 23 homers and 250 runs driven in with the Twins and the Angels from 1975-1978, but because many fans will remember that he was projected for much greater things before his tragic shooting death.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Left-handed outfielder Dixie Walker (1910) is one of six Yankees born on September 24. He debuted with the Yanks in 1931, amassing 16 homers and 58 rbi’s by the time he was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in May 1936. Dixie’s best year was 1933 when he recorded one homer and seven rbi’s of that Yankee total.
Third baseman Eric Soderholm (1948) ended his career with the 1980 Yankees, after five years in Minnesota, three with the White Sox, and part of a year with Texas. He chipped in with 11 homers and 35 rbi’s in 95 games for New York. They got him in a November 1979 trade with the Texas Rangers for minor-leaguers Amos Lewis and Ricky Burdette and cash. Soderholm was released by New York in October 1981.
Righthanded starting pitcher Jeff Karstens (1982) posted a 3-5 record with the Yanks in 2006-2007 in 15 games, nine of them starts, though his last Yankee win (12-11) was an extra-inning September 2007 battle with the Jays in which he pitched the last frame. Originally drafted by the Montreal Expos in 2000 but unsigned, Kartsens was selected by the Yankees in the 19th round three years later. He was one of four players sent to Pittsburgh for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady in 2008; he won his first two there, then lost five straight.
Righty Wally Hood (1925) appeared in only two major league games, both with the 1949 Yankees. He neither won, nor lost, nor saved, and allowed no runs either. A 1957 Yankees amateur free agent signing, third baseman/outfielder George Banks (1938) hit all nine of his homers and 27 rbi’s with the Twins and Indians from 1962-1966, once Minnesota took him from the Pinstripers in the 1961 rule-V draft.
The plethora of 2013 Yankee injuries is the only reason that the team’s September 24 birthday club grew by one player that season. With 10 third basemen and nine shortstops, first base comes up next, where free agent lefthanded first sacker Travis Ishikawa (1983) became one of at least seven to fill the position, albeit for just one game. He did not distinguish himself around the bag, and struck out in each of his two at bats. Drafted by the Giants in 2002, Ishikawa has accumulated most of his 19 home runs and 111 rbi’s with that West Coast club since 2006.
Other birthdays include Mike Gonzalez (1890), who caught for 19 years in the National League; and Hubie Brooks (1956). He was a seeming sureshot future Hall of Famer a few years ago, but the steroids controversy has dampened Rafael Palmeiro‘s (1964) prospects. Others: Scott Leius (1965); Bernard Gilkey (1966); Paul Spoljaric (1970); Kevin Millar (1971); Jamie Burke (1971); Carlton Loewer (1973); Jesse Garcia (1973); John McDonald (1974); Ben Broussard (1976); Pascual Coco (1977); Nate Cornejo (1979); Levale Speigner (1980); Rafael Rodriguez (1984); Scott Carroll (1984); Jake Goebbert (1987); Hunter Strickland (1988); Moises Sierra (1988); James Jones (1988); Jake Buchanan (1989); Michael Ynoa (1991); Drew Smith (1993); and Jose Torres (1993).
Players Born This Day