Brian Mitchell and Boston’s Clay Buccholz put up zeroes through seven innings in a September 28, 2016, battle in Yankee Stadium, but things looked bleak when the Red Sox plated three in the eighth on an error and Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts doubles. Closer Craig Kimbrell came on in the ninth to not only finish the win, but also give the visitors the opportunity to celebrate clinching the AL East title on the Stadium field. But Brett Gardner reached on a single, and Kimbrell walked the next three to force in a run. Once he was replaced by Joe Kelly, things looked bad again when the hard thrower got two quick outs on six pitches. But then in the defining moment of his final year, the retiring Mark Teixeira sent what was left of 35,000 fans dancing and cheering like we had just won the World Series with a grand slam home run to right field, 5-3 Yankees!
There is little doubt which Yankee September 28 highlight deserved to lead off this column for years (I moved it to the number two position after the stirring 2016 win described above), as it was the doubleheader sweep over the rival Red Sox on this day in 1951. In Game One, Allie Reynolds immortalized himself by becoming the only American League hurler to ever throw two no-hitters in the same season, as he bested the Boston club, 8-0, in his seventh shutout of the year. This is the game that could have cemented Yogi Berra‘s name in infamy, as he dropped Ted Williams‘s foul pop for what should have been the 27th out, but Ted followed with another pop behind the plate, and Yogi didn’t miss twice. Then in the second game, the Bombers clinched their 18th pennant and Vic Raschi won, 11-3. Mickey Mantle knocked in three with a couple of two-base hits, and Joe DiMaggio hit a three-run homer, the final one of his career.
Righthander Sonny Gray was sailing along with a 4-1 lead on visiting Tampa on September 28, 2017, when it all fell apart in a seven-run fifth inning. Two outs and two singles in, it looked harmless enough, but a walk, wild pitch, passed ball, and error turned it ugly, then Wilson Ramos‘s homer had the Rays up. Jonathan Holder did not live up to his name in relief, as his outing yielded a hit by pitch, rbi single, and then two-run triple, and the 9-6 defeat was all but a done deal.
September 28, 2009, was a doubly big day for Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano, and not just because the first of his two hits went for two bases. The Yanks had inched ahead of the K.C. Royals 3-2 on a Shelley Duncan‘s rbi single in the sixth, but the home team broke this one open in the seventh with a five spot. That onslaught was topped off by Cano’s grand slam home run, which not only gave the Yanks the 8-2 margin by which they finally prevailed, but also set a Yankee record as Robbie became the fifth player on the team to have reached the 25-home-run total. Also of note is that Yankees shortstop Ramiro Pena hit his first career home run. On the downside, it was a messy, rainy night in the Bronx, and the fans were doing the wave in the second inning.
Initially, things seemed to be going the Yanks’ way in a September 28, 2015, battle with the Red Sox in the Stadium. Leadoff men Mookie Betts and Jacoby Ellsbury, respectively, stroked doubles in the first, but only Jacoby scored, with Betts out at the plate on a fielder’s choice grounder to Chase Headley at third. Up against a game Eduardo Rodriguez, Ivan Nova kept the visitors at bay until, with two down in the sixth, he gave up a Xander Bogaerts double and Brian Shaw home run on consecutive pitches. Jackie Bradley, Jr. homered for two more in the seventh, and Boston won going away, 5-1.
The Yanks have played and won first games of the World Series on September 28 on two occasions. In the latter in 1955, Whitey Ford topped Don Newcombe of the Dodgers, 6-5. In a controversial play, Jackie Robinson closed the gap to one run in the eighth with a steal of home, though Yankee catcher Yogi Berra always claimed to have tagged him out. But Yankee naysayers answer that argument by claiming that Yogi balked by receiving Ford’s pitch before the batter could swing. The point is moot, as Brooklyn failed to plate the equalizer.
In 1932, the Yankees beat the Cubbies in Game One, 12-6, behind Lou Gehrig‘s home run.
Babe Ruth made one of his few pitching starts for the Yanks on September 28, 1930, in the place where he had established his credentials in that respect, the mound in Fenway Park. He bested his old mates, 9-5. Lou Gehrig had his errorless games streak of 885 snapped, playing in the outfield rather than at the familiar first base.
One of the more interesting things about Daniel Cabrera‘s one-hit, 7-1 win in Yankee Stadium pitching for the Orioles on September 28, 2006, is that the Yanks plated their run long before they stroked a hit. Bobby Abreu scored in the home seventh after reaching on an error. He moved up on two passed balls and crossed the plate on yet another miscue. The O’s pounded Darrell Rasner for five runs in the the first three frames, and Cabrera was masterful until childhood friend Robinson Cano reached him for a clean single with one down in the ninth. Abreu bounced into a game-ending 6-6-3 on the next pitch.
The Yanks’ David Wells bested fellow lefty Eric Dubose of the Orioles 3-1 on a rainy Sunday in Yankee Stadium on September 28, 2003. Third baseman Drew Henson scored one of his three career runs when he singled before an Alfonso Soriano home run in the third. It was the last Yankee game of the regular season.
Much of the sports world had their eyes on Yankee Stadium on September 28, 1976, but not watching the Yanks, as Muhammad Ali retained his heavyweight boxing championship in a close 15-round decision over Ken Norton.
Andy Pettitte and three relievers beat Roger Clemens and the Red Sox 4-2 on September 28, 1996, in Roger’s last appearance in Fenway Park in a Red Sox uni. Clemens struck out 10, but he allowed homers by Mike Aldrete and Bernie Williams.
The Bronx Bombers spoiled one of several frustrating bids White Sox hurler Early Wynn made for his 300th win when they scored two in the seventh and four in the eighth to beat Chicago, 7-3, on September 28, 1962.
The Yankees and Stump Merrill set a dubious record on this day in 1991, when the team failed to record a complete game for the 75th straight game. Reliever Greg Cadaret took the 5-4 loss to the Indians.
The Pinstripers clinched their sixth pennant on September 28, 1928, as Babe Ruth crushed his 53rd home run of the year and George Pipgras beat the Tigers, 11-6.
Mickey Mantle nailed down the 1960 home run title over Roger Maris on September 28 when he hit his 39th and 40th off Washington’s Chuck Stobbs in a 6-3 Yankee win.
In what was billed as a pitchers’ duel three weeks after both starters had thrown no-hitters, the Yankees crushed Howard Ehmke and the Red Sox, 24-4, behind Sam Jones on September 28, 1923. Of the Yanks’ 30 hits, Babe Ruth had five with two doubles and his 28th homer, Wally Schang had five hits, and Lou Gehrig included three doubles in his four safeties.
On September 28, 2014, the Yankees sent lefthander Josh Outman outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On September 28, 2013, the Yankees placed catcher Francisco Cervelli on the 60-day disabled list, with a sore right elbow. At the time, Francisco was finishing up his 50-day PED suspension.
The late Darryl Kile won his 20th game of the 2000 season for the Cardinals on September 28 with a 7-6 decision over San Diego. Cincinnati’s Tom Browning won his 20th on this day in 1985, his rookie year, beating the Astros, 5-2; and Joaquin Andujar got his 20th in 1984. Going those guys one (or several better) were Alvin Crowder of the Browns with his 21st, 4-3 over Washington in 1928; Chicago’s Dick Ellsworth upped the ante by one with his 22nd in a 4-1 win over Milwaukee in 1963; Brooklyn Dodger (and one-time Yankee) Dazzy Vance won his 28th on September 28, 1924, and eventually won the league mvp award over Rogers Hornsby; the similarly nicknamed Dizzy Dean blanked the Reds 4-0 for number 29 in 1934; and Cleveland’s Jim Bagby won his 30th this day in 1920.
The only downside to a 7-0 Yankee victory over the Orioles on September 28, 2001, in Yankee Stadium is that Chuck Knoblauch suffered a hyperextended wrist in a game try at Jerry Hairston‘s soft liner in front of him in the home fifth. It was Mike Mussina‘s sixth, 10-strike-out game of the season, and Moose joined Roger Clemens as the first Yankee teammates to record 200 K’s in the same season since 1904. Tino Martinez tripled and doubled twice, Bernie Williams went yard, and Derek Jeter scored three runs.
The accomplishment Denny McLain achieved in his 31-win season in 1968 is further enhanced when you realize that he left his bid for no. 32 leading 1-0 after seven innings. The Senators scored two in the ninth off Tigers reliever Don McMahon to deny Denny in a 3-2 final on September 28.
Leaving the game early to prepare for his wedding the next day, Lou Gehrig gave way at first base to Babe Ruth after three frames in an eventual 11-9 Yankee win over the Senators on September 28, 1933.
On September 28, 1960, Ted Williams crushed a 450-foot home run off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher in the Splinter’s last major league plate appearance. The Red Sox won the game 5-4.
The doubleheader the Yankees split in Washington on September 28, 1949, kept them a game within the Red Sox, with a two-game series vs. Boston in the Bronx looming. New York fell to the Senators 4-3, and then rallied for a 7-1 win of their own.
In their last game as the Boston Braves, the franchise that stopped in Milwaukee and now plays in Atlanta played a 5-5 tie in Brooklyn on September 28, 1952.
The Yankees and the Tigers split two in the Stadium on September 28, 1925. Detroit took the first 6-2 behind Ken Holloway. New York’s Ben Shields prevailed in the 7-6 nightcap despite surrendering two home runs to Jess Doyle, the only two roundtrippers of his career.
It is long delayed justice that Bruce Sutter is finally in the Hall of Fame. He saved Andujar’s 20th win (mentioned above) on September 28, 1984, tying the major-league record with his 45th save.
It was the most pitchers sharing a no-hitter until the Astros had six contribute to theirs over the Yanks in 2003, as A’s Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad, and Rollie Fingers blanked the Angels 5-0 on September 29, 1975, allowing no safeties. One year to the day earlier, Nolan Ryan threw his third no-no for the Angels, blanking the Twins, 4-0, despite allowing eight walks.
The Highlanders (Yankees) tumbled the Browns on this day in 1911, 18-12, on 29 hits, 20 walks, 12 errors, and 15 (of 20) stolen bases, including a record six in one inning. Some refer to this as the worst game ever played.
When Manager Frank Chance was released by the Cubs on September 28, 1912, it freed him up to be hired by the Yankees for two years.
Fans wondering why Hideki Matsui plays for the Yankees with the number 55 on his back would find their answer on September 28, 1964. That day, star Japanese power hitter Sadaharu Oh hit his 55th homer of the 130-game season. It was his highest total, and a record.
L.A. Dodger Orel Hershiser extended his all-time consecutive-scoreless-inning record to 59 innings on September 28, 1988. Amazingly, in this game largely ineffective one-time Yank Andy Hawkins also threw 10 scoreless frames for the Padres, who finally prevailed 2-1 in 16 innings.
His manager Felipe Alou played for the Yanks, and Greg Harris threw in three games for the Bombers in 1994. But the reason he is featured in our list of September 28 items involving one-time Yankee players is the uniqueness of what he did on this day in 1995. When Harris faced four batters in the ninth inning of a 9-7 Expos loss to the Reds, he faced two throwing righty and two throwing from the port side. He thus became the first ambidextrous major league thrower since Tony Mullane in 1893.
There are two Yankee players who have died on September 28 who played third base, and lefty thrower John Frill (1918). Frill debuted pitching 10 games (five starts) for the 1910 Highlanders to a 2-2-1 mark, a record that grew to 3-3-1 after he hurled a combined 16 games (10 starts) for the Bronws and the Reds in 1912. The 13 games Jim Cockman (1947) played for the 1905 Highlanders, during which he had two rbi’s and four hits in 38 at bats, were his only ones in the bigs; while Norm McMillan (1969) racked up 11 runs batted in hitting 20-for-78 in 33 games while debuting with the 1922 Yanks. Stints with the Red Sox (1923), the Browns (1924), and the Cubs (1928-29) increased his numbers to six home runs and 147 rbi’s.
Outfielder Moose Solters (1975) is the only noteworthy nonYankee September 28 player death. He cleared 83 fences and knocked in 599 runs from 1944-1943 with the Red Sox, the Browns, the Indians, and the White Sox.
Players Who Have Died This Day
After days of very few Yankee birthdays, nine players come to the party September 28, with the emphasis on guys who used their left arms. After five years mostly in Minnesota, lefty Pete Filson (1958) went 1-0 in seven games for the 1987 Yankees. Filson was selected by the Yanks in the ninth round of the June 1979 amateur draft. He was traded with Larry Milbourne, John Pacella, and cash to the Minnesota Twins for Butch Wynegar and Roger Erickson in May 1982. He subsequently returned to New York with Randy Velarde in a January 1987 trade with the White Sox that sent Yankees Scott Nielsen and minor-leaguer Mike Soper to Chicago.
Fellow lefty Dave Rajsich (1951) got his big-league start in the Bronx, with an 0-0 mark in four games (two starts) for the 1978 World Champs, before tossing two years in Texas. Also a Yankee draft pick (September 1974), Rajsich was traded with Mike Heath, Sparky Lyle, Larry McCall, Domingo Ramos, and cash to the Texas Rangers for Dave Righetti, Juan Beniquez, Mike Griffin, Paul Mirabella, and minor-leaguer Greg Jemison in November 1978.
Two seasons before Rajsich’s stop in New York, Grant Jackson (1942), throwing from the same side, posted a 6-0 record with one save for the ’76 pennant winners after several years in both Philly and Baltimore; he toiled afterward in Pittsburgh. Jackson arrived in a June 1976 blockbuster with the Baltimore Orioles with Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Ellie Hendricks, and Ken Holtzman as the Yankees sent Rudy May, Tippy Martinez, Dave Pagan, Scott McGregor, and Rick Dempsey south. Grant was lost to the Seattle Mariners as the 11th pick in the 1976 expansion draft. And portsider Wilbur Good (1885) debuted as a lefty hurler in the Bronx with an 0-2 mark in five games in 1905, before switching positions and having a fruitful 11 years in the outfield in Cleveland, Boston (the Braves), Philly, and both sides of Chicago.
The two position players birthdaying today were righties who only batted from the left side: Outfielder Whitey Witt (1895) hit 11 homers and 177 rbi’s in New York in 1922 through 1925 after being purchased from the Philadelphia Athletics in April 1922. Whitt had played six years with Philly and overall he hit 18 taters with 302 rbi’s. First baseman Jack Fournier (1889) hit no homers with 12 rbi’s in 27 games for the 1918 Yankees, and he played big-league ball in 13 other seasons both before and after, in Chicago, St. Louis, and Brooklyn.
Newest to the Yankee fold in 2015 was center fielder Slade Heathcott (1990), who, after some injury problems in the minors, finally made the big time when Jacoby Ellsbury went down with an injury. Between that promotion and a later September callup, Slade stroked 10 hits in 17 games, including two home runs and eight rbi’s, and made some sparkling plays in the field, though he suffered more injuries in that campaign as well. He was playing well in 2016, but any future he had in pinstripes fell to a roster crunch, and he was released in May; the White Sox signed him thereafter. Slade was the Yanks’ first-round pick in 2009.
Two other ballplayers birthdaying today spent time with the Yanks, though not on the field of play. Mike DeJean (1970) posted a pre-2004 24-24 mark with 52 saves for the Cardinals, the Brewers, and the Rockies, but struggled in Flushing with the Mets in 2005. He was a Yankee free agent selection in the 1992 amateur draft. Mike was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Joe Girardi in November 1995, and his record stood at 29-33 after 2005.
And shortstop Mario Guerrero (1949) was a 1968 free agent selection in New York, but he went to the Boston Red Sox in the March 1972 deal in which the Yankees sent Danny Cater to the Red Sox for Sparky Lyle. Guerrero hit seven home runs and knocked in 170 runs for the Red Sox, the Cardinals, the Angels, and the A’s from 1973-1980.
Other birthdays: Todd Worrell (1959); lefty reliever Ed Vosberg (1961), whom I’m sorry to report I’ll always remember most for a bad day for him, as he was arrested for scalping tickets to the All Star Game in Arlington when Texas hosted the mid-season classic; Todd Frohwirth (1962); Charlie Kerfeld (1963); Brian Banks (1970); Micah Owings (1982); Thad Weber (1984); Ryan Zimmerman (1984); Zach Stewart (1986); Jerry Sands (1987); Nick Greenwood (1987); Derrick Robinson (1987); Gary Brown (1988); Cameron Rupp (1988); Eddie Rosario (1991); Severino Gonzalez (1992); Justin Anderson (1992); Danny Mendick (1993); and Manuel Margot (1994).
Players Born This Day