Babe Ruth gets top billing in a September 30 Yankee history column. He stroked legendary home run no. 60 off Tom Zachary this day in 1927, breaking a 2-2 tie with the Senators and carrying the Yankees to a 4-2 victory. Amazingly, the game also featured the last appearance of early-century pitching phenom Walter Johnson, winner of 417 career games. Johnson pinch-hit for Zachary and flied out to Ruth.
Seven years later, it was sadly Babe Ruth‘s turn, at least in terms of his Yankee career, as he played his last game for the Bombers on September 30, 1934. He went hitless in a 5-3 loss to a Washington team representing that same Senators franchise.
For all intents and purposes, baseball records show that the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-3 in Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS on September 30, but almost the entire game took place on Saturday, October 1. Delmon Young reached CC Sabathia for a home run in the top of the first, and Derek Jeter, who got to first base on a wild pitch as he struck out, scored on an Alex Rodriguez fielder’s choice, and the game stood at 1-1 after one. The rains came after CC retired the Tigers in the top of the second, and the game was resumed, with Doug Fister replacing Justin Verlander, and Ivan Nova taking the mound for Sabathia, the next day. Before this contest started, Mariano Rivera threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jorge Posada, who would retire following the season. We’ll report on the rest of the game when it took place, on October 1.
The Yanks and their fans thought they had caught a break when young Johan Santana had to leave the Twins/Yankees tilt in Game One of the 2003 ALDS on September 30 due to a right leg cramp with a 1-0 lead after four innings. But Rick Reed, J.C. Romero, Latroy Hawkins, and Eddie Guardardo finished off the 3-1 Minnesota win in the Bronx.
The bizarre “warmup” series between the Twins and the Yanks in the season’s last week before they were to meet in the ALDS one week later concluded in a tight battle on Thursday night, September 30, 2004. Minnesota home runs from Torii Hunter and Justin Morneau matched those of John Olerud and Hideki Matsui to forge a 4-4 tie after eight. But Bernie Williams reached Aaron Fultz for a two-run walk-off in the bottom of the ninth and the Yanks had a 6-4 win.
Derek Jeter‘s two-run, seventh-inning home run was too little too late as the Red Sox prevented the Yanks from clinching the 2005 AL East title in Fenway on September 30, 2005, with a 5-3 win. David Wells bested Chien-Ming Wang and Jason Varitek homered and knocked in two.
Waite Hoyt and Joe Bush bested the Red Sox, 3-1, on September 30, 1922, as the Yankees clinched their second AL pennant.
The Yanks beat the Tigers on September 30, 1984, long after the Detroit team had wrapped up the pennant, but that wasn’t the biggest battle in Yankee Stadium that day. Dave Winfield‘s 1-for-4 line wasn’t good enough, as Don Mattingly notched four hits in five tries to win the AL batting race over his teammate, .343 to .340. The Yanks won the game 4-2.
In the long run, it made losing the Division Series that much more painful, but it was an inspiring sight seeing Tim Raines, Derek Jeter, and Paul O’Neill go back-to-back-to-back in a come-from-behind, 8-6 win over the Indians on September 30, 1997. Ramiro Mendoza got the win as the Yanks took the first game in the best-of-five playoff.
And one year later the Bombers took a 2-0 ALDS lead over Texas in a 3-1 win behind Andy Pettitte and homers from Shane Spencer and Scott Brosius on September 30, 1998.
Young Yankee outfielder Rusty Torres homered on his 23rd birthday (see below) on September 30, 1971, as did Bobby Murcer and Roy White, and the Yanks took a 5-2 lead in the Senators’ final game in Washington, but big Frank Howard hit a grand slam and the home team went ahead, 7-5. It was all for naught, however, as the fans rushed the field with two outs in the ninth, and the game was awarded to the Yanks, 9-0, on a forfeit.
The Yanks set a new, if temporary, record for homers in a season when Tony Kubek and Jesse Gonder went yard for 192 in a 6-5 win over Boston on September 30, 1960.
“Much beloved” never fit as a description of Albert Belle, but he not only became the only major leaguer to hit both 50 homers and 50 doubles in the same year on September 30, 1995, he did it in a season shortened by a strike.
Mickey Mantle‘s second-inning homer off Mickey Lolich on September 30, 1964, ignited a five-run rally that carried the Yanks to a Game One 7-6 win over the Tigers, and a doubleheader sweep, as they took the second as well, 11-8.
Mike Witt of the Angels threw a Perfect Game 1-0 win over Texas on this day in 1984. Witt would close out his career with an 8-9 mark with the Yanks.
In 1951, the Yanks’ September 30 victims were the Red Sox, as Frank Shea fashioned their third shutout in succession, 3-0, and the Bombers completed a five-game series sweep.
The Yanks got off on the right foot in the 1953 World Series when they beat the Dodgers 9-5 in Game One on September 30. Carl Erskine walked the first three and Hank Bauer plated them with a triple. Even though the Dodgers rallied to tie it at five, the Yanks prevailed and Clem Labine took the loss.
September 30, 20-game winners lead off with two Yanks. Ed Figueroa got his in 1978, 7-0 over the Indians, clinching a tie for the pennant.
And eight years earlier Fritz Peterson won his 20th, in a 4-3 win over Boston, on September 30, 1970.
Other 20-game winners this day: Greg Maddux for the Cubs in 1992; David Cone for that other New York team in 1988; Oakland’s Dave Stewart in ’87; Kansas City’s Bret Saberhagen in 1985; Jerry Koosman for the Twins in 1979; Dennis Eckersley for the Red Sox in 1978; the Senators’ Camilo Pascual in 1962; and Ned Garver of the Cards in 1951. Don Drysdale got no. 23 in 1965 as did Phil Niekro in 1969. Phil and his brother, Joe Niekro, both got their 21st wins on September 30 in 1979. Chicago’s LaMarr Hoyt won no. 24 on this day in 1983 and Hal Newhouser of the Tigers made it to no. 29 in 1944. In addition, Carl Hubbell not only won his 22nd on September 30, 1937, it was the pennant clincher for the Giants. And from the baseball as a metaphor for failure list, Pete Alexander failed in a bid for no. 20 on this day in 1912, falling to King Bader of the Giants, who was making his first ever start.
The Yanks fell to the Orioles on September 30, 2000, by a 9-1 score, but Derek Jeter singled to right in the fourth for his third consecutive 200-hit season. He also scored the Yanks’ lone run from first on a Bernie Williams single on a hit-and-run play.
On the occasion of Cal Ripken‘s last game in Yankee Stadium on September 30, 2001, Chris Richard and Bernie Williams traded singleton home runs, and the game was called a 1-1 tie after 15 innings.
The Indians jumped on Yankee pitching for eight runs in the second inning of a September 30, 1980 game, with Ron Hassey collecting both a double and a home run in that bonus frame. Four homers were hit in the 12-9 Cleveland victory, with Reggie Jackson hitting one for the Yanks.
On September 30, 2011, the Yankees reassigned righthanders Scott Proctor, Hector Noesi, George Kontos, and Dellin Betances; lefties Aaron Laffey and Raul Valdes; outfielder Greg Golson; shortstop Ramiro Pena; third baseman Brandon Laird; and catcher Austin Romine to the minor leagues.
Once the Red Sox outlasted the Senators 11-9 on September 30, 1949, they headed to Yankee Stadium for the season’s last two games. A win in either one would give them the pennant.
Certainly the glummest moment in my Yankee fan experience happened when the Bombers fell 6-5 to the White Sox on September 30, 1966. Wins in the next two would prove to no avail; they finished one-half game behind Boston, 10th place in a 10-team league.
When George “Snuffy” Stirnweiss of the Yankees collected three hits in the Yanks’ 12-2 win over the Red Sox, the Bombers’ final game of the 1945 season, on September 30, he copped the AL batting title at .309. This would stand as the lowest batting title-winning average until Carl Yastrzemski barely broke .300 in 1968.
Southpaw Johnny Podres bested Bob Turley of the Yankees 8-3 on September 30, carrying the Dodgers to their first win of the 1955 World Series after the Yanks had taken the first two.
On September 30, 1942, the Yanks won the first game of the World Series over the Cardinals 7-4 behind Red Ruffing, but St. Louis did all their scoring in the ninth inning. They would not stop scoring until they swept the next four games.
Of the seven hits Carl Hubbell of the Giants allowed on September 30, 1936, the only one that did any damage was George Selkirk‘s home run, as the Giants beat the Yankees in the Series opener, 6-1.
Spec Shea outdueled Ralph Branca 5-3 in front of 73,000-plus in Yankee Stadium on September 30, 1947. The Yanks had drawn early blood in the first televised World Series.
On September 30, 1962, Mickey Mantle homered and went 2-for-3 to place him second in the AL batting race (at .321), but the Yanks fell 8-4 to Ray Herbert of the White Sox.
It was an unenviable record that Detroit had in its grasp in 2003, as it was on this same day in 1962 that the Mets lost their 120th game. The triple play the Cubs turned in beating New York 5-1 was hit into by catcher Joe Pignatano, in his last major-league at bat. Detroit escaped equaling the record.
The Bombers closed the 50th year playing at Yankee Stadium by losing 8-5 to the Tigers on September 30, 1973.
Nolan Ryan notched his sixth 300-strike-out season when he shut out the Angels on this day in 1989.
White Sox southpaw Doc White had the best month of his career in September 1904. When he blanked the Highlanders 4-0 on the 30th, it gave him six shutouts in the month, of the seven he managed that year.
The Red Sox moved into a tie for the AL Pennant with a 1-0, 10-inning win over the Yankees on September 30, 1916, with Dutch Leonard outlasting Nick Cullop. Chicago’s loss the following day gave Boston the flag.
Both George Brett of the Royals and Roberto Clemente notched their 3,000th major-league hits on September 30. George got his in a 4-0 Royals win over the Angels in 1992; Clemente’s was a double off Jon Matlack in a 5-0 Pirates win over the Mets in 1972. It was Roberto’s last hit, as he would pass away on a mission of mercy to Nicaragua before the next season.
One last September 30 highlight by a one-time Yankee has Yankee hurler Doug Drabek pitching Pittsburgh to their first NL East title since 1979 on this day in 1990 with a 2-0, three-hitter vs. St. Louis.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Second baseman Del Pratt (1977) is the only one-time Yankee player to have died on September 30. He had 285 hits in 1,004 at bats playing 294 games with the 1919-1920 Yankees, good for eight home runs and 111 rbi’s, but his presence paid yet another dividend when he was one of several traded to Boston for Waite Hoyt after the 1920 season. He had played six years with the Browns, and once his two years with the Red Sox and Tigers were up, his overall numbers from 1912-1924 were 43 long balls and 968 runs driven in.
Former Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry succumbed to brain cancer at the age of 45 on September 30, 1998. “Quiz,” who easily leads off a list of three noteworthy nonYankee pitchers and two position players in this regard, posted most of his 56-46 record with 244 saves with the Royals from 1979-1990. Righthanders Jack Harper (1950), 80-64-1 primarily with the Reds and Cards from 1899-1906; and Nels Potter (1990), who garnered most of his 92 wins, 97 losses, and 22 saves for the A’s and the Browns from 1936-1949; join southpaw Red Russell (1973), who threw only for the White Sox to an 81-59-13 mark from 1913-1919 on the pitcher list. Outfielder/infielder George Shoch (1937) reached 10 fences and knocked in 323 runs from 1886-1897 playing mostly for the Senators and the Bridegrooms; and lefty-hitting third baseman Hank Thompson (1969) blasted 129 long balls and drove in 482 runs from 1947-1956, playing all but one year with the Giants.
Players Born This Day
Switch-hitting outfielder Rusty Torres (1948), who made his debut with the Yanks in 1971 and delivered five homers during that season and the next with 16 rbi’s, may be the most recognizable of the five Yankees born on September 30. He continued his career playing for American League teams in Cleveland, California, Chicago, and Kansas City from 1973 through 1980. Torres was a Yankee free agent selection in the 54th round of the 1966 amateur draft, and he was traded with John Ellis, Jerry Kenney, and Charlie Spikes to the Cleveland Indians for Graig Nettles and Jerry Moses in November 1972.
Lefty outfielder Scott Lusader (1964) finished up playing with the Yanks mostly on defense and as a baserunner as his having just seven at bats in 11 games for the ’91 club implies. He played for the Tigers from 1987 through 1990, and contributed one rbi to the Yankee cause in those seven at bats. He was selected off waivers by the Yanks from the Detroit Tigers in April 1991, and was released that October.
Righty Johnny Allen (1905) posted an impressive 50-19 mark with five saves for the Yanks in his debut years of 1932 through 1935 before pitching another nine years for the Indians, the Dodgers, the Browns, and the Giants. Allen was traded to the Indians in December 1935 for Monte Pearson and Steve Sundra.
Backstop Gabby Street (1882) hit no homers with six rbi’s in 29 games with the 1912 Highlanders. Street was acquired from the Washington Senators with Jack Lelivelt in December 1911 for John Knight and Roxey Roach. Third baseman Zinn Beck (1885) notched one rbi in 11 games for the 1918 Bombers after playing four years in St. Louis. And Hall of Famer Roberts, feted in the paragraph below, actually signed with the Yanks in October 1961, but he was released by them the following May without ever having toed their mound.
Other birthdays: Hall of Fame Philly hurler Robin Roberts (1926), owner of 286 wins in 19 years in the bigs; Nap Rucker (1884), who posted a record of exactly 134-134 over 10 years with the Brooklyn club; Dodger hurler Johnny Podres (1932); Dave Magadan (1962); Yorkis Perez (1967); Jose Lima (1972); Jeremy Giambi (1974); Curtis Goodwin (1972); Carlos Guillen (1975); Bryan Bullington (1980); Brandon Watson (1981); Seth Smith (1982); Danny Worth (1985); and Kenley Jansen (1987).