It’s only sporting to lead this day’s events off with the surpassing of one of the Yankees’ most dearly held records. On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr., played in his 2,131st game, taking the place of the beloved Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, in the record books. Judge for yourselves, but despite having a lot of trouble with this earlier in life, I have to acknowledge that Cal handled the long years reaching the number, and the moment overcoming it, with a lot of class. Besides, the recently dearly departed Yankee hero Phil Rizzuto urged support for Cal in his later years. Good enough for me.
As someone who is weary over the almost daily calls to change our great game here in 2017, I hesitate to add grist to the argument that availability of up to 40 players to managers in September, the most critical month of the regular season, is a problem, but the Yanks’ 7-6 win over visiting Toronto on September 6, 2016, revealed why that argument makes some sense. The Yankees used seven guys in relief of starter Luis Cessa, even though he left the game with 11 outs needed to end the game. And Toronto had five different players fill the No. 5 spot in their batting order. Most of the scoring in this one came late, as a four-run eighth-inning Yankee rally, mostly on Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley home runs, kept the Yanks on top despite the two runs the visitors put up in both the eighth and ninth innings.
The 6-4 home-standing victory against the Tampa Rays on September 6 displayed some of the 2015 team’s strengths. Ivan Nova started and pitched OK, giving up just a Kevin Kiermaier two-run homer and, of course, the lone walk the Yankee righty surrendered also came around to score, leaving the Yanks down 3-0 into the sixth. But back-to-back home runs from Brian McCann and Alex Rodriguez plated four, and Chris Archer allowed another tally in the seventh with a single, walk, and two wild pitches. When the Royals scored in the eighth to make it close, Rico Noel, running for Rodriguez, who had singled, scored an insurance run on a Didi Gregorius single. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller closed it out.
The Yanks got a lucky break when Royals lefty Danny Duffy was removed with an injury after throwing one pitch in the September 6, 2014, game, and the pinstripers took full advantage of it. Five of the home team’s nine hits went for extra bases, though none were homers, and they jumped on Liam Hendricks and Casey Coleman for six runs in five frames in the eventual 6-2 win. Noteworthy for the Bombers was that Martin Prado went 3-for-3 and was just the homer short of a cycle. Kansas City, on the other hand, debuted reliever Brandon Finnegan, fresh out of college. The hard-throwing righty would have some big moments for the Royals in the upcoming 2015 playoffs.
September 6, 2004, was perhaps the most bizarre day in Yankee Stadium in many a year. As Labor Day dawned in the Bronx, the Yankees opened the park and awaited the arrival of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who had failed to make the trip north for a weekend New York series before Hurricane Frances hit land. It was to be a doubleheader with Game One scheduled for 1:00 pm, then delayed to 3:00. Finally the first game was postponed once again and the Yankees played the Rays in one game starting at 7:00 pm. During the many-hour wait, the Bombers held extended batting practice to entertain the crowd, and free hot dogs and soda were passed out at the concession stands. As Rays players finally appeared from the visiting dugout, the Yankee organist played, “If it takes forever, I will wait for you.” When play finally began, the Yanks used a four-run fourth-inning rally to post a 7-4 win, with Orlando “el duque” Hernandez besting Doug Waechter.
Speaking of long days in the Bronx, there was a demonstration of both how huge a mistake scheduling 20 home games in New York in April 2011 was, and how the fact that the new Stadium is capable of hosting tens of thousands of people for hours on end is not always a good thing. It didn’t quite equal the five-hour delay waited out vs. Washington on a Sunday afternoon in 2010, but because it was a night game the four-hour delay before starting a game vs. Baltimore on September 6, 2011, seemed interminably longer. Thankfully, the home team prevailed, 5-2.
The Yankees swept two from the Red Sox on September 6, 1971, 5-3 and 3-0, in the Big Ballyard in the South Bronx. The Red Sox used a totally different 10-man lineup in Game 2 than they had in the first contest, but to no avail.
Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter led off the bottom of the first of the September 6, 2005 game vs. Tampa Bay in Yankee Stadium by singling and scoring in his 1,500th career game. Then he singled to deliver the Yanks’ third (and last) run in the second. But 2005 was the year of the Devil Ray when it came to Yankee games, and this gorgeous Tuesday evening was no exception. Tampa scratched three runs off Randy Johnson over seven, and scored the game winner on a Robinson Cano error in the ninth, 4-3 Rays.
The 10 pinch home runs the Yanks stroked in 1961 stood as a record for 21 years, until Benny Ayala delivered the 11th of the 1982 Orioles’ season in an 8-2 win over the Yankees on September 6.
The Yanks used a record 10 pinch hitters on September 6, 1954, during a doubleheader at the Stadium against, you guessed it, the Boston Red Sox, but I’m not sure how many were used in each game. They won the opener 6-5, but Boston recovered to win the nightcap 8-7.
Johnny Blanchard hit two homers, each following a walk to Mickey Mantle, and Moose Skowron, Bob Hale, and Roger Maris went yard too, in an 8-0 shutout of Washington on September 6, 1961. Whitey Ford threw a five-hitter to go to 23-3 on the season, and Roger’s homer was his 54th.
Despite a good outing from Babe Ruth (with the Red Sox at the time) on the mound, once he tired, the Yanks cashed in a 5-2 win over Ruth and reliever Dutch Leonard to sweep two on September 6, 1915. The Yanks took the first game 4-0, and The Babe went 2-for-3 at the plate in the nightcap.
When it took the Orioles 13 innings to beat the Yankees 7-6 on September 6, 1975, neither of the managers nor Yankee catcher Thurman Munson were around at the end, as all three were tossed in the ninth inning.
The Yankees jumped on Detroit’s Mark Redman for seven hits and six runs in the home fifth in an 8-1 win in Yankee Stadium on September 6, 2002.
We were lucky to be present for the first Staten Island Yankees playoff game in their new house in Richmond County Ballpark on September 6, 2001. Having attended a game a few weeks before, we just happened to be there when the prized tickets went on sale. The Yankees beat the Brooklyn Cyclones in the first of three 6-1, though the Mets farm team would come back to win that series. We were also fortunate to have taken the roundtrip Staten Island Ferry ride under clear skies just five days before the Twin Towers would be lost from the Manhattan skyline.
On September 6, 2017, the Yankees placed righthander Adam Warren on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to September 3, due to a lower back spasm. The team then sent outfielder Clint Frazier on a rehab assignment to the AA Trenton Thunder.
On September 6, 2016, the Yankees recalled righthander Bryan Mitchell and lefthander James Pazos from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On September 6, 2015, the Yankees recalled righthander Nick Goody from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On September 6, 2014, the Yankees recalled catcher Austin Romine from the AA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Repeating the travel assignments, one way or another, of two 2013 semi-regulars, the Yankees selected the contract of righthander Matt Daley from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on September 6, and recalled second baseman Corban Joseph from the same location.
Comings and goings for the Yankees on September 6, 2005: They purchased the contract of outfielder Mike Vento from AAA Columbus while designating righthander Sam Marsonek for assignment. Vento would join the Washington Nationals organization in 2006. The Bombers also recalled infielder Felix Escalona and righty reliever Scott Proctor, and reinstated starter Chien-Ming Wang from the 15-day disabled list.
New York Giant Jeff Tesreau threw a 3-0 no-hitter at the Phillies on September 6, 1912. And White Sox hurler Frank “Piano Mover” Smith won the second game of a doubleheader sweep over the Tigers, 15-0, with a no-no on the same day in 1905.
On September 6, 2010, the Yankees recalled left fielder Colin Curtis from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees moved two Alous on September 6, 1973. Felipe Alou‘s shift to Montreal was a waiver transaction, while the contract of Matty Alou was sold to St. Louis.
During a doubleheader split between the Yankees and the Philadelphia Athletics on September 6, 1943, Carl Scheib became the youngest ever AL player when he allowed two hits but no runs in .67 inning for Philly at the age of 16 years, 248 days. The A’s took the first game 11-2, while the New Yorkers would prevail in the nightcap 11-4.
September 6, 2011, was a pretty busy roster day in the Bronx, as the Yankees activated infielder Ramiro Pena from the 15-day disabled list; designated righthander Lance Pendleton for assignment; outrighted righty Ryan Pope to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; called up righthander George Kontos from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; and recalled outfielder Greg Golson and righty Andrew Brackman from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It was on this day in 1976 that Dodger catcher Steve Yeager suffered a scary and freak injury when he was struck in the neck with a jagged chunk of teammate Bill Russell‘s bat while awaiting his turn to bat in the on-deck circle. The Dodgers beat the Padres, 4-1.
Eddie Murray of the Orioles hit his 500th home run in a 5-4 loss to Detroit on September 6, 1996. It was an achievement Yankee fans were more aware of than they might have been as the Bombers were off and Baltimore had closed a 12-game Yankee lead to three in that season’s final month.
In the weird strike-interrupted 1981 season, Yankee Manager Gene Michael had already ensured that the Yanks would partake in the postseason by winning the first half of the season before the work stoppage, but he was replaced by Bob Lemon on September 6 with the team only two games above .500 in the second half.
In what at least one baseball historian referred to as the 100,000th game in major league history, Bennie Daniels and the Senators beat the Cleveland Indians, 7-2, on September 6, 1963.
Deion Sanders finished his rookie season in Yankee Stadium on September 6, 1990, after striking out in the sixth inning of a California Angels 12-6 victory over the Yanks. After batting only .158 in 57 games, he was off to Atlanta to play football with the Falcons.
The Cal Angels purchased the contract of Dave Kingman from the Padres on September 6, 1977. He had begun the season with the Mets, so when the Yankees bought his services nine days later, he became the only player to play for a team in all four divisions extant in baseball at the time in the same year.
Two players won their 20th games of a season 65 years apart on September 6. Christy Mathewson of the Giants got his by beating Lew Moren and the Phillies in the second of two in 1907; and Detroit’s Mickey Lolich shook off five consecutive failures to eke by the Orioles 4-3 on the same day in 1972. Above we mentioned that the Pinstriped Whitey Ford claimed no. 23 on September 6, 1961. Boston’s Joe Wood won his 30th over Walter Johnson and the Senators 1-0 on this day in 1912. And Detroit’s Denny McLain garnered no. 28 on his way to the most recent 30-win season, when he beat the Twins 8-3 on this day in 1968.
An additional September 6 highlight involving a one-time Yankee player involves veteran starter Urban Shocker just one season removed from his career-ending, several-year stint in the Bronx. Shocker threw two complete-game, 6-2 victories for the St. Louis Browns over the White Sox on this day in 1924. He struck out but one batter in the 18 innings of work.
The only Yankee player to have died on September 6, shortstop/second baseman Stubby Magner (1956) played all 13 of his big-league games with the 1911 Highlanders. He had seven hits in 33 at bats, drove in four runs, but hit no home runs.
Not only are the first five noteworthy nonYankee players to have died this day position players, two caught, two played third base, and one patrolled the outfield. Backstop Charlie Berry (1972) hit 23 long balls and knocked in 256 runs for the A’s, the Red Sox, and the White Sox from 1925-1938; and Eddie Ainsmith (1981) reached 22 fences and drove in 317 runs playing most of his games from 1910-1923 with the Senators, the Tigers, and the Cardinals. Third sacker Lave Cross (1927) played almost exclusively in the City of Brotherly Love from 1887-1907 with the Phillies and the A’s, and hit 47 roundtrippers with 1,371 rbi’s; and Sammy Hale (1974) hit 30 homers and drove in 392 runs from 1920-1930 with the Tigers, the A’s, and the Browns. And lefty-hitting outfielder Barney McClosky (1996) played with the Tigers, the A’s, the Reds, and the Indians from 1939-1953, and he hit 24 home runs and drove in 397 runs. A pitcher joined this group with the passing of righty reliever Barney Schultz (2015), who pitched in 1955 and from 1959 through 1965, mostly for the Cubs and Cardinals, to a 20-20 record with 35 saves. Yankee fans of a certain age will remember that Schultz surrendered a walkoff home run to Mickey Mantle in Game 3 of the 1964 World Series.
Players Who Have Died This Day
There are now six Yankee September 6 birthdays, one of them former Mets broadcaster Fran Healy (1946). When Fran played in New York it was reported that one of the contributing factors to his remaining on the Yankee team as a catcher from 1976 through 1978 rather than a comparable backup was that he got along well with Reggie Jackson. One thing is certain: Backups to Thurman Munson did not play often. Healy got into 74 games with 188 ab’s in his three years in the Bronx, hitting five doubles, no homers with 16 rbi’s. He played six-plus years in San Francisco and Kansas City before arriving in a May 1976 trade from the Kansas City Royals for Larry Gura. The Yanks released Healey in May 1978.
First baseman Jack Phillips (1921), also a backup, debuted with the Yanks in 1947 through early in the 1949 season before spending three years each in Pittsburgh and Detroit. With the Bombers, Jack kicked in two home runs and 12 rbi’s. The Yanks sold Phillips’s contract to the Pirates in August 1949.
Outfielder Shags Horan (1895) played 22 games with the 1924 Yankees, hitting no home runs with seven rbi’s and a .290 batting average in his only major league play.
Drafted by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 2013 amateur draft, righthander Nick Rumbelow (1991) has wasted little time in making it to The Show, as he has appeared in six games in the majors by August 1, 2015. By then he had struck out five, walked two, and allowed just one hit and one run in 5.33 innings over six games. Nick has a funky motion, and it was hoped he’d be contributing to Yankee victories from the pen for years going forward, a hope that will have to be put on hold, as Nick underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2016.
The good news for Tyler Austin (1991) is that, after years of underperformance and injury in the minors led to his being released by the Yankees in 2015, just before his birthday, he worked his way back into the team’s plans with a solid 2016 season once he had passed through waivers with no team claiming him. The 13th-round pick of the Yankees in the 2010 amateur draft hit 17 long balls and drove in 78 in AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, then proceeded to homer back-to-back with Railriders teammate Aaron Judge in each player’s debut with the Bombers in New York. While Judge has since become a power-hitting star in the New York outfield, Austin lost most of the 2017 season to injury, though he has hit two home runs and knocked in seven playing in 10 games in the Bronx as of this writing.
Clint Frazier (1994) may be the poster boy for the profound changes that the Yankee roster — and chances for success — have undergone in the last two seasons. The first-round pick of the Indians in 2013, Cliff was the biggest prize among the four prospects New York received from Cleveland in late July 2016 for reliever Andrew Miller. Though most assumed that the Yankee way would have Frazier toiling in the minors for at least a full year, injuries in the Bronx opened the door, and the rookie was a dynamic contributor playing in 28 games until he went down with an injury he should return from shortly. Clint has belted four big home runs and driven in 17 so far, playing a part in the team’s drive for postseason play.
Worthy of mention too are Mike York (1964) and Jim Fridley (1924). A 1982 Yankee amateur draft selection (in the 40th round), York went 2-5 in 1990 with Pittsburgh and in 1991 with Cleveland after the Yanks released him. Outfielder Fridley arrived in the December 1954 blockbuster from Baltimore with Bob Turley, Don Larsen, and Billy Hunter with the Yanks sending Gene Woodling, Harry Byrd, Jim McDonald, Hal Smith, Gus Triandos, and Willy Miranda south. Fridley hit eight home runs with 53 rbi’s with the Indians in 1952, the Orioles in 1954, and the Reds in 1958, but did not play with the Yanks.
Other birthdays of note: Hall of Fame righthander Red Faber (1888), who won 254 games for the White Sox from 1914 through 1933; Vince DiMaggio (1912); Roy Smith (1961); Pat Meares (1968); Derrek Lee (1975); former Mets prospect Alex Escobar (1978); Mark Teahen (1981); Jerry Blevins (1983); Mitch Moreland (1985); Arnold Leon (1988); Donnie Hart (1990); Marco Hernandez (1992); Socrates Brito (1992); and Jordan Hicks (1996).
Players Born This Day