Visiting Oakland jumped young Yankee righty Domingo German for five runs in the fourth, and six through five, largely on Khrys Davis‘s three-run bomb, but the Yanks tied it in the fifth behind Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks home runs, on May 12, 2018. But five scoreless frames later, it was Neil Walker‘s base hit (his second rbi of the day) that won it, 7-6 Yanks in 11.
Houston pretty much had the Yanks’ number in 2017, which would hold in a tight ALCS as well, and they used a bullet from ex-Yankee Brian McCann to post a 5-1 win in Yankee Stadium on May 12 of that year. Pinstriped rookie Jordan Montgomery was effective through six frames, but McCann’s three-run bomb against him in the fourth pretty much decided matters. Lance McCullers, Jr. was strong through six for the win, and the Yanks did nothing but score a run in the bottom of the ninth on a Didi Gregorius rbi single. Giovanny Gallegos, in his major league debut, allowed the Astros’ final run in the top of the ninth.
With the infielders (except for first baseman Mark Teixeira, who would go 0-for-4 with three K’s) leading the way, the Yanks battered ex-Yank Ian Kennedy and the Royals 7-3 in Yankee Stadium on May 12, 2016. Starlin Castro contributed a singleton jolt in the first to get it going, and Chase Headley (getting his first extra base hit of the ’16 campaign) and Didi Gregorius went yard for two. We watched this one on a gorgeous Thursday evening from the Delta Suite behind home plate. Much missed and beloved righthander Chien-Ming Wang pitched in relief for the Royals this night.
Yankee fans jumped to their feet in celebration on May 12, 2014, when Brett Gardner‘s second-inning grand slam off Bartolo Colon gave Hiroki Kuroda a nice cushion, but behind homers from Travis d’Arnaud and Curtis Granderson, the Mets tied it 4-4 by the sixth. The immediate three-run reply in the bottom half brought back the joy briefly, but Alfredo Aceves and Mark Thurmond quickly gave it back, and more, and the visitors outlasted the Yanks 9-7. I blamed myself for getting too comfortable, with a big meal in the Audi Club before the game.
The Yanks made it back-to-back 6-2 wins over Seatttle on May 12, 2012, largely on the strength of a four-run second inning against ex-Yank Hector Noesi, crowned by a two-run Jayson Nix home run. Phil Hughes earned the victory by allowing but six hits two outs into the eighth inning, and Derek Jeter tied Tony Gwynn for 17th on the all-time hits list in the eighth inning with a single, for 3,141 career safeties.
On back to back days not likely to be repeated, the Yankees and Senators finished 27 innings of baseball to no resolution when they played a 15-inning, 4-4, tie on May 12, 1919. They had played a 12-inning scoreless standoff the day before.
On May 12, 1996, the Yanks fell behind 8-0 to the White Sox in Comiskey Park, and then came all the way back to win, 9-8.
Mother’s Day fell on May 12 in 2002, and on that day the Yanks bested the Minnesota Twins 10-4, giving Joe Torre his 1,500th career managerial win.
On this day in 1962, the visiting Yankees defeated the Indians 9-6, as Mickey Mantle went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and a home run.
Five years earlier on May 12, 1957, the Yanks beat the Orioles 4-3 in Baltimore. Third baseman Andy Carey homered twice, and Mickey Mantle broke the tie with a round-tripper in the eighth.
On May 12, 2006, Chien-Ming Wang had one of his best starts in besting Barry Zito and the Oakland A’s in Yankee Stadium 2-0. He got 20 of 24 outs through eight innings on ground balls, and allowed just three singles before Mariano Rivera finished up. The Yankee scoring was on home runs, a fifth-inning shot by Alex Rodriguez with a Bernie Williams insurance blast in the eighth.
That was before poor Chien-Ming Wang‘s career hit a wall via a tragic baserunning foot injury in 2008, ruining that season and the next one, and resulting in his free agent departure from the Pinstripers in 2010. On May 12, 2009, the struggling righty was sent from the Yanks to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre to hopefully build some arm strength and rehab in the minors.
David Cone was the heartbreak loser as Chuck Finley and the Angels edged the Yankees, 3-1, on May 12, 1999, with relief help from Troy Percival. Ironically, on a day when the Yankee offense consisted of three singles, the closest they came to scoring early in the game was in the third inning when Finley struck out four New Yorkers. Chuck Knoblauch reached first on a wild pitch after swinging at and missing a third strike. An error and a single loaded the bases but Derek Jeter and Paul O’Neill went down swinging.
The Yanks traded for catcher Butch Wynegar and pitcher Roger Erickson, sending infielder Larry Milbourne, two minor leaguers, and cash to the Twins for them, on May 12, 1982.
On this day in 1953, the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford, beat the Indians, 7-0, allowing only an infield single by Indians hurler Early Wynn.
On May 12, 1961, Tigers outfielder Rocky Colavito went into the Yankee Stadium stands behind third base when a drunken fan kept heckling his father and his wife. Yankee killer Frank Lary heaped extra pain on the home team this day as his ninth-inning homer carried the day in the Tigers’ 4-3 win, his 25th decision over the Bombers.
The legendary Ty Cobb scored from first on a single, from second on a wild pitch, and snuck across with the game-winner as the Yanks argued a call at the plate in a Detroit 6-5 win over the Highlanders on May 12, 1911.
In 2004, Alex Rodriguez helped the Yanks to a win over Oakland when he stroked his 350th career home run. On May 12, 2001, he hit his 200th in a 16-6 Texas victory over Chicago.
Though his will be one of several May 12 birthdays we honor below, on this day in 1959, Yogi Berra‘s 148-game errorless streak came to an end. And despite round-trippers from Berra, along with Elston Howard and Mickey Mantle, the Yankees fell 7-6 to the Cleveland Indians.
Ninth-inning singles by Andy Carey and Hank Bauer stopped Orioles lefty Don Ferrarese‘s no-hit bid on May 12, 1956, but the Yankee rally stopped there, and the O’s won, 1-0.
Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer in the eighth and David Justice and Bernie Williams went yard too in the Bombers’ 8-5 win over the Orioles on May 12, 2001.
On May 12, 2019, the Yankees optioned lefthander Nestor Cortes Jr. to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and recalled righthander Chad Green from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The team also transferred first baseman Greg Bird from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day list, with a left plantar fascia tear. The team then claimed second baseman Breyvic Valera off waivers from the San Francisco Giants; they optioned Valera to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
On May 12, 2017, the Yankees signed free agent shortstop Starlin Paulino to a minor league contract.
On May 12, 2016, the Yankees optioned outfielder Ben Gamel to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and filled the roster spot by recalling lefthander Tyler Olson from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
On May 12, 2012, catcher Austin Romine had his roster status changed by the Yankees, and the team claimed lefthander Justin Thomas off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
New York’s Lefty Gomez fell in a pitcher’s duel with Bob Feller of the Indians on May 12, 1938. One of the five hits Feller allowed was a two-run home run by Lou Gehrig, but Cleveland managed to score three on their four hits off Gomez for the 3-2 win.
Both sides managed but three hits, but the Yankees allowed Boston two unearned runs in a 3-1 loss to them in front of a huge Yankee Stadium crowd on this day in 1946. Mickey Harris got the win, while Spud Chandler was saddled with the loss.
With Red Ruffing such a success in New York after a very poor start in Boston, every win he posted over the Red Sox was a bitter pill to swallow. He allowed just six hits in shutting out the Sox 6-0 on May 12, 1940.
Lefty Grove bested Lefty Gomez and the Yanks 6-4 in Fenway Park on May 12, 1941, and Jimmie Foxx slugged a two-run homer.
May 12 was yet another sad day in the saga of the injured 2013 Yankee infield, as the club placed shortstop Eduardo Nunez on the 15-day disabled list — retroactive to May 6 — with a sore left ribcage, and transferred first baseman Mark Teixeira from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list, with a tendon sheath injury in his right wrist. The latter move was to create 40-man roster space for one-time Yankee infielder Alberto Gonzalez, whose contract they selected from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, one more in a continuing litany of attempted replacement players.
On May 12, 2011, the Yankees created room on the 40-man roster by designating righthander Jess Todd for assignment, and then used that spot to call up righty reliever Amauri Sanit to the parent club from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
On May 12, 2010, the Yankees placed righthander Alfredo Aceves on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 9 with a bulging disk in his lower back. To fill his roster spot the club recalled outfielder Greg Golson from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees released righty Steve Karsay after several arm surgeries and attempts to recover over two-plus years on May 12, 2005.
The Yanks sold the contracts of pitcher George Pipgras and shortstop Bill Werber to the Red Sox on May 12, 1933. Werber performed reasonably well in Fenway, but Pipgras, who had won 93 while losing 64 in New York, went but 9-9 with Boston.
When Luis Tiant of the Indians blanked Baltimore 2-0 on May 12, 1968, it was his fourth shutout in succession. He had made the Yankees the third victim back on May 7 by an 8-0 score.
Though you’ll find it in no record books, when Matt Williams hit two bombs against Pittsburgh on May 12, 1995, he broke Roger Maris‘s 162-game home run record. Williams hit his 62 roundtrippers in 161 games over a span of three seasons.
Ernie Banks of the Cubs joined the 500-home run club in a 4-3 Cubs win over the Braves on May 12, 1970, in Wrigley Field. He was the eighth player to reach that magic total.
The Yanks plated 13 in the second inning against the Devil Rays in 2005. The Angels matched that total in the seventh inning vs. the White Sox back on May 12, 1997.
A list of several games highlighting former and future Yankee players on May 12 begins with one one-time Yank beating another in 1953. The Browns topped Bobby Shantz after losing to him 10 straight times, with Don Larsen getting the win. The next two items team up one-time Yanks in victories for other teams. Randy Johnson pitched his 12th straight win over two seasons on May 12, 1996, with help from Alex Rodriguez‘s three-run homer, in an 8-5 Seattle win over Kansas City. And when Gary Sheffield hit a ninth-inning home run for the game’s only score in a 1-0 Dodgers win over the Braves on this day in 2001, he made a winner out of Kevin Brown.
No Yankees have died on May 12.
Two noteworthy players who have died this day both spent much of their careers with the Washington Senators. Lefthanded outfielder and Hall of Famer Heinie Manush (1971) hit 110 home runs and knocked in 1,183 runs with the Tigers and Senators from 1923-1939; and righthander Si Johnson (1994) won 101, lost 165, and saved 15 games with bad teams in Washington and Philadelphia from 1928-1947.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Following a dearth of both Yankee birthdays and Yankee celebrants with stellar credentials in the last few days, we are truly blessed on both counts on May 12. The only Hall of Famer born this day is none other than our very own Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra (1925). Yogi delivered 358 homers and knocked in 1,430 runs from 1947-1963. In that time he played on 14 pennant winners and 10 of his clubs won it all. He managed the Yankees to the American League pennant in 1964, and the crosstown Mets to the NL title nine years later.
The next Yankee birthday belongs to righthander Hank Borowy (1916), who got his start in the Bronx, as he went 56-30 during World War II from 1942 through 1945. But Hank stands out for what he did in the 1945 World Series after the Yanks had sold him to the Cubs. Things were normal enough when he started and won the first game. Then he started Game 5 and took the loss. Undaunted, two days later he relieved in Game 6 and got the win. And the very next day he started Game 7! Alas, his selfless service went unrewarded, as he gave up hits to the first three batters, was removed, and he took the loss as the Tigers won both the game and the Series.
Third baseman Joe Dugan (1897) played for the Yanks from 1922 through 1928, during which time he stroked 22 homers and collected 383 rbi’s. The Yanks got Dugan with Elmer Smith from the Red Sox for Chick Fewster, Elmer Miller, Johnny Mitchell, Lefty O’Doul, and cash in July 1922, and lost him to the Boston Braves on waivers in 1928.
Felipe Alou (1935) actually played more first base than outfield in his 1971-1973 stay in the Bronx, during which he hit 18 home runs and drove in 133. Alou was traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Yankees for Ron Klimkowski and Rob Gardner in April 1971, and he was selected off waivers by the Montreal Expos in September 1973.
Lefty Al Schulz (1889) won nine while losing 17 while starting his time in the bigs with the 1912-1914 Yankees; he jumped to the Federal League Buffalo Buffeds from New York before the 1914 season, and pitched there and in Cincinnati as well.
And with the 2007 season we had yet another Yankee born May 12, which happened when first baseman Josh Phelps (1978) made the squad in Spring Training. Phelps was the first player to make the Yankee team after being selected as a Rule-5 selection in years, but he was released after hitting two long balls and driving in 12 in 36 games. Phelps hit 57 home runs with 212 rbi’s from 2000 to 2005, mostly with Toronto. He added five homers and 19 rbi’s in Pittsburgh in 2007 after his release, and one more rbi with the Cardinals in 2008.
The search for starting pitching led the Yankees to add the most recent significant addition to this list, righthander Lance Lynn (1987), whom the Yankees acquired from Minnesota on July 30, 2018, for Tyler Austin and a minor leaguer. A starter for much of his six years in St. Louis, Lynn had gone 7-8 for the Twins that year, then 3-2 in the Bronx down the stretch. He did not pitch well against Boston in the ALDS, lost to the Red Sox, three games to one. After good years with Texas in both 2019 and 2020, his career record stands as 105-72 with one save after three starts with the 2021 White Sox, as of this writing.
The list of other May 12 birthdays starts with Tom Umphlett (1930) and Kenny Greer (1967) because the former ended up with the Yanks while Greer started with them (though neither ever played a game with the parent club). Umphlett stroked six homers and drove in 111 runs with the Red Sox and Senators from 1953-1955 before being traded by Boston with cash to the Yankees for Billy Gardner in June 1962. Greer, on the other hand, was drafted by New York in the 10th round of the 1988 amateur draft, and was shipped to the New York Mets for Frank Tanana in September 1993. He posted a 1-2 record while pitching one year with the Mets and one with the Giants.
Outfielder and speedy defensive specialist Jonathan Davis (1992) played 12 games with only 18 plate appearances for the Yankees once they signed him to a free agent contract in 2021. He had a hit and scored four runs after having hit four home runs with 16 rbi’s in Toronto from 2018 until the Yankees picked him up. Davis signed as a free agent with Milwaukee that November, but has not reappeared in the bigs.
Other birthdays: third baseman Lave Cross (1866), who played in Philadelphia for most of his 1887-1907 career; Ted Kubiak (1942); Joe Nolan (1951); Lou Whitaker (1957), with 244 taters and 1,084 rbi’s while teaming with Alan Trammell in Detroit from 1977-1995; Kevin Bass (1959); Rafael Bournigal (1966); Mark Clark (1968); Wes Helms (1976); Felipe Lopez (1980); Evan Meek (1983); Blake Lalli (1983); Chris Robinson (1984); Adam Liberatore (1987); Taylor Guilbeau (1993); Jesmuel Valentin (1994); Tyler Ivey (1996); Jonathan Stiever (1997); and Matt Brash (1998).
Players Born This Day