It was a long time coming until I could feel a little better about the report on the big loss that follows this game in today’s history, but fans smiled a wide Yankee smile on November 4, 2009, the day the Yanks rode six rbi’s from Series MVP Hideki Matsui to Championship No. 27. Homering, singling and doubling for two runs each his first three times to the plate, the first two off Pedro Martinez, Matsui gave Andy Pettitte a big lead that held up despite a two-run homer by strikeout-prone Ryan Howard in the sixth. The pen held it from there, impressively on consecutive strike outs of Chase Utley, Howard, and Jason Werth, the first two by the superb southpaw Damaso Marte. The Werth whiff came via the masterful Mariano Rivera, who closed it out by getting the last five outs of the 7-3 Yankee win. Yankee World Series hero from 1998 and 2001 Scott Brosius threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Kelli O’Hara and Mary J. Blige sang. Lots to sing about!
It may sound contrived when I say that it’s still the loss that stings the most. After a six-game World Series defeat to an inferior Marlins team in 2003 and the year before being bludgeoned from the postseason by a team that simply didn’t have enough pitching to win it all (even though they did), the Bombers were blitzed in 2004 in unprecedented style by the Red Sox in the ALCS after the Yanks had carved out a 3-0 lead in games. Now they have fallen to the Angels, the Tigers, and the Indians (and bugs) in succession in the ALDS, and missed the post in 2008. But the 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on November 4, 2001, is still definitely the one I cannot abide. Roger Clemens threw his second straight great game, and Alfonso Soriano reached Curt Schilling for an eighth-inning tie-breaking home run. But the game slipped away when the rock-solid Mariano Rivera muffed a throw on a bunt. Randy Johnson got the win in relief and Luis Gonzalez poked a flare over Derek Jeter to knock in the winning run. With apologies to all in Beantown (except Mr. Schilling, of course), that is just the way it is.
On November 4, 2021, two Yankee players, one with lots of seniority on the club, elected free agency, outfielder Brett Gardner, and righthanded reliever Darren O’Day. Neither would be with the team in 2022.
Miller Huggins got his first big-league managing job on November 4, 1912. He would post a 346-415 record over five seasons in St. Louis, with the third-place finish the Cards achieved in 1917 being his best. But it was enough for the Yanks to hire him in 1918, and in New York, his teams posted a 1,067-719 mark, winning six pennants and three World Series in the next 12 years.
Yankee coach Mike Ferraro landed the managing job in Cleveland on November 4, 1982, but he would not last through the 1983 season. Sadly, he did not make a season in his second (and only other) shot managing, though his record with the 1986 K.C. Royals was better than the 40-60 he had put up with the Tribe.
On November 4, 2019, the Yankees activated first baseman Greg Bird, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and righthander Jonathan Holder from the 60-day injured list. Also, Miguel Andujar and righthander Jake Barrett had their roster status changed by the Yanks. And the club sent Barrett and lefthander Tyler Lyons outright to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
On November 4, 2016, the Yankees selected the contract of righthander Domingo German from the Tampa Yankees, and the contract of catcher Kyle Higashioka from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. And righty Chad Green had his roster status changed by the organization as well. The team also activated outfielder Dustin Ackley; and righthanders Branden Pinder, Nick Rumbelow, and Nathan Eovaldi from the 60-day disabled list.
On November 4, 2015, the Yankees activated four players from the 60-day disabled list: center fielder Mason Williams; southpaw Jacob Lindgren; and righthanders Chase Whitley, and Domingo German. In addition, the club selected the contract of righthander Vicente Campos from the Tampa Yankees; and righthander Andrew Bailey elected free agency.
November 4, 2013, was evaluate long-term injuries and look to the future day in the Bronx, as the Yankees activated first baseman Mark Teixeira; lefthander CC Sabathia; shortstops Derek Jeter and Jayson Nix; and catcher Francisco Cervelli from the 60-day disabled list. Infielder Corban Joseph also had his roster status changed by the Yanks that day.
The Reds faced losing Ken Griffey, Sr., to free agency, so they threw the dice and traded him to the Yanks for Fred Toliver on November 4, 1981. Griffey would hit 49 homers with 251 rbi’s by the time he left New York during the 1986 season, while Toliver barely appeared with Cinncy at all.
Rookie of the Year Awards handed out on November 4 include the AL prize to third bagger Eric Hinske of the Blue Jays in 2002; the NL Award to Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen in 1997; and the NL nod that went to San Diego Padre catcher Benito Santiago in 1987. The Yanks have received some production from Mr. Hinske in 2009.
Steve Carlton joined Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, and Jim Palmer as a three-time Cy Young Award winner on November 4, 1980. Jim Palmer won the second of his three the same day in 1975.
Once pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally were verified to be free agents, upholding a ruling made the previous year by baseball arbitrator Peter Seitz, the Yankees presented themselves as shoppers during the first three reentry drafts that followed. The draft held November 4, 1976, included players Don Gullett and Reggie Jackson; the Yanks did not hesitate, with immediate results.
Held on the fourth of November one year later, the 1977 agents included righthander Goose Gossage, just when the Yanks had a new closer on their shopping list, despite Sparky Lyle‘s Cy Young-winning year.
A front-line starter was on the menu, and the Yanks selected and then signed Dodgers southpaw Tommy John in 1978, from the class made available that November 4.
It was the straw that broke the Mets’ backs when Doc Gooden tested positive for cocaine on November 4, 1994. He’d be out of the game a year, and then make huge contributions to the Yankee cause in 1996.
Former outfielder Jake Powell took his own life on this day in 1948. Powell earned four World Series rings with the Yanks from 1936-1940, during which time he stroked 13 home runs with 124 rbi’s. Those years in his 11-year career were sandwiched between two stints with his only other team, the Washington Senators, with overall numbers of 22 long balls and 327 runs driven in. Of the two other Yankee players to have died on November 4, switch-hitting shortstop Johnny Mitchell‘s (1965) 17 games debuting with the 1921-1922 teams rank highest in longevity. Mitchell collected two rbi’s on 11-for-46 hitting in New York, numbers that increased to two homers and 63 rbi’s playing 1922-1923 with the Red Sox and 1924-1925 with the Dodgers. All 10 games second baseman/third baseman Johnny Priest (1979) played in the bigs came with the 1911-1912 Highlanders. Priest reached no fences, but he did drive in three runs on four hits in 23 at bats.
The list of noteworthy nonYankee players who have died on November 4 includes two righthanded pitchers, one lefty, and a second baseman, but the first two guys are legends and Hall of Famers. Cy Young (1955) won 511, lost 316, and saved 17 games in an 1890-1911 career spent mostly with Cleveland and Boston (the Americans, at the time). And Pete (Grover Cleveland) Alexander (1950) would outshine almost all players on any list that did not include Young. He won 373, lost 208, and saved 32 games for the Phillies, the Cubs, and the Cardinals between 1911 and 1929 in a career seriously truncated by his service in World War I. And it’s a tough break for southpaw Lefty Williams (1959), who pitched for the Tigers in 1913-1914 and the White Sox from 1916-1920. On almost any other day, Williams’s 82-48-5 mark would be a fine record, but not stacked up against those other two guys. Second sacker Johnny Paredes (2020) played with Montreal in 1988 and in 1990; and with Detroit in 1990-1991. He hit one homer and drove in 11 runs in 60 games.
Players Who Have Died This Day
Of the eight Yankee players who call November 4 their birthday, it’s unfortunate that outfielder Ryan Thompson is best known for the line drive he hit that struck the face of Boston hurler Bryce Florie on September 8, 2000. Thompson got his start in Toronto but was acquired by the Mets along with Jeff Kent for David Cone. He played for the Mets from 1992 through 1995, then garnered three homers and 14 rbi’s as a free agent playing outfield for the Yanks down the stretch in 2000.
Righty Joe Beggs failed to impress in his debut season of 1938 with the Yanks, managing a 3-2 record, but he was a cog in the 1940 World Champion Cincinnati Reds pitching staff, as he finished with eight years in that Ohio city and two more with the New York Giants. The Yanks sent Beggs to the Reds for Lee Grissom in January 1940.
Bill Henderson (1901) is the senior in experience of three birthdaying righthanders who pitched only for the team in the Bronx. Henderson gave up seven hits and four earned runs over eight innings during three games for the 1930 Yankees. Trailing in experience are Roger Slagle (1953), who pitched to no record in just one game for the 1979 Yankees; and Loyd Colson (1947), who did exactly the same in Pinstripes in 1970. They played nine seasons apart; they were drafted nine years apart, Slagle the 20th pick of the secondary phase of the 1976 amateur draft; and Colson in the 28th round in 1967.
Lefty outfielder/DH Willie Calhoun (1994) perhaps gave the Yankees a bit more bounce than was anticipated by many when he was signed as a free agent prior to the 2023 season to battle for the (never to be reliably filled) left field spot. Drafted by Tampa in the 17th round in 2013 but unsigned, then chosen in the fourth round by the Dodgers in 2015, Willie hit five long balls and drove in 16 for the Bombers in 44 games, bringing his career numbers to 37 and 120, before being released August 1. He played 253 games with Texas and four with San Fran from 2017 through 2022.
We bring the birthday count to eight with two guys who were Yankee members for a time, but who never played for them. Righty reliever Logan Easley (1961) went 2-1 with the Pirates once the Yanks sent him there with Doug Drabek and Brian Fisher for Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante, and Pat Clements in June 1981. Easley had just been drafted by the Yankees in the 20th round of the amateur draft. And righty Chris Bushing (1967) threw six games for the 1993 Reds after spending nine months in the Yankee fold. The Bombers inked him to a free-agent deal in April 1990 and released him the following January.
Other birthdays: Hall of Famer Bobby Wallace (1973), who played the biggest chunk of his 25 years, starting in 1894, with the St. Louis Browns; Dick Groat (1930); Tito Francona (1933); Dick Selma (1943); Eric Karros (1967); Carlos Baerga (1968); Larry Bigbie (1977); John Grabow (1982); Eric Threets (1981); Chris Resop (1982); Evan MacLane (1982); Travis Blackley (1982); Joe Savery (1985); Chad Wallach (1991); Steven Duggar (1993); Chih-Wei Hu (1993); Cody Morris (1996); Brett de Geus (1997); and Gavin Hollowell (1997).
Players Born This Day