September 21, 2008, will be bittersweet to this Yankee fan as long as they continue to play the game, as it was the day they played the last game in old Yankee Stadium. The ballpark was open all day, with fans circling the infield and paying their final respects in Monument Park. In the pregame ceremonies Yankee employees, dressed as old-time ballplayers, portraying the starting nine from the opener in 1923, took the field along with Manager Miller Huggins. Then players from yesteryear were honored position by position. Several were invited to take to the field at their old positions, with Yankee widows and children taking the place of their deceased fathers and husbands in several spots. The bat that Babe Ruth used to hit the game-winning home run that day was laid across home plate, and Derek Jeter was presented with a silver bat in honor of his having eclipsed Lou Gehrig‘s record for most hits stroked in the old Stadium just weeks before. Ageless emcee Bob Sheppard greeted the fans from home on the video board several times, and recited a poem in honor of the old place. Broadcaster Michael Kay appeared on the Scoreboard in the fifth inning when it came time to reduce the games remaining in the old Stadium counter from the “1″ displayed, changing it to Forever because the magic would be moving across the street to the new Stadium. Although not at his sharpest, Andy Pettitte got the start and the win. Johnny Damon‘s third-inning three-run home run wiped out an early 2-0 Birds lead, and once the visitors scored for a tying tally, unlikely offensive hero Jose Molina hit the last home run in the old Stadium for a 5-3 lead. Later, Jason Giambi stroked the last hit, and Brett Gardner scored the last run in the Cathedral pinch-running, on a sac fly by Robbie Cano, the last rbi in Yankee Stadium, in a 7-3 win. Aside from Gardner, other reserves Manager Joe Girardi let play in the historic game were Melky Cabrera, Wilson Betemit, Cody Ransom, and Ivan Rodriguez. Relievers who pitched in the game were Jose Veras, Phil Coke, and Joba Chamberlain, with the game started by Pettitte being finished by the one and only Mariano Rivera, of course. Once the game was over, Captain Jeter led the players around the field, and he exhorted us to bring Joey Gallo carried the Yankees to a 7-1 victory over visiting Texas on September 21, 2021.our memories to the new Stadium in 2009. People just hung out until well after midnight, as some just did not want to leave. Sitting in the Upper Deck at the new place across the street, I still can’t believe they have torn down the old structure, the House That Ruth Built, with its upper deck hanging right over the field, and not hundreds of feet back from the field like in the new place.
A three-run Aaron Judge home run, and additional shots by Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo, carried the Yankees to a 7-1 victory over visiting Texas on September 21, 2021.
On September 21, 2022, the Yankees sent righthanders Albert Abreu and Stephen Ridings on rehab assignments to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. The team also activated righty Luis Severino from the 60-day injured list, and optioned third baseman Miguel Andujar to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yanks used an offensive explosion featuring early Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks home runs to blow out the visiting Rays on September 21, 2018, but needed to add some runs late for the 10-8 win once A.J. Cole tried to give the big lead back.
The Yankees actually played the final weeks of the 2014 season fairly well, but they were too distant from the second Wild Card to qualify without winning every game. They took a four-game set from Toronto three games to one by winning the finale on September 21 by a 5-2 margin. It was the first of Masahiro Tanaka‘s starts returning from the 60-day DL, as he was activated for this start. Ma kun held the Jays to one run into the sixth, and got the win on the strength of Brian McCann and Brett Gardner home runs. Then in a (much needed) three-run seventh, McCann put the game out of reach with a second jolt, which was the 15,000th home run in Yankee history.
The Saturday, September 21, 2013, day game in the Bronx presents another argument that the Yanks and their fans should look with hope for the return of Ivan Nova from arm surgery sometimes during the 2015 season. Nova threw a dominant 6-0 shutout at the visiting San Francisco Giants, handcuffing them on six hits with one walk and seven K’s in a complete-game, 107-pitch beaut. That season’s Beanie Baby Day, it approached the great game David Wells threw in the first of these back in 1998. The Yanks scratched out a three-run, small-ball rally in the home third, and Eduardo Nunez and Alfonso Soriano chipped in with home runs later.
The fiery stretch run to the 2012 postseason had another worthy battle take place in the Bronx on September 21, as the Yanks, up both on AL East rival Baltimore and potential Wild Card pretender Oakland by one game, beat the A’s in Yankee Stadium 2-1 in 10 innings. This could have and should have been all CC Sabathia, as he threw eight masterful innings, struck out 11, and held Oakland scoreless on three hits, leaving with a 1-0 lead on a Curtis Granderson fourth-inning sac fly. But pinch hitter Brandon Moss reached Rafael Soriano for a one-out, ninth-inning, game-tying home run, delaying bedlam in the Bronx a full inning until Russell Martin went yard with the second pitch of the bottom of the 10th inning.
The perennial “makeup game” season continued in Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2011, the year the schedulers put the Bombers behind the eight ball early by scheduling a ridiculous 22 home games by May 1 in the rainy, cold Bronx. The game being made up this day, the second in a week, was actually an August delayed battle with the Rays, but it could not be played until after the regularly scheduled afternoon game vs. Tampa was completed. Both games became 4-2 Yankee victories, the night game a dominating seven-hitter by CC Sabathia, but the day game was an eight-pitcher bullpen special, pulled out by a Yankee eighth-inning three-run rally with one rbi from Eduardo Nunez and two from Robinson Cano. But this was the bigger victory, first because it guaranteed the home team a postseason berth, but more importantly, because it gave Mariano Rivera his 603rd career save, the most all time. This is another record not likely to ever be eclipsed.
It’s hard to believe the day was not a victorious one, but the Red Sox beat the Yanks, 13-9, on September 21, 1956, despite Moose Skowron‘s 5-for-5 and Mickey Mantle‘s 480-plus-foot home run.
Three themes dominate the Yankee 5-4 loss to Toronto in Yankee Stadium in 14 innings September 21, 2007. First, there are the mounting offensive numbers one often sees for Yankee stars, as an Alex Rodriguez single gave him 143 rbi’s for the year, eclipsing his season high. Then, Derek Jeter‘s 13th-inning single moved him past Manager Joe Torre for 118th place on the all-time major-league hits list, with 2,343. Next, both Roy Halladay and Chien-Ming Wang were superb, but the Jays righty stood to win after Toronto plated two runs (one earned) against Wang in the seventh, and two more in the eighth. But it was not to be, as the Yanks used three hits and an error to get to the Jays’ pen and two more singles to tie matters at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth. Sadly, a struggling Brian Bruney suffered the loss once Greg Zaun homered against him in the 14th.
The White Sox disappointed a big Chicago crowd on September 21, 1906, as the Yanks swept two, 6-3 and 4-1, before 20,000. In one of the games, New York’s first baseman Hal Chase set a record with 22 putouts.
Brian Boehringer earned the 5-4 win in a tight battle between the Yankees and the Blue Jays on September 21, 1997, when Tino Martinez hit a walk-off home run off Carlos Almanzar in the bottom of the 10th. Toronto used six fifth-inning hits to plate four while the Yanks added to two early runs on Derek Jeter and Cecil Fielder singleton jacks.
The almost automatic Mariano Rivera experienced a rare failure as he allowed a two-run single to Jerry Hairston, Jr., in a 7-6 loss to the Orioles on September 21, 2001. Eight years and several teams later, Hairston is doing yeoman utility work for the 2009 Yankees.
To any experienced Yankee watcher, the boxscore looks like a misprint as Andy Pettitte got the win going seven innings in the pennant-clinching 3-2 win over the Tigers on September 21, 2002. Coming back from the Disabled List, Mariano Rivera pitched the eighth, while Steve Karsay was brought in to cash in the ninth-inning save.
Roger Maris went 0-for-4 as the Orioles beat the Yankees 5-3 behind a Bill Fischer three-hitter on September 21, 1961. Maris was the only Yankee regular to play all nine, and all three runs off Fischer were unearned.
Vida Blue no-hit the Twins 6-0 for the Oakland A’s in his second professional start on September 21, 1970. And 36 years earlier, Paul Dean held the Dodgers hitless in a 3-0 win in the second of two. His brother Dizzy Dean shut out the Dodgers 13-0 in the first game on that day in 1934.
The big blow for the offense was Paul O’Neill‘s two-run, fifth-inning double, as Andy Pettitte bested James Baldwin and the White Sox 3-1 on September 21, 1999. Two ex-Yanks not often mentioned in this accounting got the rally started, as Ricky Ledee and D’Angelo Jimenez stroked back-to-back, no-out singles.
Pitching for the Blue Jays, David Wells became the season’s first 20-game winner when he beat the Yanks, 3-1, on September 21, 2000. Dave McNally of the Orioles also picked the Yanks to be his victim in win no. 20 on this day in 1971, in a 5-0 shutout.
A list of other September 21, 20-game winners quickly “deteriorates” into a highlight reel for the career of Warren Spahn. Warren won his 20th by beating the Dodgers, 4-0, in 1947; his 21st over the Cardinals, 5-0, in 1950; his 21st to beat the Reds, 6-5, in 1958; and his 20th in an 8-5 win over the Phillies in 1959. All four were for the Braves, the first two when the franchise was in Boston, and the last two in Milwaukee. The last win listed also tied him for the NL record for career wins by a lefthander with Eppa Rixey, at 266.
Bob Welch became the first 25-game winner in 10 years when he and the A’s beat the Tigers 6-5 on September 21, 1990. And Boston’s Pedro Martinez won his 22nd on the 21st with a 3-0 win over the Blue Jays in 1999. And it took Brad Radke 10 innings to win his 20th with a 2-1 victory over the Brewers on September 21, 1997. And we conclude with a two-time report on a regular visitor to this list, as Christy Mathewson won his 20th on September 21, 1901, and his 30th exactly two years later.
The American League reinstated the MVP award — discontinued in 1914 — on September 21, 1922, as they bestowed it upon St. Louis Brown George Sisler. Exactly one year later the unanimous winner would be Babe Ruth.
Sugar Cain and the A’s beat Red Ruffing and the Yankees 8-4 on September 21, 1932, with much of Philly’s offense coming on Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Eric McNair home runs.
The infamous Phillie Phold began on September 21, 1964, as Chico Ruiz of the Reds stole home in a 1-0 win over the club that plays in the City of Brotherly Love. The Phillies had a seven-game lead with 12 to play, but lost 10 in a row, and the mini-recovery to win the last two was too late to save them.
Mickey Mantle hit the last homer of his career on September 20, 1968, as reported in yesterday’s column. He also homered on September 21, 1963 in a 5-3 loss to Kansas City. In that game, Yogi Berra homered too, the last dinger of his career.
The Indians took the American League lead with just two weeks remaining via a 5-3 win over the Yankees on September 21, 1908.
The Yanks escaped another near no-hitter on September 21, 1968, as the only safety managed against Boston’s Ray Culp in a 2-0 Pinstripers loss was Roy White‘s seventh-inning single.
On September 21, 1971, the American League OK’d the move of the second Washington Senators franchise to Arlington, Texas.
A frustrating passion play involving the Yankees, the Tigers, and the Red Sox took place on September 21 in both 1935 and 1940. As would happen five years later, the Yanks beat Boston on this day in the former year, but Detroit’s doubleheader sweep of the Browns clinched the pennant anyway. The Yanks would go 6-1 to the Bengals’ 1-6 the rest of the way, to no avail.
The Yanks beat the Red Sox yet again on September 21, 1940, but the 5-0 Schoolboy Rowe shutout of Cleveland kept the Tigers in front by two. Detroit would take the pennant yet again.
As reported above, the Yankees activated righthander Masahiro Tanaka from the 60-day disabled list on September 21, 2014. They cleared roster space by designating righty Chaz Roe for assignment.
Randy Johnson leads a brief list of September 21 achievements by future or former Yankees playing with other teams not for something he did, but rather the fact that Pedro Martinez equaled him in a rare record on this day in 1999. When Martinez fanned 12 Blue Jays in a 3-0 Red Sox win over Toronto, he joined the Big Unit as the only hurlers with 300-strike out seasons in both leagues. And Cubs first baseman Dale Long, who would later close his career with 81 games in Pinstripes, served as the rare lefty catcher in the ninth inning of a 2-1 Chicago loss to the Dodgers on September 21, 1958.
Lefty-hitting outfielder Herm McFarland (1935) doubly earns his “stripes” as one of three Yankee players to have died on September 21, initially because he hit three long balls and drove in 36 runs going 5-for-27 at the plate in 61 games for the 1902 AL Baltimore Orioles franchise that would move to New York as the Highlanders in 1903. Herm actually made that move too, and he hit five home runs with the ’03 Highlanders, good for another 27 rbi’s, achieved while going 88-for-362 in 103 games. Having spent most of the rest of his 1896-1903 career with the White Stockings, his overall numbers grow to 13 and 167. Righthander Murry Dickson (1989) won one game, lost two, and saved one in six games (two starts) for the 1958 Yanks. With significant stints with the Cardinals (twice), the Pirates, and the A’s in a career that spanned 1939-1959, Dickson went 172-181-23. And shortstop/third baseman/first baseman Tom Carroll (2021) debuted with the 1955-1956 Yankees in 50 games, with no homers or rbi’s. Tom did collect one rbi in 14 games with the 1959 Kansas City A’s.
Righthander Socks Seibold (1965), the first of two hurlers among six noteworthy nonYankee player deaths, posted a 48-86-5 mark with the A’s from 1916-1919 and the Braves from 1929-1933. Lefty-hitting third baseman Charlie Irwin (1925) reached 16 fences and drove in 488 runs with the Colts, the Reds, and the (Brooklyn) Superbas from 1893-1902; and catcher/first baseman Jim Keenan (1926) hit most of his 22 home runs with 208 rbi’s from 1880-1891 with the Red Stockings. Second baseman/third baseman Tony Cuccinello (1995) blasted 94 homers and knocked in 884 runs from 1930-1945 with the Dodgers, the Bees, the White Sox, the Reds, the Braves, and the Giants; and newest to the club, righthanded outfielder Tom Umphlett (2012), who hit six long balls with 111 rbi’s with the 1953 Red Sox, and with the 1954-1955 Senators. Righthander Lee Stange (2018) pitched multiple years for Minnesota, Cleveland, Boston, and the White Sox from 1961 through 1970. He posted a 62-61-21 record in 359 games, 125 of them starts.
Players Who Have Died This Day
The first of four September 21 Yankee birthdays belongs to Cecil Fielder (1963), who got his start in Toronto and then Japan, and made his name banging long balls in the Motor City, but he was huge (in more ways than one) to the Yankee effort in the magical postseason of 1996, which ended an 18-year Championship drought. Cecil blasted 26 homers and collected 98 rbi’s in parts of the 1996 and 1997 seasons in the Bronx. He was acquired by the Yankees in July 1996 in a trade of Ruben Sierra and minor leaguer Matt Drews to the Tigers.
I have to admit that I remember the nickname more fondly than the pitching, and it’s no surprise, because after throwing some dominating hard stuff for much of his 15-year career starting in 1961, lefthander “Sudden” Sam McDowell (1942) pitched to a 6-14 mark in the Bronx in 1973 and 1974. The Yankees purchased Sam’s contract from the San Francisco Giants in June 1973, and they released him the following December. The long-time Indians hurler posted a 141-134 career mark.
Lefty batting outfielder Elmer Smith (1892) played most of his 1914-1925 career with Cleveland as well, but he hit eight homers with 40 rbi’s for the Yanks in 1922 and 1923. Smith arrived in New York with Joe Dugan in July 1922 from the Boston Red Sox for Chick Fewster, Elmer Miller, Johnny Mitchell, Lefty O’Doul, and cash.
Catcher Frank McManus (1875) went 0-for-7 in four games for the 1904 Yankees. He also played partial seasons with Washington, Brooklyn, and Detroit. The Yanks got McManus from the Tigers for Monte Beville in July 1904.
Surprisingly, we add two more players to the “sort of” Yankee list in the last few years, starting with Toronto southpaw Brian Tallet (1977). Tallet was drafted by New York in 1997, but did not sign. He did sign with Cleveland after they selected him three years later, and posted a 1-2 mark with them before he was sent to the Blue Jays in a minor league deal in January 2006. He was a stalwart of the only bullpen in the bigs with three or four southpaws previously, but he started in 2009.
The only way most Yankee fans are aware of shortstop Joaquin Arias (1984) and his history with the club is that he was the player to be named later when he was sent with Alfonso Soriano to Texas for Alex Rodriguez in April 2004. Arias played in six games with Texas in 2006, and in double-digit games in 2008 as well.
Other birthdays: Elden Auker (1910), who went 130-101 mostly for the Tigers and the Browns from 1933-1942; Aurelio Lopez (1948); Danny Cox (1959); Jason Christiansen (1969); Scott Spiezio (1972); Doug Davis (1975); Brian Tallet (1977); Scott Rice (1981); Billy Sadler (1981); Greg Burke (1982); Carlos Rosa (1984); Joaqin Arias (1984); Antonio Bastardo (1985); Zach Phillips (1986); Jim Jeffress (1987); Che-Hsuan Lin (1988); Carlos Martinez (1991); Aaron Bummer (1993); Devin Williams (1994); Yainer Diaz (1998); and Henry Davis (1999).
Players Born This Day