2019: A Well-Deserved Day Off & A Wild Finish
On his birthday, John Sterling takes his first day off in three decades to end a streak of over 5,000 games called dating back to 1989. Ryan Ruocco handles radio play-calling duties alongside Suzyn Waldman instead. Meanwhile, on the field, Aroldis Chapman blows the save, failing to secure the 3-1 lead. The Yankees score five runs in the 10th, beginning with DJ LeMahieu’s two-run single with the bases loaded that sneaks through the drawn-in infield. Two batters later, Gary Sanchez’s 461-foot three-run home run is plenty to topple the Rays, 8-4.
1995: A Future Closer’s Dominant Start
Just recalled from Triple-A Columbus, Mariano Rivera has the greatest start of his career. He throws eight innings of two-hit, shutout baseball and strikes out a career-high 11 batters (including the side in the seventh) in a 4-1 win over the White Sox in Chicago. Future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas collects two singles off Rivera, who was otherwise unblemished while throwing a career-high 129 pitches. Though he does not pitch the inning he will become synonymous with, Rivera will make five more career starts before being moved to the bullpen for good in September. Additionally, Don Mattingly’s lone hit is his 425th career double, passing Babe Ruth for second on the franchise list, behind Lou Gehrig.
1984: The Knuckleball Gets Away, But the Strikeout Counts
After 20 seasons in the N.L., 45-year-old Phil Niekro is in his first season with the Yankees when he strikes out the Rangers’ Larry Parrish for his 3,000th career strikeout. Catcher Butch Wynegar can’t handle the knuckleball, allowing Parrish to reach first base. The Yankees still win, 5-0, as Niekro throws eight innings of six-hit baseball while becoming the ninth pitcher to reach the hallowed strikeout mark.
1983: A No-Hitter for Rags
After throwing his first career shutout the previous start, Dave Righetti tosses a 4-0 no-hitter against Boston, walking four batters. “Rags” strikes out seven Red Sox batters over the first three innings and fans Wade Boggs—that season’s A.L. batting champ—for the final out of the ninth after walking .190 hitter Jeff Newman to lead off the frame. It is the first Yankees no-hitter since Don Larsen’s 1956 perfect game, and first by a New York lefthander since George Mogridge in 1917.
1960: The Mick Hits a Milestone
Mickey Mantle hits his 300th career home run in the first inning off Washington’s Hal Woodeshick, becoming the 18th player to reach the mark. It is one of four Yankee homers on the day, but the Bombers lose on a walk-off to the Senators, 9-8.
1939: “The Luckiest Man in the World”
The Yankees hold “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day” to honor the “Iron Horse”, who is beginning to suffer from the effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Gehrig has not played in a game since April 30, and already received his diagnosis from the Mayo Clinic the previous month. Initially planning on not speaking at the festivities, Gehrig reverses course and tearfully tells the crowd of 61,808 that he considers himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth”.
1930: The Boss Is Born
George Michael Steinbrenner III is born in Rocky Hill, OH, as the only son to Rita and shipping magnate Henry George II. Following his education at Williams College and Ohio State University and the revival of his family’s shipping company, Steinbrenner heads a group of investors that purchases the Yankees from CBS on January 3, 1973, for a net price of $8.7 million. In his 37 years presiding over the team until his death in 2010, the Yankees won more pennants (11) and World Series titles (7) than any other team in baseball.