LADY AT THE BAT: We Will Pass This Way But Once: Yankees Historical Oddities

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We Will Pass This Way But Once: Yankees Historical Oddities

Having followed the Yankees for over 50 years, I can recall some of the strangest events in the history of the team. They are once in a lifetime occurrences.

The Lindy Hop
On August 23, 1968 the Yankees were hosting Detroit, the eventual World Champions that year, in a twi-night doubleheader. Game one went to the Yankees and game two went 19 innings before being suspended by a league curfew that prohibited any inning to start after 1 AM local time. The Yankees closer that year was Lindy McDaniel. These days a closer usually pitches the ninth inning and sometimes is called upon to get four or five outs and which may even extend to two innings, though rarely. That night, McDaniel got 21 outs and all were in succession. Twenty one up and 21 down, seven perfect innings. Another oddity was while the statistics from that game counted, suspended games had to be replayed. So after playing the equivalent of three games Friday night(resulting in one win), a single game on Saturday the makeup game was part of a Sunday doubleheader. The Yankees swept the series against the powerful Tigers.

The Lost Wood
White Sox starter Wilbur Wood was a Yankees killer. Seemed like the knuckleballer Wood always had the Yankees number. Not true on the night of July 20, 1973. Wood started game one of a series at Yankee stadium and the Yankees knocked him out in the first inning, before he could record an out. So Chicago started Wood in game two  and the Yankees beat him again. This time Wood survived 4 1/3 innings of a rain shortened 6 inning game. Two starts in one day and two losses for Wilbur Wood, at the hands of the Yankees.

No No-No For Hawkins
Another memorable game involving the White Sox occurred in Chicago on July 1, 1990. Yankees starter, Andy Hawkins was working on a no hitter through seven innings. Unfortunately, the Yankees were also being shut out by Chicago. In the bottom of the 8th, the game still scoreless, Chicago loaded the bases thanks to an error and two walks.  Robin Ventura lofted a fly ball to left that Jim Leyritz, usually a catcher, staggered under as the wind grabbed the ball. Leyritz was able to locate the ball but it caromed off his glove as all three runners scored. Another run scored when center fielder Jesse Barfield committed the third error of the inning, dropping a fly ball of his own. Hawkins wound up with an 8 inning no-hitter, but lost 4-0. Official no hitters must be at least nine innings, so Hawkins' gem is not in the record books.

Shea It Ain't So
One of the oddest dates in Yankees history is July 27, 1975, nearly 40 years ago. The Yankees, hoping to cut into the Red Sox eight game lead, hosted Boston for a Sunday doubleheader. Things did not go well as Boston lefthanders Bill Lee and Roger Moret each pitched complete game shutouts against the Yankees at their temporary home, Shea Stadium. The event was significant in that the Yankees would soon dismiss manager Bill Virdon and bring in Billy Martin for the first time. Billy's impact would be enormous over the next 14 years and five managerial stints. This was the same day that Yankee legend Ron Guidry made his debut. Guidry's impact on the Yankees can be seen in Monument Park with Gator's number 49 among the Yankees retired numbers. Another debut of sorts, occurred on that day. Alex Rodriguez was born just a few miles from Yankee Stadium, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. For good and bad, A-Rod's impact on the Yankees continues to this day.  Here's hoping it continues on a positive note and Alex's transgressions are all in the past.

There are other historical oddities in sports, but as a Yankees fan, these are the ones that stand out for me.

No comments: