New York Yankees: This week in Yankee History (video)

There probably isn’t a day that goes by that something in New York Yankee history hasn’t happened that is memorable in their 109-year history. Here is a look at this week’s happenings in that history.

2002, May 9th:

The New York Yankee closer Mariano Rivera recorded his 225th save, creating a new Yankee franchise record. He did it preserving a 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida. The Yankee Hall of Famer completed his 19-year career, all with the Yankees with 652 saves. He was a 13 times All-Star, a 9 times MVP nominee, and a 6 times Cy Young Award nominee.

1934, May 10th:

The Yankees’ Lou Gehrig tied a major league record by hitting four extra-base hits in one game. This happened at Comiskey Park against the Chicago White Sox. He hit two home runs and two doubles in the game. He scored 7 RBI’s in just five innings before benching himself due to a severe cold. The Yankees won the game 11-3.

1946, May 11th:

The Boston Red Sox started the season at a torrid rate winning 23 games while losing 3 games. After winning 15 games straight before meeting up with the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on this day, Yankee pitcher Tiny Bonham allowed the Red Sox only two hits and broke their winning streak. He shut them out 2-0. However, it didn’t stop the Red Sox; they went on to capture the AL pennant.

2006, May 11th:

Prior to this day, the Yankee outfielder Hideki Matsui had played in every game since becoming a Yankee. That’s 518 straight games. But on this day, making a diving catch in left field, Matsui broke his left wrist. Matsui would never be the same in the outfield, and at the end of his career with the Yankees, he was mostly a designated hitter. His record of 518 games broke Hall of Famer Erie Banks, who started his career with 424 straight games.

2014, May 12th:

New York Yankee second baseman Alfonso Soriano became the seventh player in the major league to record 1,000 hits in both leagues. At age 38, he also became the first major leaguer to record 100 home runs, 500 runs, and 500 RBI’s in each league.

1929, May 13th:

This day marks the first time in major league history that two teams met each other in a game with both teams wearing numbers on the back of their jerseys. It was in a game when the Indians hosted the New York Yankees at Cleveland’s League Park. In those early days, numbers represented their place in the lineup.

1955, May 13th:

At Yankee Stadium on this day against the Detroit Tigers, Yankee slugger Micky Mantle hit a home run from both sides of the plate for the first time in his career. He ended the game by hitting three home runs in the Yankee 5-2 win. He drove in all the runs in the game.

1967, May 14th Mother’s Day special:

On this Mother’s Day and as a promise to his wife Merlyn, Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run. It was a cheap homer to the short porch at Yankee Stadium; nevertheless, he kept his promise. He was the sixth major leaguer to reach the dramatic milestone.

1996, May 14th:

Dwight “Doc” Gooden becomes the eighth Yankees to pitch a no-hitter. He threw 135 pitches in the 2-0 win over the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.

1912, May 15th:

You may have only heard great things about the legend Ty Cobb, but he wasn’t always the nice guy. On this day, being tired of being heckled, Cobb jumped into the stands and pummeled a fan. Claude Lueker missing many fingers due to a work injury got the shit beat out of him, including being kicked with Cobb’s cleats.

1941 May 15th:

New York Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio started his famous 56 game hitting streak. He would have a hit in every game through July 17th. His streak ended in Cleveland against the Indians.

 

New York Yankees Top 10’s: A history of great center fielders, is your favorite on the list?

New York Yankees, Mickey Mantle

The New York Yankees in their 109-year glorious history have had their share of great baseball players.  From Babe Ruth to Joe DiMaggio to Ron Guidry, Derek Jeter, and dozens more, some of the best baseball players in history have graced Yankee Stadium.  I’ve dealt with the pitchers, catchers, baseman, and right fielders in my other top ten columns.  In this installment, I will attempt to identify the great Yankee centerfielders.  With so many great centerfielders, some writers will differ in the order of their preferences.  Here are this writer’s top 10.

10. Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson would have been higher on this list, except his tenure with the Yankees was limited. Granderson played centerfield for the New York Yankees from 2010 to 2013. 2011 was one of the best years of his career. He scored an incredible 139 times and drove in 119 runs while stealing 25 bases. He was an All-Star, came in 4th in the MVP voting, and was a Silver Slugger.

9. Hideki Matsui

Hideki Matsui is another Yankee player the might have scored higher in this ranking if he had played solely in centerfield.  His time with the Yankees was shared with left-field in the last years of his career as a DH.  Matsui was a great contact hitter and shined at important moments.  In his seven-year career with the Yankees from 2003 to 2009, he drove in over a hundred runs a year four of his first five years. During his Yankee career, he hit .292.

8.  Ricky Henderson

Had Ricky Henderson played his entire 25-year career with the Yankees and had only played in centerfield, he would be closer to the top of this list, but he shared it with eight other teams in both leagues.  With the Yankees, he in five years had 326 stolen bases while hitting .288 and driving in 255 runs.  If it wasn’t for his stolen bases, he might not be on this list at all.

7.  Mickey Rivers

Mickey Rivers spent four years with the New York Yankees.  Rivers was a hugely popular Yankee with a cannon for an arm.  He had a fielding average of .985. He was either an All-Star or an MVP candidate every year he was with the Yankees.  The best years of his 15-year career were with the Yankees.  He stole nearly 100 bases and batted .299.  Few players could cover as much grass in center and run the bases as fast.

6.  Bobby Murcer

Bobby Murcer is one of the most popular of New York Yankees in the last fifty years.  Murcer played two stints with the Yankees, the first one from 1965 to 1974 and again from 1979 to when he ended his playing days in 1983. Murcer was a complete baseball player who shined in important moments.  With the Yankees, he hit .278 with 687 runs driven in.  He also hit 275 home runs.  On the day of Thurmon Munson’s funeral, he came back to the Stadium and almost singly won the game that night.  After his playing days, he would broadcast from the Yankee booth for sixteen years. The five-time All-Star died of brain cancer at the age of 62.

5.  Brett Gardner

Many sportswriters would put Brett Gardner further down this list, mostly due to his somewhat low batting average of .260. In his 12 years with the Yankees, Brett Gardner has been one of the most consistent players on the team, always on the edge of greatness.  Few Yankee players have left their guts on the field in every game.  This do-or-die player puts everything he has into every single game and is the heart and soul of the team.  His mentorship to younger players was never more evident last season when the club endured a historic number of injuries.  Gardner, through example, led many minor league replacements to greatness.  In his twelfth year as a Yankee, he had one of the best seasons of his career, hitting 28 home runs while having an incredible .992 fielding percentage in centerfield. Gardner has accrued the fifth-most WAR in Yankees center field history. He has long been an unsung stalwart of the team. He is also the only present player on this list. Below you will see some of the fantastic plays he has made.

 

4.  Earl Combs

Most Yankee fans are not familiar with Earl Combs.  Combs played for the Yankees between 1924 and 1935.  It should be noted that the top five players on this list have played at least 12 years with the Yankees and are generally considered not only Yankee greats but some of the best players to ever play the game.  Combs in his 12 years with the Yankees compiled a .325 batting average, and in five of his years, he batted over .342.  He also had a .970 fielding percentage in centerfield.  Combs contributed to teams that won the World Series three times during his career. This baseball Hall of Famer nearly averaged 200 hits a year while striking out an average of only 31 strikeouts per season.

3.  Bernie Williams

One of the most beloved Yankees is Bernie Williams who graced centerfield from 1991 to 2006.  In his 16 years, all as a New York Yankee, he compiled a .297 batting average with 1257 runs batting in a while hitting nearly 300 home runs.  One thing fans enjoyed was that Bernie was a doubles machine.  Bernie was a five-time All-Star, a six-time MVP candidate, and was awarded the Golden Glove award four times for his defense in centerfield. Bernie Williams contributed to four Yankee World Series wins.   Williams was such a good player that early in his career, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner three times considered trading Williams for other star players to plug holes in the team. Still, luckily for Yankee fans, none of those trades came to fruition.  On September 21, 2008, Williams made his first return to Yankee Stadium since 2006 for the ceremonies preceding the final game at the stadium. He was the last former player to be introduced and received a standing ovation that lasted a minute and 42 seconds.  In 2015 Bernie Williams was rewarded a plaque in Monument Park.

2.  Joe DiMaggio

With the top two on this list, we step into rarified greatness.  Joe DiMaggio is one of the greatest players to ever play the game.  Joe was nicknamed the “Clipper” and “Joltin’ Joe” spent his entire 13 years career as a Yankee.  DiMaggio is best known for his 56-game hitting streak (May 15–July 16, 1941), a record that still stands today.  His career batting average of .325 with 361 home runs is among the best in baseball.  He spent his entire career in centerfield at Yankee Stadium. Baseball fans remember him as a Yankee legend and cultural icon of the era. His nine World Series rings trails only Yogi Berra in team history, and his number 5 is immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Yankee’s Monument Park. Being one of the more colorful players of his time, he is also known for his failed marriage to Marilyn Monroe.

DiMaggio was a thirteen-time All-Star and a twelve-time MVP candidate winning the coveted award three times.  Many baseball analysts believe that if he hadn’t missed three years in the heart of his career while in the military that his career would have been even better.  They also cite that the 457-foot left-center field fence in the old Yankee Stadium robbed DiMaggio of more home runs than any other player in history.

1.  Mickey Mantle

If the last four on this list leapfrog the bottom five, Mickey Mantle leapfrogs Joe DiMaggio as the second greatest Yankee in history next to the famed Babe Ruth. Mantle played centerfield at Yankee Stadium for eighteen years from 1951 to 1968.  Over his career spent entirely as a New York Yankee, he had a .298 batting average and hit 536 home runs and 1,676 runs scored.  The sixteen-time All-Star also was an MVP nominee 14 times.  He was the MVP in 1956, 1957, and again in 1962. Most sportswriters regard Mickey Mantle as the greatest switch-hitter in baseball history.

Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, when he led the major leagues in batting average (.353), home runs (52), and runs batted (RBI) (130).  Mantle appeared in 12 World Series, including seven championships, and he holds World Series records for the most home runs (18), RBIs (40), extra-base hits (26), runs (42), walks (43), and total bases (123).  Mantle was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 and has a plaque in Yankees Monument Park.  Mantles number 7 was retired by the Yankee on June 8, 1970.

Here are a few more interesting facts about the “Mick”.  He hit two or more home runs in World Series games twice. He hit an unbelievable ten Grand Slams and hit six inside the park home runs, five in the old Yankee Stadium and one against the Chicago White Sox in the old Cominsky Park.

 

In selecting my top ten, I valued time with the club, performance as per Baseball-Reference.com.  Peak career performance and performance in postseason play was also a factor.  Special situations like changing career positions were also a consideration.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

New York Yankees: This week in New York Yankee’s history

In the glorious history of the New York Yankees, almost every day has significance in Yankee history.  This week was the first time in baseball history that the New York Highlanders were referred to as the “Yankees” by the Boston newspaper, the Boston Herald. The team would officially become the New York Yankees 1913. Here are some other notable happenings this week in Yankee history.

10/26/1950: The BBWAA selects Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto (.324, 7, 66) as the American League MVP. The ‘Scooter,’ who receives 16 of 23 first-place votes, easily outpoints runner-up Boston’s Billy Goodman, the first player without a regular position to receive consideration for the prestigious award.

10/26/1996: After two stunning defeats at home, 12-1 and 4-0 losses, to start the series, the Yankees win the next four games to clinch their first World Series since 1978 with a 3-2 victory in the Bronx over the defending World Champs Braves. The Fall Classic victory will be the first title of four in five years for the Bronx Bombers.

10/26/2000: In Game 5 at Shea Stadium, the Yankees win their third consecutive World Series, the fourth title in five years, and record 26th championship by defeating the Mets, 4-2. Luis Sojo’s ninth-inning two-out, tie-breaking single off starter Al Leiter is the decisive hit.

10/27/1954: Former Yankees superstar Joe DiMaggio’s and actress Marilyn Monroe’s well-publicized stormy marriage ends in divorce after the famous movie star files on the grounds of mental cruelty, just 274 days after the wedding. Joltin’ Joe will send roses to ex-wife’s grave three times per week for the next 20 years after she died in 1962.

10/27/1999: The Yankees, behind the solid pitching of Roger Clemens, sweep their second straight Fall Classic, beating the Braves, 4-1. Atlanta joins the New York Giants (1910-19) as the only teams to lose four World Series in a decade.

10/29/2009: Derek Jeter is the recipient of this year’s Roberto Clemente Award, an honor given to a player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, and community involvement. The 35-year-old Yankee captain joins 13 Hall of Famers and former Bronx Bombers Ron Guidry and Don Baylor in winning the prestigious prize.

10/30/2007: The Yankees sign Joe Girardi to a three-year deal worth a reported $7.5 million to replace popular manager Joe Torre, who left earlier in the month, rejecting a 29% pay cut after guiding his club to their 12th postseason appearance in 12 years. The 43-year-old former catcher and broadcaster, the NL manager of the year with the 2006 Marlins, beat out coaches Don Mattingly and Tony Pena to become the team’s 32nd skipper.

10/31/2000: New York Yankees completed the threepeat. The Yankees defeated the New York Mets, 4-2 in Game 5 of the World Series at Shea Stadium. The Subway Series victory earned the Yankees their twenty-sixth title in franchise history. They became the first team since the 1972-74 Oakland Athletics to threepeat. No other team has even repeated as champs since this team. It also capped off a run of four titles in five seasons for the Yankees.

10/31/2009: Alex Rodriguez’s Game 3 fly ball in the right-field corner of Citizens Bank Park becomes the subject of the first instant replay call in World Series history. The Yankee third baseman’s hit, initially ruled a double, is changed by the umpires to a home run after the replay clearly shows the ball going over the fence before striking a television camera and bouncing back to the field.

EmpireSportMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

 

New York Yankees: Today “Joltin Joe’s” 56 game hitting streak ends 79 years ago

For the New York Yankees, some days in Yankee lore are more interesting than others. Today happens to be one of those days.

1941:  Joe DiMaggio in his career, received many award accolades, and broke several records. Besides having the most home runs for a rookie, he also had the most home runs in his first two years, a record not broken until 2009. Joe’s record could have been even better, but Yankee Stadium left-center field back then was 457′.

In 1941 Joe had a 56 game hitting streak. During the streak, DiMaggio hit .408, and the Yankees went 41-13. His streak still stands today; the closest anyone has come to it is Pete Rose in 1978. On July 17, 1941, Joe’s 56 game hitting streak came to an end. He went 0-for-3 with a walk in the Yankees’ 4-3 win at Cleveland Park, twice grounding out to Keltner at third, who makes incredible stops to throw out DiMaggio.

1961: Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle both hit home runs in a game against the Baltimore Orioles.  This was the midpoint in the famous home run race between the two sluggers. It was Maris’s 36th and Mantles 34th, but both homers were erased due to rain that canceled the game before it became official.

1978: Another fight occurred between slugger Reggie Jackson and New York Yankee manager Billy Martin. On this day, Martin ordered Jackson to hit away.  Jackson ignored him and bunted.  Martin furious suspended Jackson as the team sank 14 games back.  But harm no foul, the Yankees came all the way back and won the World Championship from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1987: “Donnie Baseball” Don Mattingly, on this day in 1987, becomes the first AL player to hit a home run in seven consecutive games when he goes deep in the Yankees’ 8-4 win in Texas.

2018:  In the Midsummer Classic All-Star game, the American League defeated the National League, 8-6, at Nationals Park. A record 10 home runs are hit, five from each team. The game’s first by The New York Yankee’s Aaron Judge off hometown starter Max Scherzer. The Astros’ Alex Bregman earned MVP honors as the AL wins its sixth straight Midsummer Classic. Interestingly this year’s opening day will be at Nationals Park against that same Max Scherzer. Will Aaron Judge repeat the for the New York Yankees?

New York Yankees: All-Time Starting Lineup/Bench

New York Yankees, Babe Ruth

Most of these players contributed to the 27 World Series rings that the New York Yankees franchise has won. From World Series MVPs to record-breaking statistics, these players have done it all in the sport of baseball.

All-Time Starting Lineup/Bench

1. SS Derek Jeter

Jeter played all 20 seasons of his career for the Yankees and was one of 15 captains in New York Yankees history. He deserved to be the second unanimous hall of fame player but fell one vote short.

He had 650 1st-pitch hits, indicating he was aggressive at the plate, which makes a perfect leadoff hitter for this team.

2. LF Joe DiMaggio

A 56-game hitting streak is Dimaggio’s most popular call to fame, however, he did make the all-star team all 13 years of his career.

He hit over .300 in 11 out of 13 years at the highest stage, which is almost never seen in today’s baseball.

To top it all off, he served his country in WWII for three years.

3. RF Babe Ruth

“The Bambino” was the greatest display of power in the early 20th century and no one will forget when he “called his shot.”

His 714 home runs have kept him among the top three home run hitters for almost a century. He has the best slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+ of all-time as well.

He is arguably the best all-around hitter ever and needs to be in the middle of this lineup.

4. 1B Lou Gehrig

He and Ruth were the best one-two punch of their era, if Ruth did not drive in the runs one game, Gehrig would put the “cleanup” in “cleanup hitter” and drive in the runs himself.

In 1931, Gehrig drove in 185 runs, which is the second-most for a single season in history, behind Hack Wilson, who drove in 191 runs a year prior.

Gehrig also won the triple crown in 1934, meaning he led the American League in home runs, RBIs, and batting average, a feat that only a few players have achieved in their careers.

5. CF Mickey Mantle

Following in DiMaggio’s footsteps, Mantle, led the New York Yankees to seven World Series titles. He won the triple crown in 1956, paving the way for his first MVP award.

Mantle was arguably one of the first five-tool players in baseball, as he led the American League in many batting categories, in a single season, at some point in his career and even won a gold glove award.

Behind Babe Ruth, Mantle is second on the all-time Yankees home run list.

6. 3B Alex Rodriguez

Although his best years were for the Texas Rangers, A-Rod won two MVPs as the Yankees’ third baseman.

Yes, he did admit to using steroids, but he was still one of the most feared hitters in baseball for almost two decades.

7. C Yogi Berra

Berra, won three MVPs, 10 World Series rings, meaning he has one for each finger, not even Tom Brady has reached that level of success.

Between his “Yogisms” and serving in WWII, he did all you can ask for of a man and a baseball player. He is the textbook definition of a legend in the game of baseball.

8. 2B Tony Lazzeri

There is an argument to have Robinson Cano in this lineup, however, Lazzeri’s Yankees tenure was longer and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He also helped the historic teams of the 1920s and 30s win five World Series titles.

9. P Whitey Ford

This is just to fill a hole in the lineup without a DH, if there had to be a DH, a case could be made for Don Mattingly, Graig Nettles, or Dave Winfield, cannot go wrong with any of these players.

Ford was arguably the best pitcher in Yankees history and would be the opening day starter for this team.

Bench:

C Bill Dickey

He was Yogi Berra’s predecessor and helped the Yankees win seven World Series rings. An 11-time all-star and a hall of fame inductee earn his spot on this team.

1B/OF Don Mattingly

His best season was 1986 when he hit 53 doubles. Mattingly is a great pinch-hit option off the bench.

2B Robinson Cano

Cano got the assist on the final out of 2009 World Series game 6, which one the Yankees first World Series since 2000. He played all but one game that season and became a big part of the New York Yankees team in the early 2010s.

He is the only active player on this team, but his spot is well deserved.

3B Graig Nettles

Nettles led the American League in home runs in 1976, with 32. He is a fan favorite of the ’70s Yankees teams and needs to be on this team.

OF Dave Winfield

Last, but not least, Winfield had one of the best arms of any right-fielder ever. He would rack up double-digit outfield assist seasons a bunch of times in his career.

He also had middle-of-the-lineup production at the plate during his career, making him the perfect player to round out this team.

Yankees Legends: “The Chairman of the Board,” Whitey Ford

historic photograph of three baseball players

“The Chairman of the Board”

A 10-time New York Yankee All-Star, a Cy Young Award Winner, an eight-time MVP nominee, a lifetime record of 236-106, and a career ERA of 2.75, it could be only one person, Edward Charles “Whitey Ford.” Ford spent his entire career of 16 years with the New York Yankees. During his 18 years with the Yankees, he spent two years in the Army serving in the Korean War. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974. With the death of Yogi Berra, Ford has been named the greatest living baseball player by the New York Times.

Ford was a local boy, born in Queens just a few miles from the Bronx. As a child, Ford played baseball and stickball in the summer in the sandlots of the Queens, football in the fall, and roller hockey in the winter. During the summers, Ford and his friends played sandlot baseball until dark on fields next to the Madison Square Garden Bowl, about a mile from his home neighborhood.  When not playing there, he and his friend would play stickball against a wall using a broomstick.

Several neighborhood fathers got together and bought uniforms for their sons.  They organized a team for the 13-year-olds, called the Thirty-fourth Avenue Boys.  The group stayed together for five years. Ford’s childhood baseball hero was Joe DiMaggio, who he got to see when he and his Father boarded the Subway for the trip to Yankee Stadium.

In Ford’s senior years of highschool In April 1946, he attended a Yankees tryout camp at Yankee Stadium as a first baseman. Paul Krichell, a Yankees scout, noticed Ford’s strong-arm during fielding practice. It was thought he was too small to play first base but had him throw a few pitches on the sidelines and showed him how to throw a curveball. He alternated every other game by pitching and playing at first base, in the summer after he graduated by playing with the Thirty-fourth Avenue Boys. The team went 36-0 to win the Queens-Nassau semipro league, with Ford winning 18 games without a loss when pitching.

Whitey was signed by the Yankees in 1947 as an amateur free agent and was assigned to the minor leagues. It was during this time that he got his nickname “Whitey” for his nearly albino blond hair, He made his major league debut on July 1, 1950, and let it be known that he was a force to be reckoned with. He won his first nine games in a row. He was named AL Rookie of the Year by sporting news. One thing most of today’s fans are not aware of is that his record would probably be even better, had Casey Stengel not saved him for the bigger games.

In 1951 Whitey would marry is wife, Joan. After the wedding, the Fords delayed their Florida honeymoon for three days so that Whitey could throw out the first pitch at the Yankees’ 1951 Opening Day in Yankee Stadium. They lived on Long Island and raised two sons and a daughter. After his first very successful first year with the Yankees, he served the next two years during the Korean War in the Army.

When returning to the Yankees in 1953, he showed he hadn’t lost any of his skills, going 18-6 on the year and pushed the Yankees to their fifth World Series win in a row. In 1954 the Yankees were loaded with great players and fully expected to win their sixth straight pennant and World Series. They won 103 games, more than in the past five seasons. But lost to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS, who would lose the World Series to the Giants.

In 1955 Ford would go 18-7, but the Yankees would not win the World Series again. In 1956 Ford would pitch even better going 19-6. Ford was 27 years old at the beginning of the 1956 season and started off winning his first six starts while giving up only five runs. He had a minuscule 0.83 earned run average. He would have had 20 wins, but when the Yankees clinched, he decided to forgo his start and save it for the World Series. The Yankee defeated the defending Brooklyn Dodgers in the Series.

The Yankees would again win the World Series in 1958 against the 1957 Champion Milwaukee Braves. In 1961 Whitey was to have his best season ever. He went 25-4 with a 3.21 ERA. He again would be an All-Star and would win his Cy Young Award. In early September, the Yankees held  “Whitey Ford Day” before a game against Cleveland, in appreciation of his outstandinng season and perhaps to make up for being overshaded by the home run race of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

The club showered him with gifts, including a six-foot package of Life Savers that was wheeled in from the bullpen. When it arrived on the mound, out popped the other top Yankee Luis Arroyo. Ford took the joke all in good humor. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series in five games against the Cincinnati Reds, their 19th World Series win.

Ford had three nicknames; Whitey was one of them due to his light blonde hair.  He was also called “Slick” by manager Casey Stengel.  But the nickname that has always stuck is “The Chairman of the Board.”  He got that moniker due to Stengel saving him for big games, and his ability to withstand high-pressure situations was an easy calm while remaining in complete control of a situation.

Ford would go on to have four more winning seasons, including another World Series win in 1962. the last success for the next 15 years. During his career, he had 13 seasons with eleven wins or more. His second best was the 24-7 season in 1963. He will go down in history as one of the greatest Yankee pitchers of all time. At age 91, we hope again to see the “Chairman” at this year’s Old Timer’s Day Game at Yankee Stadium.

How Going Against the Book Helped Keep Joe DiMaggio’s Hit Streak Alive

New York Yankees, Babe Ruth

The 24,000 fans who went to Yankee Stadium on Thursday, June 26, 1941, were hoping to see Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak get extended to 38 games. Taking the field against the lowly St. Louis Browns, the Yankees would take their swings against right-hander Elden Auker.

Coming to bat in the second, DiMaggio flew out to the left-field; in the fourth, he reached on an error by shortstop Johnny Berardino, who, after retiring from baseball became an actor, becoming best known for playing Dr. Steve Hardy on the long-running soap opera “General Hospital”. In his third time up in the sixth, DiMaggio bounced out to third.

Meanwhile, Yankee starter Marius Russo was trying to steal the show as he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning with the Yankees leading 3-0. But his dreams would be dashed to bits when first baseman George McQuinn-who would help the Yankees win a World Series six years later-belted a one-out home run to put the Browns on the board. It would be the only hit Russo would surrender.

The game went to the bottom of the eighth, with the Yankees up 3-1. DiMaggio was scheduled to bat fourth, which meant someone needed to reach base to give “The Yankee Clipper” one more chance. With one out, third baseman Red Rolfe drew a walk, bringing Tommy Henrich to the plate.

Before getting into the box, Henrich went back to the dugout to ask manager Joe McCarthy to let him put down a sacrifice bunt. A by the book manager, McCarthy at first said no. Henrich explained that he feared that hitting into a double play would end DiMaggio’s streak in all likelihood since the Browns would have needed to score at least two runs to tie the game in the game.

After hearing Henrich’s reasoning, McCarthy gave his blessing, and Henrich put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Rolfe to second. This set the stage for DiMaggio to extend his hitting streak in his last at-bat. Auker delivered a pitch to DiMaggio’s liking, and Joe ripped a line drive that almost took third baseman, Harlond Clift, into left field.

Rolfe scampered home from second as DiMaggio raced into second with an RBI double to extend his hitting streak to 38 straight games as the Yankees went on to beat the Browns 4-1. All made possible because a by the book manager went against it.