New York Yankees: Memorable Memorial Day Performances
As we enter Memorial Day weekend in full-force, it got me thinking. What are the staples of a good Memorial Day weekend?
Barbecues for sure.
A frosty adult beverage.
New York Yankees baseball.
Yep, with those four things in tow, you're guaranteed to have a good time on what is really the first three-day weekend for many of us.
Since Memorial Day is about remembering the past, let's take a look at some of the best and most memorable Yankee performances that occurred on Memorial Day.
Side note: While we remember the men and women of our armed forces who gave their lives to protect our freedoms and our way of life, don't forget to celebrate and thank those who currently serve and those veterans whom are still with us. These men and women simply don't receive the respect and admiration that they deserve. The next time you encounter either a veteran or current soldier, take a minute out of your day to shake their hand and say "thank you." While you may or may not agree with the politics behind it all, these men and women do something on a daily basis that most of us could not even begin to imagine doing ourselves.
May 31, 2010: The Indians Get Scalped in the Bronx
Andy Pettitte went for seven strong innings, scattering four hits and an earned run while striking out five en route to a Yankees trouncing of the Cleveland Indians, 11-2. Pettitte's only mistake was a pitch in the fourth inning that Indians shortstop Jhonny Peralta sent into the seats for a home run.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez led the way, going 3-4 with one run scored, a double and a seventh-inning grand slam off Indians relief pitcher Chris Perez to cap what would be a six-run inning for the Bronx Bombers.
A-Rod's six RBI on the day still stands as a Yankees' Memorial Day record.
May 25, 2009: Mothers, Don't Let Your Sons Grow Up to Be Cowboys
A-Rod once again makes the list, this time going 5-5 with two runs scored, two doubles and four RBI.
Young flamethrower Phil Hughes put up his best start of the season to date, scattering three hits over eight innings, striking out six with only one walk.
May 29, 2000: A Decade After MC Hammer, Oakland Still Can't Touch This
Both starting pitchers in this game, Andy Pettitte for the Yankees and Omar Olivares for the Athletics, went the distance, but it was Pettitte who had the better stuff and held the A's to one run in the Yankees' 4-1 victory.
Along the way, Andy scattered two hits (both by former Yankees) while walking one and striking out three. Jason Giambi lined a 2-0 pitch into the gap between center and right for a double in the first inning, while Randy Velarde deposited a 1-1 pitch into the stands in left for a solo home run in the top of the ninth.
May 27, 1996: Bern Baby Bern
Down 5-4 to the then-California Angels going into the top of the fifth inning, Andy Pettitte had to feel like he had let the team down. After taking a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth, Pettitte allowed four consecutive Angels on base, leading to a two-run half inning and the Yankees behind.
Whether it was the Yankees' bats coming alive, the terrible pitching of Angels starter (and future Yankee) Jim Abbott and reliever Todd Frohwirth or a combination of the two, the Yanks erupted for eight runs in the top of the fifth.
11 consecutive Yankees batters got on base before a single out was recorded, and before Angels manager Marcel Lachmann knew what happened, the Yanks had taken a commanding 12-5 lead.
Bernie Williams finished the day 5-7 with all five hits being singles. He scored three runs, drove in another three runs and stole a base. Only Tino Martinez went deep for the Yankees, hitting a three-run shot to right off Angels reliever Mark Holzemer in the top of the eighth, only adding insult to injury.
May 25, 1992: "Tarta" Sauce Doesn't Go with Bratwurst
After watching second baseman Pat Listach steal home plate in the top half of the eighth inning, Milwaukee Brewers starter Chris Bosio took the Yankee Stadium mound to face the six through nine hitters in the Yankee lineup with a 7-4 lead.
Those six through nine hitters?
Catcher Matt Nokes, left fielder Dion James, third baseman Charlie Hayes and second baseman Pat Kelly.
Not exactly names that strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers.
Nokes and James hit line drives to the deep infield, each one leading to a single. Brewers manager Phil Garner pulled Bosio for reliever Jim Austin, who proceeded to allow three consecutive hits and three walks, leaving the game only after an intentional walk of Don Mattingly.
Doug Henry came in and promptly allowed a two-run single to Yankees center fielder Roberto Kelly and was replaced by ex-Met (and future Yankee) reliever Jesse Orosco. After walking Mel Hall, Danny Tartabull stepped up to bat with the bases loaded.
Tartabull crushed Orosco's 3-2 offering deep into the left field seats, giving the Yankees a six-run lead, 13-7.
Lee Guetterman finished the game for the Yankees and proved Tartabull's grand slam was huge, as he let Milwaukee get three runs back in the ninth. The Yanks held on to win, 13-10.
May 27, 1991: New York, It's a "Hall" of a Town
After another uninspiring performance from Yankee starting pitcher (and future pitching coach) Dave Eiland, the Yankees found themselves down 5-3 going into the bottom of the ninth. Jeff Reardon and his beard took the mound to close things out for the Boston Red Sox.
Hensley Meulens and Kevin Maas both got on base with singles, bringing left fielder Mel Hall to the plate.
Hall drove Reardon's 2-2 offering deep down the right field line, resulting in a game-winning three-run home run, his second bomb of the game against the Yankees' hated rival.
Right fielder Jesse Barfield would also go deep twice with solo shots.
May 26, 1980: If I Can't Have a Grammy, I Will Settle for a Granny
"The snow now hides the bleachers,
From the dugout's empty scene.
But here I stand remembering when
The Infield's grass was green."
I will start this slide with a useless fact about our star, Richard Aldo Cerone.
Granted, this would not happen until 1981, but Rick Cerone did indeed record a 7" single, one that saw any royalties Cerone earned be donated to the Italian Earthquake Victims Fund. You can see the album cover here. The single did not reach the top of the charts (or the charts at all).
But I digress.
With a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees were set to face Detroit Tigers reliever Dave Tobik. Future president of the American League Bobby Brown led the inning off with a solo home run, and Willie Randolph was driven home by Joe Lefebvre, giving the Yankees a 9-5 lead.
After intentionally walking Graig Nettles, Tobik settled in to face Rick Cerone. Cerone crushed Tobik's offering deep into the night, as Bob Watson, Lefebvre, Nettles and Cerone crossed home plate en route to a 13-5 Yankees victory.
May 29, 1978: Only Those Whose First Name Ends in "Y" May Take the Mound
In the bottom of the first inning, Indians right fielder Jim Norris singled to right field. Yankees starter Andy Messersmith shook it off and got Cleveland third baseman Buddy Bell to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Still scoreless as the Yankees came to bat the top of the seventh inning, Indians starter Rick Waits was working on a one-hitter of his own. After getting Yankee captain Thurman Munson to ground out to third base, Lou Piniella singled to left field.
Waits got Chris Chambliss to fly out to left field, bringing up Graig Nettles with two outs and Piniella still on first base. Waits' pitch found the sweet spot of Nettles' bat though, as the third baseman drove his pitch deep over the center field wall, leading to a 2-0 Yankees victory.
Norris' single would be the only hit the Indians would get on the day. Messersmith went five innings, only allowing the hit to Norris and issuing a walk to Cleveland left fielder Johnny Grubb. Yankees reliever Rawly Eastwick went the rest of the way for the Bronx Bombers, pitching four perfect innings of relief.
May 30, 1960: Yogi Takes Advantage of Senators' "Boo-Boo"
After losing the first game of a day-night doubleheader 2-1, the Yankees were looking for revenge against the Washington Senators in the nightcap.
Senators starting pitcher Pedro Ramos kept the Yankees at bay; aside from a fourth-inning solo home run by Roger Maris, Ramos had stranded Yankees on the bases all game long. As they entered the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees found themselves trailing 2-1.
Yankees left fielder Hector Lopez grounded out weakly to start the inning, and Ramos promptly put Mickey Mantle on base with a free pass. Elston Howard had caught the first game, so Yogi Berra was catching in his place. Berra liked what he saw from Ramos, and he hit his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead and eventual victory.