This Week in Yankees Baseball
April 3rd - April 9th
1879 - Former Yankees P John Frill (1910) was born. On August 6,1909, John Frill was sent from the Newark (Eastern League) to the New York Yankees in an unknown transaction. John went 2-2 in 10 games with 1 save for the Yankees. On July 13, 1910, John was purchased by the Jersey City (Eastern League) from the Yankees.
1919 - One of the most bizarre off-the-field spring training incidents in New York Yankees history takes place in Jacksonville, Florida. New York Yankees OF Ping Bodie competes against an ostrich named "Percy" in a spaghetti-eating contest! Bodie wins the eating competition, when Percy passes out after his 11th plate of pasta.
1929 - Former Yankees P Art Ditmar (1957-1961) was born. Art Ditmar was originally signed by the Philadelphia A’s in 1948. Ditmar would get his 1st look at the MLB in 1954 when the Philadelphia A’s used him in 14 games. He posted a 1-4 record. Also he spent time in 1954 with Ottawa (International League, AAA), going 6-12 with a 3.56 ERA. One of Art's highlights in baseball came in 1954 as he was the winning pitcher in the final game ever played by the Philadelphia A's before their franchise shift to Kansas City. "It was a game against the Yankees," recalled the rubber-armed right-hander. "Casey Stengel wanted to get every good hitter he could into the lineup. Yogi Berra played 3rd base and Mickey Mantle played shortstop. I pitched 6 innings and Marion Fricano finished."
On February 19, 1957, Art was traded by the Kansas City A’s along with players to be named later, Infielders Wayne Belardi, Jack McMahan, and P Bobby Shantz to the Yankees for a player to be named later, OF Irv Noren, INF Milt Graff, Pitchers Mickey McDermott, Tom Morgan, Rip Coleman and INF Billy Hunter. The Yankees would send P Jack Urban to the A’s to complete the trade. The A’s would send infielders Curt Roberts and Clete Boyer to the Yankees to complete the trade. In 1957 with the Yankees, Art went 8-3 with a 3.25 ERA.
Art would go 13-9 in 1959 and 15-9 in 1960 as a starter for the Yankees. He failed to win both of his two 1960 World Series starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He appeared in 3 World Series with the Yankees in 1957-1958 against the Milwaukee Braves, and against the Pirates in 1960. He went 1-2 in 5 World Series games for the Yankees with a 3.18 ERA. In the 1960 World Series against the Pirates, he lost the 1st and 5th games. Yankee manager Casey Stengel is still the target of criticism as to why he started Ditmar in the opening game instead of Whitey Ford. Ditmar defended his manager's decision. "Whitey had arm trouble. I think Casey figured he would be better off pitching the second game in Forbes Field rather than Yankee Stadium with the short right field. The controversy was that Ford could have pitched three games if necessary. The thing is he didn't even pitch the second game. Bob Turley started the second game and won 16-3."
During the 1961 American League season, while suffering from arm problems, Art only went 2-3 in 12 games for the Yankees, before being traded back to the Kansas City A’s on June 14th along with rookie OF/INF Deron Johnson for veteran starter Bud Daley, where he finished out his MLB career with a 72-77 record with a 3.98 ERA. His overall New York Yankees pitching career record was 47-32 in 168 games with 12 saves. A graduate of American International College in Springfield, MA, Art became the director of parks and recreation in Brook Park, Ohio. He coached the baseball and basketball teams at the school while working on his master's degree. He retired to Myrtle Beach, SC, and he will be the first to tell you that he wasn't the pitcher of record when Bill Mazeroski hit his epic shot in game seven of the 1960 World Series.
1952 - Former Yankees minor league P Rick Earle (1976) was born. Rick Earle never pitched for the Yankees at the MLB level.
1960 - Former Yankee minor league OF Jose Vidal was born (1960-2011). On May 19, 1969, outfielder Jose Vidal was traded by the Seattle Pilots to the Yankees for OF Richard Simpson. Jose never plays for the Yankees at the MLB level. He passed away on January 7, 2011.
1961 - The New York Yankees reacquired veteran hurler Duke Maas (1958-1960) from expansion LA Angels for reserve INF Fritz Brickell (1958-1959). Duke Maas injured his pitching arm, after appearing in one game for the 1961 Yankees. Duke never pitched again in MLB. His best season as a Yankees starter was in 1959, winning 14 games. He was drafted by the LA Angels in 1960 AL Player Expansion draft. His Yankees career pitching record was 26-12 before the arm injury finished his MLB career. Both players passed away at young ages, Fritz Brickell at 30 in 1965, from cancer. Duke Maas passes away at the age of 47 in 1976.
1962 - Former MLB and Yankees Minor league Manager Dave Miley was born. Catcher Dave Miley signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 1980. He spent 7 seasons in the minor leagues. Miley was a MLB coach for the Reds in 1993. He was managing the team's AAA affiliate at Louisville, when he was named interim MLB manager in 2003. His position was confirmed after a few weeks. Dave led the Reds until 2005, when Jerry Narron replaced him, with the team holding the worst record in the NL. He never managed to push the team over .500 during his 3 seasons at the helm. He then returned to managing in the minor leagues signing with the Yankees organization. In 2006, he was at Columbus. Then in 2007, he moved to Scranton with the Yankees. Dave was named International League manager of the year in 2007 for his work with the Scranton Yankees. In 2008, he led the Scranton team to the IL championship. The 2009 Scranton team lost in the International League playoffs. Dave returned for the 2011 IL season.
1967 - The New York Yankees obtained INF John Kennedy from the Dodgers for OF/1B John Miller, P Jack Cullen and the temporary transfer of INF Roy White to the Dodgers Spokane AAA farm club in Pacific Coast League. The Yankees had arranged for the Dodgers work with Roy White on his infield play, but in the end, he stayed an outfielder.
1972 – The New York Yankees released veteran pitchers Jim Hardin (1971) and Gary Waslewski (1970-1971). Both players were washed up as MLB pitchers. Jim Hardin never fully recovered from his arm problems that developed while he was with the Baltimore Orioles.
1979- Former Yankees OF Harry “Suitcase” Simpson (1957-1958) passed away. (1925-1979)
On June 15,1957, Harry Simpson was traded by the Kansas City A’s along with P Ryne Duren and OF Jim Pisoni to the Yankees for INF Billy Martin, P Ralph Terry, INF/OF Woodie Held, and OF Bob Martyn. Harry appeared in 99 games for the Yankees in 1957-1958 AL seasons. Casey Stengel really didn’t care much for Simpson, using him sparely. On June 15,1958, Harry was traded by the Yankees along with P Bob Grim to the Kansas City A’s for veteran hurlers Duke Maas and Virgil Trucks.
1984 - After rainy weather washes out yesterday's opener at Royals Stadium, Yul Brynner tosses out the 1st ball as the Royals opens with a 4-2 win over the Yankees. The threat of snow holds the crowd to just 10,006 fans. Royals starter Bud Black, with relief help from closer Dan Quisenberry, tops Ron Guidry, still winless in Openers. Onix Concepción hits Guidry's 1st pitch of the game for a HR, while Dave Winfield has a 2-run HR for the Yankees.
2005 - In his 1st start for the New York Yankees, All Star starter Randy Johnson allows a run and 5 hits in 6 innings as New York open the 2005 MLB season with a 9-2 triumph over the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Johnson will win 17 games for the New York Yankees in the 2005 AL season.
1883 - Former Yankees OF/INF John “Silent John” Hummel (1918) was born. John Hummel appeared in 22 games for the Yankees hitting .295 during the 1918 AL season.
1933 - Former Yankees minor league P Ted Wieand was born. During the month of October 1960, Ted Wieand was sent from the Cincinnati Reds to the New York Yankees in an unknown transaction. Ted did not appear with the Yankees at the MLB level. Ted spent the 1961 baseball season with the Yankees AAA club, Richmond Virginians of the International League. He went 3-6 in 30 games. In 1962, he started out with Richmond again, going 0-0 in 12 games. The Yankees sent him to their AA club, the Amarillo Gold Sox; he finished out his professional career by going 4-1.
1952 - Former Yankees Trainer Herm Schneider (1977-1977) was born. Herm Schneider has been a MLB trainer for over 30 years. He was born in the Netherlands, Schneider moved to the USA as a child. He worked in the New York Yankees organization from 1970-1978, the last two years as assistant trainer for the World Series champions. He also spent nine years as trainer of the Ponce Lions. In 1979, the Chicago White Sox hired Schneider as head trainer, a job he still holds as of 2010 (ranking second to Gene Monahan among AL trainers in MLB service time). From 2002-2009, his White Sox had the fewest days missed due to injury of any AL team five years. In the 8-year period, they never finished lower than 3rd. From 1991-2000, his teams had used the DL second least in baseball, behind the Minnesota Twins. He was head American League trainer at the 2003 All-Star Game, his 4th All-Star Game. He has won numerous awards.
1966 - Former Yankees P Herb McQuaid (1926) passed away. On September 14, 1925, Herb McQuaid was traded by St. Paul (American Association) to the New York Yankees for undisclosed players. Herb went 1-0 in 17 games for the 1926 Yankees.
1971 - Former Yankees P Carl “Sub” Mays (1919-1923) passed away at the age of 79 (1891-1971) . As a Yankee starter, Carl Mays went 26-11 in 1920 and 27-9 in 1921. As a Yankee starter, he was 79-39 for the team from 1919-1923. After being sold to the Cincinnati for $85,000, in 1924, he went 20-9 for the Reds. He never got along with Yankees Manager Miller Huggins, which included a fistfight on the sidewalks of New York City. His trade was considered to be one of the worst in early Yankees team history. After he joined the Cincinnati Reds, Carl posted a 56-36 record. Carl Mays was the Yankee pitcher, who hit Cleveland Indians batter Ray Chapman with a pitch, which later resulted in his death during the 1920 AL season game.
1972 - The New York Yankees released veteran INF Ron Hansen (1970-1971). On February 28, 1970, Ron Hansen was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Chicago White Sox, he was playing with a bad back and with limited range. In 1970, he hit .297 in 59 games for the Yankees before fading in 1971 with a .207 BA in 61 games. He originally came up to the MLB with the Baltimore Orioles. He was voted the 1960 American League Rookie of the Year.
1982 - Former Yankees P Mel Queen Sr. (1942, 1944, 1946-1947) passed away (1918-1982). Mel Queen Sr. was the father of former MLB player and manager Mel Queen Jr. The New York Yankees signed him as a amateur MLB free agent in 1938. He went 8-4 in 33 games for the Yankees before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1947 MLB season.
1984 - On Opening Day, New York Yankees veteran starter Tommy John ties a MLB record by Playing in 26 MLB seasons. John beats the Minnesota Twins by a score of 4-2, for his 287th MLB win putting him 19th overall in MLB pitching career wins.
1994 - In New York City, a total of 56,706 fans attend Opening Day making it the largest crowd ever at new Yankee Stadium. Yankees starter Jimmy Key is winner with bullpen help from Bob Wickman with Xavier Hernandez picking up the save. The Yankees hitting attack by led by 3B Wade Boggs, who went 4 for 5 with a run driven in.
2010 - The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox stage a classic battle to open the Major League Baseball season at Fenway Park, with the Red Sox winning the game by the score of
9-7 after trailing the Bronx Bombers by the scores of 5-1 and 7- 5. Yankee hitters Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson hit back-to-back homers in the 2nd inning. Brett Gardner steals home as the Yanks build an early lead against Josh Beckett, but a HR by Dustin Pedroia and 3 extra-base hits by Kevin Youkilis highlight the Sox's comeback. Veteran MLB reliever Chan Ho Park takes the loss in his Yankee debut, while Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima is the winner.
1877 - Former Yankees INF/OF William “Wid” Conroy (1903-1908) was born. In October of 1902, Bill Conroy jumped from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the New York Highlanders. He appeared in 796 games for the Yankees, hitting .250 with 12 HRs and 266 RBI’s. On February 17,1909, he was purchased by the Washington Senators from the New York Highlanders.
1913 - In an exhibition game at Brooklyn, the Dodgers play their 1st game at their new ballpark, Ebbets Field. Brooklyn beats the New York Yankees by the score of 3-2, with the Dodgers OF Casey Stengel hitting the park's 1st HR, an in-the-park homerun.
1921 - Former Yankees P Robert Hogue (1951-1952) was born (1921-1987). Bob Hogue went 4-5 in 33 games with the Yankees before being sent to the St. Louis Browns in 1952.
1925 - In a spring training game, the New York Yankees whip the Brooklyn Dodgers by a score of 16-9, but the headlines are about Babe Ruth. The Bambino collapses in the railroad station in Asheville, NC, and winds up in a New York City hospital. Ruth will undergo an operation for an ulcer on April 17th and will be in bed until May 26th. The press calls the incident “Babe Ruth’s Bellyache.” The Yankees would fall to 7th place in the AL.
1934 – New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth, sponsored by Quaker Oats, agrees to do three 15-minute broadcasts a week over NBC radio. The total of $39,000 for 13 weeks is $4,000 more than his New York Yankees contract. Of equal way, WSAL hires Red Barber to broadcast Cincinnati Reds games.
1938 - Former Yankees INF Ron Hansen (1970-1971) was born. On February 28, 1970, veteran MLB INF Ron Hansen was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Chicago White Sox, he was playing with a bad back and with limited range. In 1970, he hit .297 in 59 games for the Yankees before fading in 1971 with a .207 BA in 61 games. He originally came up to the MLB with the Baltimore Orioles. He was voted the 1960 American League Rookie of the Year. That season Ron made the AL All Star team and hit 20 HRs for the Orioles. Later he became a MLB coach.
1970 - Former Yankees minor league P Ryan Karp was born. On June 1, 1992, Ryan Karp was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 9th round of the 1992 amateur MLB player draft. On February 9,1994, Ryan was traded by the New York Yankees along with INF Kevin Jordan and P Bobby Munoz to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later and MLB P Terry Mulholland. On November 8,1994, the Philadelphia Phillies would send minor league player Jeff Patterson to the New York Yankees to complete the trade.
1973 - The New York Yankees obtained INF Tom Matchick from the Baltimore Orioles for shortstop Frank “No Homerun “ Baker. Frank Baker was a terrible infielder with the Yankees, while with the Orioles farm system; he became a better fielder and a good bench player for the Birds. Tom Matchick never played for the Yankees at MLB level.
1977 - The New York Yankees acquired shortstop Bucky Dent from the Chicago White Sox for OF Oscar Gamble, Pitchers La Marr Hoyt and Bob Polinsky and an estimated $200,000. Dent will solidify the New York Yankees middle infield and help the Yankees reach the World Series in 1977-1978. Oscar Gamble will have a fine season in Chicago. While La Marr Hoyt will blossom into the ace of the Chicago White Sox staff in the early 1980's.
1979 - At Yankee Stadium, 52,719 fans see Milwaukee Brewers jump on Ron Guidry for 4 runs in the 6th inning, beating the New York Yankees by a score of 5-1. It's the most runs the 1978 AL Cy Young Award winner has allowed since the 1977 AL season. New York get singles from their 1st 3 hitters, but manage to score just 1 run in the 1st inning off of Brewers starter Mike Caldwell.
1995 - The New York Yankees acquired closer John Wetteland (1995-1996) from the Montreal Expos for minor league 1B Fernando Segugnol and cash. Wetteland will help the Yankees to the World Championship in 1996. He will go 3-8 in 122 games with 74 saves as a Yankee closer before leaving the team for free agency, signing with the Texas Rangers. John will win the 1996 World Series MVP Award and the Rolaids Relief Award.
2002 - Former Yankees minor league manager William “Sheriff” Robinson passed away. (1921-2002). Sheriff Robinson managed the Amarillo Gold Sox (AA) in 1961, which featured future Yankees P Jim Bouton, INF Phil Linz and 1B Joe Pepitione, aka “The Amarillo Gang”. In 1962, he managed the Yankees AAA club, the Richmond Virginians (International League), before leaving the Yankees organization to join the New York Mets organization in 1963.
1954 - Former Yankees P Ken Clay (1977-1979) was born. The New York Yankees in the 2nd round of the 1972 MLB amateur player draft drafted Ken Clay. He went 6-14 in 81 games for the Yankees. He appeared two World Series games for the Yankees with no record. On August 14,1980, Ken was traded by the New York Yankees along with a player to be named later to the Texas Rangers for veteran P Gaylord Perry. The New York Yankees sent minor league player Marvin Thompson on October 1,1980 to the Texas Rangers to complete the trade.
1973 - At Fenway Park in Boston, Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees becomes the 1st designated hitter in MLB history. In his 1st plate appearance, Blomberg walks with the bases loaded off of Boston Red Sox starter Luis Tiant. He will end up with 1 hit in 3 at-bats as the Yankees lose to the Red Sox, 15-5. Joking with the media, Ron calls himself, “the Designated Hebrew.”
1974 - The New York Yankees play their 1st home game outside of Yankee stadium since 1922, when they hosted the Cleveland Indians at Shea Stadium. 12-year-old Teddy Kennedy‚ Jr.‚ flanked by his father and NYC Mayor Abe Beame‚ tosses out the first ball. Missing from the ceremony is New York Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner‚ indicted two days earlier for illegal campaign contributions. Graig Nettles' two-run homer in the 4th inning off the Indians' Gaylord Perry opens the scoring and the Yankees score 4 more times to win. Charlie Spikes scores the only Cleveland run in the 9th inning following a triple off starter and winner Mel Stottlemyre. Perry‚ who is warned once for an illegal pitch‚ is the loser today‚ but he will win his next 15 decisions. The Yankees beat the Indians by the score of 6-1 The Yankees will play at Shea Stadium for the 1974-1975 American League seasons, while Yankee Stadium is being rebuild. This would be Mel Stottlemyre’s last opening day start for the Yankees.
1977 - Former Yankees reserve INF/OF Andy Phillips (2005-2007) was born. The New York Yankees in the 7th round of the 1999 MLB amateur player draft drafted Andy Phillips. In 2005, Andy won the James P. Dawson Award for being the best Yankees rookie in 2005 spring training camp. Andy appeared in 203 games for the Yankees hitting .253 with 11 HRs and 60 RBI’s. After the 2007 American League season, Andy Phillips was released by the New York Yankees organization.
1982 - A freak heavy spring snowstorm brings subfreezing temperatures across the northeast and mid-west and causes the postponement of home opener for the New York Yankees and other MLB teams.
1983 - Former Yankees reserve INF Bronson Sardinha (2007) was born. Bronson Sardinha was drafted by the New York Yankees with their 1st round selection in 2001 MLB amateur player draft. A shortstop in high school, Sardinha has played short, third and the outfield in the minors. He is the brother of Dane Sardinha and Duke Sardinha. He has moved through the Yankees minor league system at a normal pace spending roughly one year at every level, except AA where he played for 2 seasons. Sardinha had hit .391 as a high school senior. The New York Yankees took him with the 34th pick of the 2001 amateur draft and signed him for a $1,100,000. At the time, it was the highest any Hawaii high school player was drafted.
Assigned to the GCL Yankees, he hit .303 with 11 steals in 13 tries. He led the Gulf Coast League with 42 runs (in 55 games), was 8th in BA average. He was honored as the GCL All-Star shortstop. Baseball America rated him as the GCL's #3 prospect after Chad Petty and Anderson Hernandez.
At age 19, Sardinha hit .263 with 15 steals in 21 tries for the Greensboro Bats but fielded just .889 at shortstop, far less than the other player they tried there, Robinson Cano. Shortly after the short-season leagues began, he was demoted to the Staten Island Yankees in part to learn the outfield. He hit .323 in 36 games, helping Staten Island to a title. Had he qualified, he would have edged Jorge Cortes for the New York-Penn League OBP lead and ranked 4th in average. As Cano had been demoted with Sardinha, other managers accused George Steinbrenner of adding talent for the pennant run. Baseball America rated him the #4 prospect in the NYPL, ahead of teammates Chien-Ming Wang (#6) and Cano (#11). Sardinha started 2003 with the Tampa Yankees and hit .193 in 59 games before being demoted to the Battle Creek Yankees, where he batted .275in 71 contests.
He split 2004 baseball season between the Tampa Yankees and Trenton Thunder he hit .289 with 8 home runs and 62 RBI. After that season he was named the 9th best prospect in the Yankees system by Baseball America. He hit .315 in 63 games for Tampa and .267in 72 for Trenton. He reached base in 46 consecutive games early in the season. Had he qualified, he would have led the Florida State League in batting average. In 2005, the 22-year-old produced at a .258 clip with 115 strikeouts and 30 doubles as the right fielder for Trenton. He hit .344 for the Grand Canyon Rafters in the Arizona Fall League; as it was a high-offense year, he failed to make the top 10 in average in the AFL. In 2006, he was named to the Eastern League mid-season All-Star team. He batted .254 in 86 games with Trenton Thunder. He was promoted to AAA, hitting .286 in 52 for the Columbus Clippers (International League). Overall, he smacked 16 HRs.
He started the 2007 season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. He hit only .222 with 11 home runs in 109 games. He spent some time back at Trenton (AA), where he hit .429 with 4 home runs in 15 games. In spite of his poor offensive production at Scranton, the Yankees recalled him in September, making his MLB debut on September 15th during a quadruple switch. He got his 1st at-bat MLB against Bryan Corey with Hideki Matsui on 1st and 1 out in the top of the 9th and grounded into a game-ending double play. On December 12, 2007, the Yankees granted him MLB free agency. He has played for the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians organizations since leaving the Yankees in 2007.
1998- Former Yankees P John Wyatt (1968) passed away from a fatal heart attack (1935 - 1998). After starring in the Negro Leagues, John Wyatt embarked on a 9-year career in the American League, where he saved 103 games. He was an American League All Star closer for the Kansas City A’s. In perhaps his most memorable appearance, he won Game 6 of the 1967 World Series for the Boston Red Sox. John appeared briefly with the 1968 Yankees after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox before moving on to the Detroit Tigers during the 1968 American League season.
2003 - New York Yankee hitters Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson hit back-to-back homers to start the game as the Yankees beat Tampa Bay Devil Rays by the score of 10-5. Yankees starter Roger Clemens wins MLB career victory #295.
2004 - Former Yankees reserve C Lou Berbert (1954-1955) passed away (1929-2004). In 1950, the New York Yankees, as an MLB amateur free agent, signed Lou Berbert. Lou was another of a long list of young catchers in the Yankees minor league system, which were blocked by the presence of All Star C Yogi Berra during the 1950’s. Lou appeared in 7 games for the Yankees. On February 8,1956, Lou was traded by the New York Yankees along with a player to be named later, INF Herb Plews, OF Richard Tettelbach and Bob Wiesler to the Washington Senators for INF Bobby Kline and P Mickey McDermott. On April 2,1956, the New York Yankees sent minor league OF Whitey Herzog to the Washington Senators to complete the trade.
2004 - Former Yankees P Ken Johnson (1969) passed away (1923-2004). Ken Johnson played briefly with the 1969 Yankees after coming from the Atlanta Braves before being sold to the Chicago Cubs. Ken appeared in 12 games for the Yankees, posting a 1-2 record. The veteran pitcher was originally signed by the Philadelphia A’s.
2009 - Marquee MLB free agents starter CC Sabathia and 1B Mark Teixeira have a rough time in their debut for the New York Yankees. Sabathia gives up 6 runs on 8 hits in 4⅓ innings and Teixeira goes 0 for 4 as the Baltimore Orioles defeat the Yankees by the score of 10-5 at Camden Yards. Cesar Izturis hits a 2-run HR and Aubrey Huff a 2-run double for the Birds, as starter Jeremy Guthrie picks up the win.
1907 - Former Yankees P Oral “Hildy” Hildebrand (1939-1940) was born. On October 26, 1938, Oral Hildebrand was traded by the St. Louis Browns along with OF Buster Mills to the New York Yankees for C Joe Glenn and OF Myril Hoag. He posted an 11-5 record in 34 games with the Yankees. He appeared one game of 1939 World Series with no record.
1933 – Former Yankees reserve OF Bobby Del Greco (1957-1958) was born. Bobby Del Greco hit .459 for his month with the Yankees in September of 1957 after being purchased from the Chicago Cubs. He appeared in 6 games with the Yankees in 1958, before being sold to Philadelphia Phillies in April of 1959.
1948 - Former Yankees P Rick Sawyer (1974-1975) was born. Rick Sawyer had no decisions in 4 games with the Yankees during the 1974-1975 AL seasons. On March 19, 1974, he was traded as part of a three-team trade by the Cleveland Indians along with Walt Williams to the Yankees. The Yankees send C Jerry Moses to the Detroit Tigers. The Indians sent P Ed Farmer to the Yankees. The Tigers sent P Jim Perry to the Indians. On July 31, 1976, Rick was sent by the Yankees to the San Diego Padres to complete an earlier deal made for OF Gene Locklear on July 10, 1976.
1952 - The New York Yankees waived P Dave Madison (1950) to the St. Louis Browns.
Dave Madison signed with the New York Yankees in 1947. He appeared in 1 game for the Yankees with no decision during the 1950 AL season.
1969 - Ted Williams makes his MLB managerial debut for the Washington Senators. Williams loses his first game to the New York Yankees by the score of 8-4, on Opening Day at RFK Stadium. Williams will manage the Senators for three seasons, before moving with the team to Texas in 1972.
1973 - Former Yankees P Brett Tomko (2009) was born. On February 13, 2009, Brett Tomko was signed as a MLB free agent with the New York Yankees. He went 1-2 in 15 games for the Yankees before being released by the team. He would finish the 2009 AL season with the Oakland A’s.
1977 - The New York Yankees open defense of their 1976 American League Championship by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 at Yankee Stadium. Sparky Lyle recorded the 1st of 26 saves in relief of starter Catfish Hunter, who went 7-innings of 2-hit ball before getting hit by a line drive by Von Joshua. Yankees DH Jim Wynn hit a HR in his 1st at bat as a Yankee. It would be the highlight of his brief career with the Yankees.
2010 - New Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson quickly makes his presence felt with the "Bronx Bombers". After hitting a HR in his first at-bat for the team on Opening day, April 4, he hits a game-winning long ball off Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the 10th inning of today's game, which started as a pitching duel between Andy Pettitte and John Lackey, giving the Yankees a 3-1 victory. Chan Ho Park redeems his poor opening day performance with three innings of one-hit ball in relief to earn his first win in Yankees pinstripes, while Mariano Rivera picks up his second save in as many days.
1874 - Former Yankees infielder and MLB Manager John Ganzel (1903-1904) was born. (1874-1959). John Ganzel appeared in 259 games for the Yankees hitting .323. In 1908 he was the MLB manager for the Cincinnati Reds. He was along time minor league manager in the 1920-1940’s.
1899 - Former Yankees P Ted Kleinhans (1936) was born. Ted went 1-1 in 19 games for the 1936 Yankees. On September 4, 1937, the Cincinnati Reds purchased Ted from the New York Yankees. He coached baseball about 20 years at Syracuse University, retiring in 1966.
1908 - While at spring training, 1st baseman Hal Chase of the New York Highlanders contracts smallpox. The entire team is vaccinated and quarantined while traveling north.
1946 - Former Yankees Hall Of Fame P Jim “Catfish” Hunter (1975-1979) was born in Hertford, North Carolina (1946-1999). James “Catfish” Hunter will make his MLB debut in 1965 with the Kansas City A’s. He will join the Yankees as a MLB free agent in 1975. His Yankees pitching career record was 63-53. He won 23 games in 1975 and 17 games in 1976 for the Yankees. He will retire at the age of 33 in 1979 after 15 year MLB career with the A’s and Yankees. He will win election to the Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1999, Jim “Catfish” Hunter will pass away from ALS at the age of 53.
1957 - Former Yankees reserve INF Roger Holt (1980) was born. Roger Holt was drafted in the 4th round (101st pick overall) of the 1977 MLB amateur player draft by the Yankees. Holt was a star in the minor leagues (he had the game winning hit in the minor league World Series and he was named the Yankees Minor League Player of the Year). In 1980, he was called up by Yankees and given the number 55; he played in 2 games. In those games Holt had 6 at bats; he struck out twice, walked once, and got 1 hit (off of Aurelio Lopez of the Detroit Tigers). However, the following spring, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for INF Tucker Ashford.
1967 - Former Yankees minor league P Rich Batchelor was born. In 1990, the New York Yankees, as an MLB amateur free agent, signed P Rich Batchelor. He never appeared with the Yankees at the MLB level. On August 31, 1993, Rich was traded by the New York Yankees to the St. Louis Cardinals for veteran closer Lee Smith.
1975 - Frank Robinson makes his debut as MLB 1st black manager. Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, throws out the ceremonial 1st pitch before a crowd of 56,204. As the player-manager of the Cleveland Indians, Frank Robinson hits a HR in his 1st at-bat, helping Cleveland Indians to a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees. For Robinson, it is his 8th Opening Day home run, setting a MLB record.
1985 - At Fenway Park, 46-year-old Phil Niekro starts for the New York Yankees, becoming the second oldest pitcher ever to start in Opening Day. Only Jack Quinn, for the Brooklyn Robins in 1931, was older at age 47. The Boston Red Sox chase Niekro after 4 innings and, behind the pitching of Oil Can Boyd, coast to a 9-2 win. Niekro walks four batters in the 3rd inning, including 2 with the bases loaded, to lose his 7th opener in a row (six with the Atlanta Braves), the worst opening day record ever. Outfielders Tony Armas, Dwight Evans and Jim Rice stroke HRs for Boston.
2003 - At Yankee Stadium home opener, with the New York Yankees fans chanting his name, Hideki Matsui hit his 1st MLB HR, a grand slam against the Minnesota Twins.
2003 - Former Yankees minor league player Bing Russell passed away. Bing Russell was a minor league player in the New York Yankees farm system, playing for the Carrolton (Georgia-Alabama League, Class D) in 1948-1949. Bing later became a Hollywood actor most known for his work in the NBC-TV show "Bonanza". Russell returned to baseball in the 1970s as owner of the Portland Mavericks of the Northwest League. His son, actor Kurt Russell, played with the Dodgers organization for part of his minor league career, until shoulder injuries ended his career. Russell's grandson, Matt Franco, went on to play in the majors.
2005 - Former Yankees P Al Gettel (1945-1946) passed away. In 1936, the New York Yankees, as an MLB amateur free agent, signed hurler Al Gettel. He posted a 15-15 record with 3 saves in 53 games for the Yankees. On January 22,1943, Al was traded by the New York Yankees along with Ed Levy and $10,000 to the Philadelphia Blue Jays (aka Phillies) for 1B Nick Etten. Al Gettel and Ed Levy were returned to Yankees on March 26,1943. The New York Yankees sent Tom Padden and Al Gerheauser on March 26, 1943 to the Philadelphia Blue Jays to complete the trade. On December 6,1946, Al was traded by the New York Yankees along with P Gene Bearden and OF Hal Peck to the Cleveland Indians for C Sherm Lollar and INF Ray Mack.
1888 - Former Yankees P James “Hippo” Vaughn (1908,1910-1912) was born. Hippo Vaughn went 22-30 with the New York Yankees in 72 games before going to the Washington Senators on waivers.
1961 - Former Yankees reserve catcher Brian Dorsett (1989-1990) was born. On November 17, 1988, Brian Dorsett was traded by the California Angels to the New York Yankees for minor league player Eric Schmidt. He appeared in 22 games for the Yankees, hitting .228.
1965 - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson joins 47,878 fans for the opening of Harris County Domed Stadium (the Astrodome). The Houston Astros win an exhibition against the Yankees, 2-1, in 12 innings. New York Yankees All Star CF Mickey Mantle hits the 1st-ever indoor HR in the new park.
1965 - Former Yankees OF/1st baseman Hal Morris (1988-1989) was born. In 1986, Hal Morris was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 8th round of the MLB amateur player draft. He played 30 games for the Yankees, hitting just .184. On December 12,1989, Hal traded by the New York Yankees along with minor league P Rodney Imes to the Cincinnati Reds for P Tim Leary and OF Van Snider. Hal’s best position was 1st base, but he was blocked there by Yankees All Star 1B Don Mattingly. Most recently Hal was a MLB scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
1967 - Former Yankees P Graeme Lloyd (1996-1998) was born. Graeme Lloyd came to the New York Yankees in the trade with the Milwaukee Brewers that saw P Bob Wickman and OF Gerald Williams go to the Brewers. He went 4-3 in 109 games with 1 save before being traded along with P David Wells to the Toronto Blue Jays for P Roger Clemens in the spring of 1999.
1971 - The Oakland A’s traded veteran 1B/OF Felipe Alou to the New York Yankees in exchange for pitchers Rob Gardner and Ron Kliminkowski. In 1972, Felipe Alou's younger brother, Matty, will join him in pinstripes. The Yankees will acquired him in another deal with the Oakland A’s.
1985 - Current Yankees reliever Dave Robertson (2008-2010) was born. The New York Yankees in the 17th round of the 2006 MLB amateur player draft drafted Dave Robertson. Dave went 4-0 in 2008. In 2009, he posted a 2-1 record and appeared in the 2009 World Series.
1989 - All Star OF Rickey Henderson of the New York Yankees gets his 800th MLB career stolen base in a 4-3 Yankees loss to the Cleveland Indians.
2004 - The New York Yankees and their Manager Joe Torre agree to a three-year contract extension. The contract also includes an additional 6-year deal in which the 62-year old manager will serve as a team advisor through the 2013 season.
(As always I'd like to thank Fw57Clipper51 for his great contribution.)