Results tagged ‘ Eddie Robinson ’
At the annual Yankees Homecoming Dinner this April in which Hideki Matsui was honored for his career he told a story about when he was playing in Japan and was asked if he thought he could compete in the United States.
He told a reporter that he had seen a game in which David Cone was pitching and said, “I can hit that.”
Cone and Matsui have been teasing each other over that for years. So it was inevitable that there would be a confrontation between them. What better environment than Old Timer’s Day, the 70th version of which was celebrated Sunday?
Cone came into the game specifically to pitch to Matsui. The first pitch was over the Japanese slugger’s head. The next delivery was what has become an annual grooved special by Cone in Old Timer’s Day games, right down Broadway, and Matsui jumped all over it and drove it into the second deck in right field.
Cone feigned surprise and embarrassment. Truth be told, it is all an act. Cone knows what the fans want to see on Old Timer’s Day, and that is not a pitcher burning it in to every batter and striking everybody out. I once asked the Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson why he seldom took part in Old Timer’s games, and he told me that all they want is for the pitcher to put the ball over the plate so the hitters can mash it. Gibby was too competitive to play that kind of game.
Coney is a different cat. He knows Old Timer’s games are entertainment, and he aims to please. A few years ago, he grooved a pitch to former teammate Tino Martinez, who went yard. Paul O’Neill also clipped Cone. Sunday was just Matsui’s turn.
Scoring ahead of Matsui on his homer was Reggie Jackson, who had lined a single to left field in the prior at-bat off Scott Kamieniecki. I talked with Reggie Saturday after he spent about half an hour taking batting practice in the indoor cage at Yankee Stadium.
“I don’t want to strike out tomorrow,” he said, laughing.
Gene Michael is the manager for both teams, the Clippers and the Bombers. “That way, I can’t lose,” Stick said.
He had the lineup cards for both teams taped onto the front of his uniform. Roy White saw that he was batting sixth in the Clippers’ lineup and asked Stick how come Lee Mazzilli was batting second in the Bombers’ lineup.
“That’s the Triple-A squad; do you want to play for them,” Michael said.
Next came Mazzilli’s voice from across the room, “Hey, Stick, we can hear every word you are staying.”
The camaraderie among the former players is the best part of Old Timer’s Day. Bernie Williams and John Wetteland and Mariano Duncan and Charlie Hayes exchanged stories about the 1996 team that won the Yankees’ first World Series title in 15 years. Hayes still refers to the area near the third base box seats where he caught the final out against the Braves as “the holy ground.”
Williams was still beaming over graduating from Manhattan College of Music. “I completed the four years in three,” said Bernie, who is having a second career as a guitarist. “It was quite an experience. I thought I knew a lot about music until I realized that I didn’t.”
In addition to “Mr. October,” other Hall of Famers on hand were Whitey Ford, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage and Joe Torre. Eddie Robinson, at 95 the oldest living former Yankees player, and 1956 World Series perfect game author Don Larsen, 86, were also in attendance.
Sadly missing was the catcher who leaped into Larsen’s arms at the end of that game. Yogi Berra was a rookie in 1947 when the Yankees honored Babe Ruth to begin the Old Timer’s Day tradition and was a staple of the event over the years. He was there in spirit, however, as the Yankees used jeweled bases commemorating his legacy during the game.
Five Hall of Famers will be among more than 40 former Yankees scheduled to attend the 70th annual Old-Timers’ Day Sunday, June 12, at Yankee Stadium. Fans are asked to be in their seats by 11:30 a.m. for the festivities with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow. All pregame celebrations will be aired exclusively on the YES Network. The Yankees will then play the Tigers at 2:05 p.m., also on YES. Gates will open to ticket-holding fans at 10 a.m.
The Old-Timers are headlined by Hall of Famers Whitey Ford, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson and Joe Torre. Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill will also be part of the pregame with program.
Three-time All-Star closer John Wetteland, who won the 1996 World Series Most Valuable Player Award with saves in all four of their victories toward their 23rd World Series title, will make his Old-Timers’ Day debut, alongside 1996 teammate Mariano Duncan, as well as Bubba Crosby and the oldest living former Yankees player, Eddie Robinson, 95.
Joining the Hall of Famers and former Yankees on the field will be the widows of five legendary Yankees—Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard; Helen Hunter, widow of Jim “Catfish” Hunter; Jill Martin, widow of Billy Martin; Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; and Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer.
A complete list of Old Timers’ Day attendees:
Jesse Barfield, Brian Boehringer, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, David Cone, Bubba Crosby, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Mariano Duncan, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Oscar Gamble, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Arlene Howard (widow), Helen Hunter (widow), Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin (widow), Hideki Matsui, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick” Michael, Gene Monahan (Trainer), Diana Munson (widow), Kay Murcer (widow), Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Lou Piniella, Willie Randolph, Mickey Rivers, Eddie Robinson, Tanyon Sturtze, Ralph Terry, Marcus Thames, Joe Torre, John Wetteland, Roy White, Bernie Williams.
More football is coming to Yankee Stadium that will again be the site of a classic matchup as Hampton University will oppose Morgan State University Nov. 17 in the Bronx. The two-year agreement calls for the two schools to play at the Stadium in 2013 as well.
The original Yankee Stadium was the site of what became known as the annual New York Urban League Football Classic from 1968-73 and again from 1976-87. Morgan State played 11 times in the game, going 1-10 against Grambling and head coach Eddie Robinson each time. It will mark Hampton’s first football game at the Stadium, original or current.
“It’s wonderful that the New York Urban League Football Classic can once again call Yankee Stadium its home,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “As everyone knows, college football was a passion of my father’s, as was providing opportunities for future generations. The return of this rich tradition showcases both of those tenets, and our organization couldn’t be prouder to be hosting the NYUL Football Classic this fall.”
Now in its fourth year of existence, the current Yankee Stadium has already been the site to elite college football games: the annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the 50th all-time matchup between Notre Dame and Army in 2010 and Army vs. Rutgers in 2011. The home of the Yankees will be the site of Army vs. Boston College in November 2014. Additionally, the Public School Athletic League Football Championship Game has been held at the Stadium in each of the past two years.
Since its inception, proceeds from the New York Urban League Football Classic have helped to leverage more than $20 million in Whitney M. Young, Jr. Educational Scholarships to nearly 4,000 college-bound students.
Whitney M. Young, Jr., after whom the scholarship was named, was president of the National Urban League. His distinguished career was marked by his effectiveness in bringing the business community into full participation in the struggle for civil rights. Young focused on gaining equality for black people in business and politics, along with improving opportunities for the urban poor. The New York Urban League continues the mission to enable African-Americans and other under-served communities to secure a first-class education, economic self-reliance and equal respect of civil rights through programs, services and advocacy in a highly diversified city.
The original Stadium had a long association with numerous college and professional football classics. It served as home of the old New York Yankees football team and the New York Giants as well as the secondary football home for New York University from 1923-48.
As one of the world’s most prestigious addresses, the original Stadium was also home to scores of other sports, entertainment and cultural events, including boxing, pro football, soccer, political assemblies, three Papal masses, religious conventions, concerts, NYU commencement and the circus.