Results tagged ‘ Sandy Koufax ’
CINCINNATI — American League manager Ned Yost of the Royals came through for Dellin Betances. Aware that Betances never got out of the AL bullpen at last year’s All-Star Game at Minneapolis, Yost told the righthander the seventh inning would be all his Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.
Betances did his part in the AL’s 6-3 victory that guaranteed home field advantage in the World Series to the league, although that did not help Yost last year as his Royals lost Game 7 at home to the Giants. Blame that on Madison Bumgarner.
The Yankees’ set-up reliever got through the seventh unscathed, much like he has during the regular season. Working with a 5-2 lead thanks to a two-run rally in the top of the inning that was fueled in part by teammate Mark Teixeira, Betances retired Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford on a ground ball to second base. After walking Cubs rookie outfielder Kris Bryant, Betances came back to strike out Giants second baseman Joe Panick, the former St. John’s University standout, and set down Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock on a grounder to third.
In the top of the seventh, Teixeira grounded out to the left side that pushed the Orioles’ Manny Machado to third base from where he scored on a fly ball by the Rangers’ Prince Fielder. Teixeira had a rougher time in the ninth inning as he made the final out of the game striking out on a 103-mph fastball by the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman.
Brett Gardner, the Yankees’ other representative in the game, also had a tough night. He was called out on strikes in both of his at-bats, in the fifth inning against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and in the eighth against former Yankees teammate Mark Melancon, now the closer for the Pirates.
It was also announced during the All-Star festivities the Franchise Four for each of the 30 clubs in a vote of fans. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America took part in setting up the ballot of eight players from each franchise (full disclosure: I was the BBWAA voter assigned to the Yankees).
It should come as no surprise that the Yanks’ Franchise Four were the team’s Mount Rushmore: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. It is pretty hard to break through that quartet. Younger fans may wonder about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera considering all the club records they have, but the other four men helped shape the franchise and are among the most decorated players in baseball history.
For the record, the eight players on the Yankees’ ballot in addition to the four were Jeter, Rivera, Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford. Believe me, it was hard to leave players like Bill Dickey and Don Mattingly off that list. This was one of those promotions where the Yankees were hurt because of the richness of their history.
There was a nice moment before the game where the four men voted the game’s greatest living players came onto the field — Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays. I had three of those players on my ballot but chose Yogi over Koufax in a close call. Some might say that Berra belonged there more than Bench, but even Yogi told me once that he thinks JB was the best catcher who ever lived.
There was a time when a matchup of the Yankees and the Dodgers in games that count could only occur during the World Series, which happened more often than with any two major league clubs. The Yanks and Dodgers opposed each other in 11 World Series with the Yankees winning eight of them.
Only the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, who have played for the NBA title 12 times, have had more championship series than the Yankees and the Dodgers. For the record, the most such matchups in the NHL have been seven by two sets of teams – the Montreal Canadiens against the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs – and in the NFL six between the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. In the Super Bowl alone, the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers played each other three times.
Inter-league play has changed all that for the Yankees and the Dodgers. The two-game series at Dodger Stadium that began Tuesday night marks the fourth in-season encounter by the long-time postseason rivals. The Yankees took two of three games twice before at Dodger Stadium in 2010 and 2004. The only time they have faced each other at Yankee Stadium was June 19 this year in a rainout-forced, separate-admission doubleheader that the teams split.
When the Dodgers left New York that night, their record was 30-40, which had them in last place in the National League West and eight games out of first. Los Angeles has gone 26-8 since then and started play Tuesday night in first place in its division with a 2 ½-game lead. In the 34-game stretch, the Dodgers made up 10 ½ games in the standings. Conversely, the Yankees were 39-33 after the twin bill and in third place in the American League East and 3 ½ games out of first. They have gone 16-18 since and are now in fourth place and 7 ½ games from the top.
In postseason play, the Yankees have a 37-29 record in games – 22-10 at Yankee Stadium, 12-11 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn and 3-8 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Yanks won each of the first five times the clubs met in the World Series, in 1941, ’47, ’49, ’52 and ’53 before the Dodgers finally won in 1955.
The Yankees’ 1956 Series victory was highlighted by Don Larsen’s perfect game in Game 5, the only no-hitter in World Series history. The Yankees are 2-2 in Series against the Dodgers since their move to Los Angeles in 1958. The Yanks were swept in 1963, just one of three times in 40 World Series appearances that they did not win a game (also in 1922 against the Giants and in 1976 against the Reds). The Yankees’ back-to-back World Series titles in 1977 and ’78 mark the most recent instance of back-to-back World Series victories over the same team, the first such occurrence since the Yanks defeated the Dodgers in 1952-53).
Some other nuggets about the two legendary teams:
Babe Ruth’s last job in professional baseball was as a Brooklyn Dodgers coach in 1938. Ruth, who wore uniform No. 3 with the Yankees, donned No. 35 with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers won their only championship in Brooklyn history when left-ander Johnny Podres beat the Yankees, 2-0, in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series at Yankee Stadium.
The Dodgers and Yankees staged an exhibition game May 7, 1959 at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles to benefit Roy Campanella, the former Dodgers catcher who had been paralyzed in an auto accident prior to the 1958 season. This game drew 93,103, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game until an exhibition game in 2008 between the Dodgers and the Red Sox.
Of the six World Series championships in team history, the only one clinched by the Dodgers on their home field was in 1963, when lefthander Sandy Koufax pitched a 2-1 victory in Game 4 to clinch the sweep of the Yankees.
The Rangers got an immediate dividend in their trade for Matt Garza Wednesday night at the expense of the Yankees. Garza had trouble with the Yankees (1-4, 4.48 ERA) in his years with the Rays, but in his first start against the Bombers in four years the only one who hurt him was himself.
The run off Garza in Texas’ 3-1 victory was not earned, although it was his two-base error with a bad throw to first base on an infield single by Brett Gardner in the sixth inning that led to the run that scored on a single by Robinson Cano. But that would be it for the Yankees, who were back to hitting only singles – five of them – as they got only two runners past first base after the first inning. It was back in the first inning that the Yankees had a chance to go some damage against Garza. Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki each singled, but Garza came back to strike out Cano and Lyle Overbay and get Vernon Wells on a ground ball.
The momentum the Yankees felt after Tuesday night’s somewhat miraculous victory ebbed quickly, which can happen when a pitcher is on his game as was Garza (7-1), who pitched into the eighth inning with no walks and five strikeouts.
Andy Pettitte (7-8) took the loss, a tough one. He gave up eight hits but only two runs, both driven in by A.J. Pierzynski on a two-out single in the first inning and his 10th home run in the sixth. Give Pettitte credit. It was not a fat pitch to Pierzynski for the homer but a 1-2 slider that the Rangers’ designated hitter caught just above his shoelaces and got up into the humid Texas air.
Pettitte had two strikeouts with both coming in succession in the second inning that pushed him past Sandy Koufax and tied him with former teammate Kevin Brown for 39th place on the career list with 2,397. For the fifth consecutive game, Pettitte was scored upon in the first inning, but he pitched well enough to win.
David Murphy provided an insurance run with a home run off Shawn Kelley in the eighth. Texas manager Ron Washington elected to have lefthander Neal Cotts, who had gotten the last two outs of the Yankees eighth, to face the left-handed Cano and Overbay in the ninth. Cotts retired both before Washington brought in his closer Joe Nathan, who blew Tuesday night’s game.
The move looked questionable when Wells greeted Nathan with a single that brought the potential tying run to the plate in Eduardo Nunez, who hit a game-tying triple off Nathan the night before. No such luck this time as Nunez made the final out on a soft liner to shortstop.
Gardner had two hits and a stolen base, the 154th of his career, which shot him past Mickey Mantle into eighth place on the Yankees’ all-time list.
I’ll be heading for Cooperstown, N.Y., Thursday for the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend and will file reports on the induction of former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and the ceremonies honoring former Yankees pitcher Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe and Lou Gehrig, who will finally officially be part of an induction ceremony. More on that in my next report.
Perhaps the Yankees decided to play Monday night’s game at Target Field as if it were a playoff game. After all, they beat the Twins nine times in 10 games in winning three American League Division Series against Minnesota. Monday night was like many of those playoff games with the Yankees overcoming early deficits with some late-inning lightning.
It was a tight game for seven innings before the Yankees broke through with seven runs over the last two innings against a sloppy Minnesota bullpen for a 10-4 victory, which marked the first time in 48 games that they reached double figures in runs. They had not done that since an 11-6 victory over the Royals May 10 at Kansas City.
It was also the 600th managerial victory for Joe Girardi and was a long time coming following a five-game losing streak that had pushed the Yankees into fourth place in the AL East.
Andy Pettitte overcame a 42-pitch first inning in which he turned a 1-0 lead into a 3-1 deficit to pitch into the sixth inning and along the way unseat Whitey Ford as the pitcher with the most strikeouts in franchise history. Pettitte’s punchout of Justin Morneau in the fifth, one of only two Ks in the game for the lefthander, was his 1,958th.
Of course, Andy already had more career strikeouts than Whitey. Pettitte had 428 strikeouts in his three seasons with the Astros and has a career total of 2,386, which is 41st on the all-time list, 10 behind Sandy Koufax. With his Yankees total, Pettitte ranks third among pitchers on New York teams in strikeouts behind Tom Seaver’s 2,541 with the Mets and Christy Mathewson’s 2,504 with the Giants.
It was not a strong outing by Pettitte, who allowed six hits and four walks and made a throwing error that accounted for one of the four runs against him. He was removed after giving up a home run to Chris Parmelee leading off the sixth inning that put the Twins ahead, 4-3. The late rallies by the Yankees took Pettitte off the hook, but he remains winless in four starts since June 8.
Robinson Cano, who had driven in the Yankees’ first three runs with two home runs off Twins starter Scott Diamond, ignited the eighth-inning uprising when the Yankees regained the lead for good. He opened the frame with a double to right-center. After a bunt single by Ichiro Suzuki pinch hitting for Vernon Wells, Cano scored from third on an errant pickoff by Jared Burton, who ended up the losing pitcher as his record fell to 1-6.
A one-out single by Zoilo Almonte gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead, and they were far from finished. Almonte came around to score after a walk and a wild pitch on an infield out by Chris Stewart. In the ninth, they loaded the bases with none out and pushed across four more runs on RBI singles by Travis Hafner and Almonte, a passed ball and a bases-loaded walk to Stewart.
The 14-hit attack was spearheaded by Cano, who reached base four times and scored each time. He and Almonte each had three hits, and Brett Gardner and Wells added two apiece. After going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position over the first seven innings, the Yankees went 4-for-10 in those situations in the final two innings.
For the first time since the losing streak began, the Yankees had cause to use Mariano Rivera, who in a non-save situation pitched a scoreless ninth, following a shutout inning apiece by pen pals David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain (1-0) and Shawn Kelley.
As anticipated, the Yankees placed shortstop Eduardo Nunez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 6, because of a left oblique strain and purchased the contract of veteran infielder Alberto Gonzalez from Triple A Scranton. To create room on the 40-man roster for Gonzalez, the Yanks transferred first baseman Mark Teixeira to the 60-day DL.
With Nunez still hurting, the Yankees were in need of infield help because they have a makeup doubleheader against the Indians coming up Monday at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Gonzalez, 30, was reacquired by the Yankees Thursday from the Cubs in a trade for a player to be named or cash.
Gonzalez batted .217 with one home run and two RBI in 23 at-bats for the Cubs. This is his second tour with the Yankees. Gonzalez, a utilityman whose primary position is shortstop, was with the Yankees for parts of the 2007 and ’08 seasons and hit .152 in 66 at-bats. A .241 career hitter over seven seasons, Gonzalez has also played for the Nationals, Rangers and Padres.
Monday’s scheduled twin bill will be a single-admission doubleheader. The first game will start at 12:05 p.m. with the second game to start approximately 20 minutes after the end of the opener. It will mark the Yankees’ first traditional doubleheader since May 3, 2007 when they swept the Rangers at Arlington, Texas, and their first against the Indians since taking both games Sept. 22, 1998 at Yankee Stadium. Since 2000, the Yankees have gone 14-1-16, getting swept only once – July 17, 2006 at the Stadium.
It had been speculated that Ivan Nova might come off the DL to start one of the games of Monday’s doubleheader, but the righthander injured his left side while recuperating from right triceps inflammation and will not be activated. David Phelps, who had already been tabbed to start the first game, will share the bill with lefthander Vidal Nuno.
Since 1914 when Mother’s Day was first recognized nationally, the Yankees have combined to go 57-47-2 on the holiday. They played on the road on Mother’s Day for the fifth time in the past seven years and against the Royals for the first time since 1997, a 3-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.
Sunday also marked Yogi Berra’s 88th birthday. The legendary catcher with 10 World Series rings and three American League Most Valuable Player Awards was born May 12, 1925 in St. Louis. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972 and inducted with Early Wynn and Sandy Koufax.
It doesn’t take long for the guys and girls at Baseball.Reference.com, a sensational web site, to dig up history related to a contemporary event. Less than 10 hours after Yankees rookie Kevin Whelan had walked four batters in two-thirds of an inning Friday night against the Indians, Steve Lombardi had posted a list of 12 pitchers since 1919 who had pitched two-thirds of an innings or less and walked four batters in their big-league debuts.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to comfort his young pitcher Friday night when he removed him from the game, smiling at Whelan as he took the ball and saying, “Hey, we have all gone through this.” He meant fighting the heart-pounding that comes with playing in the majors for the first time.
Whelan might also be comforted with knowing that the list included several pitchers who went on to some success in the major leagues. In fact, Friday marked the 67th anniversary of the first game pitched by the youngest player to appear in a big-league game. Lefthander Joe Nuxhall gave up six runs on two hits and five walks June 10, 1944 for the Reds against the Cardinals in an 18-0 Cincinnati loss.
It was understandable, considering Nuxhall was only 15 years old at the time. His appearance was among the oddities during the World War II years when rosters were depleted because of military service. Nuxhall returned to the majors in 1952 and had a 135-117 record over a 16-season career before becoming a fixture behind the microphone as a long-time broadcaster of Reds games.
The only other Yankees pitcher on the list was Karl Drews, who gave up six runs on two hits and four walks in the second game of a doubleheader Sept. 8, 1946 in a 9-8 loss to the Washington Senators. His contract was sold to the St. Louis Browns during the 1948 season. The righthander from Staten Island went on to pitch also for the Phillies and Reds and compiled a 44-53 record in eight seasons.
The best pitcher of the lot was Fred Hutchinson, who broke in with the Tigers May 2, 1939 and was clocked for eight runs, five hits and four walks in a 22-2 shelling by the Yankees. “Hutch” lost five seasons to military duty during WW II but returned to post a 95-71 record and 3.73 ERA in 10 big-league seasons, all with Detroit.
He later became a manager, notably with the Reds, and was their skipper when Cincinnati lost the 1961 World Series in five games to the Yankees. Hutchinson was diagnosed with cancer during the 1964 season but continued to manage the team. He died after that season at the age of 45.
The Hutch Award has been presented annually since 1965 to a player who has embodied the spirit and determination of Hutchinson as a fund raiser for cancer research. The first recipient was Mickey Mantle. Other former Yankees honored have been Tommy John, David Cone, Jim Abbott, Jason Giambi and manager Joe Torre. In addition to the Mick, other Hall of Famers who have been recipients were Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Al Kaline, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell, George Brett, Johnny Bench, Paul Molitor and Andre Dawson.
No Hall of Famer had a more underserving nickname than the “Killer” label that was hung on Harmon Killebrew. Obviously, it was play on his last name and a description of how he mashed baseballs with one of baseball’s most violent swings.
Killebrew, who died Tuesday of esophageal cancer at the age of 74, was in reality a warm man and an extremely popular player with teammates. Former pitcher and Yankees broadcaster Jim Kaat was at Yankee Stadium last week and recalled that it was Killebrew who first welcomed him to the clubhouse with the Washington Senators as a rookie in 1959, the year Killebrew led the American League in home runs for the first of six times in his career.
“Harmon was a quiet guy who perfectly fit the profile of a player who led by example,” Kaat said. “He was professional in every aspect of the game. I saw him during spring training, and he was determined to give this a good fight, but when I talked to him last week he could barely get the words out. Still, he was the same old Harmon oozing with warmth.”
Killebrew could not be called a gentle giant since he stood 5-foot-11, but you get the idea. His 210 pounds were packed thickly on his frame. He was one of those rare athletes (Sandy Koufax is another) who were trimmer after he retired as a player. People who remember him as a bruiser in the batter’s box might be surprised to find out that Killebrew was very graceful on the dance floor, which he and wife Nita displayed every summer at the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
My favorite story about Killebrew was one he told about his boyhood. Harmon was very proud of being the first person from the state of Idaho to be elected to the Hall of Fame. On the day of his election, he talked about how his father taught him and his brothers how to play the game by playing catch and pitching to them on the family’s front yard.
One day, Killebrew’s mother came on the porch and scolded her husband for allowing the boys to stomp all over the property.
“We’ll never have a lawn,” she complained.
“We’re not raising grass,” Mr. Killebrew said, “We’re raising sons.”
I’d say he did one helluva job.
The stunning news that Manny Ramirez is retiring from baseball comes appropriately while the Yankees and the Red Sox are playing each other in a series at Fenway Park. Ramirez was a big part of this rivalry for the better part of eight seasons.
His career came to an end Friday and, unfortunately, with another steroids-related issue that will stain his legacy. Just looking at the career statistics Manny left behind, a spot in the Hall of Fame should be assured for this eccentric but nonetheless remarkable hitter who despite the reputation as a sort of man-child turned into Albert Einstein once he entered a batter’s box.
Reports that Ramirez had failed yet another drug test allegedly resulted in his abrupt departure from the sport rather than face another suspension. Manny was set down for 50 games in 2009 for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. A second offense comes with a suspension of 100 games, so Manny probably figured what’s the point in hanging around to place one-third of a season for a Tampa Bay team that started the schedule with six straight losses while he went 1-for-17.
Make no mistake, however, that this is a big smudge on Ramirez’s hopes for Cooperstown. Look at the voting totals for Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro to see how voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America feel about whether PED users belong on plaques in the Hall of Fame gallery.
This is all very early, of course. Ramirez is not eligible for the Hall of Fame until the 2017 ballot. A lot can happen before then. But consider that Palmeiro tested positive once and McGwire was never tested but admitted he used anabolic steroids and figure out how voters may view Ramirez, who appears to have tested positive twice.
For Yankees fans, Ramirez was the Red Sox player they loved to hate, except for those from his old neighborhood of Washington Heights in upper Manhattan who came to Yankee Stadium to cheer Manny on. He loved playing against the Yanks, as his record against them attests. He batted .322 with 55 home runs in 861 at-bats against Yankees pitching, including .321 with 29 homers at the Stadium.
He was one of the greatest players to come out of New York City and should have joined the other Hall of Famers who came out of the five boroughs, such as Willie Keeler, Waite Hoyt, Lou Gehrig, Frankie Frisch, Hank Greenberg, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford and Sandy Koufax.
Ramirez was also an icon in Boston as the Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series when the Red Sox won their first championship in 86 years and in Los Angeles where “Mannywood” was celebrated at Dodger Stadium in 2008.
And now it has all come to an end, quietly and shamefully.
No American League club was happier to see Roy Halladay cross over into the National League this year than the Yankees. The one bad thing for the Yanks about Halladay going from the Blue Jays to the Phillies was that it triggered Philadelphia trading Cliff Lee back to the AL with the Mariners.
But it was good riddance for Halladay, who regularly thumped the Yankees to the tune of 18-7 with a 2.98 ERA, seven complete games (including three shutouts) and 195 strikeouts in 38 appearances (36 starts) covering 253 1/3 innings. Halladay did not find the new Yankee Stadium to his liking. He was 1-1 with a 6.16 ERA there in 2009 after having gone 7-4 with a 2.97 ERA in the old Stadium.
Halladay had a remarkable first season in the NL this year and was rewarded Tuesday by winning the Cy Young Award. He became the fifth pitcher to win the award in both leagues, having won in the AL with Toronto in 2003, and the 16th multiple winner.
The righthander was in Mexico on vacation when he received word of his election. I had the opportunity to tell him how popular he is in press boxes throughout North America because it is an extremely pleasurable experience to watch him pitch. He is a pro’s pro with no wasted motion and a focus that is sadly lacking among starting pitchers of this period.
“That’s very satisfying to hear,” the man called “Doc” said. “I hope the fans feel the same way.”
Halladay was the 13th unanimous choice in NL voting as he received all 32 first-place votes from two writers in each league city to score a perfect 224 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America expanded the Cy Young Award ballot from three to five pitchers this year.
Halladay, 33, posted a 21-10 record with a 2.44 ERA in 33 starts and led the league in victories, innings (250 2/3), complete games (9) and shutouts (4) and was second in strikeouts (219). He pitched a perfect game May 29 at Miami in a 1-0 victory over the Marlins. Balloting takes place prior to the start of post-season play, so his no-hitter over the Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series was not a factor in the voting.
Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright (20-11, 2.42 ERA), who finished third in 2009, was the runner-up with 122 points based on 28 votes for second, three for third and one for fifth. Rockies righthander Ubaldo Jimenez (19-8, 2.88 ERA) was third with 90 points. Halladay, Wainwright and Jimenez were the only pitchers named on all the ballots. Righthanders Tim Hudson (17-9, 2.83 ERA) of the Braves and Josh Johnson (11-6, 2.30 ERA) of the Marlins rounded out the top five. In all, 11 pitchers received votes.
Halladay joined the company of Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry as Cy Young Award winners in both leagues. Clemens won six in the AL (1986, ’87 and ’91 with the Red Sox; 1997 and ’98 with the Blue Jays; 2001 with the Yankees) and one in the NL (2004 with the Astros). Johnson won four in the NL (1999 through 2002 with the Diamondbacks) and one in the AL (1995 with the Mariners). Martinez won two in the AL (1999 and 2000 with the Red Sox) and one in the NL (1997 with the Expos). Perry won one in the AL (1972 with the Indians) and one in the NL (1978 with the Padres).
Unanimous winners in the NL were Sandy Koufax all three times he won and Greg Maddux twice among his four victories, along with Johnson, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Rick Sutcliffe, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser and Jake Peavy. There has been a unanimous winner in the AL eight times: Clemens, Martinez and Johan Santana twice each, Denny McLain and Ron Guidry.
It marked the seventh time a Phillies pitcher won the award, including Carlton four times. The other winners from Philadelphia were John Denny and Steve Bedrosian. In addition to Koufax, Maddux, Carlton, Clemens, Martinez, Johnson, Perry, Gibson, McLain and Santana, other pitchers to have won the award more than once were Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer three times each, Bret Saberhagen, Tom Glavine and Tim Lincecum twice apiece.
Halladay is in pretty heady company and deserves to be.