Today marks the anniversary of multiple noteworthy events in the history of the New York Yankees.
First and most importantly, a half-century ago today, Roger Maris made history. Sort of. Well, he did, but many people at the time didn’t want to believe it.
On Sept. 26, 1961, Maris went deep off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher for his 60th home run of the season. That, of course, tied the all-time single-season record held by Babe Ruth. While he made history, there was a catch. More precisely, there was an asterisk.
As I’m sure many out there in reader-land already know, Maris’ historic blast came in the 158th game of the season, and prior to 1961, no season ever had so many regularly-scheduled games in a season. Since it was a longer season, the league decided during the year that if Maris didn’t tie or break the record until after the 154th game, it would be recorded separately in the record books.
Thus, Maris would receive an asterisk by his record, instead of winning it outright. (There never literally was an asterisk, but in the public’s mind there was). So Maris had tied the record a half-century ago today, but as far as many were concerned, there was nothing legitimate about it.
As impressive as that is, it’s not the only noteworthy Yankee anniversary today. Or, again to be more precise, it’s not the only noteworthy Yankee anniversary or “day-versary” today. A day-versary is an event occurring X-thousand days ago, and a few notable Yankee events celebrate their 30,000th day-versary today.
One involves a man once traded for Maris. In fact, when the Yankees acquired Maris in the 1959-60 off-season from the Kansas City A’s, one of the men they sent was a person with his own niche in American sports folklore already carved out: Don Larsen.
Famous for his 1956 World Series perfect game, Don Larsen was born exactly 30,000 days ago. That’s mighty nice that two big heroes of the late 1950s / early 1960s Yankees have commemorative markers occurring today.
But that’s not the only thing Yankee-related that occurred 30,000 days ago. No, the other event wasn’t a birth, but something that happened on the field that day those many years ago. Ruth himself belted a grand slam home run for the second straight day. Not many have done it, but it sure makes sence that Ruth would be one. He was, after all, pretty good at that whole hitting-the-ball-out-of-the-park thing.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or day-versary today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold.
2,000 days since Dan Uggla makes his major league debut.
2,000 days since Nick Markakis makes his big league debut.
3,000 days since Craig Biggio belts out his 500th double.
3,000 days since Greg Vaughn plays in his final game.
3,000 days since Paul Wilson makes history with one of the worst performances by any starting pitcher ever. He allows eight runs (seven earned) while recording zero outs. It’s only happened a handful of times since 1920, but Wilson was the starting pitcher for two of them.
Here’s what happened 3,000 days ago: E6, single, single, walk, double, single, single, wild pitch, and single. The bullpen let the last two runners in, and there was an error, but that’s an ugly performance.
7,000 days since the Houston Astros begin a 26-game road strip as the Astrodome will host the 1992 Republican National Convention.
10,000 days since Chili Davis tosses out two runners in one inning from center.
15,000 days since the White Sox hire Chuck Tanner as their manager.
15,000 days since Tommy John walks eight batters, his personal most.
1896 Hall of Famer Tommy McCarthy plays his final game.
1896 Pittsburgh drafts Jesse Tannehill from Richmond of the Virginia League in the Rule 5 draft.
1897 Jake Beckley belts three home runs in one game.
1903 Brickyard Kennedy, one of the workhorse pitchers of the 1890s, plays in his final game.
1903 George Van Haltren, outfielder who probably belongs in Cooperstown, plays in his last big league contest.
1905 Ed Walsh tosses two complete game victories over the Red Sox. Well, not technically, but close enough. Doc White starts game one but leaves with zero outs recorded. Walsh pitches nine innings in relief (without warming up) in that game and then nine as a starter in the second game.
1905 Joe Stanley of Washington belts his second and last career home run, which doubles as his second and last career grand slam.
1906 Lefty Leifield tosses a shortened game no-hitter: Pittsburgh tops Philadelphia 8-0 in six innings.
1906 The A’s score a run, something they’d failed to do for 48 consecutive innings.
1908 Ed Reulbach tosses two shutouts in one day, the only pitcher ever to do that. Chicago beats Brooklyn, 5-0 and 3-0.
1910 Pirates pitcher Sam Leever last appears on the mound.
1912 The Cubs blow a 9-0 lead when Cincinnati scores 10 in the top of the ninth. However, the Cubs score two in the bottom half of the frame for an 11-10 win.
1919 Sport Sullivan and Arnold Rothstein, two big gamblers, discuss fixing the 1919 World Series.
1922 Hall of Fame shortstop Dave Bancroft has possibly his worst game ever at the plate, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
1925 Bobby Shantz, pitcher, is born.
1926 Dazzy Vance fans 15 batters, tying his personal best in a nine-inning game. His line: 9 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 15 K.
1926 Fred Merkle plays in his final game.
1926 Lee Fohl manages his last game.
1926 In the second game of a doubleheader, Hall of Fame shortstop Travis Jackson plays in right field, his only time in the outfield.
1926 With the pennant race over the day before, the Yankees and Brown sprint through a doubleheader in two hours and seven minutes. (72 minutes for the first game, and 55 for the second).
1927 Jim Bottomley, Hall of Fame first baseman, has perhaps his worst game ever, going 0-for-6 with three Ks. He has seven other three-K games, but none of them were 0-for-6 performances.
1929 The American League postpones all its games, in honor of Yankee manager Miller Huggins, who just died.
1930 Bob Meusel, outfielder, plays in his last game.
1936 Bucky Harris manages his 2,000th game. His record: 1,008-977.
1936 Carl Hubbell wins his 16th straight game in his final decision of the year. His streak will go to a still-standing record of 24 wins before ending in 1937.
1936 George Earnshaw, pitcher, last appears in a major league game.
1937 Sheriff Blake, pitcher, makes his final appearance in a big league game.
1940 Enos Slaughter’s best hitting streak peaks at 26 games. He’s 34-for-81 with a .420/.472/.667 AVG/OBP/SLG in that span.
1940 New York sportswriter Jimmy Powers apologizes for an August column in which he said the Yankees were having a bad season due to a polio epidemic they caught from Lou Gehrig.
1942 Larry French makes his last big league appearance. He’ll join the Navy in the off-season and stay in it until the end of the 1960s.
1942 It’s Scrap Metal Day at the Polo Grounds where they give free admission to all kids who bring in some scrap metal to help out the war effort. During the game, the kids run wild, forcing the Giants to forfeit to the Braves. As it happens, it’s the first major league start for Warren Spahn, who gets the complete game but not the win.
1943 Paul Waner belts his 600th career double. He’s only the fifth man to do that.
1944 Temperamental pitcher Johnny Allen plays in his last game.
1946 Hank Greenberg homers twice in one game for the second time in the span of three games.
1947 Yankee pitcher Spud Chandler last appears in a game.
1948 The Boston Braves clinch their first pennant in 34 years.
1950 Reliever Jim Konstanty of the Phillies appears in his 71st game of the year, setting a new record.
1950 Lew Burdette makes his big league debut.
1951 Monte Irvin enjoys perhaps his best game as a major leaguer, going 3-for-5 with a double, triple, and home run. He scores twice and drives in four in New York’s 10-1 beating of the Phillies.
1953 Al Kaline hits his first home run.
1953 Johnny Mize appears in his last regular-season game. (He’ll also play in next month’s World Series to end his career.)
1954 Karl Spooner, who fanned 15 in his major league debut just four days earlier, fans 12 in a 1-0 win over the Pirates.
1954 Kevin Kennedy, manager/Fox sports talking head, is born.
1954 Joe Garagiola plays in his last game.
1954 It’s the last game ever for the Philadelphia A’s. They beat the Yankees, 8-6, in part because of a screwy lineup Casey Stengel fields that day. He puts Yogi Berra at third for the only time and gives Mickey Mantle his only start at shortstop.
1954 Phillies centerfielder Richie Ashburn plays in his 730th consecutive game.
1956 In his first major league start, Baltimore’s Charlie Beamon beats the Yankees, 1-0.
1956 Dale Mitchell plays in his last regular season game. That said, his most famous moment is still coming up, as he’ll be the final out in Don Larsen’s perfect game.
1956 Jackie Robinson fans three times in a game for the only time in his career. He only has three more regular season starts left in his career, too.
1956 Vic Wertz blasts four doubles in one game in an 8-4 Indians win of the A’s.
1958 Texas League team Corpus Christi agrees not to use black players in the Dixie Series with the Southern Association.
1958 Pee Wee Reese plays in his last game.
1958 Virgil Trucks makes his final appearance in a major league game.
1959 Orlando Cepeda gets on base for the first of four times in his career via catcher’s interference. Most players never get on that way.
1959 Toothpick Sam Jones tosses a shortened game no-hitter: 4-0 for the Giants over the Cardinals in seven innings.
1960 Matty Alou makes his big league debut.
1961 Bill Freehan makes his big league debut.
1961 In the same game Roger Maris hits his 60th home run in, Boog Powell makes his big league debut.
1961 Steve Buechele is born.
1962 The Mets set a new modern record by losing their 118th game.
1962 In his big league debut, Dave McNally tosses a complete-game shutout: Orioles 3, A’s 0.
1966 Willie McCovey hits his 200th home run.
1967 Jim Kaat strikes out 13 batters in a game, his personal best. It comes in the greatest month of pitching of his life and he tries his best to keep the Twins in a four-way pennant race that season. In Sept. 1967, Kaat tosses 63 IP with 63 K and an ERA of 1.51. Yeah, that ain’t bad.
1967 Lou Brock enjoys his second two-homer game of the month and fourth of the season. In his lengthy career, he’ll have only six multi-home run games in all, but four come in one year. Today is also his best ever WPA game, as he goes 4-for-5 with two homers and three RBIs, but his Cardinals lose to the Cubs, 8-7.
1969 The White Sox play their last home game in Milwaukee and lose 5-3 to the Royals before 9,587 fans.
1969 Pitcher Al Jackson, most famous as an early Met, appears in his last game.
1969 Exactly eight years after surrendering Roger Maris’ 60th homer of the year, pitcher Jack Fisher appears in his last game.
1969 Rod Carew tries to steal home for a record eighth time of the season, but it doesn’t go according to plan. He knocks over umpire Jim Honochick, who calls Carew out. Upset, Carew flings his helmet, earning an ejection.
1971 Jim Palmer wins his 20th game of the year, giving the Orioles four different 20-game winners on the season.
1971 Ernie Banks plays in his final game.
1971 Tom Seaver tosses his third one-hitter.
1971 Willie Mays scores his 2,000th run.
1974 Juan Pizarro, veteran pitcher, appears in his last game.
1975 Harmon Killebrew plays in his final game.
1975 Clyde Wright, pitcher, appears in his last game.
1977 Ernie Lombardi, Hall of Fame catcher, dies at age 69.
1978 Bert Blyleven wins his 13th complete-game shutout by a score of 1-0. He’ll end his career with 15 of them, more than any pitcher since Walter Johnson. This is his only one as a Pirate, as he tops the Mets.
1978 Courts rule that baseball teams should allow female reporters access to the locker rooms.
1979 Frank White hits for the cycle.
1979 Bruce Boisclair hits the rare inside-the-hat home run. It’s a shot to shallow center, and Cub outfielder Larry Biittner dives for it, but doesn’t get it. He looks all over for it after getting up, but can’t find it anywhere. As Boisclair finishes running around the bases, a disgusted Biittner decides to grab his hat off the ground—only to find the ball underneath it.
1979 Bill Gullickson makes his big league debut.
1979 Phil Niekro becomes the first NL pitcher since Irv Young over 70 years before to win and lose 20 games in the same season. It’s still the last time an NL pitcher lost has lost 20 games in a year.
1980 Johnny Bench, who has over 1,000 more PA to go in his career, gets his last HBP.
1981 Carl Yastrzemski gets his 600th double. He’s the ninth man to do that.
1981 Nolan Ryan tosses his fifth career no-hitter, leading Houston to a 5-0 win over the Dodgers. It’s NBC’s Game of the Week, too, but the network’s Buffalo affiliate goes away from the game just before the last out to air “Life Aboard an Aircraft Carrier.”
1983 Bob Forsch throws his second career no-hitter. He also avoids any walks, but hits a batter, and has an error occur behind him. St. Louis 3, Montreal 0.
1983 Fergie Jenkins appears in his last game.
1984 For the 14th time in his career, Bert Blyleven wins a complete game shutout by a 1-0 score. This time Cleveland beats the Mariners.
1986 Toronto beats the Red Sox, 1-0, in 12 innings. The game features 20 hits and seven walks, but no one could score.
1987 Juan Beniquez hits a bases-loaded, walk-off triple, something that’s only happened seven times since 1953.
1987 Len Barker, who once threw a perfect game, makes his last big league appearance.
1991 Ten days before his career ends, Dwight Evans receives a walk-off walk. It’s the second one of his career as his current team beats his old team: Baltimore 6, Boston 5.
1992 Barry Bonds‘ longest hitting streak peaks at 15 games. That’s right, he never had a streak longer than that (though he will tie it in 2001).
1992 Richard Seitz, creator of APBA baseball game, dies at age 77.
1993 George Brett hits his final big league home run—a walk-off homer, in fact. It caps his 17th and final multi-home run game.
1993 Randy Johnson experiences the longest start of his career, 10 innings. It’s the only time he goes more than nine innings.
1995 Paul Molitor hits his 500th double.
1997 Ron Karkovice, White Sox catcher, makes his last big league appearance.
1997 Woody English, shortstop in the late 1920s and early 1930s, dies.
1998 In one game, Ken Griffey, Jr. plays center, left, right and first base.
1998 Bob Tewksbury makes his last appearance in a big league game.
1998 Juan Samuel makes his last big league appearance a distinctive one. He comes in as a pinch runner and steals third, something very few guys do in their last game.
1999 Rickey Henderson has his worst game ever, according to WPA. He goes 0-for-5 with a strikeout and a GIDP as his Mets lose 3-2 to the Phillies for a WPA of –0.571.
2001 Mark McGwire has his 67th and final multi-home run game.
2003 John Burkett pitches in his last game.
2003 Rick Reed, pitcher with great control, last appears in the majors.
2004 Veteran manager Frank Robinson loses his 1,000th game. His record: 911-1,000.
2005 For only the fourth time in history, a player homers in what turns out to be his only PA of the season. Eddie Rogers does it today.
2007 Baseball suspends umpire Mike Winters for the rest of the season for baiting Milton Bradley in a recent argument that resulted in Bradley’s injury when his manager had to restrain him from going after the ump.
2007 Barry Bonds plays in his final big league game.
2010 Miguel Montero does something rather rare for a catcher, belting two triples in one game.