Results tagged ‘ Babe Ruth ’
The Yankees came off a 3-3 trip to Anaheim and Milwaukee, during which they lost yet another starting pitcher to injury, for a week’s load of games in New York that begins with the home-and-away Subway Series in its 18th season.
For the second straight year, the series will be played in consecutive two-game sets Monday and Tuesday nights at Yankee Stadium and Wednesday and Thursday nights at Citi Field. The format did not work out so well for the Yankees last year as the Mets won all four games.
The Yankees have had the upper hand for the most part throughout the Subway Series, however, including the one that counted most, the 2000 World Series, which they won in five games over the Mets. The Yanks’ overall record against the Mets in regular-season play is 54-40, including 29-18 at Yankee Stadium (9-5 in the current Stadium). The Yankees have a 25-22 record in Queens (8-6 at Citi Field, 17-16 at Shea Stadium).
This week’s all-New York matchup marks the final one for a player who has been at the center of it from the beginning, Derek Jeter. The Captain is a .368 career hitter against the Mets with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in regular-season play. He was also the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 World Series in which he batted .409 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and two RBI in 22 at-bats.
Hiroki Kuroda was paired against former teammate Bartolo Colon in Monday night’s opener. The Yanks will have Vidal Nuno Tuesday night and Masahiro Tanaka Wednesday night as starters. No decision has yet been made about the Yankees’ starter Thursday night, which was to have been CC Sabathia before he was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to fluid buildup in his right knee. Alfredo Aceves could be in line as the Thursday night starter but only if he is not needed out of the bullpen in the first three games of the series.
With Sabathia’s disabling, the Yankees have lost 60 percent of their Opening Day rotation to injuries. Ivan Nova is gone for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Michael Pineda is still probably a month away while recovering from a right shoulder ailment.
“Our surplus is not a surplus anymore,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the rotation situation. “We have to fight our way through it.”
The Yankees were also without Mark Teixeira Monday night. Tex complained of what he called “cement legs,” but Girardi indicated that the first baseman has been bothered by a tweaky groin. Kelly Johnson started in Tex’s place.
Yogi Berra on his 89th birthday made an appearance at the Stadium and had a chat with Teixeira in the clubhouse runway before the game. Yogi was unaware of Tex’s groin situation and said, “You better stay healthy.”
Tuesday, the Stadium will be the first stop of a special tour by the National Baseball Hall of Fame showcasing Babe Ruth’s Hall of Fame plaque. Following a pregame ceremony with the plaque and members of the Hall of Fame, the plaque will be on display in the Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America during that nights game from approximately 7:30 p.m. through the end of the eighth inning.
The Yankees will return to the Stadium Friday night to start another inter-league series against the Pirates that will continue at 4:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
Saturday’s game will be a Youth Game. All fans 14 and younger, when accompanied by an adult (18 and older), are eligible for half-price tickets in designated seating locations. Tickets may be purchased only the day of the game at Yankee Stadium Ticket Windows, adjacent to Gate 4.
Also on Saturday, the Yankees will host honorary bat girl Elizabeth Tague. A lifetime Yankees fan and native of Roselle Park, N.J., Tague was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in May 2011. After undergoing surgery, 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 28 rounds of radiation, she returned to work as a sixth-grade teacher in January 2012, just eight months after her initial diagnosis. Tague will watch batting practice, take part in a pregame ceremony at the plate and bring the lineup card out to the umpires prior to the game.
The stretch of home games this week will also feature the following promotional items and dates:
Friday, May 16 – Yankees vs. Pirates, 7:05 p.m.
Yankees Reusable Tote Night, presented by MLB Network, to all Guests.
Saturday, May 17 – Yankees vs. Pirates, 4:05 p.m.
Yankees Keychain Day, presented by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, to first 18,000 guests.
Sunday, May 18 – Yankees vs. Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
Yankees Drawstring Backpack Day, presented by Kumon, to first 18,000 guests, 14 and younger.
Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.yankees.com, http://www.yankeesbeisbol.com, at the Yankee Stadium Ticket Office, via Ticketmaster phone at (877) 469-9849, Ticketmaster TTY at (800) 943-4327 and at all Ticket Offices located within Yankees Clubhouse Shops. Tickets may also be purchased on Yankees Ticket Exchange at http://www.yankees.com/yte, the only official online resale marketplace for Yankees fans to purchase and resell tickets to Yankees games. Fans with questions may call (212) YANKEES [926-5337] or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Babe Ruth’s Hall of Fame plaque will be leaving Cooperstown, N.Y., for the first time and will travel to New York City next week. It will be on display Tuesday at Yankee Stadium and Wednesday at Grand Central Terminal in support of Metro-North’s “Getaway Day Staycation Showcase Featuring I Love NY’s Path Through History.”
Elected in the original class to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1936, Ruth made his major league debut 100 years ago this season July 11, 1914. In honor of his 100th anniversary in the majors, the Hall is opening a new gallery in his honor, Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend, Friday, June 13, one day after the museum celebrates its 75th anniversary.
Tuesday, the Ruth plaque will be a part of an on-field pre-game ceremony hosted by the Yankees in recognition of the Ruth exhibit opening in Cooperstown. The Ruth plaque will then be on display for fans to see in the Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America at the Stadium, from approximately 7:30 p.m. through the end of the eighth inning of the Yankees’ game against the Mets.
The plaque will be featured in Metro-North’s “Getaway Day Staycation Showcase Featuring Path Through History” from 11:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. The plaque will be a part of the museum’s presence to promote New York State’s “Path Through History” Weekend to Cooperstown and the central Leatherstocking Region June 12-14. The Path Through History, launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, highlights historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State, and the special Path Through History weekends are designed to make it easy to experience the Empire State’s rich heritage and diverse attractions.
The Ruth plaque will remain on display at the Hall of Fame through Sunday, May 11 and will be back on display in the Hall’s Gallery Thursday, May 15. For more information, please visit http://www.baseballhall.org/hof/ruth-babe.
In the latest much ado about nothing episode in baseball, Major League Baseball has no plans to discipline Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda for his apparent use of pine tar on his right hand in Thursday night’s victory over the Red Sox.
“The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox,” MLB said in a statement. “Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred.”
The incident was spurred by social media as photos of Pineda’s hand circulated across the Internet. Boston manager John Farrell said before Friday night’s game that the Red Sox were made aware of the situation, but by the time they knew about it Pineda had washed off the substance.
Pitchers often resort to using pine tar in cold weather to improve their grip. The Red Sox had two separate incidents last year of their pitchers putting foreign substances on the ball.
Derek Jeter’s two hits Thursday night moved him past Joe DiMaggio into third place on the Yankees’ career hit list against the Red Sox. DJ entered play Friday night with 324 career hits against Boston pitching, one more than Joe D. The only Yankees players with more career hits against the Red Sox than Jeter not surprisingly are Babe Ruth with 404 and Lou Gehrig with 347.
Happy Birthday to Mark Teixeira, who turned 34.
Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte may be leaving the Yankees but not Derek Jeter. The captain signed a one-year contract for $12 million Friday and intends to be healthy for the 2014 season.
Jeter, 39, is a career .312 hitter with the ninth highest total of hits (3,316), among which are 525 doubles, 65 triples and 256 home runs. DJ has scored 1,876 runs, driven in 1,261 and stolen 348 bases in 2,602 games over 19 major-league seasons, all with the Yankees (1995-2013). A five-time World Series champion (1996, 1998-2000, ’09), 13-time All-Star (1998-2002, ’04, ’06-12) and five-time Gold Glove Award winner (2004-06, ’09-10), Jeter will become the longest-tenured player in franchise history with his first game played in 2014, breaking the record he currently shares with Rivera.
In 2013, Jeter batted .190 with eight runs, one double, one home run and seven RBI in 17 games (13 starts at shortstop, four at designated hitter) and 63 at-bats. He missed 145 games during four stints on the disabled list. Prior to last season, he had been on the DL only five times and missed just 82 games.
Jeter is a five-time Silver Slugger Award recipient (2006-09, ’12) with eight career 200-hit seasons, including a majors-leading 216 hits in 2012. Prior to last season, Jeter had a 17-season streak (1996-2012) of at least 150 hits per season, matching Hank Aaron (1955-71) for the longest such stretch in major-league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Jeter, who was named the 11th captain in team history June 3, 2003, is the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, games, stolen bases, at-bats, singles (2,470) and hit by pitches (164). He also ranks second in doubles (Lou Gehrig-534), third in runs (Babe Ruth -1,959, Gehrig-1,888) and ninth in homers. No active player has appeared in more games for his current team than DJ, who is 10th all-time in games played among big leaguers who have spent their entire careers with one club.
Additionally, Jeter is one of just two players in Major League history, along with Willie Mays, to record at least 3,000 hits, 250 home runs, 300 stolen bases and 1,200 RBI in their careers.
Born in Pequannock, N.J., and raised in Kalamazoo, Mich., Jeter was selected by the Yankees in the first round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft (sixth pick overall). In 1996, he established the “Turn 2” Foundation to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and “Turn 2” healthy lifestyles. As a result of Turn 2’s programs and his other good works off the field, Jeter was honored by Major League Baseball with the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to the player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field.
The Yankees keep coming off the mat. After a 4-6 trip that included two losses in three games to the last-place Blue Jays, the Yankees opened the final homestand of the season in a big way with a 5-1 victory over the Giants, who are trying to stay out of last place the year after winning the World Series.
The matchup of a pair of former Cy Young Award winners, CC Sabathia and Tim Lincecum, had the potential to be a riveting a game, which it was for six innings. The Yankees broke it open in the bottom of the seventh on a record-breaking grand slam by Alex Rodriguez. Lincecum was out of the game by then, but he had put the three runners A-Rod drove home on base. Hitting Brendan Ryan with a pitch was a huge blunder by Lincecum. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s failure to complete a double play on a grounder to third by J.R. Murphy kept the inning alive, and Lincecum dug himself in deeper by walking Ichiro Suzuki.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy replaced Lincecum at that point by George Kontos, who may be a familiar name to Yankees fans. The righthander was the Yankees’ fifth-round draft choice out of Northwestern University in 2006 and pitched in seven games for them in 2011. He went to the Giants in April 2012 in the trade for catcher Chris Stewart.
Rodriguez, who had one hit in his previous 25 at-bats, was certainly overdue. He batted. 182 on the trip but did have two home runs. A-Rod drove a 2-1 fastball to right field that made a 1-1 game 5-1 Yankees lead that held up in the steady hands of David Robertson in the eighth and Mariano Rivera in a non-save situation in the ninth.
The 654th career home run for Rodriguez was his 24th with the bases loaded. That broke the tie he had for most grand slams with Lou Gehrig. This was one of those records I thought when I was a kid would never be broken.
Of course, I thought the same thing about Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 games, Babe Ruth’s home run records for one season (60) and career (714), Ty Cobb’s stolen-base marks for one season (96) and career (897), Cobb’s career standard for hits (4,189) and George Sisler’s mark for hits in a season (257).
They are all gone.
This was a record set not in some obscure game in the middle of the season but during a game in the last week for a team that is trying to win a playoff spot under increasingly difficult odds.
Sabathia bounced back after two straight losses with one of his best games of the season. This was a tight game for nearly all the time he was in it. He gave up seven hits and three walks but was helped by a couple of double plays. The Yanks turned a third double play in the eighth behind Robertson after he entered the game following a leadoff single off Sabathia.
The Yankees still need some help from other teams to make their way through this wild-card maize, but for one night at least they helped themselves.
I was thinking on the drive into Yankee Stadium Wednesday what a tough break Ichiro Suzuki had on a night he was seeking his 4,000th hit combined in Japanese and American baseball. The Blue Jays were starting knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey, last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner with the Mets.
It reminded me of the night in 1961 when the Orioles brought knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm out of the bullpen to pitch to Roger Maris who was trying for his 60th home run within the 154-game schedule to tie Babe Ruth’s record.
This wasn’t really dirty pool on the part of Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. It was Dickey’s turn in the rotation, but that would only make it tougher for Ichiro, or so I thought. He had 2-for-13 (.154) in his career against Dickey, so it promised to be a long night. Shows you what I know.
Suzuki didn’t wait very long to get the job done. In his first at-bat, he lashed a quintessential Ichiro single past third baseman Brett Lawrie and into left field for No. 4,000. While the crowd at the Stadium gave him a standing ovation, Ichiro was surrounded at first base by his teammates who had exited the dugout as the ball reached the outfield.
It was a poignant moment. Ichiro made a hand gesture toward his mates not to come out, but they ignored it as well they should have. The Yankees players did not overdo it. They merely paid their respects to a unique individual who has spent a lifetime spraying out base hits over two continents.
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.
Drastic times call for drastic measures. The Yankees’ lineup Tuesday night against Rangers righthander Alexi Ogando did not contain Travis Hafner. Surprised? Probably not. The only surprising thing about is that Hafner is a designated hitter only who bats left-handed. If not in the batting order against a right-handed starting pitcher, then when?
Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t hesitate to answer when questioned by reporters at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. “He’s just not being productive,” the skipper said.
The numbers do not lie. After a torrid April in which he batted .318 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 66 at-bats, Hafner cooled off to the point since then of hitting .172 with six homers and 20 RBI in 186 at-bats. Pronk’s batting average is down to .210 while his OPS is below .700 (.699), not a good neighborhood for someone whose contribution is limited to his offense.
Disregarding platoon notions, Girardi went with right-handed-batting Vernon Wells as the DH with another righty swinger, recent Triple A Scranton callup Melky Mesa, in left field. The move had an early payoff when Mesa jump-started the Yankees in a two-run third inning that ended the Yankees’ 14-inning shutout string.
Mesa’s leadoff double, a hard liner to the gap in left-center, was the Yankees’ first extra-base hit in 24 innings coming after 21 consecutive singles. After going so long without extra-base power, the Yankees got another double immediately, by Austin Romine, for their first run of the game. Singles by Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki got home a second run, but Robinson Cano defused the rally by grounding into a double play.
Still, the Yankees ended a 22-inning scoring drought against Texas pitching. According to Baseball Reference.com, the Rangers (after shutting out the Yankees on three hits Monday night and with their June 27 victory at Yankee Stadium with Derek Holland pitching a 2-0, two-hitter) were the first team to throw consecutive shutouts with three or fewer hits in each game against the Yankees since the Red Sox June 21-22, 1916. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that those games were a complete-game no-hitter by Rube Foster and a complete game three-hitter by Babe Ruth, both at Fenway Park.
Wells joined the doubles parade with a leadoff two-bagger in the fourth, his first extra-base hit in 24 at-bats since July 12. He displayed some alert running skills by crossing to third on a flyout to medium center field by Eduardo Nunez and beating a play at home to score on a fielder’s-choice grounder to second base by Brent Lillibridge.
For three nights in Baltimore, the Yankees watched a mirror image of what they were in 2012. The Yankees pummeled clubs last year with 245 home runs. The Orioles of 2013 are on such a pace. With three more bombs Sunday night in a 4-2 victory, the Orioles raised their season HR total to 115, the most in the major leagues.
By contrast, halfway through their season the Yankees have 81 home runs, the last of which was Robinson Cano’s 17th of the year, a solo shot in the sixth off Chris Tillman (10-2), who gave up one other run in six innings on a bases-loaded walk to Brett Gardner in the second and earned his seventh straight victory.
Cano’s jack got the Yankees to 3-2, but the Orioles got an insurance run in the seventh. Kuroda gave up a single to Matt Wieters and a double to J.J. Hardy before coming out for Boone Logan, who kept the damage to a minimum by yielding one run on a sacrifice fly by Brian Roberts.
Baltimore simply out-muscled the Yankees in the series, the first time they were swept in a three-game series at Camden Yards since April 15-17, 2005. The O’s out-homered the Yanks, 7-1, in the series with Chris Davis, the major-league home run leader with 31, leading the way with three. The first baseman’s leadoff homer in the second inning was one of three long balls given up by Hiroki Kuroda (7-6), who was also taken deep by Manny Machado in the first inning and Nate McLouth in the third.
Machado had two other hits, including his 38th double following McLouth’s blast. Machado and Davis are trying to pull off a tandem effort that has not been accomplished since the Yankees’ Murderers’ Row days. In 1927, Babe Ruth led the majors in home runs with 60 and teammate Lou Gehrig in doubles with 52. Davis and Machado are leading in those categories at this point.
Jim Johnson picked up his 28th save of the year and 100th of his career, which tied him with Stu Miller for third place on the franchise list behind all-time leader Gregg Olson (160) and runner-up Tippy Martinez (105). Johnson is the seventh active major-league pitcher to record 100 saves with his current club, joining the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera (634), the Tigers’ Jose Valverde (119), the Carlos Marmol (117), the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel (112), the Brewers’ John Axford (106) and the Indians’ Chris Perez (106). Six other active pitchers have recorded 100 or more saves with a club other than their current team – Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Papelbon, J.J. Putz, Heath Bell and Joakim Soria. Since the start of 2012, Johnson has 78 saves, 13 more than any other reliever. Of course, that is due in part because Rivera was out most of the 2012 season because of a knee injury that required surgery.
The sweep ended a dismal June for the Yankees, who had an 11-16 record and were outscored, 122-88, during the month. The Yankees batted .223 as a team in June and averaged 3.26 runs per game, which put pressure on a staff that pitched to a 4.38 ERA during the month. The rotation was 8-15 with a 4.66 ERA.
The Yankees have lost five straight games for the third time this year as the clock is still ticking on Joe Girardi’s 600th managerial victory. Their other five-game losing streaks were May 26-30 to the Rays (1 game) and the Mets (4) and June 11-15 to the Athletics (3) and Angels (2). The loss Sunday dropped the Yankees into fourth place in the American League East, just two games ahead of the last-place Blue Jays.
Since their highpoint of the season after the games of May 25 when the Yankees had a 30-18 record, they are 12-21 and have lost 7 ½ games in the standings, going from first place with a one-game lead to fourth place and 6 ½ games from the top and four games from the second wild-card berth.
July will have to be much better for the Yankees.
One of the nice things about Sunday’s annual reunion known around Yankee Stadium as Old-Timers’ Day was watching Mariano Rivera, 43 but not yet an old-timer, connect with so many of the veterans who took part in the event. This is Mo’s final season in the majors and he is taking a stop-and-smell-the-roses approach to every day of the year.
So as the collection of former Yankees standouts from different eras made their way onto the field for practice before the three-inning exhibition game, Rivera made the rounds and talked to nearly every one of them. There were stars from the 1950s (Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Dr. Bobby Brown, Jerry Coleman, Don Larsen), the 1960s (Bobby Richardson, Joe Pepitone, Hector Lopez, Mel Stottlemyre, Gene Michael), 1970s (Reggie Jackson, Lou Piniella, Roy White, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers), 1980s (Willie Randolph, Goose Gossage, Rickey Henderson, Steve Balboni, Lee Mazzilli) and 1990s (Paul O’Neill, David Cone, David Wells, Bernie Williams, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez). Each and every one received a handshake and a kind word from Rivera.
I was chatting in the Yankees dugout with former manager Stump Merrill when Mo sauntered over. Stump is on the mend from surgery for prostate cancer and was in great spirits. Mo got into the conversation and talked about his rehab from knee surgery last year. I kidded him about his being on the field with all the old-timers and that he was really a year early.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Well, you won’t be eligible for this game until next year when you’re officially retired,” I said.
“Oh, I won’t be coming back next year,” Rivera said.
“How come?” I wanted to know.
“That will be too soon,” he said. “That is why I am doing all these things at the different parks all year. This is the time for that. Next year will be all my time, time for my family, time to do many things I could not do because I was playing all summer. Maybe in two or three years I would like to come back. I have always enjoyed this day.”
It is a special day to savor and, frankly, it is now unique. When I first started covering baseball in the 1970s, most clubs held Old-Timers’ Days. The Yankees started the tradition in 1947 with a salute to Babe Ruth the year before he died. His memorable speech cemented the event as something to do on an annual basis. Joe DiMaggio’s relatively early retirement (he was 37 when he called it quits) helped keep the day special because so many Yankees fans looked forward to seeing him come back each year, put on a uniform and swat line drives. The same thing occurred for the next generation with Mickey Mantle and so on to the present.
Old-Timers’ Day is now strictly a Yankees event. Even the appearance of widows is a Yankees tradition, beginning originally with Claire Ruth and Eleanor (Lou) and continuing with Arlene (Elston) Howard, Jill (Billy) Martin, Diana (Thurman) Munson, Helen (Catfish) Hunter and Kay (Bobby) Murcer.
Other clubs such as the Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Cubs occasionally bring back old favorites for some special celebration but not as an annual exercise.
Nobody does it better than the Yankees.