Results tagged ‘ Cal Ripken Jr. ’
Tuesday is April 30, which is one of the most significant calendar days in Yankees history. The franchise was introduced to New York City on that date 110 years ago, and one of its iconic figures began and ended his career on the same date 16 years apart.
The old Baltimore Orioles club that moved to New York City in 1903 at the start of the third season of the American League became known as the Highlanders because their playing field at the time was located in the highlands area on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that is now the central location of New York-Presbyterian Hospital at West 168th Street.
The Highlanders played their first home game at Hilltop Park April 30, 1903 and defeated the Washington Senators, 6-2. It was the Highlanders’ eighth game of the season and evened their record at 4-4 after opening the season by splitting a four-game series at Washington, D.C., and losing two of three games to the Athletics in Philadelphia.
Managed by future Hall of Famer Clark Griffith and featuring another future Hall of Famer, outfielder Willie Keeler, the team that would become known as the Yankees 10 years later finished with a 72-62 record and fourth of eight teams in the AL.
Moving forward 20 years, the Yankees signed a 19-year-old Columbia University pitcher and outfielder from Manhattan named Henry Louis Gehrig to a professional contract. Lou Gehrig’s reputation as a power hitter was established in the Ivy League, and before the 1923 season was over he made his first appearance in the major leagues. Gehrig got into 13 games that year for the Yanks and batted .423 with four doubles, one triple, one home run and nine RBI in 26 at-bats.
Gehrig spent most of the 1924 season in the minor leagues as well before coming up for good in 1925 and replaced Wally Pipp at first base every day for the next decade and a half. Sixteen years to the day he signed his first pro contract, Gehrig played in his last major-league game, a 3-2 loss to the Senators at Yankee Stadium in which he had 0-for-4. It was Gehrig’s 2,130th consecutive game, a record that stood until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in September, 1995.
Gehrig was already suffering from the symptoms of arterial lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disease that forced him to out of the next game. May 1 was an open date for the Yankees. Gehrig was in manager Joe McCarthy’s starting batting order for May 2 at Detroit, but the “Iron Horse” took himself out of the lineup and never played again. Gehrig was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939 and died in 1941.
Orange was the predominant color at Camden Yards for an Orioles-Yankees game Thursday night for what might have been the first time in 15 years. Ever since 1998, the first of 14 straight losing seasons for the Orioles, games against the Yankees in Baltimore provided local fans the opportunity to scalp tickets to willing New Yorkers who traveled to the Chesapeake Bay to see their heroes.
The main attraction was Cal Ripken Jr., who had a statue unveiled in his honor 16 years to the night he broke Lou Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games with No. 2,131 that would eventually grow to 2,632 and earn the “Iron Man” a place alongside the “Iron Horse” in the Hall of Fame. The rest of the night, however, belonged to the upstart 2012 Orioles, who received a standing ovation from Cal and the others in the sellout crowd of 46,298 after a rousing victory over the Yankees that left the teams tied for first place in the American League East.
The Yankees nearly spoiled it all for all those orange shirts when they erased a 6-1 deficit in the eighth inning with a five-spot on the sort of rally they have lacked much of the year. The offense came alive in a game in which the Yankees fell behind, 4-0, in the first inning. Erratic relief work by Pedro Strop, who faced four batters and gave up two walks and two hits to spit up Baltimore’s lead, was welcomed by the Yankees, who got clutch hits from Alex Rodriguez (RBI double), Curtis Granderson (RBI single) and Ichiro Suzuki (a two-run single) and a four-pitch walk to pinch hitter Chris Dickerson to force in a run.
Then it was the Yankees pen’s turn to falter. The Orioles treated David Robertson like a tomato can of a boxer with a 1-2 punch, a solo home run by Adam Jones and a two-run shot by Mark Reynolds. Robertson’s bell was still ringing in the dugout when his replacement, Boone Logan, was slugged for another homer, by Chris Davis.
The 10-6 Baltimore victory was definitely a knockout as the Orioles went yard six times. Reynolds had his third two-homer game against the Yankees in a week’s time. Over his past seven games, Reynolds has batted .423 with eight home runs, 16 RBI and eight runs in 26 at-bats. Six of those jacks have come against Yankees pitchers. This is a guy who was benched at mid-season when he was batting less than .200 and striking out twice a game.
The first of Reynolds’ home runs Thursday night was a solo in the sixth off Joba Chamberlain. The other Orioles’ homers were a big, three-run job by Matt Wieters in the first inning and a solo by Robert Andino in the third, both off David Phelps, who put the Yanks in 4-0 and 6-1 divots. Yet he was taken off the hook by the Yankees’ eighth-inning comeback.
Robertson, whose record fell to 1-6, is 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA in his past three appearances. Both home runs he yielded Thursday night were on two-strike pitches as he failed to put away Jones or Reynolds.
All the runs the Yankees scored in the eighth came after two were out, an encouraging sign, but more and more the fact that they have lived and died by the home run this year is starting to haunt them. The team that leads the majors in home runs is suddenly getting outslugged. Ten games into a 22-game stretch against AL East competition, the Yankees are 3-7 and have been out homered, 22-9. Thursday night was the 25th game in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run, and they are 4-21 in those games.
Camden Yards has always been a place where the Yankees have enjoyed playing with an overall record of 104-57 (.646), but they have to realize that the way the Orioles are playing now it will no longer seem like a home away from home.
Any concern the Yankees had about the condition of Robinson Cano’s left hip abated when he made a dazzling play at second base to rob Nick Markakis of a base hit in the first inning Thursday night at Baltimore. Unfortunately, it was the only out the Yankees got for a while because the next four guys all got hits off David Phelps and scored.
Cano was sore after Tuesday night’s game at St. Petersburg, Fla., and was the designated hitter Wednesday night. He was back at second base Thursday night and appeared his old self. Fans were probably delighted to see him dive for Markakis’ ball after he failed to dive for a ball that became a game-winning hit Tuesday night against the Rays.
A packed house at Camden Yards on a night honoring Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. on the 16th anniversary of his breaking Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games was ecstatic over the first-inning outburst against Phelps. After three straight singles produced one run, Matt Wieters clouted his 19th home run into the second row down the left field line for three more. Wieters has had a hit in all 15 games the Orioles and Yankees have played against each other this year.
Phelps gave up another home run, a solo shot by Robert Andino, Baltimore’s 9-hole hitter, in the fourth, which turned out to be the righthander’s last inning. Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not hesitate to go to the bullpen early as he treated this game as if were a playoff game. Phelps just did not have it. He allowed five earned runs, six hits, two walks and a balk with three strikeouts in four innings.
Cano gave the Orioles a scare in the top of the fourth when he hit a line drive off the right elbow of Jason Hammel. The ball ricocheted into left field for a single. Hammel, making his first start in seven weeks after recovering from right knee surgery, remained in the game. He allowed a two-out, RBI single by Curtis Granderson that inning and pitched one batter into the sixth before Orioles manager Buck Showalter lifted him after a walk. Reliever Randy Wolf threw a double-play ball that helped the Orioles get out of the inning without damage.
This was career game No. 2,500 for Alex Rodriguez, who is the fourth active player to reach the mark, joining teammate Derek Jeter earlier this season, Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome. Only two players had more hits (2,876) and extra-base hits (1,185) through 2,500 games than A-Rod – Stan Musial (3,176 hits, 1,233 extra-base hits) and Hank Aaron (3,044 hits, 1,200 extra-base hits).
Call it Ripken Luck. That is what the Yankees had with reliever David Robertson, who became a father for the first time Monday with the birth of his son, Luke Joseph.
Erin Robertson, David’s wife, had been due to give birth last week while the Yankees were on a trip to Cleveland and Chicago. With his cell phone at his side at all times, Robertson stayed in steady contact with his wife and was ready to hop a plane back to New York once he got news that she was about to deliver.
That news did not come until after Robertson came home on the Yankees’ charter. Robertson was able to pitch in three of the six games on the trip. He was due at Yankee Stadium before the start of Monday night’s game.
“The only way it might have happened better was if they had the baby on the off-day,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, referring to the open date last Thursday.
That is where the phrase “Ripken Luck” comes in. During Cal Ripken Jr.’s record streak of 2,632 games, both his children were born on off days for the Orioles.
The Yankees did their best Friday night to put Adam Warren, who made his major-league debut, in a comfort zone. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning off White Sox lefthander Jose Quintana, who entered the game with a 16-inning scoreless streak and a 1.25 ERA.
Derek Jeter started the ball rolling with a double into the left field corner for his 3,185th career hit that pushed him past Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. for sole possession of 13th place on the all-time list.
“Congratulations to Derek on passing me on the all-time hits list,” Ripken said. “Derek has been such a special player for such a long time, and I am happy to see him continue to play at a high level. He represents the game and the Yankees wonderfully, and I hope that he continues to give all of us baseball fans great memories.”
Curtis Granderson ended Quintana’s zeroes streak with a drive to right-center field for his 22nd home run off a 1-0 fastball. Another streak by Quintana came one out later when he walked Alex Rodriguez, the pitcher’s first base on balls in a stretch covering 100 batters.
After Robinson Cano flied out, Nick Swisher kept the rally alive with a flare single behind first base that was positioned so well that A-Rod got to third. Andruw Jones got both runners home with a booming double off the wall in left-center.
The comfort zone didn’t last long for Warren, who gave all of the lead back the very next inning on A.J. Pierzynski’s 13th home run, singles by Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez, a two-run double by Gordon Beckham and a run-scoring infield out by Kevin Youkilis. The rookie learned that in the big leagues nothing can be taken for granted as Paul Konerko led off the third with his 14th home run to put the Chisox ahead.
Chicago added another run before Warren came out of the game after 2 1/3 innings with his ERA an unsightly 23.14. The Yankee Stadium crowd recognized the circumstances and disappointing as fans may have been to see a 4-0 lead vanish gave the rookie righthander polite applause. To have done otherwise would have been unkind.
During a conference call this week to talk about the All-Star Game voting for the July 10 event at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and former National League Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz commented on Derek Jeter’s runaway lead for the American League shortstop starting berth.
Ripken will be featured with former Yankees pitcher David Wells and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley on TBS’ All-Star Game Selection show at 1 p.m. Sunday when the All-Star squads will be announced. Smoltz will team with Brian Anderson on TBS’ coverage of that day’s game between the Yankees and White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Jeter, who turned 38 this week, has received more than four million votes going into the All-Star balloting, which ends at midnight, topped only by the leading total of Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton. Ripken was 40 when he made his last All-Star Game appearance in his final season of 2001 at Safeco Field in Seattle where he homered and was named Most Valuable Player.
“When you get up in age, you’re scrutinized at a higher level,” Ripken said. “You can’t be [an All-Star] just on reputation. You have to go out there and still play the game. When we look at players now, you compare Derek Jeter with a younger Derek Jeter. When we start comparing players to themselves, it’s unfair. All the talk last year about [Jeter] losing a step, not being there defensively and losing some power offensively, I’m sure he internalized that and worked harder in the offseason. He’s a fantastic player and has been for a long time.”
“I’m a big believer that age is just a number and sometimes we get carried away with guys not having success later in their careers,” Smoltz said. “He plays in a great place and he knows how to play the game. The Yankees are being rewarded with a player who has a lot of pride and does not rest on his laurels with the career that he has had.”
For more than half a century, Lou Gehrig held two major-league records that most people in baseball felt could never be broken. The big one, of course, was his 2,130 consecutive games played, basically playing every day for 14 seasons. It stood for 55 years until Cal Ripken Jr. broke it in 1995 and pushed it to 2,632 before ending it in 1998.
The other major mark that belonged to baseball’s original “Iron Horse” was 23 home runs with the bases loaded. Contenders came and went from Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams to Willie McCovey and Eddie Murray to Robin Ventura and Manny Ramirez. Yet 73 years after Gehrig played his last game, his record for grand slams held.
It still does, technically, except now his claim is only a share. Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Tuesday night and in so doing provided one of the true highlights of the Yankees season to date. A-Rod’s drive to left off a 3-2 sinker from lefthander Jonny Venters with the bags full erased a 4-0 deficit in the eighth inning as the Yankees went on to beat the Braves, 6-4, thanks to a two-run homer later that inning by Nick Swisher.
The Yankees looked absolutely flat in this game for seven innings and were in danger of having their four-game winning streak end and falling out of first place in the American League East. Instead, the Yankees ran their streak to five games and stand alone atop the division for the first time since April 21 as the Rays were trounced by the Mets.
How ironic that Rodriguez would tie the record this season when the Yankees have struggled so much with the bases loaded. True, A-Rod’s salami was the fifth for the Yankees this year, but they have only 11 hits total in 68 at-bats with the bags juiced, a .162 average. Rodriguez had been among the culprits in bases-loaded situations with only one hit, a single at that, in 10 such at-bats previously this season.
The timing could not have been better. The Yankees were held in check for seven innings by lefthander Mike Minor, who entered the eighth working on a four-hit shutout. A one-out single by Derek Jeter prompted a pitching change by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who would come to regret it.
Venters, who was one of three relievers who helped shut out the Yanks Monday night, could not located the strike zone. He gave up a single to Curtis Granderson, walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases and fell behind 3-0 in the count to Rodriguez. After taking a called strike and fouling off two pitches, A-Rod made solid contact on a sinking fastball and launched the ball over the left field wall at Turner Field.
The carnage continued as Robinson Cano chased Venters with a single and Swisher greeted Cory Gearrin, who had pitched two scoreless innings the night before, with a bomb to right. The home runs by A-Rod and Swish were the 10th for each as the long ball once again came to the Yanks’ rescue.
Another irony is that the winning pitcher was CC Sabathia, who ended the stretch of quality starters from the rotation. Actually, CC would have been credited with a quality start if he had not come out for the seventh inning. A quality start is considered pitching at least six innings and allowing three runs or fewer, which CC did, although all three runs came in the first inning leaving the Yankees to go uphill the rest of the night.
With the game at an NL park, the designated hitter was not in effect. If Chris Stewart had made the third out of the top of the seventh, Sabathia likely would have been pinch-hit for, but when Stewart flied out Yankees manager Joe Girardi could let Sabathia keep pitching. The Braves got another run off CC in the seventh, which seemed at the time like plenty of insurance for Minor.
So after being carried for the bulk of the past two weeks by the pitching staff, Yankees hitters came through in, well, grand style.
It is becoming clear by now that the Yankees hit rock bottom with that embarrassing, 6-0 loss to the Royals in the rain Monday night at Yankee Stadium following a series when they lost two of three games to the Reds. The Yankees’ failure with runners in scoring position was an issue that simply would not go away.
That sure seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it? The Yankees haven’t lost since, stringing together four victories for only the second time this year. The other time was the first week of the season when they swept a three-game set at Baltimore and won the home opener against the Angels.
Several hitters that Yankees fans were worried about have broken out during the winning streak, none more so than Mark Teixeira, who may finally be over the bronchial condition that lingered for a month and appeared to sap much of his strength. Tex wasn’t kidding when he told reporters earlier this week that he is going to start swinging for the fences. He has three home runs and seven RBI over the past four games while going 7-for-15 (.467) to get his batting average to a respectable .248 and out of the dreary .220s. Saturday’s 4-for-5 performance in the Yankees’ 9-2 victory over the Athletics included two homers and five RBI.
Robinson Cano didn’t sit around and gloat after becoming the third Yankees second baseman to reach the 150-homer plateau Friday night, joining Tony Lazzeri (169) and Joe Gordon (153), a couple of Hall of Famers. Nice company that, but Cano wasted no time getting to No. 151 with a solo shot leading off the second inning Saturday to begin the Yankees’ assault on ex-teammate Bartolo Colon. Cano has 5-for-15 (.333) with three homers and four RBI in the winning streak.
Alex Rodriguez, who contributed a sacrifice fly Saturday, has 5-for-16 (.313) with two homers, four RBI and two stolen bases over the past four games. Nick Swisher has also shown signs of working out of a May-long slump during the winning streak with 4-for-14 (.286), two doubles, one homer and two RBI.
The Yanks made it a long afternoon for Colon, who did such a splendid job for them last year, by knocking him around for six earned runs and nine hits in six innings. Two of the hits were by Derek Jeter, who tied George Brett for 14th place on the career list with 3,154. DJ is 30 hits shy of 13th place where sits one of his idols, Cal Ripken Jr. In fact, if the Captain can get another 130 hits this year, which is not out of the question, he might move into the all-time top 10 by passing Willie Mays (3,283). How rarified would that air be?
Saturday’s offensive explosion by the Yankees was more than enough support for CC Sabathia, who evened his career record against the A’s to 8-8. That was important to CC. He grew up in nearby Vallejo, Calif., where the local high school named its baseball facility after him this past off-season. Despite the reputation of Oakland’s O.co Coliseum (I wish they’d stop changing the name of that place) as a pitcher’s yard, Sabathia has struggled there but with Saturday’s victory is within a game of .500 for his career there at 4-5.
CC has a reputation as well; that of a staff ace that can be counted on to end losing streaks and extending winning streaks. He was touched for a first-inning run on a two-out single by Jonny Gomes and a solo homer by Josh Reddick leading off the third. Sabathia allowed only two hits and a walk after that through the seventh and watched his teammates keep piling on.
The Coliseum poses few problems to most of the current Yankees. They have won eight in a row there, 12 of their past 13 games and 23 of 32 since the start of 2004. They might never want to leave.
Yankees fans prefer their television coverage of the team’s games on YES or Channel 9, but they may want to tune into TBS Sunday. The Sunday MLB on TBS pregame show this weekend will feature a special preview of an interview of Derek Jeter by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., a studio analyst for the cable outlet.
The clip will provide a glimpse into a candid conversation between the shortstop legends during a half-hour edition of MLB on Deck airing at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. This summer, Jeter allowed a TV crew to follow him around for an HBO special that was cablecast after he got his 3,000th career hit July 9. Now there is this sit-down with Ripken, The full interview of Jeter by Ripken will be aired during TBS’ exclusive coverage of all four Division Series and the National League Championship Series.
This is no surprise, really. Jeter has long been an admirer of Ripken and his work ethic. I recall during Jeter’s rookie season of 1996 the first time he was with the Yankees at Camden Yards. Four hours before the first pitch of that night’s game, Ripken was taking part in an early batting practice session. After getting in his swings, Riken went out to his shortstop position and fielded ground ball after ground ball as several teammates got in their extra BP session.
All the while, Jeter in street clothes observed all this from the top step of the visitors’ dugout. I raced downstairs to get a comment from him. He turned to me and said, “So that’s how you get to be Cal Ripken, huh?”
I told Ripken that story, which was a cogent description of the dedication it takes to be a great player, the day he was elected to the Hall of Fame. “Derek is one of my favorite people,” Ripken said. “I’m sure there are plenty of other young players who have said the same thing about him.”
The Yankees’ comeback from a 5-0 deficit with four runs in the third inning to make a game of it was an encouraging sign since they did not have a home run to help them along the way until Nick Swisher brought them all the way back with his solo shot in the fifth off Brett Tomko.
The Yankees won Friday night with not much offense other than Curtis Granderson’s two home runs, so the homerless, third-inning rally was good to see. It looked for a while as if the Rangers would run and hide after battering Bartolo Colon for two innings, but the Yankees proved to have their pitcher’s back with the four-run rally in the third that came about after two were out.
Derek Jeter restarted the inning with a double off the left field wall, his first extra-base hit in 44 at-bats since April 24 at Baltimore. The Yankees got help from Rangers starter Derek Holland, who walked four batters in the inning, and a big lift from center fielder Julio Borbon, who made a very questionable decision to dive for a liner by Robinson Cano that fell free and shot past him for a bases-clearing triple.
Mark Teixeira also had an RBI hit earlier in the inning on a bloop single to center as suddenly the Yanks found themselves in a one-run game. Bolstered by his teammates’ support, Colon pitched a scoreless third and fourth but was lifted in the fifth after yielding a pair of one-out singles.
That marked the first time in 19 games since April 15 that a Yankees starter failed to last the required five innings for a winning decision. But Colon was not hung with a losing decision, thanks to the home run by Swisher, who did not play Friday night because of a head cold.
Colon was taken deep twice, by Michael Young and David Murphy (the Rangers aren’t much into nicknames), but the bases were empty each time. Colon had location problems and was touched up on a two-run triple by Borbon and a sacrifice fly to the left field warning track by Ian Kinsler. Colon’s 4 1/3 innings of work matched Ivan Nova’s start of April 15, the last previous tine a Yankees starter didn’t make it through the fifth.
Jeter made history once it became an official game in the middle of the fifth. It was the 2,324th game of his career, surpassing Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer of the Detroit Tigers for 20th place among players who spent their entire careers with one club.
Jeter took over from Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles the distinction of most games at shortstop for one club with his 2,303rd game at that position. Only three players have played more games at shortstop than Jeter: Omar Vizquel (2,692) and Hall of Famers Luis Aparicio (2,583) and Ozzie Smith (2,511).