Results tagged ‘ Joe DiMaggio ’
Infielder Eduardo Nunez, one of six players called up by the Yankees from the minor leagues as major-league rosters expanded beyond the 25-man limit Saturday, was thrust right into the lineup against the Orioles. Nunez was the designated hitter and in 8-hole hitter in the batting order.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had contemplated starting Nunez at shortstop and giving Derek Jeter a DH day but changed his mind. Nunez joined the Yankees from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with right-handed pitchers Cory Wade and Adam Warren, left-handed pitcher Justin Thomas , catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Curtis Dickerson, who was signed to a major-league contract and selected from SWB.
Jeter finished August with a major-league-leading 43 hits, the most for him in any month since August 2009 when he had 46. It was the 15th time in his career that Jeter had at least 40 hits in a month, the most for any Yankees player since Joe DiMaggio did it in 17 months.
Jeter’s six home runs in August matched his third-highest career total or any month in his career, behind the nine he had in June 2004 and the eight in August 2001. The Captain also had six homers in August 2009, September 2004 and July 199. Jeet has homered four times in his past 10 games and six time in his past 18.
DJ homered in a career-high four consecutive road games, the first Yankee to accomplish the feat since former teammate Tino Martinez homered in five straight road games from Sept. 23 to Oct. 4, 1999. With 14 homers in 2012, Jeter has reached double figures for the 16th time in his 17 seasons. He and Willie Mays are the only players in history with at least 3,000 hits, 250 homers, 300 stolen bases and 1,200 runs batted in.
In his injury-rehabilitation assignment Friday night for Class A Tampa at Lakeland, Alex Rodriguez as the DH had 0-for-3 with a walk and a run. A-Rod was to play third base for Tampa Saturday. Righthander David Aardsma also appeared in Friday night’s game and pitched one inning of scoreless relief. Lefthander Pedro Feliciano pitched one inning of relief for Class A Staten Island at Brooklyn and allowed one earned run, on a home run, with one strikeout. It was the first run Feliciano yielded in 7 1/3 innings in injury-rehab assignments.
For the second time this homestand, Mark Teixeira’s hustle helped the Yankees build a run. The first baseman, not known for his foot speed, hit into the over-shift the Mariners were employing against him, but second baseman Kyle Seager was so deep in right field that Tex has a chance to beat the play at first, which he did for a single as Derek Jeter scored the tying run from third.
Against the Red Sox in the Yankees’ first game of the homestand, Teixeira busted down the line to avoid grounding into an inning-ending double play and kept the inning alive for Raul Ibanez, who followed with a two-run home run. In that case, Tex’s hustle resulted in three runs for the Yankees. No one ever tires of watching players go all-out on the field.
Dave Winfield was the best I ever saw in that regard. The big guy was always in full-throttle mode. He agreed with Joe DiMaggio’s philosophy that somebody in the stands might be seeing him for the first time and he didn’t want that person to think he loafed. Jeter, who grew up a big Winfield fan, is the same way. It was nice to hear Angels rookie center fielder Mike Trout make that point about Jeter last month.
It is a quality that should rub off on more players.
Dorine Gordon, president and chief executive officer of the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter congratulated Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for tying the 74-year-old record of 23 grand slam home runs by a major league player that was established by Lou Gehrig, who died of the disease in 1941.
“Rising to this record that has gone unmatched for nearly three-quarters of a century is an amazing feat,” Gordon said. “And for a fellow New York Yankee to now share this piece of history with the legend that is Lou Gehrig is extra special. We are proud to carry on the fight against the disease that bears Gehrig’s name and commend Alex on this outstanding accomplishment.”
Rodriguez tied the Gehrig mark in the eighth inning Tuesday night in the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta off lefthander Jonny Venters. It was A-Rod’s 13th grand slam with the Yankees, which also tied Joe DiMaggio for the second-most in franchise history. Those are the most slams in the majors since 2004 when Rodriguez joined the Yankees.
As one of The ALS Association’s leading chapters, the Greater New York Chapter services New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley, and Northern & Central New Jersey an plays a major role in promoting the mission to lead the fight to cure and treat ALS. The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. The ALS Association is a member of the National Health Council.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causing muscle weakness and atrophy, resulting in paralysis. Due to the degenerative nature of ALS, there can be significant costs for medical care, equipment, and home health care giving later in the disease.
Approximately 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time. ALS can strike anyone as it occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries. Additionally, military veterans are twice more likely to develop ALS than civilians, regardless of branch of service or combat duty status. There is no known cause, no effective treatment and no cure.
Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio will be among four Hall of Famers to be honored at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and be immortalized on 45-cent, First Class Forever stamps. The first-day-of-issue Major League Baseball All-Star stamps dedication ceremony will be Friday, July 20, at the Cooperstown, N.Y., museum as part of the opening day festivities for the four-day Hall of Fame Weekend celebration. The stamps will become available nationwide that day.
Appearing on the MLB All-Stars sheet of 20 stamps in addition to DiMaggio will be Larry Doby of the Indians, Willie Stargell of the Pirates and Ted Williams of the Red Sox. All four Hall of Famers are deceased.
“Some of America’s favorite pastimes come together with these stamps,” U.S. Postal Service Stamp services manager Stephen Kearney said. “Writing letters, collecting stamps, and, of course, playing and watching baseball are all important elements of our nation’s culture and history. We are honored to be able to commemorate four of baseball’s most important players. Fans of these Hall of Famers and their teams will enjoy rooting for them once again by using and collecting these cool stamps.”
The stamps were designed by artist-illustrator Kadir Nelson of Los Angeles and are based on historic photographs. Phil Jordan of Falls Church, Va., served as art director.
Think of all the distinguished players, many of them Hall of Famers, who have thrown out ceremonial first pitches before postseason games at Yankee Stadium and the list has run the gamut from Joe DiMaggio to Mickey Mantle to Yogi Berra to Whitey Ford to Reggie Jackson to Bernie Williams and scores of others in between.
Leave it to the Yankees to come up with something a bit different Friday night as the Yankees opened their 50th postseason. Prior to Game 1 of the American League Division Series, active players handled the assignment as Mariano Rivera, who became baseball’s all-time saves leader this year, performed the duty throwing to long-time catcher Jorge Posada, who took the position behind the plate in full gear, chest protector, shin guards and all.
As Mo stood on the front of the mound, Jorgie motioned for him to move back on to the rubber. Rivera then threw his usual strike to the delight of the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium. How odd it was to see the man who usually closes games to get one started.
Chants of “MVP” could not be detected both times Curtis Granderson circled the bases on home runs Wednesday night, but it shouldn’t be long now before the chorus becomes a regular feature at Yankee Stadium.
Granderson surely belongs in the conversation for American League Most Valuable Player. Some media types seem ready to just hand the trophy over to Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who is the favorite at this point, but after watching them last weekend at Fenway Park it seems to me that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury may take a few votes away from his teammate. After all, you have to be the MVP of your team to be considered MVP of your league, and right now in Boston that is looking like a jump ball.
So let us consider Granderson, who added to his resume two home runs and four RBI against the Angels. He is up to 31 home runs and 91 RBI, both career-high totals, and leads the majors in runs scored with 104 and the AL in triples with nine. Only league leader Jose Bautista (33) of the Blue Jays and teammate Mark Teixeira (32) have hit more homers than Granderson, who made a quick comeback from the most embarrassing moment of the season for him.
Tuesday night, Granderson got picked off first base as the potential tying run for the last out of the game, an unusual rock of a play from an otherwise heady player. He didn’t run and hide from the press after the game, either, but handled every question and accepted the blame. In the very next inning he played, Granderson jump-started the Yankees by turning around a 95-mph fastball from rookie righthander Garrett Richards for a three-run home run in the first inning Wednesday night.
Like Ellsbury, Granderson is a center fielder whose defense has been well above average. Other center fielders may have stronger arms, but you don’t see runners taking extra bases on him. He is no Joe DiMaggio or Mickey Mantle, each of whom was a three-time MVP, but Granderson is making noise that he should be at least a one-time MVP.
Sunday is the 70th anniversary of one of the most significant events in Yankees history. It was on July 17, 1941 that Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, the greatest individual achievement in professional baseball, ended in a 4-3 Yankees victory at Cleveland.
Municipal Stadium was packed with 67,463 people, the largest crowd for any major-league game that season, and saw the Tribe halt Joe D’s extraordinary run. Pitchers Al Smith and Jim Babgy Jr. combined to hold the Clipper hitless with a walk in four plate appearances. The real culprit as DiMaggio always called him was Ken Keltner. The third baseman made two diving stops on the line and recovered to throw him out both times. The last putout was by shortstop Lou Boudreau to begin a double play in the eighth inning.
DiMaggio batted .408 during the streak with 91 hits, 16 doubles, 4 triples, 15 home runs, 55 runs batted in, 56 runs, 21 walks and five strikeouts in 223 at-bats. DiMaggio did not strike out in the last 32 games of the streak and stretched that steak to 41 games without fanning, which is almost as amazing. During the streak, the Yankees were 41-13 with 2 ties.
Move over, Craig Biggio, and make room for Derek Jeter.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Earlier, I wrote the same lede for a blog when Jeet cracked a home run for his 3,000th hit, matching Hall of Famer Wade Boggs as the only players to do that. Well, Biggio had been the only player to get his 3,000th hit in a five-hit game, and now he is not alone with that distinction.
That was the sort of day Jeter had Saturday at Yankee Stadium. He will have no problem years from now remembering July 9, 2011 because it was one of the best games of his career. One thing everyone agrees about Jeter is that he is all about winning, so the most satisfying of the quintet of hits he had was the single through a drawn-in infield in the eighth inning that scored Eduardo Nunez with the deciding run of a 5-4 victory over the Rays. If DJ had not been thrown out at second base trying to steal for the third out of the inning, it would have been a perfect day.
As it was, the day was magnificent for the Captain. It could not have been much better. A homer for 3-ding-ding, a threat for the cycle, the first five-hit game at the current Stadium all adding up to a Yankees victory. Type a script of this and send it to a Hollywood producer, and it would be torn up with the executive saying, “Now give me something plausible!”
“You don’t need a script,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s already movie-ready.”
“I wouldn’t even believe it,” Jeter said.
Yet it all happened in real life, not a movie. Jeter provided so many highlights in the past at the old Stadium and is doing the same at the new Stadium. The 2009 World Series was a starter, and Saturday was a continuation.
“This has to be number one, the first one to do it for the New York Yankees,” Mariano Rivera said. “When you think that [Babe] Ruth and [Yogi] Berra and [Joe] DiMaggio and [Mickey] Mantle did not do it, all Hall of Famers. I hope he has another one or two thousand more.”
Said Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, “Derek has always played with a relentless, team-first attitude. And that mind-set has helped sustain this organization’s objective of fielding championship-caliber teams year after year. It’s only fitting that he reach 3,000 hits during a victory against one of our American League rivals. Today we celebrate a remarkable individual achievement by one of the game’s greatest ambassadors. On behalf of the entire New York Yankees family, we congratulate Derek on his historic accomplishment.”
A crowd of 48,103 has an indelible memory to cling to, especially a guy from upstate New York named Christian Lopez, who got his hands on the 3,000th-hit home run and didn’t let go of the ball until he handed it to Jeter after the game.
“He actually took it away from his girlfriend, so he has some making up to do,” Jeter said.
After Jeter singled in the first inning, the anticipation so intensified that the dugout became over-populated. It seemed Girardi that everyone on the field level of the Stadium was in the dugout.
“It was like when we had one out to go in the 2009 World Series,” Girardi said. “The dugout was packed. He really knows how to do it, a big-time guy in the big moment.”
Waiting for Jeter as he crossed the plate was close buddy Jorge Posada, the first to hug the 28th member of baseball’s 3,000 Hit Club.
“It was very spontaneous,” Posada said. “I told him I was proud of him. I was so happy for him that I got emotional. He looks forward to things like this. There is nobody better in the clutch. You guys saw that in post-season play.”
“The best thing is how he prepares himself day in and day out,” said Rivera, who was able to chalk up his 22nd save by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth after Jeter’s eighth-inning single put the Yankees back into the lead. “To be honest, I was expecting a triple.”
That was the hit Jeter needed for the cycle. He had doubled in the fifth. To Jeter, the best part of the fifth hit was the RBI attached to it.
“It would have been awful to be out there on the field after the game being interviewed and waving to the crowd if we had lost,” Jeter said.
The Captain opened up a bit after the game, admitting that his answers to questions leading up to 3,000 hits were not entirely truthful, particularly those with regard to the pressure he felt about getting the milestone hit at Yankee Stadium.
“I have been lying to you, saying there was no pressure, but I felt a lot of pressure trying to do it here,” Jeter told reporters. “It would not have felt right if it happened somewhere else. I’m pretty happy the way it went.”
Jeter also said he changed his approach at the plate somewhat since coming off the disabled list earlier this week and was not as patient. He walked one time in five games. Jeter battled Rays lefthander David Price in the first inning running the count to 3-2 before hitting a single off a 95-mph fastball.
“He could have thrown the ball in the dugout, and I’d have swung at it,” Jeter said.
Price tried something different in the third when the count to Jeter again went to 3-2. He threw a curve that Jeter drove into baseball history. Price, the runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award in 2010, is a very quality pitcher to have given up a 3,000th hit. Only one player, Dave Winfield, Jeter’s favorite growing up, got his 3,000th off a future Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckerlsey, in 1993. The only Cy Young Award winner other than Eck to give up a 3,000th career hit was Frank Viola, to Rod Carew in 1985.
“I knew [left fielder Matt Joyce] wasn’t going to catch it,” Jeter said, “but I didn’t think it was going out. To be honest, I was relieved.”
DJ said he had never envisioned what the 3,000th hit would be and that “I didn’t care as long as [a fielder] didn’t catch it. I just didn’t want it to be a slow roller that they would replay forever.”
Knowing Jeter, he would like that game-winner in the eighth to be replayed alongside No. 3,000.
I have come full cycle with Old Timers Day, one of the great traditions at Yankee Stadium where it all began with a day to honor Babe Ruth in 1947. The first one I attended was in the late 1950s and getting to see Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Tommy Henrich, Red Ruffing and other stars of my parents’ generation’s youth. My father was actually a Giants fan when they still played in New York, but my mother’s family was all Yankees fans.
When I started covering the Yankees in the 1980’s, Old Timers’ Day was a favorite because I would not only get to see the Yankees stars of my youth such as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Hank Bauer and Moose Skowron but also to talk to them. Bauer was one of the best interviews ever; blunt, outspoken, colorful.
One of my favorite stories came from Bauer’s old platoon partner, Gene Woodling. (Bauer, by the way, was not crazy about Casey Stengel, who platooned him early on in the outfield before he became the regular right fielder.)
Back to Woodling; he talked of a time when players were so worried about keeping their jobs that he played for about a week with a broken bone in his heel. It swelled so much, Woodling said, that he cut out the back of his cleat and spread black shoe polish on the heel so no one would notice and stayed in the lineup. Finally, Dickey, the Hall of Fame catcher who was then Casey’s first base coach, saw Woodling’s shoe with the big hole in it in his locker and told him that he needed treatment.
Think of something like that happened today when disabled lists are almost as big as rosters!
At Sunday’s Old Timers’ Day, I was reminded of the passage of time when I encountered so many players whom I covered when they broke into the majors – Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and David Cone in my years on the Mets and Bernie Williams, Pat Kelly and Kevin Maas during my time with the Yankees. I had them as rookies, and now they’re Old Timers, so what does that make me.
Don’t answer that.
This was Bernie’s first Old Timer’s Day, and he was one of the big hits of the afternoon. He got a rousing ovation from the crowd during the introduction ceremonies. Fans were on their feet again when he doubled to the warning track in left-center in the two-inning Old Timers’ game. Then the Stadium really exploded when Bernie’s old teammate, Tino Martinez, popped a two-run home run to right off Cone, another old teammate.
I teased Bernie around the batting cage before the game after he had told writers that he still did not consider himself retired. “But I think that’s closer now,” he said.
I told him that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America was in the process of putting together the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot that will go out to voters in December, and that he would be on it; in other words, like it or not, Bernie, you’re retired.
He was asked during the press conference what his favorite memory from his playing career was. Williams could not limit it to just one and gave a very thoughtful answer.
“I would say that three things stick out – winning our first World Series championship in 1996, winning the batting title in 1999 and being on the field before the last game at the old Stadium,” he said. “I got announced after Yogi, which was pretty cool.”
Bernie officially joined the pantheon of Yankees legends Sunday, and he sounded proud of it.
“It’s a really big thing for me,” he said. “If you take the word ‘old,’ I think I’d be a little uncomfortable with it. But when I was playing, I looked forward to these days. To me, it was a reminder of the fact that we’re part of a family that has been going on for 100 years, and thinking I was part of something that was bigger than myself. And now I’m on the other side, being in the same situation, so it’s good. It’s great. I’m just really proud of this organization. When I chose to stay and have my whole career as a Yankee, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.”
Also back for the first Old Timers’ Day appearance were former managers Lou Piniella and Joe Torre. “Sweet Lou,” who served the Yankees in nearly every category there is (players, coach, manager, general manager, broadcaster) put on the pinstripes for the first time since 1988. He had been busy elsewhere after that, winning a World Series with the Reds in 1990 and helping to build the Mariners into a viable franchise.
The pinstripes looked good on Torre, too, even while wearing a sling after recently undergoing right rotator cuff surgery. The man who won six American League pennants, four World Series and had the Yankee in post-season play all 12 of his seasons as manager had been invited before but was unable to attend because he was managing the Dodgers. Joe is now vice president for baseball operations in the commissioner’s office, but it is not really a desk job as he gets to spend a lot of time in ballparks.
With Jack McKeon (Marlins) and Davey Johnson (Nationals) back in big-league dugouts, I was curious if that gave either Lou or Joe the itch to return.
“There comes a time when you have to walk away, and I knew last year was that time for me,” Piniella said. “It was the same when I was a player. I was never one who wanted another at bat.”
“I was shopping with my wife recently,” Torre said, “and she told me how strange it was that here we were in the middle of a baseball season together and I wasn’t stressed out. I don’t miss all that stress.”
Both proudly wore rings linking them to their Yankees careers – Lou the World Series ring of 1977 and Joe of 1996. Those were the first championships for each.
“You never forget the first time,” Joe said on a day at Yankee Stadium that never gets old.
It isn’t every night that an opposing player at Yankee Stadium gets cheered as he rounds the bases on a home run. That rarity was experienced in the second inning Friday night when Jason Giambi drove a 2-0 fastball from A.J. Burnett into the right field bleachers to tie the score for the Rockies.
Giambi, who is getting the opportunity to be in the lineup regularly during inter-league play as Colorado’s designated hitter, once heard cheers on a regular basis in the Bronx in an often productive but also occasionally tumultuous eight seasons with the Yankees during which he hit 209 of his 423 career home runs, plus another six in post-season play, including one in the 2003 World Series.
“The Giambino,” as WCBS radio voice John Sterling calls him, was even accorded a shout-out from the bleacher creatures in the first inning after they went through the Yankees’ lineup, which he acknowledged with a wave from the third base dugout.
“You’ve got to play hard, and they appreciate that,” Giambi said before the game of Yankees fans. “Even when they’re hard on you and you hit a home run in the next at-bat, you get a standing ‘O.’ They’re incredible. They are as passionate as they possibly can be as fans.”
Frankly, after his last season with the Yankees in 2008, Giambi seemed to be finished as a major-league player. He returned to Oakland where he had won an American League Most Valuable Player Award in 2000 but was released in August 2009 after batting only .193 in 83 games. Giambi latched on with the Rockies and has been a useful pinch hitter the past three seasons.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi noted before the game that “Colorado may be best equipped of any National League team for inter-league play,” because of Giambi, who had 4-for-12 (.333) with a home run and three RBI in a three-game series at Cleveland.
Giambi has started 14 of the Rockies’ 75 games and on occasion has looked like his old self, no more so than May 19 at Philadelphia when he hit three home runs in a game. At 40, he became the second oldest player to homer three times in the same game. Hall of Famer Stan Musial was 41 when he hit three home runs July 8, 1962 against the Mets at the old Polo Grounds. I was in the stands for that one as a teenager. The Man’s third bomb that day cleared the right field roof.
Playing again before a Stadium crowd clearly was a joyous occasion for Giambi.
“It’s what you dream about as a kid,” he said. “To get a chance to put the pinstripes on, there’s nothing better on this planet. It challenges you in every possible way as a ballplayer. It’s a tough town, but at the same time, to play on the same field as [Mickey] Mantle, [Roger] Maris, [Joe] DiMaggio, [Babe] Ruth and [Lou] Gehrig and to know those guys wore the same uniform, it’s pretty special. My dad’s favorite player was Mickey Mantle, so I knew a lot about the Yankees as a kid. To have that opportunity to play was something special.”