Results tagged ‘ Monument Park ’

Tino turned out to be a legend, too

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The current issue of Yankees Magazine features an article I did on Tino Martinez, who was honored Saturday at Yankee Stadium with a plaque in Monument Park. Tino still couldn’t believe it until he finally got a look at the plaque itself.

​The inscription reads:

CONSTANTINO “TINO” MARTINEZ
NEW YORK YANKEES
1996 – 2001, 2005

KNOWN FOR HIS POWERFUL BAT AND SUPERLATIVE DEFENSE AT FIRST BASE, MARTINEZ WAS A FAN FAVORITE ON FOUR YANKEES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS. HIT TWO OF THE MOST MEMORABLE HOME RUNS IN YANKEES POSTSEASON HISTORY – A GRAND SLAM IN GAME 1 OF THE 1998 WORLD SERIES AND A GAME-TYING, NINTH-INNING HOMER IN GAME 4 OF THE 2001 FALL CLASSIC. AMASSED 192 HOME RUNS AND 739 RBI IN SEVEN SEASONS WITH THE CLUB.

DEDICATED BY THE
NEW YORK YANKEES
JUNE 21, 2014

I was thinking after I finished the interview with him for the piece that I must have talked with Tino hundreds of times and thought I knew everything there was to know about him. But what I was not aware of until that interview was that Martinez wanted to succeed Don Mattingly as the Yankees’ first baseman.

It is always a tough assignment for a player to come to a new team and try to replace a legend. There is an enormous amount of pressure in that situation. This is not to say Martinez did not feel that pressure because he certainly did. He could have avoided it. There were other clubs interested, the Cubs and the Padres specifically, who coveted Martinez if the Mariners indeed were going to trade him after the 1995 season.

The Yankees were, too, of course, and Martinez told his manager, Lou Piniella, that New York was where he wanted to be. That was the part of which I was not aware beforehand. Martinez actually pushed for the trade despite knowing that a huge spotlight would be foisted on him as the man to follow Donnie Baseball.

Tino explains in the article that he had the utmost respect for Mattyingly, but that he was retiring as a player and his team needed a new first baseman. Martinez said he felt it would have been different if Mattingly had become a free agent and signed with another team. The pressure then would have beeb worse. But Mattingly’s retirement left a void, and Martinez was anxious to try and fill it.

He did all the smart things, beginning with not wearing Mattingly’s old uniform No. 23, the same numeral Martinez wore in Seattle. I think Yankees fans appreciated that sign of respect right from the get-go.

Martinez pointed out in the article and reiterated Saturday that he got off to a slow start in ’96 and that fans did not warm up to him immediately. But once he took off, so did the fans, whom he thanked Saturday.

His former manager, Joe Torre, and teammates Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill and David Cone plus former trainer Gene Monahan took part in the pregame ceremony in which Martinez continued to express surprise that he was so honored.

From now on, whenever he comes to Yankee Stadium Tino can stop by Monument Park and see that the plaque is more than a dream.

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Monument Park plaque for Goose on Old-Timers’ Day

Rich “Goose” Gossage will be honored with a Monument Park plaque dedication at the 68th annual Old-Timers’ Day celebration Sunday, June 22, at Yankee Stadium that will feature 50 former Yankees players and family members.

Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, which will be aired exclusively on the YES Network. The Yankees will then play the Orioles at 2:05 p.m., also airing on YES. Gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:15 a.m. for the festivities.

As part of the pre-game ceremonies, the Yankees will unveil a Monument Park plaque for Gossage, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. He pitched in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees (1978-83, ’89) and won a World Series with them in 1978.

In addition to Gossage, the Old-Timers are headlined by Hall-of-Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson, as well as Joe Torre, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill will also participate.

Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, teammates on the Yankees’ World Series title team in 2009, will make their Old-Timers’ Day debuts along with pitcher John Montefusco, who helped the club produce three seasons of at least 90 victories from 1983-86.

Joining the Hall-of-Famers and former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of six legendary Yankees – Maggie (Jerry) Coleman, Arlene (Elston) Howard, Helen (Jim “Catfish”) Hunter, Jill (Billy) Martin, Diana (Thurman) Munson and Kay (Bobby) Murcer.

List of those Scheduled to Attend

Jesse Barfield, Yogi Berra, Brian Boehringer, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Maggie Coleman, David Cone, Johnny Damon, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Jake Gibbs, Joe Girardi, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Arlene Howard, Helen Hunter, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Jill Martin, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Lee Mazzilli, Stump Merrill, Gene Michael, Gene Monahan, John Montefusco, Diana Munson, Kay Murcer, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Joe Pepitone, Andy Phillips, Willie Randolph, Bobby Richardson, Mickey Rivers, Joe Torre, David Wells, Roy White.

New additions coming to Monument Park

Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park will continue to expand this year with plaques commemorating the careers of Hall of Fame relief pitcher Goose Gossage, Hall of Fame-elect manager Joe Torre and two of the most popular Yankees players of recent vintage, right fielder Paul O’Neill and first baseman Tino Martinez. The ceremonies are part of a recognition series that will include center fielder Bernie Williams in 2015.

Martinez and Gossage will be celebrated during Old-Timers’ Day weekend – Tino Saturday, June 21, and the Goose Sunday, June 22. O’Neill’s ceremony will take place Saturday, Aug. 9. The ceremony for Torre that will include the retiring of his uniform No. 6 will be Saturday, Aug. 23, in Monument Park.

Acquired by the Yankees in a trade with Seattle prior to the 1996 season, Martinez went on to play in seven seasons with New York (1996-2001, ’05), helping to lead the team to four World Series victories during that time (1996, ’98-2000). He combined to hit .276 with 192 home runs and 739 RBI in his pinstriped career. He is probably best known for his grand slam off the Padres’ Mark Langston in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series at the Stadium that gave the Yanks the lead and helped propel them to their 24th Series title in franchise history.

Gossage, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, played in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees (1978-83, ’89), winning a World Series with the team in 1978. The nine-time All-Star compiled a 42-28 record with a 2.14 ERA with the Yankees, including 151 saves and 512 strikeouts in 319 games. He allowed just 390 hits in 533 innings pitched during his time in pinstripes. Gossage trails only Mariano Rivera (652) and Dave Righetti (224) on the all-time Yankees saves list.

O’Neill, who currently serves as a game analyst for the YES Network, spent the final nine seasons of his 17-year Major League career in the Bronx (1993-2001), winning four world titles in the Bronx (1996, ’98-2000). He concluded his Yankees career with a .303 batting average, 304 doubles, 185 home runs and 858 RBI. O’Neill won the American League batting title in 1994 with a .359 average. Affectionately known as a “warrior” to many of his fans, Paulie played in 235 consecutive games in right field without making an error from July 1995 to May 1997. In 2001, at the age of 38, O’Neill became the oldest player in history to steal 20 bases and hit 20 home runs in the same season.

Currently serving as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations, Torre spent 12 seasons as Yankees manager (1996-2007). He steered the team to six pennants (1996, ’98-2001, ’03) and four World Series championships (1996, ’98-2000). Torre compiled a 1,173-767 (.605) regular season record and a 76-47 (.618) postseason mark during his Yankees tenure, leading the club to the playoffs in each year that he managed the team. While with the organization, he went 21-11 in the World Series, 27-14 in the ALCS and 28-22 in the ALDS. His regular season wins total is second in club history to only Joe McCarthy, who went 1,460-867 (.627) over 16 seasons.

Torre, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July, will become only the third manager to have his number retired by the team. The others are Casey Stengel (37) and Billy Martin (1). The No. 8 retired for Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra, both of whom also had stints as Yankees manager, was based on their playing careers as catchers.

Yanks to honor Mandela with plaque

Nelson Mandela Plaque
Nelson Mandela Plaque (NY Yankees)

The Yankees will honor the late Nelson Mandela with a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in ceremonies prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs as part of the Jackie Robinson Day tribute in which all players will don uniform No. 42.

The plaque will celebrate the former South African leader and commemorate his June 21, 1990 visit and address at the Stadium. On that historic day, Yankee Stadium was opened to fans, who were treated to musical performances from Richie Havens, Tracy Chapman, Mighty Sparrow and Judy Collins.

Mandela arrived at the Stadium at the end of the concert, following a day of meeting and addressing New Yorkers in various locations around the city. He spoke to the assembled crowd, then donned a Yankees cap and Yankees jacket and said, “You know who I am. I am a Yankee.” At the time of his appearance, Mandela was just four months removed from having spent 27 years in prison.

Scheduled to be on hand for a late-afternoon press conference at the Stadium were Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, team president Randy Levine, entertainer-activist Harry Belafonte, Zondwa Mandela (grandson of Nelson Mandela), George Monyemangene (South Africa Consul General), Sharon Robinson (daughter of Jackie Robinson) and Rev. Al Sharpton. Commissioner Bud Selig was to have attended the news conference, but he returned to Milwaukee after the originally scheduled ceremony was postponed due to Tuesday night’s rainout.

The Yankees’ first African-American player was Elston Howard, who made his major-league debut 59 years ago this week. He had 1-for-1 with one run batted in April 14, 1955 in an 8-4 loss at Boston.

Orioles stun Yanks with 7-run 7th inning

At the beginning of the same week that the National Football League will begin its schedule, the Yankees fumbled their chance to blow past the Orioles in the wild-card race. They caught one break this weekend with fellow contenders Tampa Bay and Oakland playing each other in the Bay Area so they would gain ground on one of them daily and were on the brink of sweeping Baltimore and putting the O’s in the Yanks’ rear-view mirror.

That was before the Birds changed their luck by rolling seven in the seventh inning that ruined yet another strong starting effort by Andy Pettitte (3-0, 1.20 ERA in past five starts) and jostled the Yankees back into fourth place in the American League East and kept them at least 3 ½ games back in the wild-card hunt with another calendar date torn off.

The 3-0 lead that Pettitte took into the seventh appeared pretty safe with the Orioles offering little resistance until newly-acquired Michael Morse and Danny Valencia opened the inning with singles. Yanks manager Joe Girardi turned to a well-rested bullpen but found no relief.

Shawn Kelley and Boone Logan each faced two batters without retiring either. Kelley did the most damage by giving up an RBI single to Matt Wieters and a three-run, opposite-field home run to J.J. Hardy on a ball that hit the top of the wall just beyond the reach of Curtis Granderson in right field. Logan yielded a bunt single to Brian Roberts and a walk to Nick Markakis before Joba Chamberlain got clobbered one out later by Adam Jones with the second three-run homer of the inning, this one onto the netting above Monument Park that created the 7-3 final score.

It marked the first time in 33 home games this season that the Yankees lost when they had a lead of at least two runs.

“They have been so good for us all for so long, it was surprising to see,” Girardi said of the pen.

Despite the pitching changes, all of this seemed to happen in a mini-second. What would have been Pettitte’s 256th victory went flying out the window and offset the decision to have him start instead of Phil Hughes, who is scheduled to get the ball Monday in the Labor Day afternoon tilt against the White Sox, a last-place team but one that swept the Yankees Aug. 5-7 at Chicago.

In games like this, you look back at missed chances for the Yankees to put up more runs. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 base runners. Cano, who usually rakes against Baltimore (.340, 27 HR, 99 RBI) was 0-for-5 and struck out three times in a game against the O’s for the first time in his career.

Derek Jeter had a sacrifice fly but was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. The RBI was career No. 1,258, which pushed him past former teammate Bernie Williams into sixth place on the all-time franchise list. The Yanks’ 2-through-6 hitters in the Yankees’ lineup were a combined 1-for-19 (Alfonso Soriano’s RBI single in the third inning giving him 36 RBI in 34 games for the Yanks) with 10 strikeouts.

The Yankees were able to contain Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis in the series. The major-league home run leader had 1-for-10 with a walk, a hit by pitch, an RBI and 10 strikeouts. He was the only Orioles player who did not reach base Sunday as he made five outs.

It was Baltimore’s relief corps that held sway. After a shaky start by starter Wei-Yin Chen (three earned runs, four hits, five walks in four innings), four Orioles relievers teamed up to pitch five scoreless innings allowing three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. The Orioles lead the season series, 8-7, with four games remaining against the teams Sept. 9-12 at Camden Yards.

Cano wallops 200th career home run

So what is the best thing to do after a hitting streak ends? Start another one, of course.

Robinson Cano had an 11-game hitting streak stopped Saturday night at Boston. He came right back the next night at Fenway Park and went 3-for-5. Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in the first game of a split-admission doubleheader against the Blue Jays, Cano had 4-for-4 in helping to spark the Yankees to an 8-4 victory, their ninth in 10 games against Toronto this season.

Cano singled to right with two out in the first inning. His second hit proved more significant. Batting in the third inning with one out and two on and the Yankees trailing, 4-0, Cano jumped on a 1-0 fastball from righthander Esmil Rogers and drove it into the netting above Monument Park for a three-run home run that made it a one-run game.

The homer was the 200th of Cano’s career as he became the 16th Yankees player to reach that plateau. He needs two more home runs to tie Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey for 15th place on the franchise’s all-time list.

Cano also singled in the fifth and doubled home a run in the seventh. He has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games, batting .453 with eight runs, five doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI in 53 at-bats.

“He got us back in the game with that home run,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

There was a time and not that long ago that a 4-0 deficit would have seemed insurmountable to the Yankees when their offense was struggling. Not anymore. It has certainly helped Cano to have Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson supporting him in the lineup.

“It’s a lot different,” Girardi said. “We’re hitting the ball out of the park more and getting hits in bunches.”

Cano’s homer was one of two big ones for the Yankees Tuesday. The other was by catcher Chris Stewart, a three-run shot in the sixth inning that put the Yankees ahead. It ended a drought of 173 at-bats without a home run for Stewart, who had previously homered May 15 against the Mariners at the Stadium.

The Yankees also got a strong game from Jayson Nix, who played shortstop in place of Eduardo Nunez out with an ankle injury. Nix handled six plays flawlessly in the field and also reached base three times with a hit and two walks and stole a base.

Crooked numbers back on Stadium scoreboard

Preparing for the All-Star Home Run Derby next week at Citi Field, American League captain Robinson Cano got the Yankees off the one-run-per-game wagon they had been on by whacking a three-run home run off Royals righthander Wade Davis in the third inning of Wednesday night’s 8-1 blowout of Kansas City.

The Yankees scored one run in the first inning on a wild pitch by Davis. They had scored one run in the first inning the night before against Kansas City and that was all they got. The Yanks also scored one run Monday night against the Royals and one run Sunday against the Orioles. Cano saw to it that the offense did not stop at one this time.

The All-Star second baseman’s 21st homer of the year was an impressive blow, a drive to center over the wall to the left of Monument Park. It scored ahead of him Luis Cruz, who led off the inning with a single, and Brett Gardner, who was hit by a pitch. Gardner had some night. He reached base four times on two walks and two hit by pitches. Gardner had a nasty bruise on his right shin from the second plunking and came out of the game. X-rays were negative.

Cano’s homer was his 1,558th career hit, which moved him past Thurman Munson into 18th place in the Yanks’ career list. “I feel honored because I know how much Thurman meant here,” Cano said.

It was almost as if the entire Yankees dugout let out a sigh of relief. For the first time in four days and over 33 innings, the Yankees had a crooked number on the scoreboard. Three innings later, Lyle Overbay did Cano one better by clubbing his fourth career grand slam to boost the Yanks’ lead to 8-0.

Cano had a hand in that rally, too, in fact he started it with an opposite-field single. Vernon Wells, pinch hitting for Travis Hafner (bruised left foot, x-rays negative), hit a ground single to left that moved Cano to third and Zoilo Almonte walked to fill the bases. Overbay unloaded on a full count against Davis, who was done for the night – real done (6 innings, 8 hits, 8 earned runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 hit batter, 1 wild pitch, 2 home runs).

It was Overbay’s second home run of the series. He went deep Monday night as a pinch hitter for the Yankees’ only run. It was also the first baseman’s first bases-loaded home run since May 10, 2006 for the Blue Jays against the Athletics.

“We needed that really bad,” Cano said of the explosive offense that led to the most runs the Yankees have scored in a game at Yankee Stadium this year.

Cano made another bid for a home run in the seventh, but this time his drive to center to the right of Monument Park hit off the top of the fence and back onto the field. Lorenzo Cain, who had played an impressive center field in this series, made an amazing, one-bounce throw to third base to cut down Cano trying for a triple.

This abundance of offense seemed very safe in the right hand of Ivan Nova, who is working himself back into the rotation very nicely. The righthander extended his scoreless streak to 14 innings by holding the Royals scoreless the first seven. A two-out walk, a defensive-indifference advance and a double by Eric Hosmer spoiled Nova’s shutout bid in the eighth.

“I could have sent him out for the ninth, but he had done his job by then,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He had a good downhill fastball, a very good curveball and an occasional changeup. It should build his confidence.”

Since coming off the disabled list, Nova is 3-1 with a 2.29 ERA to lower his season ERA from 6.48 to 3.63. The righthander has a 2.95 ERA over his past three starts and is proving valuable in a rotation that has one 41-year-old (Andy Pettitte, Thursday’s starter in the series finale) and one 39-year-old (Hiroki Kuroda).

“Having extra starting pitchers is a good thing,” Girardi said.

Teammates rally around Pettitte

A figurine of Andy Pettitte was distributed among the Yankee Stadium crowd of 42,678 Saturday. On the mound, the real thing tried not to be a miniature resemblance of himself, which is a daily challenge at age 41 for any major league player. While the Yankees made a giveaway of Pettitte, he was careful not to do the same with the Orioles.

The popular lefthander produced a gritty if unspectacular outing. At his age, there is more grit than spectacle anyway. Victimized early by Triple Crown threat Chris Davis, who clubbed his 33rd home run in the first inning, and his own throwing error that led to a run in the second, Pettitte had to fight to keep his club within arm’s length of the Orioles. That he did, and his teammates rewarded him by charging back to take the lead in the sixth inning and put Pettitte in position for his first winning decision in five starts since June 8.

As has often been the case, a Pettitte victory was saved by Mariano Rivera, who worked a scoreless ninth for his 29th save of the season and career No. 637, 72 of which have come in W’s by Pettitte, the top starter-reliever combination since the save statistic became official in 1969.

“First of all, it was a great win for the team,” Pettitte said. “I’m thankful the guys could come back and get me the lead. I feel pretty good early, but I have been giving up a lot of runs early. I need to throw some zeroes up there.”

Davis’ home run looked like a long fly ball that would eventually die on the warning track, but it lofted in the humid air into the netting in front of Monument Park. Pettitte’s errant throw to first base the next inning was an error of aggression but an error nevertheless and preceded an RBI double by Alex Casilla.

“Andy dialed it in after the third inning,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He seemed to figure it out after that.”

Pettitte gave up leadoff doubles in the third and fourth innings. He avoided damage in the third but was cuffed for a run in the fourth on a two-out, RBI single by Taylor Teegarden. The Yanks fought back against righthander Chris Tillman and pulled ahead in the sixth to end his personal seven-game winning streak.

Once given the lead, Pettitte was determined not to give it up. The Orioles got a runner to second base with one out in the seventh, but Pettitte struck out dangerous Nick Markakis with an inside fastball on his 100th and last pitch of the game. Shawn Kelley came out of the pen to strike out Manny Machado as well. David Robertson and Rivera handled the rest. Yankees pitchers did not walk a batter for the 12th game this season, the most in the majors.

Remember how downtrodden the Yankees seemed at this time a week ago when they were swept by the Orioles at Camden Yards? Well, the Yankees haven’t lost since. Their winning streak has reached a season-best six games. Not only that; the Yanks moved ahead of the Orioles back into second place in the American League East.

Welcome to the BIG leagues, kid

Alex Rodriguez gave Brayan Villarreal a rude introduction to the major leagues with a crushing home run to left-center off a 3-1 pitch leading off the sixth inning Saturday. Villarreal, 23, a righthander from Venezuela who wears uniform No. 60, had the unenviable task of trying to get out A-Rod, the first major-league batter he ever faced.

Rodriguez’s first home run of the season and career No. 614 was a laser beam of a drive that landed just to the left of Monument Park. It was also A-Rod’s 1,833rd RBI, leaving him one shy of tying Dave Winfield for 15th place on the all-time list.

The first umpires’ review of a home run call in a Yankees game came in the fifth inning. Robinson Cano led off with a shot to left field that hit high off the wall and came back into play as Cano raced to second base for a double.

It did not appear as if the ball went over the wall, but there was a group of fans in the area, and the possibility existed that the ball might have hit off one of them and back on to the field. After viewing the replay, the umps decided – correctly – that the ball had hit the top of the wall and rebounded into play leaving Cano at second base. He eventually scored on Russell Martin’s first home run as a Yankee, a booming shot to left off Tigers lefthander Brad Thomas.

Chinese champions honored by Yankees

Players from the China Youth Baseball League (CYBL) who won the 28th Boys Nankyu World Championship Tournament in Tokyo in July were honored Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium as the people of China celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, the second-most significant holiday in China after the Chinese New Year holiday.
 
The visit is the latest effort by the Yankees to show their continued support for the growth of baseball in China. All arrangements for the visit have been made within the guidelines of the cooperation agreement between the Chinese Baseball Association (CBA) and the Yankees.
 
The championship-winning players are all members of the Beijing Xinxing Longren Baseball Club, which has given athletic and academic opportunities to children from severely disadvantaged rural and migrant-poor backgrounds, including many orphans. All the children attend nearby Dacheng School and receive room, board and training equipment.
 
“The date of the visit to Yankee Stadium is very significant as it is the holiday that tradition calls for the Chinese people to be with their parents,” said Kenneth Huang, Founder and Chairman of QSL Youth Sports Development Foundation, which is sponsoring the group’s visit. “These children, who do not have the opportunity to be with their parents, are able to live another dream – the dream of coming to the cathedral of baseball, Yankee Stadium, to see the team and the sport they love.”
 
The 2010 Nankyu Tournament, which featured 16 teams from 12 countries, was a milestone achievement for Chinese baseball, marking the first time in 11 years that a team from the CYBL had won an international championship. The rules of Nankyu are the same as the rules of baseball with one difference: the ball is made from rubberized material.
 
Beijing Xinxing Longren program director and coach Wei Li was joined by players Zichao Jiang (age 11), Zhenbei Bao (11), Kaiming Yin (11), Xiao Han (14), Renzeng Qiangba (9), and Jin Yang (11). Secretary General Wei Shen represented the CBA.

The group watched batting practice from the field, followed by tours of Monument Park and the New York Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America.

 

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