Monday, May 14, 2007

5 Memorable Games vs White Sox

Actually, 7 games on 4 occasions.

July 1, 1990

The No-No that wasn't.

It's a hot, breezy Summer's day at Chicago's Comiskey Park and the Yankee's Andy Hawkins is dealing. The White Sox haven't had a base hit through the first 7 innings, but the Yankees have been held scoreless by Greg Hibbard and the Chisox bullpen. Hawkins retires the first 2 hitters in the 8th, Ron Karkovice and Scott Fletcher, on pop ups to 2nd Baseman Steve Sax. Then the fun begins.

Sammy Sosa, yes the one and the same, reaches on a throwing error by 3rd Baseman Mike Blowers. Hawkins appears to be rattled as he issues back to back walks to OzzieGuillen and Lance Johnson. Robin Ventura hits a fly ball into the wind in left field. The Yankee's Jim Leyritz, clearly shows he playing out of place, as he drops the ball. All 3 base runners score and Ventura pulls into 2nd. The next hitter, Ivan Calderon, skies to right where Jessie Barfield drops the ball for another error and another run. Former Yankee Dan Pasqua finally pops out to shortstop Alvaro Espinoza to end the inning. 4 runs on 0 hits, 2 walks, and 3 errors.

Remarkably, Ventura commits a 1-out error in the top of the 9th, but Barfield hits into a game ending double play. To throw a little salt in the wound, major league baseball later changes the rules so that any game under 9 innings is not considered a no-hitter. Hawkins loses the game, andultimately, his no-hitter.

2. August 2, 1985

6 years after the death of Thurman Munson, odd things occur around home plate. With the game tied 3-3 in the bottom half of the 7th, the Yankees mount a rally. Andre Robertson leads off the inning with a single and is replaced by pinch-runner Bobby Meacham. Dale Berra reaches safely on an error by 3rd Baseman Tim Hullet. The Yankees are set up, 1st and 2nd no one out and the top of the order up in Rickey Henderson.

Henderson gets a base hit to center field. Luis Salazar throws to cut off man Ozzie Guillen who nails Meacham at the plate, Carlton Fisk applying the tag. But the play isn't over yet as Berra is right behind Meacham. Fisk turns and tags out Berra as well for a very odd double play.

3. July 20, 1973

Wilbur Wood gets knuckled under

Wilbur Wood is one of the all-time classic knuckleball pitchers. The Yankees were set to play two on July 20 and Wood would be starting game 1 against Doc Medich. Wood was back in the White Sox clubhouse before the game was barely under way.

Wood struck out Horace Clarke to start the inning, but catcher Ed Herrmann couldn't handle the pitch and Clarke reached safely on the passed ball. After a walk to Matty Alou, Roy White doubled home both runners for a quick 2-0 lead.

Bobby Murcer followed with an RBI single to center and moved to third on a double by Thurman Munson. Graig Nettles singled to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead and advanced to 2nd on the throw. Manager Chuck Tanner was quick with the hook and yanked Wood in favor of Eddie Fisher (no, not that one).

The White Sox bullpen, including a very young Goose Gossage, didn't fare any better than Wood as the Yankees rolled to a 12-2 win.

The start of the 2nd game of the doubleheader was delayed 47 minutes by rain, but when it stopped there was Wilbur Wood ready to go at it again.

The Yankees had taken a 2-0 lead in the 4th with the help of some shoddy defense by the White Sox. Then in the 5th Wood was victimized by Roy White again. The Yankee's left fielder broke the game open with a grand slam. With the Sam McDowell and the Yankees leading 7-0 after 6 complete innings, the umpiring crew called the game due to rain.

It was the last time a major league pitcher would start, and in this case lose, both games of a doubleheader.

4. June 16-18, 1959

The White Sox were known as the "Go-Go Sox" in 1959, because of their propensity to steal a base. Leading the way was their shortstop, Luis Aparicio, who swiped 56 bases. The pitching staff was lead by future Hall of Famer, and 300 game winner, Early Wynn. The Chisox would win the AL pennant by 5 games over the Indians. The Yankees had their worst year of the 1950s, and finished 15.5 back. But during a 3 game series in mid June, the Bronx Bombers owned the team from the south side of Chicago.

The Yankees entered the first game of the series 1 game under .500. Art Ditmar turned in a masterful performance as he pitched a 4-hit complete game. The Yankees won 5-1, lead by Hank Bauer and Bobby Richardson, who had 2 hits, an RBI, and a run scored each.

Only half as many fans turned out for the 2nd game of the series. But the ones who did attend saw a 3-run HR by Mickey Mantle and some fine pitching by Bob Turley and Ryne Duren.

The final game of the series saw the Yankees come from behind in the 8th to tie the game on an RBI double by Yogi Berra and a run producing single by Hector Lopez. Long before the term "walk off home run" came about, Mickey Mantle sent the crowd home happy with a blast into the right field seats.

It was a forgettable season, but for 3 games the Yankees mastered the AL's best.

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