Happy Memorial Day everyone! The unofficial start to summer (though it sure doesn’t feel like it today), Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor the United States military personnel who died fighting for their country.
Woven deeply into the fabric of American history is the national pastime, baseball. And no other team is more synonymous with baseball history than the New York Yankees. As it turns out, they have a rich tradition of playing on Memorial Day, so I thought we’d look back at some of the memorable performances in recent years.
May 29, 1995: DJ’s debut
Derek Jeter made his major league debut on Memorial Day 26 years ago. It wasn’t exactly a celebratory affair, as he went 0-for-5 in the Yankees’ 8-7 extra-inning loss to the Mariners in the Kingdome. Still, it marked the beginning of the story for one of the true legends in Yankees history.
May 27, 1996: California Dreamin’
The Yankees obliterated the California Angels 16-5 in an afternoon game at Anaheim Stadium. Andy Pettitte went seven innings, giving up five runs (four earned), but the story was obviously the offense. Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez had huge days at the plate. Bernie went 5-for-7 with three RBI while Tino went 3-for-5 including a three-run homer in the eighth.
May 25, 1998: White Sox wipeout
This was perhaps the Yankees’ most dominating Memorial Day performance in the last 30 years, as they embarrassed the White Sox 12-0 at Comiskey Park. This one was over almost before it began, as the Yankees dropped a six-spot in the top of the first. Opposing starter Jaime Navarro only managed to record one out, while Yankees starter Hideki Irabu had arguably his best start in pinstripes - a complete game shutout.
May 29, 2000: Pettitte’s near-perfecto
Andy Pettitte was oh-so-close to a perfect game... yet also wasn’t close at all. He surrendered a first-inning double to Jason Giambi, but then only allowed two more baserunners all game - a fourth-inning walk to former teammate Randy Velarde, who later homered in the ninth. The Yankees took this one comfortably at home 4-1, with Bernie Williams contributing a triple and a solo shot.
May 28, 2001: Paulie takes Coney deep
The two former teammates and current broadcast partners squared off in the twilights of their careers. David Cone signed with the Red Sox following his final season with the Yankees, and was on the losing end of this encounter between the two rival franchises. Cone gave up a solo home run to Paul O’Neill in the third, who later added a double in the eighth. O’Neill would come around to score the winning run of this tight 4-3 affair on a Jorge Posada double off the Green Monster.
May 29, 2006: Randy and Robbie rule the day
Randy Johnson pitched six shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Tigers while Robinson Canó went 3-for-4 in the Yankees’ 4-0 victory at Comerica Park. Current hitting coach Marcus Thames batted second for the opposition, going 0-for-3.
May 25, 2009: Texas toast
The Yankees steamrolled the Rangers 11-1 on Memorial Day of their most recent championship-winning season. Two former Rangers had banner days, with Alex Rodriguez going 5-for-5 with two doubles and 4 RBI while Mark Teixeira went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored. Phil Hughes pitched eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits while striking out six.
May 31, 2010: A-Rod Clubs Cleveland
It seems A-Rod enjoyed playing on Memorial Day, as he had another monster day at the plate the following season. He knocked in a Yankees Memorial Day record six RBI against Cleveland in an 11-2 drubbing at home, including a grand slam in the seventh to blow open what was a close game to that point. He was 3-for-4 on the day while Canó added a home run and three RBIs of his own.
May 30, 2011: Big Sexy in the building
Bartolo Colón turned in one of his most dominant outings with the Yankees. He tossed a complete game, four-hit, six-strikeout shutout over the A’s in the Yankees’ 5-0 win at the Coliseum. Tex provided an early spark with a first inning two-run homer, and Big Bart didn’t look back from there.
May 25, 2015: Royal rumble
It was a home run derby in the Bronx as the Yankees stomped the Royals 14-1. Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Brian McCann, and [checks notes] Stephen Drew and Slade Heathcott all went yard to go along with multi-RBI days. Nathan Eovaldi went seven innings giving up a lone earned run. Man, 2015 was a wild season.