Do you remember where you were when Yankees’ history was made in 2022?
Ok no, I don’t mean when Aaron Judge hit his 61st and 62nd home runs, surpassing Roger Maris and breaking both the Yankees and American League record for homers in a single season. That was pretty cool, though.
I also don’t mean the history made in the same game as Judge’s 62nd homer when Gerrit Cole recorded his 249th strikeout of the season, breaking Ron Guidry’s franchise record. Again though, that was also a nice little moment.
No, I am, obviously, talking about the moment from the seventh inning against the Royals on July 28th when Anthony Rizzo set a Yankee record of his own.
A couple days earlier on July 24th, the Yankees were wrapping up a series in Baltimore against the Orioles. With the Yankees leading 3-0, Rizzo was set to lead off the sixth. On the second pitch from Dean Kremer, Rizzo was grazed by a pitch on his lower leg. After some confusion as Rizzo waited for confirmation from the umpire, he was awarded first base.
That started what would be a multi-run inning for the Yankees, helping them seal a 6-0 win.
The Yankees had the next day off before returning to New York for a trip to another borough to play the Mets in a series starting July 26th. Having already gone 2-for-3 with a home run in the game, Rizzo stepped to the plate with one out and Judge on first with the Yankees trailing 5-3. After working the count to 2-2, Rizzo checked his swing but held up, and as that happened an Adam Ottavino pitch went tailing into his back leg. The umpire originally ruled the pitch just a ball, but the Yankees reviewed. Upon closer look, the ball clearly got Rizzo on the bounce, and he was awarded first base.
While the Yankees had a chance at a rally, Rizzo was thrown out at second on a double steal attempt, and the Yankees eventually lost 5-3.
The next day, the Yankees were trailing 2-0 in the sixth when Rizzo came to bat against Max Scherzer. On the first pitch of the plate appearance, Scherzer’s pitch came in on Rizzo and got him in the knee-ish area for a hit by pitch.
Rizzo got stranded in that inning, but did later walk and scored on a Gleyber Torres home run as the Yankees rallied before eventually losing.
After getting swept by the Mets, the Yankees then returned to the Bronx to host the Royals for a series starting July 28th. The game went into the seventh inning tied at zero when Rizzo led off the bottom half of the frame. On the very first pitch of the inning, Brady Singer’s pitch went straight towards Rizzo’s foot/lower leg area and got him for a hit by pitch.
The hit by pitch sent Yankee Stadium into hysterics,* as it broke a long-standing Yankee franchise record. For the fourth consecutive game, Rizzo had been hit by a pitch, setting a record for the longest streak in Yankees’ history, surpassing six others who had been hit in three-straight games.
The franchise record had first been set by Birdie Cree in 1909, and in the ensuing year, he had been joined by Bert Daniels (1911), Don Baylor (1984), Chuck Knoblauch (1998), Todd Frazier (2017), and Greg Allen (2021). In a likely somewhat painful way, Rizzo made some very weird history on July 28th.
With his sights set on the overall MLB record, Rizzo was back in the lineup on July 29th. Unfortunately, the streak ended, as he only went 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk. That left him two games short of Carlos Quentin, who had a run of six-straight games in 2008.
In total, Rizzo was hit by a pitch 23 times in 2022, leaving him just short of another Yankee franchise record. Don Baylor holds the Yankee single season record after he was hit 24 times in 1985. Rizzo has managed to crack the top 30 of all-time Yankee list with just 32. Of the 29 people ahead of him, the fewest amount of games any of them have played is Baylor with 420. Rizzo has 32 in less than half of that at just 179 games. Even if Rizzo did return, he’s unlikely to get anywhere close to the all-time franchise record of 170 by Derek Jeter, but even two full seasons at that pace would get Rizzo into the top five.
So, to be serious, obviously that’s not the most important record to be broken by a Yankee this year. Even as I joke about it, I didn’t even realize that it had been broken until I was messing around on Baseball Reference’s Stathead the other day. However, it’s still funny that even in a year that’s going to go down as one Yankee fans would prefer to forget, that we got to watch something we’ve never seen before.