Nick Swisher RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones LF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Ivan Nova RHP
RHP Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.26)
Nova vs. Mets
Jose Reyes SS
Justin Turner 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Daniel Murphy 1B
Angel Pagan CF
Jason Bay LF
Ronny Paulino C
Ruben Tejada 2B
Jonathan Niese LHP
LHP Jonathan Niese (7-6, 3.67)
Niese vs. Yankees
On this day in 1886, John Franklin “Home Run” Baker was born in Trappe, Maryland, to this day a sleepy farm town not far from the Chesapeake Bay.
Twenty-two and one-half years later, Frank would find himself playing with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics of the American League in Shibe Park – the first concrete-and-steel ballpark of the age – batting .290 and fielding thirdbase perfectly in nine late-season games in what would become the liftoff of a brilliant baseball career.
His plaque in the Hall of Fame sums it up:
JOHN FRANKLIN BAKER
PHILADELPHIA A.L. 1908-1914
NEW YORK A.L. 1916-1922
MEMBER OF CONNIE MACK’S FAMOUS
$100,000 INFIELD. LED AMERICAN LEAGUE
IN HOME-RUNS 1911-12-13, TIED IN 1914.
WON TWO WORLD SERIES GAMES FROM
GIANTS IN 1911 WITH HOME-RUNS THUS
GETTING NAME “HOME RUN” BAKER. PLAYED
IN SIX WORLD SERIES 1910-11-13-14-21-22.
Frank earned the nickname “Home Run” after the 1911 World Series versus the New York Giants. In game two, he slammed a two-run dinger off Rube Marquard to break a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning, capturing a lead that would not be given up that day and tying the series at 1-1. The next game, Baker’s top-of-the-ninth solo shot off the great Christy Mathewson tied the game and sent it to extra innings. The Athletics would win 2-1 in the eleventh, taking a lead in the series that would not be relinquished.
Connie Mack and the other owners of the A’s would reward Frank’s great play in that series by making him a part of the “$100,000 Infield”. That recipe of spectacular homeruns, high salaries, and marvelous concrete-and-steel ballparks would later become the big money formula for big money clubs in a game that, from its earliest time, was driven by speed, guile, stratagem, and glovework.
Baker would lead the American League in homeruns in 1911 (11), and go on to capture that prize again in 1912 (10, tied with Texan slugger Tris Speaker), 1913 (12), and 1914 (9), always ranking highly in the major offensive categories. Eventually, Connie Mack refused to sustain Baker’s salary; his contract was purchased by none other than the New York Yankees in 1916, for $37,500. In 1921, Baker, aggrieved by the passing of his wife, hobbled by age, and probably disinterested in the growing glamour of the game, was still present enough to pass the homerun baton to Babe Ruth – who hit an unheard-of 59 homeruns that year (from the Baseball Almanac):
“I hope he (Babe Ruth) lives to hit one-hundred homeruns in a season. I wish him all the luck in the world. He has everybody else, including myself, hopelessly outclassed.”
In 1922, Frank left the game for good, remarried, and reset himself in the farm town where he was born – and where he would eventually pass on at the age of seventy-seven.
For more reading on Frank “Home Run” Baker, hit the Baseball Almanac link above and be sure to also check out The Dead Ball Era’s obituary page on him.
On this day in 1903, the leadership of the well-established National League and the three-year-old upstart American League met to talk unity and the reconciling of rules. Two important outcomes of the meeting were the creation of the World Series and a 15-1 vote to install an American League franchise in New York (the lone dissenter was John T. Bush, whose National League New York Giants had enjoyed a near-monopoly over the city).
Shortly after, the flagging Baltimore Oriole franchise was purchased, uprooted, and imported to New York City by the (logical) duo of Frank Farrell, a pool-hall and gambling kingpin, and William Deverey, a former Police Chief. A field (there were no stadiums yet) was hastily thrown together on Manhattan’s highest point, on Broadway between 165th and 168th Streets. The local press dubbed the team “the Highlanders” and called the field “Hilltop Park”. That neighborhood would eventually become Washington Heights, the birthplaces of Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. The New York Highlanders would eventually become the New York Yankees.
On this day 36 years ago, former Yankee infielder Aaron Boone was born in La Mesa, California.
Boone will always be remembered by Yankee fans for his walk-off homerun to clinch the ‘03 ALCS versus Boston. Aaron led off the bottom of the 11th inning with the game tied 2-2 in a real nailbiter. He launched the first offering from wiley knuckleballer Tim Wakefield into the leftfield seats, sending the home crowd into mania and the team to the World Series.
Aaron was born into a baseball family. Grandfather Ray Boone (d. Oct. 17, 2004) was an infielder with Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago (he was traded there in a move that included Red Sox mgr. Terry Francona’s father Tito), Milwaukee, Kansas City, and finally Boston. His 2-time All Star career spanned from 1948 to 1960. Father Bob Boone was a 7-time Gold Glove catcher who spent 19 seasons with Philadelphia, California, and Kansas City, throwing out an impressive 40% of attempted steals over his career and earning 4 All Star selections. Brother Bret Boone was a slugging secondbaseman by trade, leading all Boones with 252 career HRs. The 4-time Gold Glover, 3-time All Star, and 2-time Silver Slugger led the American League with 141 RBIs in 2001.
Aaron would later gain some fame as being the first player in MLB history to have open heart surgery and return to play within the same season, going under the knife on March 26th, 2009 to replace his bicuspid aortic valve and returning to the batter’s box on August 10th (he was 0-3).
Quote: “”Just to have the opportunity, to be in that spot, get that chance, it’s humbling…This game humbles you all the time in good and bad ways. It’s been humbling a little bit lately in a bad way, and this is just the same. It’s humbling.”
On this day in 1908, Myril Hoag (d. July 28, 1971) was born in Davis, California.
Hoag came up with the Yankees in 1931 after an outstanding season in the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .337. An excellent article in Baseball in Wartime perfectly defines his career with the Yanks:
Hoag failed to live up to the hype his first two years with the Yankees and saw only limited duty as a back-up outfielder. He was back in the minors in 1933 playing a full season with Newark of the International League before returning to New York in 1934.
Hoag remained in a utility role with the Yankees and suffered serious head injuries when a collision in the outfield with Joe DiMaggio resulted in brain surgery. However, he apparently made a full recovery and played 106 games and batted .301 the following year.
Hoag was traded to the Browns in 1939 and enjoyed his best major league season playing a career-high 129 games and batting .295 with 75 RBIs as well as being an American League all-star selection.
Hoag also went 6-for-20 in the 1937 World Series versus the Giants. In the fifth and final game, he hit a solo homer in the second inning to start the scoring. That series is notable as the last series in which Lou Gehrig homered (that season was possibly the last that the “Iron Horse” was completely healthy before drifting into illness).
Myril was the last Yankee to get 6 hits in a single game until Johnny Damon matched it versus Kansas City on June 7th of last year.
Hoag is finally notable for having one of the smallest shoes in Major League history, size 4 (R) and 4 1/2 (L).