Game Four of the 1996 World Series, played on October 23, faces perhaps its toughest competition as “the” game of the Joe Torre years from the one that immediately followed it. Andy Pettitte outpitched Braves ace John Smoltz in a 1-0 victory, and a Yankee sweep of the three games in Atlanta, on October 24, 1996. Paul O’Neill made a fine running grab on ex-Yankee Luis Polonia‘s drive to the right-center field gap to close the game. With Turner Field due to open the next April, the Braves fully expected to end their days playing in Fulton County Stadium on a victory tour. The best-laid plans…
Three years later the Bombers went ahead, two games to none, in the 1999 Classic in a 7-2 David Cone win, again over the Braves on October 24. Bernie Williams outpaced five of his teammates by getting a third hit, and the Yanks battered Braves starter Kevin Millwood.
The 4-2 Yanks loss to the Mets in the 2000 Series was the only game they would drop to their crosstown rivals in that year’s post. Benny Agbayani‘s eighth-inning double knocked in the winner on October 24, sending the until-then 8-0 el duque Hernandez to his first postseason loss.
The 8-7 Yankees’ loss to the Dodgers on October 24, 1981, tied that year’s World Series at two games apiece.
October days are busy for the Yankees even on game-free days. On October 24, 1939, Joe DiMaggio was named American League MVP, with Jimmie Foxx coming in second in the voting.
Twelve years later, on this day in 1951, Casey Stengel was named Manager of the Year by United Press International, on October 24.
And then in another 12 years, October 24 was also the day in 1963 when Yogi Berra was named Yankee manager.
The Yanks traded DH Jack Clark and hurler Pat Clements to San Diego for pitchers Lance McCullers and Jimmy Jones and outfielder Stan Jefferson on October 24, 1988.
The singer (not the comedian/actor) Billy Murray made a big hit with his rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, which he recorded on October 24, 1908.
Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson made a difference in all our lives. But after a turbulent though successful major league career, Robinson succumbed to heart disease at the young age of 53 on October 24, 1972.
A look at October 24 Yankee birthdays invites a discussion on the team’s turn from power to speed in the early ‘80s. Like the disappointing Doug Collins before him, Omar Moreno (1952) was a left-handed outfielder the Yanks acquired for his speed, which he showed on the basepaths until he arrived in the Bronx. His six homers and 59 rbi’s in Pinstripes didn’t fall as dramatically short of expectations as the 28 bases he stole during the 1983 through 1985 seasons, after having played eight years in Pittsburgh. The Yanks got Moreno from Houston for yet another outfielder who apparently lost a step the second he arrived on the Yankee scene, Jerry Mumphrey, in August 1983.
Another Yankee October 24 birthday belongs to reliever Rawly Eastwick (1950), who went 2-1 in eight games for the ’78 club after having made his name in Cincinnati, including during the 1976 Reds’ sweep of the Yanks in the Fall Classic.