Ten years ago today, it was Yogi Berra Day at Yankee Stadium. After being fired as Yankee manager just sixteen games into the 1985 season, Berra refused to return to Yankee Stadium so long as George Steinbrenner owned the Yankees. When Mickey Mantle passed away in 1995, and then Joe DiMaggio in early 1999, it left Berra as the greatest living Yankee. Allegedly, when Steinbrenner went to visit The Yankee Clipper on his deathbed, Joe D. implored Steinbrenner to make ammends with Yogi.
Steinbrenner heeded that advice, and an unofficial burying of the hatchet was held at Berra's museum in New Jersey shortly after DiMaggio's death. But July 18, 1999 would be Berra's big day at the Stadium. Don Larsen was flown in for the festivities, and it was Larsen, author of MLB's only post-season perfect game, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Berra caught it, just as he did the final strike on October 8, 1956, then returned Joe Girardi 's catchers mitt to him.
Girardi took the mitt, and then proceeded to catch a perfect game from David Cone. It was perhaps the most efficient game ever pitched: Cone needed just 88 pitches, a whopping 66 of them strikes (75%), to throw the perfecto, striking out ten. He didn't have a single three ball count all afternoon. The game, though delayed by rain briefly, required just two hours and sixteen minutes to complete.
To mark the anniversary, Cone will throw out the ceremonial first pitch today. It will likely be caught by Girardi, who may then turn the glove over to Jorge Posada. I wouldn't expect a perfect game today, but I would expect one helluva pitching match-up.
CC Sabathia squares off against Justin Verlander in a rematch of their April 27th match-up in Detroit. Sabathia was good that night, allowing just six hits and no walks while fanning seven in eight innings of work. But Verlander was better, seven innings of seven hit ball, no walks and nine Ks. Verlander didn't allow a run, CC allowed four. The Yanks will try to turn the tables today.
It's a beautiful day. We have a great pitching match-up. They'll be celebrating a little bit of history at the Stadium today. I'd say everything is alright, but ten years ago today it was clean out of sight. Here's one of Motown's finest to tell us about it.
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight