Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Yankees Dent Angels' Halos

The Yankees really needed a win last night. And with Jameson Taillon as the starting pitcher, I had as much confidence in that as I have in New Jersey Transit to properly manage evening rush hour out of Penn Station.

Indeed, Taillon did not pitch well. He went 5 1/3rd innings, alowing 5 runs on 9 hits, albeit with only 1 walk.

It was the kind of start that would lead you to think, "At least Brian Cashman has assembled a Yankee lineup strong enough to outscore that." Except, usually, it isn't strong enough to do that. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to defeat: The lineup was strong enough this time. Smart enough, too.

Gary Sanchez hit a home run in the 1st inning. Then came the 2nd inning. With 1 out, Gio Urshela drew a walk. Miguel Andujar singled, sending Urshela to 3rd. Brett Gardner hit a drive that hooked foul into the left field seats, where it was caught by Scott Schebler. He should have let it drop into the stands, because Urshela tagged up and scored. Yes, smart baserunning by the Yankees. Ah yes, I remember it well. Then DJ LeMahieu singled home Andujar. Then Aaron Judge hit a home run. 5-2 Yankees.

Shohei Ohtani, the Angels' pitching and slugging star, hit a home run to make it 5-3 in the 3rd. But Andujar led off the 4th with a home run. This was afollowed by a walk by Brett Gardner. After flyouts by LeMahieu and Judge, Sanchez doubled Gardner home. Giancarlo Stanton drew a walk. (Yes, he did.) Luke Voit doubled Sanchez home. Gleyber Torres singled Stanton and Voit home. 10-3 Yankees.

Ohtani hit another homer in the 5th, but an Andujar double capped the scoring in the 6th. Between them, Nestor Cortes and Albert Abreu pitched 2 2/3rds scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk. Yankees 11, Angels 5. WP: Taillon (3-4). No Save. LP: Andrew Heaney (4-6).

The Yankees had dented the Angels' halos. It was the 1st time the Yankees have scored double digits in a game since April 30. That's too long.

The series continues tonight. Ohtani will be pitching for the Angels this time, while Domingo German toes the rubber for the Pinstripes. Let's show the baseball world what the Yankees can do to Ohtani, this season's golden story so far.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Angels and Dirty Faces

Actor James Cagney was a Yankee Fan. Although he made his name as a song-and-dance man, he is best remembered for his roles in gangster movies. One, made in 1938, was titled Angels With Dirty Faces, and introduced the characters that became known at various times as the Dead End Kids, the East Side Kids and the Bowery Boys.

Last night, the Yankees began a 4-game home series with the Los Angels. The "Dirty Faces" line has been used in connection with them many times. Lately, though, it's the Yankees who have looked dirty. Here's where they rank in Major League Baseball with runners in scoring position this season:

Batting average: .216, 29th out of 30.
On-base percentage: .627, 29th.
Slugging percentage: .304, 30th.
Hits: 115, 30th.
Runs batted in (RBI): 160, 30th.
Double plays: 28, 1st
Home runs: 11, 27th.

Home runs are the category at which you would expect a Brian Cashman-built team to excel. Not with RISP.

One of the big stories of the 2021 season thus far has been the performance of Shohei Ohtani, the Angels' Japanese pitcher and slugger. I saw his 1st performance at Yankee Stadium, on May 27, 2018. He didn't bat, and got outpitched by Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka was not available for the Yankees last night. Michael King was the starting pitcher. Letting him start a game against major league competition is never a good idea. He didn't get out of the 5th inning, allowing 3 runs (2 of them earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks. Lucas Luetge and Chad Green weren't a whole lot better, although Nestor Cortes pitched a scoreless 9th inning.

This time, Ohtani didn't pitch, but he did bat. He only got 1 hit, but it was a home run off King in the 1st inning. And that pretty much ended it. Gio Urshela hit a home run for the Yankees in the 2nd, and Giancarlo Stanton hit one in the 6th. But the Yankees wasted a leadoff walk in the 4th, and a single with 1 out in the 7th, and had their side struck out in the 9th, when they were only down by 2 runs: Stanton, Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres.

Angels 5, Yankees 3. WP: Jose Suarez (3-1). SV: Raisel Iglesias (14). LP: King (0-4). The Yankees are now 40-38, 7 1/2 games out of 1st place, 6 games out of a Wild Card berth.

Dirty faces. Ugly results.

The series continues tonight. Jameson Taillon starts against Andrew Heaney. Oy vey.

Scores On This Historic Day: June 29, 1950, The Miracle On Grass

June 29, 1950: The U.S. national soccer team beats England, 1-0 at Estádio Independência in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in the 1950 World Cup.

The England team had some of the greatest players in the world, including Stanley Matthews, "the Wizard of Dribble." But Matthews was kept out of this game, and that may have made the difference. Among England stars who did play in this game were Matthews' Blackpool teammate Stan Mortenson, Jackie Milburn of Newcastle United, Billy Wright of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Laurie Hughes of Liverpool, Tom Finney of Preston North end, Wilf Mannion of Middlesbrough, and goalkeeper Ted Ditchburn of Tottenham Hotspur.

Counting Bill Nicholson of Tottenham, who was much more honored for his managing of that team than for his playing, 6 of the players -- the others being Wright, Milburn, Matthews, Finney and Mannion -- would have statues dedicated outside their teams' stadiums.

The U.S. team was taken from various clubs in the top league in the country at the time, the American Soccer League. There was nothing like a "first division" as in European or South American countries. And none of them was still in college, although they weren't over the hill: One player was 38, the rest were between the ages of 21 and 31, coming from ASL clubs, including Brookhattan in New York, Philadelphia Nationals, Ponta Delgada outside Boston, and Simpkins-Ford in St. Louis.

The U.S. got off to a good start in their 1st game, against Spain, scoring in the 17th. But the defense collapsed late, allowing 3 goals between the 81st and 89th minutes, and Spain won, 3-1. For the England game, Frank Borghi was in goal. In front of him were the fullbacks, Harry Keough on the right, Joe Maca on the left. In front of them were the halfbacks: Right to left, Ed McIlvenny, Charlie Colombo and Walter Bahr. Then the forwards: Right to left, Frank Wallace, Gino Pariani, Joe Gaetjens, John Souza and Ed Souza. Bahr was usually the Captain of this team, but, since he was British, McIlvenny was chosen as Captain for this game.

As a British citizen familiar with the English game, as well as that of the country he had adopted, U.S. manager William Jeffrey told the press, "We have no chance," and called his team "sheep ready to be slaughtered." One of the English national newspapers, the Daily Express, wrote, "It would be fair to give the U.S. three goals of a start." Indeed, England's 1st half attack was so fierce that, if even half of their attempts had gone in, they would have been up at least 4-0.

Then came the 37th minute. McIlvenny made a throw-in. Bahr took it, and shot from 25 yards out. Williams moved to his right to get it. But before he could, Gaetjens threw himself forward, and headed it in to Williams' left.
Joe Gaetjens

One-nil to the Stars and Stripes. Years, later Bahr said, "The overwhelming majority was Brazilians, but they rooted for us the entire time. We didn't realize why until after. They were hoping we would beat England and that Brazil would not have to play England in the final game." (In hindsight, this may have been counterproductive, as Brazil also suffered a tremendous upset, losing the Final to neighboring Uruguay.)

The Americans' confidence had been seriously boosted, and they came out for the 2nd half like a house afire. They had another scoring chance in the 54th, but couldn't do anything with it. In the 59th, Generoso Dattilo, the Italian referee, awarded England a direct free kick, but Borghi saved Mortensen's shot. England was dominant for a while, and it wasn't until the 74th minute that the U.S. could get another shot.

In the 82nd minute, soccer history hung in the balance. Mortensen drove toward the penalty area, and Charlie Colombo brought him down. The way Keough described it, it sounds like Colombo should have been sent off. (No red and yellow cards in those days, but a player could be sent off for an egregious foul.) But the film cameras didn't get the foul into the highlights, so there's no way to know for sure.

England pleaded for the awarding of a penalty, but Dattilo didn't buy it, saying the foul was outside the area. He awarded a free kick. Ramsey took it, and Mullen headed it toward the goal. Borghi tipped it away. Again, the England players appealed to Dattilo, saying the ball had gone in, but he ruled that it hadn't crossed the line.

In the 85th, Peewee Wallace managed to draw Williams out of position, giving himself an empty net. But Ramsey managed to get in and clear his shot off the line.

Without much stoppage time, Dattilo blew his whistle. Final score: America 1, England 0. Or, as would be said in soccer circles, England 0-1 USA. No "Man of the Match" was given. Clearly, it was Borghi, who kept it from being about 7-1 in England's favor.

No one could believe it. Contrary to what we would expect today, not only was the game not broadcast live to the U.K. on BBC television, it wasn't even broadcast around the world on BBC radio. When the BBC reporter delivered the final score that night (it would have been around 10:00 PM, London time), many people remembered hearing it, and thinking it was an error: That it must have been England that won 1-0.

And in America? It was barely reported at all. Since several players were from St. Louis, Dent McSkimming of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wanted to cover it. He couldn't talk the paper into covering his expenses. So he applied for "vacation" time, paid his own way, and, when he got there, he discovered that he was the only American reporter at the game.

Soccer was so low on the totem pole of American sports at the time, the Post-Dispatch was one of the few papers to report the result at all. Not only had The New York Times refused to send a reporter, but, when they got the result from the Associated Press wire report, they refused to print it, figuring the report of the upset was a hoax.

The World Cup went on. On July 2, the Americans were knocked out of the tournament, losing 5-2 to Chile in Recife. And England fell to Spain 1-0 at the Estadio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Spain thus won Group 2, and only the 4 Group winners advanced to a knockout round.

The 1-0 win over England has been nicknamed "The Miracle Match." In a nod to the U.S. hockey upset over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics, known as "The Miracle On Ice," this game has been called "The Miracle On Grass." Given how many shots Borghi had to stop, Belo Horizonte '50 was much closer to being a miracle than Lake Placid '80.

The U.S. and England have played only 1 World Cup match since, a 1-1 draw in Bloemfontain, South Africa in 2010.

The Miracle On Grass was hardly seen then, and it has hardly been seen since. But it might just be the greatest upset in American sports history. Not the most satisfying -- that remains the Miracle On Ice -- but the greatest.

*

June 29, 1950 was a Thursday. It was the off-season for the NFL, the NBA and the NHL. There wasn't quite a full slate of Major League Baseball games played that day:

* The New York Yankees lost to the Washington Senators, 12-7 at the old Yankee Stadium. The Yanks jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the 1st inning, including a home run by Cliff Mapes. But the Senators scored 6 runs in the 4th, including a home run by Irv Noren, whom the Yankees would later acquire. Joe DiMaggio went 0-for-3 with a walk. Joe Ostrowski was the Yanks' starting pitcher, and didn't get out of the 2nd inning, while Tom Ferrick didn't make it out of the 4th.

* In what was then baseball's biggest rivalry, the New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, 11-5 at Ebbets Field. Eddie Stanky hit a home run, and Hank Thompson got 3 hits. The Dodgers got 2 home runs from Jackie Robinson and 1 from Billy Cox, neither really a home run hitter. But the Giants scored 4 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th to take it. 

* Boston played Philadelphia in each League. In the National League, the Boston Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-2 at Braves Field in Boston.

* In the American League, a football score developed. The Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Athletics 22-14 at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Here's the damage: It was 6-4 Sox after 1 inning, 14-7 after 2, 15-7 after 4, 16-8 after 5, 18-9 after 6, 20-12 after 7, 20-14 after 8 and 22-14 after 9. As you might guess, Ted Williams hit a home run for the Sox, going 2-for-6 with 6 RBIs. Matt Batts had 4 RBIs, and Bobby Doerr 3.

The A's didn't hit any home runs, but Bob Dillinger, their leadoff hitter and 3rd baseman went 5-for-6 with 3 RBIs. As far as I know, "Duke" was no relation to Depression-era gangster John Dillinger, but he was a thief: In each of the previous 3 seasons, he led the AL in stolen bases, and batted .306 over 6 major league seasons. Elmer Valo and Billy Hitchcock also had 3 RBIs for the A's.

* The Chicago White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers, 7-3 at Briggs Stadium (later renamed Tiger Stadium) in Detroit.

* In another arch-rivalry game, the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

* The Cleveland Indians beat the St. Louis Browns, 4-1 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

* And the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates were not scheduled for the day.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Scores On This Historic Day: June 28, 1969, The Stonewall Uprising

June 28, 1969: New York City policemen raid the Stonewall Inn at 51 Christopher Street, off Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. It starts out as a typical raid of a bar for permitting homosexual activity.

It doesn't end that way. The "paddy wagons" take too long to get there, preventing a mass arrest. This allowed a crowd to gather outside, angry that what would eventually be called "the gay community," which had long had a major presence in "The Village," was being picked on again. Finally, as one newspaper put it, "This time, the fairies fought back."

For years, the pro-police New York media called it "The Stonewall Riot." Eventually, it became better known as "The Stonewall Uprising," and is often considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement. This is a bit unfair to the people who had already been in that movement, so it's better to say that it was the event that moved the movement into the mainstream of American life.

The original Stonewall Inn opened in 1930, at 91 7th Avenue South, as a speakeasy during Prohibition, so it had been regularly raided from the beginning. In 1934, with Prohibition ended, it moved to its more familiar location. A fire ended this establishment in 1964.

In 1966, 3 organized crime figures (The Village had previously been known as an Italian neighborhood, and Mafia activity was rampant there) bought the property, and turned it into a gay bar, thinking they could blackmail closeted wealthy patrons. It probably wouldn't be remembered today if it wasn't raided 3 years later, but it also hosted drug sales, and that was really what got the vice squad sent in.

The owners never reopened the bar after the Uprising. The space was used over the next few years by a deli, a Chinese restaurant, and a shoe store. In 1991, new owners opened a gay bar, and named it "Stonewall." The name had not only survived the original bar, but had surpassed it in importance.

The bar was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2000. It closed again in 2006, due to mismanagement. New owners renovated it and reopened it in 2007, and they embrace its historic significance.

On June 28, 1970, the 1st Gay Pride parade marched from the Stonewall site to Sheep Meadow in Central Park. As a result, the parade is annually held on the last Saturday in June, and gay Americans now celebrate June as Pride Month. This was aided by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, striking down all State bans on same-sex marriage, announced on June 26, 2015, right before the anniversary.

*

June 28, 1969 was a Saturday. This was the off-season for the NFL, the NBA, the ABA and the NHL. But a full slate of Major League Baseball games was played that day:

* The New York Yankees lost to the Cleveland Indians, 7-3 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Despite 2 hits each from Joe Pepitone and Frank Fernandez, the post-Mickey Mantle Yanks couldn't get anything going, and starting pitcher Bill Burbach couldn't get out of the 1st inning.

* The New York Mets lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-4 at Shea Stadium, a blip on their march to their 1st World Championship.

* The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Montreal Expos, 13-8 at Jarry Park in Montreal.

* The Baltimore Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers, 6-4 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. This was a step toward the O's succeeding the Tigers as American League Champions.

* The Washington Senators beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-3 at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington. Ken McMullen hit a walkoff home run in the 10th inning.

* The San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds, 12-5 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

* The Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals, their arch-rivals and the 2-time defending National League Champions, 3-1 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

* The Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins, 7-4 at Kansas City Municipal Stadium.

* The Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros, 5-1 at the Astrodome in Houston.

* Somebody forgot to tell the expansion San Diego Padres that you gotta come out of the clubhouse to play the ballgame. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat them 19-0 at San Diego Stadium. The Dodgers scored 10 runs in the top of the 3rd inning, and Don Drysdale pitched a 5-hit shutout. But injuries were taking their toll, and he retired before the season ended, only 33 years old.

* The expansion Seattle Pilots beat the California Angels, 3-0 at Anaheim Stadium. Rich Rollins hit a home run. Fred Talbot went 8 innings, allowing 7 hits, and Diego Segui pitched the 9th inning. I guess Fred Talbot smoked them inside.

* And the Chicago White Sox beat the Oakland Athletics, 6-2 at the Oakland Coliseum.

Scores On This Historic Day: June 28, 1914, The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand

Let me begin this entry by saying that I won't be doing this series for November 11, 1918, the day of the Armistice that ended World War I. I can't: There were no games. The baseball season was over. It was a Monday, before the founding of the NFL, so no pro football. It was long before the founding of the NBA. And the NHL did not begin its 1918-19 season until December 21.

But I can do it for the event that turned the war from probable to inevitable:

June 28, 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, are assassinated in Sarajevo, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Empire then stretched from the Alps to the Black Sea, but had so many different ethnicities under its domain that it was hard to keep it together. Franz Ferdinand, 50, was the heir presumptive to the throne, the nephew of the Emperor, Franz Josef, 83. Franz Ferdinand was no friend to the Serbs: At various times, he called them "pigs," "thieves," "murderers" and "scoundrels."

Sophie, 46, was a German princess, but not of dynastic rank, and so the Emperor refused to permit the marriage. A compromise was worked out: Franz Ferdinand could marry Sophie only if he renounced the right of succession to any of their descendants.

In 1913, Franz Ferdinand had been named inspector-general of the imperial military. He was visiting Sarajevo, with Sophie, to inspect Austrian troops there. Six members of the Black Hand, terrorists trying to establish an independent "Greater Serbia," prepared to assassinate him to make their point.

At 10:15 AM local time, Nedeljko Čabrinović threw a bomb that bounced off the Archduke's car, a 1911 Gräf & Stift 28/32 PS Double Phaeton. The car behind it ran over it as it exploded, wounding 20 people but killing none.

The Archduke and Archduchess arrived at the Town Hall for a reception with the Mayor, Fehim Čurčić. In his speech at the reception, the Archduke thanked the people of Sarajevo "as I see in them an expression of their joy at the failure of the attempt at assassination."

Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb a few weeks short of his 20th birthday, learned that the 1st attempt had failed. He was determined to make a 2nd attempt. Knowing the route of the motorcade would be on the Appel Quay, along the Miljacka River, he stood in front of Schiller's delicatessen, adjacent to the Latin Bridge.

The Archduke's driver, Leopold Lojka, made a right turn, and was told that he should have turned left. He stopped, and began to turn the car around -- right in front of Princip. At 11:00 AM -- the time throughout most of Europe, 10 AM in London, 5 AM on the U.S. East Coast -- the would-be assassin had his chance, lunged forward, and fired 2 shots. Franz Ferdinand was hit in the neck, Sophie in the abdomen.

Franz Ferdinand knew he was doomed, and called out to his wife, "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!" But she was already dead. Asked about his own condition, he said, "It is nothing." It wasn't: He was pronounced dead at 11:30.

Princip was unrepentant. At his trial, he said, "I am a Yugoslav nationalist, aiming for the unification of all Yugoslavs, and I do not care what form of state, but it must be freed from Austria."
Princip's mug shot

On July 23, the imperial government issued the "July Ultimatum": If, within 48 hours, the semi-autonomous Serbian government did not crack down on the Black Hand, Austrian troops would come in and do so. The Serbian government did not crack down on the Black Hand, and on July 28, Austria declared war on Serbia. If that had been the end of it, Austrian would have won what would have remained an internal uprising.

That was not the end of it. The Serbs appealed to their allies, the Russian Empire. On July 31, Czar Nicholas II ordered mobilization. Had that been the end of it, Russia likely would have won the war, the Austro-Hungarian Empire would have been broken up, a united Slavic nation would have been formed in the Balkans, and Russia would have emerged as perhaps the strongest nation on the European continent, on a level with France and Germany.

That was not the end of it. The German Empire came to the aid of their neighbor and linguistic brother Austria. On August 1, Kaiser Wilhelm II -- a cousin of Czar Nicholas -- declared war on Russia. If that had been the end of it, Germany vs. Russia would have been a brutal war, but Russia's superior numbers would not have saved them against Germany's more advanced military, and the German Empire would have taken big parts of the Russian one, including Poland, and emerged as perhaps the strongest nation in the world, at the very least on the same level as the British Empire and the United States of America.

That was not the end of it. Also on August 1, France mobilized in support of its ally, Russia. On August 3, Germany declared war on France. If that had been the end of it, it would have been a two-front war, but Germany would probably have beaten France, as it had in 1870, and as its predecessor nation, the Holy Roman Empire, had in 1815.

That was not the end of it. On August 4, in support of allies France and Russia, the British Empire declared war on Germany. Britain's King George V was a cousin of both the Kaiser and the Czar: All 3 were grandsons of Queen Victoria.

Everyone thought "The Great War" would be over by Christmas. Instead, in September, because the British were there to support the French, a stalemate developed on the Western Front, and Germany couldn't redirect troops to assist those on the Eastern Front.

Emperor Franz Joseph died on November 21, 1916. He was succeeded by a grandnephew, who took the throne as Charles I, Emperor of Austria, and Karl IV, King of Hungary, in the "Dual Monarchy."

America entered the war on April 6, 1917, after Germany began attacking American ships aiding the Allies, and after it attempted to get Mexico into the war on its side. (This failed.) Russia collapsed, and there were 2 revolutions in 1917. The 1st, in March, overthrew the Czar, and attempted to establish a republic. The 2nd, in November, overthrew that, and the new government of Vladimir Lenin was Communist.

He took Russia out of the war on March 3, 1918. With the Eastern Front rendered unnecessary, the Germans, themselves on the verge of collapse, could throw everything onto the Western Front, and were about to win when American troops were finally able to enter combat on June 1.

On November 11, 1918, 4 months after Lenin ordered the execution of the Czar and his entire family, the Germans surrendered. The Great War, the World War, "The War to End All Wars," was over. There were over 10 million military personnel killed, and at least that many civilians. New nations were created, including an independent Poland, and the combined Slavic nation the conspirators of June 1914 wanted, named Yugoslavia.

Most of them were not around to appreciate this. 
Most of the conspirators were under age 20, and considered minors, and not executed, but that didn't necessarily keep them alive long enough to see the war's end. Veljko Čubrilović, Danilo Ilić and Mihajlo "Miško" Jovanović were executed by hanging on February 3, 1915. Čabrinović died in prison of tuberculosis on January 20, 1916, age 20. Just 23 days later, Mayor Čurčić also died of tuberculosis, at 50. 

Trifun Grabež also died in prison of tuberculosis, on October 21, 1916. Princip would also die of tuberculosis, on April 28, 1918. A prison psychiatrist who examined Princip wrote he believed the World War was bound to happen, independent of his actions, and that he "cannot feel himself responsible for the catastrophe."

Lojka died in 1926, at 39, but I can't find a cause of death. To the end of his life, he claimed to still hear the voices telling him he had made a wrong turn.

Vaso Čubrilović, Veljko's brother, at 17 the youngest of the conspirators, lived to see the end of World War I. and was then released. So was Cvjetko PopovićWhen Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, Vaso was arrested, and sent to a concentration camp. He survived that, too. Popović lived until 1980. Vaso was the last survivor of the events, dying on June 11, 1990 -- not quite living to see the breakup of Yugoslavia and the awful multi-front civil war that followed.

Both the death car and Princip's pistol are now in the Museum of Military History in Vienna, the capital of the Republic of Austria.

In 2014, the BBC began its commemorations of the Centennial of World War I. Among its productions was something unimaginable in 1914: Actors playing the leading figures in the buildup to the war, engaging in a rap battle: Princip, Franz Joseph, Nicholas II, Wilhelm II and George V. A figure playing Field Marshal Joseph Joffre represented France, but, oddly, had no lines in the battle.

Except for the Czar, played by a much larger, scarier-looking man, the actors looked the part and had the right accents. But I'm still not sure if the actor playing Franz Joseph was an actual old man, or a younger guy in makeup. There was also nobody representing the other countries that got in: No Wilson for America, no Robert Borden for Canada, no Andrew Fisher for Australia, no King Victor Emmanuel III for Italy, and no Sultan Mehmed V or General Mustafa Kemal Atatürk for the Ottoman Empire.

*

June 28, 1914 was a Sunday. This was before the founding of the NFL, the NBA or the NHL. There was a National Hockey Association and a Pacific Coast Hockey Association, the former with a roster of teams entirely in Canada, the latter with teams in Seattle and Portland, but this was the off-season for both leagues. There were Major League Baseball games played that day, including in the upstart Federal League:

* The Detroit Tigers beat the Cleveland Naps, 6-4 at Navin Field in Detroit. When Napoleon "Nap" Lajoie, the Cleveland manager and 2nd baseman, requested a trade after the season, the Naps changed their name to the Cleveland Indians. Navin Field would be renamed Briggs Stadium in 1938 and Tiger Stadium in 1961.

* The Chicago White Sox swept a doubleheader from the St. Louis Browns at Comiskey Park in Chicago, winning both games in 10 innings. The Pale Hose won the opener 2-1, and the nightcap 3-2.

* The following American League teams did not play on the day: The New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Athletics and the Washington Senators.

* The Cincinnati Reds swept a doubleheader from the Pittsburgh Pirates at Redland Field in Cincinnati, which was renamed Crosley Field in 1934. The Reds won the 1st game 7-6, and the 2nd game 1-0.

* A doubleheader was split at Robison Field in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals won the 1st game 6-0. The Chicago Cubs won the 2nd game, 8-5.

* The following National League teams did not play on the day: The New York Giants, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boston Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies.

* In the Federal League, a doubleheader was split at Federal Park in Indianapolis. The Kansas City Packers won the 1st game 2-0. The Indianapolis Hoosiers won the 2nd game 8-7.

* The Chicago Whales beat the St. Louis Terriers, 7-3 at Handlan's Park in St. Louis.

* The following Federal League teams did not play on the day: The Brooklyn Tip-Tops, the Baltimore Terrapins, the Buffalo Blues and the Pittsburgh Rebels.

Yankees Take Walk of Shame Out of Fenway

Unfortunately, I was right: One does not simply walk into Fenway. There is an evil there that does not sleep, and with the men currently wearing Yankee uniforms, we could not do this.

And now, three games later, the New York Yankees are taking a walk of shame out of Fenway Park.

The 1st pitch that alleged ace Gerrit Cole threw yesterday was hit for a home run. Later in the inning, he allowed a 3-run home run. The Yankees were down 4-0, and, given the way they've been hitting, the game was already over. 

The Yankees had men on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the 3rd, but didn't score. They didn't get another chance until the 6th, by which point it was 6-0 Boston. DJ LeMahieu led off with a single, and Aaron Judge hit a home run.

They loaded the bases with 1 out in the 7th, but the heroes of the 6th flopped: DJLM struck out, and Judge popped up.

Luis Cessa should not be pitching in the major leagues. He pitched a scoreless 6th, but allowed another run in the 7th. Brooks Kriskie should not be pitching in the major leagues. He allowed 2 more runs in the 8th.

With 2 out in the 9th, Clint Frazier drew a walk, and advanced to 2nd on defensive indifference. But Gary Sanchez struck out to end it.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 2. WP: Eduardo Rodriguez (6-4). No save. LP: Cole (8-4).

Over these 3 games, the Yankees were outscored 18-7. Are the Red Sox cheating again? Even if they are, it doesn't matter: The Yankees should be putting up more of a fight than this.

Instead, they are now 40-37, 6 1/2 games (6 in the loss column) behind the 1st place Red Sox in the American League Eastern Division. And 5 games out of the AL's 2nd Wild Card berth in the Playoffs.

They come home to face the Los Angeles Angels -- and then a City Series against the Mets.

As I said earlier in the Boston series: I have seen the Yankees play worse, but I have never seen them play this stupidly. They appear to have the talent. But it isn't working.

The fan base finally seems to be accepting that general manager Brian Cashman bears responsibility for this debacle, as field manager Aaron Boone does. But it looks like operating owner Hal Steinbrenner is committed to both of them, at least through the end of this season.

Oy.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

A Terrible Time to Be Playing Stupid Baseball

I have seen the Yankees play badly before, but I have never seen them be this stupid on a regular basis.

I knew they were going to lose the middle game of their series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, because the opposing pitcher was Nathan Eovaldi. Whenever Brian Cashman gets rid of a player, and he plays against the Yankees, he shows why the Yankees initially wanted him. He took a shutout into the 8th inning.

Think about that for a moment. Cashman has built a Yankee lineup loaded with righthanded power hitters, apparently with the intention of aiming for those close left field walls at Fenway and Minute Maid Park in Houston, in the Playoffs.

But you have got to get to the Playoffs first, and while the Yankees do play a total 12 games a year in those 2 ballparks, they have to play 81 games a year at Yankee Stadium II, which favors lefthanded hitters and guys who can hit to the opposite field.

Jordan Montgomery started, and allowed only 3 runs in 6 innings. Albert Abreu pitched the next 2, and allowed only 1 run. Seems to me, if you can hold the Sox to 4 runs at the little green pinball machine off Kenmore Square, you should be able to win the damn ballgame.

The Yankees couldn't. Gary Sánchez singled to right with 2 outs in the 1st inning. He was stranded there when Giancarlo Stanton, of course, struck out they didn't get another base runner until Judge led off the 4th with a single. He was stranded there when the next 3 batters couldn't advance him, including, of course, another Stanton strikeout.

With 1 out in the 6th, DJ LeMahieu and Judge both singled, but Sánchez grounded into a double play to erase them. Stanton led off the 7th with a single, but they couldn't advance him. Finally, with 2 out in the 8th, LeMahieu went to the opposite field and hit a homerun, And Eovaldi was taken out.

From that point onward, the Red Sox bullpen seemed to be doing everything in his power to give the game to the Yankees, and they couldn't take it. With the new 3-batter rule -- I like to call it the Boone Logan Rule -- Hirokazu Sawamura either had to pitch to at least 3 batters or get the 3rd out. And he walked Judge, Sánchez and Stanton to load the bases.

Think about that for a moment. Here are 3 of the least walkable guys in the major leagues today, because the umpires always seem to give the Yankees giant strike zones, and these guys will swing it just about anything. And they were batting against the Red Sox, a team the umpires favor, in Boston. And this guy walked them all.

And he was then replaced by Adam Ottavino, another former Yankee pitcher, who was let go because, as he had veen before he was a Yankee, he is terribly inconsistent.

The tying runs were on base. The moment was made for a Yankee hero the batter was Luke Voit, who, when healthy, is a really good right-handed power hitter, and he was aiming at the green monster pretty crowded too short to end the threat.

Top of the 9th. Gio Urshela flies to center. That's 1 out. But Gleyber Torres, dropped to 7th in the order due to a hellacious slump, singled. Rougned Odor grounded into a force play. Man on 1st, 2 out.

Brett Gardner drew a walk. LeMahieu singled Odor home. Again, the tying runs were on base. The batter was Judge. Against Ottavino. At Fenway.

He struck out. Ballgame over. Red Sox 4, Yankees 2. WP: Eovaldi (8-4). SV: Ottavino (5). LP: Montgomery (3-2).

How do you hold the Red Sox to 4 runs at Fenway Park, and lose? How do you get the tying runs on base in the 8th and the 9th Inning, at Fenway Park, and lose?

How do you let Adam Ottavino beat you 2 nights in a row? In any ballpark, but especially Fenway?

I will tell you how you do those things: By playing stupid baseball. And this is a terrible time to be playing that way.

The series concludes this afternoon. Gerrit Cole starts for the Yankees, but, as we've seen, that guarantees nothing. Eduardo Rodriguez starts for The Scum.

Can we please get more than 4 runs today?

Saturday, June 26, 2021

One Does Not Simply Walk Into Fenway

Last night, the Yankees began their 1st series of the year at Fenway Park, home of their arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox.

Where to begin? I could quote Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

Or, I could paraphrase Prince Boromir (Sean Bean) from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"One does not simply walk into Fenway. Its black gates are guarded by more than just ticket takers. There is evil there that does not sleep. The great eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with chowder, beer, and dust. The very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly."

But I could also quote both Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) from the original Star Trek series and Batman (Adam West) from the superhero TV show that aired at the same time: Each man, on his show, had once used the words, "Risk is our business."

Domingo Germán started, and he was off. He allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. 

The Yankees tied the game in the top of the 2nd, but the Red Sox jumped ahead again in the bottom of the 4th. Germán doomed himself with a walk, a wild pitch, and his own error.

Lucas Luetge pitched the 5th and the 6th, and Jonathan Loáisiga the 7th, and they kept it at 4-3 Boston.

Adam Ottavino, awful during his Yankee tenure, pitched the top of the 8th for the Red Sox. If you can't score runs off Adam Ottavino in Fenway Park, you're not going to win the ball game.

Zack Britton, his season's debut long delayed by injury, started the 8th, but didn't finish it. He injured his hamstring and had to leave the game. He'll probably go back on the Injured List, diminishing the Yankees bullpen again. Aaron Boone had to bring Luis Cessa in, and he, as he so often does, allowed another run.

The Yankees did put up a fight in the top of the 9th. Gio Urshela led off with a single, and Miguel Andújar hit another. The tying runs were on. But Clint Frazier struck out, and DJ LeMahieu grounded into a double play to end it.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 3. WP: Garrett Whitlock (3-1). SV: Matt Barnes (16). LP: Germán (4-5).

The Yankees are now 5 games out of 1st place. They are 0-4 vs. the Sox on the season. The last time that was true was 2009, when they started out 0-8, and then won the last 10 and went on to win the World Series.

But that was a very different Yankee team. It had not just talent, but the guts to back it up. When one guy went into a slump, somebody else made up for it by raising his game. We have seen precious little of that from the Yankees the last few years.

The series continues tonight. Jordan Montgomery starts against former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi. Don't get your hopes up.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Yankees Survive Wild Ride With Royals, Red Sox Next

If the Yankees are going to drive us all crazy, the least they could do was see to it that we enjoyed the trip.

That would not be the case on Tuesday night, as they opened a 3-game home series against the Kansas City Royals. Gerrit Cole started, and went 7 innings, allowing just 2 runs. Sounds like a building block for success.

But that also requires hitting. Once again, the Yankees got runs from solo home runs, rather than homers with men on base, or "small ball." Luke Voit did it in the 1st inning, and Kyle Higashioka did it in the 2nd.

Later came an exception. In the bottom of the 7th, Voit hit a triple, and scores on a wild pitch. So it was just 3-2 Yankees when Jonathan Loaisiga was brought in to pitch the top of the 8th. 

Here's the result of that: Single, double, strikeout, single, fielder's choice resulting in everybody reaching base safely, strikeout, single, single, before Aaron Boone mercifully pulled him for Lucas Luetge, who got a groundout to end it. Four runs.

The Yankees did put up a fight the rest of the way. With 1 out in the bottom of the 8th, Brett Gardner drew a walk, and DJ LeMahieu hit a home run. And Aaron Judge doubled. But they couldn't get him home.

Gio Urshela singled to lead off the 9th. But Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier both struck out. Gary Sanchez -- catching now that Cole and his personal catcher, Higashioka, were out of the game -- was walked intentionally to set up a force play. It wasn't necessary, as Gardner popped up.

Royals 6, Yankees 5. WP: Jake Brentz (2-0). SV: Greg Holland (5). LP: Loaisiga (7-3).

An awful game. Afterward, Loaisiga faced the media like an adult, and took responsibility for his failure. He said he was ready to do better.

*

The Wednesday night game was started by Michael King, which filled few people with any confidence, unless they were Royals fans. He didn't get out of the 5th inning. In the bottom of the 4th, walks to Miguel Andujar and Giancarlo Stanton were followed by a double by Frazier, and that tied the game at 2-2.

Chad Green bailed King out of a bases-loaded jam in the 5th inning, and pitched a scoreless 6th and 7th. But Zach Britton allowed a home run to lead off the top of the 8th, and even though it was only 3-2, the game felt lost.

Not so fast: In the bottom of the 8th, Frazier drew a walk, and Rougned Odor hit a screaming line drive into the bullpen to make it 4-3 Yankees.

Aroldis Chapman came on to pitch the top of the 9th, and you never know with him. He's had his best season as a Yankee, but that just makes the times when he doesn't get the job done look even more egregious. Loaded the bases, then walk home a run to tie it, then allowed a hit to give the Royals the lead.

After he  got the final out, a YES Network camera caught him throwing his glove in the dugout. Like Paul O'Neill, he took his frustrations out on himself and his equipment, but not anybody else.

Now, it was Chapman's turn to get bailed out. With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Gary Sanchez, suddenly the hottest hitter in baseball, hit a game-tying home run, and the Stadium crowd erupted.

This was followed by Stanton getting a hit, being replaced as a pinch-runner by Tyler Wade, Wade advancing to 2nd on a wild pitch, and Voit nearly hitting one out, missing a home run by about 2 feet, and Wade scoring the winning run.

Yankees 6, Royals 5. WP: Chapman (5-2, though deserving of the win only according to the letter of the rule). No save. LP: Holland (2-3).

This game was a rough ride for Yankee Fans, but at least they arrived at the proper destination.

*

In spite of it being started by the inconsistent Jameson Taillon, the Thursday afternoon game would have considerably less drama. He pitched very well, getting into the 7th inning, allowing only 1 run.

And the Yankee bats backed him up. They got 2 runs in the 1st inning, on a home run by Judge, and an RBI single by Odor. An RBI single by Judge in the 2nd and a home run by Voit in the 3rd pretty much put the game out of reach early.

Another home run by Sanchez, this one for 3 runs in the 6th, dusted K.C. off. Stanton added an RBI single in the 8th. Yankees 8, Royals 1. WP: Taillon (2-4). No save. LP: Brad Keller (6-8).

*

The Yankees are now 40-34, 4 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Eastern Division, 3 games in the All-Important Loss Column. The Boston Red Sox are half a game behind the Rays, even in the loss column. This comes after the race swept the Sox 3 straight in St. Petersburg.

And now, the Yankees head to Fenway Park for a weekend showdown with the Red Sox. Although the Rays will still have a lot to say about how the Division race turns out, the last generation of baseball suggest that it could come down to Yankees vs. Red Sox, so this series could be key to deciding it. Here are the projected pitching matchups:

* Tonight at 7: Domingo German vs. Martin Perez.

* Tomorrow night at 7: Jordan Montgomery vs. former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi.

* Sunday afternoon at 1: Cole vs. Eduardo Rodriguez.







Scores On This Historic Day: June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson Dies

June 25, 2009: Michael Jackson dies of a drug overdose at a mansion he'd rented in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles. "The King of Pop" was 50 years old, and had been preparing for a new tour.

He became a child star with his brothers in The Jackson 5 in 1969, and had been a solo superstar since the release of his album Off the Wall in 1979. Thriller was released in 1982, and in 1983 and 1984, he was the biggest star in the world, as big as Elvis Presley was in 1956 and The Beatles were in 1964.

But, like so many big stars before and after, he couldn't handle it. Prescription drug use and the desire to maintain his youthful appearance through plastic surgery took their toll. Odd details from his personal life reached the public, and the former beloved superstar had been "Wacko Jacko." Investigations of child abuse still put a cloud over him, even after an acquittal in court.

Michael Jackson was one of a few celebrities to reach the absolute heights of fame. But he fell as hard as anyone ever has, and he couldn't get up.

*

June 25, 2009 was a Thursday. This was the off-season for the NFL. The NBA season had wrapped up a few days earlier, with the Los Angeles Lakers beating the Orlando Magic for the title. The NHL season had also recently concluded, as the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, reversing the result of the previous year's Finals by beating the Detroit Red Wings.

There were Major League Baseball games played: 

* The New York Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves, 11-7 at Turner Field in Atlanta. Alex Rodriguez, in the middle of a big hot streak, hit a home run, to help Alfredo Aceves be the winning pitcher in relief of Andy Pettitte, who did not have good stuff.

* The New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-2 at the new Citi Field in Queens.

* The Washington Nationals beat the Boston Red Sox, 9-3 at Nationals Park in Washington.

* The Cincinnati Reds beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-5 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

* The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 10-4 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

* The Florida Marlins beat the Baltimore Orioles, 11-3 at what's now called Hard Rock Stadium in the Miami suburb of Miami Gardens, Florida.

* The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-2 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

* The Detroit Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs, 6-5 at Comerica Park in Detroit.

* The Chicago White Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-5 in 13 innings at U.S. Cellular (now Guaranteed Rate) Field in Chicago.

* The Minnesota Twins beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-4 at Miller Park (now American Family Field) in Milwaukee.

* The Houston Astros beat the Kansas City Royals, 5-4 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

* The Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-8 in 12 innings at Chase Field in Phoenix.

* And the Seattle Mariners beat the San Diego Padres, 9-3 at Safeco Field (now T-Mobile Park) in Seattle.

* The Colorado Rockies, the Los Angeles Angels, the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants were not scheduled for that day.

Scores On This Historic Day: June 25, 1950, The Korean War Begins

June 25, 1950: Troops of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- a.k.a. North Korea, a Communist nation, and by no means democratic or a republic -- cross the the parallel of 38th degrees north latitude, and invade the Republic of Korea -- a.k.a. South Korea, which is capitalist, but hardly free.

Two days later, President Harry S Truman announces that American and other NATO forces will come to the aid of South Korea. The next day, North Korean troops take the South Korean capital of Seoul. But it is not just NATO troops, but 15 United Nations countries that come to the South's aid.

On September 15, Korea has its "D-Day," as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur leads an amphibious landing at Inchon. Within weeks, not only is Seoul liberated, but the North's troops are backed up to the Yalu River, separating the Korean peninsula from the People's Republic of China.

That country then intervenes on behalf of its Communist "little brother." The war becomes a stalemate, lasting 3 years. About 327,000 Americans served in the conflict, and 36,574 were killed, with another 103,000 wounded but surviving.

Coming between the epic of World War II and the more recent national trauma of the Vietnam War, Korea became "the forgotten war." Even the TV series M*A*S*H, running on CBS from 1972 to 1983, didn't help much, as details were frequently gotten wrong.

A memorial to the American troops of the Korean War now stands on the National Mall in Washington, across from a counterpart to the Vietnam War, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Surviving veterans are now age 86 and up.

*

June 25, 1950 was a Sunday. It was the off-season for the NFL, the NBA and the NHL. But, being a Sunday, not only was a full slate of Major League Baseball games played, but there were some doubleheaders:

* The New York Yankees split a doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, which was renamed Tiger Stadium in 1961. In the opener, Joe DiMaggio and Hank Bauer supported Eddie Lopat with home runs, allowing him to beat Hal Newhouser, and the Yankees won, 8-2. In the nightcap, Tommy Henrich hit a home run, but Vic Raschi allowed a 3-run homer by Hoot Evers in the 8th inning, and the Tigers won, 6-3.

* The New York Giants got swept by the Cincinnati Reds in a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. The Reds won the 1st game 6-3, and the 2nd game 6-4.

* The Brooklyn Dodgers played only 1 game, and, apparently, it was a football game. They lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 16-11 at Ebbets Field. Don Newcombe didn't get out of the 3rd inning for the Brooks, and Vernon Law, winner of the Cy Young Award and the World Series 10 years later, only went 4. Gil Hodges hit a home run for Dem Bums, but Ralph Kiner hit 2 and Ted Beard 1 for the Buccos.

* The Boston Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0 at Braves Field. Vern Bickford pitched a 5-hit shutout.

* A doubleheader was split at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. The Chicago Cubs won the 1st game 11-8, and the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2nd game 2-1.

* A doubleheader was split at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The Cleveland Indians won the 1st game 7-6, and the Washington Senators won the 2nd game 5-3.

* A doubleheader was split at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The Chicago White Sox won the 1st game 7-6, and the Philadelphia Athletics won the 2nd game 13-4.

* And the Boston Red Sox swept a doubleheader from the St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. The Sox won the 1st game 11-5, and the 2nd game 8-2.

This invasion took place during the World Cup in Brazil. In Group Stage games:

* America lost to Spain, 3-1 at Estádio Vila Capanema in Curitiba.

* England beat Chile, 2-0 at Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. 

* Sweden beat Italy, 3-2 at Estádio do Pacaembu in São Paulo.

* And Yugoslavia beat Switerland, 3-0 at Estádio Independência in Belo Horizonte.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Scores On This Historic Day: June 22, 1986, Diego Maradona's "Hand of God"

June 22, 1986: A World Cup Quarterfinal match is played between England and Argentina, at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. In the 51st minute, Argentina's star, Diego Maradona, slaps the ball with his left hand, and it goes past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, giving Argentina a 1-0 lead.

The referee, Ali Bin Nasser of Tunisia, gave the goal. There was no VAR in those days. Maradona's postgame comments gave the goal its name: "The Hand of God." It is the most famous cheat in the history of sports on planet Earth.

Five minutes later, with the England players still in angry shock, Maradona scored again, a dizzying display of dribbling ending with a great shot that became known as "The Goal of the Century." Gary Lineker scored in the 81st minute, but England got no closer, and were out, 2-1.

If Nasser had correctly waved the 1st goal off, would Maradona have scored the 2nd? Would the England players have been able to stop him? Would they then have won 1-0 thanks to Lineker's goal? Would they then have beaten Belgium in the Semifinal, as Argentina did? Would they then have beaten West Germany in the Final, as Argentina did? We'll never know.

Maradona died last year, a few days after his 60th birthday. His unrepentant treachery lives on.

*

June 22, 1986 was a Sunday. Another World Cup Quarterfinal was played that day: At Estadio Cuauhtémoc in Puebla, Belgium beat Spain 5-4 on penalties, after regulation play ended 1-1.

It was the off-season for the NFL. The NBA season had recently wrapped up, with the Boston Celtics having beaten the Houston Rockets for the title. The NHL season was also over, with the Montreal Canadiens having beat the Calgary Flames for the Stanley Cup.

It was the 10th time the Celts and the Habs had won their leagues' titles in the same year. It remains the last. That's the most times any pairings of champions has happened in North American sports. (The Yankees and the Canadiens have both won 5 times, the Yankees and Celtics only 3 times.)

There was a full slate of Major League Baseball games played that day:

* The New York Yankees, at least in terms of the scoreboard, had an even worse day than England. They lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 15-1 at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. Current Yankee star Willie Randolph hit a home run off future Yankee star Jimmy Key in the 1st inning. That was all the Yanks would get, as the Jays pounded Joe Niekro, Bob Shirley and Ed Whitson.

* The New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-2 at Shea Stadium.

* The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-4 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

* The Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-0 at Fenway Park in Boston. Storm Davis (7 2/3rds innings) and Don Aase combined on a 3-hit shutout.

* The Montreal Expos beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 2-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

* The Cincinnati Reds beat the Atlanta Braves, 5-2 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

* The Chicago White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners, 10-4 at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

* The Milwaukee Brewers beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-4 at Milwaukee County Stadium.

* The Kansas City Royals beat the California Angels, 7-4 at Royals (now Kauffman) Stadium in Kansas City.

* The Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-1 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

* The Texas Rangers beat the Oakland athletics, 5-4 at Arlington Stadium in the Dallas suburb of Arlington, Texas.

* The San Diego Padres beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-4 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

* The era of Sunday doubleheaders was long past, but one was played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The San Francisco Giants swept the Houston Astros, winning the 1st game 4-2 and the 2nd game 3-2.

Scores On This Historic Day: June 22, 1969, Judy Garland Dies

June 22, 1969: Judy Garland dies in London, in a house she was renting for a nightclub run in the city. She was 47 years old. The cause was an overdose of barbiturates, and she had battled drug problems for years.

Born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (not the one in Michigan) on June 10, 1922, she was a teenage star in Hollywood, starring in The Wizard of Oz in 1939 and 3 Andy Hardy movies with Mickey Rooney from 1938 to 1941. (As with Charo's 10 appearances on The Love Boat, it only seems like she was in more Andy Hardy movies.) But she was treated horribly by her studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, including being told to take diet pills to lose weight, starting a cycle of dependency that would eventually kill her.

She starred in Meet Me In St. Louis in 1944. It was directed by Vincente Minnelli, who soon became the 2nd of her 5 husbands. In 1948, she starred with Fred Astaire in Easter Parade. In 1954, she starred in the 2nd (or, depending on whose definition you follow, the 3rd) version of A Star Is Born. Her concerts at New York's Palace Theatre in 1951 and Carnegie Hall in 1961 are considered legendary. But she could never stay on top for long.

Due to Judy's status as a gay icon -- she wasn't gay, but gay people have often seen something of their own struggles in hers, and her song "Over the Rainbow" is one of the reasons the Gay Pride flag is a rainbow -- it has frequently been remarked that her death was one of the sparks of the Stonewall Uprising, 6 days afterward. This is a myth: The Uprising had nothing to do with it.

Judy had 3 children. By the time she died, her daughter Liza Minnelli, then 23, had already become a singing and acting star in her own right. She, too, developed issues with weight and substance abuse, but has overcome them, and reached the age of 75.

Lorna Luft also became a singer and an actress, and has also become an author. She is 68, and has survived cancer. And Joey Luft, 66, tried acting, but turned to directing.

*

June 22, 1969 was a Sunday. This was the off-season for the NFL, the NBA, the ABA and the NHL. But a full slate of Major League Baseball games was played. More than that, as this was still the era of Sunday doubleheaders:

* The New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 5-3 at Fenway Park in Boston. No home runs, but Roy White had 3 hits and 2 RBIs, including an RBI single in the top of the 10th inning, making Jack Aker the winning pitcher in relief of Bill Burbach.

* The New York Mets swept a doubleheader from the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium. The Metropolitans won the 1st game 5-1, getting 3 hits each from Bud Harrelson, Cleon Jones and Jerry Grote, allowing Gary Gentry to get the win over Steve Carlton. They won the 2nd game 1-0, as Jerry Koosman pitched a 7-hit shutout.

* A doubleheader was split at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. The Pittsburgh Pirates won the 1st game 6-0, as Dock Ellis pitched a 6-hit shutout, with 10 strikeouts and only 1 walk. The Philadelphia Phillies won the 2nd game 3-2.

* A doubleheader was split at Atlanta (later Atlanta-Fulton County) Stadium. The San Francisco Giants won the 1st game 5-1, and the Atlanta Braves won the 2nd game 7-5.

* A doubleheader was split at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The Cleveland Indians won the 1st game 3-2, and the Baltimore Orioles won the 2nd game 6-0. Dave Leonard pitched a 3-hit shutout.

* The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-0 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati. Bill Singer pitched a 5-hit shutout.

* The Washington Senators swept a doubleheader from the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The Senators won the 1st game 9-4, and the 2nd game 9-5.

* A doubleheader was split at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Chicago Cubs won the 1st game 7-6, and the Montreal Expos won the 2nd game 5-4.

* The Houston Astros beat the San Diego Padres, 2-0 at the Astrodome in Houston. Denny Lemaster pitched a 5-hit shutout.

* The Chicago White Sox beat the California Angels, 1-0 at Anaheim Stadium (now Angel Stadium of Anaheim). Billy Wynne pitched a 7-hit shutout.

* A doubleheader was split at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics won the 1st game 7-3. The Minnesota Twins won the 2nd game 4-3, with Jim Perry pitching 12 innings, then helping his own cause by bunting Tony Oliva home in the top of the 13th.

* And the Seattle Pilots beat their American League expansion brethren, the Kansas City Royals, 5-1 at Sick's Stadium in Seattle. Tommy Davis hit a home run, and Marty Pattin was loose, quack, smoking them inside. Pattin was relieved in the 7th. Who was brought in to replace him? Jim "Super Knuck" Bouton? Nah: Bob "Snot" Locker. The Pilots zitzed 'em, and then went to pound some Budweiser.