Yesterday, I attended Yankees Old-Timers Day. It was a day filled with fun ceremonies, highlighted by Rich "Goose" Gossage getting enshrined in Monument Park. First-time Old Timers included 2009 World Series Champions Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, along with pitcher John "The Count" Montefusco. Reggie Jackson returned after a one-year absence, and he and many other Old Timers took time to speak with or wave to the fans in the packed stadium.
It was especially nice that both managers for the actual Orioles–Yankees game, Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi were also Yankees Old Timers. Showalter managed the team from 1992-1995, and Girardi has been managing the team since 2008. Joe Torre, another former Yankees manager was in the house, too. It was great meeting him in the dugout before the game.
In the annual Old-Timers Day game, the Bombers defeated the Clippers, 7-3. The game was highlighted by a home run off the bat of Jesse Barfield, a rare start by former pitcher David Wells at first base, and a pitching appearance by Matsui. Yes, you heard right: A pitching appearance by Hideki Matsui. Gossage threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the actual game and was honored later with a plaque in Monument Park. The day before, Tino Martinez got a similar celebration.
Another moving moment was when Yogi Berra waved to the crowds from the field. He and Whitey Ford were among the oldest of the Old Timers there, and it was exciting to see them seated together while driving along the warning track in a golf cart during the ceremony.
Max Mannis is a special correspondent for sikids.com and a member of SABR. Catch his posts on advanced baseball statistics. To learn more about SABR and to join, visit www.sabr.org.
Photos courtesy Max Mannis