Since today is the official release date of Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought it could be fun to see how the Yankees have fared on days when the other Star Wars films (original and prequels) came out, because up until this new movie, they were all released, in either late-May or mid-June, for the summer movie season.
Up first, we have the original Star Wars, which was released on Wednesday May 25, 1977. On that day, the Yankees split a twi-night doubleheader at the Stadium with the Texas Rangers. The Yankees won the first game, 3-2, thanks to a Thurman Munson RBI single, a Roy White home run, and a Bucky Dent RBI double. Gil Patterson picked up the win and Sparky Lyle, the save. For the Rangers, Mike Hargrove and Willie Horton had an RBI apiece and Bert Blyleven was the losing pitcher. In the second game of the double dip, the starters, Gaylord Perry for the Rangers, and Mike Torrez for the Yanks, both pitched complete games, but Perry came out on top 1-0. The Rangers scored in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly and the Yankees only had three chances with runners in scoring position.
On the day when The Empire Strikes Back was released, Friday June 20, 1980, the Yankees played the Oakland Athletics and beat them 15-7. This was an ugly night for pitching on both squads with 27 hits combined between the two teams. Reggie Jackson, Jim Spencer and Johnny Oates all hit homers for the Yankees. They were up 10-4 going into the bottom of the eighth when they tacked on five runs. Oakland scored three in the top of the ninth, but that wasn't enough to catch the Yankees who went on to win their 43rd game of the season. Luis Tiant got the win, Steve McCatty got the loss, and Ron Davis picked up a save even though he gave up three runs on four hits in that ninth inning. The save stat is a funny one, isn't it?
The third movie of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi was released on Wednesday May 25, 1983 and on that day, the Yankees lost to the California Angels, 7-1. Ken Griffey hit a home run to score the only run for the Yanks in Anaheim that day, and Shane Rawley picked up the loss in 5 2/3 innings of work. He gave up seven runs on nine hits (six of the runs were earned), he walked four, struck out three and gave up two home runs - one to Ellis Valentine and the other to Bobby Grich. Tommy John on the other hand, pitched a complete game for the Angels. He gave up nine hits, the one run on Griffey's home run in the third inning, struck out two and walked one.
Years later, when Don Mattingly was entering his third season of retirement, the first prequel in the second trilogy, The Phantom Menace was released on May 19, 1999. The reason I mention Mattingly is because when RoTJ was first released into theaters, Mattingly played in 91 games that season (after debuting in September 1982) and by the time PM was released, he was out of baseball completely. It just shows you how much time had actually passed between the trilogies. Anyway, on that day in May 1999, the Yankees lost to the Red Sox, 6-0. Brian Rose was the winning pitcher and Hideki Irabu, was the loser. Jason Varitek hit two home runs for the Sox - the first off Irabu and the second off Ramiro Mendoza - and John Valentin, Troy O'Leary and Reggie Jefferson all picked up RBI. The Yankees had eight hits, with Jorge Posada picking up three all by himself.
When the second prequel in the second trilogy, Attack of the Clones was released on May 16, 2002 the Yankees had themselves a day and beat the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays 13-0. To be honest, I didn't recognize about 75% of Tampa's lineup when I looked up the boxscore and I watched a lot of baseball in 2002. In any event, the poor, hapless Rays were held to three hits and committed four errors. Jason Tyner had one hit and Jason Conti had two. The losing pitcher was Ryan Rupe who gave up seven runs in three innings. His replacement, Jason Standridge didn't fare much better - he also gave up seven hits in three innings. And finally there was Jorge Sosa who pitched two innings for the Rays and only gave up one run - but he also had two wild pitches and he hit Jason Giambi with a pitch. David Wells, who picked up his sixth win of the year, pitched a complete game for the Yankees
And finally, when Revenge of the Sith was released on May 19, 2005, the Yankees had earned themselves a day off. Fine, it wasn't earned, it was scheduled.
So there you have it, the Yankees are .500 on the days when movies in the Stars Wars franchise open. And since, I'm trying to be a more positive person, maybe that means something good can happen today and the record can swing it in our favor again? Like a good trade out of nowhere? A girl can dream.
[Please note: I didn't include the many re-releases of the films. The original Star Wars was re-released four different times even before the re-release of the original trilogy in 1997. And when the original trilogy came out that year, they were put back into theaters in the order they originally came out in January, February and March of 1997 respectively.]