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Birthday Baseball (An Occasional Series): Game 23 – July 12, 2002

By now our readers know the story… I am looking back to see how the Yankees performed on my birthday each year since I’ve been born and then telling the story of what took place on that summer day.

As always, whenever I do research like this, my first two stops are always Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference.

Let’s head back to 2002…


Friday, July 12, 2002 saw the Yankees playing the Indians the second of four games at Jacobs Field against the Cleveland Indians. This was the first series the teams were playing after the All-Star Break.

The Yankees had one the previous day (July 11) 7-4 and enjoyed a 56-32 record. The Indians were 39-48.

For this game, the Yankees started Roger Clemens (8-3) against Danny Baez (7-6).

The Yankees sent the following lineup out for this contest:

Alfonso Soriano – 2b

Derek Jeter – ss

Jason Giambi – dh

Bernie Williams – cf

Raul Mondesi – rf

Robin Ventura – 3b

Jorge Posada – c

Rondell White -lf

Nick Johnson – 1b

The Indians countered with the following:

Chris Magruder – rf

Omar Visquel – ss

Ellis Burks – dh

Lee Stevens – 1b

Travis Fryman – 3b

Milton Bradley – cf

Ricky Gutierrez – 2b

Ben Broussard – lf

Einar Diaz – c


In the top of the first, the Yankees managed to get a one-out single from Derek Jeter, but that was all of the offense they would muster.

The Indians went down in order with Ellis Burks striking out.

In the top of the second, the Yankees got a one-out walk from Robin Ventura, but that was it.

The Indians went down in order.

Both teams went down in order in the third.

In the fourth, the Yankees got a one-out walk from Bernie Williams but that was it.

The Indians got a single from Chris Magruder (who also stole second base). That was all.

The Yankees finally scored in their half of the fifth inning. Rondell White singled. Nick Johnson then singled him to third where he scored on an Alfonso Soriano sacrifice fly. That brought up Derek Jeter. During Jeter’s at bat, Nick Johnson (Nick Johnson!) was caught stealing to end the inning.

The Indians got a two-out double from Ricky Gutierrez, but nothing more. Roger Clemens struck out two Indians that inning.

In the sixth inning, with one out, the Yankees got singled from Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams. During a Raul Mondesi strikeout, Giambi and Williams both stole a base. (Jason Giambi stole third base! In consecutive innings, the Yankees had Nick Johnson and Jason Giambi attempt stolen bases. That had to be the only time in history that ever happened.)

(Just because I had to know… In 2002, Jason Giambi stole two bases. His other successful steal came when he stole second base against the Orioles on June 25.)

Ramiro Mendoza came in to pitch for the Yankees in the sixth inning. He recorded four outs as Omar Visquel reached base on a dropped third strike, but no other damage was done.

In the Yankees’ seventh, Rondell White reached base with one out one an E-5. He advanced to second on a ground out and went to third on a wild pitch. He didn’t score though.

The Indians went down in order against Mendoza.

The Yankees went down in order in the top of the 8th (now against Paul Shuey).

In the bottom of the 8th, the Indians threatened…

Ricky Gutierrez singled to end Ramiro Mendoza’s night. Mike Stanton then came in.

Stanton retired pinch-hitter Jim Thome and Einer Diaz before giving up a ground ball single to Chris Magruder. With runners on first and second and two outs, the Yankees called in Mariano Rivera to face Omar Vizquel. John McDonald went in to pinch-run for Gutierrez.

Visquel singled to tie the game.

Ellis Burks then struck out to end the inning.

The Yanks failed to score in the ninth going down in order against Bob Wickman.

In their half of the ninth, the Indians managed two walks off the great Mariano, but no runs.

In the tenth, the Yankees went down in order against Mark Wohlers.

By the bottom of the tenth, the Indians had had enough. Now facing Steve Karsay, Einer Diaz led off with a single. Following a failed sacrifice bunt by Chris Magruder, Omar Vizquel tripled to win the game for the Clevelanders.


Next we head to 2003 with the Yankees heading to Toronto and giving Mike Mussina the ball…


Yankees Record on July 12 (in this series – since 1968): 18-5

(There were no games played on July 12 in 1971, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2000.)

Derek Jeter on July 12 (to date): 6 for 16 (.375), 3 runs, 3 RBI, 3 SO, 2 BB

Mariano Rivera on July 12 (to date): 2 innings, no runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 save, 1 blown save (0.00)

Don Mattingly on July 12 (in his career on July 12): 12 for 31 (.387), 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB, SO

Graig Nettles (as a Yankee on July 12): 33 AB, 7 hits (.212), 1 run, 5 strikeouts, 4 walks. 1 RBI (I had hoped that my favorite player would have done better on my birthday.)


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