This Day in Yankee History: April 15, 1998
As we continue to wait to see when or even if Major League Baseball will be played in 2020, much of the discussion has shifted to how it might be played. This has included one of the latest ideas, to play all the games in Florida and Arizona. This made me think of another time the Yankees were forced to play a home game somewhere other than the Bronx, though this one wasn’t that far away.
In 1998, the home to one of the best teams in Yankee history was falling apart. After the City of New York told the Yankees they couldn’t play games in the Stadium until it was fixed, the Yankees made a deal with the Mets. On April 15, 1998, the Yankees jogged onto the field at Shea Stadium in their pinstripes for a noon start against the Angels.
There were quite a few on the Yankees’ roster who were plenty familiar with Shea. David Cone had pitched for the Mets, Mel Stottlemeyer was their pitching coach, and Joe Torre had managed the Mets from 1977-1981. Darryl Strawberry had played right field and won the World Series with the Mets, though on this particular day he would go 3-4 as the DH for the Yankees.
David Wells took the mound that day and threw a solid eight innings. He gave up three runs, on four hits and one walk. Each run was a solo homer. Jeff Nelson closed out the game by pitching a scoreless ninth and picking up the save.
On offense, the Yankees took a quick lead in the first inning. Paul O’Neill singled in Chuck Knoblauch and then Tino Martinez doubled in O’Neill for the 2-0 lead, which the Yankees would not relinquish. Strawberry, feeling quite at home at Shea, drove out a solo homer in the fifth, giving the Yankees a 6-0 lead. Eventually, the Yankees won 6-3.
The Mets would take their home field at 7:05 pm to play the Cubs. While they also were successful, winning 2-1, only 16,012 people attended it nightcap, while 40,743 people saw the Yankees beat the Angels. Either way, it was a good day for New York baseball.