Jul
18

A weekend of celebrating the past

By

After attending Old Timers’ Day in 2007, last year’s All Star Game and the final game at Yankee Stadium, I was old-timered out. There are, after all, so many times I could sit through watching the Yanks trot out a bunch of retired baseball players. But as Old Timers’ Day 2009 rolls around, one day after the tenth anniversary of David Cone’s perfect game, this weekend is a good one for Bronx baseball history.

On the David Cone, the ex-Yankee and current YES broadcaster will throw out the first pitch of today’s game. It was July 18, 1999, a Sunday, that David Cone secured his place in baseball history. Facing a young Expos squad, Cone needed just 88 pitches to face 27 batters that day. Scott Brosius caught the last out of the game off the bat of Orlando Cabrera in foul territory, and Cone was mobbed by Joe Girardi and the rest of his teammates.

To me, what sticks out most about that game was the way it ended. I spent that Sunday afternoon with my mom and sister at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphonic Orchestra in Lenox, Massachusetts. When the 2:30 concert ended, I turned on my walkman and heard John Sterling say that David Cone was just three outs away from a perfect game. I blurted out the news, and the only people to react were my family members. A lawn full of people could have cared less.

After the perfect game, Cone would pitch in 73 more games but with little success. He went 16-29 with a 5.57 ERA, and it always seemed to me that he had sold his baseball soul for that perfect game. Now and then, he would flash his best stuff, but that was the apex of his Yankee career. Over at The Times’ Lens blog, sports photographer Barton Silverman remembers covering the perfect game.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Yankees will welcome back a bunch of old timers for the annual Old Timers’ Day festivities. The team announced some interesting additions yesterday. Mike Mussina, Don Zimmer and Mel Stottlemyre will all make their Old Timers’ Day debuts. You may remember Mike Mussina from such classic Yankee seasons as 2008, and unless Angel Berroa returns for the game, he will be the most recent former Yankee at the stadium on Sunday.

More intriguing are the Zimmer and Stottlemyre returns. Both coaches left on bad terms with the Steinbrenners. Zimmer and George got into some very public feuds following the 2003 season, and the Yanks haven’t really been the same since he left. Zimmer, if I recall correctly, swore never to return with George around. Stottlemyre resigned following the 2005 and was public about his disdain for George Steinbrenner. What the return of these two key members of the Yankee Dynasty coaching staff says about George Steinbrenner’s current state, I will leave for you to decide.

Categories : Days of Yore
  • scoopemup

    If I’m not mistaken,Cone was the opposing pitcher for the Red Sox in the Mike Mussina near perfect game, in 2001, a week before 9/11.
    Maybe he did sell his soul.

  • Zach

    Not trying to make a joke but maybe Zimmer/Mel want to bury the hatchet with George before, well he is pretty old so you get my point.

  • RAB poster

    David Cone deserved that. A situation where a good guy finished first.

    People forget not only was there the magic of Yogi Berra Day and Larsen in the house, remember back in 99′. Pitch count of 85. Seven innings of no hit ball, then…REMOVED by Joe Torre. He took it great, but there were tears in his eyes.

    He deserved that perfect game.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      A minor correction: I think that was 1996. It was the start of his return after missing four months due to the aneurysm.

      • RAB poster

        You’re right. My bad.

    • Accent Shallow

      And Mariano Rivera, of all people, let up a single to end the no-hit bid in that game.

  • Whozat

    I’m in town for both games this weekend. My first at the new digs. What food should I get to complement my expensive beers?

    • pat

      If you have some extra loot you need the prime rib sandwich from Lobels. It’s like 15 bucks which is ridiculous but it is delish. If that’s not your thang, I enjoyed the garlic fries.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    7-18-99

    I was in camp, and this was the first year campers could recieve emails from their parents along with the normal letters.

    So a couple times a week my dad would email me the score of the game, and the article after if something important had happened.

    I got the email about Cone’s perfect game in the middle of shower hour–since that was also mail time. I was standing, wrapped in a towel, in the middle of the bunk, reading it again and again trying to make sense of why it was so important.

    I had to read it about three times before the “6-0″ score and “Cone perfect” headline made sense.

    And then I tried to celebrate, but my cabinful of girls was very, very not interested…

  • Joltin’ Joe

    I was there… at the tender age of 9

    • RAB poster

      Were you a big enough fan to know what you had just witnessed, or were you too young?

  • Rob H.

    I was at a New Haven Ravens game back when the Rockies had their minor league affiliate there. I spent more time watching the TV with the perfect game on, than I did the game I was actually at.

  • Jay

    George usually always welcomes back ex yankees even if he did have fueds with them like he did with yogi. Yogi said he would never step foot at yankee stadium with Steinbrenner as the owner, obviously that changed.