This post is a personal trip down memory lane and not stats based – I promise I will do one of those soon.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
I was a couple weeks shy of my 9th birthday when I finally attended my first Yankee game(s).
At the time, I was very frustrated with my father for waiting so long to take me to Yankee Stadium. I also remember thinking it was because I was a girl and that if his first born child were male, he’d have been to a few games by then.
My dad made up for it by taking me to a single admission doubleheader in August 1983. The Yankees were scheduled to play the Toronto Blue Jays and on top of being able to see two games in one day, my dad also invited Joe, the boy I had a crush on to go with us, along with two of my other male friends, Billy and John.
As a young girl, I led a double life, so to speak. I did girly things like play with Barbies and gossip about boys during lunch with my girlfriends but I also traded baseball cards and played kickball with the boys during recess.
We had passed the Stadium many times while taking trips into the city or out to Long Island to visit relatives so it wasn’t like I hadn’t seen it before. It always seemed so enormous to me and when I walked inside for the first time it was even bigger than I had imagined. 9-year-old Stacey was in total awe.
I soaked in as much as I could as we made our way to our seats. The grass seemed so much greener in person than it did on TV. And the blue outfield walls were more vibrant in person. The scoreboard was massive and home plate seemed so far away from our seats. I didn’t want to sit down, I wanted to explore.
Our seats were in the first row of the second to last section in left field at field level. In those days, the wall extended all the way back to the seats – there was no space for balls to fall into, no plexiglass, no fold up chairs – so if anything were to be hit our way, we’d catch it. Well, not me, as much as I loved sports as a little girl, I wasn’t allowed to participate because I had eye issues and my hand/eye coordination was pretty poor. That made playing the outfield in kickball during recess quite the adventure.
Anyway, without further adieu, here is the first New York Yankees lineup I saw in action:
|Willie Randolph 2B||5||2||3||0||0||0||.279||.719||GDP|
|Graig Nettles 3B||5||1||1||0||0||2||.256||.799|
|Dave Winfield LF||5||3||3||2||0||1||.273||.844||2B|
|Oscar Gamble DH||4||1||2||3||0||0||.304||.952||HR,HBP|
|Butch Wynegar C||5||0||2||2||0||0||.309||.846|
|Steve Kemp RF||5||0||0||0||0||0||.258||.748|
|Don Mattingly 1B||4||0||2||0||0||1||.333||.857||2B|
|Jerry Mumphrey CF||2||1||0||0||2||0||.264||.736|
|Andre Robertson SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||.259||.626||SH|
A few of the names are very recognizable to people now – Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Willie Randolph, and Graig Nettles – and others aren’t as recognizable, unless those people are diehard baseball fans like us.
Mattingly had only been up a little while at that point, Randolph and Nettles were mainstays from bygone Bronx Zoo era and Winfield was Winfield.
The Yankees were fortunate in that first game. Their starter, Ron Guidry, pitched a complete game which is a luxury during a doubleheader.
I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see any home runs in that first game. It wasn’t that the Yankees didn’t hit any, we just made an ill-timed bathroom and food break – but luckily for me (and everyone else in attendance), the Yankees made up for it in Game Two.
(Edited: I left a whole sentence out about an ill-timed bathroom/food break in the third which caused us all to miss Oscar Gamble’s home run. At that point my dad probably was regretting bringing that many kids to a game with no one to help him out.)
Here’s the lineup for that game:
|Willie Randolph 2B||4||1||1||0||1||0||.278||.717|
|Graig Nettles 3B||5||1||2||0||0||3||.258||.802||2B|
|Larry Milbourne 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||.217||.518|
|Dave Winfield LF||4||2||1||1||1||1||.273||.850||HR|
|Ken Griffey 1B||3||2||3||4||2||0||.339||.860||HR|
|Don Baylor DH||5||2||2||1||0||1||.299||.856||HR,SB|
|Don Mattingly RF||5||2||2||1||0||0||.336||.870||2·2B|
|Jerry Mumphrey CF||3||1||0||0||2||0||.261||.733|
|Rick Cerone C||5||0||2||1||0||0||.205||.548|
|Andre Robertson SS||3||0||0||1||0||2||.256||.619||SF|
You’ll notice a few changes. Namely, Ken Griffey, Don Baylor and Rick Cerone being inserted in place of Mattingly, Oscar Gamble and Butch Wynegar. And no, you’re not seeing things, Don Mattingly was moved into right field for the second game.
That lineup scored 11 runs off of Toronto pitching with Winfield, Griffey and Baylor all going deep – Griffey and Baylor went back-to-back in the bottom of the first. Griffey hit a grand slam to right and Baylor hit a solo shot to left and no, we didn’t catch it. It wasn’t that close to us.
So much for not seeing any home runs that day.
The most amusing thing about that whole day was that I thought the Yankees had won both of those games simply because I was there. What an inflated sense of self for a little girl of 9-years-old but there seemed to be some truth to it for a while.
I had a 10-game winning streak to open my game going experience. That streak ended during a game against the Red Sox in September 1984. I, unfortunately, had developed a fever around the fifth inning just as Boston was in the midst of scoring three runs to go ahead 4-1. (Maybe the run scoring made me ill?)
I remember I didn’t want to leave because even as a kid, I wanted to stay until the last out but it was impossible to do so, as I was growing weaker and weaker by the second.
We ended up listening to the Yankees lose the game during the car ride home – they lost 4-3 – and I, of course, blamed myself for the debacle. Children can be so silly.
If you remember your first game, look it up, take a gander at the lineup and talk about it in the comments. If you’re one of those people who attended a game when you were so little that you don’t actually remember it – I have a friend who claims to have been in her mom’s womb during Dave Righetti‘s no-hitter earlier that year – talk about the first game you remember attending.