Old Timers Day is special every single year, but this year there were plenty of stand out moments, from Willie Randolph being honored to another player earning a plaque in Monument Park despite the public being in the dark about it. Here were a few standout moments from yesterday’s Old Timers Day:
— We all expected Willie Randolph to be inducted into Monument Park, but we weren’t expecting possibly one of the greatest speeches a player has given after they’ve been inducted into the Yankees version of the Hall-of-Fame. He started his speech off with “I love you, too” (regarding the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation) and as a way to interact with the fans, he gave the Bleacher Creatures a shout out. During the Old Timers Game, Randolph proved he still got it, notching a single and scoring a run (he even scored with a slide, which I thought was impressive).
— While everyone knew about Randolph being honored in Monument Park, almost everyone was in the dark about Mel Stottlemyre being enshrined into Monument Park, even Stottlemyre. Stottlemyre, who’s been battling cancer, was escorted on the field by Andy Pettitte, who flew into the city once he heard the Yankees were planning on honoring his former pitching coach. Stottlemyre said should this be his final Old Timers Day, “I will start another baseball club, coaching up there, whenever they need me.”
— For 161 games a year (and even more games if you count the postseason), it’s really hard to picture Joe Girardi as anything other than the manager of the New York Yankees. But last night, Girardi was an Old Timer and Girardi looked forward to meeting with everyone again.
“You can go six months, nine months, a year, a couple of years without talking to someone that you necessarily played with, and it’s like there’s no time that has elapsed at all,” Girardi said before yesterday’s game. “There’s a bond that’s always formed between the players and the team … it just seems like yesterday, in a sense, that you were sitting down and talking to him maybe in the clubhouse.”
— Finally, Paul O’Neill still knows how to track down baseballs and John Flaherty still knows how to catch. O’Neill made a great play in right field–and after his catch he interacted with the fans, and it looked like Flaherty couldn’t have been more comfortable behind home plate. Of course, they both had to go back to the YES Network booth following the Old Timers Game last night, but at least everyone got to hear the story of how O’Neill didn’t bring a glove with him to the stadium despite knowing he was going to be in a baseball game. (By the way, Garrett Jones has to be one lucky guy because O’Neill borrowed his glove).