July 18, 1996: If you've visited Mike Aldrete's career stats page, you might have noticed an inning pitched listed amongst his career record. Well, you read correctly. Mike did pitch one inning in 1996. It came in the 8th inning of a 16-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on July 18th.
Dwight Gooden started, but lasted only 4.2 innings, surrendering 10 runs (5 earned) on six hits and eight walks.
Jim Mecir relieved, but only managed 1.1 innings, surrendering another 4 runs. By the time he left, the score was 14-1 Milwaukee and
Dale Polley came on to start the 7th.
Polley escaped the 8th allowing only a two out single to Greg Vaughn. However, he started the ninth with a walk to Jose Valentin and a double to
Pat Listach. Valentin would score after Jesse Levis reached on an error. Torre then decided instead of looking to the bullpen to keep the score at 15-4, he'd look to right field where Mike Aldrete replaced
Paul O'Neill in the bottom of the 7th.
Darryl Strawberry moved from DH to RF meaning the Yankees lost their DH, which would hurt them in the case of a 11-run rally in the 9th.
So, with no out and runners on first and third, Aldrete toed the rubber to face Fernando Vina. After three pickoff attempts, Mike finally delivered a long awaited Ball one. After a called strike, Vina fouled off the next offering. Vina worked the count to 2-2 then skied a sac fly to left, scoring Listach.
Mark Loretta was up next and singled to right on an 0-1 count. Mike Metheny followed by flying to Strawberry in right on a 1-1 count for the second out. Dave Nilsson then grounded to
Jim Leyritz at third on a 1-1 count, ending the inning as well as Mike Aldrete's only outing as a pitcher in Major League baseball.
Natalie from the Bronx was at the game where Mike
pitched and remembers it well. On April 23, 2007 she wrote: "What's funny about this is that I actually remember this game like it was yesterday. The one thing I don't remember was Jim Leyritz playing third. I know he was the Yankees catcher if I'm not mistaken. But that game just was wacky...double digit loss...a catcher playing third and an outfielder on the mound...very wacky, but funny" [Editor's Note: Jim Leyritz played 105 games at third base in his career. In his first two years in the majors (1990 and 1991) he was primarily a third baseman appearing 87 times at third in 124 games. In 1996, he played 13 games at third...including the Mike Aldrete pitching game.]