June 8, 1927 "Tony Lazzeri becomes the first Yankee to hit three home runs in one game, including a ninth-inning blast that ties the game. The round-tripper closes a five-run deficit, and New York beats the White Sox in the 11th inning at the Stadium, 12-11."
Lazzeri Clouts Three Homers as Yanks Win
This day in Yankees history: June 8
Excerpt from the www.yesnetwork.com article:
"1927: Lazzeri is first Yankee with three-homer game"
"Tony Lazzeri becomes the first player in Yankees history to hit three home runs in one game. He does it against the White Sox, including an inside-the-park homer in the eighth inning and the game-tying two-run blast in the bottom of the ninth as the Yankees force extra innings with five runs in the frame. After Cedric Durst leads off the bottom of the 11th with a triple, Lazzeri steps to the plate with a chance for his fourth long ball, but he is intentionally walked. Ray Morehart is up next with runners on the corners, and he singles to right. The Yankees win, 12-11. For Lazzeri, it is the first of two three-homer games during his Hall of Fame career."
Excerpts from the sabr.org article:
"Day after day at Salt Lake City, Utah in 1925, Bill Essick, a scout for the New York Yankees, watched a young infielder named Tony Lazzeri. Essick reported to Ed Barrow, the Yankees’ business manager (general manager) that Lazzeri was hitting the ball exceptionally well, batting .355 and hitting 60 home runs.
“But the air is thin out there,” Barrow told Essick."
“The air may be thin but this player is solid,” Essick responded."
"Scouts from all the major leagues were watching Lazzeri. Most also felt that the altitude in Salt Lake City helped Lazzeri’s batting average. They were wary of signing him, knowing other recent players with impressive numbers playing in that altitude had not succeeded. But there was another reason the scouts shied away: Lazzeri was an epileptic."
"Growing up in Cow Hollow, Tony Lazzeri often got into fights. “I guess I was a pretty tough kid,” recalled Lazzeri. “The neighborhood wasn’t one in which a boy was likely to grow up a sissy, for it was always fight or get licked, and I never got licked.”
"The New York Yankees took an interest in the young slugger. At that time the Salt Lake City club had a working arrangement with the Chicago Cubs. Knowing that Lazzeri had epileptic episodes off the field, the Cubs were afraid to buy him. The Cincinnati Reds also passed him up, and Garry Hermann, owner of the Reds, wrote to Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert and told him why his club had not bought Lazzeri."
"Ed Barrow sent Ed Holly, another scout, to Salt Lake City to look at Lazzeri. Holly reported he was sensational. He also confirmed reports about Lazzeri’s medical disorder. Wanting to know more, Holly went on to San Francisco and looked into Lazzeri’s family history. Barrow, meanwhile, sent head scout Paul Krichell to Salt Lake City to watch Lazzeri. He also asked Bob Connery, president of the St. Paul Baseball Club of the American Association to see Lazzeri play."
"Barrow received good reports. Holly found that no other members of his family were affected and that Lazzeri’s insurance company was willing to increase his policy. Connery reported that Lazzeri was great. Krichell also told Barrow that the stories about Lazzeri’s episodes, or fits as they were known, occurred only off the field."
“As long as he doesn’t take fits between three and six in the afternoon, that’s good enough for me,” said Barrow."
"As it turned out, Lazzeri’s epilepsy never affected him on the playing field. The public never knew he had the disorder."
"Ed Barrow purchased Lazzeri’s contract from Salt Lake City in the fall of 1925 for players Frank Zoeller and Mack Hillis and $50,000, a considerable amount of money at that time. Subsequently, Lazzeri signed a contract with the Yankees for $5,000 on March 30, 1926, and reported to Spring Training at St. Petersburg, Florida. Lazzeri was 22 years old."
"...on August 6, 1946, after returning home from a short vacation out of town, Mrs. Lazzeri found her husband slumped on the landing of their home in San Francisco, California. Sadly, the former Yankee infielder had died alone of a heart attack at the age of 42.
Excerpts from the baseballhall.org article:
"Tony Lazzeri played for six New York Yankees pennant winners from 1926-37, batting .293 with 169 home runs during his 12 seasons in pinstripes. Lazzeri, though, temporarily quit baseball in 1923, when as a 19-year-old he grew disillusioned with being shuttled back and forth between minor league posts. But he secured regular play with Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League in 1924, and with the same club in ’25 the San Francisco native enjoyed a season for the ages, batting a robust .355 while setting PCL records that still stand with 60 home runs, 222 RBI and 202 runs scored. Lazzeri played in 197 games that year."
"He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991."
Tony Lazzeri gets inducted into Cooperstown
Tony Lazzeri Stats