Freddy Garcia was cruising along in last night’s game until Dewayne Wise launched a two-run homer in the fifth inning. The journeyman outfielder, who was released by the Yankees in July following the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki, must have enjoyed the vindication.
The sight of Wise circling the bases during a game between the Yankees and White Sox is nothing new. On June 30, while still a member of the Bronx Bombers, Wise went 3-3 against Chicago right hander Jake Peavy, including a home run deep into the right field stands. By virtue of his equal opportunity home runs, Wise became only the 11th player in Yankees’ history to play both sides of the fence in a single season series by hitting a ball over it for each team.
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Before Wise’s long ball off Garcia, Raul Mondesi was the last hitter to homer for and against the Yankees and the same opponent during one season. In 2002, Mondesi victimized the Yankees on two occasions before returning the favor against the Blue Jays on August 29. Before that, Cecil Fielder and Ruben Sierra, who were traded for each other, joined the club during the same game on August 9, 1996. Two days later, Fielder also became the only Yankee to ever hit two home runs on both sides of the ledger of an in-season showdown.
Continuing a theme of pairs, Rickey Henderson and Jesse Barfield each completed the circuit in 1989, while Cliff Johnson and Oscar Gamble did the same in 1979. Although Johnson, who was traded after getting into an altercation with Rich Gossage, wound up getting his revenge by belting two home runs against the Yankees on September 18, 1979, the bigger story from that game was an infamous bean ball that Billy Martin reportedly paid $100 to have administered.
Sandwiched between the two duos in 1979 and 1989 was Ken Phelps, who added his name to the list in 1988 by homering against the Yankees as a member of the Mariners in May, and then doubling his pleasure in pinstripes during an August series versus Seattle. Unfortunately, that power display did little to make Yankee fans forget Jay Buhner, the young outfielder they impetuously traded for Phelps.
Along with Fielder and Sierra, Duke Sims also homered against the Yankees and Tigers as a member of each team during the same season. However, Sims’ accomplishment came just under the wire as the catcher homered in his last official at bat of the 1973 season. As it turned out, Sims’ long ball would gain greater notoriety as the last home run ever hit in the original Yankee Stadium.
Before 1973, only one member of the franchise had homered from both sides of an in-season matchup. In 1908, Harry Niles belted four home runs for the New York Highlanders, including one against the Boston Red Sox. However, the second baseman was later traded to Boston, allowing him to return the favor against the Highlanders. For obvious reasons, Niles gets lost in the long history of the Boston-New York rivalry, but he remains the only player to homer against each side during the same season.