Sunday, May 17, 2020

At the Copa on May 17, 1957

On 17 May 2020, "Pinstripe Alley" had the following post about a celebration of Billy Martin's 29th birthday in 1957:

Billy Martin, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Hank Bauer go to the Copacabana night club to celebrate Martin’s birthday in a night that ends in a brawl.

The players and their wives went out to the club to see Sammy Davis Jr. when they encountered some other patrons heckling Davis. After a back-and-forth, a fight broke out, leaving one person with a concussion and broken jaw. The Yankees’ players were fined and a lawsuit was brought against Bauer, but later dropped for lack of evidence.

The incident would become one of the main reasons the Yankees would trade Martin later that season.


The post omits mention of the presence of Johnny Kucks (and wife) [Martin was not married]. The account in the New York Daily News is somewhat different and includes the text:

In the nightclub rhubarb, a 40-year-old delicatessen man — and a Yankee rooter to boot — got slugged in the jaw, giving him visions of a $250,000 damage suit against the Copa and the Yanks' burly Hank Bauer, whom he blamed for the blow.

Even angrier than the battle's only casualty, Edwin Jones of 602 W. 188th St., was Yankee manager Casey Stengel.


"I won't pitch Ford because the whole world knows he was out until 2 in the morning," snapped Casey. "He knew days in advance that he was supposed to pitch this game. He had no right to be out after hours. If I pitched him and he was hit hard, people would wonder what I was doing.

"Berr has been around long enough to know better. The way he's been hitting he could use a rest instead of being out late. Anyway, with a lefthander pitching against us I think he can stand a night off."

Casey dropped Bauer to eighth place in the batting order. Mickey Mantle, another of the night clubbers, also stayed in the lineup.

[Jones noted] "My bowling club was celebrating at the Copa. We saw the Yankee players, Bauer, Martin, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Johnny Kucks and their wives come and take a table near us.


About two years after the 1957 incident, on May 26, 1959 Kucks was traded to the Kansas City Athletics, together with Jerry Lumpe and Tom Sturdivant, for Ralph Terry and Héctor López
Later, on December 11, 1959, Bauer with Don Larsen, Norm Siebern and Marv Throneberry was traded to Kansas City Athletics in exchange for Roger Maris, Joe DeMaestri and Kent Hadley

In the 7th game of the 1960 World Series, lost by Terry, Maris was 0 for 5, with an error.
There were no strike outs on either side in Game 7.


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