NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – El Duque, Yogi Berra and Mr. October all took part in the 67th annual Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium that kicked off Sunday morning.
Pitcher Orlando Hernandez, better known to fans as El Duque, was one of six first-time old timers taking part in the game. He helped lead the Bronx Bombers to three straight World Series titles from 1998 to 2000.
“I feel great. It’s a big day for me after a lot of years,” El Duque said. “I come back today after maybe three or four years. I’m happy. I’m happy. I’m excited, you know.”
Perennial favorites including Berra, Whitey Ford, Rich “Goose” Gossage, Rickey Henderson and Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson, all took part in the festivities.
Current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi suited up for the game and current Yankees announcers David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill also joined in on the festivities.
This is the one place that can still pull this off, because of the tradition and because of the fans,” Paul O’Neill said. “The history of baseball seems to be here.
On a warm day in the Bronx, former Yankees of every stripe were all introduced. They came out to applause and took their spots on the first and third base lines.
From Brian Dorsett, who made 60 plate appearances for New York in 1989 and 1990, to former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella, they came out, waved and soaked up the love, like at a particularly athletic family reunion.
Then, with everyone standing on the lines, white pinstriped uniforms gleaming in the sun, out came Yogi.
Berra, who is 88 now, was wearing a uniform that looked the same as it did back in his playing days, down to the No. 8 on the back and a Yankees cap. As he was driven onto the field in a golf cart festooned with tiny American flags, the cheers for him grew louder and louder until the cart containing the former Yankees catcher stopped behind home plate.
When El Duque pitched in the second inning, he faced Jesse Barfield, Steve Balboni, Charlie Hayes and Brian Doyle.
Then he yielded to Jeff Nelson. Just like the old days.
“It’s good to come back to great memories in the past,” Hernandez said. “A lot of the teammates in the clubhouse today.”
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