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This Day in Yankees History: Dent’s ‘Monster’ Dinger

Bucky Dent’s dramatic home run propels the Yankees to victory in a one-game playoff against the Sox on their way to the franchise’s 22nd championship.

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. Even with the start of the 2020 season, the Pinstripe Alley team has decided to continue the revived program in its new format. These daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!

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This Day in Yankees History (October 2)

73 Years Ago

The Dodgers beat the Yankees 9-8 in Game Three for their first franchise victory in the World Series. The Yankees would go on to win the series in seven games for their 11th championship. At the time, the three hours and five minute game was the longest in World Series history, one minute shorter than the average MLB game in 2020. In stark contrast to the historically tenuous contest, Wednesday’s Game Two of the Wild Card series against the Indians lasted four hours and 50 minutes, setting the new record for the longest nine-inning playoff game in MLB history—and that doesn’t even include the 76 minutes of monsoon-related delays.

57 Years Ago

In Game One of the ’63 Series, Sandy Koufax strikes out 15 batters en route to sweeping the Yanks, taking home MVP honors. Koufax’s World Series strikeout mark stood for exactly five years, until the Cardinals’ Bob Gibson fanned 17 Tigers in Game One of the ’68 Series. In fact, it was the third time in fifteen years the World Series single-game strikeout record had been broken on October 2nd, first by Dodger Carl Erskine’s 14 in 1953, then Koufax, and finally Gibson. These performances still stand as the three greatest strikeout totals in a single World Series game by a starting pitcher.

42 Years Ago

After fighting back from a 14-game deficit, the Yankees tied the Red Sox by the season’s end to force a one-game playoff to determine the winner of the AL East. In their 163rd regular season game, the Yankees’ offense went cold, trailing 2-0 through six. With two runners on in the top of the seventh, the Yankees’ featherweight shortstop, Russell Earl “Bucky” Dent homered over the Green Monster, giving them a lead they never surrendered. The Yankees would win by a 5-3 score.

The Yankees went on to face the Royals for the third consecutive year, winning the best-of-five series in four games, earning a chance to face the Dodgers in the World Series. After dropping the series’ first two games, the Yankees ripped off four in a row, taking home championship number 22, and their second in as many years. Bucky Dent played hero again, recording ten hits in 23 at bats (.417) and collected 17 RBI. The Yankees wouldn’t win another chip until Derek Jeter’s rookie year in 1996.

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Current Yankee Aaron Hicks celebrates his 31st birthday today. After signing a $70 million deal in 2018 that will keep him in pinstripes through at least 2025, it’s safe to say Yankee fans will see plenty of “A-A-Ron” for the foreseeable future. With another couple of days before the start of the ALDS against the Rays, Hicks should have plenty of time to indulge in any kind of socially distanced birthday shenanigans he wants, and still bring his A-game to San Diego.

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We thank Baseball-Reference and for providing background information for these posts.