Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The 2020 Yankees season may have come to an end, so let’s dig into the history books. 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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81 Years Ago
Joe DiMaggio is named AL MVP after a season where he hit .381/.448/.671 with 30 home runs. He was just 24-years-old and in his fourth major league season. It would be the first of three MVP awards the Yankees’ legend would win.
His campaign helped the Yankees to a 106-win regular season, finishing 17 games ahead of the second place Red Sox. They then swept the Reds in the World Series, with DiMaggio hitting .313/.353/.500 and scoring the winning run in Game One.
57 Years Ago
Yogi Berra is named Yankees’ manager after ending his playing career with the team. Berra had a reduced playing role in 1963, having become a player coach under manager Ralph Houk. After the team was swept out of the World Series by the Dodgers, Houk moved into the general manager job and Berra was hired as his replacement in the dugout.
His stint as manager would last just one year, despite leading the team back to the World Series. Houk decided to hire Johnny Keane. Berra would leave and become a coach with the Mets, where he helped them win a championship in 1969. The Yankees’ legend would have a second chance as the team’s manager, but that was during the George Steinbrenner era, and if you don’t know, you can probably guess what happened then.
24 Years Ago
The Yankees close out Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium with a 1-0 win over the Braves to take a 3-2 lead in the 1996 World Series.
Cecil Fielder’s fourth-inning RBI double gave the Yankees the only run they would need as Andy Pettitte dominated. The young starter threw 8.1 shutout innings before turning it over to John Wettland. The Yankees’ closer got the final two outs and stranded a runner at third to give the Yankees a win, their third-straight in Atlanta after going there down 2-0. It would also be the final game in the stadium where the Braves had won the World Series the year prior, as they were set to move to Turner Field the next season.
The win would see the Yankees finish the postseason with a perfect 8-0 record in road games, having beat the Rangers twice in Texas and the Orioles three times in Baltimore. Two days later, they would return to New York to finish the job and win their 23rd championship and first in nearly 20 years.
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Today’s Yankee birthdays belong to Chris Bootcheck, Rawly Eastwick, Hugh High, Omar Moreno, and Harry Smythe.
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We thank Baseball-Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.