Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The 2020 baseball season has 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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15 Years Ago
For the second time in his career and first as a member of the Yankees, Alex Rodríguez is named American League MVP. The Yankees’ slugger hit .321/.421/.610 with a league-leading 48 home runs. He also put up 9.1 WAR according to FanGraphs, while not missing a game all season.
It was a fairly close race, with Rodríguez getting 16 out of 28 first place votes. Second place finisher David Ortiz got 11 of the other 12 and finished 24 voting points behind Rodríguez. Four other Yankees in Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Hideki Matsui, and Jason Giambi also received down ballot votes.
13 Years Ago
Two years later, Rodríguez was back in the news for very different reasons.
After infamously opting out from his contract during the clinching game of the 2007 World Series, Rodríguez got in contact with the Yankees to tell the team that he wanted to stay in New York. He did so without agent Scott Boras, and would set in motion the negotiations that eventually led to a new contract. He would officially re-sign with the team in December for 10 years and $275 million. Rodríguez would remain with the team through 2016, helping them to a World Series title in 2009.
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Happy 47th birthday Rubén Rivera.
The cousin of Mariano, he was a highly-touted prospect, signing with the Yankee organization in 1990. He made his major league debut in 1995, and won a ring with the ‘96 team. However, after that season, he was sent to the Padres in a trade that would bring Hideki Irabu to New York. Things didn’t work out for him in San Diego, and he became a journeyman, having stints with the Reds, Rangers, and Giants. He even returned to the Yankees on minor league deals on two different occasions, but one of them ended particularly badly. He was active in the Mexican League as recently as 2019, announcing his retirement at the end of that season at age 45, more than 16 years after his last major league game.
Other Yankees with birthdays today include Harry Howell, Jack Lelivelt, and Xavier Nady.
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We thank Baseball-Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.