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This Day in Yankees History: Roger Maris wins another MVP

The former Yankee great capped off a historic season with a big award on this day in 1961.

Roger Maris Watching Pop Fly Ball During Game

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. With the offseason well underway, 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 (November 15)

59 Years Ago

Roger Maris earned his second straight MVP award on this day in 1961, and for good reason. Maris set the new single-season home run record that year with 61 bombs, edging Babe Ruth’s mark of 60. Maris edged teammate Mickey Mantle for the award, winning by four votes.

19 Years Ago

Another award for another Yankee came on this day in 2001, when Roger Clemens won the American League Cy Young Award. The old school statistics helped Clemens out, as he started the season 20-1 before finishing at 20-3, helping him take home the trophy for an incredible sixth time (though teammate Mike Mussina may have quietly had a better case). Regardless, it was a strong year for the Rocket anyway, as he fanned 213 batters and posted an impressive 3.29 FIP in 220 13 innings. Clemens was the first Yankee to win the Cy Young since Ron Guidry in 1978, and there hasn’t been a Yankee to win the award since.

15 Years Ago

Just hours before the midnight deadline, the Yankees signed Hideki Matsui to a four-year, $52 million contract on this day in 2005. Matsui more than earned that deal after two straight All-Star seasons to begin his Yankee career, and he would go on to post an OPS of .851 through the four years of his new deal, capped off with a World Series MVP in 2009.

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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.