Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The 2020 baseball season has come to an end, and the offseason is upon us. There has not been much movement on the Yankees’ front as of yet, so in the meantime let’s dig into the history books. These daily posts will highlight a handful of 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 19)
81 Years Ago
Joe DiMaggio and actress Dorothy Arnold get married in St. Peter and Paul Church in San Francisco. The two met while playing minor roles in the movie Manhattan Merry-Go-Round. The couple would have one son, Joseph Paul DiMaggio Jr., before divorcing in 1944 while the Yankee Clipper served as a physical education instructor during World War II.
52 Years Ago
Three years after being drafted out of the University of Nebraska in the fourth round of the MLB Draft, Stan Bahnsen was named the 1968 American League Rookie of the Year. The right-hander went 17-12 with a 2.05 ERA and a career-high 162 strikeouts in 267.1 innings pitched. Bahnsen would go on to play three more seasons for the Yankees, but would never replicate the success of his rookie campaign.
13 Years Ago
After posting his worst season in pinstripes, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera entered the free agent market for the first time following the 2007 season. He did not have to shop for long, as the Yankees signed him to a three-year, $45 million deal, making Mo the highest-paid reliever in MLB history at that point. He would go on to pitch six more years in the Bronx, adding another World Series title to his résumé in 2009 and setting the all-time saves record when he passed Trevor Hoffman’s mark of 601 in 2011.
13 Years Ago
That very same day, Alex Rodriguez won his third American League MVP and his second in pinstripes. A-Rod turned in one of the all-time great offensive seasons in Yankees history in 2007, pacing MLB in home runs (54), RBIs (156), OPS (1.067), wRC+ (175), and fWAR (9.6). It was also the season after which he infamously opted out of his contract during the clinching game of the World Series between the Red Sox and Rockies. He would eventually re-sign with the team for a record 10-year, $275 million contract.
Two Years Ago
Winter before last, the Yankees sent a package of Justus Sheffield, Dom Thompson-Williams, and Erik Swanson to the Mariners in exchange for lefty pitcher James Paxton. The Big Maple rewarded the Yankees with an impressive first season in the Bronx, leading their starters in ERA (3.82), strikeouts (186), and fWAR (3.5). He was dominant down the stretch, winning his last ten decisions after increasing his knucklecurve usage, and kept the Yankees’ ALCS hopes alive with his six inning, one run, nine strikeout gem in Game Five against the Astros.
The same could not be said for his second season in pinstripes, as he struggled mightily on the mound coming back from offseason back surgery. He lasted only an inning in his first start of the season against the Nationals, and would surrender three earned runs in each of his five regular season starts. He was never able to recover the velocity on his fastball, which sat more than three mph lower than the previous season, and his year was ended due to a forearm flexor strain. A down 2020 was the last thing Paxton could have hoped for heading into free agency this winter, however his agent Scott Boras claims he is fully recovered from his back and forearm woes and will soon be ready to throw for talent evaluators around the league.
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Happy birthday to Everett Scott, shortstop for the Yankees born in 1892. Scott served as captain for the Yankees from 1922 to 1925, and held the major league consecutive games streak at 1,307 until it was broken by Lou Gehrig in 1933. In a little over three years for the Bombers, Scott batted .254/.282/.324 with 13 home runs and 174 RBIs.
Also born on this date in 1908 was Joe Glenn, backup catcher for the Yankees. He played two stints with the Bombers in the thirties, and notably caught Babe Ruth’s final pitching game as well as Ted William’s lone pitching performance. In six seasons with the Yankees, Glenn played in 138 games, slashing .252/.333/.332 with one home run and 56 RBIs.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.