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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86 Years Ago
The Yankees made a fairly important signing on this day in 1934, purchasing the contract of Joe DiMaggio for $50,000 and five players. DiMaggio, a member of the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, had impressed in the previous season with a ridiculous 61-game hitting streak, and he would put together a similar run with the Yanks.
Although DiMaggio wouldn’t join the Yankees until 1936, his arrival immediately coincided with smashing success and a run of four consecutive World Series titles. DiMaggio went on to become one of the greatest Yankees ever — winning nine championships and three AL MVPs — and was easily elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955. Not bad for 50 grand.
40 Years Ago
After leading the Yankees to a 103-win season the previous year, manager Dick Howser resigned on this day in 1980, continuing the coaching carousel for the Yankees that began when George Steinbrenner took over. Howser was replaced by then-GM Gene Michael.
Howser’s 103 wins were more than any other team in baseball over the past four seasons, and was a big improvement from the Yanks’ 89 wins the year before. He rarely put up with Steinbrenner’s antics, stood up for Reggie Jackson when Steinbrenner complained about the superstar’s facial hair, but like all the others, his managerial tenure was a wildly short one. Adding insult to injury? Sandwiches were abandoned at his awkward farewell press conference with Steinbrenner. Awful.
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No notable Yankees were born on this day, but a couple of baseball’s best ever were, including Stan Musial and Ken Griffey Jr. We thought it would be appropriate to include Griffey given his adoration for the Yankee franchise. Fine, he’s not too fond of the Yanks, but Griffey remains one of the best and most entertaining superstars the game has ever seen.
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We thank Baseball-Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.