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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63 Years Ago
In a close and highly contentious vote, Mickey Mantle wins his second consecutive AL MVP. Five different players received at least four first place votes, but Mantle got the most with six and edged out Ted Williams by 24 voting points. Williams beat out Mantle in several stats, leading to anger from Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who openly aired his frustration with two Chicago chapter BBWAA voters who had Williams ninth and tenth on their ballots respectively.
However, looking at the race in a more modern lens, there’s nothing too controversial about the outcome. Mantle led Williams in WAR by nearly two wins and wasn’t terribly far behind him in any of the more traditional stats. Even beyond that, the Yankees won the AL and finished 24 games ahead of third place Boston, which would very much have mattered to the voters back then. Williams had an incredible season, but Mantle’s was just better.
Mantle would add one more MVP to his mantle place (if you will) five years later in 1962.
43 Years Ago
The Yankees add to their World Series winning roster by signing reliever Rich “Goose” Gossage to a six-year deal. Despite reliever Sparky Lyle winning the Cy Young out of the bullpen in 1977, the Yankees don’t rest on the laurels and bring in Gossage, who came off a 1.62 ERA, 26 save season with the Pirates in ‘77.
Gossage would record 151 saves while in pinstripes, helping the Yankees to the 1978 World Series title, and another trip to the Fall Classic in ‘81. He left at the expiration of his contract after the ‘83 season following some public disagreements with George Steinbrenner.
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It’s a fairly busy day in Yankee birthday land, but we’d especially like to wish a happy one to Ricky Ledee!
Ledee was a two-time World Series champion, playing with the Yankees from 1998-2000, before going to Cleveland in the trade that brought David Justice to New York. He went on to play through 2007, spending time with the Indians, Rangers, Phillies, Giants, Dodgers, and Mets.
Since the end of his playing career, he’s gained internet cult favorite status in these parts for his (or at least we think it’s him) Twitter account. From accidentally tweeting pictures of garbage cans to being very defensive of his gazpacho recipe, Ledee is an amusing follow.
joe girardo one of the grapes.— Ricky Ledee (@ricky_ledee) September 3, 2020
Other Yankees with birthdays today include current member Adam Ottavino, Lee Guetterman, Wade Blasingame, Lew Burdette, Rich McKinney, Harry Rice, Austin Romine, Pi Schwert, and Wayne Tolleson.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Thisdayinbaseball.com and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.