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This Day in Yankees History: Bombers re-sign Clemens for supposed final season

On this day in 2003, the Yankees brought Roger Clemens back for a season in which he would record his 300th career win and 4,000th career strikeout.

New York Yankees’ Roger Clemens pumps his fist after strikin Photo by Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. We may be well into hot stove season, but there’s still some time to 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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This Day in Yankees History (December 30)

77 years ago

In a trade of “Babes,” the Phillies send first baseman Babe Dahlgren to the Pirates for catcher Babe Phelps and cash. Dahlgren was most well-known as a Yankees infielder in 1939. when he replaced Lou Gehrig in the lineup after the “Iron Horse” had played in a MLB record 2,130 consecutive games. Dahlgren played four years with the Yankees from 1937-1940 before being purchased by the Boston Braves in 1941.

18 years ago

In what he thought would be his last season in the majors, 40-year-old Roger Clemens agrees to a one-year, $10.1 million deal with the Yankees. The 19-year veteran, who had won the Cy Young Award six times, was within reach of both his 300th victory and 4,000th strikeout, and he notched both on the same night: June 13, 2003.

Clemens acquitted himself well, making his ninth All-Star team and pitching 211 23 innings with a 3.91 ERA (113 ERA+) and 190 strikeouts. With fans thinking that it was his last season, he received standing ovations in possible final starts during Game 7 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium and Game 4 of the World Series in Miami.

Of course, that all ended up being for naught. When good friend Andy Pettitte decided to head to the Astros in free agency, it was enough to coax Clemens out of his retirement plans, and he promptly claimed his seventh Cy Young in 2004. He played in Houston until 2006 and returned to the Yankees for one more season in 2007 before the Mitchell Report busted him for steroids that fall, effectively ending his career for him.

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The only former Yankee celebrating a birthday today is Danny Burawa, who turns 31. The right-handed pitcher was a 12th-round draft choice out of nearby St. John’s University in 2010, but only made it into one game with the Yankees in 2015. It didn’t go well, and Burawa was demoted. He was claimed off waivers by the Braves later in 2015 and fared better in 12 games with Atlanta, but never made it back to The Show after the season ended.

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