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This Day in Yankees History: Robinson Canó heads west

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The Yankees let one of their best homegrown stars of recent years leave on this day in history.

Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

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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28 Years Ago

The Yankees sent J.T. Snow and others to the California Angels in exchange for pitcher Jim Abbott.

Despite coming off a top-three Cy Young finish two years earlier, Abbott’s Yankee career is mostly average, and he leaves in free agency after 1994. Before he left, he did provide a memorable Yankee moment, throwing a no-hitter on September 4, 1993. The fact that he made it to the majors at all is fairly remarkable considering that he was born with one hand.

As for the other half of the trade, the Yankees probably lost the deal, considering that Snow turned into a multi-time Gold Glove winner and generally good first baseman with the Giants. However, first base wasn’t a position the Yankees would struggle to fill later on, so it turned out fine.

7 Years Ago

Robinson Canó’s Yankees tenure officially comes to an end when he signs with the Mariners. A 2009 World Series champion, Canó emerged as the Yankees’ best player over the next couple seasons, finishing at least sixth in MVP voting every year from 2010-13. His great play on both sides of the ball and durability made him the big name on the market in the 2013-14 offseason.

After the Yankees never budged off their initial offer, Canó decided to head up to Seattle. He continued his excellent play up there, making three more All-Star teams, and finishing among the top ten in MVP voting twice. However, there wasn’t a ton of support around him on those Mariners teams, and outside of a couple narrow playoff misses in 2014 and 2016, he never had much of an impact in a pennant race. Seattle paired Canó with closer Edwin Díaz in a trade to the Mets ahead of the 2019 season. (Mets fans probably want that one back, especially since they gave up top prospect Jarred Kelenic.)

Canó’s career has taken a sad turn in recent years. Just a couple weeks ago, he tested positive for PEDs for the second time, meaning he will miss the entire 2021 season due to suspension. Whatever chances he had at the Hall of Fame are also gone. It’s a genuine shame for a player with maybe the sweetest swing you’ll ever see.

3 Years Ago

Two days after hiring Aaron Boone, the Yankees officially introduce him as their new skipper. The slugger of one of the most famous home runs in franchise history had spent the previous few years in the broadcast booth with ESPN before succeeding Joe Girardi as the Yankees’ manager.

In Boone’s three years at the helm, the Yankees have a .615 winning percentage, which equates to about 100 wins over a 162 game season. However, they have yet to advance past the ALCS.

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Today is the birthday of Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri!

The second baseman helped the Yankees to five World Series crowns, playing with the team from 1926-37. In many of those years, he was the best Yankee hitter not named Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig. After a down year in 1937, the Yankees let him go and he joined the Chicago Cubs. He bounced back and helped them to the World Series in 1938, but they were bested by his former team. Lazzeri passed away at the way too early age of 42. After his death, he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1991.

Other Yankee birthdays today include Chris Basak, Kevin Cash, José Contreras, Tim Foli, Gus Niarhos, Gary Ward, and Harry Wolverton.

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