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This Day in Yankees History: The Boss gets banned

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On this day 30 years ago, George Steinbrenner got a three-year ban for trying to find dirt on Dave Winfield.

New Yorik Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner speaks at a new Photo by Bill Turnbull/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future, the Pinstripe Alley team decided to revive the program in a slightly different format. These daily posts will highlight a few key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

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This Day in Yankees History (March 23)

46 years ago

The New York Yankees purchase outfielder Elliott Maddox from the Texas Rangers for $60,000.

Maddox would be a great defensive outfielder and hit .303 that year and finished eighth in MVP voting. After playing 137 games in 1974, Maddox appeared in just 73 games combined the next two seasons. He spent three years in pinstripes before playing with the Orioles for a year and Mets for three seasons.

30 years ago

George Steinbrenner paid Howard Spira $40,000 in January of 1990 to dig up dirt on outfielder Dave Winfield. Spira, an unpaid publicist for Winfield’s foundation, was arrested by the FBI for trying to extort money from the Yankees owner. The Commissioner at the time, Fay Vincent, banned “The Boss” from playing any role in the team’s day-to-day operations for thirty months. There is a documentary about this incident called The Rise and Fall of Howard Spira.

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Birthdays

Happy birthday to George Scott, Chris Turner, and Dellin Betances! Both Scott and Turner played one year for the Yankees. George in 1979 and Turner in 2000. Coincidentally enough, those were the last seasons of both of their careers.

Dellin Betances, one of the greatest relief pitchers in Yankees history, turns 32-years-old today. He was with the Bombers from 2006-2019, pitching over 380 innings for the team with an ERA of 2.36 and 621 strikeouts. Thanks for your time in the Bronx, Dellin. Good luck in Queens!

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