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 24)
87 years ago:
Not even the Great Bambino was immune to the Great Depression. Following a 1932 World Series victory (in which he famously “called his shot”), Ruth was docked a $23,000 pay cut on March 24, 1933, bringing his salary down from $75,000 to $52,000. Even at age-38, Ruth blasted 34 home runs, drove in 104 runs, and hit .301. His advanced metrics were even more ridiculous – Ruth had an OPS of 1.023 and an OPS+ of 176 while contributing over 6.0 WAR.
And to think, this was a “down year” for the Babe.
24 years ago:
Veteran Tony Fernandez was set to be the Yankees’ shortstop in 1996, until an ill-timed elbow injury on this day 24 years ago cost him the season. This led to rookie Derek Jeter making the Opening Day roster, and we know how that turned out. Fernandez was a five-time All-Star and won the 1993 World Series with the Blue Jays, but only played 108 games as a Yankee in 1995. He recently passed away at age 57.
Seven years ago:
The 2013 season was a rough one for the Yankees, who had built an extremely-old roster that unsurprisingly collapsed due to injury. After the preseason losses of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, most of which would last almost the full season, the Yankees had to acquire somebody. Enter Vernon Wells. The veteran outfielder came over for almost nothing (two minor leaguers, and the Angels retained most of Wells’s salary), and didn’t produce much. In his last year in the Majors, Wells tallied 50 RBI on 11 HR and a dismal 74 OPS+. At least we’ll always have his month of April, when he hit .300 and blasted six of those 11 dingers.
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Happy birthday to 2009 World Series champion Chad Gaudin, who had two stints with the Yankees. Gaudin started six games down the stretch and threw one inning in the 2009 ALCS, before returning exclusively out of the bullpen in May 2010.
We also send birthday wishes to Starlin Castro, who turns 30 today. Castro’s two years as a Yankee got him back on the map somewhat, including an All-Star nomination in 2017. His tenure with the team was inconsistent, but his flash made him somewhat of a fan favorite. The Bombers traded him to the Marlins in December 2017 as part of a package for Giancarlo Stanton.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.