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This Day in Yankees History: New York trades away a legend

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Graig Nettles’ 11-year career in the Bronx came to an end on this day in 1984.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/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 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 (March 30th)

36 Years Ago

The great Yankee career of Graig Nettles came to an end when they traded him to the Padres for pitcher Dennis Rasmussen. Nettles made five All-Star teams, was part of the 1977 and ‘78 World Series champions, and won the 1981 ALCS MVP during his 11-year career in the Bronx.

He had put up a solid season the year before, but a comment by George Steinbrenner about him being in the “twilight of his career” and the acquisition of Toby Harrah soured his relationship with the team. Late in spring training, the Yankees would eventually send him to his hometown team, where he helped the Padres to their first ever World Series appearance in 1984.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen put up a 96 ERA+ in almost 600 innings across four seasons before he was traded to the Reds.

29 Years Ago

A crowd of over 67,000 packed into what was then called Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami to see the Yankees and Orioles play a spring training game. The attendance set a record for the most people at a spring training game, breaking a record set by the Dodgers and Angels in 1985.

The crowd at the game was seen as one of the factors in Miami getting the expansion Florida Marlins. The Marlins would play the first 14 years of their history in that stadium and despite winning two World Series titles, the crowds were usually under 67,000.

19 Years Ago

Dwight “Doc” Gooden announces his retirement. He’s most famous for his time with the Mets, but Gooden won two World Series titles (‘96, ‘00) in the Bronx, and threw a no-hitter on May 14, 1996 while a member of the Yankees. He returned to spring training with the team ahead of the 2001 season but opted to end his career after the Yankees cut him.

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There is just one former Yankee to have a birthday on March 30th, and that is Dick Woodson. He had just a five-year MLB career, most of which came when he was a member of the Twins. In May 1974, the Yankees traded a minor leaguer to Minnesota for the pitcher. He went on to appear in eight games, three starts, and put up a 5.79 ERA. Woodson wouldn’t appear in the major leagues after that July. He was traded to the Braves in April 1975, but never appeared in a major league game for them or any other team.

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We thank Baseball-Reference, Sports Illustrated, the Baltimore Sun and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.