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This Day in Yankee History: DiMaggio and Mantle receive plaques

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Although three monuments already stood in center field, the centerfielders’ plaques mark the beginning of what will become Monument Park.

BBA-YANKEES-DIMAGGIO-PLAQUE Photo credit should read -/AFP via Getty Images

Happy Easter everybody! 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 (April 12)

85 Years Ago

Thirty-three year-old first baseman Lou Gehrig is named the fifth Yankees captain in team history. He would hold that title until 1939, when, due to ALS, his career ended.

67 Years Ago

During a preseason game at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, when he was coming to bat, Mickey Mantle — and the entire stadium — learned from the public address announcer that his eldest son, Mickey Elven Mantle, Jr., had been born a few minutes prior. Mickey Jr. would pass away in 2000 after a fight with liver cancer.

50 Years Ago

The Yankees dedicate plaques to Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, where they are placed on the center field wall at Yankee Stadium. Eventually, the absurdity of having monuments on the field of play will become apparent, and during the stadium’s renovation in the 1970s, the plaques are moved to what will become known as the original Monument Park over the left-center field fence. After the deaths of DiMaggio and Mantle, the plaques were removed from the wall and placed on the monuments seen in Monument Park today.

12 Years Ago

To commemorate the 2008 visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States, which included Mass at Yankee Stadium, the Charleston Riverdogs ran a “Pope on a Rope” promotion. The first 1000 fans received a soap figurine in the likeness of the pope, which hung from a small string.

7 Years Ago

With two runners on and nobody out, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado hits a hard grounder to Robinson Cano, who flipped it to shortstop for the out at second. Luis Casillas, who had been on second base, gets caught in a rundown. Machado himself then gets tagged out trying to sneak his way to second base during the play. Only the Yankees’ second triple play since 1969, it would be scored 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 — the first time a triple play had taken that particular route — and involved Yankees legends such as third baseman Kevin Youkilis, shortstop Jayson Nix, and first baseman Lyle Overbay.

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Birthdays

Happy 35th birthday to 2013 Yankees Brennan Boesch. Released by the Detroit Tigers on March 15, 2013, as their acquisition of Torii Hunter left him without a spot on the roster, the injury-filled Yankees signed him the next day. In 23 games with the Yankees, Boesch posted a .275/.302/.529, good for a 125 OPS+, including two game-winning hits in the ninth inning against the Rockies and the Rays. However, like most productive players on the 2013 Yankees, Boesch could not avoid injury, and was released while on rehab assignment in order to make room for a member of the revolving door of 2013 infielders.

After spending 2014 with the Angels — with whom he briefly wore the number “00” — 2015 with the Reds, and 2016 with the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boesch announced his retirement at the start of the 2017 season.

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