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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91 Years Ago
The Yankees were beaten to the punch on being the first team to ever wear numbers on their uniforms. Two teams had announced that were going to don the digits, but thanks to a rainout in a planned Yankees-Red Sox game, the Indians went down in history as the actual first, wearing them in a game against the Tigers on this day in 1929. The Yankees would finally debut theirs two days later, although thanks to the likes of Babe Ruth’s #3 and Lou Gehrig’s #4, the Yankees of the era are more notable for wearing numbers. Today, uniform numbers are a notable part of baseball and nearly every other sport.
11 Years Ago
The new Yankee Stadium made its regular season debut in a less than ideal fashion for the home team. After allowing nine runs in the seventh inning, the Yankees dropped their home opener in their new digs 10-2 to the Indians. Before everything went wrong, Johnny Damon and Jorge Posada recorded some notable firsts, putting up the first hit and home run respectively. The first ever losing pitcher in the stadium was the Yankees’ Jose Veras, who would end up playing for Cleveland later that year. Better things would happen in the stadium a couple months later, however.
7 Years Ago
Showing that some things are bigger than baseball rivalries, fans at Yankee Stadium sung Red Sox anthem “Sweet Caroline” as a show of support for their rivals and their city following the Boston Marathon bombing the previous day.
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The most notable Yankee to have a birthday today is Hall of Famer Paul Waner. The outfielder was most famous for his time with the Pirates, for whom he won an MVP and made four All-Star appearances with. However, he did finish his career with the Yankees, making 10 plate appearances across the 1944 and ‘45 seasons. His final ever action in a big league game was drawing a walk as a pinch hitter in the late innings of a game on April 26th.
Other former Yankees who were born on this day are Richard Bleier, Curt Young, Bruce Robinson, Frank Fernandez, Bernie Allen, and Charlie Meara.
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We thank Baseball-Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.