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This Day in Yankees History: The Dynasty Begins

Derek Jeter homers in the Yankees’ first game under manager Joe Torre.

World Series - New York Yankees v Atlanta Braves - Game Three

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 2)

102 Years Ago

The Yankees purchase the contract of George Burns from the Detroit Tigers and trade him to the Philadelphia Athletics for Babe Ruth’s future roommate, outfielder Ping Bodie. He played four seasons for the Yankees, posting a 106 OPS+ in his first three years before dropping to a 23 OPS+ in 1921. Burns, on the other hand, would go on to play for twelve more seasons, winning AL MVP in 1926.

24 Years Ago

New Yankees manager Joe Torre won his first game as the manager of the New York Yankees, as the eventual World Series champs won their Opening Day game against the Cleveland Indians by a score of 7-1. During that game, Hall of Famer Derek Jeter became the first rookie shortstop since 1962 to start Opening Day for the Yankees at the position; he also recorded his first home run. Nobody knew it at the time, but the latest Yankees dynasty had begun.

23 Years Ago

En route to a 16-2 win over the Mariners in Seattle, Tino Martinez hits three home runs — a solo homer, a two-run shot, and a three-run home run. With the blowout ongoing and his old home crowd behind him, Tino had two opportunities to hit a grand slam, but failed to achieve the home run cycle.

19 Years Ago

Roger Clemens strikes out Joe Randa of the Kansas City Royals to move ahead of Walter Johnson and become the all-time AL leader in strikeouts with 3509 on AL teams, and moving him to seventh in all-time strikeouts.

17 Years Ago

After homering in his first at-bat in pinstripes, Todd Zeile becomes the first-ever player to hit a home run with ten different teams: the Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies. He ultimately finished his career with home runs in eleven uniforms.

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Birthdays

Today marks a big birthday in the Yankees world, as part-owner Hank Steinbrenner turns 63. The older brother of principal owner Hal, Hank has generally not been around the club’s public day-to-day operations despite his loud and outspoken personality.

Starting pitcher Jon Lieber celebrates his 50th birthday. He pitched for the Yankees in 2004, going 14-8 with a 4.33 ERA and a 3.71 FIP in 27 starts.

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