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This Day in Yankees History: the Yankees sign Lou Gehrig

The Yankees’ star first baseman signed on this day in 1923.

Lou Gehrig Holding Baseball Bat

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 29)

97 Years Ago

One day after a scout watched Columbia University pitcher Lou Gehrig hit a 450-foot home run against New York University, the Yankees signed the 20-year-old to a contract, a $2000 salary with a $1500 signing bonus (the equivalent of roughly $30,000 and $22,000, respectively). It was truly one of the best moves in baseball history.

81 Years Ago

On a cold Saturday afternoon, that same Lou Gehrig singled off of Ken Chase to record his 2721st and final hit in the fourth inning. This would stand as the Yankees franchise record for over 70 years, until Derek Jeter broke the record in 2009.

67 Years Ago

The “Little-Bigger League” changed its name to the Babe Ruth League, a name that it still carries to this day. Originally a youth league for boys between the ages of 13 and 15, they adopted the name of the Babe — with Claire Merritt Ruth’s permission — to honor his work with children. Since then, the organization has grown immensely, containing both baseball and softball for boys and girls of all ages.

14 Years Ago

En route to routing the Blue Jays by a score of 17-6, the Yankees score at least one run in every inning, the first time they achieved this rare feat since 1939. Nine Yankees would drive in at least one run during the game, including Derek Jeter — who did not record a hit. Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, and Jorge Posada all homered.

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Happy birthday to former Yankees pitcher Sterling Hitchcock. Originally drafted by the Yankees in the ninth round 1989 draft, Hitchcock made his Major League debut in 1992 at the age of 21. He would pitch four seasons for the Yankees, during which time he posted a 4.78 ERA/4.59 FIP in 59 games (41 starts) before being traded to the Seattle Mariners for Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and Jim Mercir. He would be traded back to the Yankees during the 2001 season, serving as the winning pitcher in Game 5 of the World Series, before being traded to the Cardinals during the 2003 season. He would retire a Padre after 2004.

Former Yankees draftee Rookie Davis turns 27 today; drafted in the 14th round of the 2011 draft, Davis is best known for being traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Aroldis Chapman prior to the 2016 season. So in a way, he’s partially responsible for Gleyber Torres being in pinstripes — and that’s a good reason to celebrate.

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