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This Day in Yankees History: The Iron Horse takes a bow

Lou Gehrig plays his final game, Winfield and Tino set RBI records, a pair of achievements for Mariano Rivera

Lou Gehrig Following Through 1938

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 a few key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

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This Day in Yankees History (April 30)

81 years ago

Today marks the anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s final MLB game. It was his 2,130th consecutive game, a mark that stood until Cal Ripken Jr. famously broke it in 1995. Gehrig, succumbing to the effects of ALS, only collected four hits in the eight games he played in his final season and struggled in the field. After an off day on May 1, Gehrig benched himself on May 2, ending his streak and his glorious career.

32 & 23 years ago

April 30 is the last day of the month, and a day that two Yankees used to pad their then-record RBI totals. First, Dave Winfield collected his 28th and 29th RBI of the month on this day in 1988, which tied the MLB record for RBI in April. Nine years later, Tino Martinez broke that record, finishing April with 34 RBI, a new mark that stood for just one season, before the RangersJuan Gonzalez compiled 35 in April 1998.

10 years ago

Although Mariano Rivera was 40 years old in 2010, he was still as dominant as ever. On this day, Rivera collected a save in a 6-4 win over the White Sox, which marked an MLB record 51st consecutive save at home. He also struck out two batters, moving him ahead of Roger Clemens and into the top 10 of the franchise’s all-time strikeout list with 1,015. Rivera was money just about everywhere he pitched, but especially in the early stages of the new Yankee Stadium.

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Birthdays

Just one Yankee has a birthday today – Walter “Jumbo” Brown. Listed at 6’4” and 295 pounds, Brown was the heaviest player in MLB history until the Orioles’ Walter Young in 2005 tipped the scales at 322 pounds. Although he was used as a starter and long reliever with the Yankees from 1932-1936, Brown’s best big league success came as a strict reliever with the Giants later in the decade, when he led the league in saves twice.

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