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.
This Day in Yankees History (April 5)
107 years ago:
Going way, way back for this one. On this day in 1913, the Yankees played in the first game at Ebbets Field, and exhibition against the Dodgers. Charles Ebbets greeted 25,000 fans to the new stadium, and his daughter Genevieve threw out the first pitch. When the action started, the Dodgers won 3-2, and the first home run in Ebbets Field — on par for the times — did not leave the park. It was an inside-the-park home run by Brooklyn’s Casey Stengel, who went on to play his first full season in the majors that year and posted an OPS+ of 112.
95 years ago:
Best known as “The Bellyache Heard ‘Round the World,” Babe Ruth collapsed in Asheville, North Carolina on this day in 1925. He would collapse again soon after when he returned to New York, where an ulcer was discovered, likely a result of too much partying during the offseason. Ruth apparently reported to spring training that season weighing nearly 270 pounds, and the toll his body took showed when he returned a month later. The Babe hit 25 home runs and posted an OPS+ of 137, which would be his lowest mark as a Yankee. He came back strong the following year, swatting 47 dingers and putting up an astronomical OPS+ of 225.
86 years ago:
Sticking with the Sultan of Swat, Ruth agreed to broadcast his own radio show on this day in 1934. Sponsored by Quaker Oats, the weekly show featured Ruth discussing his adventures as one of the most famous men in the world. His salary for the show was even more than what he was making as a ballplayer, as he prepared to begin his final season as a Yankee. Fun fact, there is an Ebay listing of original recordings of this radio show for just over $1,400.
15 years ago:
On this day in 2005, Derek Jeter bailed out Mariano Rivera, who had just blown a save against the Red Sox, with a walk-off home run off Keith Foulke in the bottom of the ninth to give the Yankees a win at home. Carl Pavano started the game for the Yanks.
Not much to report here. Ron Hansen, who played two seasons with the Yanks (1970 and 1971) and posted an OPS of .665, was born on this day in 1938. Wid Conroy, who played six seasons with the franchise from 1903 to 1908, was born on this day in 1877.
We thank Baseball-Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.