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This Day in Yankees History: Ruth, Mantle, Rodriguez hit landmark dingers

A trio of milestone homers all happened on this day.

Mickey Mantle... Photo by Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images

Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future, the Pinstripe Alley team decided to take a look back through history. 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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100 Years Ago

Babe Ruth hits his 50th career home run and first as a member of the Yankees. Ruth struggled pretty badly in his first month with the team, and it was arguably the worst he had in any season while playing in pinstripes. However, after going deep against the Red Sox, the team who had sold him that offseason, he turned things around pretty quickly and soon turned into the Babe Ruth that changed baseball.

69 Years Ago

In his 13th career game, Mickey Mantle hit his first career home run. In the sixth inning, Mantle homered off former Yankee Randy Gumpert, extending the Yankees’ lead in a game against the White Sox. He would follow that with 535 others over the course of an 18-year career in the Bronx. The ball would later go for $165,000 at auction. The rest of Mantle’s rookie season was decent, but the following year would see him grow into the Hall of Famer he would come to be.

5 Years Ago

Surprise, it’s another milestone home run! In a game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Alex Rodriguez came up as a pinch-hitter and took Junichi Tazawa deep for his 660th career home run. The shot tied him with Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list. He would pass him with #661 a week later, and eventually finished his career with 696.

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There’s just one former Yankee with a birthday today, and that is Brandon Claussen. A 34th round pick by the Yankees in 1998, Claussen worked his way through the minor leagues with some impressive numbers. Those eventually saw him land at #37 of Baseball America’s top 100 prospects in 2002. He was called up in June 2003, and was given his major league debut in a start against the Mets. He was fairly impressive, allowing one run on eight hits in 6.1 innings. However, he was sent back down a few days later, and about a month after that, he was sent to the Reds as part of the Aaron Boone trade.

Claussen spent parts of the next three seasons in Cincinnati, and apart from a decent season in 2005, generally put up below average numbers. Meanwhile, even though he only played one season with the team, Boone provided the Yankees with one of the most memorable moments in franchise history and now serves as manager, so things worked out for the best in that deal.

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