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This Day in Yankees history: Andy Pettitte makes his return

Andy Pettitte returned from his first retirement eight years ago today against Seattle.

New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners Photo by Otto Greule Jr/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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91 Years Ago

For the first time ever, both teams in one game wore numerals on their jerseys as the Yankees took on Cleveland at League Park. New York and Cleveland debuted numbers on players’ backs in the 1929 season. It is strange to think that a century ago, players would square off without identifiers on their backs, but it took until the 1930’s for the practice to become standard in baseball.

35 Years Ago

The Yankees pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history. They entered the bottom of the sixth trailing by eight runs, but rallied to win 9-8, thanks in no small part to Don Mattingly’s two-out, three-run walkoff home run in the ninth:

8 Years Ago

Andy Pettitte made his return from a one-year retirement official by recording his first start since the 2010 playoffs. It’s an uneven return, with the Mariners pushing across four runs against Pettitte across 6.1 innings. The Yankees lost that day 6-2, but Pettitte would prove a crucial part of their rotation, putting up a 2.85 ERA in a dozen regular season starts and giving up just five runs between a pair of postseason starts.

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We’ve got a couple of birthdays for former Yankee farmhands today. Justus Sheffield, who was dealt for James Paxton ahead of last season, turns 24. Sheffield made just two appearances as a Yankee in September 2018, and struggled to a 5.50 ERA in 36 innings with Seattle last year. John Ryan Murphy turns 29. He had a strong 2015 for the Yankees, putting together a 100 OPS+ as a backup to Brian McCann, but was dealt for Aaron Hicks after the season. Of course, any mention of Murphy requires a reference to this clip:

It’s also the 55th birthday of Jose Rijo, who debuted as a 19-year-old with the Yankees in 1984. The Yankees traded him after that year as part of a package for Rickey Henderson. Rijo would eventually end up with the Reds, for whom he had an excellent career, compiling over 36 WAR.

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