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This Day in Yankee History: Piniella and Fisk fight

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A collision at home plate sparks a benches-clearing brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox.

Carlton Fisk

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 Yankee History (May 20)

72 Years Ago

Joe DiMaggio collects four extra-base hits as he hits for the cycle for the second time in his career, going 5-for-6 with two home runs and driving in six of the Yankees’ 13 runs. As if that wasn’t enough, a great play by Chicago White Sox left fielder Ralph Hodgin at the wall kept DiMaggio from recording a fifth extra-base hit.

61 Years Ago

The Yankees fall to 12-19 after losing 13-6 to the Detroit Tigers, putting them in last place in the American League for the first time in 19 seasons. Not a bad run.

44 Years Ago

A collision between Lou Piniella and Carlton Fisk at home plate sparks a bench-clearing brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox. The fight became so intense that it resulted in Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee missing two months with a shoulder injury.

6 Years Ago

Masahiro Tanaka suffers his first loss in 42 regular season starts, as the Yankees fall 6-1 to the Chicago Cubs. He gave up 4 runs in 6 innings (3 earned) while striking out 7 and walking 1.

1 Year Ago

Gleyber Torres begins to break Gary Thorne, hitting two home runs as the Yankees go on to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 10-7. After his first home run, Thorne exclaimed, “GET HIM OUT OF THERE! DON’T THROW TO HIM!”

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Birthdays

Today would have been the 74th birthday of Yankees outfielder and broadcaster Bobby Murcer, who passed away on July 12, 2008, after a long battle with cancer. Murcer had two stints with the Yankees, the first from his rookie season at the age of 17 in 1965 through 1974 (omitting 1967 and 1968, when he was in the armed forces), and the second from 1979 through the end of his career in 1983. Following his career, he worked as a broadcaster until his death.

Birthday wishes also go out to David Wells, whose presence as a Yankee has loomed much larger than the two two-year stints that he spent with the team in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Of course, his perfect game and 1998 World Series championship will make that happen.

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