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
In his first season with the Yankees, Babe Ruth made his first start as a pitcher for the team. It was his only start on the mound of the 1920 season, and one of just five appearances Ruth made as a pitcher as a Yankee. Ruth tossed four innings in notching the win, while also scoring twice as a batter to help his own cause.
95 Years Ago
Lou Gehrig pinch-hit for Pee Wee Wanninger, beginning a streak of appearances that would last for 2,131 games. The next day, Wally Pipp would show up feeling the effects of a concussion, and Gehrig would take his place in the starting lineup, a place he would not vacate for well over a decade.
28 Years Ago
The 1992 MLB Draft was held on this day. That means the Houston Astros bypassed Derek Jeter with the first pick, taking Phil Nevin instead. Four other teams opted against selecting Jeter, of course, before the Yankees took him sixth overall. Houston was reportedly spooked about picking Jeter, who was rumored to want at least a $1-million bonus in order to turn pro rather than attend the University of Michigan. Nevin ended up signing for $700K, while Jeter signed for $800K.
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The best player to be born on this day and play for the Yankees is Derek Lowe, who managed over 34 rWAR for his career. Lowe totaled 17 appearances in relief for the 2012 Yankees, running a strong 141 ERA+ in the process. This also would have been the 129th birthdays of Homer Thompson and Hank Severeid. Severeid spent the 1926 season with the Yankees, putting up a 79 OPS+. Thompson, however, played just one inning, as a defensive replacement at catcher for the 1912 Yankees. He didn’t come to bat, and never played in the majors again. I find it somehow heartening that Thompson’s career, as quick and unmemorable as they come, was still recorded and saved for posterity.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.