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This Day in Yankees History: Babe Ruth becomes the home run king

Babe Ruth hits his historic 120th home run; Marcus Thames starts off his career with a bang; A dominant offensive night vs. Baltimore

Big Hitting Babe Photo by New York Times Co./Getty Images

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.

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This Day in Yankees History (June 10)

99 years ago

Babe Ruth set a record 99 years ago today that stood for more than half a century. Ruth became the all-time home run king on this day in 1921 with his 120th round-tripper, breaking Roger Connor’s record. Of course, he added 594 more dingers en route to 714 career long balls. Ruth’s record stood until Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run in 1974.

18 years ago

Currently the Yankees’ hitting coach, Marcus Thames kicked his playing career off in style on this day in 2002, when he took Randy Johnson deep on the first pitch he saw in the Major Leagues. It was a bit of payback for the Yankees, who had just lost the World Series to Johnson and the Diamondbacks the last Fall. Thames was traded the next season for Ruben Sierra, but returned to the Yankees in 2010. No Yankee had homered on his first-ever pitch before Thames, but three have since – Andy Phillips in 2004, and Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge (who did it back-to-back) in 2016.

3 years ago

The 2017 Yankees were one of the most fun teams in recent years, and one of the best games that season took place on this day against the Baltimore Orioles. A nationally televised game, the Yankees wasted no time demolishing Chris Tillman, tagging him for nine runs (including three home runs) in 1 13 innings. Every member of the Yankees’ starting lineup had at least one hit that day, and all but one (Chris Carter) scored a run. Four Yankees had at least three RBI, and 11 of the team’s 18 hits were for extra bases. Luis Severino tossed a gem in what became a 16-3 laugher.

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Birthdays

Happy birthday wishes to Zoilo Almonte, a fill-in outfielder from 2013-14 who inspired one of John Sterling’s most creative home run calls: “Curses, Zoiled again!” Unfortunately, we only got to hear the call twice.

We also wish Ken Singleton a happy birthday today! Even though Singleton never played for the Yankees, he has been a team broadcaster for more than 20 years and is beloved by Yankees fans for his storytelling and warm delivery. Hopefully we’ll get to hear Singleton and the rest of the Yankees’ broadcasters before long!

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