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This Day in Yankees History: Bedlam in the Bronx Zoo

Reggie and Billy fight on national TV on this day in 1977

New York Yankees Photo by Focus on Sport/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 18)

43 years ago

With all that went on in the Yankees’ clubhouse in the 1970s, it’s amazing they made it to three World Series, winning two of them. Things hit their boiling point on this day in 1977, when Billy Martin pulled Reggie Jackson out of the game after he didn’t hustle on a pop-up. Jackson raced into the dugout and got into a shouting match with Martin, which could have escalated had other Yankees players and coaches not intervened. NBC broadcast the incident on national TV, as this was the “Game of the Week.” Jackson returned to the lineup the next day, and he and Martin got over their differences enough to eventually win the championship.

41 years ago

Billy Martin kept his job en route to a World Series in 1977, but was fired for the first time halfway through the next season. However, he came back for the first time on this day in 1979, managing the Yankees to a 55-40 record, but falling short of the postseason. He moved on to manage the Oakland Athletics for the next four seasons, and followed that up with three separate one-year stints with the Yankees throughout the ‘80s.

15 years ago

Derek Jeter was never much of a home-run hitter, but he hit the first and only grand slam of his career on this day in 2005 off of the Cubs’ Joe Borowski. Jeter actually hit two dingers in the game, which ended up an 8-1 Yankees win. Jeter hit .321 and drove in 225 runners with the bases loaded in his career, but this was the only time he ever jumped the yard and completely unloaded the bases with a big fly.

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Birthdays

Only one player with Yankees ties has a birthday today, and that’s Felix Heredia, who was a relief pitcher with the Bombers from 2003-2004. Heredia pitched in 10 postseason games and was Joe Torre’s lefty specialist for a time. He turns 45 today.

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