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 23)
32 years ago
Billy Martin was fired as Yankees manager for the fifth and final time on this day in 1988. Martin steered the Yankees to a 40-28 record, the fourth-best figure in the majors, but coming off a 2-7 road trip, George Steinbrenner had seen enough. He cited “a combination of factors” as the reason for Martin’s fifth firing, but kept him around as a special advisor. Martin was rumored to be close to a sixth stint as manager in 1990, but he passed away before he could get the chance. Martin finished his career as a Yankee with a .591 winning percentage as manager over eight years and won it all in 1977, to go along with his seven years and four World Series titles with the Yankees as a player.
23 years ago
David Cone was 34 years old in 1997 and coming off a serious injury in the form of a shoulder aneurysm, but he bounced back in a big way. Cone struck out 16 batters vs. the Detroit Tigers on this day in 1997, his highest total in six years and the highest for the rest of his career. Cone made the All-Star team and pitched 195 innings in 1997, a huge bounce-back after a potentially career-ending injury. Cone went on to throw a perfect game in 1999 and won four World Series after his injury.
3 years ago
The 2017 Yankees were off to a much better start than expected, but they looked set for a crushing loss vs. the Rangers on this day three years ago. After eight scoreless innings from Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka, the Rangers took the lead in the ninth on a passed ball. The Rangers turned to Matt Bush to close things out, but Brett Gardner hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extras. After Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singled off Bush in the 10th, light-hitting Ronald Torreyes ended the game with a walk-off single, netting the Yankees their 40th win and cementing Torreyes’ status as a fan favorite.
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A couple of former Yankees have birthdays today, including the late Aaron Robinson, who was an All-Star in 1947 and member of the World Series champion Yankees. The catcher bridged the gap between Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra, and spent four years in pinstripes.
Also, Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens turns 53 today. Meulens was a utility player for the Yankees from 1989-1993, and was in consideration to become the Yankees’ manager for 2018 before Aaron Boone got the job. Meulens had been the hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants, and is now the bench coach for the New York Mets.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.