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 30)
59 years ago
The greatest starter in Yankees history capped off perhaps the best month of his career on this day in 1961. Whitey Ford picked up his eighth win in the month of June alone, becoming the first American League pitcher to win eight games in a month. Ford started an incredible 39 games that year and threw 283 innings en route to a Cy Young Award. He earned his eighth win with a complete game vs. the Washington Senators, his third complete game of the month. Opponents hit just .186 off Ford in June 1961, and his winning streak continued with three more “W’s” in July.
43 years ago
First baseman and designated hitter Cliff Johnson was a member of the 1977 and 1978 World Series champion Yankees, and accomplished a rare feat on this day in 1977. Johnson became the third Yankee to hit two home runs in one inning, when he went yard twice in the eighth inning vs. the Blue Jays. He joined Joe DiMaggio and Joe Pepitone as the only Yankees to go deep twice in the same inning, a list that now includes Alex Rodriguez, who did it in 2007 and 2009.
11 years ago
The 2009 Yankees did most of their shopping before the season began, but added a few key pieces during the season, including utility player Eric Hinske on this day 11 years ago. Hinske could play either corner infield or outfield position, and popped seven homers in 39 games for the Bombers. A member of the 2007 Red Sox, Hinske collected his second World Series ring that October with the Yankees.
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A few former Yankees have birthdays today, including the late Tony Fernandez. Fernandez won a World Series with Toronto and collected four Gold Gloves in his career, and was the last full-time Yankees shortstop before Derek Jeter. Fernandez started for New York in 1995 but was injured in 1996, paving the way for Jeter’s ascent. Fernandez rebounded to make an All-Star team three years later back with Toronto.
Chan Ho Park, the first Major Leaguer from South Korea, turns 47 today. Despite a successful run with the Dodgers, Park was little more than a late-career mop-up man when the Yankees got the former All-Star in 2010 at age 37. In a period where the Yankees excelled at finding veteran reclamation projects (Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood, Derek Lowe), Park was a notable miss.
Finally, the only switch-pitcher in baseball history, Pat Venditte, turns 35 today. Venditte never pitched for the Yankees, but was in their minor league system for seven years. Using a six-fingered glove, Venditte is able to throw with either his right or left arm, but must declare which before each at-bat. A natural righty, Venditte also bats left, and has played 58 games for the Athletics, Blue Jays, Mariners, Dodgers and Giants.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.