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 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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This Day in Yankee History (June 4)
40 Years Ago
The Yankees select Billy Cannon Jr. in the third round of the amateur draft. Following at least two protests from other teams, the league rules that every team had been deliberately misled into believing that Cannon intended to play football. Eventually, the league grants his rights to the Cleveland Indians through a special draft that excluded the Yankees, but he would go on to forego a baseball career and play football for Texas A&M.
32 Years Ago
Rickey Henderson set the Yankees record in career stolen bases with 249 after recording two steals in a 7-6 loss against the Oakland Athletics. The prodigious base-stealer played in only four and a half seasons with the organization, but his skills at swiping a bag were unprecedented. Henderson would end up with 326 steals while in pinstripes, and that mark was only eclipsed by Derek Jeter.
7 Years Ago
For the second straight day, the New York Yankees trot Lyle Overbay out into right field, desperately needing to keep his bat in the lineup even after Mark Teixeira returned from injury. That turned out to be a good thing, as Overbay would return to being the everyday starter at first base once Teixeira required season-ending surgery.
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Happy 63rd birthday to Tony Pena. A catcher in his playing days, he joined the Yankees’ coaching staff in 2006 after resigning from the Royals’ managerial job during the 2005 season. On the short list to replace Joe Torre following the 2007 season, Pena remained with the Yankees throughout Joe Girardi’s term as manager. He served as the first base coach from 2005 to 2008 and from 2015 to 2017, and as bench coach from 2009 to 2014.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.