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This Day in Yankees History: What did you trade Jay Buhner for?!

Over three decades ago, the Yankees consummated one of the more memorable trades in their history.

Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future for just a couple more days, 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 Yankees History (July 21)

32 years ago

In one of the more memorable exchanges of the modern era, the Yankees flipped Jay Buhner, Rich Balabon, and a player to be named later to the Mariners for 33-year-old first baseman Ken Phelps. Phelps actually posted an excellent 147 OPS+ for the Yankees down the stretch of the 1988 season, but struggled the next year before the team traded him to the A’s. He retired after the 1990 campaign. Buhner, of course, had a long and productive career in Seattle, smashing over 300 home runs across 15 seasons. And now, I will make the obligatory link to that Seinfeld clip:

14 years ago

Alex Rodriguez hit a home run in the third against Blue Jays starter A.J. Burnett, marking two milestones in the process. Rodriguez simultaneously eclipsed the 2000-hit mark and became the youngest player in history to reach 450 home runs. Burnett otherwise shut down the Yankees, as the Bombers didn’t score again in a 7-3 loss.

One year ago

The Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed six new inductees: Harold Baines, the late Roy Halladay, Lee Smith, Mike Mussina, Edgar Martinez, and the first unanimous selection, Mariano Rivera. Rivera, the greatest closer in history, delivered his speech last among the group. This is one of the events that happened just one year ago that either feels like it was yesterday, or feels like it happened in a different lifetime.

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Former pitcher Diego Moreno turns 32 today. You might remember Moreno for his 5.1-inning, no-hit effort in a 21-5 win against the rangers in 2015. Chris Capuano was shelled for five runs in the first inning, prompting Joe Girardi to bring in Moreno, who was near flawless through the sixth. Down 5-0 off the bat, the Yankees scored 21 unanswered runs on 19 hits and 10 walks. Moreno would pitch just one more game with the Yankees.

It’s also the birthday of a series of players born in the 19th century. Pitcher Ray Keating would have been 127-years-old today, outfielder Howie Shanks would have been 120, outfielder Mike Handiboe, 133, and pitcher Dick Carroll, 136.

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