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 22)
72 years ago
Joe DiMaggio hit a grand slam against Cleveland ace Bob Feller, en route to a Yankees 6-5 win. It turns out that DiMaggio had Feller’s number, as over 217 plate appearances, the Yankee clipper hit .342/.415/.642 with 11 home runs against the Hall of Fame right-hander. That’s good news for the Bombers, but not so great for the alternate universe where Bullet Bob pitched in the Bronx, and DiMaggio led the Washington Senators.
52 years ago
Mickey Mantle hit a groundout in the seventh inning of 7-6 loss to the Red Sox. Routine enough, but that out resulted in Mantle’s career batting average dropping below .300. The Mick retired after the 1968 season, finishing his remarkable career with a .298 average. “My biggest regret was letting my lifetime average drop below .300,” Mantle once said. While disappointing in the 1960s, his career 170 wRC+ currently ranks seventh best of all time. I’d say he did just fine.
Six years ago
The Yankees acquired third baseman Chase Headley in a trade from the Padres. In 2014, the Bombers sought out every marginal upgrade possible to get back to the postseason. While it didn’t work, Headley had a great stint in pinstripes, and earned a four-year contract with New York that offseason. He even secured the walk-off hit in his first game with the Yankees. You can read about his oddly memorable debut here.
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Happy 76th birthday to Sparky Lyle! The relief ace came to the Yankees in a trade with the Red Sox ahead of the 1972 season. Lyle served as the Bombers’ closer for most of the 1970s, deploying a vicious slider to great success. He won the Cy Young Award in 1977, the first reliever to achieve that distinction, and earned both his World Series rings in the Bronx.
A few other birthdays include Jake Barrett (who played in two games with the 2019 Yankees), Mike Thurman, Scott Sanderson, and Cliff Johnson.
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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.