Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The season may be underway, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a trip into the past. 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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65 Years Ago
Joe DiMaggio officially entered the Hall of Fame after his induction on this day in 1955.
“Joltin’ Joe” retired after 1951, and it took three ballots to get on, having missed out on the classes of ‘53 and ‘54. (Old time Hall of Fame voting is somehow weirder that some of the stuff that happens today.)
DiMaggio was a three-time MVP, 13-time All-Star, and nine-time World Series winner during his 13-year career, all of which was with the Yankees. He forever cemented his place in baseball lore when he successfully recorded a hit in 56 straight games in 1941, although as you can see, his career was much more than that.
59 Years Ago
Roger Maris moves to 40 home runs on the season after hitting four across two games of a doubleheader against the White Sox. This would be the year in which he would hit 61 and break Babe Ruth’s record. It was the Yankees’ 96th game of the 1961 season. Through 96 games in 1927, Ruth’s record year, he had hit 33.
22 Year Ago
Jim Bouton returns to Yankee Stadium for the first time in nearly 30 years when he takes part in Old Timers Day. While it had never been an official thing, Bouton had seemingly been seen as persona non grata from Yankees-related activities, likely due to the release of his book “Ball Four.”
The hostilities finally ended when he was invited in 1998. The reconciliation came about after Bouton’s son wrote an open letter to the Yankees detailing the grief the pitcher had dealt with following the death of his daughter in a car accident. Bouton received a nice ovation from the crowd and would go on to attend several other Old Timers Days before his death in 2019.
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Happy 44th birthday to Javier Vazquez. The pitcher is one of the more infamous Yankees of recent times, having two separate ill-fated stints in the Bronx.
He was first acquired ahead of the 2004 season, and was pretty good in the first half, getting named an All-Star. Things quickly fell apart after that, as he put up an ERA near seven from mid-July on. He was relegated to the bullpen for the ALCS and had a disastrous appearance in game seven.
The Yankees traded him after that season, however they reacquired him for 2010 after his excellent 2009. That stint didn’t go much better and he was again dumped after just one year. Vazquez played 2011 with the Marlins, and retired after that year.
Other Yankee birthdays today include Doug Drabek and Torey Lovullo.
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We thank Baseball-Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.