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This Day in Yankees History: DiMaggio is the first rookie All-Star

Plus, more All-Star achievements from Lou Gehrig and David Wells.

Joe DiMaggio Dizzy Dean 1936 All Star Game Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images

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 Yankees History (July 7)

84 Years Ago

At 21 years old, Joe DiMaggio became the first rookie to appear in an All-Star Game, starting in right field and batting third for the American League in the fourth-ever MLB All-Star Game.

Unfortunately, the contest — a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the National League — didn’t go well for DiMaggio. The Yankees outfielder committed an error and was hitless in five at-bats, the last of which produced the final out of the contest, while the game-tying run stood in scoring position.

The Yankee Clipper never got too comfortable at the All-Star Game. In 40 at-bats over 11 appearances, he slashed just .225/.279/.350 with one home run. Thankfully, it didn’t make much of a lasting impact on the perception of his Hall of Fame career, one that finished with three AL MVP Awards and nine World Series titles.

83 Years Ago

To help avenge DiMaggio’s disappointing debut loss the year before, Lou Gehrig swatted a double and a home run in the 1937 All-Star Game, driving in four runs and leading the Junior Circuit squad to an 8-3 victory over their Senior Circuit counterparts.

Gehrig’s four RBI, which came in his penultimate All-Star appearance, are tied for the second most in one game in All-Star history, behind the 5 RBI efforts of Ted Williams in 1946 and Al Rosen in 1954.

The 1937 Midsummer Classic, held at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., was unique for another reason: President Franklin D. Roosevelt threw the ceremonial first pitch, becoming the first U.S. president to attend an All-Star Game.

13 Years Ago

In beating the National League 13-8, the American League All-Stars helped set a new record for total runs scored in an All-Star Game. The 21 combined runs in the 1998 event — racked up in the thin Denver air at Coors Field — edged the longstanding record of 20 runs, set in 1954 in an 11-9 AL triumph over the NL in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.

Despite their sparkling 61-20 record at the All-Star break, no Yankees position players were named starters in the Midsummer Classic. Scott Brosius, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Paul O’Neill appeared as substitutes, with only Brosius recording a hit.

David Wells, a few weeks removed from throwing a perfect game, did get the start for the American league. He tossed two strong scoreless innings to match the National League’s Greg Maddux, though he gave up an uncharacteristic walk.

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Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Yankees Brandon McCarthy, Chuck Knoblauch, Bill Kunkel and George Moriarty!

Knoblauch won three consecutive World Series with the Yankees from 1998 to 2000. McCarthy, on the other hand, had no such luck.

The Arizona Diamondbacks traded the lanky right-hander to New York during the 2014 season in exchange for Vidal Nuno. That year the Bombers won just 84 games, their fewest since 1995, and missed out on the playoffs.

They finished with the run differential of a 77-win team, despite McCarthy putting together one of the better stretches of his career: a 2.89 ERA and a 1.151 WHIP in 14 starts.

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