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This Day in Yankee History: Billy Martin hired as manager...for the first time

Billy Martin began the first of his five Yankee managerial stints on this day in 1975.

Billy Martin Talking with Reggie Jackson

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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79 Years Ago

Lefty Gomez throws possibly the weirdest complete game shutout ever.

In a 9-0 win over the St. Louis Browns, Gomez issues 11 walks, but still throws all nine innings without allowing a run. He managed to strand the bases loaded twice, the first and ninth innings, and did not record a single 1-2-3 frame. In total, St. Louis had 17 base runners on the day as they also had five hits with Phil Rizzuto making an error. Chet Laabs was the biggest culprit for the Browns, as he was the final out of the inning four separate times, stranding a total of 10 runners.

No pitcher before or since has walked as many while still throwing a complete game shutout.

52 Years Ago

Stan Bahnsen sets a franchise rookie record when he strikes out 12 hitters in a win over the Red Sox. The eventual 1968 AL Rookie of the Year, he threw a complete game shutout, allowing three hits and no walks in a dominant performance.

Bahnsen would have some other decent seasons, but never matched what he did in his rookie campaign. Just three years after his incredible first season, the team would trade him to the White Sox. As for his record, it stood for 30 years until Orlando Herandez whiffed 13 on August 13, 1998 against the Rangers.

45 Years Ago

Billy Martin is hired as Yankee manager for the first time.

The former Yankee played had previously managed the Twins, Tigers, and Rangers, who had fired him just a few weeks before his hiring in New York. He replaced Bill Virdon, who had gone 53-51 up to that point. Martin didn’t improve the Yankees fortunes much that year, but he led them back to the World Series the following year, and to a title in 1977.

This also kicked off a tumultuous affiliation between the manager, franchise, and owner. George Steinbrenner would hire and then eventually fire Martin five times in total, and was reportedly going to bring him back for a sixth stint when Martin died in a car crash in 1989.

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The only birthdays today belong a pair of little known Yankee pitchers: Slim Love and Clem Llewellyn.

Love threw over 400 innings over the course of three seasons in New York. Unfortunately for him, they were the 1916-18 seasons where the team just hung around .500 in the pre-Babe Ruth years. Love did lead the league in one category during his Yankee career: he walked 116 batters in 1918.

As for Llewellyn, he appeared in just one game and threw one inning for the 1922 Yankees. That was the extent of his major league career, which lasted just four batters.

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