Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. Even with the start of the 2020 season, the Pinstripe Alley team has decided to continue the revived program in its new 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 (August 5)
37 years ago
The last Yankee to wear number one, Billy Martin, received a two-game suspension for calling umpire Dale Ford a “stone liar.” It was the second time in the 1983 season that Martin had been suspended, and came during his third of five stints as Yankee manager. Yogi Berra replaced Martin for the 1984 season, but was then replaced by Martin 16 games into the 1985 campaign. George Steinbrenner would fire the fan-favorite twice more, and considered Martin for a sixth stint should Bucky Dent have struggled to start the 1990 season. Martin, however, tragically passed away in a car accident in 1989.
13 years ago
Mike Mussina won his 246th career game, the most ever by a pitcher without a 20-win season. The very next season, Mussina’s last, Moose went 20-9. At age 39, he became the oldest, first-time 20-game winner. He also finished in the top-six for Cy Young voting for the ninth time and won his seventh Gold Glove. Posting one of the all-time greatest final seasons for a pitcher edified Mussina’s already strong Hall of Fame case, as he was voted in last year.
7 years ago
MLB issued Alex Rodriguez a 211 regular-season game suspension in the midst of his age-38 season. Far longer than the other suspensions issued for connections to the Biogenesis scandal, MLB cited Rodriguez’s use of “performance-enhancing substances…over the course of multiple years” as well as “his attempts to cover up those violations and obstruct a league investigation.” Following the suspension, Rodriguez played his last productive season in 2015. After struggling through the first half of 2016, he played in his final game on August 12 of that year. He’ll be eligible for the Hall in two years, but as long as older voters impede confirmed users’ paths to induction, Rodriguez will likely spend the rest of his life on the outside of baseball’s designated locus of enshrinement.
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Turning 52 today, John Olerud was released by the ’04 Mariners and played the remainder of the season with the Yankees, perpetrators/victims of one of the all time choke-jobs/comebacks in sports history—that year’s ALCS against the Red Sox.
Celebrating his 43rd birthday, Erik Hinske joined the Yankees during the middle of the ’09 season, earning his second ring while spending most of his time as a pinch hitter and fourth outfielder.
Ben Heller turns 29 as he continues to fight for a spot on the Yankees’s 40-man, having pitched just one inning so far in this young season.