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This Day in Yankees History: Mariano Rivera records his 602nd save

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Rivera became the all-time leader on this day in 2011.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees - Game One Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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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83 Years Ago

In an 8-1 win for Detroit, Tigers legend Hank Greenberg became the first player to ever hit a home run into the center field bleachers at the old Yankee Stadium. In later years, those seats would be blacked out and used as part of the batter’s eye, but hitting home runs there remained a rare feat. Despite Greenberg’s monster blast, the Yankees would get the last laugh that season. They finished 13 games ahead of second-place Detroit in the 1937 AL pennant race.

44 Years Ago

Holding the Brewers to just one run off five hits in a rain-shortened game in Milwaukee, Catfish Hunter records his 200th career win. Having turned 30 that April, Hunter was the youngest pitcher to reach that milestone since Walter Johnson did it when he was 27. He would add only 24 more to his tally as injuries shortened his career, forcing him into retirement at 33 years old.

9 Years Ago

By retiring the side to finish off a 6-4 win over the Twins, Mariano Rivera records his 602nd career save, moving past Trevor Hoffman to become the all-time leader. He froze future Yankee Chris Parmelee with a strikeout looking to get the third out and officially become the record holder. Rivera would end his career two years later, picking up 50 more to finish with 652. The active leader in the stat with 348 is Craig Kimbrel, who is 32 and hasn’t had the best of seasons recently. Rivera will likely hold this record for a while longer.

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Happy birthday, Jim Abbott!

Abbott spent just two seasons in New York, but he forever has a place in Yankee lore thanks to his no-hitter on September 4, 1993. Against the Indians, Abbott threw a no-no against a Cleveland lineup that contained the likes of Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome. Making the feat, and his major league career in general, all the more impressive is that Abbott was born without a right hand. Despite dealing with something that would cause many people to give up playing baseball at all, Abbott had a successful 10-year, major league career, and finished third in Cy Young voting with the Angels in 1991.

Other Yankee birthdays today include Nick Etten, Nick Johnson, Hersh Martin, Ralph Young, and 1958 Cy Young winner Bob Turley. Turley won that Cy Young likely because of his 21 wins for a pennant-winning team, despite the fact, in retrospect, he wasn’t even the best pitcher on the Yankees.

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