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This Day in Yankees History: Roger Maris ties Babe Ruth

Two iconic Yankee moments happened on this day in history.

Roger Maris Posing with Baseball Bat

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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66 Years Ago

On the final day of the season with the Yankees eliminated from World Series contention, manager Casey Stengel decides to have some fun with his lineup. He puts Yogi Berra at third base and Mickey Mantle at shortstop in the season finale against the Athletics. The Yankees lost 8-6, but it wasn’t down to this odd defensive set up as Berra or Mantle both had clean days in the field. Berra would never man the hot corner again, but Mantle would end up playing 16 innings across seven games at short over his career.

59 Years Ago

Roger Maris hits a solo home run off Orioles’ pitcher Jack Fisher to cut Baltimore’s lead to one in a game the Yankees eventually win 3-2. Oh, and it was his 60th of the season.

Maris’ 60th home run on this day in 1961 officially tied him with Babe Ruth for the all-time single-season record. It came in the Yankees’ 159th game of the season, which created a controversy over whether it should have an asterisk in the record book, as Ruth had hit 60 when the season was only 154 games. That discourse thankfully died after a few years and Maris, who finished with 61, would be recognized as the official all-time leader.

7 Years Ago

With two outs in the ninth inning in a game against the Rays, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte emerged from the Yankees dugout to remove Mariano Rivera from his final career game. The unexpected moment causes the legendary Yankees closer to burst into tears as he exited to a standing ovation from the crowd.

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Happy 95th birthday to Bobby Shantz.

The pitcher had won an MVP and made two All-Star teams when the Yankees acquired him in a 13-year player trade with the Kansas City Athletics in February 1957. He made another All-Star game and led the league in ERA in his first year with the Yankees in ‘57 and helped the team to a World Series win in ‘58. After that season he transitioned to mainly a reliever role, where he was still pretty effective for the team. The Washington Senators selected him in the 1960 Expansion Draft, ending his time in New York. Shantz went on to play through 1964 with a variety of teams, although weirdly not the Senators, who traded him just a couple days after the expansion draft.

The only other Yankee with a birthday today is someone who just made his major league debut this season in Albert Abreu.

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