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This Day in Yankees History: Bob Lemon replaces Gene Michael as manager

Annoyed by Steinbrenner’s constant micromanaging, Stick challenges The Boss to fire him, and he does.

Gene Michael of the New York Yankees Photo by 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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59 Years Ago

Roger Maris hits his 54th home run of the ‘61 season off Washington Senators pitcher Tom Cheney. The Yankees win the game, 8-0, with the Senators being shut out by Whitey Ford, who allows only five hits.

53 Years Ago

Graig Nettles makes his major league debut for the Minnesota Twins on this day in 1967. Nettles went on to join the Yankees in 1973, after being traded to New York by the Indians, and he quickly became a fan favorite in the Bronx. As an All-Star third baseman and powerful slugger, Nettles was an integral part of the Yankees for the next decade. He was part of four pennant-winning Yankee teams and his contributions on both sides of the plate led the Yankees to World Series wins in 1977 and 1978.

39 Years Ago

Fans today remember “Stick” as the beloved GM who is credited with building the teams that became the Yankees’ dynasty of the late ‘90s. But back in 1981, he was manager of a first-place Yankees team during the first half of what became a split season due to the players’ strike that year. Once the strike was over and the season resumed, the Yankees got off to a slow start. George Steinbrenner, unsurprisingly, was not happy about that.

After trading insults in the press, The Boss fired Michael and hired Bob Lemon, who managed the club in 1978-79, to replace him. The Yankees would ultimately re-hire Michael as a general manager in 1990—the same year Steinbrenner received a lifetime ban from baseball.

New York Yankees head coach Buck Showalter Photo by DOUG COLLIER/AFP via Getty Images

Without Steinbrenner’s interference, Michael had unprecedented autonomy as general manager. He used that freedom to revitalize the Yankees’ farm system and assemble the building blocks for a team that would go on to win four championships in five years. Michael stepped down as general manager after the 1995 season, though he remained involved with the team as a key adviser to Brian Cashman, Yankees’ current GM and Michael’s Protégé.

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Happy 26th Birthday to Clint Frazier!

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Yankees outfielder was born on this day in 1994. Other Yankee birthdays today include Tyler Austin, Fran Healy and catching instructor Gary Tuck.

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