Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The New Year is upon us, and the winter hot stove continues to percolate. That being said, there has not been much movement on the Yankees’ front as of yet, so in the meantime let’s dig into the history books. 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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38 Years Ago
The Yankees and Billy Martin come to terms on an agreement that would bring the skipper back for his third stint as Yankees manager. The Yankees had seen a merry-go-round of managers go by in the 1982 season, with Bob Lemon lasting only 14 games not long after leading the team in the ‘81 World Series, Gene Michael going 44-42 in an interim stint, and then Clyde King finishing the year with a 29-33 record.
Martin came in and led the team to a respectable 91-71 record in ‘83, but that was only good enough for third in the AL East. He would be out the door again after just the one season, replaced this time by Yogi Berra. Of course, Martin would return again in ‘85, and then once more in ‘88.
20 Years Ago
David Cone leaves the Yankees for a one-year deal with the rival Red Sox, getting a guaranteed deal for between $4-5 million. The Yankees offered a more frugal $500,000 contract, willing to let the former star pitcher walk after a disastrous 2000 season where Cone pitched to a 6.91 ERA.
Still, Cone was one of the key players among the core of the ‘90s dynasty Yankees. He pitched to a 3.13 ERA and 2.98 FIP across 187 games and 1,209 1⁄3 innings. The midseason trade that brought him to New York in 1995 and his subsequent re-signing before the ‘96 season helped build the foundation for the championship runs. The 2000 season might have been rough, but his last game in pinstripes was important, as he retired Mike Piazza on a pop-up in Game 4 of the Subway Series.
Seven Years Ago
Alex Rodriguez receives a ruling from arbitrator Frederic Horowitz, reducing his 211-game suspension down to a 162-game suspension that encompasses the entire 2014 season. Horowitz essentially upheld the season-long portion of the suspension but dropped the extra games that were tacked on when the suspension was given in the middle of the 2013 season, putting an end to the lengthy Biogenesis scandal that Rodriguez was involved in.
At the time, some thought that the suspension signaled the end of Rodriguez’s career, since he had struggled with health and results for the past couple of seasons, but he wound up returning and playing — mostly as a designated hitter — in 2015. Rejuvenated after a year off, Rodriguez slugged 33 home runs, crossing the 30-homer mark for the first time since 2010. A-Rod fell off again in 2016, however, and that would be it for one of baseball’s greatest hitters.
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There are three former Yankees with birthdays today: Rico Noel, Donn Pall and Loren Babe.
Noel was a pinch-runner that appeared on the 2015 Yankees, getting into 15 games and stealing five bases while getting caught twice. He also took two official plate appearances, going 1-for-2 and scoring five times. He bounced around in the Dodgers and Astros’ systems but never again made it to the majors, so he retired with a solid 1.000 career OPS.
Pall had a respectable 12-year career in MLB entirely as a reliever, but only spent half of a season in pinstripes. He signed ahead of the 1994 season, and put up a 3.60 ERA in 26 games out of the ‘pen. Despite the decent results, the Yankees cut him ahead of the trade deadline and he ended up signing with the Cubs for the remainder of the season.
The lesser Babe appeared in 120 games over two seasons, and he played in New York for both of those seasons, but the majority of his games came with the then-Philadelphia Athletics. Babe came up in 1952 for a cup of tea, playing in 12 games and getting just 25 plate appearances. He appeared in five games at the start of the ‘53 season for the Yankees, before the Athletics purchased his contract and started him at third base. Ironically, though he would never play in the majors again, he was involved in an 11-player trade that sent him back to the Yankees after ‘53.
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We thank Baseball Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.