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This Day in Yankees History: UnaniMOus

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Mariano Rivera became the first ever unanimous Hall of Fame inductee on this day in history.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The New Year is upon us, and the winter hot stove continues to percolate. 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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39 Years Ago

The Yankee career of Reggie Jackson comes to an end as he agrees to a four-year deal with the California Angels.

Jackson had five excellent seasons in New York, hitting .281/.371/.526 (148 OPS+) and helping the Yankees to two World Series titles in 1977 and ‘78. In ‘77, he famously got the nickname “Mr. October” after hitting three home runs on three consecutive pitches in the World Series clinching 8-4 win over the Dodgers.

Jackson’s time with the Angels would unfortunately be marred by his attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II.

7 Years Ago

The Yankees make a splash in the free agent market and sign maybe the best pitcher on the market. Coming off an MVP and Japan Series-winning season with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Yankees and NPB star Masahiro Tanaka agree to a seven-year, $155 million deal.

Tanaka debuted to much fanfare and was excellent in his rookie season, despite losing a chunk of it due to injury. He went on to play out all seven years of the contract in New York, even turning down a chance to opt out. He mostly ranged from solid to very good over the course of it, making two All-Star Games, giving us several memorable playoff outings, and even seemed to defeat the concept of Tommy John surgery.

As you may have heard, that contract is now up and he is on the free agent market. If the Yankees want to mark the anniversary by signing him to another deal, that would be nice.

2 Years Ago

The Class of 2019 for the Baseball Hall of Fame is announced, and one Yankee legend made some history.

Mariano Rivera became the first ever player to receive 100 percent of the vote after all 425 voters selected him on their ballots. Prior to that, Ken Griffey Jr.’s 99.3 percent in 2016 was the highest anyone had gotten, with just three voters leaving him off their ballots.

Rivera wasn’t the only Yankee to get in either, as Mike Mussina was voted in on his sixth time on the ballot. He cleared the 75 percent threshold by seven ballots, getting 76.7 percent of the vote. They were joined in the Class of 2019 by Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, Lee Smith, and Harold Baines.

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Not much on the Yankee birthday front today. The only two former Yankees born on this day are Ira Thomas (1906-07) and Brian Dayett (1983-84) who each played parts of two seasons in New York. Thomas went on to help the Philadelphia Athletics to two World Series titles after leaving New York, while Dayett played three seasons with the Cubs.

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We thank Baseball Reference, and for providing background information for these posts.