Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. With the offseason well underway, the Pinstripe Alley team is continuing this revived program. 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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This Day in Yankees History (January 24)
21 Years Ago
Former Yankees top prospect D’Angelo Jiménez suffers a broken neck in a major car accident that requires him to miss the 2000 season. Jiménez, who had been expected to be the Yankees’ utility infielder following the departure of Luis Sojo to the Pittsburgh Pirates, would never play another game for the Yankees, as the team traded him on June 23, 2001, in exchange for reliever Jay Witasick of the San Diego Padres. While he never quite reached his potential as a result of the accident, he did put together a respectable big league career, playing eight seasons and posting a 94 OPS+ in a part-time role.
The Yankees would not be able to satisfactorily fill the utility infielder role on the team during the 2000 season, which eventually resulted in them reacquiring Sojo via trade in August.
Nine Years Ago
Jorge Posada announces his retirement, joining Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte (for a time) as core members of the dynasty to ride off into the sunset. Posada remained a productive player up through 2010, his age-39 season, producing a 115 OPS+ that year. With his defense faltering, however, the Yankees moved him off the catcher position in 2011, hoping to also keep Posada’s bat fresh as possible.
Alas, Posada finally fell off, cobbling together a 90 OPS+ during an up-and-down, injury-riddled season. Even so, he still clubbed a very respectable 14 dingers in limited action as a 40-year-old and hit .429 with a 1.150 OPS in the final playoff series of his career (a five-game ALDS loss to the Tigers).
Two Years Ago
As the Yankees make the signing of Adam Ottavino official, they announce that he will be wearing number 0. As such, he became the first player to wear the number in Yankees history, and the only active player remaining to wear single digits in pinstripes.
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There are two former Yankees with birthdays today. Neil Allen, an 11-year veteran in the league, turns 63 today. Allen had two stints with the Yankees, first getting his contract purchased from the Cardinals in 1985. Just before the ‘86 season started Allen was traded over to the White Sox, who released him in the middle of the ‘87 season. The Yankees scooped him back up and kept him around until the end of 1988. Altogether, he pitched in pinstripes for 66 games, tossing 171.1 innings of 3.62 ERA ball.
Tim Stoddard was a teammate of Allen’s over that timeline, and he turns 68 today. Stoddard came on board after a trade with the Padres in the middle of the 1986 season, and he lasted in New York for three years. Stoddard pitched in 109 games, earning a 4.39 ERA over 197 innings, and he was decent for the first couple of years that he was on the team. Things went south in ‘88, and Stoddard went from a consistent mid-3 ERA pitcher to a 6.38 mark. He was cut midseason, and played one more year in Cleveland before retiring.
We thank Baseball Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.