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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98 Years Ago
While it wasn’t as big as the one made by the teams for that Babe Ruth guy, the Yankees and Red Sox made a deal on this day in 1923 that only benefited one team.
Coming off two World Series losses, the Yankees added to their rotation by trading three players and $50,000 to Boston for Herb Pennock. After starting his career badly in Philadelphia, Pennock became an average but inconsistent pitcher with the Red Sox. The Yankees picked him up ahead of the 1923 season, and his career immediately turned around.
Pennock slotted right in as one of the best pitchers in the Yankees’ rotation and helped them win their first World Series win in 1923. He would go on to have several other excellent seasons in New York, winning three more World Series titles. Pennock left the Yankees after 1933 as he had started to fall off. He returned to Boston, playing one last season with the Red Sox before retiring.
As for the other side of the deal, none of the players the Yankees gave up had much of a major league career.
12 Years Ago
Joe Torre appears on “Larry King Live” following the release of his book “The Yankee Years.” The book had generated some controversy, mostly due to comments and revelations Torre made about Alex Rodríguez. The former Yankees and then-Dodgers manager revealed that teammates referred to Rodríguez as “A-Fraud,” while also comparing the Yankees’ third baseman to a character in the movie “Single White Female.”
Despite that, Torre defended the book on Larry King’s show as not having violated clubhouse sanctity. If the book did cause some hard feelings, it didn’t show on the field as the Yankees went on to win the World Series later that year.
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Not a ton going on in terms of Yankees’ birthdays, so lets send out a happy one to Yankees’ legends Hipólito Peña and Dave Stegman.
Peña was traded to New York just ahead of the 1988 season in exchange for Orestes Destrade. He had played two less than stellar seasons in a small sample size mostly out of the bullpen for the Pirates in 1986-87. For the Yankees, Peña had two stints in New York in ‘88: one in June and one in September. As a Yankee, he was pretty good (3.14 ERA, 129 ERA+) in 14.1 innings. However, his time in the minors was not good, resulting in those 14.1 innings being the last of his major league career, never breaking back in with the Yankees or anywhere else.
Stegman had by far the weirder Yankee career as he only ever did one thing: run. He appeared in two games in 1982, both as a pinch runner. In both circumstances it was for the player in the DH spot, meaning he never took the field. Both times, it was also in the game’s final inning, meaning the spot in the order he occupied never came back around to allow him to bat. Thankfully for him, Stegman had played for the Tigers before that and the White Sox after, meaning he didn’t finish his career as a weird Moonlight Graham figure.
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We thank the New York Times, Baseball Reference, and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.